Archive for the tag “The Henry Ford”

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

A weekend with Pops… 24 Grille, Detroit, MI

I’ve been sitting on the content for this post for a while.  Dad and I were going to co-write a post (he is an established writer, after all!), but we both dropped the ball.  As I was going through pictures from my recent trip to Singapore, I rediscovered some of the pictures from my night out with dad several weeks ago, and decided to bite the bullet and write this post.

During the last weekend in October, my mom was going on a road trip with her cousin for the weekend, so dad had free time.  The traveling Vietnam Wall (“The Wall that Heals”) was fortuitously coming to Dearborn, MI, and since my dad is a veteran of the war, I thought he might enjoy (a weekend with his daughter, and) the opportunity to see the wall.

Dad (“TK” to most of my friends), and Molly (my boys’ younger sis) came in midday Saturday.

Molly (on couch), Riley (left floor), and Seamus (right floor)

Molly (on couch), Riley (left floor), and Seamus (right floor)

We needed lunch, so we grabbed a burger at Miller’s Bar (a best in the nation burger <– read about just how “no frills” this join is!), and then headed over to The Henry Ford Museum.  TK LOVES museums, digs cars, gets caught up in history – and mom and I don’t.  That said, The Henry Ford is a cool museum, and I appreciate that Masco (my employer) provides us passes to visit the museum regularly.  I’m also very excited to check out the Lego exhibition that is currently at THF.

Dad, at The Henry Ford

TK, at The Henry Ford

After checking out the museum, we went over to the Ford World Headquarters building to check out The Wall that Heals.  I have to say that Dearborn did not do a tremendous justice to the wall, in that it was set up on sand bags, in the parking lot.  Despite the setup, it IS a moving tribute.  Dad and I located the name of his neighbor and friend, who passed away just past the height of the war, at the tender age of 20.  We talked with volunteers working the memorial and were advised that a permanent memorial is in the works, and that pictures would be appreciated.  We’re hoping someone in the family/friend network can find a picture of dad’s friend.

Dad, standing in front of the panel of The Wall that Heals on which his friend's name is etched.

Dad, standing in front of the panel of The Wall that Heals on which his friend’s name is etched.

After leaving the memorial, dad and I headed downtown to 24 Grille in the Westin.  I had originally wanted to dine at Roast, a Michael Symon restaurant (since he’s a big Cleveland chef and all), but even ten days in advance, I could not get a reservation for a table for two.

I have no regrets in taking the recommendation of a coworker of mine. She told me that 24 Grille is great dining, and less pretentious than Roast.  She made a very sound recommendation.  24 Grille is more of a bar-like atmosphere, which was perfect because we were there during game 3 of the (dreaded) World Series.

Prior to ordering dinner, I had ordered a glass of the 2009 Newton Cabernet (Although this was prior to my vacation, I think Singapore drove home the fact that 2009 Cabs are amongst my faves!), which was quite a nice glass of wine.

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Dad and I both perused the menu, and pretty quickly deduced that we would allow our server, Stephani, to choose our meal.  She was cool about it!  As my notes reflect, her response was “What?!? Okay! Any objection to seafood? A preference for short ribs over steak?”  She tipped her hand a bit, but it was all good to us.  Oh, and I did make one request…I wanted a side dish of the Brussel Sprouts. I know many people don’t like Brussel Sprouts, but both dad and I do really like them.

Shortly thereafter, we were served a basketful of warm deliciousness!  Asiago cheese bread that was incredibly delightful.

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Next came our delectable Brussel Sprouts (huge, flavorful and delicious!)…

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and our meals…

TK’s: Filet Mignon with green peppercorn & ruby red glace de veau, spinach, braised parissiene potato, and herbs.

2012-10-27 19.58.11And my dish: North Atlantic Swordfish with fall corn reduction, autumn relish, and a potato crisp crust.

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TK and I both thoroughly enjoyed our meals.  Thoroughly!  Such flavor in each of our dishes…we each got lost in our dinners.

We allegedly cleaned our plates. 🙂

2012-10-27 20.21.11And, then…dad ordered dessert!  Mind you, his preference for dessert is something light, and if possible, fruit-based.  No triple chocolate decadence for him! Although I might have ordered something different (had I been hungry enough), the trio of gelato he ordered was quite tasty. The plate contained scoops of lemon, chocolate, and peach (as seen below).  I was most partial to the peach, which surprised me!  I typically wouldn’t reach toward peach.  As I recall, TK was most partial to the lemon gelato.

Geez…what a wonderful finish to a spectacular day!

2012-10-27 20.32.46Stephani was sweet enough to take a picture of dad and me at dinner. (check out the caption, and feel free to chime in!)

He says I get my good looks from him...what do y'all think?

He says I get my good looks from him…what do y’all think?

After dinner, TK and I decided to walk downtown for a bit.  We were only approximately 1/2 mile from Comerica Park (a fantastic ballpark (that Detroiters call a stadium – grrr…it’s a ballpark, not a stadium!)), so we walked in that direction and checked out the incredible energy surrounding the Detroit Tigers in their quest to win an MLB title in 2012.  Dad was amazed at the number of people out in the streets, at the infrastructure in the city (the People Mover), and the bars/restaurants in the area.  Clearly, news of the “good stuff” in Detroit has still not made it outside of the city limits.

Dad’s words were something like “Why do people say Detroit has nothing to offer, this city has it all!”

In fact, we have giant Tigers!

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And, lighted baseballs… in Tigers’ mouths!

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Dad also dug the mounted police that were on duty during the World Series.  This poor woman had SO MANY pictures snapped!

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The next morning, we headed back downtown – toward the DIA district – to have breakfast at Good Girls Go To Paris (which I first chronicled here). My dad really enjoys breakfast, but I’m not sure he’d ever choose a crepe place.

To quote Taylor Swift – “like, EVER.”  When all was said and done, he really did enjoy the crepe – we both enjoyed our breakfasts!

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I’m so glad that my dad took the time to visit, share some history, personal experiences, and plain-ol’-simple-QT with me.  In my book, it was a great weekend.  I’m also thrilled that he, an architectural influencer, saw the current delights, as well as the potential, of Detroit.

I’m sorry it took weeks to write this post, because it truly was a lovely weekend with my Pops.

If you’re in Detroit, 24 Grille rates up there in my recommendations!

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

Tria, Inspired American Cuisine, Dearborn, MI – Categorize this under “I needed that!”

So, for any of y’all that read Jerod’s memorable guest post, you’ll likely recall that he was so energized by his evening that he sat down and wrote the post well into the latter part of his night.  (he emailed it to me around 12:30AM!)  After a long week, poor sleep, and finishing week two of the Brazil Butt  Lift workout, I am ridiculously exhausted – as in – I need toothpicks to hold my eyelids up exhausted!  However, I had such a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience at Tria (inside the lovely Henry Hotel) tonight that I couldn’t resist writing this post.

To start, I had the privilege of being served by two incredibly nice, conversational, attentive, and interested women – Audra and Alicia.  Alicia was the first to approach me as I sat at the bar inside this gem of a spot in Dearborn.  She asked if she could get me anything, and I responded by letting her know that I would like a glass of wine, but whatever wine she felt would accompany the dinner I would have her choose for me.  I handed her my “SheOrderedWhat?!?” card, and she read it, conferred with Audra (out of earshot, as I pleaded that they not tell me what I would be served until it was presented to me), and simply clarified – “seafood is okay, just not scallops?”.  I replied affirmatively, knowing she had tipped her hand a little, but was perfectly okay with seafood tonight (as any night!), so all was good.

Then, Audra, intrigued by the card, came over and asked me a few questions about the blog.  She said she thought it was a very cool idea, and she was happy that an “excellent chef is back there – we’ll come up with something great”!

They asked if I cared for a salad or soup to start, and my reply was “I’m not super hungry tonight, but if you feel a salad is appropriate with the meal, okay.  If not, just the entrée is fine.”

First, I was served a delicious white wine.  While a wine-consumer, I’m not a wine connoisseur!  I thought it tasted a bit like a Pinot Grigio, but I wasn’t sure.  It was light, crisp, with slight fruit undertones (and, that folks, is about as fancy as I get!).  Perfect for a warm spring evening.  Then, I was served their delicious bread and crackers.  I only picked at a few things, because I couldn’t resist. The crackers are AMAZING!  I have friends who will be happy to attest!

Fresh bread, and the best cheese crackers around!

At this point, all I knew is that I was served a delicious white wine.

Then, came the meal…  A different employee brought out a colorful plate and placed it before me, saying “Salmon for you, ma’am?”.  Why, yes, I guess it was salmon for me!  I have to admit that some time back, I had decided that salmon was my least favorite type of fish.  I think I had been served “fishy” pieces a couple of times.  It’s just not the fish I would order off the menu.  However, after tonight, my attitude changed!  There were three (rather large!) hunks of salmon on the plate (“hunks” makes it sound a bit low-class, but the food was plated beautifully – see below!), over a gorgeous zesty, chunky tomato sauce with Kalamata olives (which I later found out is “tomato ragout”, fennel salad, and aioli).  As my girlfriend Jenny would say “a party in my mouth”!

My “salmon” dish.

Audra and Alicia checked in to see how I liked the dish, and I assured them that they had made a terrific decision, and that the light, smooth wine paired perfectly with the wonderfully flavorful dinner.  I learned that the wine was “Sancerre”, and that I was pretty spot-on with my dissection of flavors/layers!  Though, it was not a Pinot Grigio, but rather a Sauvignon Blanc.  I fail the Sommelier test! 🙂

Chateau de Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc (they only set the bottle out so I could see what the ONE glass of wine I had was – I didn’t drink the bottle!)

I also thanked them for wisely choosing to forgo the soup/salad, as I couldn’t even finish my dinner – no reflection on the taste – it was simply too much food!

We also chatted about how the clientele at Tria has been changing – more younger folks are coming in, rather than just the standard hotel-guest clientele.  Folks, here’s the reason, IMO: the food is superb (whether small plates or entrees), the drink selection is great, and they are VERY reasonably priced (e.g. wine is sold by flight, 5oz or 8oz pours, and at retail by the bottle), and the service is tremendous.   Locals…please spread the word!

After I had handed my not-quite-finished dinner plate over to Alicia, she asked whether I’d like to try dessert or not.  I was full, but she sold me on the fact that Tria also offers dessert by the flight – so to speak.  They offer “mini-bites”, as singles, or in sets of three or five.  I requested she choose three minis – as long as I could also take them home, knowing I could not possibly finish them.  All the while, she sweetly topped my glass of wine off for me.

Alicia brought me a trio of small bites:  Tiramisu (a personal FAVE!), a dark chocolate and peanut butter pop (think Buckeye – only WAY better!), and a coconut raspberry bar (as delicious as it sounds!).  I promise, I only took a bite or two of each, and the rest sits in my fridge – awaiting a sweet-tooth attack!

From left: Tiramisu, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter pop, Coconut-Raspberry bar.

I’m telling you, this dinner was devine!  Really delicious.  Friends, when you come to visit, we’re heading to  Tria.  And, I hope we see Alicia and Audra again. I could not have possibly stumbled upon more accommodating and wonderful servers!  Alicia and Audra were absolutely awesome – and just what I needed on a night that found me tired, hungry, and looking for a positive ending.  Thank you so much, ladies!  You made my night!

And, probably my tomorrow!  😉

The delightful “to-go” container.

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