Girls weekend in Grand Rapids
The makings of a fabulous girls weekend in Grand Rapids: Happy Hour. Sushi. Craft Beer. Cheese Overload. Girl Talk. Shopping. Taboo. Martinis. Oysters. Shrimp Tacos. Reunions. Dueling Pianos. Wilson Phillips. Bridesmaids. Brunch. Bloody Marys. Live Music. Country Concert. Trio of Girlfriends.
Happy Hour & Sushi
Rockwell’s in downtown Grand Rapids has $5 sushi from 3 to 6 p.m. weekdays and 12 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. We ordered a classic Philadelphia roll because cream cheese should be its own food group. It had a spicy little kick, too. Drinks also are on special. I was underwhelmed by the Pinot Noir, but the Shiraz was very smooth. Select wines are $5/glass during the happiest of hours. Cosmos are stiff and a true bang-for-your-buck at $3.
Craft Beer & Cheese, Cheese, Cheese
I took the girls to HopCat, where you’ll find the best selection of craft beers in town and a “killer mac & cheese.” I went full-on cheese binge, ordering the grilled cheese with a side of cheese ale soup. Was that really necessary? Yes. The grilled cheese is more like a panini than a traditional greasy grilled cheese, and it has three cheeses — gruyere, cheddar and feta — and thinly sliced tomato and onion. It’s also served with the highly addictive and flavorful “crack fries.” Literally, that’s the real name of the fries. As for the soup, it is very cheesy with a subtle beer flavor. Unlike many other beer cheese soups I’ve tried, this one isn’t overpowered by the beer. And, it’s served with pretzel croutons. Sorry for the poor quality photo, but HopCat has mood lighting at night.
Seafood & Dueling Pianos
For our big girls night out, we checked out The B.O.B. We learned that stands for the Big Old Building, which has four levels of bars and restaurants inside. We began our night sipping martinis and a craft beer flight at Gilly’s. The chocolate peanut butter porter is worth a try!
Our favorite dishes of the night: Oysters Rockefeller. Ocean to Plate Oysters — a real deal when purchased with a craft beer. Spicy Shimp Tacos.
After dinner we headed upstairs to Bobarino’s, where dueling pianos were the night’s main attraction. We sang along to “Benny and the Jets,” danced to Hall & Oates’ “You Make My Dreams” and carried the chorus of Wilson Phillips’ “Hold On.” We even stopped by a hotdog cart outside The B.O.B. along the short but extremely cold walk back to my downtown apartment before watching “Bridesmaids.”
Brunch & Bloody Mary Bars
One last reunion for the weekend! All four of us girls gathered for brunch at San Chez Cafe. Ashley and I also ate lunch here a couple days earlier. The San Chez Caprese sandwich is delicious. It has tomato slices, goat cheese, pesto and balsamic on ciabatta bread.
For brunch, we ordered omelets and breakfast scrambles. And, of course, we hit the Bloody Mary Bar to build our own concoctions. As a virgin to mixing my own Bloody Mary, I stuck with regular vodka and tomato juice. Then I added some spice, squeezed a lime and garnished it with pickled asparagus and green olives. The restaurant also offered infused liquors and spicier bases.
After brunch, Ashley and I walked down Commerce Avenue to Stella’s Lounge, which is known around town for its Sunday Bloody Mary Bar. At Stella’s, I tried a citrus-infused vodka, which was extremely flavorful. The mildest base was far more spicy than good ol’ V8. I didn’t add much to this one except a celery stalk and lots of lime to mellow out that citrus flavor in the vodka. In this bloody battle, San Chez’s Bloody Mary bar edged out Stella’s, but I was the real winner.
Thanks to an Instagram contest sponsored by the Arena District here in Grand Rapids, I won an amazing prize pack for sharing this photo. As part of my winnings, I got two free tickets to see Lady Antebellum’s Take Me Downtown Tour with opening acts Kacey Musgraves and Kip Moore at Van Andel Arena. We had fabulous seats only two rows off the floor!
Highlights of the concert:
- Kacey Musgraves took us back to 1999 with TLC’s “No Scrubs”
- Kip Moore slowed it down for an intimate moment with “Hey Pretty Girl”
- Kip left the stage and walked on the “slippery” cloth-covered ice-rink boards
- Lady Antebellum brought Kip Moore and Kacey Musgraves back onstage for a song
- In a sea of smart phone flashlights, I spotted two old-school lighters in the air
- Confetti finale!
Wish you were here,