Tuesday, November 18, 2014

My Year in Food: Beignets, Rosie O'Grady's, and Bagels, November 15, 2014

Oh, the perils of waiting too long to eat lunch! Saturday morning, I had every intention of making chocolate gingerbread waffles for our breakfast, but Jeannene had had her coffee and was raring to go! So, a cozy breakfast in was not in the cards. Instead, we ventured out for our first excursion to Detroit's Eastern Market, the oldest historic market in the U.S., in operation in its present location since 1891. Jeannene works so hard during the week that she always likes to have some magnificent fun planned for the weekend. I'd asked my Facebook friends for cool stuff going on over the weekend and Susan, a foodie like myself, suggested Eastern Market.

When we arrived, we were delighted to find a food truck specializing in beignets & coffee! It's called Beignets 2 Go and rumor has it they'll be opening a café in Hamtramck before too long. They're generally at Eastern Market on Saturdays, from what I hear, and, having recently been to New Orleans and (over?)indulged in trips to Café du Monde, I can say that these, while not of the C du M caliber, are very, very good. It's probably not such a good thing that we've discovered this food truck, frankly. We split an order (so, 2 apiece) and each got coffee, as well, before wandering around the market.

I was almost immediately sorry I'd gotten coffee, as the first several stands we came across were fruit stands with splendid-smelling hot spiced cider, which would have been lots more festive than coffee. However, the very first thing I spotted just about made me leap in the air with a celebratory whoop! The very first stand we saw had baskets of gorgeous Winesaps!!! I have such a hard time finding this, my favorite apple, and there they were, in glorious display before me. Of course, I had to buy some. We found lots of other beautiful local produce to buy, as well, and also picked up some tasty frozen turkey burgers. I debated a bittersweet and grapevine wreath, but decided that we're close enough to December that we might as well wait for a Christmas wreath. Next year, I'll get a fall wreath earlier.

We were both hungry for real food before long at all, but wanted to finish poking around the market. I probably should have just gotten something from the mac & cheese truck. Who doesn't love mac & cheese? By the time we had finished our market excursion, I figured the crowds at the nearby restaurants would have thinned out, it being 3 p.m. We stepped into the heavenly scent of Supino's for a slice of pizza, only to discover a huge line. We were hungry enough that we didn't want to wait, so we moved on to our next stop, the Rust Belt Market in downtown Ferndale.

We'd not yet had a chance to check out this little shopping area, except for a quick ice cream run I made over the summer, to Treat Dreams (which is no Jeni's, but is delicious, anyway). We were pleased to see that there are a bunch of interesting dining choices and happily made our way into Local Kitchen & Bar. We waited and waited to be seated, with nobody in sight, until finally a pair of ladies who'd just finished their lunch informed us that they thought the restaurant closed between lunch and dinner. This was also the case with our first choice, Assaggi, as well as Star of India. Not wanting to go to Buffalo Wild Wings when we could eat someplace that doesn't exist in our town & not being in the mood for Thai or Chinese food, we chose Rosie O'Grady's by default.

This was an error. Perhaps it was an off day or perhaps we were too hungry to like anything we got, but it wasn't very impressive. There was nothing horrible about it. It was simply meh. When my "Autumn Dude" cocktail, which was meant to be like a White Russian, but with Kahlúa Pumpkin Spice (the pumpkin spice hater crew will, at this point in my narrative) insist that I should know better than to order such an abomination), turned out to be mostly vodka with a splash of milk (and sloppily presented, at that), our lumbersexual hipster waiter seemed annoyed with me for mentioning it, even though he told me when it was delivered that nobody at the bar seemed to know how to make it. Luckily, when the manager gave it to the regular bartender to try, he was appalled & made it properly for me.

Lunch was not much better. Again, it wasn't horrible. But. Our Buffalo chicken crisps (in wonton wrappers) had a great flavor, but a texture oddly reminiscent of pre-chewed baby bird food. My chili was not particularly hot and was watery around the edges and my mashed potatoes tasted rather like instant. They arrived with no gravy at all and, when I inquired, our waiter informed me that they don't come with gravy. I could have sworn I had seen gravy in combination with mashed potatoes somewhere on the menu, so I mentioned that. He said, "Oh, our gravy is designed to go with the chicken & biscuits, so it's a chicken gravy, not a brown gravy. It doesn't go with the mashed potatoes." Well, clearly if I am weird enough to be ordering mashed potatoes and an order of chili for my lunch, I don't really care what kind of gravy it is! I didn't, however, press it. Jeannene's patty melt was fine (not epic, by any means) and her parmesan garlic fries were cold and greasy. So, all edible-ish, but nothing particularly good. It's a damn shame so many of the eating spots along that strip close between lunch and dinner.

When we left the Rust Belt Market, where I saw scads of crafts I didn't understand and for which I am probably not hip enough and several I really dug (including really lovely handmade tiles, a vendor with all kinds of book-related coolness---Heaven Sent Crafts, and McClary Bros. Handcrafted Drinking Vinegars, whose Apple Pie vinegar I have been enjoying the last couple of days), I took Jeannene to a wonderful grocery store my mom & I discovered last week called Nino Salvaggio in Troy. We had a grand time!

On the way home, we considered what to do about dinner. We were both worn out and it was clear that nobody was going to be cooking. Further, we'd had such a late lunch that neither of us was super hungry. However, we were a little hungry. I suggested that we could either stop by Olive Garden for soup & salad or just have bagels at home. We'd gotten some fabulous-smelling rosemary-olive oil bagels from The Detroit Institute of Bagels stand at the Eastern Market. I was delighted when Jeannene said she'd rather just go home because it meant that I got to have mine, with cream cheese, for dinner. She had yogurt with granola and nuts. Not a terribly well-rounded eating day, but that bagel was stellar! I can't wait to try some of their other flavors, as well!!!

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