Let's talk food.......and coffee.....and local fare.
Something that my guy & I love is to explore our city and surroundings. This year is going to be no different. We live in a small village of less than 900 people, but we can head east or west and be in the middle of a city.
Heading east brings us into Battle Creek, which is struggling to bring it's downtown back to life, but we keep hoping that they will get the formula right and that it becomes a booming place to hang out once again.
I do a lot of photography sessions in downtown Battle Creek, as they went through a few years ago and revitalized the walk along the main river running through town. The gardens and walkways are immaculate and have such charm and character to them, no matter what time of year I choose to do a shoot there.
But the livelihood of the city, the core, the business, is a struggle. They have just not found the right combination of whatever it takes to attract businesses and people back downtown.
Now on the other hand, if you head west, you end up in Kalamazoo.
Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo, and the song wasn't making up the name!
This is the city that Steve & I grew up in and call our home base. The downtown was struggling for years, when the big indoor mall move was so popular in the 70s. It lost business after business, but our Downtown Association, found the ticket, the formula to bring it back to life and it is thriving.
It seems there is always someplace new to explore and things to do. This past Friday was Art Hop, but with the frigid temps and below zero windchills, we opted to stay inside close to a warm fire.
But Saturday dawned, and we were ready to get out and do something. We decided to take advantage of a gift card we got for Christmas and try out a local restaurant in the Washington Square area. I believe it opened last summer, early fall.
If you like soup, you like Vietnamese cuisine, you like to try something new, this is an amazing place. With common tables, where people just sit and share a table with someone they didn't know when they came in, but know a little better when they leave.
They have options of Pho (sounds like FUH), which is a soup with rice noodles, your choice of meat, red onion shaving, broth, and a tray with sides you can add - bean sprouts, jalapeño slices, fresh herbs and a lemon wedge.
Welcome to Pho On The Block.
I'm not a fan of "heat/spice", so the jalapeño stayed put, but I added a squirt of Hoisin sauce for a little kick. This is so refreshing and hits the spot on a cold, winters day.
Steve had a Lemongrass Grilled Chicken Rice Bowl and was equally satisfied with his choice. We shared an order of Pot Stickers as well, and quenched our thirsts with a pint of Bubble Tea, mine being Honeydew and Steve's being Matcha. The "bubble" is the black pearl tapioca at the bottom of your tea jar. A sweet little surprise!
Needless to say, we did not leave hungry and we can't wait to go back and try out more of the menu selections!
Over the past few weeks during my winter break from school, I have been doing a lot of reading and working on my goals and plans for my business this year. One of the big items on my list is to work on my social media presence, namely Instagram.
I've spent a lot of time exploring and jotting down what I like, presentation, content, and learning about algorithms and hashtags. While browsing, I've come across some new coffee shops in Kalamazoo as well.
So after church on Sunday, we headed to one of them that is north of downtown. It's in an old factory building and appropriately named "Factory Coffee". They have utilized their space from top to bottom and have some awesome plans on expansion and growth.
They bring their coffee in from San Francisco, a fair trade operation that the owner knows from when he lived out there.
Gus, our barista, was so friendly and was more than happy to give us a tour of the whole building when we finished our coffees.
The tour took us into the owner's shop, where he rebuilds Mopeds, his original business. We then were led to the basement, where they have their own pottery shop. They make their coffee mugs, growlers and other beautiful pieces. The final stop of the tour was on the 2nd floor where they hold #coffeeyoga classes and have plans for many more activities in this great space!
They have an outdoor pizza oven that they will fire up for special events as well and we can't wait to go back and try it out.
We highly recommend stopping by this place and warming up with your favorite cup of coffee!
What an adventurous weekend we had exploring the Local Fare.
Here's to many new adventures in the year to come!