Taste This: Restaurant Week GR; Bar Divani; Sietsema's Cider Garden

4th Annual Restaurant Week 2013

Mouths have been drooling since the menus for more than 65 area restauranteurs were announced on July 15, presenting West Michigan's finest fare this side of US-127 from Aug. 14-24. You'll be “savoring the summer harvest farm-to-fork style” with three-course meals that feature locally grown and raised products, ranging from grass-fed organic beef and fresh Lake Michigan perch to beautifully bulbous beets and sumptuous artisan breads. From Irish to Indian, most meals are $25 for one, although several host an unbeatable two-for-$25 deal plying a couple of bellies with similar three-course offerings. Many plates are paired with local Beer City beers and wines. Fourteen new participants will satisfy the masses, including Grand Rapids Brewing Co., Crooked Goose, Ju Sushi Lounge, Kitchen 67, El Granjero and G's Grill. A dollar from every meal will go into a student scholarship fund to benefit future chefs at Secchia Institute for Culinary Education. In addition, two contests will take place: Grand Cocktail 2013 and My Restaurant Week GR Instagram Photo Contest. The former will showcase the greatest local mixologists crafting the best Creative Cocktail and Best Manhattan, each containing Woodford Reserve craft bourbon, while the latter offers up great dining-based prizes for those with dinner pics with the most likes — a mini-gastro artprize if you will. When: Aug. 14-24/ restaurantweekgr.com, (616) 459-8287

Bar Divani Wine Social Wednesdays

Settle in for an evening of wining and dining every Wednesday at one of Grand Rapids' most prestigious wine bars. From 4-6 p.m., you can enjoy the happy hour specials at Bar Divani and then, from 6:30-8:30 p.m., linger for the wine social. A minimum of six wines will be showcased and savored. Discuss the geography, culture, food and history with like-minded whinos and whinettes. Past events have included diverse selections of vino such as what to pair with barbecue, the best of the southern hemisphere, and top picks from the Portugal penninsula. As always, Bar Divani's kitchen will keep you preoccupied between sips with fine paired plates like lamb sausage and prosciutto flatbread. Cost: Varies but usually between $15-$30 When: Every Wednesday, 6:30-8:30 p.m. 15 Ionia Ave. SW, Grand Rapids; bar-divani.com, (616) 774-WINE


Fridays & Saturdays at Sietsema's Cider Garden

Weather-pending, apple harvest begins in late August and what better way to relish a humid dog day afternoon than lounging about an orchard. Sip on a glass of cool, superb hard cider and take bites from a tantalizingly chilled cheese and meat plate from local farmers. From 3-7 p.m every Friday and Saturday, Sietsema's opens up for you to enjoy a vineyard-esque orchard with a touch of European ambience with an option for doughnuts. “Wait!” you say. “Doughnuts in August? You're crazy.” Actually, the deliciously fried and sugary dough treats team perfectly with one of Sietsema's several hard ciders, especially the Yellow Label with its touch of champagne. Sipping in the shade in the country will beat the blinding pavement glare accenting the horrendous city cacophony every day of the week, or just Fridays and Saturdays in Ada. 8540 2 Mile Rd., Ada; sietsemaorchards.com, (616) 676-5584

Photos: Bar Divani