Cops & Doughnuts, Clare

This is a awe-inspiring sight:

Bacon-topped Long John

Bacon-topped Long John

This lovely thing is the bacon-topped Long John at Cops & Doughnuts in Clare, MI. I had wanted to stop at this bakery for quite a while, especially since I had heard about the bacon beauty. As a bonus, one of the police officer owners was there and gave my daughter a sticker to go along with the cookie I bought her, the latter of which was as big as her face. She ate about half of it before saving the rest for later.

Was it everything I dreamed it would be? Yes, it was excellent. The bacon went great with the maple frosting. There was no cream or custard inside, but it didn’t need any. It was a wonderful pre-ride snack, especially if you are going to bike on the Pere Marquette trail like I did. Who needs granola bars and GU chews when you can have bacon and sugar? Not me, that’s for sure!

To get one of your own, take either Clare exit and find the corner of McEwan and 5th. The bakery is in a block of historic storefronts. There are seats outside to enjoy whatever incredibly good-looking item you buy, and you can enjoy the sound trucks sans-mufflers and motorcycles roaring by.

Cops & Doughnuts, Clare, MI

Cops & Doughnuts, Clare, MI

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Nachos and beer at Royal Oak Brewery

Lurking north of Detroit is the town of Royal Oak. I had experienced RO for the first time at Baconfest the weekend before, but now, I was back once again. No bacon this time, but just as good – nachos and beer at Royal Oak Brewery. There were several great-looking items on the menu. I had walked into the building determined to get nachos, but hesitated when I looked over the other things they had. But, I stuck to my guns and got the half-order of chippy goodness.

Royal Oak Brewery

Royal Oak Brewery

My nachos were about $8.50. I did the (in my mind) almost unthinkable – I ordered them without meat. That grueling decision was caused by the $3.50 upcharge of adding ground beef, and that seemed like a lot. I was questioning my choice after I made it, but a few bucks saved is a few bucks I could spend on another beer.

Nachos!

Nachos!

It turns out my worrying was unnecessary. The nachos were very large, and even better, they were excellent. I hadn’t had meatless nachos that good since Red Cedar Grill, the latter no longer serves them. The chips were crispy, if a little singed around the edges, but that was easily masked by the salsa, sour cream, and guacamole that was included. Yes, they had the topping trifecta, which I’m always glad to see. I especially liked the salsa, which had a smoky, chipotle flavor.

As for the beer, I started with the “Royal Oak Red” that was solid. And red. The real favorite for me was the “Suicide Blonde”. It was sweet, and I thought I was drinking mead before I double checked what I had ordered. It was very tasty. Imagine Bud Lite, and then make it taste way better and more interesting, and you have, in a nutshell, beer from Royal Oak Brewery.

Beer!

Beer!

So go for the beer, stay for the nachos, and then stay for more beer. Good advice, trust me.

Bob’s Bar, Grand Rapids

It was a dark and stormy Tuesday night…

Actually, it was a warm and sunny Tuesday night. After a walk at the Knapp Valley trails, I was in the mood for some nacho goodness, and my destination was Bob’s Bar on Michigan Street in Grand Rapids. It was practically across the street from another visit to a bar for nachos, Birch Lodge.

Bob's Bar, Grand Rapids

Bob’s Bar, Grand Rapids

Bob’s Bar is a “bar bar”. It was sparsely crowded on my visit, just me and a bunch of regulars there to watch the Tigers game. It has a “neighborhood joint” feel to it which I liked, and the stained glass sign above the bar added a little style.

Bob's Bar, Grand Rapids

Bob’s Bar, Grand Rapids

As for the nachos… I allowed myself to be talked into the half-order, and they were a little small for me. To fill the gap, I had an extra beer, so don’t worry everybody – I was OK.

I’ve been surprised as the quality of nachos in bar bars before, so I kept an open mind. What I had at Bob’s Bar were in the middle of the nacho spectrum.  The meat and cheese were good, and nothing about the nachos was particularly bad, simply that nothing was notable. They came with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, salsa, and sour cream. And look how dark they are! That couldn’t have anything to do with my phone’s camera…

Bob's Bar nachos

Bob’s Bar nachos

Go for the atmosphere and the beer specials, not the nachos.