For Valentine's Day this year, Laura wanted to have a lunchdate at someplace new.  After a littlesearching she found a place in East Grand Rapids called Marie Catrib's  http://www.mariecatribs.com/. I checked it out online and figured out how to get there and we were off.

I can't begin to tell you how much we were impressed by theplace (didn't bring a camera – should have). First thing that really struck me was the "local" flavor ofthe place.  Not only is it locally ownedand operated (like to promote the local economy) but most of their ingredientscome from local farms within a "scooter trip" from therestaurant.  This means they use localfarms (and greenhouses in the winter) to get veggies, meat and cheeses.  They even name the farms and offer summertours so you can buy food for home from local places too.  The building itself was eco-friendly – likethe downtown YMCA and new Art Museum it is a LEED-certified building whichincludes a "live roof", passive solar, zero-rain-water shed,etc.  They have a wide variety of foodand offer a lot of vegetarian and even vegan options, but also have home-madesausage (which I had in my Baker's Omelet).

There were probably 4-5 groups ahead of us when we gotthere, so the wait was about 20-25 minutes. During this time they had a cool coffee bar (I had organic vanilla hazelnut)and they came by three times with cinnamon rolls and seasoned pita chips.  During the wait we looked over the Saturday menu(http://www.mariecatribs.com/images/uploads/891Brunch0508.pdf)and the amazing amount of take-home food they had ready-to-go (we took home somerice, hummus, and a monster cookie – all vegan, all good).

We are already planning a return visit – this time with thechildren (looked quite kid-friendly and good options for them).  I had never heard of the place before Lauramentioned it, but can't figure out how we missed it.