NeoPapalis Pizza

NeoPapalis Pizza

At NeoPapalis Pizza in downtown Ann Arbor, you start by picking one of 5 bases: margherita, red marinara, classica, bianca, and pesto. We both chose the margherita base, but I wish I had been more adventurous and tried the bianca base (next time!). Then you add toppings. I chose kalamata olives and caramelized onions. I have totally forgotten what Dave ordered for toppings, maybe green and red peppers?

The pizzas were larger than I expected, we probably would have shared as we both took home half of ours. The crust was on the thinner side and had a nice chew, which unfortunately went super chewy as leftovers even though we heated it in the oven instead of the microwave.

The dining area is a bit small and was very crowded (I guess that’s a good sign!). One thing that bothered me was the man putting the toppings on all the pizzas wasn’t wearing gloves, though everyone else working was wearing gloves. In hindsight I probably should have asked, but I didn’t get sick, the super hot oven must have killed all those germs!

Maple Syrup Festival

pancake breakfast

It’s spring time and that means maple sugaring season! (I totally started this post back in March!) This year we went to a pancake breakfast at the Chelsea Alehouse, which was a fundraiser for The Big 400. The Big 400 is a project spearheaded by the Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce seeking to establish an economic development strategy that linked the Waterloo Recreation Area to the business community. The area encompasses a 20 mile by 20 mile area, hence the term “Big 400”.

Breakfast was not all you can eat, but we did get three pancakes, maple syrup, bacon, orange juice, and Biggby coffee. It was all delicious even if we wanted a bit more. After breakfast we headed over to the Eddy Discovery Center for their Old-time Maple Sugar Festival. First we sat in on a speaker event where she described the general process of tapping trees and showed us some equipment that the Native Americans and pioneers used to collect and boil the sap.

After the talk, we went outside and saw a demo of the sap being boiled down to make syrup. It takes a lot of sap to make a gallon of syrup, like 40:1! We headed on a nature walker where three trees were tapped using three different methods: traditional metal buckets, a plastic bag that looked a lot like the tree was getting an IV, and the cheap method, just a milk jug. The walk was really nice and it was fun to see the different tapping methods.

Finally, we ended back in the Discovery Center to watch a film about local maple syrup producers and their process of collecting and making maple syrup. I found it really interesting! The entire program at the Discovery Center was free so that’s a bonus. I would highly recommend that you check out this event next year. It was a fun way to spend the morning.

tapped trees tapped trees tapped trees

Miracle Fruit Tasting Party

highres_433846215

I’ve wanted to throw a Miracle Fruit party for years after a couple of my favorite bloggers posted their experiences. We bought tablets on Amazon.

Synsepalum dulcificum, also known as the miracle fruit, is a plant with a berry that when eaten, causes sour foods to taste sweet. When the fruit is eaten, the glycoprotein molecule binds to the tongue’s taste buds, causing sour foods to taste sweet. At neutral pH, miraculin binds and blocks the receptors, but at low pH (resulting from ingestion of sour foods) miraculin binds protons and becomes able to activate the sweet receptors, resulting in the perception of sweet taste. This effect lasts until the protein is washed away by saliva (up to about 60 minutes, but it was more like 20-30 minutes).

We tasted a lot of foods, including: lemons and limes, tomatoes, dried cranberries, grapefruit, kiwi, pineapple, granny smith apples, strawberries, pomegranate, grapes, blackberries, mustard, ketchup, salt & vinegar chips, pickles, sour cream, Tabasco, balsamic vinegar, BBQ sauce, Guinness, tequila, goat and cream cheese. My favorites were the lemons and limes and the cream cheese. The lemons and limes tasted like Pixie Sticks and the cream cheese was kind of like cheesecake. The big disappointment was the Guinness beer which was supposed to taste like a chocolate milkshake, but it just tasted like a slightly less bitter stout beer.

The effects of the tablets wore off faster than I thought, but they are relatively inexpensive so you could always take another one halfway through your tasting. The important thing is to make sure you let the tablet completely dissolve and coat your tongue. It was a lot of fun and something different to do!

Fried Chicken at Gold Cash Gold

fried chicken

After drinks with friends at the Sugar House in downtown Detroit, we mixed it up and had dinner at Gold Cash Gold. It’s just down the block from Slow’s BarBQ. It was extremely busy. Even with putting our name in before we had drinks, we still didn’t get seated until almost 10PM.

We split the pickles and farmer’s bread starters. Both were delicious, I really liked the pickled celery. All their pickles are made in house. The bread was really good too. I ordered the pickle brine fried chicken. This fried chicken was the very best I’ve ever had. I’m not kidding you, I can’t wait to try it again despite the long wait and the fact that it was a tad expensive. The crust was crispy and flavorful and not too thick. It was served with a hot sauce white gravy which was fabulous.

Dave ordered a special which was a sausage served over polenta with pine nuts, caramelized onions, and more of that pickled celery.

We didn’t try dessert, but I’d like to try it next time as their buttermilk pie sounds wonderful.

Roman sausage

Dessert at Knight’s Downtown

Dessert at Knight's

Before catching a movie at the Michigan Theater, we stopped at the new Knight’s downtown to grab a drink and dessert.

Knight’s is known for their strong cocktails so it was a good thing we had a movie to watch before needing to drive anywhere. I ordered the Old/New Fashion which was made with Blackstar Farms Apple Brandy, orange slice, brandied cherries, cherry and orange bitters, splash soda. It was my first Old Fashioned and I can say that I sort of liked it…I think I may have liked it better with an appetizer or dinner rather than dessert. Dave tried the Liberty Mans’hattan made with Buffalo Trace, Carpano Antica, cherry herring, cherry bitters. He also thought it was OK. A decent Manhattan, but not the best he’s ever had.

For dessert, I ordered a pumpkin tart which was good. My only complaint was that the tart shell ratio to pumpkin filling was off, the shell was way too thick. It did taste good though, almost like a cookie shell rather than a pastry one. Dave ordered their signature pie, which unfortunately isn’t listed on their website so I’ll have to wing it with the description. It was a chocolate mouse andwhite chocolate cheesecake pie with more chocolate on sprinkled on top. He liked it, thought it was much too rich for me.

I really liked the atmosphere of the downtown Knight’s.  I’d like to try their original Jackson location sometime.