Sometime around the dawn of man, a human discovered that dough is worth more when tied into intricate shapes. Fast-forward a couple millennia to the present, and you’ll find that Nautical Knots has taken the next step in pretzel innovation. Since 2001, the Grand Haven boardwalk has benefited from the skillful tying of the eatery’s pretzel knots, which come in 11 sweet and savory varieties such as asiago cheese, frosted raisin, and sesame seed. In addition to stretching the dough into traditional pretzel shapes, staffers also twist it around frankfurters to make a signature treat they call the Nauti Dog, served with reckless amounts of ketchup and mustard. The waterside stand, which is open from May to September, also loads baked potatoes with cheese, chili, and salsa, and whips up frozen strawberry and mudslide drinks that combat the summer heat nearly as well as turning off the sun.
Sweet Temptations, a sweet shop and ice-cream haven born on the summer boardwalk in 1985, serves homemade treats year-round. Ice cream mixed by resident dairy expert Ray tempts sweet teeth with 28 flavors, such as chocolate almond and french silk ($3.20+), that fill the deceptively sedate confines of a waffle cone ($0.50). Shape-shifting frozen desserts take the shape of shakes ($4+), malts ($4.50+), and sundaes ($3.50+), and ice-cream cakes and pies proffer benevolent group hypnosis. With texture variation in mind, Sweet Temptations handcrafts many-flavored caramel corn ($4+), fudge, peanut brittle, and other classic indulgences. A selection of old-fashioned candy increases cultural literacy among future aficionados and enables Proustian reveries.
The Michigan Brewers Guild wanted something very specific when it turned 15: it asked the state’s breweries to concoct a 15th-anniversary ale for its summer beer fest. Chef and home brewer Amy Sherman, host of Great American Brew Trail, went behind the scenes at the celebration, where she interviewed local breweries’ staff members about their celebratory brews. Reports like these are typical of her show, Great American Brew Trail, for which she travels to microbreweries across the country and unveils the creative and culinary processes behind beer.
Edible Arrangements offers up more than 50 fresh, artful fruit baskets in time for Sweetest Day on October 15. Edible Arrangements combines the aesthetic elements and emotive properties of floral arrangements with the juicy edibility of fruit. The sweetery's designers stud the Delicious Daisy, a bouquet of sliced honeydew, pineapple, and cantaloupe, with strawberries and strings of grapes that double as a 25th-anniversary gift for a Smucker's jam heiress ($35). Decadent, gluten-free layers of white and semisweet chocolate coat fruit in a 12-piece box of hand-dipped strawberries and bananas ($25). Customers can also put today's Groupon toward a larger centerpiece, such as the Melon Delight, a decorative spray of watermelon wedges, pineapple daisies, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapes, and double-dipped bananas sprouting from a watering can ($76–$86). The preservative-free treats are all handcrafted at the apex of freshness, readying hand-dipped dainties to be hand shoved into eagerly awaiting mouths.
Perfect Brow Bar was born in 2008, when the United States first started embracing eyebrow threading—an ancient method of removing unwanted hair with swift twists of a cotton thread. As the service’s popularity grew, so did Perfect Brow Bar: it now boasts more than 15 locations across the central states. Some patrons report that threading is less painful, causes less redness, and is more precise than waxing, and the method doesn't require any brutal candle killing. In addition to threading, the trained staff beautifies clients with services including facials, eyelash extensions, and henna tattoos.