Aug 25, 2010

Pecan Raisin French Toast, and a Love Affair with Ann Arbor

This morning, I did something I never do.  I took myself out to breakfast.  I don't do it because I feel self-conscious, but I'm hungry and pregnant and yesterday was my birthday, so calories still don't count.

This morning I walked to Zingerman's and thoroughly enjoyed their Pecan Raisin French Toast with Michigan maple syrup.  I was once again reminded of the marvels of REAL maple syrup.  While I want to use half a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth's on my waffles before I feel satisfied, one or two tablespoons are more than enough to make two large slices of French toast sing.  Simply amazing, and I will be full until dinner.

The view from my solitary table.  If you know me, you know that I covet Zingerman's.  It's just a happy place and the food is guaranteed to be extraordinary.

I was waiting for a dear friend, and fellow "magically hip mother", Claudette, to pick me up for my birthday lunch, and decided to take a picture of one of my mom's plant creations.  Notice the pot with painted pears and the wee little fairy bird house.  This is how she decorates her entire world; every nook and cranny has a whimsical surprise, but you need to be quiet enough to really look.  She's amazing.

Claudette introduced me to Logan, and I am so very glad she did.  I had their roasted asparagus, mushroom and gruyere sandwich, and it was life affirming.  I LOVE when a restaurant is THOUGHTFUL:  Each component was perfectly seasoned.  No salt shaker needed.  I will be going back, and I will be taking family with me!

For my birthday dinner, sister took me out to The Blue Nile.  It did not disappoint.  I was telling a friend today who inquired about what I like about Ethiopian food that it has everything I love about Indian food (lentils, veggies, stewed meats...) with none of the stuff I hate about Indian food (too pungent, too sweet, whole seeds crunching in my teeth, too milky...).

We were very, very full, but not too full to enjoy this:

Cake Nouveau is a relatively new cake joint just down the street from my parents house.  I sampled their vanilla cupcake, lemon meringue cupcake, and blueberry, almond and birthday cake "truffles" (remember my oreo truffles?  Similar idea).  I have to be honest and say I was not blown away.  Flavors weren't pronounced and the cake was very dry and a bit hard.  Didn't stop me from eating most it, though!

The remainder of this post is dedicated to my love of Ann Arbor.  I took these on my walk through downtown this morning.  I can only say that this is my HOME.  Los Angeles is where I live, where my lovely husband is, where my lovely apartment is, where my lovely friends are, where my incredible support system is, where my amazing work opportunities abound...but my home is here.  My dream is to summer here, and let LA be LA for the rest of the year (must admit I am very excited to be delivering my boy in January, and be able to WALK him to the Farmer's Market the same month).

I give you Ann Arbor...and this is me.

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