Scenes from the Summer

 

It’s hard to believe it’s already mid August. I feel like Memorial Day was mere days ago, yet here we are facing the end of yet another summer season. The summertime always seems to be chock full of fun events, quick vacations, and for me, very little time spent in the kitchen. Cozy nights of baking are few and far between in favor of evening walks with my best friend Anne, or quick adventures to new restaurants and breweries with Eric. So instead of a recipe, today I thought I would share a few photos showing what I’ve been up to these last few months. And not to worry, as soon as the temperatures start to cool, I will find my way back to the kitchen for plenty of new recipes and stories.

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Dancing the night away at Kerri’s Wedding

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Winery Tour in Traverse City, Michigan

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Seared Salmon with Shrimp Pesto Risotto at Palate in Petosky, Michigan #bestthingieverate

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My mama and some Mackinaw Island fudge

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Bridesmaid Dress shopping with my beautiful best friends. Only missing our Leona!

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Finally getting to see my best friend Lo perform her original music. ❤ LoJo and the Truth!

Falling Down Brewery

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As I mentioned once before, Eric and I are on a mission to visit every brewery in Michigan, and this weekend we knocked another one off our list. And our trip to Falling Down Brewery in Warren was a perfect example of finding a diamond in the rough. Falling Down Brewery opened about a month ago, and though it doesn’t look like much from the outside, it was absolutely fantastic. I’ll be honest, when we drove up to the brewery, I was pretty skeptical. Eric commented that the building must have been a McDonald’s at one time because it certainly looked like one…even down to the plastic marquee outside. But as soon as we sat down and were given the menu, we had a feeling there might be a little more than meets the eye. And boy we were right. We started with flights of beer, which is always such a fun way to sample all of their brews without…as the brewery name implies..falling down at the end of the night. We got to try 2 oz samples of all 4 of the beers on tap. My favorite was the Amber Ale which was an American Amber with a slightly carmel taste to it. And though we liked the beer, what we really loved was the food. The menu consisted of mostly fun and unique sandwiches that packed in a ton of flavor. My choice was the spicy chicken sandwich:

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The Spicy Chicken was blackened rotisserie chicken, topped with bacon, arugula, avocado and spicy Sriracha aioli. The sandwich had so many different layers of flavor and textures. And served with tangy cole slaw and house made chips, this dinner hit the spot. We kept saying we would definitely have to come back to sample some of the other menu items. Like the BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders or the Cuban Sandwich. The fun thing about our little Michigan Brewery Challenge is that we probably never would have given this spot a second glance but is definitely a place we will most likely visit again. A hidden gem with good beer and good food is a great spot in my book. Happy Sunday!

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Recent Eats: 4-7-13

 

 

I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! Mine was full of lots of relaxing, baseball, and a long run by the lake. Can’t get much better than that. But before we start another work week, I thought I would share some more “recent eats”

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1. Last Monday night, Eric and I decided to combat the Monday blues with a quick dinner date. One of the perks of working a few blocks from each other is that it gives us the chance to meet up right after work and try out some of the new spots Downtown. This week we tried Mercury Bar in Midtown. They are known for their burgers and milkshakes, and since I’m not a huge burger gal, I was happy to see a black bean burger on their menu. It’s served topped with sliced avocado, chipotle mayo and fresh made pickles. My burger was slightly spicy and full of flavor. And Eric? He of course got his classic choice of a cheeseburger. Typical boy.

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2. This has become my favorite weekday meal. A baked sweet potato with a touch of coconut oil, roasted brussels sprouts and chicken sausage. All of these come together in a flash, perfect for a quick meal after a long day.

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3. Chicken Noodle Soup at Mati’s Deli. Eric recently took me to this old school deli in his hometown, and I could not stop raving about their soup. You could tell it was homemade from the extra flavorful stock and the soft and chewy homemade noodles. So, so good. I have a feeling we will definitely be returning here soon.

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4. Friday was Opening Day for the Detroit Tigers, and seeing as I work at the closest hotel to the ballpark, it was a really fun day at work. Baseball season is a crazy busy time for the hotel, so they had ballpark hot dogs brought in for the entire staff to kick off our busiest time of year. It was like having a taste of summer for lunch. Hopefully the weather will follow suit!

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5. This isn’t really an “eat” but it was definitely worth sharing. Eric and I recently set a fun challenge for ourselves-we are going to try to visit every brewery in Michigan. And seeing as Michigan has seen a huge growth in breweries the past couple years, I have a feeling this challenge may take us a while. But since we were near Ferndale running some wedding related errands, we decided to visit Woodward Avenue Brewers t0 knock one more spot off of our list. I tried their Custom Blonde, which was a light summery beer, and Eric tried the Czech Red. We were both fans of our brews.

So there you have it. A few “Recent Eats” from Miss Petite Sweets. Hope you all enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Dinner at Red Crown

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I live in a relatively small town, so when a new restaurant opens up, pretty much the whole town is abuzz. And that was definitely the case with the newly opened Red Crown. The building started as a Standard Oil gas station but was recently transformed into this trendy new restaurant. Ever since it opened earlier this month, the parking lot has been absolutely packed with new patrons, so my family and I decided to give it a try as well.

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I had heard that the drink menu was going to be quite impressive, and it definitely did not disappoint. They have an extensive wine list and a number of Michigan beers on tap, but it’s their cocktail menu that really jumped out at us. Each cocktail listed a number of different liquors, liqueurs and juices, many of which I had never even heard of. Since my mom and I are not too adventurous when it comes to drinks, we both played it safe with the only vodka cocktail on the menu- The Moscow Mule. This cocktail featured vodka, ginger beer & fresh lime juice and was served in a copper mug. It was so unique and the ginger flavor really shined through. My dad chose a rum based drink that he wasn’t too crazy about, but Sean and Eric both chose the Paper Plane. A drink featuring Maker’s Mark bourbon, aperol, amaro montenegro and lemon juice.

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Next up was dinner. The menu had a mix of barbeque and classic comfort foods like meatloaf and shrimp & grits. We all decided to sample the barbeque and we all ended up very happy with our picks. I chose the Brisket Sandwich which featured spice rubbed brisket and cole slaw served on an onion roll. The brisket was tender and juicy and full of flavor. It was served with delicious fresh cut fries which were right up my alley. In my book, the crunchier the fries, the better, and these were perfect.

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Eric went with the ribs with a a side of mac and cheese. I’ve heard that you can always tell if it’s good barbeque if you don’t need to put extra barbeque sauce on them. Well, Red Crown’s ribs definitely delivered on flavor sans the extra sauce.

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Eric’s meal also came with some delicious cornbread and honey butter, which he let me take a bite of. (what a guy)

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All in all it was a great meal with my favorite people.

Chicken Ciabatta Sandwich with Lemon Garlic Aioli

A few years ago, Eric surprised me with a picnic. He had assembled some of our favorite food, secretly packed it in the car and took me for a drive that ended in a sweet summer picnic. It was pretty perfect. So I thought it was about time I reciprocate. Last Saturday I whipped up these simple, healthy sandwiches and with the addition of some fresh fruit, we had dinner. We chose to eat our little picnic on the water of Lake St. Clair, because let’s face it: You just can’t beat the view.

These sandwiches are filled with lightly marinated chicken breast, fresh spinach and some flavorful touches from the caramelized red onions and Lemon Garlic Aioli. The entire meal was ready within an hour and cost far less than a similar meal from Panera. Proof that simple home cooking can yield delicious results.

Ingredients: Makes 2 large sandwiches

  • 2 ciabatta rolls (found in the bakery aisle of the grocery store)
  • 1 boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup light balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced red onions
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 slices provolone cheese

Lemon Garlic Aioli:

  • 1/4 canola mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, finely chopped

Preparation:

  1. To prepare the chicken, marinate 1 chicken breast in the balsamic vinaigrette in the fridge for about an hour
  2. Next, bake the chicken in a baking dish for about 30-45 minutes (depending upon thickness of chicken) in a 350 degree oven; set aside
  3. To caramelize the red onions, place the thinly sliced onions and olive oil in a small saucepan and let simmer over medium heat until onions are slightly browned and tender
  4. To prepare the aioli, combine all ingredients (mayo through tarragon) and immediately spread on halved ciabatta loaf
  5. Thinly slice the chicken breast and assemble sandwich by layering chicken, spinach, caramelized onions & provolone cheese

Beach Grille Date Night

Hello again!

I apologize for the lack of new recipes this month. All the July baby showers, weddings & golf outings have kept me pretty darn busy at work. But it has not kept me from dreaming up some recipe ideas that I hope to test out soon. In the meantime I hope you all enjoyed the guest post from my lemon cake connoisseur Eric. I know, I know…he’s funny and he makes delicious baked goods. Told ya he was a catch. Anyway, last Friday Eric and I had the chance to go out and “celebrate” our year and a half of dating. Not that we actually care too much about random anniversaries and we are definitely not one of those couples who celebrates every month of dating… We just share the notion that any excuse to go out to eat is worth celebrating. So we chose an occasion and a restaurant. Since it was a beautiful day we decided to go to The Beach Grille on the Nautical Mile. All the restaurants on the Nautical Mile have an awesome view of Lake St.Clair, and if you can withstand the smell of fishflies, it makes for a pretty nice night out. Eric started his night with yet another bowl of French onion soup. Soooo predictable. Just kidding. This soup was delicious. Just look at his happy expression:

And that’s why we get along. The kid gets real excited about food. Plus we have a really great standing agreement that I always get to have the pickle that comes with his sandwich and he always gets the last bite of anything we share. Great relationships 101, folks. Anywho, For dinner I chose the crab cake sandwich and I was not disappointed. The crab cake was pan seared and flavored with fresh lemon. It was light, fluffy and very fresh. I’m not a huge fan of restaurants that deep fry crab cakes because I think it takes away the sweetness and flavor of the crab, but the Beach Grille’s crab cakes were perfect. Plus they were served on an English muffin with cheese…so that didn’t hurt to much either. Well played Beach Grille, well played.

Eric got the Daytona Sandwich, which included  chicken, bacon & cheese. All his favorite foods packed into one lil sammie. It’s like they knew he was coming in. And last but not least…we got a brownie sundae complete with Sander’s fudge. It was awesome. Chocolate layered upon chocolate. Can’t really go wrong. So there we had our wonderful summer date night. Good food and wonderful company. Come back soon for some new recipes!

 

 

 

Wine Tasting & Mitchell’s Street Pub

I love the Midwest. But the only thing better than the Midwest are the friendly people you meet here. We were roaming around Petosky, Michigan, which by the way is the most charming little up north town, and I already … Continue reading