This past weekend Riverside Park was host to the Regatta Nationals. In case you didn’t know Grand Rapids actually has quite a rich history when it comes to crew, dating back to the 1880s – with humble beginnings on Reeds Lake in East Grand Rapids (this part I overheard while walking through the park).
What made this event and the location so awesome:
1. It was nearly in our own backyard (I was able to walk our dog through the entire park including the busy part where the regatta was set up.)
Thurs. night we scoped out the scene. Welcome to GR Hartfort, CT.
2. It drew in crew clubs and associations from all over the nation (this is the big time baby!)
3. It employed the local facility rentals (tents), the catering companies, the sanitation services and most importantly the beer garden – full stocked with local micro brew favorites (I tip my hat to Brewery Vivant. Yes there were others.)
Yes. Every good athlete needs extensive hydration for peak performance.
4. Riverside Park and this particular part of the Grand River are perfect for a regatta competition, with ample space for tents, kayaks and participants; this stretch of the River is calm, straight and wide enough to allow for 6 lanes of competitive fun.
We popped into the park over the weekend to experience various heats and elimination rounds, semi finals and eventually the finals. You could even hear the announcer’s voice in our backyard from time to time. Here are the results of the weekend efforts.
The Regatta Nationals aren’t the only fantastic event at Riverside Park, there are events hosted there all the time and most weekends when I roll out of bed to take the dog for an early morning walk I find myself walking through a festival or competition, wishing for a shower and toothpaste.
Sometimes a Saturday morning trip to the Fulton Street Farmers Market results in more than just a fun and relaxing date with my mini man. Oh sure we weave our way slowly through the crowds admiring the fresh offerings as well as people watching. We spot kids running around or snacking, babies sleeping, people chatting, moms debating, dads parading kids on shoulders while couples, friends, and individuals pick and choose their food and exchange their tokens or money for a chance at something delicious.
Mini man and his shades
We stop along the way and choose a few ingredients then decide to split a fresh raspberry scone from GR Bagel. It’s worth every penny, Henry offers a shy smile as he continues to devour our tasty treat. I discover a rare find for myself as well, red currants. Something I grew up picking right off of the overgrown bushes at my parents house, the shrubs and house no longer in our lives, but the memory lives on.
Today I was looking for a few key ingredients to make a new super food recipe I found through Red Tricycle. The recipe is simply called Spinach Avocado Pesto Linguine. Friends, this is a magical dish I tried for the first time today. It fulfilled all of my recipe hopes and dreams: it called for 3 cups of tightly packed spinach leaves (we just bought a gigantic bag that we now need to consume rather quickly), it needs fresh garlic (Babcia Adela always encouraged our family to eat lots of fresh garlic to fight against colds.), avocado (one of the foods Henry is actually willing to eat) and basil, which I can never use quickly enough in our garden and then it results in a woody stem and wilted leaves.
Courtesy of Red Tricycle.
The zing of the lemon and lime really wakes up the flavors of this creamy dish. You can opt to not add the parmesan or pine nuts, but let’s face it, pesto isn’t quite pesto without these. But it’s better than traditional pesto, because it calls for no oil. All the creaminess comes from the avocado. I love the duality of this dish. I made more than enough of the sauce and know that we can enjoy the linguine again, but we can also repurpose this tasty sauce as a topping for burgers, as an alternative guacamole or even as a base sauce for a pizza or wraps.
My not-so-pretty version.
I encourage you to try the recipe and let me know if you love it too.