The Local Epicurean

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

My husband and I recently paid a visit to The Local Epicurean in Grand Rapids, Michigan, that I mentioned in an earlier blog.  I immediately fell even more in love with the place!  By looking at the pictures, you can see why.  They did an amazing job decorating the place and displaying all of their products.  I could see the kitchen in the back where they make all of their pasta – a ton of wooden pasta drying racks were spread throughout with pasta hanging everywhere!  We found out that we can custom order a gluten free lasagna and they make their own pesto sauce with it.  I just placed an order for that as well as some gluten free butternut squash and sage pasta and gluten free rosemary and organic olive oil pasta.  Can’t wait to try them.  I love to eat cashew butter with cut up apples and they make their own cashew butter there, which I bought and tried.  They add some agave to it and a few other things and it is amazing!  We also picked up their homemade honey butter (they make their own butter) – that was also outstanding (I just need to find some really good gluten free bread to put it on!).

I’m so grateful to them for having the courage to open a place in West Michigan!  The owner is really passionate about making pasta – learned how to make pasta growing up from an Italian person that lived with his family.  There’s great energy in the store, and the owner has a very calm, confident presence, which adds to the whole package.  I’ll be making many trips and placing several orders with them, I’m sure, and I’d encourage you to do the same!

http://www.thelocalepicurean.com/

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Electric Cheetah

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

I highly recommend the Electric Cheetah restaurant in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  They have an amazing selection of creative foods and drinks.  They also have quite a few choices of vegetarian and gluten free dishes.  Check out their “Raw Fries” for the best appetizer ever – thinly sliced Michigan potatoes flashed fried, then sprinkled with white balsamic vinegar and kosher salt.  They have a nice selection of local beers.  All of their sandwiches are available on gluten free bread (made locally – in Muskegon).  Their salmon dish with quinoa and spinach is amazing (The Health Hutt).  And they have a made to order gluten free cookie that is pretty darn good.  Check it out!

www.electriccheetah.com/

The Local Epicurean

By Nancy Smorch, Foodie Bitch

I love to learn and I am learning so much about cooking and eating without gluten.  Two foods that I used to eat a lot of – pasta and artisanal bread – both contain gluten.  So I’ve been substituting rice and quinoa for pasta, and corn tortillas for bread.  I’ve tried using gluten free pastas but they tend to be rubbery in texture and will taste awful, so there’s no point in eating them.  Until recently.  I went to Harvest Health in Hudsonville, Michigan and found a bunch of locally made pasta – both gluten free and regular.  So I picked some of it up and tried it.  Everyone loved it!  All I put on it was olive oil, salt, and shredded parmesan cheese and it was really good.  The Local Epicurean in Grand Rapids, Michigan made it.  I actually spoke to the owner at the farmer’s market this past Saturday in Holland and he said he would make any flavor gluten free I wanted – with a minimum of a 3 bag order.  For gluten free pastas they have Parsley and Sweet Onion, Shiitake Mushroom and Leek, Olive Oil and Basil, and a few others.  Their traditional pastas include Orange Bell Pepper, Buttermilk Bleau Cheese, Lemon Thyme, Meyer Lemon and Dill, Eggplant and Parmesan Cheese, Black Truffle and Shiitake Mushroom, and Butternut Squash and Sage (among many others).  All pastas are made with organic flours and eggs.  They also carry local hand crafted cheese, infused organic butters, chocolate truffles, olive oils and vinegars, and heirloom and local produce.  I think I have a new best friend :)

Check them out at http://www.thelocalepicurean.com.