Coach Insignia at the Ren Cen

detroit

Recently we stayed the Renaissance Center during DetCon, the North American Science Fiction Convention. We had a great time at the convention and we really enjoyed staying in the Ren Cen. On the first evening of our stay, we headed up to the seventy something floor and had drinks and an appetizer at Coach Insignia.

For our appetizer, we tried the short rib arancini, which are balls of risotto stuffed with short rib meat, coated with bread crumbs and then deep fried. It was served with a lovely sauce and a nice little salad. Dave had a blackberry Manhattan and I had a creamsicle martini.

While the food and drinks were good, the view was even better!

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YpsiTasty Local Food Crawl

The Wurst Bar

After hearing good things about last year’s YpsiTasty grub crawl, we were eager to try it this year. The theme was locally-grown food and it benefited Growing Hope. Here’s an overview of what we had at each location organized by what part of town the restaurants are located in. We assumed that each location would have a “taste” of what they were offering and the size of the sample ranged from a small taste to a large portion. We were plenty full when we were all done!

Downtown

  • Bona Sera Cafe – I really enjoyed the caramel gelato, it had great caramel flavor and was nice and creamy. The hibiscus lemonade was refreshing, but the hibiscus flavor was really subtle.
  • Red Rock Downtown Barbecue –  I really liked the smoked Anaheim pepper stuffed with cream cheese and chipotle rub, it was kind of like a non-deep fried jalapeno popper. I would have liked a few more!
  • Terry’s Bakery/Full Flavor Foods – Instead of a baked good from Terry’s Bakery like we were expecting, Full Flavor Foods was selling soup mixes and offered tastes of each of their varieties. Disappointed, we left without trying anything.

Depot Town

  • Ypsilanti Food Co-op – Weirdly enough this was my favorite spot of the night! We had risotto cakes, lemon cake, a slice of banquette with cheese. Everything was really delicious and super flavorful.
  • Sidetrack Bar and Grill – Sidetrack was the most organized and prepared for a large crowd, serving room temperature items including grilled salad wraps (which were just OK) and Caprese bits, which were very tasty.
  • Aubree’s Pizzeria & Grill – Aubree’s didn’t do anything special, they just offered pizza from their pizza buffet. I don’t think they were expecting the volume because we had to wait quite a while for pizza to be brought out.
  • Cafe Ollie – I loved the blueberry scone and the rhubarb shrub soda, it was made with balsamic vinegar so you have to have a taste for the sour/tart flavor of vinegar. I think I was the only one in our group that liked it!
  • Harvest Kitchen – I was going to pass at the Harvest Kitchen as the choices were curried chicken salad or beet, carrot, and cucumber salad and I’m not a fan of curry or beats, but I thought I’d be adventurous. I tired the beet, carrot, and cucumber salad and I actually liked it!
  • Maiz Mexican Cantina – I tried the carnitas toastada (the other option was black-eyed pea and kale soup) and thought it was tasty. They were being made to order, so the wait was a bit long.

North of Depot Town

  • ABC Microbrewery - Not being a beer drinker, I didn’t try any of the beer samples at ABC, though Dave did try two varieties that he hadn’t tried before. I’m totally blanking on which ones they were though!

Campus

  • Tower Inn Cafe – We were too full to try Tower Inn Cafe, maybe some other time!
  • The Wurst Bar – Also one of my favorites of the evening. We enjoyed the mini bratwursts topped with the traditional Chicago dog fixings (pictured above).

 

Tmaz Taqueria

Torta Ahogada

Since we’ve tried several of the other taquerias in Ann Arbor, we finally gave Tmaz Taqueria a try and it worked out perfectly that they had a deal on Groupon!

Dave ordered the Torta Ahogada, which is a sandwich dunked in chile de arbol sauce, filled with fried pork, onion & avocados. The sauce was very flavorful, but the meat was kind of chewy and tough, so Dave gave it a ‘meh.’

Popusas

I order the popusas which they describe as a gordita. I got two filled with cheese and on stuffed with chicharron. It was served with curtida, a pickled coleslaw sort of like kimchee, I’m not a big fan which is surprising because I love vinegar. The popusas were good, I preferred the cheese to the chicharron as I was expecting the chicharron to be crunchy, but it was more chewy.

To drink, both of us ordered an aguas grescas, the flavors change daily. I tried the strawberry banana and Dave tried the tamarind. They were both delicious. The tamarind tasted like a combination of honeydew melon and iced tea and the banana flavor in mine was mild with the strawberry flavor much more prominent.

Overall a decent meal that was a good deal. I would definitely try Tmaz Taqueria again!

Brunch at the Aut Bar

French toast

We finally had brunch at the Aut Bar! We’ve been meaning to go forever, but then Afternoon Delight just always sounds so good! I’m glad we broke out of our rut and checked out the Aut Bar. We sat on the patio, which was lovely with all the trees and the coziness of Braun Court. The menu is quite large and includes a lot of Mexican specialties. The service was very good.

Dave ordered a special, the raspberry cobbler French toast, which he thought was excellent.

chilaquiles

I ordered the chilaquiles, which are scrambled eggs with tomatoes, jalapenos, cheese, and fried corn tortilla chips. It was served with refried beans and Mexican rice, which I usually can take or leave, but they were very flavorful (and made for excellent leftovers!).

We shared an order of Portland potatoes, which are cubed sweet potatoes with a sweet and savory spice blend. Amazing! So good! They’re coffee was excellent too. We were tempted to order a brunch cocktail (the Tequila Sunrise), but we thought that might be gilding the lily, so we held back…this time! We will definitely be returning, I can see brunch at the Aut Bar being a favorite right alongside Afternoon Delight.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

slow cooker pulled pork

We had family visiting from Scotland and I wanted to make something that was American (and something easy because it was a work night) for dinner. I decided to make pulled pork for the entree. I had the 6 pound pork shoulder in the slow cooker all day (really, for like 12 hours) the day before. Before placing it in the slow cooker I make a dry rub. I used this recipe and added a little apple cider vinegar and water to the bottom of the crock. I put the lid on and cooked it on high for about 6 hours and then on low for another 6 hours. Once it was done, I took the entire piece of meat out and placed it on a cookie sheet to cool slightly. After it had cooled for about 15 minutes or so, I removed the cap of fat and bone and then shredded the pork with a couple of forks.

The next day, I put it back in the slow cooker with 3 jars of our homemade BBQ sauce that we had canned last summer. I set the slow cooker on low for about 4-5 hours. Dave made
light brioche burger buns from Smitten Kitchen
the night before to serve with the pork. And I made slow-cooked baked beans from Elle’s New England Kitchen and crackaroni salad from Tasty Kitchen for sides.

For dessert, I made mudhen bars from Two Peas and their Pod, which went over well along with the rest of the dinner.

Even though the pork cooks down a bit, this still makes a lot of meat. We ate leftovers the next few days and then froze a couple of portions for later. We might try pulled pork tacos or nachos with the leftovers for something different than just eating it on a bun.