Well hello! It’s been a few days since my last post. Last week I was feeling under the weather and didn’t do a lot of cooking, but I do have a few things to share from the past few days. Here’s what I have been up to:
On Wednesday, I went downtown for lunch to try one of the new eateries located in Mark’s Carts food courtyard. I love living in a city with lots of unique dining options! Our cart destination was San Street, as Wednesday (the day I went!) was their opening day. You might remember that I had the opportunity to try a Banh Mi at Zingerman’s not long ago, and this sandwich was created by Kristen, the owner of the San Street cart, who I also got to briefly meet a second time here at the cart. San Street is backed by Zingerman’s, and so has been dominating the Ann Arbor foodie news scene the last few days!
Mark’s Carts is an outdoors courtyard area filled with various new food carts. Here is a picture of the San Street cart. Note their ninja mascot sitting above the menu – he is too cute! It was lightly sprinkling outside, but there is a covered area you can hang out in, in case of rain or hot sun.
On San Street’s opening day menu were Steamed Pork Buns, served up for four bucks a piece. I had two for a decently-sized lunch. The menu describes these as, “Roasted pork, hoisin sauce, quick pickled cucumbers, scallion ginger sauce.” This was the first time I’ve ever had a sticky bun, and oh my. It was love at first nom. As far as the filling, it was really good! The pork was tender and the sauces were tangy and delicious. The cucumber added a fresh, vinegary kick. A drizzle of Sriracha was the perfect accompaniment. Yum!
Thursday Dinner + Cupcakes
A Whole Foods salad bar dinner:
Ginormous salad with all sorts of goodies: baby greens, tons of bell peppers, broccoli, carrots, walnuts, spicy peanutty tofu, green onions, sweet potato. Below, I had a tiny box of mini scoops from the hot bar as well (I loved an Indian-spiced chickpea dish I tried!), and split this brownie with the huz.
Friday I was on the road to recovery, in terms of the endless cold I had last week, and so for dinner we decided to try Marnee Thai, located on Main Street. We started with an assortment of Mixed Appetizers, including crispy fried jumbo shrimp, spring rolls, Larb tod (“ground chicken with ground toasted rice, mint leaves, shallots, green onion”), and chicken and beef satay. On the side we also had four sauces: peanut, cucumber vinegar, plum, and a hot red spicy sauce. These were all really good!
For my main dish I ordered the Lotus Tofu, described as “A hearty stew with fried tofu, chicken, crabmeat, shrimp, asparagus, shiitake mushroom, green onion, bell pepper, carrot and oyster sauce.”
-Lots of delicious veggies: asparagus, carrot, bell pepper, green onion
-Delicious chicken and shrimp
-Sauce was not bad (but incredibly bland)
-Tofu was pure mush! I couldn’t even eat the tofu. I like a nice crisp exterior on tofu, and that was not the case.
-Not enough shrimp (though the two I had were very large, and delicious)
-Super mild: I ordered this “medium” heat level, and it was incredibly mild. Not even a hint of hotness.
-Crabmeat described in menu was no where to be found.
The huz ordered Pad Thai. His was much hotter than mine, despite the fact that we both ordered our dishes “medium” heat level.
All in all, Marnee Thai was okay. The downtown location is nice, the service was good, and the interior was pretty, but the food was nothing to write home over. I might give it one more try.
Dessert at Cupcake Station was, as always spectacular. I think this Chocolate Cherry cupcake is my favorite one I’ve tried to date!:
Saturday Breakfast + Dinner
I tried two meatless Morningstar veggie sausages – they were actually pretty good! I also scrambled some eggs with pepper jack cheese and red and green bell pepper, and made two slices of French toast with light bread.
Hot diggities!! My ideal hot dog is 33% hot dog, 33% raw onion, and 33% sweet relish. Oh, and maybe a bun; not required though.
Today I engaged in a big outdoor project: buying and planting flowers in my yard! It was actually quite the undertaking, done solo. I purchased my flowers at The Produce Station in Ann Arbor this year. All of these flowers I planted in pots, except for the hanging basket.
Pink double impatiens, Merlot ivy geraniums.
Zinnias! This is the third year in a row I’ve planted these.
Lovely hanging basket.
A few pots for the backyard deck.
I still may move a few pots around (like the precariously placed stand beside the front door), but all in all I’m happy with my day’s labor!
Chipotle Black Bean Chili
Recipe from Taste of Home
While I was outside in the 87 degree heat, inside my slow cooker was heating dinner. This morning, I threw all the ingredients in for this smoky chili:
- black beans
- fire-roasted diced tomatoes
- chopped onion and green pepper
- diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (adds amazing smoky heat)
- garlic, cumin, oregano
- beef stew meat chunks (beef chuck roast)
Cook on low 7-9 hours. This is definitely the best.chili.I’ve.ever.made! The flavor was quite bold, smoky, and rich, with a medium heat level. So good! I topped the chili with pepper jack cheese and light sour cream and served Asiago Pesto bread from Great Harvest on the side. (Why do I not buy bread here more often!? It is SO GOOD!) Definitely one of the best dinners I’ve made in a long time. Plus there are enough leftovers for a second dinner this week!
Chipotle Black Bean Chili Rating: 9/10
This recipe is a keeper.
Currently listening to: Cornflake Girl – Tori Amos.