Thursday, November 20, 2014

My Year in Food: Nick's Country Oven, November 19, 2014

Jeannene got home from work later than she expected last night. We are hosting her management team for a Practice Thanksgiving dinner on Saturday, so we had a date to have supper out, then go to the grocery. It was blowing snow and was quite cold. I didn't want to be traipsing all over the place, so I just drove to the grocery, thinking we might just get our shopping done, then head over to The Village of Rochester Hills to eat at one of the restaurants there.

However, when I pulled into the parking lot, I remembered that I have been curious about Nick's Country Oven, in that plaza. I pass it all the time, but have never ventured inside. It looks like a mom & pop place, the sort it had become hard to find in my old neighborhood, but which are all over the place in the Detroit Metro. Poor Jeannene thought, from where we were parking, that I was dragging her to the Chinese place and groaned mightily. She really has to be in the mood for Asian food. She was so relieved when I pointed to Nick's, instead.

When we walked in, our waitress took us to a corner tucked away in the back of the restaurant. They were only 45 minutes from closing, but she showed no sign of being annoyed that we had come into the restaurant. Instead, she chose a booth for us based on where it was the warmest and let us know she'd just made a fresh pot of coffee. We both gladly accepted a cup and, when she brought it, she brought French vanilla creamer along with the regular half & half, saying she thought it just adds a little extra coziness on a cold night.

She made some great recommendations and was quite personable. She also really reminded us of someone and we spent most of the meal trying to figure it out. Jeannene had the Monterey chicken, deliciously juicy grilled chicken topped with Jack cheese and peppers. The rice that came with it was cooked to just the right consistency & served with lots of butter. I had been hankering for meatloaf since my friend, Jill, mentioned she was having it for dinner, so that's what I had. It was good, with a bit of an odd spice that I think may have been allspice. It came with real, lumpy mashed potatoes, a nice change from the blah potatoes I had the other day.

Our waitress told us that our dinners come with a free dessert and asked if we might like some tapioca pudding, noting that it was homemade. Well, there was nothing about a free dessert in the menu, so I think she was just being kind. We both agreed to tapioca, which neither of us has very often. It was very clearly made in-house and was just delicious! When our waitress brought our food, it struck me who she reminded me of---Sandra Bullock! But, even more, a cross between Sandra Bullock and Anna Paquin. She was really pleasant to talk to and responded well to our comments about her resemblance to the stars. We got into a conversation about how to find time for reading when you're raising kids. It was a really good experience. Not fine dining whatsoever, but good food and good service!

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