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My Town Holland: American Homebrewers Association holds beer rally March 23

My Town Holland: American Homebrewers Association holds beer rally March 23

HOLLAND, Mich.— Home brewers and other enthusiasts are invited to rally around beer this Sunday, March 23 at New Holland Brewing.

The rally is being organized by the American Homebrewers Association.  The event will include brewery tours, beer samples, prizes and more.  Hop farmers and local maltsters will also be offering educational sessions on the homebrewing process.  Participants are also encouraged to bring their best homebrew to share during the brewery tour. 

Ally’s Boutique Fashion Show on March 6

Ally’s Boutique Fashion Show on March 6

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- The community is invited to Ally’s Boutique's first runway fashion show,  taking place on Wednesday, March 6 at Louis Benton Steakhouse, located at 35 Ionia NW.

This is a ticket only event, with all proceeds supporting an autism charity of Kent County.

The VIP Cocktail Hour will run from  6 p.m. to 7 p.m. with the fashion show beginning at 7 p.m.  After the event, LB's Lounge will host an after-party with hor d’oeurves donated by Louis Benton.

General admission is $35 per person;  VIP admission is $50.  Tickets must be purchased in advanced by calling  Ally’s Boutique at (616) 717-0004 or Louis Benton Steakhouse at (616) 454-7455.  

Coffee taste test pits pricey cat scat coffee against other brews

Coffee taste test pits pricey cat scat coffee against other brews

HOLLAND, Mich.— Kopi Luwak coffee beans costs up to $600 pound, but is the taste worth the price?

That’s the question a panel of coffee experts attempted to answer during a blind taste test this week.  “The Great Kopi Luwak Cupping Challenge” unfolded at JPs Coffee and Espresso Bar in Holland.  Owner Jack Groot ran the test, pitting Kopi Luwak against other regional Sumatran coffees prices around $16 pound.

During the test, one Kopi Luwak sample rose to the top, scoring 76 points out of 100.  However, two of the less expensive, non-cat poop coffees ranked within a half-point of Kopi Luwak and the others were very close.

“It’s a very good coffee, but not worth $600 a pound.  If you bought it in a coffee shop, it would cost you $50 a cup,” said Andy Timko with Anodyne Coffee Roasters in Milwaukee.

Grand Rapids Magazine announces 2013 Dining Award winners

Grand Rapids Magazine announces 2013 Dining Award winners

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—It did it last year, and it’s doing it again this year: Grove is Grand Rapids Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year.

The magazine announced the winners of its 34th annual Dining Awards Wednesday.  The judging process took place over 10 months.  A total of eight awards were presented live on Grand Rapids Magazine’s Facebook page and Twitter account this week.  The recipients are:

  • 2013 Restaurant of the Year: Grove
  • Best New Restaurant: Trattoria Di’ Stagione
  • Best Mexican/Latin American/Caribbean Restaurant: El Arriero
  • Best Middle Eastern/Mediterranean Restaurant: Zeytin
  • Best Asian Restaurant: Maru Sushi & Grill
  • Best European Restaurant: San Chez Bistro & Café
  • Best Classic American Restaurant: Leo’s
  • Best New American Restaurant: Terra GR

All eight Dining Award win

Planned Parenthood marks Valentine's Eve with "condom drops"

Planned Parenthood marks Valentine's Eve with "condom drops"

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.---  On New Year’s Eve, Americans marked the holiday with ball drops; this Valentine’s Eve, Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan is marking the occasion with “condom drops”.

On Thursday, Feb. 13, teen and young adult volunteers from PPWNM will visit at least six Grand Rapids bars to conduct “condom drops”, distributing free condoms to patrons, along with “Safe Space” door hangers. Organizers say volunteers will visit Mulligans, Billy’s, Eastown Sports Bar, Pyramid Scheme, Stella’s and the Meanwhile Bar Thursday night to pass out condoms.  

PPWNM’s eight health centers are also participating in the National Condom Week campaign, distributing more than 3,000 free condoms altogether.

The organization says nearly 20 million sexually transmitted infections are reported each year, and condoms are the only form of contraception that also helps reduce the risk of STIs, while preventing most unintended pregnancies.

Mangiamo! Snowman Festival Feb. 8

Mangiamo! Snowman Festival Feb. 8

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.– Everyone is invited out to help transform the powder blanketing Mangiamo’s grounds into an army of snowmen.

The restaurant’s second annual Snowman Festival begins Saturday, Feb. 8.  Builders of all ages are invited to compete in the contest; people age 13 and up will compete from 10 a.m. to noon, and children ages 3-12 can sculpt their own snowman from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.  The people behind the top three snowmen in each category will get gift cards. Mangiamo will also serve complimentary hot cocoa and spiced cider to all participants.  Contestants must provide their own snowman decorations.

Give your old wine corks new life with ReCORK

Give your old wine corks new life with ReCORK

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—A Grand Rapids restaurant is giving wine lovers another excuse to drink.

As part of its partnership with ReCORK, Houlihan’s is collecting old wine corks that will be recycled into sustainable footwear and other upcycled products.  The restaurant says even though cork is completely natural, renewable and biodegradable, most wine corks end up in landfills.   Since cork trees take up to 50 years to mature and can only be harvested every nine years, cork can be a hot commodity.

Houlihan’s is one of the few cork recycling drop-off locations in Grand Rapids.  Corks can be dropped off inside the bin located near the restaurant’s entryway.  Houlihan’s is located at 1968 Breton Road SE in Grand Rapids. The other drop-off locations include Art of the Table, 606 Wealthy St. SE and Haworth in Holland.