I like Grand Rapids. Really. I mean, I complain about the weather all the time, and it would be cool if we had more venues, but I am a supporter of the Mitten and GR. Hell, I moved back from Portland. One thing, though, irks me every day and that is The Problem With Food. This is a city of Applebees. More accurately, it is a city of suburbs of Applebees. For me to really dig GR I would have to see a lot more noodle shops, some decent Thai, maybe an indian cart or two. When I go to the grocery, (we'll skip right over the Family Fare that doesn't stock basil and half the store seems to be aisles of paper towel to talk about the Meijer or that fancy place on Cascade) I cant find half the ingredients I need. How am I supposed to make dashi, or pasta all'amatriciana, or pho? Thus begins my search for food in West Michigan. I have put this off for far too long, believing my calling to be somewhat less, um... fat. Now, however, I realize my body image and 15 extra pounds of butterfat are worth it if it means spreading the gospel of yum. So, today Andrew and I were out on Division, looking through the pawn shops, and we found a fantastic vietnamese grocery. I'm talking boniato flakes($2.50,) 8 kinds of tapioca, literally bushels of crabs just chillin' out. I got some fresh lemongrass ($1.00 a bunch) and stocked up on kelp. Andrew was lucky enough to stumble on cans of "Pearl Milk Tea," basically thai iced tea with tapioca pearls in a can, and picked up some "diet tea" which was, he was happy to note, caffiene free. We toyed with the idea of cans of roasted eel in fermented black bean paste, but I ended up passing for the extra-large tin of sardines for $1.50, Moses Atwood, my cat, will be feasting tonight. Its been a while since I'd been to a grocery this complete, and this small. I would kill for a fish counter like that near my house. The TVs playing a vietnamese gambling were really just a bonus.
Vietnamese Grocery, Division around 44th