Monday, September 27, 2010

Ann Arbor

We spent this past weekend in Ann Arbor MI with approximately 70 others who had either gone to the U of M or had married one of the guys that had attended. It was a reunion for some of the fraternity "brothers" who had graduated in the classes of 1950's.
Several of our meals were eaten at local restaurants as the group only has a set dinner, Saturday night and a group "brunch" Sunday morning.

Some of our closest, long time friends, joined Marilyn and me Friday night at "Zingerman's Road House" 2501 Jackson Rd, Ann Arbor MI (743-663-3663), the were 10 in all. The "Roadhouse" really has the appearance of what the name implies. It is right off Jackson Road and is large, several rooms, with a full bar, booths and tables configured to seat 2 to 20. The menu may have been one of the most diverse I have seen lately and all were struck by the variety of items. There were 9 fresh fish offerings alone. Various items ranged from Burgers and Bar-B-Q to Steak and fresh iced oysters.
After a good sized Bombay I followed with a plate of Fried Green Tomatoes( not as good as "Otto's", my standard), fried with a corn meal crust and doused with ranch dressing and hot sauce. I shared the plate, 7 slices. with half the table. For my main course I chose Sardines grilled over hardwood. I had tried to find then in Portugal, several years ago, but they were not "in season", the server, who was excellent, warned me that they came with "bone in" and heads on, which they did. I was not dissuaded. I combined the fish with sauteed fresh spinach and mill ground grits. I think I'll stick with Sardines from a can as they are a lot easier and not much different in taste. Marilyn had a delicious Lamb Burgoo with onion, carrot. celery, corn and wonderful halved small new potatoes all cooked together. I had several good sized tastes and the lamb was tender and flavorful while the potatoes, which had soaked up a good amount of juice and flavor still staying firm, OUTSTANDING. Just to prove that I am a "bottomless pit" I ordered the Michigan Cherry pie ala mode, again shared, a disappointment in size, flavor and cost.
Other had items ranging from oysters to fried chicken and all seemed pleased.

The next day for lunch 5 of us went to "Zingerman's Deli" the original base of the Zingerman food empire, in Ann Arbor. The deli is located downtown adjacent to the Farmers Market and is an impressive operation that has been in business for over 30 years. Many young people have worked their way thru "Michigan" working at Zingerman's. For lunch I had a Sable, scallion cream cheese and fresh tomato sandwich on pumpernickel. My "side" was a very rich Swiss cheese potato salad with fresh bacon bits and a creamy Dijon mustard mayonnaise dressing. Marilyn went for Matzo ball soup and a corned beef sandwich on light rye, real deli food.
Believe it or not I did not gain weight, which I attribute mostly to a faulty scale, or metabolism.

Before we took this weekend trip we had had dinner during the week at "Suzie Wong's" 1544 Madison Road, Cincinnati, OH 45206 (513)751-3333, our second visit. At that point they did not have a liquor licence but I believe it arrived that very evening. The table split a "Laub Gai", ground beef and lamb in a slightly spiced sauce and served with lettuce leaves into which it is rolled, an Asian wrap. I had the Bi Bim Bap a Korean stone bowl with rice covered by marinated grilled beef, sauteed spinach, kimche and bean sprouts, all topped with a fried egg and infused with a lightly seasoned sauce. Marilyn had "Chicken Chow Mein" while the others chose shrimp "Pad Thai" and "Mandarin Orange Beef". I find "Suzie Wong's" very good and very reasonable, a good addition to the East Walnut Hills-Hyde Park Asian scene.

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