Apologies if a similar post already exists, but my searches mostly brought up posts about dining out rather than groceries...
So here's the deal. I recently moved from Toronto to the bustling metropolis of...Big Rapids, MI. While there are things I love about the area (landscape...whitefish...sausages), there are some things I am starting to desperately crave. I decided fairly last-minute this past Saturday to make the pilgrimage down to Grand Rapids, but ran into car trouble early in my trip and had to turn around. I figure this is a blessing in disguise because now I can properly plan my trip and fully stock my pantry/freezer. I am already planning on a stop at Penzey's (living in Canada, I have never had access to them even in mail-order form, let alone an actual brick and mortar store in which I can smell and feel the product...SO EXCITED) and a most reverent stop at Founder's for refreshment. But I could use more guidance for other things, since I'd rather spend my day buying and eating than driving between disappointments.
1. I am in desperate need of Korean/Chinese/Vietnamese/Thai foods. Any suggestions for places to buy ingredients, or even somewhere to grab lunch to stave off the cravings? I'm going through serious withdrawal, and while I'm doing my best to fake it up here, the fresh herbs and produce are difficult to mail order, and the tiny tubs of kimchi at Meijer last me about a day and a half.
2. I need pork belly! Beef tendon would be nice too.
3. Lately, I am having wicked cravings for prosciutto, and the pre-sliced packages in the deli case are just not cutting it. Any suggestions for good ham and serious cheeses would be greatly appreciated.
4. I could use a really good, go-to wine/spirits/beer shop. Doesn't have to be huge, just well-curated and interesting. I finally have a car again, which means I can properly stock my bar and wine rack.
5. A solid grocery store. There really isn't a single regular grocery store up here - we have Meijer, and Wal-Mart, and discount stores for the students. A regular, well-stocked grocery store would be refreshing.
I am originally from Midwestern stock, so I'm open to any and all suggestions of other things to check out that will help me re-acclimate. Any local specialties I haven't yet been introduced to...please share!