Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dinner at Zingerman's Roadhouse

For our 10th wedding anniversary dinner Brad and I drove over to the "big city" and had dinner at one of our favorite places. Zingerman's Roadhouse specializes in upscale American comfort food using seasonal, heirloom ingredients.

What that means is, I can go some where a whole lot nicer, than a place known for its iconic golden arch and not have to worry about the meals being too fancy-dancy for Miss. Picky eater...and by that I mean me and not the four year old. While the decor is decidedly Roadhouse mixed with kitch, it's still upscale with the prices adjusted accordingly.

They DO have a kids menu so while we left the chicklet with a babysitter we could've brought her. But as you parents all know, sometimes you need a little couple time. It's actually very kid friendly; ER's been there before. Dress is casual with lots of good conversation is going on all around you, which is handy to help drown out the loud noises your own rowdy child might or might not be making. Plus the multitude of colorful salt and pepper shaker sets displayed around the Roadhouse, yes I'm serious, are fun for them to look at.
We tried a new appetizer these, Spicy Sweet Onion Rings: Spicy batter-fried Spanish onions, served with house-made spicy ketchup. Which might have been a bad thing, because now I won't ever want to get anything else. Thinner and with a light batter they are surprisingly ungreasy.

Next time I need my own order, because, it would be unseemly to slap my husband's hand as he reaches for another, it was after all our anniversary dinner, so I refrained...this time. I asked for a side of their homemade Ranch dressing to dip them in and it was so good I could have drank it. The fresh herbs in it take it to a completely different level of wonderfulness.

Oh and that basket back there, that was full of tasty sourdough, probably from their bakehouse. Very good, that I HAD to indulge in a few slices, which were totally worth the carb splurge as it's the best sourdough I've had since leaving San Francisco.I have had a hankering for chili and not the kind that's overly tomato based, yick - see, I told you I was picky. The Ancho Beef Chili: Handcut Corman Farm grass-fed beef with black beans in ancho chili broth, was exactly what I had in mind. The spice was just right and it was very robust, plus I just love black beans. I could've used a little, and by that I really mean a lot more, green onions on top.

I got a giant sized bowl, seriously I don't think you can tell from the picture but it was HUGE, that was very filling. Brad helped me eat some there and we still had leftovers to bring home. Next time I know to order a cup. To go with my manly beefy chili, I got something lighter. Tomato and Mozzarella Salad: Cornman Farms sliced heirloom tomatoes (cherokee purple, brandy wing, green german or green zebra) served with fresh mozzarella and olive oil. Isn' it pretty? The coolness of the tomatoes paired really well with spice of the chili.

Whoever added the pepper did so with a heavy hand, which would've been perfect for my brother Dave, but I could've used a little less. But freshly cracked pepper often comes with tomatoes so I expected it, and scraped it off to the side just as planned.

Tomatoes were incorporated into several salads and entrees, it is the height of the season here in Michigan after all. I wanted to try several but that chili was calling my name so I settled for this simple but elegant salad.Brad got the Pit-Smoked Beef Brisket: Niman Ranch beef, pit-smoked then braised ‘til it’s very tender. Served with Alex's Red Rage Tomato BBQ Sauce, mashed potatoes (from local farmers!) and Southern-style braised greens (made with lots of bacon and ham hock). He's not cooperating with me right now so I can't tell you exactly what he thinks. He did rave about the potatoes and cleaned the plate of all the brisket so I think it was a success.

All except the greens, those were definitely not appreciated. I think it might be because neither of us were raised eating braised greens but we both took the "I'll try it," bite and then no more.
What's a celebration without dessert? How 'bout a fried donut sundae? Yep, you guessed it. We cleaned the plate. All in all a wonderful dinner out, Brad and I joked that without the kiddo along we might have nothing to say, but we managed to converse quite pleasantly the whole time. Which was nice, I'm glad we hadn't forgotten how to talk for long periods, uninterrupted, LOL!

The only disappointment, and this was quite minor, was that our server wasn't quite as outgoing and friendly as they have been in the past. It used to be that if you mentioned you were trying to decide between two things they'd bring out a little sample to help make up your mind. Heck the last time I went for dessert with my friend our waiter brought out some other sweet things for us to try without being asked. But she didn't offer anything this time, but maybe that's a sign of the times. The economy in the area is kinda in the tank, unfortunately:( But we had a lot of fun and left stuffed anyway, plus I didn't really need any corn dogs...but I really wanted them, just a bite or two☺


12 Friends Said:

Terrell said...

YUMMM! This all looks deeelish! I'm your newest follower of your super fun blog and would love to have you visit Frou Frou Decor..I love new friends!
~Terrell @ FFD~

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Happy Anniversary!! What a milestone!!!

Nom, nom, nom... everything looks so tasty!

kathy said...

Happy Anniversary. The meal looks great I want some of those onions. You also reminded me to make some chilli once school starts. Btw I can't believe you ordered beans on your anniversary dinner, was it to get even for the onion rings?

eriochrome said...

It was a wonderful evening. I just have my own food issues and everything is just Ok. The mash was good as were the onion rings. The sauce on the beef was not to my taste and the greens were down right inedible.

LaVonne said...

Doughnut sundae? Yummy! That sounds great.

Happy Anniversary. We just celebrated our 11th this month. Congratulations.

Thank you for stopping by my blog. Stop by again anytime.


Nicole said...

That food looks so yummy! I am so glad that you got a night out with your sweetie:)

Jenny said...

What a fun dinner you all had! Happy 10th Anniversary!

I've never had anyone bring out samples, that's a cool idea though. Bummer you didn't get that service this time.

Nichol said...

Wow! Those dishes look huge, I bet you were both stuffed. I always wish I like tomatoes because they always look amazing, especially with fresh mozzarella. Oh well, I'm kinda picky too. Weird too because I love tomato soup, ketchup, tomato sauces/purees, diced tomatoes etc...just not fresh! Glad you two had some alone time, and have a great anniversary:)

RoS said...

Everything looks WONDERFUL - including the greens. Some of us have more varied palates than others! LOL! :)

Deb (Two Cheeky Monkeys) said...

Congratulations on 10 years!!! Looks like the two of you had a great child-free night out. :)

Donene said...

Happy Anniversary and the food looks delicious! Thanks for your nice comments!

Michelle @ Flying Giggles said...

Yum! I am not sure if we have that restaurant here in Cali. I am going to look into it. Those onion rings look good, by the description, I am not sure if they are something I would have ordered, but now, I want to try!

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