For Valentine’s Day this year we had planned on doing another (1 and 2) progressive dinner in Ann Arbor, but I was sick. We finally got around to making it up this past weekend. We parked in a nearby neighborhood and took the bus downtown and then caught a cab home and picked the car up the next day. A little more involved, but way cheaper than staying at a hotel like we had previously.
We started the evening at Isalita, which is located next door to its sister restaurant, Mani Osteria. We had gotten there early, so happy hour was still in full swing. I ordered the Coyoacan, Del Moguey Vida Mezcal, BarSol Pisco, pineapple, lime, ginger beer, and Dave ordered the house margarita which was on special for $5. My drink was refreshing, not too sweet, and had a smokey aroma.
Isalita like Small Plates is a tapas-style restaurant where everything is in small portions, meant to be shared. We started with the queso fundido, also a happy hour special. It’s melted cheese topped with queso fundido. It was topped with pickled onions and jalapenos and severed with the cutest tiny tortillas. It was very tasty, if on the greasy side.
Next we ordered the duck confit flautas topped with poblano avocado sauce, radish, lettuce, crema. These were fabulous. The shell of the flautas was crisp and not greasy at all. The finely shredded lettuce on top was dressed with some sort of citrus and was light and refreshing, a nice contrast to the rich duck.
The last item we ordered were the enchilada roja which were stuffed with chicken, coconut, and poblano peppers. It was topped with a richly flavored mole-style sauce that was very flavorful. This item was Dave’s favorite. The enchiladas and flautas tied for my favorite. I would order everything we had tried this time again.
Our next stop was at The Bar at 327 Braun Court. Which they describe as “Your neighborhood bar. Upscale dive-bar. Artisan public house. A place without TV to drink in the dark with your friends.” It’s located near Kerrytown, across from the Aut Bar. I ordered the strawberry champagne punch, which they make in small batches and once it’s gone, it’s gone and Dave ordered the Mr. Michigan, a bourbon-based drink. Since we ate a lot at our first stop, we ordered a plate of pimento cheese and crackers to accompany our drinks. We both really liked this bar. They had a nice selection of craft drinks in a nice quiet atmosphere. We even played a couple of rounds of Lost Cities since it wasn’t crowded (we were there a bit early). I’m looking forward to trying The Bar at 327 Braun Court again.
We checked out the latest board games at Vault of Midnight before heading over to La Dolce Vita (inside The Chop House) for dessert. I ordered an espresso martini, which was made with espresso, vodka, and Kaluha, but no cream. I’ve tried several espresso martinis and they’ve always had cream. This was a nice twist. It was lighter and had bolder flavor. Dave had a bourbon sour. We decided to order two things for dessert and share, but in hindsight we would have been fine with one especially since the Fall Winter Trio was bigger than we expected. We ordered the caramel cake which was served with caramel sauce and a scoop of chocolate malt gelato. All parts of this were delicious, but the caramel sauce was divine. I would have been happy with a bowl of that with a spoon it was so good.
The Fall Winter Trio funnily enough had three desserts on it! The first was a peanut butter bomb coated with chocolate and topped with candied bacon. The candied bacon really made this dessert, it would have been too sweet with out it and the bacon provided a nice salty, smokey bite. The second was described at a homemade Twix bar with shortbread on the bottom, then thick caramel on top of that and then the whole thing was covered with unsweetened whipped cream. Even with the whipped cream being unsweetened this dessert was too sweet for me or perhaps had I just reached my limit for sweets. Dave liked this one too, but both of us thought the peanut butter bomb was the best. The final dessert was a fancy s’more with a graham cracker crust, a thick chocolate mousse and toasted marshmallow fluff on top.
After we ate our fill, we headed around the block to Bab’s Underground Lounge. The pool tables were occupied, but we ordered drinks and just sat and talked and people watched. I had a margarita and Dave had a bloody martini to start and we finished up with a almond joy martini and a melon ball martini, respectively. We had a fabulous night and I can’t wait for our next progressive dinner!