This past weekend for our Valentine’s Day gift to each other, Dave and I stayed in Ann Arbor at the Campus Inn and did another progressive dinner.
For our first course of drinks and appetizers, we headed back to Sava’s Restaurant. I ordered the Suddenly, Last Summer, which was made up of Appleton’s rum, Laird’s apple brandy, egg whites, lime juice, clove sugar, over coconut milk. It also had a dash of nutmeg floating on top. I was expecting more of a coconut flavor, but the predominant flavor was the apply brandy while the coconut milk and egg whites gave a creamy frothiness to the drink. I enjoyed it very much and would order it again. Dave ordered the Churango, which is made up of Pisco (a grape brandy), melon liqueur, mint, house-made sour, cucumber, orange blossom water. He also enjoyed his drink, I thought it was overly herbaceous tasting.
For our appetizers, we order the brie cheese with raspberry jam and the risotto balls, two the exact same items that I ordered at Christmastime with the girls. The brie was more liquified rather than melted, but still good. Thought the real star were the risotto balls, lots of flavor. I would definitely order them a third time!
Mani Osteria & Bar
For our second course, we headed to the semi-recently opened Mani Osteria & Bar. Dave orderd a Sergio Leone, which was similar to a Manhattan, but it had great orange flavor both from the liqueur and the twist of orange. I wanted a glass of wine, but being a relatively new wine drinker, I didn’t know what to order. Our waiter, Jeff, asked what I liked (sweet, not dry) and came up with a delicious selection of a proprietary blend called Bella Luce. It was perfect.
Our waiter also recommended the burrata and balsamic pizza. All of the pizzas at Mani’s are fairly thin, but with a thick crust edge and are wood-fired. The pizza was topped with sauteed garlic spinach, balsamic onions, and burrata cheese. Burrata cheese is a fresh Italian cheese, made from mozzarella and cream so it has a nice soft texture similar to whipped cream cheese. It was really good and our leftovers reheated very well in the toaster oven two days later.
La Dolce Vita
For our third and final course, we headed over to La Dolce Vita located inside of The Chop House. Previously, La Dolce Vita was only located in the basement of The Chop House and included a cigar bar, but they now offer smoke free seating on the main level. We started with dessert and then finished the nice with a cocktail.
They have an extensive dessert menu that changes quarterly, there were several items on the menu that I would have been very happy with, but I ordered the special. The special was an apple cake with cranberries served with a caramel sauce and a scoop of cinnamon gelato. The gelato really made the dish, it was very rich and creamy with fabulous cinnamon flavor. Dave ordered the hazelnut torte, which he enjoyed, but wouldn’t order again. It was also served with espresso gelato, which was excellent.
We finished up our third course with a couple of cocktails. I ordered the key lime martini, which I’ve had a other restaurants, but surprise, surprise, this one was the best one I ever had! It had great lime flavor, it wasn’t too sweet, but it was still nice and creamy. Dave ordered a bourbon sour, which is just like a whiskey sour, but just made with bourbon. He really liked his drink too. The cocktail menu at La Dolce Vita is very extensive including fancy mixed drinks like those that we enjoyed, but also many coffee drinks, sipping whiskeys, liqueurs, and more.
We had originally planned on heading over to Bab’s Underground Lounge for a couple more drinks and to play some pool, but we were too tired. I know, we must be getting old!