Archive for the tag “breakfast”

Lunching and Brunching in Milwaukee

This past weekend was a bit decadent for me. No real “working”, and lots of quality time with neighborhood friends.

On Saturday, my neighbor Andrew and I decided to head to The Historic Third Ward for a late lunch (mostly due to the fact that I indulged in a late morning nap!). Andrew suggested trying Swig after reading about it on Urbanspoon. I had heard of Swig and had passed by the place, but hadn’t stopped in yet, so I was game!

Natural light by way of a garage doorfront.  Mixed media decor. A nice, comfortable vibe (IMO).

Natural light by way of a garage doorfront. Mixed media decor. A nice, comfortable vibe (IMO).

Swig has a rustic modern casual vibe and because we were lunching at 2:30PM on a Saturday, the place was fairly empty. Andrew and I were seated at a table near the fireplace (the thing I miss most about my last apartment!) and greeted warmly by Kate, our server for the afternoon. I immediately liked Kate because she had spunk! As Andrew contemplated having a drink, Kate quickly called him out about enjoying the weekend – and soon after he was enjoying a Ginger Old Fashioned. Kate: 1, Andrew: won!

Ginger Old Fashioned

Ginger Old Fashioned

I was impressed, and overwhelmed with the menu.  I knew that I wanted a house salad – I needed my veggies!  Beyond that, I could have chosen almost anything!  The two items that bubbled to the top of the list for me were the Brie Grilled Cheese (I LOVE Brie, and I haven’t had it in quite some time) and the Crab Cake appetizer.  If I’m *really* honest with y’all, the baked Brie appetizer was appealing as well!

Long story short, I asked Kate to surprise me by choosing between the two and by choosing a flight of wine for me to enjoy along with the chosen meal.  She was on board from the get-go.

*side note: At Swig, you may choose your own flight of wine (three 2oz glasses – of your choosing) and then a 5 oz glass – all for $15. 

There was no way that I was going to be able to choose a wine flight with so many options from which to choose!

Borgo Pinot Grigio, Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc, and Crème de Lys Chardonnay.

Borgo Pinot Grigio, Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc, and Crème de Lys Chardonnay.

An incredibly tasty house salad (and only $4.50).

An incredibly tasty house salad (and only $4.50).

The house salad was loaded up with veggies and topped with parmesan cheese.  And, the dressing was AMAZING!

An amazing sweet and spicy apricot vinaigrette dressing!

An delicious sweet and spicy apricot vinaigrette dressing!

Kate gave me an idea of how to make this apricot vinaigrette, and after lunch Andrew and I promptly walked to Oro di Oliva in the Public Market to buy the appropriate vinegar!

Andrew decided to go “Ahi all the way”, with the seared tuna, arugula, and avocado salad with chimichurri sauce.

Seared Tuna salad with lots of avocado!

Seared Tuna salad with lots of avocado!

I was envious of all of the avocado that accompanied the beautiful seared tuna!  We both thoroughly enjoyed our salads, and probably could have stopped there, as they were generous portions.  But, we didn’t!

Kate brought me the crab cakes small plate.  These meaty crab cakes were covered in panko crumbs, sat on avocado puree, and were covered with roasted corn relish (another fave!).

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Like I mentioned, these were meaty (real) crab cakes.  The flavors were mild, but really tasty, and the wine paired beautifully with the dish.  For my 5 oz pour, I decided on the Crème de Lys Chardonnay.

Andrew stuck with the ginger Old Fashioned and had the Ahi tuna sandwich which had spring mix, red onion, wasabi aioli, and tomato cucumber salsa on it.  It was a big, and beautiful sandwich! Andrew said he liked that it had the teryaki flavor to it, making it a different experience from the salad he had just enjoyed.  The tomato-basil soup looked pretty thick and tasty as well!

IMG_1477[1]We ended up enjoying a few adult beverages and just hanging out on a Saturday afternoon.  After hitting up the Public Market, we stopped in at Hudson’s Business Lounge – simply because Andrew had never been in there.  It’s a cool shared space office building that my work team had used last year for an off-site working session.  There is a full bar attached, so we spent a few minutes there before calling it a night.  Nothing like a five-hour lunch!  🙂

Then, in a blink of an eye, it was Sunday!

I had previously made plans to have brunch with my friend Katie on Sunday morning.  The original plan was to head to the Hotel Metro because I love their breakfast and Katie had yet to experience it.  However, after talking with a colleague about Black Sheep, we decided to head down to Walker’s Point and hit it up.

We arrived just as the doors opened and found a small high-top table for two – which was a good thing since the place filled up pretty quickly!

After day-drinking with Andrew the afternoon before, I wasn’t sure I wanted to have a drink with brunch, but the list was intriguing.  After tasting the Wolf’s Spiked Tea, and having our server Corrine hint that there may be maple in it, I decided to head in a different direction and ordered the 2nd Street Cup (Canton, cranberry, lemonade and champagne), and after striking out twice with her orders (due to missing ingredients), Katie ended up choosing the Perfectly Peared (Belle de Brillet Cognac, pear nectar, and champagne).  Both were refreshing and light – and didn’t taste too heavy on the alcohol!  And, through the tea-tasting, Corrine learned of my disdain for maple (and she shares it due to a bad experience in the past!  I’M NOT THE ONLY ONE!!)

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The 2nd Street Cup in the foreground and the Perfectly Peared in the background.

As I perused the brunch menu, I couldn’t find any item that was off-limits, and so many things looked yummy.  Corinne was on board for choosing just as Kate had been the day before.  And, she made a great choice for me!  Lobster Benedict, which consisted of poached eggs, lobster meat, arugula, hardwood smoked bacon, tomato confit and hollendaise sauce all atop brioche toast.  Did I mention it was a decadent weekend?  😉

Lobster Benedict

Lobster Benedict

Katie chose what I learned is a Wisconsin staple:  Hot Ham & Rolls – which is a Parker House roll with shaved smoked Berkshire ham, maple butter (ick!) and two eggs. Though Katie mentioned this was a simple dish, she also said it had really good flavor.  We also agreed that Black Sheep’s fries were excellent – crispy and flavorful.

Hot ham & rolls.

Hot ham & rolls.

Both Swig and Black Sheep are local spots that I plan to revisit, especially since we didn’t try any of the wines on tap at Black Sheep!

Do you have a favorite daytime destination?  Please feel free to share in the comments!

Cheers!

Ker

 

Breakfast for dinner at lunchtime at Siebelt’s, Bocholt, Germany

On Sunday afternoon, three colleagues and I left Milwaukee and flew out to Düsseldorf, Germany to attend manufacturing trials with a European customer.  We arrived into Germany on Monday morning at ~7:30AM (local) and drove almost 90 km directly north to the facility in which we’d be working all day in the charming city of Bocholt.

Map

Side note: I was quite excited to drive a rented Volkswagen with manual transmission, and on the Autobahn!  My first several cars were manual transmission, but recently, I’ve been “stuck” with SUVs with automatic transmission (vehicles which I really love(d), but I do miss the manual transmission). It was fun to be engaged with the vehicle and to drive along the highway at rather fast speeds (at times)!

We were at the facility until approximately 4PM and then headed over to our hotel, the Hotel Residenz Bocholt, for a quick nap and then dinner.  All four of us Americans were in dire need of a bit of rest prior to having dinner with our European colleagues, vendor representatives and our customer contacts.  We were also in need of showers after having been on the road/working for 24 hours or so.  🙂

Feeling refreshed, we met as a group of 14 on the garden patio for pre-dinner drinks.  I was glad that I chose to start with water (although I was teased a bit for not having had a beer).  Our patio time lasted well beyond the time at which we were supposed to have dinner at Siebelt’s inside.  The four hungry Americans were the first folks to leave the patio and head to the dinner table (subtle hint to our European friends).

The American contingent...

The American contingent…

The hotel is a charming space, filled with fresh flowers and pleasant staff members.  Part of the charm was demonstrated as the gentleman who checked us into the hotel also served as our bartender as well as our maître d’ / head server and photographer.

After we sat down, we were presented with a limited / fixed menu:

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After reviewing the options, I decided that all of the dishes looked quite nice.  I advised Ralph, aforementioned “Mr. Everything”, that I was quite hungry, but that I would like him to choose his favorite dish for me. After double-checking that I wanted him to choose and surprise me, Ralph broke into a big smile and said he would be happy to do so.

We were first served a “small taste” plate which consisted of melon and prosciutto.

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And, of course, we ordered German (and French) wine.  Nicolas, whom I have mentioned once or twice before, always takes the lead when it comes to ordering wine.  He’s never done us wrong!

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The first dish Ralph had ordered for me was the Tomaten Consommée mit Basiliken-Ricotta-Nocken (tomato broth with basil and ricotta gnocchi).  I’ve never had a broth-based tomato soup, so I wasn’t sure I’d like it, but it had excellent flavor, and the few gnocchi added to the broth gave it just enough substance for an appetizer.

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For my entrée, Ralph chose the Westfälisches Krüstchen mit Schmorzwiebeln und Bratkartoffein (pork cutlet with braised onion and fried potatoes).  He made sure to mention to me that he chose this dish because it is a very traditional regional dish and he wanted me to experience that (love that!).

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There is pork under those eggs!

The pork itself didn’t have much flavor – a traditional pan-fried crust, but with fried egg, braised onions, and a few dashes of black pepper, I found pork to be really nice.  And, the potatoes…those potatoes were excellent!  Very full of flavor and nice and crispy.  I was laughing with my colleague about the fact that we were essentially having breakfast for dinner, during lunchtime (in the US).

It was a lot of food, so I declined to order dessert when asked.  I had, however, forgotten that I had turned my meal decisions over to Ralph!  When everyone else at the table was served their desserts, I was served the Siebelt’s Dessertvariation (a medley of desserts).

Strawberry rhubarb tart, rum pudding, raspberry sorbet, strawberry cup, fresh fruit, and Tiramisu (clockwise from top)

Strawberry rhubarb tart, rum pudding, raspberry sorbet, strawberry cup, fresh fruit, and Tiramisu (clockwise from top)

Wow!  Every bite was so good.  I simply couldn’t take more than a bite or two of each.  My belly was full!

The entire evening was enjoyable.  We were a multicultural group, consisting of folks from Germany, the Netherlands, France, and the US, and we had a great time interacting (“talking shop”, talking World Cup, talking food and wine, and talking about this blog!).

I was really pleased with how open Ralph was to taking control of my dining experience, and I think he chose very nicely.  I felt as though I had experienced the food of the region and had nice variety of flavors and textures.

If you’ve dined in this region of Germany, or in Germany in general, I’d love to hear about your experiences!

Stay tuned for a post about my next adventure in France…

Cheers!

Ker

#MKEFoodCrawl in Walker’s Point, Milwaukee, WI

This past weekend, friends and I (mostly) enjoyed a walking food tour of Walker’s Point (sometimes AKA “The Fifth Ward”), an up and coming neighborhood in Milwaukee.

photo c/o of MKEFoodies

photo courtesy of MKEFoodies

I learned about the food crawl through social media – shocking, I know!

After consulting with a friend who was supposed to still be in town visiting, I bought both a “gold” (12 small plates) and “silver” (7 small plates) ticket. The tickets weren’t necessarily inexpensive at $75 and $50, respectively, but I was excited to experience dishes from a variety of restaurants I hadn’t tried before – and one that I had. Here’s the map/menu…

menu

My friend’s plans changed, so as Stairwell Guy says, I turned to “Plan B”.  He’s very good company, and not really a “Plan B”, but I did originally buy the ticket for a visitor, so I guess he is partially correct there.  I thank him for being an enthusiastic and fun fill-in.  Several weeks earlier, I had also invited my friend Phi and her husband to join us, which they happily did!

We met at the Blue Jacket on National Avenue, which served both as the kick-off point as well as host to Bloody Marys. I was especially happy to be there to see Phi experience her first Bloody Mary – EVER!  First sip…good stuff, then…the tomato kicked in a little too far for dear Phi.  In my opinion, the Bloodys were a bit heavy on the seasoning, but were tasty enough (disclaimer: I don’t typically drink liquor drinks, so I am NOT an authority).

Bloody Mary at The Blue Jacket.

Bloody Mary at The Blue Jacket.

From The Blue Jacket, we headed on to Chez Jacques for crepes.  From the almost hour-long wait we had, I have to assume that we were not alone with the plan to start with breakfast. This was both a frustrating, and surprising start to the #MKEFoodCrawl.

Note: Throughout the day I spoke with folks on the food crawl, and to a T, every person expected a casual walk through Walker’s Point with tents or tables stocked with small plates for us to try, converse, and then move on.  Instead, we were seated at each restaurant and served the small plates – sometimes in a timely manner, and often not.

Chez Jacques staff addressed every table in the room before they even greeted our four-top, and we were the second group in the room.  It was so frustrating that we were just getting ready to leave when someone asked us if we had been attended to.  So, we placed orders and waited, and waited, and waited. When we finally were served our crepes (four choices, folks…shouldn’t the kitchen be prepared for that?), three of the four were met with positive reviews.  The chicken curry, the spinach Roquefort, and the vanilla berries crepes hit the spot.  The banana Nutella (read: Hershey’s syrup) was, sadly, a bust.

Here is my spinach Roquefort crepe:

Crepe

The dense filling of spinach and cheese along with the pine nuts were a delicious combination.  It’s just too bad the restaurant seemed more than ill-prepared to deal with the #MKEFoodCrawl crowd.

But, we were on to our next stop (finally!) by noon.  We tried to visit Circa 1880, but the line was out the door and starting to wrap around the corner!  So, we went on to Braise.

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I have written about Braise before (my first meeting with Phi!), and although Stairwell Guy was a newbie, we were all looking forward to checking out the yellow curry dal with ramp yogurt and the Grilled chorizo sope with ramp chimichurri & garlic chive crema.

We were in and out of Braise in 20 minutes, and we had really exceptional dishes in that time. There were two servings of the curry, and two of the chorizo…both dishes were met with rave reviews.  Phi and I also viewed the rooftop garden and dining area in the time we waited for our meals.  Very efficient!

Then, onto Wayward Kitchen for Pork Belly Tostada with Watermelon Rind Salsa, Queso Fresco, and Refried Black Eyed Peas w/ Jalapeno. I liked the casual atmosphere of this “off the beaten path” place.

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Again, by all accounts, service was not expedient, but the experience was a good one.

I struggled with my tostado because of its brittle nature – or because of user error!  Nobody else seemed to struggle like I did. So, I’ll take the blame on that one!

Pork Belly Tostada

Pork Belly Tostada

The Wayward Kitchen is also where I met up with a friend of the friend who left town early.  We had met up with Jon Thursday evening, so it was nice to see him and meet his friends out in a different part of town!  This is the friendly Midwest after all!

We then headed up to Clock Shadow Creamery for pretzels and cheese.  Well, cheese.

@SweetPhi !!

@SweetPhi !!

The first thing we heard when we walked in the door is that Clock Shadow had just run out of pretzels.  Since I’m not a fan of cheese curds (aka: squeakies), I opted to try the Basket Ricotta with lemon jam from The National Café and Take-away – another local fave! The Ricotta was quite tasty and the jam was a perfectly sour complement, but it was simply too much for any of us to finish. We were a bit bummed about not trying the pretzels, because they looked really good!

From Clock Shadow, we headed toward Ginger, with a quick stop to check out a restaurant that will be opening very soon, Morel.  It was cool to see the space in its final stages of construction and to meet the owner, sous chef and general manager.  A very friendly bunch, and very excited to be opening a new space in Walker’s Point!

Once we got to Ginger, we finally sat outside and enjoyed the beautiful weather of the day. Ginger has a lovely back patio. Again, the service was a bit slow, and our server forget to bring three of the plates we ordered. She apologized, quickly brought the remainder and comped the glass of wine I enjoyed with my Vietnamese Rice Noodles (chilled napa cabbage, carrot, peanuts and cilantro, soy chili dressing) and Hoison Braised Pork Shoulder on wonton chi (served with ginger carrot jicama slaw).

Vietnamese Rice Noodles

Vietnamese Rice Noodles

Hoison Pork

Hoison Pork

Everyone else tried the Passion Fruit Ceviche: scallops and shrimp in a passion fruit citrus base with plantain chips and sweet potato and enjoyed the dishes as well.

By this time, it was 2:45PM and the food crawl was to end at 3PM. We had only managed to visit half of the restaurants on the tour, and we had several tickets left. Phi and Nick needed to head home, so Stairwell Guy and I planned a quick stop at Zak’s Café for the stuffed French Toast he had been craving.

Stuffed French Toast

Stuffed French Toast

He was not disappointed, although he was served the wrong dish – are you seeing a trend here with respect to the service that day?

We hustled down the street with mere moments to spare in an attempt to finish with dessert. Jeff and I decided to divide and conquer, with him standing in the long line at Purple Door for ice cream (his favorite!) and me waiting in an equally long line at Indulgence Chocolatier (featured here).

Lines

It was past 3PM at this point, but the local businesses were not going to turn away participants. We were able to hit the two spots at which we had planned all day to finish! Score!

Five mini-scoops of ice cream and 3 truffles to take home (for each of us!)

Five mini scoops of ice cream and 3 truffles to take home (for each of us!)

I have to give Stairwell Guy props – he knew my only criteria was “no maple!”, and he chose really well.  He ordered me mini scoops of: Lime sorbet, chocolate cinnamon, Bailey’s Irish Cream, chocolate banana and butter pecan.  A delicious sampling!

For him, I ordered orange cardamom, Thai peanut butter and milk chocolate truffles.  He ate them on the way home, and told me just how much he enjoyed them.

Indulgence Truffles

Indulgence Truffles

So, while the #MKEFoodCrawl was not exactly what we thought it would be, and the service in many venues did not seem prepared for our crowd, we really did enjoy the food, uncovering new restaurants and, of course, a lovely day with friends!

One final note: Next year, I will not order the “gold” ticket package for 12 tickets, because the schedule just does not allow for sampling at enough venues to make it worth the $75.  The “silver” package at $50 for seven small plates is absolutely sufficient.

I’d love to hear comments from others on the #MKEFoodCrawl tour of Walker’s Point, as well as those of you who live in other cities and have participated in local food crawls.  Please leave a comment below!

Cheers!

Ker

A Farewell “Toast” with Great Friends!

Some of you (friends and family) may know that I am planning to relocate from the greater Detroit area to the greater Milwaukee area soon. I’ve accepted a fantastic new position, and I’m really excited about this new opportunity. At the same time, I’m bummed to be leaving some really great friends behind in MI. I know that we’ll end up meeting up somewhere – MI, Chicago, Milwaukee, or some other “road trip” location TBD. But, that still means I won’t get to see these friends as frequently as I’d like. 😦

That said, two of my closest friends here in Michigan (whom I’ve written about before – here, here, here, and here, and who wrote a guest post for me) invited me to brunch this morning. We were to meet at Toast in Ferndale at 11AM this morning. I arrived a bit early and gave my name to the hostess – twice, as she neglected to write it down the first time (and it turns out, the second time too).

After Bryan and Jessi arrived, we caught up a bit outside of the restaurant. It was a rainy morning, but it was still warm enough to stand outside. We waited for 30 minutes before Bryan’s name, not mine, was called. The hostess simply dismissed the fact that my name had never been added to the list. I had been there for ~45 minutes at that point, and was not impressed by the “service” thus far, but was famished and ready to eat! Whatever. Moving on…

Once inside, we were promptly greeted and had our drinks delivered. Then, we were swiftly ignored for several minutes. Again, the service…not impressive.

Once the server came back to take our order, we couldn’t rattle off our choices quickly enough! I started by proclaiming that I couldn’t decide between the breakfast burrito , a standard on the menu, and a special item: Thai style Eggs Benny. The combination of flavors just sounded divine to me, but I also love a good breakfast burrito!

Breakfast menu Toast.

Breakfast menu Toast. It’s an “eye chart”, but you get the gist! The breakfast burrito consists of

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The server quickly responded that the special is fantastic, so the special was what I would have. Jessi ordered the standard Eggs Benny, and Bryan ordered a custom omelet – both with grits. The server ended up choosing home fries for me, though I would have welcomed the opportunity to have grits again!

We continued to catch up while waiting for our meals. Considering how crowded the restaurant was, they didn’t take too long to be delivered.

Thai style Eggs Benny at Toast.

Thai style Eggs Benny at Toast.

And, when I bit into my Thai style Eggs Benny, I knew I had made a good choice. The coconut biscuits had a subtle flavor, but were a cool compliment to the (semi) spicy red chili Hollandaise. I love having spinach on my breakfast foods, and it worked really well in this dish. And, the grilled shrimp (3 of them) gave another bit of much-needed morning protein and Omega 3 fatty acids.

I’m not usually a fan of potato chunks at breakfast. I prefer hash browns. However, the potatoes had a nice flavor to them, and I enjoyed several bites.

Home fries at Toast.

Home fries at Toast.

Bryan and Jessi had been to Toast before, and based on their prior experiences, we had we had talked about having brunch here before. I was glad we finally made good on that plan!

I was quite pleased with my breakfast, as was Jessi with hers. But, Bryan was disappointed with his, and from my view, rightfully so. His eggs were not tasty (they looked overcooked to me), and he said the chicken apple sausage lacked any apple flavor.

Sadly, even our attempts to cheer him up didn’t work. He didn’t really share the enthusiasm about mine or Jessi’s meals when we shared a bit with him. The Hollandaise fell short in his opinion (and he is an informed foodie!). He did admit that the red chili flavor was the upside of my dish (I agree!).

It was a bummer that his food wasn’t very good, since he and Jessi had always had fabulous experiences at Toast before. And, Toast’s reputation is quite good! Still, Jessi and I continued to dig into our meals!

My personal biggest disappointment with our brunch experience was with the lackluster service. Despite that, having leisurely brunch together at a new place (for me!) was a perfect way to spend a Sunday morning.

I’m going to miss having the opportunity to catch up with these two on a regular basis. Distance (aka: absence) will make the heart grow fonder – and will increase our already over-the-top texting conversations! Thanks for a lovely morning of catching up over brunch.

Love you two!

Ker, aka: Cupcake 🙂

Three different experiences… breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Greater Detroit area.

After having dinner with some fantastic colleagues last week, I realized that there were two other local posts I hadn’t yet written.  One was about breakfast in Northville, and the other was about lunch in Farmington Hills.  So, I decided to write a post documenting all three meals at different restaurants nearby.

Part 1:

My breakfast post takes me back to my favorite time of year – college football season!  Last October, I was invited to attend the UofM game versus Illinois.

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This was my fourth or fifth time at The Big House, but it was my first time doing a proper tailgate (and in freezing cold weather!).  The morning started with a generous host simply refusing to take “no thank you” as my answer to his offer of a morning beverage.  So…I started with this:

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I was careful not to drink too much that day, even starting with a beer at about 11AM.  Once we left his house, our group headed into downtown Northville for breakfast at a local fave – Rebecca’s Family Diner.

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 photo (24)Rebecca’s is a casual, noisy, energetic, and simply cool place.  By all accounts, it’s a great diner, so I decided to just allow our server to choose my meal.  She came back with a hearty breakfast burrito – which totally hit the spot!

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No need for anything else (there were veggies, potatoes, meat and cheese in the sandwich).  I was full just from the sandwich!

We spent a few hours tailgating in the parking lot.  I was able to meet up with an old friend of mine (tall, good-looking dude), instantly starting the rumor mill.  I swear men are worse than women when it comes to gossiping!

And, then…we (and a hundred and ten thousand or so others) watched the Wolverines utterly embarrass Illinois.  All in all, a very fun day!

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Part 2:

Speaking of fun days, last weekend, I had a girls’ day out with two coworkers from Masco Cabinetry.  The plan was to get pedicures (them, not me), head to Plum Market, and then grab lunch before we all went on to finish our weekends at home.

We had a great time exploring the market.  Neither Jess nor I had been before, and Danielle just knew that two people who appreciate food as much as Jess and I do  would enjoy this place.  And, we did!  Beautiful produce, organic meat, excellent wine selection, gluten-free everything, a large selection of Papyrus cards, outstanding service, and fresh flowers (2 dozen roses for $8.99!).

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This is a place to go for supplementary groceries, not your full list, as it’s a bit pricey.

After hitting the market, and catching up over pedicures (and the most insane massage chairs I’ve ever seen!), Danielle took us to one of her favorite Chinese restaurants.  You know that age-old rule…if an ethnic restaurant is full of ethnic patrons, it’s probably very good?  Well, the crowd gave me confidence that Danielle had chosen a great spot by taking us to Hong Hua in Farmington Hills.

You can look at the menu and see that it’s pretty standard for a Chinese restaurant.  I wasn’t craving anything in particular, so I asked our server to choose her favorite dish for me.  Two funny things happened next:  1) Danielle looked at me like I had three heads!, and 2) our server asked me if spicy was okay – to which I replied “Sure!”.  Our server responded with a big grin (basically saying…girl, you’re in TROUBLE!).  Jess looked at me and actually said that…you’re in trouble, Ker.

We started off with Wonton Soup.  Then, I was delivered the Shrimp in Szechuan Style.

photo (27)While it did have a kick to it (lots of red chili peppers), it wasn’t terribly spicy.  In fact, it was quite good!  I didn’t finish the meal – as you can see, it’s huge!  But, that wasn’t because it wasn’t tasty.  The three of us walked out of Hong Hua quite satisfied.  Jess even took home a few things for her husband, Bryan, who was at home watching all of our dogs.

Part 3:

The third part of this post had a less satisfying outcome.  I had spent the last couple hours on Tuesday meeting with various designers from across Masco business units.  We were figuring out how to keep everyone connected after they returned to their respective locations (and their day jobs!).  It was a productive use of our time, and it was some of the most fun I’ve had at work recently.  When the meeting coordinator (my former boss) asked if I’d like to join them for dinner, I quickly agreed.

I arrived a bit later than everyone else since I had to stop at home to walk my dogs in what was becoming a nasty snowstorm.  When I arrived at our table, I didn’t even bother to peruse the menu.  We were at Ristorante Caio, an Italian restaurant in Dearborn, and I felt comfortable handing over a blog card and relying on our server’s recommendation.

Throughout the evening, we had energetic, and really funny, conversations.  However, the moment our plates were delivered, the conversation stopped and everyone dug right in!  What did Sarah choose for me?  A beautiful filet with a (rather large) house salad on the side.

Filet

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photo (31)The filet had great flavor to it. The Portobello mushrooms added a lot to the “best cut of meat” Ristorante Ciao serves (per Sarah and the chef).  The only problem I had with it was that the meat was way overcooked.  This beautiful filet was served well-done, and my stated preference on my card is medium-rare!  I did end up letting the server know, and I also left a good portion of the steak on my plate as further evidence.  I devoured the vegetables – the smashed potatoes were delicious!

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Despite being disappointed by the chef’s execution of my meal yet again, I really did have a lovely time with the group! And, Ristorante Ciao does have a beautiful setting.  It’s also close to home, and I’m sure I’ll give it another try.

And, there my friends, are three different experiences in the greater Detroit area.  What are your favorite breakfast, lunch or dinner spots?

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