On the Road Eats: Asheville, NC

Restaurants:

Dinner: Gan Shan Station
Would I dine again? Yes but next time I would order the whole fish special.  We were a group of 4 and each wanted a specific meal so I passed on the special of the night.  The dumplings were good, the pancake was great and the pad thai was ok.

Lunch: Sierra Nevada
Would I dine again?
Yes.  We took a short hike nearby and decided to check out the brewery for lunch.  Of course we ordered beer but we started with the pretzel appetizer and I had an amazing beet salad for lunch.

Snack: Well-Bred Bakery & Café
Would I dine again?  Yes.  
We stayed at an Airbnb and the owner left some cookies for us.  We went back to the bakery to buy more to bring home.  Everything looked so good!

Dinner: Rhubarb
Would I dine again?
Yes.  Our meal was great and we ordered some appetizers, entrees and a dessert.  My friends raved about the roast chicken, I opted for swordfish and the fig dessert was amazing.

Dinner: Cúrate
Would I dine again? Yes.  I loved this spot.  Tapas is always one of my favorite so I can try many items and explore the menu.  Since I was dining with friends, I was able to try twice as many!  You definitely need reservations in advance.

Breakfast:  Benne on Eagle
Would I dine again?
Yes.  I could not decide whether I wanted the cornmeal pancakes or the french toast so they offered me a half order of each.  Since this restaurant made the list of top 50 restaurants in the country by Bon Appetit, I definitely wanted to stop by but next time I would come for dinner.  Service was a bit slow but that was mentioned in many of the reviews I read.

 

On the Road Eats: Kalmazoo and Grand Rapids

Hotel: Courtyard Kalamazoo Portage
Would I stay again? Yes.  It felt like a newer hotel and the service was good.  There was an issue with my shower head not being the cleanest but had I caught it the night before, I am sure they would have addressed it quickly.

Courtyard Kalamazoo Portage

Restaurants:

Dinner(Kalamazoo): Principle Food and Drink
Would I dine again? Maybe.  The plan was to eat next door at Rustica but I flew through lunch and Principle opened 30 minutes earlier.  A colleague said it was a great spot so time for a super early dinner at 4:30pm.  I started with the octopus, then the shrimp entree and ended with the blueberry lemon dessert.  The whole meal was good but if in the area again, I would try Rustica.

Dessert(2nd time around):  Ritter’s Frozen Custard
Would I dine again? Yes.  There is always a need for ice cream and frozen custard.

Lunch(Kalamazoo): Food Dance Restaurant
Would I dine again?
Yes.  But I totally ordered the wrong thing.  Don’t get me wrong, the mac and cheese was good but I only was able to eat half since it was so heavy and I should have ordered the chicken dance sandwich.

Hotel: Courtyard Grand Rapids Downtown
Would I stay again? Yes.  It was right downtown and close enough for me to walk to my client meeting and to grab a bite to eat.  I would recommend valet since the self parking was a bit of a walk if in a rush.

Dinner (Grand Rapids): Osteria Rossa
Would I dine again? Yes.  Technically this was happy hour as I went right after a meeting because I was super hungry.  I should have ordered more as the options were great and the food was really good but I thought I would go out for a later dinner after dealing with emails back at the hotel.  Shame on me for skipping dinner.

Breakfast(Grand Rapids):  Roots Brew Shop
Would I dine again?
Yes.  Low key coffee shop with pastries from Rise.  Sometimes you just need a donut for breakfast, especially when you skip dinner.

Lunch (Madison):  Donkey Taqueria
Would I dine again? Yes.  Yes twice.  I had one al pastor taco and one brussel sprout taco.  They were awesome and the only other place I found brussel sprout tacos was in Covington, KY.  I was also told they have great margarita’s but it was too early for me to try one!

On the Road Eats: Chicago

Hotel: Sheraton Grand Chicago
Would I stay again?  Maybe.  The location was not too convenient to where my client meetings were but the room was clean, I was able to grab a quick breakfast and bottled waters in the lounge and my room had a good view of the river.

Restaurants:

Lunch: Frontera Grill
Would I dine again?
Yes.  I have walked by this restaurant so many times and always thought, I must eat here.  Well, after 10 years of traveling to Chicago I did and it was great.  It was a Tuesday so I ordered the pork milanesa lunch special – Crunchy-coated pork shoulder, roasted tomato-serrano sauce, black beans, pickled red onions served with an arugula salad. Delish!

Dinner: Portsmith
Would I dine again? No.  I was underwhelmed by my whole experience.  The restaurant was empty, my meal- shellfish risotto- was just ok and there are too many other spots to try in this city.

Lunch: Tanta Chicago
Would I dine again?
Yes.  Yes.  Yes.  My lunch was fabulous and I think it is because I was able to order a sampler and try various dishes.  Order the power lunch marino which includes criollo cebiche, calamari jaleita, and criollo rice and you will not be disappointed.