Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Lunch Room - Ann Arbor, MI

                The Lunch Room started as a Food Cart located in the Mark’s Carts Courtyard.  With much success and a growing fan-base they were able to sign a lease in the Kerrytown Shops and offer more seating, hours, and food.  This is when I found them.  I was following their story through Facebook, I don’t get to the area Mark’s Carts is set up during serving hours since my offices are not within walking distance to get there and back again with a chance to eat in the middle.
                Now located in the Kerrytown Shops I can walk there on lunch for a little treat from their desserts, or sit for a bit to eat.

                The addiction started with a (not so) little Macaroon, and I have to admit that I like them more than Zingerman’s Macaroons.  Great moisture and they have chocolate on them!

                I had to go back and get a macaroon for Rob, they are one of his favorite cookies, but they didn't have them the day I went back.  I couldn't walk out empty handed to I got a doughnut, raspberry lemonade, Yum!  I tried again, still no macaroons that time either, so I had to try a cookie, mexican chocolate chip, the spice builds on that one, Yum!  Finally got a macaroon for Rob and he was delighted, and picked up a pumpkin whoopie pie for myself  :)

                I worked up the courage for lunch and tried the Banh mi chay: The Lunch Room’s take on this classic Vietnamese baguette sandwich with marinated baked tofu, carrot-radish pickle, jalapenos, and fresh cilantro and mint with garlic mayo. Served on our housemade baguette  $7. 

                With the balanced flavors and wonderful textures, it is truly amazing to believe that they are 100% Vegan!  That’s right folks, they are a vegan restaurant. 

DINNER SPECIALS: start at 5pm each day
Monday - Sushi night
Tuesday - Taco night
Wednesday - Pizza night
Thursday - Asian night/ Indian night
Friday - Pasties night
Saturday - Pizza night

Learn more about The Lunch Room on Facebook or on their website: http://thelunchrooma2.tumblr.com/

More about the current food carts with Mark’s Carts:

Eat Well !
~ Kate

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Zingerman’s Roadhouse – Ann Arbor, MI

Zingerman’s Roadhouse is part of the Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. 
Located in a renovated old Bill Knapp’s restaurant, it opened its doors in 2003.  We heard various reviews; some people were hoping to have a deli outside of downtown and were not sure what to make of a restaurant featuring American Foods done really good.  Although they do offer a few sandwiches on the menu, more on the lunch menu, it is more about classic American dishes.

Due to the selection of wonderful foods, and that they change up some of the menu items regularly to keep things new and exciting, I will be offering posts featuring each section of the menu. 

As for the ambiance and service:
As mentioned, the building is a renovated Bill Knapp’s restaurant, but you would never know for the look of it now. 
A trailer out front is a drive thru for orders you call in for pick up, or for the quick menu offered thru the Roadshow.
A big Neon sign hangs above the entrance to the Roadhouse.  As you walk inside you will see the whimsy nature of the design all around.  Collections of Salt and Pepper Shakers are in cabinets hung throughout.  The graphics are playful and big blue circles hang above the kitchen pass to display the “blue plate” specials.

The Staff:
Such a great crew!  I must admit we are a bit bias now that we have gotten familiar with about half of them and one of our friends has been working there for almost two years now.  These people know the food that they serve.  They try all the specials so they know what they are serving to you.  If you have a question, do not hesitate to ask, they are happy to help.  If you have any food allergies or concerns let your server know, they will work with you to find something you will like or see if the chef can adjust something for you.  The chefs are consistent about what comes out of the kitchen.  They know their food and do it well.

The Prices:
Ok, so I hear a lot of people look at the menu and go “the prices are so high”.
First off, it depends on what you get.  If you are going for a full three course with a steak and cocktails, your bill will quickly rack up, but if you actually take the time to enjoy the flavors you will appreciate every penny of it.  On the other hand, if you consider how much food you can comfortably eat and maybe sharing the appetizer and/or dessert you can get your money’s worth out of it.
The quality of the food is outstanding at the Roadhouse.  Take home food and reheat it in the oven if you have the means to, otherwise share the plates.  Let you wait staff know if you are sharing a dish and they will bring it out on separate plates for you, no extra charge like some places I have seen.  

More information about the Roadhouse can be found on their website:  http://www.zingermansroadhouse.com/
Explore the menus, click on ‘the food’ for some great info about the food and their recipe for Pimento Cheese! 

Top image is a Zingerman's graphic, a perfect example of their unique style.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Jolly Pumpkin Cafe & Brewery - Ann Arbor, MI

The time has come to talk to you about our favorite Brew Pub, Jolly Pumpkin.

                We discovered their wonderful mirco- brews years ago, and found them available at some of the local stores.  The brewery is located just west of Ann Arbor in the Village of Dexter.  They craft wonderful tart ales, and have won awards throughout the years for some of their special blends.
Here is more about the Brewery:  http://www.jollypumpkin.com/artisanales/beers.htm
Oh, and they are also a Distillery, crafting their own Vodka, Gin, and Rum (to name a few).

                Located on Main Street in Downtown Ann Arbor is the Jolly Pumpkin CafĂ© & Brewery.  There is seating in the main room along with the bar, the Upstairs along with a bar, and in the summer there is rooftop seating.  They offer a Lunch and Dinner menu, along with specials for Lunch, Dinner, and weekend Brunch.

                We have tried almost everything on the menu, from every category.

                Appetizers are wonderful if there are just two of you, or a full party table.  Small delicious bites with the locally sourced Farmer’s Frittos is always a good choice, but with extra friends going for a Butcher Board is a diverse way to go.

Squash Frittos

                Salads, Pizzas, and Sandwiches … Oh My!  Don’t forget to check out the specials! 
                It is hard to pick out a favorite at the Pumpkin, dish is crafted so well.  One of Rob’s favorites is the Fire and Smoke pizza.  I have learned to recreate a similar pizza at home, but this one still rains supreme. 

                I tend to surf the menu at lot, I love trying new things.  Getting a chance to enjoy a short run special is always a treat.  During the summer I got to have the Steak Special with a Korean BBQ sauce.

                There is plenty of food so take some home, just remember to reheat it in the oven for the best flavor.  Preheat to 350’ and cook tray of deliciousness for about 12-15 minutes.   This will help you save room for some dessert.  You can go light with a scoop of their amazing Vegan Ice Cream (they use coconut milk), or enjoy something warm like a cobbler or the Ricotta Fritters (they make their own fruit reduction of course).

For more information about Jolly Pumpkin and all of their locations, visit their website:

More to come on the Brunch Menu!!!!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tomukun – Ann Arbor, Michigan

                I have decided that I need to get downtown and pick a new place to eat on the weekends if I weather permits.  Being that we are now officially in winter and we live in Michigan, it may not always be the best conditions to drive into town.  I will do my best to get to new places, as well as getting you updated with the tasting reviews.
                I have found most Asian restaurants in our area much Americanized: lots of breading, frying, and sauces.  Having spent time in Hong Kong and Taiwan when I was younger, along with having friends throughout the years from the countries in that part of the world, I wanted more authentic foods.  The dishes they make at home are wonderful and that is the taste and experience I want to continue to have.
                I simply stumbled into going to Tomukun online.  I was searching the restaurants in town, scrolling down the names, clicking to look at the menus.  I clicked on the link for Tomukun and was first drawn in by the beautiful photos of their food, You had me at Hello!  Clicking my way through the menu I loved the diversity of the dishes.  Primarily a noodle bar, but the flavors and combinations offered are from various regions.  This was the place to try, and I was not disappointed, they Knocked My Socks Off!


I decided that I wanted to try a few things to get a feel for food
Drink, well they have a full bar offer various beers and mixed drinks.  I went for the Kirin Ichiban, a pale lager, wonderfully crisp, light, and refreshing.  A good choice for light foods, it will not interfere with the aromas of the noodles to come.

Kirin website: http://www.kirin.com/


Starter:  Tako Yaki  (with Octopus)

The first one I ate whole and it melted in my mouth.  Wow!  Wait a minute, don’t these have octopus in them?  Second one, I bit in half to look inside.  Yup, there was a small piece of octopus (perfectly cooked to tender), surrounded by dough and fried.  Went for the full bits on the last two, glad I didn’t have to share those tasty treats.
More on this dish here:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Takoyaki


Noodles:  Duck Udon

I am a fan of duck and was impressed with the meat served in the broth.  No skin or fat was on the duck meat, it actually had crispy bits.  Yes, that is right crispy bits while in broth, I was giddy!  With the bowl of noodles you also have a jumbo spoon, this helps you scoops out tasty bits, but don’t forget about the broth, once all the pieces I could get with my chopsticks were consumed I could not stop slurping the broth. 


Since I had such amazing food I had to bring some home for Rob.  He stayed home to fix something with his computer, but I had to share the goodness.  He was going to get the Butter Corn Raman, so I ordered that carry out along with Dumplings and Pork Buns.  One of the best things about the carry out is that they package the broth separate from the noodles and other ingredients, no soggy or mushy bits!  Reheated the goodies for dinner, Awesome, Awesome, and Awesome! 
The Pork Buns were appetizer size, if you want full pork buns check out Belly Deli on South University.