It was almost 3 1/2 years ago that I first visited Grand Rapids while doing a project for the company I worked for at that time.  My first impression of the city was the Van Andel Arena and the Amway Grand Hotel; the next morning, I was impressed to see people skating at Rosa Parks Circle.

Fast forward to 2011 and I was able to move to GR with a different company.

We LOVE this city.  It seems that many people here take for granted the things that are so great about GR.  Coming from Toledo, Ohio - a dying city with no energy and very little going for it - being in GR is like living in an entirely different country.

Being a little stir-crazy a few weeks ago, Faith and I decided to go out downtown.  First, we hit City Sen at the City Flats Hotel on Monroe Center.  The bartender was Christoper (the guy you see in that picture if you clicked through) and he took great care of us.  We had the spinach & artichoke dip, while knocking back Xingu Black Beer (Faith) and a Jameon & Diet (me).

There was a group of people there who tried the "Flats" (pretty sure that's what it was), which is a bright-green fruity-tasting drink.  One guy offered us some.  Not being ones to turn down free drinks, we had a few.

From there, we headed to Flanagan's Irish Pub.  We scarfed down their Mac & Cheese Bites and had Bud Light Lime for her and more Jameson & Diet for me. Loved hanging out there but we also had a craving for one other, more substantial plate of food.

That was the Seven Layer Dip at J Gardella's Tavern on Ionia.  And yes, more beer and Jameson & Diet. You'd think we hadn't eaten in over a week based on fast that dip went down.  Good stuff.  One of my faves at Gardella's if you've never tried it!