Archive for the tag “mac n cheese”

What a (2/3 of a ) Year!

Earlier this week, several folks from the Marketing team at work went out for a holiday luncheon. During that lunch (about which, I will soon post),my former boss asked me if I planned on writing a “Top Ten of the Year” post. Honestly, I hadn’t considered writing a year-end post, but I did like the idea.

This post won’t cover a full calendar year, as this particular blog was launched on April 17, 2012. Nor will it be a “Top Ten”, but I think “Top Five” works!

In the eight months since I launched “She Ordered What?!?”, I’ve seen readership grow in numbers and expand across the globe. Additionally, the blog has become the topic of conversation wherever I go! So, first and foremost…THANK YOU ALL!!

I recognize that the fact that SOW is so focused may limit readership a bit, and the recent decline in my business travel has prevented me from writing as many interesting posts as I’d like to write. Yet, I’m thrilled to report that the blog currently has over 1,700 followers! As I mentioned in my interview with Brad Marley earlier this year, I would have been happy if just one or two of my friends took an interest!

Check out how far-reaching SOW has been! (the gray areas are areas of opportunity!)

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When I was in Singapore, I was shocked to find out that my friend Steve had been reading the blog. Not only had he been reading it, but he was incredibly complimentary toward me, and about me, as he explained to his friends why I was always taking pictures at meals. Thank you for your support, Steve.

So, beyond launching the blog, being interviewed for Brad’s blog, and taking a fabulous vacation to Singapore in 2012, I guess should share my favorite memories from the past eight months!

My personal favorites:

5) Chilli crab in Singapore – It was messy, at times frustrating, but thoroughly enjoyable! I really appreciate that Steve made sure we had Chilli crab while I was in Singapore. I also cannot say enough great things about the BEST asparagus – EVER! I mean…look at the photo in this post and tell me you can’t see just how very delicious it was!

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4) Der Braumeister in Cleveland – This dinner was for my uncle Jim’s 60th birthday, and we had excellent food, and an even better server that evening! Kelsey was an absolute trip, as you’ll see in the video I shot that night. If you’re in Cleveland, I recommend checking out Der Braumeister!

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3) The Koh San Road Mac ‘n Cheese in the Greater Detroit area – I still can’t believe someone came up with the idea for Pad Thai mac ‘n cheese! Yet, they did! And, it’s ah-mazing! Every time I see a Facebook update from The Mac Shack, I crave this dish. At some point, I’m pretty sure that I will be able to convince Dan and Lindsay to deliver me a plate, or to Fed Ex one over to me! I also fully anticipate posting a guest post from Dan in 2013! I didn’t pursue it much this year, but I plan to next year! 😉

The Mac Shack Mac n Cheese Surprise

2) It’s a Tria! Ker, Audra, and Alicia – in Dearborn, MI – I think the circumstances of that particular night just lined up such that I had a truly perfect evening just down the parking lot from where I live. The servers were super, and excited about choosing food and wine for me. They loved reading the post after the fact (and I’m told that The Henry Hotel actually included a link on their site for a while). The next time I came in, they continued to chat with me about the experience that night. It’s wonderful to have a great dining spot so close to home.

My "salmon" dish.

and, the favorite dining experience (thus far!)…

1) Karu’s Indian Banana Leaf – I think it’s appropriate that Singapore provides the book-ends for the top five of 2012. At Karu’s, the company, the food, and the overall experience were all tremendous. Again, I wish I had the presence of mind, and the quick hands to take more pictures throughout the meal. It really was incredible! I’ve had Indian food many times before, but I had never been to a banana leaf restaurant. It’s now a vivid memory, and one that continues to make me grin every time I tell someone about it! Thank you to Steve, Lingam, Bong Tong, and the rest of the gang for treating to me this delightful new experience.

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More than an honorable mention…

I also have to mention the most read post that I didn’t write myself. I’ve had the extreme pleasure of having several guest posts from friends and family, but it’s this one, written by Jerod, out of Dallas, TX that sparked the most interest. You have no idea just how many people asked me about the folks involved in this post! I can’t blame anyone – they are two fantastic people, and it was an awesome story!

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I have a few goals for 2013, and I appreciate any and all input y’all are willing to provide.

1) I’d like to continue to expand readership. Please feel free to spread the word about “She Ordered What?!?”, “Like” the blog on Facebook, follow the pins on Pinterest, or follow tweets on Twitter (either at @kerkilbourne or @sheorderedwhat).

2) I’d like to engage the readers even more. Comments are not only welcome, but encouraged and requested! Or, even a simple “like” of any of the posts that you actually do like!

3) For anyone interested in guest-posting, please just reach out to me. I’d love to have posts from all over. Since I’m not traveling as much these days, I am absolutely open to hearing about restaurants and experiences from your local area or from the places to which you travel! You don’t have to be a “writer”.

Here’s a secret: most people don’t fancy themselves writers, but most write very well! And, I’m always willing to take the red pen to make edits (without changing the story itself) if you’re truly uncomfortable having your unedited work published.

Again, thank you so very much for your support in my blogging endeavor. I’m having a blast writing, and I hope you’re enjoying reading the posts!

Happy holidays all, and all my best in 2013!

Cheers!
Ker

Interested in contributing to “She Ordered What?!?”

Y’all, I’m finally planning travel again soon!  🙂

Let’s not get too excited, as I’m heading to semi-rural CLE and NJ (but also NYC).  Then I’m off to Chicago and Atlanta.  And, let’s not forget CLEMSON!  With a fighting chance that I do indeed make it to Singapore this fall too!  New “experiential posts” soon to come, friends!

In the meantime, I’ve had a few readers tweet me, and leave Facebook and blog comments asking additional questions, so I thought I’d take some time to answer them.

1) What if I get served something I don’t like?

SOW: That’s always part of the risk/reward.  It’s perfectly acceptable, and encouraged, by the primary author of this blog (me!) to set a few limitations which might help your experience be a bit more enjoyable.  (See my restrictions about maple flavors and scallops.  I also advise servers that I don’t drink “spirits” or coffee drinks)  You don’t have to surrender total control!

2) What if I see a few things I think I’ll like, but am not sure.

SOW: Again, you don’t have to rely solely on your server!  I’ve often ordered using the “I can’t decide amongst [insert options here]…” method.

In fact, I had (another!) great experience at Zingerman’s Roadhouse last week when my colleagues and I had a team dinner.  I had read rave reviews about their Mac ‘n Cheese, but I hadn’t tried it yet.  And, y’all, the list is pretty enticing!  So, I had our server, Josh, choose a Mac ‘n Cheese dish for me.  He didn’t skip a beat, and he brought me this delightful dish!

Zingerman’s Pimento Bacon Macaroni

3) If I’m not a writer, can I still contribute to the blog?

SOW: Absolutely!  Guest posts should be written in your tone, using your words to describe your experience.  However, I’m happy to edit whenever someone asks for help!

(Disclaimer: I often add relevant links to guest posts to provide additional information for readers – and I usually don’t ask permission!)

Finally,

4) How do I go about writing a guest post?

SOW: Please just capture as much of your experience as you can through notes and pictures (or video if permitted!), and then describe your experience.  You can email me a Word document and attachments at kerkilbourne@gmail.com.

If you have any other questions, please feel free to reach out to me!

Cheers!

Ker

Answering the question: What were your favorite dining experiences?

I started this blog back in April, and I’ve had many people provide support and feedback along the way.  I wrote a post about that early on, and since then, I’ve received even more encouragement!

Recently, a former coworker of mine, who is a super picky eater, told me that he has taken the baby step of allowing barkeeps far and wide to choose his drinks for him, ala this post. A small step toward surrendering dinner plans to his server!

I’ve also had many people ask me about my favorite “She Ordered What?!?” experiences.  I must admit that I haven’t had too many lackluster experiences using the “let the server choose my meal for me” method.  I have had some rather spectacular outcomes though!  I’ve tried dishes I probably would have overlooked otherwise.  Not necessarily because they were “exotic” or “daring”, but more so that I would just default to other options.

Some of my favorite experiences include:

This one which was actually the meal that catapulted me into this blogosphere.  Seriously, the looks on everyone’s faces when I turned my order over to the server were classic.  And, the interest when my dish arrived…from a highly invested group of individuals.  This blog wasn’t even a thought in my mind at that particular dinner, so I didn’t take pictures, and thus, it wasn’t amongst the first posts.  The restaurant was fantastic enough to send me pictures of my dinner – even though I wasn’t a blip on the food circuit radar!

Another favorite? This one!  I recently revisited Tria at The Henry, and met up with Audra again.  We both shared such great memories of that night!  The staff had such fun choosing my every taste that evening,  and I had a wonderful time experiencing food and wine through their recommendations.

A third favorite? Right now, I’ll say this one: An incredible server really makes the dining experience.  Kelsey was that incredible server! On top of that…the food was amazing! Der Braumeister is a must-stop in Cleveland, OH, IMO.  And, please check out the video of Kelsey at the end…she’s got personality and spunk!

Special mentions go to:  Zingerman’s RoadhouseGood Girls, Crave Lounge, as they all provided fabulous experiences as well.  As did The Mac Shack – not once, but twice!

I’m also in love with all of my guest posts.  This is one that created the most intrigue: did they? or didn’t they? (have a second date) <– yes, they did! But, don’t forget these posts:  Hom, Fondue, and Bistro 70.

I’ve got some travel coming up next month (thank goodness!), as well as another guest post or two to come.  I’m looking forward to sharing more “She (He) Ordered What?!?” adventures.

Cheers!

Ker

“She Ordered What?!?” is the topic of the latest “Five and One” Interview

I’m taking this opportunity to do a little shameless self-promotion here…

A few weeks ago, blogger, PR man, and local Detroiter, Brad Marley, reached out to me to ask if I minded being interviewed about “She Ordered What?!?” for his world-renowned series called “Five and One“.

Did I mind??? Absolutely not! Especially after I reviewed the list of people he had interviewed in the past. He doesn’t just interview the “person next door”; but rather highly successful, motivated, and talented individuals (in his words “radical people”). I was honored to be chosen to be cataloged amongst them!

Brad’s column is structured such that he asks five questions directly relevant to the topic at hand – in my case, about my “She Ordered What?!?” blog concept – and then finishes with one random question of his choosing. My interview is here.

It’s a quick read, and I’d be delighted if you’d take few minutes to support Brad’s column and my blog in the process. And, if you enjoyed the interview, please leave a quick comment to let Brad (and me!) know!

Thanks so much for your support.

Ker

My first food truck rally! A great night out with a food truck addict. Waterford Twp, MI

I have never really indulged in food truck grub before. I had nothing against it, but also didn’t have much opportunity to try it. So, when my friend emailed me about a “Food Truck Rally” that was taking place about 45 minutes from my place, I decided I definitely wanted to give it a go. It became a bit of a joke since his wife (my friend and coworker) Jess was to be out of town on business. So, he – the married man, and I – the single woman, were going out – with his wife’s blessing. Y’all, I have the best friends!

It’s been a gorgeous night – 70s and sunny. Perfect for walking around the Elk’s Lodge grounds and grubbing on some food truck fare. There weren’t as many food trucks as we both expected, but in hindsight, I think that was a blessing. Our bellies were FULL by the time we did a lap!

We started off at El Guapo Grill, which I had been made aware of by my friend and coworker, McDuey. I asked the young man at the window to serve me his favorite thing on the menu. I was delivered the “Aloha, Mr. Hand” (side note: Bryan got a kick out of some of the movie-reference names – I missed most of them!). It’s a pork belly taco, stuffed with Asian slaw, pineapple salsa, and fresh jalapeno. I thought it was delicious – very flavorful! A great choice. A bit messy because of the sauce in the slaw, but that’s to be expected with this type of food. Thankfully, I didn’t end up wearing the whole taco!

The “Aloha, Mr. Hand” taco.

Next, we hit Bryan’s favorite local food truck Jacques’ Tacos. Bryan knew exactly what he was going to order – the D-Town (braised beef short ribs) and the Little Piggie (slow roasted pork). Again, I asked the woman at the window to choose her favorite two items, and surprise me. She chose the Little Piggie and the Cabo Shrimp tacos. Again, two tasty treats, though I favored the Little Piggie slightly over the Cabo Shrimp. It just had more flavor to it. Regardless, I scarfed them both down, and by now was getting full.

Jacques’ Tacos

Shrimp Cabo (top) and Little Piggie (bottom)

Neither one of us wanted to pass up a BBQ truck, so we stopped at Big RBQ’s for a bite. Bryan ordered the beef brisket sandwich, and I asked the woman at the window to serve me her favorite of the meat dishes (nothing with too many carbs, because our last stop would take care of that!). She handed me a pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw. I LOVE pulled pork, so she made a wise decision. The sauce was good, but not too much bite or kick to it. While I enjoyed it, the sandwich was just more than I could finish at this point – knowing there was yet another stop along our journey! Leftover pulled pork for me!

Big RBQ’s pulled pork and slaw sandwich

Finally, we HAD to hit the Mac Shack. Bryan and Jess have been on the hunt for the ultimate mac n cheese for a couple of years now. And, I’m never one to turn down good ol’ comfort food!

The Mac Shack

Bryan ordered the “Shack Made Mac” – a fairly traditional mac n cheese. I tried a bite, and it was yummy!

Bryan and his “Shack Made Mac” – a happy man!

I, on the other hand, handed my restaurant card to Lindsay Gearig, wife of Dan, and woman in charge! Dan and Lindsay own the joint. She and Dan conferred and decided to provide me an $8 surprise. Folks, while I really did enjoy all of the food, let me tell you that this was my favorite meal of the night!! Can you guess what this is??

Not only was I eating a truly unique, spicy, and flavorful dish, but after chatting a bit with Dan, I was more inspired than ever about this blog. He is clearly a foodie, does the “surprise me” ordering regularly (look for a guest post from him in the future – I’ll be hounding him!), and just thought it was a really cool idea. I got great feedback from some others throughout the night too – so energizing!

But, back to the best dish of the night!! I was treated to the Mac Shack “Koh San Road” which is mac and cheese topped with peanuts, bean sprouts, green onions, lime, cilantro, and SriRacha sauce. A different spin on Pad Thai, if you will. And, while it did have a kick to it, the dish was amazing! Bryan tried a bite and agreed. It’s not something either of us would normally have ordered – because it does sound a bit odd – but I’m really glad that Dan and Lindsay decided to serve the dish up to me. I’m looking forward to having leftovers tomorrow.

So, I left my first Food Truck Rally delightfully full and already looking forward to the next one! And, BTW, when I call Bryan a food truck addict, I mean it. The dude knows his stuff – or at least he presents himself as though he does! So much so that he had a couple of people following him (us, but really him) around, and asking what he ordered at every truck. He has food truck groupies, y’all! It was rather comical, but also enjoyable to watch. I know for a fact that he made great recommendations!

Now, my question to you… What are the best food trucks you’ve eaten from? I’m anxious to learn more!


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