Dishcrawl is a foodie adventure and event that occurs in many cities across the country. I was very excited to have the opportunity to attend the launch of the Ann Arbor Dishcrawl! During the course of one evening, participants travel by foot between four different restaurants in one city, all within walking distance of each other. The identity of the restaurants to be visited is kept secret, until just prior to event, adding an element of intrigue.
On Tuesday evening, the Dishcrawler crowd met at Black Pearl, where the evening commenced. We arrived early to check-in and enjoy a glass of wine before dinner. All tax, tips, and food are included in the price of the ticket, and drinks are separate. I was quite surprised to learn that we would try three dishes at each of the four restaurants we would be visiting – and thus, glad that I had eaten rather lightly earlier in the day!
As always, Black Pearl’s interior was beautiful.
Here, we were treated to:
- Guacamole – Chunky and flavorful, served with hearty homemade-tasting (addictive) tortilla chips. Pretty amazing stuff. But I am greedy and would have liked my own personal plate, rather than a communal plate, on which I could go zombie-style. Just saying.
- Fish Taco – Black Pearl’s most popular item! You know I love these things, having mentioned them several times on the blog (like here and here). I was happy to see the tacos loaded heavily with spicy cabbage slaw. There’s plenty of freshly fried breaded tilapia down there too. Next time I am asking for more chipotle mayo – that stuff is like kryptonite.
- Spare Ribs – This was the ‘dark horse’ item of the evening! Who knew Black Pearl had such amazing ribs!? These were the huz’s favorite item of the evening and I adored them as well. Must go back and order more. The ribs were so meaty and tender, and the thick caramelized coating of sauce simply made the dish.
After roughly 35 minutes at each stop, we strolled to our next place.
Restaurant #2 was the only place I had not ever visited prior to Dishcrawl, so I was super excited that it was included in the evening. That place is….
The owners of What Crêpe? have created a lovely, unique dining space in Ann Arbor, studded with crystal chandeliers juxtaposed with warm reds, purples, and wooden elements.
Our first plate included half of two different savory crêpes, with my favorite of the two being the:
- MUSHROOM MADNESS – “savory blend of mushrooms, swiss, truffle zip” <- This one was FANTASTIC! Swoon-worthy. I love mushrooms.
I also enjoyed:
- THE MEXICAN – chorizo sausage, eggs, cheddar, orange jalapeno sauce
Several diners (including us!) commented on the deliciousness of the sweet jalapeño sauce on the side. What a clever little sauce. It definitely grew on me, as it was a little odd at first. By the end of the meal I was dredging up every last bit of it with my crêpe.
Aaand, we had the pleasure of trying a sweet crêpe filled with custard for dessert. Mmm.
- WHAT? CHOCOLATE ÉCLAIR
By now, the huz and I thought it was time for another round of drinks. Beer for him, and a Paris Manhattan (with gourmet maraschino cherries – none of those neon red things from a jar!) for me. Also we got to meet THE Felix of Café Felix and he was super nice!
The enthusiastic head chef gave us an informative description of each dish we tried, which I appreciated. Our first dish at Felix also happened to be my favorite dish of the evening, which was a healthy salad featured daily on the lunch menu.
- SALADE NIÇOISE – “Artisan field greens, seared ahi tuna, tomato, haricots verts, niçoise olives, potatoes, anchovies, egg, café vinaigrette.”
Yisssssssss. The seared ahi tuna was like, spectacular. Can I say that? It was SO peppery and delightful. Want!
Up next, this lovely presentation. Check out those colors!
- MOULES ET FRITES – large rope-harvested maine mussels.
The broth was amazing.
I loved the special care and attention put into each individual serving and course at Café Felix. All of the food was presented beautifully, and seemed so special.
Our third course was no less beautiful, and even cuter than the previous dishes. Yes, I like cute food. Deal with it.
- RATATOUILLE EN MILLE FEUILLE – Served in a handmade pastry box, tomato red pepper coulis.
Tasting this dish brought me RIGHT BACK to our very first night in Paris last September, when we tried genuine Parisian Ratatouille! Tasty!
My previous visits to Café Felix have mostly been to consume cocktails on Martini Monday or during Artini, but now I really want to go back for more delicious food (TUNA!) and that totally intimate, romantic vibe that Café Felix offers.
The Wafel Shop
Ann Arbor’s newest (and well, only) Wafel Shop was our final stop of the evening; a place I have visited once before, but have not yet had the chance to blog about – until now! For the purposes of this Dishcrawl recap post, I’ll tell you about what we tasted during the event.
The Wafel Shop is just about as cute as can be inside. Certainly a unique little treasure to Ann Arbor.
An owner shared his inspiration for the creation (that’s a lot of -‘tions…) of the shop: tasting real Belgian wafels in Belgium and across Europe, and the virtual love at first wafel nom. (Which reminds me of that unforgettable waffle eaten by the huz and in front of the glittering Eiffel Tower light show in Paris… swoon).
Far left and far right, we have the:
- Liège Wafel – “Dense and chewy, with Belgian pearl sugar.”
On the left the wafel was served with an especially tasty whipped cream (not sweet at all – my style) and berry, and on the right, a simple coating of powdered sugar let the wafel shine.
In the center was my favorite, a chocolate dipped wafel, with very dark chocolate! A perfect end to an evening of awesome food.
All in all the huz and I had a most enjoyable evening! The food was great, across the board, and the portions were very generous. It was also a fun experience to share tasting the same foods with others. I definitely love sharing dining experiences, and it was fun to meet other Ann Arbor food lovers.
Another element of the event that I really liked was that the dishes featured are all regular items on the participating restaurants’ menus – which means diners can return anytime and order their favorite dish again! (Tuna!)
At the end of the evening, it was decided that the huz and I each needed a picture with our Dishcrawl name tags. Say cheese.
The Ann Arbor Dishcrawl Launch was a success, and organizer Gabriela Islas (who is very sweet, by the way!) has already announced the date for the next event, on June 4, 2013. Tickets are available here.
Thanks for a fun evening, Dishcrawl!