Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Pleasant Surprise

It shouldn't come as a huge surprise that my weekday eating is not all that glamorous. However yesterday's dinner turned out to be much better than the planned yogurt+granola+carrot+hummus+other carb-dinner, because my Dad took me out to dinner! As I was dragging my self to my third consecutive hour-and-half lecture at 2:30 I checked my messages and there was one from my Dad saying he was in the general vicinity for a meeting and wanted to know if I needed groceries and/or dinner. UMM. . .YES! And more than that I was in desperate need of family. Safe to say my day was instantly made and my frown turned upside down. 

We went to Frita Batidos, a new Ann Arbor restaurant owned by Eve Aronoff. Eve also owns Eve in Kerrytown and was on Top Chef Season 6. I had heard from a friend it was good, but WOW - it was GOOD. My Dad and I both had the Pulled Pork sandwich and split the Shoestring Fries. In addition I had a chocolate Batido; a batido is a "tropical milkshake made with fresh fruit, crushed ice and a drop of sweetened milk with or without rum*." Mine obviously without. Everything was great, the restaurant itself is very minimalist - all white. There are five or six long white picnic tables to sit at, but I actually really like the community feel that those evoke. So now that I have talked that up so much, I would hate to show you the sub-par pictures I took (blame it on first time Frita excitement), but I'll definitely be back and maybe taking more blog worthy food pictures soon. 

Street view. Frita's coffee window and snack bar menu to the right. 

. . .and then I had to eat something tonight. 

TJ's Cheese Tortellini with tomato sauce and roasted sweet potatoes and carrots.

*From Frita Batidos Philosophy

Saturday, January 22, 2011

One of THOSE Days. . .

It was one of those days. . .

 . . .I wore those sweatpants that I stole from my sister closet (its ok, they shouldn't see the light of day - no loss to her).

But then - I made Red Lentils with Stewed Tomatoes from the blog, Dish by Trish - the recipe was recently featured on Foodbuzz's Top 9.

I rushed the recipe. I didn't use a measuring cup, the thought of hand washing one was too much to bare. ¡Que horror! I used cut-up canned tomatoes instead of stewed tomatoes (they kind of seemed like the same thing). In the end the eyeball method worked great and it turned out to be a clean and refreshing meal, CMo and I both liked the fresh lemon juice in the dish.

It was a pretty good day. :)

Friday, January 21, 2011

Ann Arbor Restaurant Week

This post brought to you by Cappuccino (fuel) from Lab. The barista said the design would have been prettier if I didn't get skim milk; next time I'll sacrifice myself and take in the extra calories for the sake of the blog. 

And now what you have all been waiting for - Restaurant Week Recap. I celebrated in two locations this week, Shalimar and Blue Tractor, with my dearest friend CMo. 

First up, lunch a Shalimar:
Course One - Daal Soup
Course Two - Saag Paneer, Vegetable Korma, Chana Masala, Rice, Naan, Cucumber Raita, Mango Chutney and Papad
Course Three - Gulub Jaman

Overall, a great and filling sampler meal for only $12. My favorite items on the plate were the Vegetable Korma and Naan.

Next up, dinner at Blue Tractor:
Course One - Artichoke Dip (more than I could possibly eat in one sitting)

Course Two - BBQ Combo Platter: I chose pulled pork and beer can chicken. Served with coleslaw, cheddar grits and bourbon molasses baked beans.

Course Three - Fried Doughnut Bread Pudding (OMG!)

Lets just say I waddled home happy after this meal. I loved the artichoke dip, but I think pita chips would have been a better "dipper" than tortilla chips. Both meats were good, although it is not something I eat too often anymore - so it was a lot to take in at once. And the fried doughnut pudding was as good as it sounds. . .still dreaming about it.

Happy Friday!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Krazy Jim. . .

Friday night brought lots of fun and fried food. I headed to Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger with friends (or should I say, I ran to KJ's Blimpy Burger much later than intended after a schedule mishap at work) and then to my first indoor U of M hockey game versus Ferris State University.

Blimpy Burger is an Ann Arbor institution for students, located in the heart of the Packard-Madison-S. Division student housing area.  It has been featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives (I think it is classified as a dive, see video below) and more recently, Man Vs. Food. 

Friday night was my first time ordering and dining in at Blimpy Burger. Delicious - but only every once and a while. Important note for first timers: no cell phones in line, and be sure to read the guidelines for ordering. My burger was a double on a regular bun with grilled onions and banana peppers, Swiss, pickles, ketchup and mustard. I also split some onion rings. . .and ate most of the aforementioned in an embarrassing amount of time. 

Then it was off to the hockey game we went (rolled), where Michigan beat FSU 3-2. And then it was time to come HOME!

P.S. Promised Puppy Pics. 

Nephew Adam and new dog-nephew Carlos.
Lucy and Cath's new puppy [unnamed], but we can just call her Blanca for convenience sake. 

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dinner Improv

I heard the weather alarms in the coffee shop Tuesday morning; winter weather was upon us in the Mitten. So the plans for risotto went out the window with the weather. I was missing a few key ingredients and tromping around in the snow to and fro sounded less than appealing, and as a result Tuesdays dinner turned out to be more of an improv event than the performance I had planned (not to mention Abby was sick and couldn't make it). 

We started out with apps. Vermont Cheddar on top of Farrell Razzzberry Jam (obsessed) and Carr's Table Water Crackers. 

Dinner was simple. Salad and Basil, Asiago & Pine Nut Pesto Ravioli (that had been taking up residence in my freezer for a while) from Rising Moon Organics. The sauce I "made" for the ravioli consisted of sauteed onions and mushrooms that were intended for the risotto, a can of tomato sauce, and a little s+p. 

For dessert: Nonpareils. And yes, they are gone now. :(

Coming up soon:
-Krazy Jim's Blimpy Burger & A Hockey Game
-Doughnut Muffins or Biscotti?
-Ann Arbor Restaurant Week
-Two New Puppies (!)

What are you doing this weekend? Do you have a 3-Day weekend?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

TasteFULL Saturday

It was a great, friend filled day with lots of munchings. It started out with bagel and coffee at work - meh. Lunch and dinner were the real stars today.

Lets start with lunch, which was had at the best deli in the world, Zingerman's, with C, C & G. We had to wait outside for about 10 or 12 minutes to go in (but well worth the wait in my opinion). 

I ordered a sandwich I had a few weeks ago when my sister was in town, the "TNT Cowboy Reuben." BBQ Beef Brisket + Coleslaw + Provolone + Onion Rye = :D I told my sister I was going to order it again and she suggested I wear a smock, but I opted for a fork and knife instead (very runny). 

As good as the sandwich was, it was even better to catch up with some great girls. I can't believe how long it had been since some of us had seen each other - we had lots of things to talk about! And the fun just kept on coming when we stopped at The Cupcake Station (I love mini cupcakes!). 

Post lunchtime it was time for my Saturday run - more on that in a minute.

For dinner it was Chipotle with Abby! Abby and I love Chipotle, I think this is the third time we have been since school started in August and surely not the last. 

The food at Chipotle is always fresh, and they have a great story - check it out here. I ordered a Vegetarian Burrito Bowl which included cilantro rice, black beans, sauteed peppers and onions, pico, corn salsa, lettuce and a dollop of guacamole.

Not pictured: Coffee Shake at Potbelly's with Abby.

Half Marathon Training Update

As I mentioned, today was my long Saturday run as part of the half marathon training plan I am following. I ran 60 minutes (just over 5 miles) - I was impressed with myself. It marked some important milestones: the end of my second week of training, my longest run to date, and my first time consuming GU (eww!). All in all it went great, I can't believe how much I have built up my endurance over the past few weeks - although there is still much more to be built - and I feel so much stronger. 

When I got back to school earlier this week one of my first thoughts was how tough it was going to be to stick with my training amidst 17 credits and work. I know it is going to be hard, but on the other hand, it might keep me sane (I'll let you know how that goes ;))

Hope your Sunday brings you rest and relaxation. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Now this is a Scone.

Named "The Best Scone I Have Ever Had" by Cathy (Mom). 

It must have been the butter. . .or the shortening. . .or maybe it was the Half n' Half. 

I wanted to make scones this morning because my friend Jen was coming over for coffee. Jen and I used to be loyal patrons of just about every downtown Battle Creek coffee shop after our four day a week 7:15 AM Calculus class. Now we just get together for coffee whenever we can sans Calculus, which is a lot more fun. 

With less than a hour before Jen arrived I browsed Food Network for a five star "Easy" recipe. I found this recipe from Alton Brown, and it was great. My only modifications were using half n' half instead of cream and I added dried cherries and a handful of chocolate chips. Not the best idea for breakfast every morning, but a great brunch or breakfast treat for special occasions. 

P.S. Back 2 School tomorrow. :(

Monday, January 3, 2011


What do you get when you cross a scone + a cookie = scookie, of course (not to be confused with Snooki). Alright, alright - I'm done with the lame jokes for today. 

The first morning of 2011 started out with Currant (Raisin) and Oat Scones from Martha's Everyday Food magazine. My Grandma received a subscription for this magazine for free last year with another subscription and has been passing them along to me ever since. It is a great little mag because most of the recipes can be easily modified to use less processed ingredients, whole grains, etc., and many of the recipes already utilize "clean" ingredients.  

It was indeed a "Healthy Start" as intended. The recipe is not available online yet but it called for half wheat/half all purpose flour, raisins, oats, a few tablespoons sugar, baking powder, an egg, a little bit of butter, and buttermilk. My modifications: currants subbed for raisins, 1/2% milk substituted for buttermilk , and the addition of half an orange worth of zest. 

They turned out a little flat. They look like cookies and unfortunately didn't taste like them, but for Scookies they were pretty great. In my limited experience with (coffee shop) scones they are generally so dry that they crumble when you look at them or heavy and sweet with icing (I don't get it). 

The end result was a moist, filling and tasty scone that I didn't regret eating before my mid-morning run. :D

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Celebrating the New Year

Welcome 2011! Twenty-ten was a good year full of new experiences, places and faces. That being said it is always fun to start the new year with a "clean slate." I have only made one resolution (more like goal) for this year. . .

To run a half-marathon! The training has started, the race selected, and the cause still undetermined but I have two that I am mulling over and will make that decision soon. I am excited for the challenge, but slightly scared to be attempting it alone. I have been thinking about this goal for a month or so, going back and forth in my head and I have decided that there is no physical reason I can't do this and really only good can come out of it - mentally and physically. And if I am able, I should!

*Mind over matter, mind over matter, mind over matter.*

So, lets get back to what you came here to read about - food, duh. Last night my family and I rang in the new year with some great food and even better friends! We went over to our good friends The Morel's house and celebrated the new year Morel-Curtis-Smith-Shear/Tanoff-LD style.

Here are a few pictures of food and friends from the last night of 2010:

Val's Chex-Mix creation - white chocolate, cinnamon, orange - yum!

Mol, Val and a creeper. 

My (first) plate.

Mrs. Morel's Mulled Cider - must.get.recipe.

P.S. And how can I forget the delicious lunch I had at BC's newest restaurant - Malia. I had the Tortellini Carbonara, so so good.