Thursday, November 29, 2012

Ann Arbor, MI - Blue Tractor BBQ & Brewery; Not bad BBQ, but not great either, could be so much better. Being their own microbrew, I was surprised that they were out of one of their blond beers. It was nice of the server to bring over a sample of another beer to try, even though I ended up not liking it.

We started with the pickle chips, because I'm a sucker for fried pickles. The chips are nice, but I prefer full pickle wedges. They are nice and tart, stronger vinegar than I normally like. The batter is better than other places. It's a nice beer batter that sticks will to the slices.

I thought the ribs were okay, well seasoned and sauced and importantly tender. However, the pulled pork and brisket were very dried out. The brisket didn't have any of that delicious unhealthy fat to keep it juicy and flavorful. It's all been removed and the meat suffers from this butchery. The pulled pork seemed as though it had been removed from the slow cooking process earlier and pulled apart, then left off to the side to dry out instead of to order. The balsamic beans had a nice flavor to them and I wouldn't do any adjustments there. This also applies for the grits as well, cheesy and a slight gritty texture that grits delivers.

It looks like a neat place to try again and hope that the meats are a little better. I'm hopeful for the pulled pork, but I'm guessing their brisket is going to stay that way because of how they cut it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

 Ferndale, MI - Komodo Kitchen; Komodo is an amazing Indonesia pop-up. You will almost question whether if the food you receive is really from a pop-up or from a well seasoned restaurant with a vast amount of experience.

It's extremely difficult to get tickets for the dinner, but if you do, you'll enjoy every moment. Usually when the email goes out about their upcoming dinner, about 10 minutes later, they are sold out. When you receive the email, don't waste any time, register immediately.

So now that you rushed in a panic to register, you've been waiting for it with anticipation. The dinner began with Sate Tahiti Cantik which was tofu skewered with a sweet lime dressing presented on top of a crispy prawn krupuk with their peanut sauce. When you took one bite off the skewer capturing all the elements, each component played a symphony together cooperating with each other to create a perfectly balanced dish. The peanut sauce that has now dripped off onto the crispy prawn krupuk, which is a shrimp flavored starchy puffy cracker that helps soak up the sauces and give a nice crunch to finish off the appetizer.

Between the appetizer and dinner they served pandan tea, a jasmine tea with palm sugar syrup. What a nice drink to cut through the appetizer flavor to clean the palate. I first thought we only get this glass, but we could continue to order it through the meal. The palm sugar nicely sweetens the drink, but not too much. Just right.

The entree was longing sayur sunda, which inclided green papaya, asian long bean, coconut milk, spicy banal egg, Michigan shrimp sauteed in samba. It was served with jasmine rice medallions, acar salad, and tempeh to accompany the broth, adding heartiness. The curry milk broth was spectacular, seasoned so well and flavorful. The vegetables were cooked perfectly still with a tiny crunch to them, but not over cooked. The shrimp were fantastic, cooked perfectly, and to my surprise was from Michigan! Wow, shrimp here in MI, never would have thought of that. The salad just the right tart to it so help balance the coconut curry and with the jasmine rice in the dish, it was really nice to soak up that broth.

Lastly, the java lava for dessert. Wow, a fantastic way to end the meal. It was wonderfully soft and smooth, yet crunchy at the top with the cashews.

The whole meal's conception and execution was spot on and I look forward to the next meal if I'm fast enough to purchase tickets.