Posts Tagged ‘Ann Arbor’

I’ve long wanted to write a post about how to shop at Zingerman’s on a shoestring budget. At times, this felt like trying to write about how to fill your closet with Manolo Blahniks while working at Target.

Now, however, they’re making this task very easy for me: for the next 20 or so weeks on Fridays from 11am – 7pm, Zingerman’s is holding a Warehouse sale at 610 Phoenix Drive [Google Map] in order to move some inventory at generous discounts, which you may have already heard about it in The Ann Arbor Chronicle.

Tomorrow — Friday, March 20–everyone who stops in will receive a free gingerbread coffeecake. And best of all: there will also be a free gift–with a purchase–for readers of this blog. Just mention that you heard about it on Gastronomical Three.*

Ann Arbor, our affordable gourmet-grocery-dreams are coming true.

The stock will be different each week, but to keep up with what’s on offer, you can send an e-mail to warehousesale@zingermans.com.Here’s what will be available tomorrow for purchase:

  • English Farmhouse Cheddar – C-EFC – reg. $38/lb, sale price $20/lb.
  • St. Marcellin – C-STM – sale price $5 each
  • Jowl Bacon – M-JWL – reg. $10, sale price $5
  • Marina Colonna Orange oil – O-COL-ARA – reg. $25, sale price $12
  • Moutere Grove olive oil – O-GRO – reg. $35, sale price $15
  • Vosges Mini Book of Bars – P-9VS – reg. $35, sale price $15
  • Anchovy Paste – P-ANP – reg. $7, sale price $5
  • Mathei Biscotti – P-BIS – reg. $14, sale price $5
  • Michel Cluizel 85% bar – P-CLU-85 – reg. $9, sale price $5
  • D. Barbero Torrone – P-DBT – reg. $60, sale price $21
  • Al Dente Land & Sea pasta – P-LSP – reg. $9, sale price $5
  • Tutto Calabria Miscela Esplosiva – P-MIS – reg. $15, sale price $8
  • Bagna Cauda Warmer – P-MKR – reg. $15, sale price $10
  • Il Mongetto Spicy Marmalade – P-MSM – reg. $15, sale price $8
  • Pomodoro Chivaso Jam – P-OMO – reg. $11, sale price $5
  • John Macy’s Cheese Sticks – P-PUF – reg. $6, sale price $3
  • Keemun Tea – T-KEE – reg. $24, sale price $12
  • Zing label Horseradish Mustard – sale price $3 each
  • Rustico Red Pepper Cheese – $7/lb

*G3 is not benefiting from this promotion in any way; we’re just spreading the foodie love. We will always be transparent about relationships between local businesses whose food and services we’re promoting.

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A couple of weeks back, there was an email in my inbox from my friend Scott inviting the G3 and any and all friends to Diner for A Day, a fundraiser breakfast to support local farmers and producers and the completion of Chris Bedford’s latest film “Coming Home”, as well as providing seed money for a future edible schoolyard program (to be announced). Now, I’m always happy to attend an event where Scott cooks, so I rallied the troops and signed up the lot of us  (three bloggers, three partners, one three year old). Only later, when I began to see posters for the event around town and realized that it was to be held in a not-overly-large house not too far from my west side neighborhood did I begin to think “how will they pull this off?” And though I would not want Scott and his good compatriots such as Eve Arnoff and John Roos, and, most notably, the intrepid hosts, Jeff McCabe and Lisa Gottlieb, to think that I doubted them . . . well, I sort of expected to arrive and find a sign on the door that said “never mind, go home, get yourself some Lucky Charms.”

How did they pull it off? With both efficiency and style. The house was packed with people, many eating, many cooking, many serving, and all were in a great mood. We lingered long and could have lingered longer except for some sense of guilt at holding on to our seats when there were hungry masses to be fed. Scott told me they served 160 meals out of Jeff and Lisa’s kitchen that day.  All-American breakfasts, big waffles and fruit, elegant smoked salmon strata (Scott had smoked the salmon, Eve had assembled the strata) and wholesome AND delicious granola. And lots of John Roos coffee (and apple cider and tea for those of us who wimped on the prospect of more than one cup of that particular joe).

The food was great — well prepared, hot, efficiently served. And there was granola, milk, bacon and eggs to take home if you wished, as well as some very stylish t-shirts and dish towels to commemorate the event. But even greater was the good fellowship and the sense of being connected to my community and the way in which the room buzzed around the shared love of food and place (at least, I think that was it, not the coffee. Ok, the coffee probably helped).

Jeff and Lisa and friends are doing great work (and seem to be having great fun) with the SELMA co-op, reaching out to neighbors and organizing around sharing resources and skills, from lawn mowers to loaves of bread. I’m delighted to hear they’ll be  continuing the good work and fellowship (and food!) in a regularly offered Selma Cafe, a place for friends, neighbors and those of us interested in our connections to the land and to each other to gather to trade talk and toast.

And their biggest fan? Young Nick, who after 5, count ’em 5, pieces of bacon, two whole waffles and a heap of raspberries said “Mama, I don’t want to stop eating!” Later that day when I asked him what was his favorite part, he declared “all of it!” And for me too.

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Interested in finding out more about Ann Arbor’s wine bar offerings? Joel Goldberg, editor of the MichWine website and author of the Arbor Vinous column in The Ann Arbor Chronicle, saddled up his wine-tasting posse and set out to review Ann Arbor’s four downtown wine bars–The Earle, eve, Vinology, and Melange. The result is a thorough, informative, and I think fair assessment of the four spots. Check it out!

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All Sorts of Celebration

Sometime in the afternoon of Christmas Eve, the streets begin to empty, the stores shut down, the lights go on in houses, and we are in the quiet of Christmas week.  I love this point in the holidays, when silence falls upon the town and the hustle and bustle fall away. We snuggle, we settle in,  we celebrate.

At my house there’s feasting of various sorts, butternut squash soup, smoked duck breast, good cheese, dark beer, or, another night, crab cakes and lamb and scalloped potatoes and chocolate souffle. For some, there is  time for running and saunas and reading. For others, “Peter in the Pan” ( a misnomer I like to think indicates my three year old’s culinary interests) and more trucks than we know what to do with. And, for one of us, the unalloyed joy of chasing ducks. For all of these, we are most grateful.

Here’s wishing that our readers who celebrate Christmas had a merry one and that those who don’t find this quiet time rich in pleasures. Whatever form they take.

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Well, we made it: a post everyday in November. I was skeptical, but we did it. [Raise glasses, *clink*!] Thanks to my fellow bloggers and to you all who checked in on our progress. Even though challenges such as NaBloPoMo are a bit of a contrivance, I have found that they do put into place a necessary structure and shape for blog posts. In order to ride this wave of blogging productivity, and to capitalize on the current obsession with all things related to the economy, I’ve been planning a series of posts this month about cooking, eating out, and entertaining on a budget, focused mostly (though not exclusively) on the Ann Arbor area. If there is something you’d like to know about on this topic–where to find the best selection of local products, who has good deals on sparkling wine, etc.–feel free to send us an e-mail at gastronomical3@gmail.com, or leave a note in the comments and we’ll do our best to track down some answers. We look forward to hearing from you.

To kick us off, let me share a note from our friends at Everyday Wines, apprising us of new offerings and services, as well as upcoming deals and events.

75 years ago, on December 5th, the collective consciousness of this country heaved a sigh of relief and reached for its corkscrew. Yes, Prohibition was repealed and we are celebrating that glorious moment this Dec 5. We will be open till 10pm (yes, it’s Midnight Madness around town, we know) and we will give you 15% off all the wine accessories in the shop.

In the immortal words of the Home Shopping Network: But wait! There’s more! All through the month of December, our loyal everyday-wines bag-toting customers will also get 15% off case purchases (that’s 12 bottles to a case). What’s that, you walked here and can’t carry a case home? We’ll deliver it for you. You want all the whites chilled before we drop it off? We can do that too, talk to us.

We have flowers now. Yes! Fair trade roses from Ecuador, Amaryllis and Ranunculus (totes, dude!), all manners of bouquets. All of this from Lisa Waud of Pot & Box. Come in, take a look, a sniff, a rose. Until you do, go visit her at htp://www.potandbox.com

And a big thank you from A Knife’s Work to all you for your support, feedback and encouragement. They are now featuring weekly desserts, along with the soups, sides and entrees. And, for the month of
December, you get 50% off your second entree Sundays and Mondays. Check their weekly menu at http://www.aknifeswork.com.

Of course, there’s always something new and interesting (like a Champagne taste-off coming up) that slips between the email cracks, so do visit us and say hello.

p.s., You might notice a couple of new items in the right sidebar. Gastronomical Three has been listed in Alltop’s Food listings, as well as on the Delightful Blogs directory. They are both great ways to find out about other blogs, so if you’re hungry for new blogs, check them out.

p.s.s. Not all posts this month will follow this theme — just be on the lookout for a collection of such posts on these pages!

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Flickr user John Baird, photographer and furniture designer extraordinaire

Photo credit: Flickr user John Baird, photographer and furniture designer extraordinaire

So far, so good. We’ve been dutiful food bloggers, posting every day in November like we said we would. It’s been fun and is definitely keeping us on our toes. But you want to know a little something? It’s exhausting. What’s more, you’re probably tired of hearing what we have to say about what we’re cooking and eating. Let’s hear from the rest of you, shall we?

While I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, I also spend a lot more time on the Internets. There’s quite a bit of chatter out there about food in Ann Arbor and some lovely Creative Commons licensed food-related photos taken in our fair city. I’ve gathered up some of these words and pictures for you for this evening’s post. I hope they inspire, entertain, and inform you as much as they do me.

Flickr user nchoz

Photo credit: Flickr user nchoz

Here are some other good places to get food news / food porn in the Deuce:

  • Over in the sidebar, there’s a list of links to Ann Arbor-area food bloggers. Lots of talented cooks and writers in the bunch: visit them.
  • Flickr user jhritz

    Photo credit: Flickr user jhritz

  • The Midwest Chowhound boards are abuzz with questions, recommendations, and evaluations. I typically go to the board and search on Ann Arbor. Be sure to chek out the recently updated discussion of the best restaurants in the area going on now.
  • Join the annarborfood Yahoo! group. Lively discussion on all sorts of topics, like kid-friendly restaurants, recipe requests, and recommendations for sourcing various ingredients.
  • Yelp – Ann Arbor has tons of restaurant reviews and food reviews. Folks sign up, comment, rate local businesses. Read and/or contribute as you wish.
  • Flickr user rebecca anne

    Photo credit: Flickr user rebecca anne

  • The Food column of the Ann Arbor Chronicle is sifting the web frequently and links to stories about local food-related news.

What are your favorite ways to find out about food-news in Ann Arbor?

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blue tractor bbq & brewery
It’s a big week in restaurant news here at G3. Just the other day, Maria declared us Ready for The Redding. Now I’m saying, All Aboard the Blue Tractor.

The Blue Tractor is a new BBQ & brewery restaurant that just opened Monday on Washington St., next door to Cafe Habana. Had I not known it was the restaurant’s first night, I never would have guessed; everything seemed to be running quite smoothly. Don’t let the rusty truck parts fool you: the Blue Tractor is ready to roll.

blue tractor ann arbor

Ok, enough with the motor metaphors. Let’s get down to business: the BT is serving up some tasty BBQ fare, bar food favorites, and house-brewed beers at prices that are blessedly reasonable (main dishes between $11-$20 or so; sandwiches in the $8-$12 range), in a lovely space and with experienced staff. Folks, I’m excited about this one. While purists and those who have been lucky enough to live in Texas or North Carolina might not deem the Blue Tractor’s take on barbecue “the real deal,” I’d venture that it will more than suffice for those of us in Ann Arbor with an appetite for brisket, ribs, and beer-can chicken.

We ordered an array a plates to share, starting out with the Basket of Fried Goodness — fried green tomatoes, fried okra, and cornmeal batter-fried pickles. Yum, yum, and yummmm. These were served with a tangy buttermilk dressing for dipping — such a lovely improvement over plain ranch. I washed this down with a house-made cream ale, and liked how mild, smooth, and lightly carbonated it was.

In addition to the beers brewed in-house, beer by the can is also on offer for about $2.50 a pop. I thought this was a nice feature in a few ways. First, choice is good. Not everyone loves a microbrew. Some of us really love our Blatz or our Pabst, and if you find yourself in that camp, you’d be in luck at the BT. Second, the aesthetics of a beer can + barbecue are not to be underestimated. It’s an iconic pairing, like Gatorade and a winning football coach. And there’s a practical side of this pairing: barbecue is food you eat with your hands, and it’s a lot easier, I’d venture, to grasp a can with saucy fingers than a pint glass. But I digress.

We shared the following dishes for dinner: the Carolina Pulled Pork with grits and greens; a cornmeal waffle with creamed mushrooms (a nice vegetarian spin on chicken and waffles); some sliders with cheese and “special sauce” served in a basket with fries; and a side of uncommonly good mac & cheese. Despite the food not being quite as hot as we’d like, everything tasted fresh and homemade–delicious, even. This is not elegant fare, to be sure, and I like that the restaurant is not trying to be too fancy, retro, or cute. It’s laid back without being lazy.

I was able to snap a few decent shots of the sliders and the pulled pork. Take a look:
pulled pork, grits, greens

If we could make a few recommendations to the BT: while we generally are ok with a dark bar, the tables in the front room where we sat were oddly lit. (I offer the pictures above as evidence.) Two people were sitting in very dark seats, and the other two had a spotlight shining down on them; it was a little distracting. And we also thought it bizarre that there is nowhere to hang coats. Winter is coming to the SeMi (southeast Michigan, natch); we need hooks for our Patagonia and our Northface. We might be enjoying the Carolina fare, but we are regrettably not in a Carolina climate.

These minor things aside, we were in agreement that the Blue Tractor scored high marks on its opening night. Our server struck the right note between friendly and efficient; our wallets weren’t too much lighter when we left; and our bellies were very full. But don’t take my word for it: the buzz seems to be growing. Videos of the place have been posted on Flickr. (Check them out for a quick tour of the space and better shots of the food than my pics above.) The hoisting of the Blue Tractor sign was covered recently by The Ann Arbor Chronicle. And just this morning I noticed that someone already posted a missed connection on Craigslist. The Blue Tractor has arrived.

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