What better way to support local businesses and restaurants, then by visiting as many local eateries as we can, and stuffing our faces?! Perfect way to start Taste of Muskegon 2020. The 14th Annual Taste of Muskegon is a yearly event where Muskegon County area food trucks, restaurants, and bakeries show off their best cuisine, during an outside festival that takes place in Hackley Park. Typically, the popular festival only occurs during a selected weekend, but due to COVID-19, Taste of Muskegon has altered the festival so that Muskegon County residents can still support local eateries safely.
This year, the organizers have created a virtual, week long celebration for participating restaurants to highlight their best cuisine. Over 30 establishments have their own QR code, so once you try one of their featured dishes or a flight, you can vote for your favorite in a selected category. If you’re not comfortable with eating at a restaurant yet, all establishments are offering takeout, so you can still try different menu items and vote from the comfort of your own home. The virtual Taste of Muskegon experience takes place from June 19th-28th.
Last weekend, Brittany and I had the chance to check out a flight from Big Red BBQ, a featured cocktail from 18th Amendment distillery, and two heavenly cannolis from the Only Cannoli bakery. Find out what Brittany had to say about them in her blog post called, Taste of Muskegon Pt. 1.
This week, I was able to explore a couple local spots on my own. I am a huge coffee fanatic, so when I heard that my two favorite coffee shops were featuring their own tasting flights, I had to go. Drip Drop Drink is featuring a tasting flight of their Iced Chai Latte, Chocolate Date Bar, Affogato, and their Nitro Cold Brew. All items are individually priced, so if you do not want to get a flight, you do not have to. I always have lived by the saying, “when in Rome”, so of course I had to get the flight.
I visit this coffee shop on the regular, but have never tasted their Iced Chai Latte. Let’s just say that I have very disappointed in myself for not knowing about this lovely, creamy drink sooner! I have had iced chai lattes before, but never like this one! The cinnamon wasn’t overpowering, which was perfect for a hot summer day. Next, was Nitro Cold Brew. Just like you’re typical iced coffee, but a little bit stronger.
I have never had an Affogato, and with it being kind of early in the day I had thought, “who would drink vanilla ice cream and espresso together this early?” Apparently, I am going to be one of those people! The cold vanilla gelato complimented the acidic, smooth espresso to where it tasted similar to drinking a latte, but stronger. The gelato made the drink so creamy and decedent. I can definitely see myself getting the Affogato for an after dinner dessert drink. Next, was the date bar. I do not like dates. PERIOD. No way in hell are you going to get me to eat a date. After being convinced from the barista, Amanda, I took a regretful bite of the date bar. To my surprise, the the date bar was actually very good! It had a mixture of flavors from salty and chewy. Think granola bar with fruit.
Next, was trying Aldea Coffee‘s tasting flight for Taste of Muskegon. Pictured is Aldea’s Tanzanian Hot Coffee, Cold Brew, Cascara Lemonade, and Lavender Lemonade. The Tanzanian is a smooth darker roast. Perfect for those that live on the adventurous side. The cold brew was lighter than Drip Drop’s Nitro Cold Brew. The Cascara Lemonade was my favorite out of the two lemonades, and here’s why. The Cascara, also known as coffee cherry tea, comes from the dried skins of coffee cherries. So, when drinking the Cascara Lemonade, you taste the hint of cherries and coffee. The coffee taste is very subtle, which mixes well with tea or lemonade. The lavender lemonade was my second choice, as the lavender was also very subtle, which didn’t make the lemonade too sweet or herbal tasting. Very refreshing!
Next on my list was Rolling Stone Wood Fire Pizza. This pizza joint is originally from Brighten, but have since expanded to a food truck and owning their own chalet at the Western Market, located in Downtown Muskegon.
Not only is their pizza super fresh, but the different combinations of toppings make their pizza fun to try. A hamburger pizza? Who would have thought!? For $15, you can try their tasting flight, which features their famous pizzas such as, the MEATSKEGON Premier, Cheeseburger in Paradise Deluxe, the New Era, and plain cheese. I also have to add that this pizza flight comes with three slices of their Peanut Butter-Infused Chocolate Dripped Bacon.
Let’s breakdown each slice of pizza, because they are all so different from another. The New Era slice has ranch sauce, havarti cheese, carrot bacon, grilled asparagus, shaved red onion, grape tomato, parmesan, romano, and topped with balsamic reduction. The Cheeseburger in Paradise is topped with bacon beer cheese sauce, char grilled burger, special sauce, ketchup, mustard, pickles, shredded iceburg lettuce, onion, tomato, crispy fried onion, parmasen, and romano cheese. The MEATSKEGON is topped with san marzano, tomato sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, genoa salami, house italian sausage, bacon tri color roast bell pepper, caramelized onion, parmesen, and romano cheese.
After stuffing my face full of pizza, it was time for some dessert. Morat’s Bakery is by far one of my favorite bakeries in Muskegon. Their donuts are super fresh and they are HUGE! Literally, their apple fritter is the size of my head! I rarely eat donuts, but when I do, I go to Morat’s Bake Shop.
I was really excited to try this flight, not only because it is a donut flight, but Morat’s experimented with different flavors that I have yet to see another local bake shop do. For Taste of Muskegon, Morat’s is featuring their beer grain maple and bacon cake donut, an earl gray raised glazed donut with hibiscus glaze, matcha cake donut with shredded coconut and goji berries, and a HUGE apple fritter. My 1st place choice was the beer grain maple and bacon cake donut. My 2nd place choice was the earl gray raised glazed donut with hibiscus glaze.
Brittany and I both live, and work in Muskegon, so it’s great to discover new places in our city. So, with out further ado, let’s dive into voting. (Drum roll please!) My number one pick for coffee shop category is Drip Drop Drink. They have my number one vote because they had such a variety of options to try from, and I appreciate that they are featuring different ways to enjoy coffee. Brittany and I still have a couple more restaurants and food trucks to explore before we tell you our number one vote for bakery, food truck, and restaurant. Brittany and I hope to continue bringing you a series of posts featuring Taste of Muskegon cuisine.
Next on my list of vendors to try:
- Kontry Cookin’
- Abeshi Food Truck
- Los Amigos
- Waffle Stick
- Hey Sugar Cotton Candy
To see what each establishment is featuring for Taste of Muskegon, and in their tasting flight, please click here. Vegan, Vegetarian, Gluten-Free, and Dairy-Free are labeled.
“Being a grown up is the best, you don’t need permission to have dessert for dinner.”