Category Archives: Food

Trader Joe’s

You can find a lot of organic grocery items in the very reasonable prices here.  The quality of food is high here.  This wonderful grocery shop started in California.  There are now several branch stores in the Midwest.    They offer many items under their own brand name.  They are really tasty.  I especially like their frozen Tamales, frozen pizzas and organic blueberry jams.  Their high fiber cereals are excellent.  They also have good variety of granola.




Street food is popular in Asia.  Japanese street food has many varieties.  Yusho restaurant has some creative Japanese style street food dishes that are done perfectly on the hot grill.  Chef Matthias crafts dishes in an art form.  Each dish is uniquely presented.  Besides grilled items, Yusho offers noodles on Sundays.

You also would not want to miss meeting the sake master Tim there.  Tim is very knowledgeable on sake varieties.  He is friendly and very enthusiastic on sake.  He is a certified sake sommelier.  He continues to study sake.


Seafood Salad

Seafood Salad

I love this new seafood salad at Takashi restaurant.  Chef Takashi’s restaurant is located five miles northwest of downtown Chicago.  It features French American cuisine with Japanese influences.   Every dish is perfectly prepared and is extremely tasty.   The presentation of each dish is unbelievable beautiful and eye pleasing.  The menu changes often.  It follows seasonal ingredients.

When I am there, I like to order the tasting menu.  It provides the best samples of Chef Takashi’s current signature dishes.  I highly recommend the tasting menu for the first time visitors.

The Winchester

This is a unique neighborhood community strong place.  The menu offers seasonal ingredients from local farms and changes often.  The dishes are well prepared and healthy with lots of vegetables.  The hours are great.  It is one of the few restaurants that opens late in Grand Rapids.   I especially love their fried chicken and salmon sandwiches.  Their fish tacos dish is also amazing.  The prices are very reasonable for the high quality prepared food.  They also have good wine and beer selections.  Overall it is a great place to hang out when you want to relax, to meet with friends or to just grab a bite with some drinks.


I first discovered quinoa at the Chestnut restaurant in Brooklyn.   The waitress was eager to explain the okra quinoa dish and gave me some history of this tasty grain.   Later I had this very delicious quinoa hashbrowns in the Public restaurant in Soho New York.  The taste of the quinoa hashbrowns was unreal. It was not oily and in perfect crunchiness. This healthy grain contains high good protein.  You can cook it easily less than 30 minutes and use it in place of rice or potatoes.  Quinoa can be cooked in different ways.  The texture is pleasing to your taste bud. My friend Sandy also has this easy quinoa salad recipe which provides a way to cook quinoa early before the meals.   This is especially helpful when preparing for a picnic or a party.

1 c. quinoa
1 c. diced red pepper
1 c. edamame (frozen is fine)
1/2 c. diced onion
1/2 c. dried tart cherries, or cranberries

Vinaigrette Dressing:
1/3 c. olive oil
1/3 c. white wine vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard
pinch sugar
salt & pepper

Top with toasted pepitas.

Green Wagon Farm

My 77 years old aunt visited me in 2008 during my brother’s wedding.  I knew she had a big vegetable garden in her backyard in California.  We were chatting about food, vegetables and gardening.  She strongly recommended me to eat better for my health by choosing non-chemical produces.  She challenged me to eat more organic food.  I was surprised by her commitment on organics as an old Chinese lady.  I decided to give it a try.  I have joined local CSA farm groups yearly since 2009.

This year I chose Green Wagon Farm for my CSA share.  It has been a blessing.  Although this farm is relatively new and the farmers are young, the care they show to their vegetables and members is immense.  The price for a share is very reasonable and affordable.  The amount of one share easily feeds four adults for a week.  There are enough vegetable varieties.  The quality of the vegetable is very good.  They are successful farmers.    And the best of all is that they offer CSA winter shares for November and December.

Green Wagon Farm is the only farm I find in Grand Rapids Michigan that offers fresh vegetables for the last two months of the year.  Winter is long, cold and dark in the Midwest.  With both summer and winter shares, you can enjoy fresh locally grown vegetables for six months out of a year.  Winter seems less harsh when you have fresh vegetables on the dining table.  I am excited.



If you are driving into Chicago from the east, Nana is a great dining choice.  The location of Nana is easy to drive to and is right before hitting Chicago downtown traffic jam.  Although it is situated at the south side of Chicago, near the corner of 33rd street and Halsted street, the area feels very safe, and parking on streets is very easy.  You can just take 35th street exit off highway I-90/94(Dan Ryan Expressway).  It takes less than 10 minutes off the highway.

Nana serves local, sustainable and organic dishes in the American comfort food style.  I love breakfast and Sunday evening fried chicken there.  It is a great place to take a break before you head into downtown Chicago or before you leave Chicago.


I love this restaurant. Everything is always perfectly prepared. The dishes are clean, simple and creative. The presentation of every dish is usually very pleasing to the eyes. The tastes are refresh and overly delicious. You definitely want to go for the “Taste Of Grove”. It gives you the three-course choices from each course section of the entire menu. It is always hard to make the decisions for the three courses.  You just have to visit the restaurant again for the dishes you’ve missed.

Grove uses locally grown products whenever is possible.  The chef is very conscious of seasons.  The menu changes based on the availability of different produces seasonally.  The attention to the details on cooking and preparing dishes makes this restaurant the best in Grand Rapids Michigan.

Rakowski Family Farms

Another good source for free range, non-chemical eggs is Rakowski Family Farms.  This farm now has a permanent indoor shop at the Fulton Street Farmers Market.  When I have no time to drive out to Grassfields Farm, I purchase my meats here.

Grassfields Farm

Grassfields LLC is located about 25 miles west of Grand Rapids.  It is a fifth generation, family owned and operated farm.  It is the best source for organic meats, eggs, milk and cheeses in Grand Rapids area.  Although not everything is certified organics, the animals are free range and no extra chemicals are used.  I love to visit their farm store on Saturdays.   When you pull up to the dirt road driveway, you can often see ducks leisurely taking a walk.  I usually order my Thanksgiving turkey and half pig in summer.  When you have tasted a naturally well cared turkey, you will never go back to eat another mass raised enterprise birds.

You can get Grassfields’ eggs and some frozen meats from the Horrocks Market store on Breton road right off 44th street.