Despite the fact that rain derailed some of our initial plans, the a2eatwrite family had a good staycation last week.
There were a variety of culinary things we wanted to do, but honestly, after fitting in just a few of them, we decided to save others for later, just because we’re not really used to that much rich food.
We always see staycations as a chance to “splurge” in our hometown.
What do we do on staycations that we don’t usually do?
Well, one thing we don’t do frequently is eat out. We had a list of places we wanted to try: Neehee’s in Canton, courtesy of a great post by Kitchen Chick, burgers at The Sidetrack in Ypsi, one of Sparrow Market’s “Feast” dinners, The Grange Kitchen and Bar (see the great post on The Grange Kitchen and Bar by The Farmer's Marketer), and the last German Park Picnic of the season.
Neehee’s was a total delight, but Kitchen Chick gave a fairly comprehensive overview of Neehee’s so I’ll let her speak to that. I will say that our favorites were Papdi Chaat (crunchy puffed rice with potatoes, chilis, yogurt and chutneys) and the cheese Uttapam (a rice pancake with fresh mozzarella cheese, dipped in chutneys. We’d also second Kitchen Chick’s appraisal of the saffron-pistachio (kesar pistachio) ice cream - it was simply out of this world. I’ve included the Neehee’s link here, but while it was working fine a couple of days ago, it’s having problems today - just keep trying.
I still can’t believe that The Sidetrack has been on our radar all these years, and yet we’d never been there. If you love burgers, this is the place to go. Well, actually, we are rich in great burgers in Washtenaw county - I can’t slight Blimpy Burgers on one end of the spectrum nor those at Zingerman's Roadhouse (especially as the Monday night special with a fabulous tossed salad). If you like thick, cooked-to-order burgers, The Sidetrack brings back memories of burgers gone by. I loved my toppings of grilled onions and swiss, my husband loved his sliders with goat cheese and roasted red peppers, my mom followed my lead, but had cheddar instead of swiss, and my son was equally happy with bacon and cheddar. Not only were these burgers voted one of the top twenty in the country by GQ magazine, but there is an insane of topping combinations that can be derived from the menu. We also enjoyed a basket of fried dill pickles, which we thought were loads better than the fries.
German Park was great fun, if a little cold. The lines were apparently longer than they’d ever been, perhaps thanks to notice by German Park Picnic and a review in August's Ann Arbor Observer. Part of my varied ethnic background is Bavarian, and that part of me was delighted with the bratwurst, spatzen and sauerkraut. Music, schuhplatter dances and parades helped the evening, as did the good company of friends and some mean games of Sequence.
After The Sidetrack, we decided to hold off on the Grange Kitchen and Bar for another time, as we’d already decided that the bar menu was more friendly for our sixteen-year-old and our wallets, and we felt like we were done with the rich foods (um
except for that German Park Picnic) by the time late week rolled around.
As for the Sparrow South American Market Feast, it was incredible. In fact, it was so incredible that it merits its own post, which will be up later this week.
Our other culinary experiences were our traditional, staycation cheese and chocolate dinner, courtesy of “cheese ends” from Whole Foods Market (there is a basket of small cheese pieces where you can gain maximum choice for minimal buck right near the “cracker” section in the Washtenaw Whole Foods), daily tomato sandwiches with farmers market tomatoes, and a family sushi-making night.
Our other activities included geocaching, park walks, lots of reading, exploration of the new U. of M. Museum of Art, several rounds of Kill Dr. Lucky, and a viewing of Bride and Prejudice (to accompany our feast from Neehee's), too many episodes of “Angel”.
If you had a staycation this summer, how did you spend it?