Posts tagged ‘Ann Arbor’

Grange Kitchen and Bar

Friday night was my running buddy’s birthday, and as she is something of a foodie as well (most of our time hanging out is spent discussing or eating or watching food…), she had the awesome idea to go to Grange in Ann Arbor. Grange is a local restaurant that’s dedicated to serving local, seasonal and sustainable food whenever possible, and the resulting menu is absolutely fabulous.

But before getting ahead of myself, let’s start with drinks, shall we? I love restaurants with a creative cocktail list, and this definitely didn’t disappoint. I don’t like bourbon, and therefore didn’t want to order the GBK Manhattan (bacon infused Bulleit Bourbon, maple syrup, orange bitters, brandied cherries), but a member of our party did, and he let me try it. Bourbon aside, it was good! You could really taste the smokiness from the bacon – the aftertaste just kept coming at you, but in a good way. I did, however, order the GGGinger (fresh mint, ginger syrup & fresh lime juice, Tanqueray, ginger beer, crystallized ginger), because ginger beer is possibly my favorite drink in existence. Not beer at all, it’s just a really gingery ginger ale type beverage that I used to drink all the time in London:

The presentation of my drink was stunning – everyone at the table wanted a drink/to take a picture of it!

And believe me, it tasted as good as it looked. As did the cute bite of crystallized ginger on top…

Along with the drinks came some crusty bread and butter – I helped myself to a piece.

And so onto dinner. My philosophy when I eat in “fancy” restaurants is to always eat something that 1) I wouldn’t cook at home, 2) I probably couldn’t cook at home, even if I tried, and 3) I wouldn’t want to cook at home. So, following all of these rules, I ordered the Fried Pig’s Head with Mustard and Sauce Gribiche for my starter.

I didn’t know it when I ordered it, but sauce gribiche is (according to wikipedia), a “mayonnaise-style cold egg sauce”. I’m actually glad I didn’t know that – I don’t really like mayonnaise (though I’ve never tried to make it at home), and I’m sure it would have negatively influenced my opinion of it before I tried it. As it was, it basically just tasted like a soft stone-ground mustard. And as for the pig’s head – it was so tender and flavorful. And the crust was some sort of breading, I think, which in and of itself was delicious. On the side was something of a spring mix (arugula and something else?) lightly dressed. Yum…

For my main course, I ordered the Sautéed Perch with Swiss Chard and Squash Gnocchi.

The fish and the chard were pretty good, but I have to admit, the gnocchi were definitely my favorite part of the dish. I could have eaten an entire plate of them!

I also got to try a bite of the pork belly, which I’ve wanted to try as a meat for awhile – it’s also a well-known dish at the restaurant. It was so tender as well – it just fell apart! I was really happy with my dish, though :)

If I were to voice any complaints about Grange at all, it would be that the service could have been a little quicker – we waited awhile for both of our courses. We were a big party, true, but at an upscale restaurant like that, I would expect something a little quicker. However, our service was quite nice, and even agreed to split the bill between the 9 of us, which was awesome. 

If you are ever in Ann Arbor, and are looking for a really nice place to eat at, eat at Grange! It seems they also have a slightly less pricey lunch menu now as well – I’d like to go and try their burger!

December 6, 2009 at 9:34 pm Leave a comment

Redux

For those who were wondering, my quark turned out okay-ish. I put some Green and Black’s Dark Chocolate with Hazelnuts and Currants.

I think the chocolate was the best part, actually :/ I don’t know what I did wrong! Maybe not enough sugar? Sad times.

Today was overall uneventful, aside from a viewing of The Baader Meinhof Complex at the Michigan Theater in downtown Ann Arbor. The movie is definitely not for the faint of heart – it’s the story of the Rote Armee (a left wing German group that was active during the 60s and 70s), and it was a lot more graphic than I was expecting. The theater, on the other hand, is definitely worth a visit. Not only is it ornate and beautiful, but it also has a pipe organ!

In other news, I ran today! A little over 4 miles in 38 minutes, about 9 min/mile. Not bad at all. It’s getting colder here (maybe – it got cold about a month ago, and then warmed back up, so who knows what to expect), and I’m getting more nervous about running through the winter. I need to stock up my cold weather gear, that’s for sure.

Breakfast was more pumpkin oats, but topped with Justin’s Honey Peanut Butter 100 cal pack that I got at the Detroit Marathon Expo.

I found a pile of Justin’s nut butter’s that I haven’t yet used! No maple-flavored, though :(

For lunch today, I fell back on a favorite and made my version of Tina’s Brown Rice and Artichoke Stuffed Peppers (basically, my version uses goat cheese instead of parmesan, and no parsley, because I have none).

Make these! So simple, and absolutely delicious.

I also had an apple, and more chocolate for lunch.

I worked all afternoon, slammed down a Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar (which I’ve had so much trouble finding recently! Both in Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, they’re almost never in stock), before going to see the movie.

And as it’s now 10:00 and I haven’t eaten dinner, I’m going to quickly eat the rest of my Pumpkin Bread Pudding with some carrots and TJ’s Chipotle Pepper Hummus.

Probably followed by a (small…ish) scoop of PB&Co’s Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter (this I always have in my pantry – it’s all the other flavors I don’t have).

Now I must go to bed. Possible very long day tomorrow – I’ll be sure to recap :)

November 17, 2009 at 11:52 pm 1 comment

Cooking “Class”

Hollander’s is a local store in Ann Arbor that specializes in “decorative papers, bookbinding supplies, and workshops”. They have a printing shop in the basement, and a papery on the first floor – it’s all quite impressive. But the part of Hollander’s that I’m most interested in is on the second floor – that’s where the kitchen and cooking supplies are! And for the first year, Hollander’s is offering cooking classes. At only $13 a class, I couldn’t resist! I signed up for the first one, entitled “Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes”. I’m actually not such a huge fan of tomatoes (raw, at least – I really like all that tomatoes can do, though), so I hoped that the class would help me to appreciate them a little more.

It wasn’t quite what I expected. When I think “class”, I think “hands-on”. I think in this situation, the word “demonstration” would be more appropriate. Other than that, it was fun to be in the room for what was essentially a Food Network show – it’s much more interesting when you can smell (and taste!) everything.

And we did get to taste. My favorite was the first thing we were served – Savory Tomato Shortcakes.

I feel weird about sharing the recipe – if I ever make it myself (and I think I will!) I might be more inclined, but do know that the cheese-like substance on top is actually heavy whipping cream whipped and seasoned with herbs – it was so surprisingly light, and went fantastically with the tomatoes. The tomatoes were simply dressed – only garlic, shallots, olive oil, and S+P, but even so, they were fantastic (and that’s coming from this tomato skeptic).

It’s funny – I guess there’s just so much cooking knowledge that I consider to be common knowledge, but the instructor explained, for instance, that “cloves” are the smaller lobes of a garlic “bulb”, and that shallots are smaller, less intense onions. But I did learn some new things myself, such as that roma tomatoes are more meaty (and therefore less watery) than most types of tomato. That should actually be helpful knowledge for me – I hate watery tomatoes. I also learned that Kosher salt is better than table salt to use because it dissolves more quickly, which makes it easier to salt to taste. I use Kosher salt when I cook, but I didn’t know that was the reason why!

The next dish was a Goat Cheese and Tomato Tart.

Anything made with puff pastry is delicious in my book, and this did not disappoint. I liked that honey was added to the goat cheese mixture, with the intent of dulling some of the sharpness of the goat cheese. I’m actually not a huge fan of goat cheese either (I know, what kind of a foodie am I?), and I liked this tip.

The final dish was good, but nothing special.

Called Drunkard’s Macaroni (or Maccheroni all’Ubriaca), it was made with cognac as the “secret drunkard’s” ingredient. I feel like I could come up with something much more interesting than this was, but still, it would be a good recipe to make for my brother :)

I wish I had made anything as interesting as was made in the class today; alas, I just had a lot of repeats, so I’ll spare you. I did, however, make it to the Farmers’ Market, where I picked up a few goodies:

And I saw something amazing there, too – apple cider! I love apple cider; it’s definitely one of my favorite parts of Fall. I didn’t get any today (I’m trying to wait until October – we’ll see if I last that long!), but you will definitely see some in the future!

September 16, 2009 at 11:30 pm 3 comments

Coincidence? Yeah, probably…

Two things about me: I love reading, and books of all kinds. And I love cooking and food (hopefully obviously). So imagine how excited I was when I learned that the theme of this year’s Kerrytown BookFest in Ann Arbor is Culinary Michigan. What could be more perfect, right?

A little more information: Kerrytown (ie Ann Arbor’s “historic market district”) is a small district of Ann Arbor that is home to the Farmer’s Market, Kerrytown Market, the local Co-op, and Zingerman’s Delicatessen (which hopefully I’ll review more extensively tomorrow). Needless to say, Kerrytown is so far my absolute favorite part of Ann Arbor. For the seventh year in a row, a festival is put on in the Farmers Market celebrating local literature and “book arts”, including binding, engraving, calligraphy, etc…This year, in honor of the theme, there’s even going to be an “edible book” competition!

In perusing the website of the Ann Arbor District Library (a library card is of utmost importance to me), I noticed that there would be a reception held at the library this evening to officially open the festival and an exhibit put on by the library, featuring local cookbooks.

The speaker was Raquel Agranoff, who has published three cookbooks, including one featuring the food of the Farmers Market. She spoke about her culinary history, as well as about Roy Andries de Groot, author of Auberge of the Flowering Hearth. A cookbook about two women living Savoy, France who relied only on seasonal, local ingredients (way before that was popular!) to cook, I’m extremely interested in finding it now! De Groot was also a wine and food critic, which is perhaps odd as he went blind after the Blitz in London. Agranoff spoke about how he would have chefs arrange food according to the face of the clock, so he would know where everything was placed, and he would have his dining guests describe the scenery of the restaurant and the appearance of the food to him.

The reception was so nice – it was the perfect opening to what I hope is an exciting event. There was quite the spread of food, too, but I only snagged a small dessert – chocolate mousse in a chocolate shell.

Otherwise, my eats today were all over the place. Breakfast and lunch were pretty boring – a green monster and kale salad respectively.

After lunch though, I made what are possibly my favorite homemade “healthy” cookies in the entire world, Dreena’s Super-Charge Me Cookies. I think I’ve made these probably 5 times this summer – every time I finish a batch, I make more! I made a few substitutions to the recipe:

  • 1 cup quick oats (I used regular oats – I don’t think there is any difference…)
  • 2/3 cup spelt flour (I used 1/3 white and 1/3 wheat)
  • 1/4 rounded teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (I used a rounded 1/4 ts)
  • 1/8 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4-1/3 cup raisins or chopped dried fruit (I used a rounded 1/4 c dried cranberries)
  • 3-4 tablespoons carob or chocolate chips (I used 2 squares dark Ghirardelli baking chocolate, chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (I used 1/4 c maple syrup, 1/4 c agave)
  • 3 tablespoons almond butter (I used crunchy peanut butter)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil

I’ll copy her directions exactly, as I didn’t change much there – “Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). In a bowl, combine oats, flour, salt, cinnamon, coconut, raisins, and carob or chocolate chips, sift in baking powder, and stir until well combined. In a separate bowl, combine flax meal, syrup, almond butter, and vanilla and stir until well combined. Stir in oil. Add wet mixture to dry, and stir until just well combined (do not overmix). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon batter onto baking sheet evenly space apart, and lightly flatten. Bake for 13 minutes (no longer, or they will dry out). Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 1 minute (no longer), then transfer to a cooling rack.”

Do you like my improvisational kitchen table? It’s the dresser-turned-cupboard, now turned table :) Rally Al, the Red Wings mascot, was helping me cook…

I did not use parchment paper (because I don’t have any), and, because it was my first time using my oven for baking, the cookies burned a bit :( Oh well, they’re still delicious (I know, because I’ve had two).

I also do not have what I like to call a “cookie-drying-rack” (or a cooling rack, to those of you who are not as creative…), so I improvised…

Yes, that would be my strainer supported by three cans. Who says I’m not creative?

For dinner, I made the simplest, most delicious meal ever. I started by making Near East Couscous with Toasted Pine Nuts. I’ve made this before, and quite honestly, it’s awesome.

All you do it boil some water, the flavor pack, and olive oil (I might have used two tablespoons instead of two teaspoons…more healthy fats for me!), add the couscous and then let it sit. Then you “fluff with a fork”, which I think is the greatest recipe direction ever.

I was planning on making Kath’s Lemon Dijon Green Beans with my Farmers Market beans I got oh so long ago, but while the beans were sautéing in the pan, I realized I didn’t have a lemon! Instead, I threw in some tahini, garlic powder, dill and toasted almonds. Served alongside (and mixed in with) the couscous, this was an amazing dinner – I might have gone back for seconds!

I have leftover green beans and more couscous – I might have to make this again :)

September 9, 2009 at 9:11 pm 3 comments

Finding my feet.

Tonight was what I’ve been looking forward to most in Ann Arbor – a group run sponsored by the local running store! Tonight was “ladies night” as well, so the run was free for ladies, and guys had to pay a dollar (no guys showed up tonight…). Being completely new to the area, I was a little nervous about running around (which is why I was so excited for the group run in the first place), but we were actually given little sheets of paper with the route on it. I actually paired off with someone as well, and she acted as my “guide” as well as my motivation – we kept each other at around a 9 minute/mile pace during a 5.5 mile run. It was such a nice night for running, too – I guess I have to take advantage of the nice weather while I can (ie, before it becomes freezing with 10 feet of snow on the ground!).

So, hopefully this means that I can get myself back into the running groove, which will help me get back into an eating groove as well. I actually ate breakfast this morning (shocker!), and although it was nothing special, it was just nice to get up and eat in a regular fashion (even if it wasn’t after my run).

Yup, same old same old, even to the point of having prepared it at home in Philly – it was meant to be eaten on the road, and I only ate a tiny bit, so I’m working my way through it now.

My day today was filled with tons and tons of shopping of the Ikea and Target variety. I forget how much I love Ikea – there’s so much fun stuff there, for so cheap! I got a ton of kitchen supplies, as well as a stand for the TV. Our living room is now set up…Now I just have to get my bedroom in order!

I was stupid and didn’t think to eat anything before leaving for our shopping extravaganza (well, that’s sort of a lie – I snacked on a Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar on the ride there), and so all through Ikea, the only thing I could think of is the cinnamon buns there.

I had absolutely no problem demolishing one.

After we returned I worked on applying to jobs – I don’t understand how anyone ever *gets* a job! I really hope I hear from at least one of these places, even if it’s just for an interview – not hearing back at all is always so depressing. I also snacked on some of the bread I got at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market, complete with honey and blueberry jam from Lancaster, PA!

I then had my running excursion (I ate my banana/PB/potassium pill beforehand), and when I got back, I was so tempted to just eat something crappy, akin to all the stuff above, but I realized that the only way to “get back on track” was just to suck it up, and I’m really happy I did – dinner was delicious (and not all that hard to prepare).

Whoops – I didn’t realize the sandwich was so hard to see! Note to self: work on food photography skills!

After seeing so much okra all around the blog world, I was ecstatic when I saw it at the farmers market! I was a little hesitant to eat it plain (the only okra I’ve ever had was the fried variety…), so I toasted it on the stove with a little olive oil and dill. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it (the gummy inside texture took a little getting used to), but dipped in ketchup, it was actually pretty good.

My sandwich consisted of Food for Life Ezekiel Bread (I don’t know what it is, but this bread has really not been doing it for me recently. After the Low Sodium disaster, I decided to get the 7 Sprouted Grains, but it’s almost as unexciting as the previous!) spread with Laughing Cow Light Swiss, topped with spinach, and completed with a Trader Joe’s Chili Lime Chicken patty, which I cooked on the stove. I love these patties – they’re so so flavorful, and so easy to prepare. So yeah, I guess I still used "”crutches” for dinner tonight, but I felt so much better about this one than many of the other meals I’ve been eating recently.

And tonight? Getting our living room organized! It actually looks like a real place now – tomorrow I’ll post before and after pictures. I’m really happy with it :)

September 3, 2009 at 11:03 pm Leave a comment


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