What crêpe?, Ann Arbor, Michigan

What crêpe?, Ann Arbor, Michigan

So, last week it was waffles (or wafels) and this week it’s crepes, it looks like I’m on a breakfast treat roll. Although, you can eat lunch at dinner at the new crepe spot in Ann Arbor, as well. I’m actually planning to try dinner there later this week.

Josh and I celebrated our six-year wedding anniversary last weekend the best way we know how, eating our way through the day. We started off at another Ann Arbor newbie in the former Squares location, What crêpe? (I’m going to affectionately refer to this new spot as ‘circles’ for fun). Honestly, I was sad to see Squares go. I thought they had pretty tasty food at a reasonable price for downtown.

What crêpe?, Ann Arbor, Michigan

It was the first weekend What crêpe? was open so it was pretty quiet the morning we arrived. Only a couple of other tables were filled. My first impression was, ‘Wow, look what they’ve done with the place’. The new decor has truly transformed the previous Squares fast food space into a ritzy and posh place to eat. It seems the hip interior follows suit with their other locations based on the photos I’ve seen of the Royal Oak and Birmingham locations. Dark walls and chandeliers are a big part of the ambiance, although if you look closely you may notice they’ve recycled the previous establishment’s chairs (I suppose that’s the ‘green’ thing to do).

There were plenty of staff on hand just in case a crowd showed up, but hostess and waitress were efficient and friendly. They also made a point to cover the days specials. If you look at the menu on their website you’ll get a pretty good idea of what’s available, although the Ann Arbor menu has some differences which they don’t reflect yet on the online version.

What crêpe?, Ann Arbor, Michigan

I was drawn to the Honey Bear crepe, which was filled with peanut butter and graham cracker crumbs, folded into pretty triangles and garnished with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey. It was right up my alley and delicious. I loved the slight texture the graham cracker crumbs gave the filling. I would have liked a few more berries to cut the sweetness of the peanut butter and honey, but aside from that there were no complaints on my end. Josh had a breakfast-burrito-style crepe stuffed with eggs, sausage and a few other goodies. He really enjoyed his dish as well.

Despite the tasty meal, the prices are a touch high for breakfast to make it a regular stop (at least for the less substantial sweet crepes like I had – which are around $12-$14), they might even rival Zingerman’s in that respect. I think a breakfast splurge once in a while is well worth it, but I have a hunch I’d feel more satisfied and feel a better sense of value getting a savory crepe at lunch or dinner for a similar price. They also have a selection of wine and cocktails on the menu if you like that sort of thing. They encouraged us to get a mimosa at 8:30am, but that’s a bit early for me to indulge. I guess my age is showing.

All in all, this was a good start to our celebration of love and food. We made our way back through Ann Arbor by stopping at Mighty Good Coffee for hot chocolate and lattes (the Brown Sugar Sea Salt is a must!), Eastern Accents for some pastries (sadly, closing this weekend), Songbird Cafe for lunch and the Gandy Dancer for dinner.

The Wafel Shop, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Wafel Shop, Ann Arbor, Michigan

I have a fabulous co-worker who used to live in Belgium and when she came to town once brought waffles coated in Belgian chocolate as gifts. They were sugary, crunchy and the chocolate was unbeatable (this coming from non-chocoholic). I’ve been in search of something similar locally ever since. I’ve been a fan of this place called Taste of Belgium at the North Market in Columbus, OH where they make both delicious crepes and waffles, but I wanted something here in Michigan.

The Wafel Shop is another in a series of new restaurants to open in downtown Ann Arbor in the last several months. Josh and I stopped in to The Wafel Shop for a light breakfast this past weekend, the first weekend they were open. Their standard waffles come with butter and powdered sugar, additional toppings are extra. I went with the Liege style waffle because it sounded very similar to what I had been looking for, sugary and crisp with the same dense texture. I added Biscoff spread and fresh raspberries. Josh chose the Brussles Wafel and added peanut butter and banana. To drink I had a caramel latte and Josh had a hot chocolate.

The food and drinks came up quickly, everything seemed well organized and they had the right amount of staff while we were there for the early morning rush. My latte was decent, not as good as some coffee shops in the area, but definitely serviceable. Josh really enjoyed the hot chocolate, and he’s pickier about that type of drink than most.

I loved my waffle. It was thick, crispy on the edges and I could taste the sugar pearls that were inside that give it a real distinction from the typical American waffle. The Biscoff spread was sweet and had that sugar cookie goodness. I was glad I added raspberries because their acidity and tartness were perfect for cutting through the sweetness of the spread so it wasn’t too much. Next time I would leave the butter off, it didn’t add much with the other toppings already adding a richness. I tried a bite of Josh’s waffle and it was tasty too, although not as much flavor in the waffle itself it did have a nice light airy texture. It was good Elvis style with the banana and PB combo.

I would definitely go back, but I think I’d prefer it for a snack or dessert to breakfast. I like more food in the morning and while I commend them for not trying to overreach and do too much, their menu is simple – waffles and drinks. The toppings aren’t enough to fill me up. I think they should continue to keep it simple though. They certainly seem to have mastered these Belgian style waffles and I don’t want to see that change. Dessert is just fine with me!

They also had chocolate covered waffles in a case, why I didn’t get one on the way out is beyond me, especially because it may have been very close to the original Belgian treat my co-worker gave me! Next time for sure.

The Songbird Cafe, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Songbird Cafe, Ann Arbor, Michigan

I have fallen in love with a little cafe in Ann Arbor, Michigan called, The Songbird Cafe. I find reason to stop in at least once a week or so. The staff is very pleasant and efficient and the coffee and food are simple, but delicious.

Their caramel latte is just the way I like it. They don’t skimp on the foam, which tastes like a coffee marshmallow to me! So many places these days only fill the latte with milk and leave off the froth, which is my favorite part when done right (and Songbird does it right!).

Caramel Latte at The Songbird Cafe - Ann Arbor, Michigan | Everydayfoodieblog.com

I know I’m enjoying a great latte when it tastes rich and luxurious even when I order it with skim milk, and that’s exactly what I’ve gotten every time I’ve ordered one at this sweet little cafe. Beezy’s, and now The Songbird Cafe, are my two favorite places in the Ypsi/Ann Arbor area to order an espresso drink.

I’ve also had some tasty food at Songbird, including:  oatmeal cookies, a divine apple hand pie, a simple, but delicious caprese sandwich and breakfast.

For breakfast I always order the green tea muffin with candied ginger and topped with walnuts, their cherry granola yogurt parfait,  a side of fresh fruit and a caramel latte, of course!

The muffin is lightly sweet and heavenly. I love that the walnuts are sprinkled on top so they don’t interfere with the soft texture of the muffin too much. The candied ginger wakes up the taste with a subtle and sweet zing. The granola parfait is made to order in a cute little mason jar. The yogurt is plain Greek yogurt so I usually grab just a touch of honey from the coffee bar to take the edge off. The fruit Songbird serves has always been well picked and absolutely fresh.

Songbird Cafe - Ann Arbor, Michigan | Everydayfoodieblog.com

I also enjoy seeing the love that went into the decor of this little place. I never went into this building when it was the beloved Flim Flam diner, but I imagine it’s quite a bit different inside now than it was then.

You walk in to be greeted by the friendly staff at the coffee counter and the chalkboard with specials of the day (their daily soups are fabulous as well!). The counter has lovely slats of wood and a granite top. The side walls have a touch of exposed brick for a rustic feel.

To the right is the dining area, the open entryway to the seating area is accented on side with a lovely leaded glass door. The tables are plenty with a mix of cushioned benches and simple wooden chairs. Library shelves line the back wall. Light pours in from the front window making for a very comfortable and cozy atmosphere to enjoy some simple, but lovely food.

Cherry Pecan Granola

Cherry Pecan Granola

After eating Mary’s Wild Oats at Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor a number of times I was on a quest to recreate it at home. At $7.50 a pop it’s not cheap to eat granola at their restaurant, but it’s made from inexpensive and easy-to-find ingredients so I figured I could make a similar version myself. I searched the web, but Zingerman’s has not yet parted with their recipe, although their description on the website gave me a enough clues of what ingredients to look for when comparing other recipes. Oats, of course, honey, butter, dried cranberries and whole almonds.

Homemade Granola

Of course, the beauty of making your own granola is that you can adapt it to your tastes, which is what I’ve done here. You can easily change out the choice of nuts, sweeteners and dried fruits to your own favorites. I found a good base recipe on CDKitchen’s website and adapted that to include my favorites. I’ve experimented enough times that my current favorite recipe combo is the recipe below. It includes, pecans, dried cherries, cinnamon and honey. Shhh… but I’d argue that my version is even better than the recipe I was first out to find.

I purchased a yogurt maker a number of months ago, so in addition to making my own granola each week I also make a batch of fresh vanilla yogurt. I also pick up fresh berries or bananas and consistently eat the combination for breakfast every morning. It keeps me full until my workday lunch at noon and I never get bored with it. This past week I made a version with pistachios and maple syrup, also tasty! So, feel free to try different variations until you find the perfect one for you!

Cherry Pecan Granola

Adapted from cdkitchen

  • 4 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey (or other sweetener)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup dried tart cherries

 

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Mix oats, pecans, brown sugar, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl combine oil and honey; you do not need to stir. Microwave for 60 seconds then pour over oats mixture.

Stir oil mixture into oats until it is completely incorporated into the oats mixture. It will still look a little dry. Spread on a large baking sheet covered with parchment paper.

Bake for 40 minutes, stirring carefully every 10 minutes. Let granola cool completely then add to a large Ziploc or other storage container. Mix in dried cherries. Store at room temperature for up to one week.

Back to the Roots – Chelsea, Michigan

Back to the Roots – Chelsea, Michigan

I love that we found a new breakfast place recently, but Back to the Roots is a bit of a destination breakfast for us as it’s located in downtown Chelsea, about 30 minutes from Ypsilanti, where we live. Chelsea is a cute little town with some interesting shops so I don’t mind making the trip. We’ve been to this restaurant  four times since we first discovered it about 2-3  months ago.

Back to the Roots Caramel Latte

Back to the Roots is right off Main Street in the center of downtown. Don’t be fooled when you first walk in as you’ll see the store portion of their business, keep on walking toward the back and you’ll be greeted by a member of their friendly staff who will ask if you’ll be dining in their cafe.

They set themselves apart from other businesses in the area  by donating a portion of their proceeds to benefit social justice issues around the world and in the surrounding communities.

I’ve had both their French toast and the buttermilk pancakes. While the French toast is pretty tasty, it’s also very simple. The pancakes are my favorite because they’re topped with a lovely, not-too-sweet apple-raisin compote with spices that make the dish taste like a bite of autumn, my favorite season.

They also have a coffee bar in the front, so you can order a fresh latte or cappuccino with your hot breakfast. I can attest that they serve a mean caramel latte! I’m also addicted to their herb breakfast potatoes. They are full of flavor and cooked up with a great crispy outer crust, but soft potato inside. They’re big enough to share, but trust me when I say you may not want to!

Back to the Roots - Herb Potatoes

Josh highly recommends the biscuits and gravy, although on our last visit he had something more traditional, their eggs, meat and toast meal – The American – which he also said was good.

Service has been great every time we’ve stopped in, which is very important to me. If the food is good somewhere, but the service is consistently bad I still won’t come back. The staff here are very friendly and even chatty, in a good way. I feel very welcome every time we go in.

This is one of those places that I’ve wanted to hold on to as my own little secret spot, as we haven’t had to wait in any lines on the weekend yet! But, it’s also a place I’d like to get the word out about because they run a great place which everyone can enjoy in addition to promoting fair trade practices and social causes around the world. So, if you visit and enjoy it I encourage you to share it with your friends!

Raspberry Baked Oatmeal

Raspberry Baked Oatmeal

First off, I apologize for the long and unintended blogging hiatus. I stated a new job earlier this year and I forgot how much that can take out of you.

Before writing this post I’ve passed this recipe for baked oatmeal on to at least ten people so I knew that I needed to get it up on my blog for the rest of the world to enjoy.

The raspberry baked oatmeal is an adaptation of a Blackberry and Ginger Baked Oatmeal I found on Babble. I’ll admit that I made the Blackberry and Ginger version first and I love it even more than with raspberries. I tried to change things up when I couldn’t find decent blackberries in the store the one week, but this recipe is flexible and will work well no matter your favorite berry.

It’s great fresh out of the oven, bur reheats nicely in the microwave for about one minute or so. I make it on Sundays and put it in the fridge for an easy breakfast before work the rest of the week. It’s my new go to first meal of the day!

Baked Oatmeal with Raspberries

adapted from Babble

  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/4 – 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, plus more for top
  • pinch ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 large bananas
  • 2 pints of fresh raspberries

 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8” square baking dish with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, sugar, ginger, baking powder, spices, and salt.

In a small bowl whisk together the milk, egg, and butter.

lice the bananas and layer on the bottom the prepared baking dish. Spread half of the berries over the bananas. Spoon the oat mixture over the top, and then pour in the milk mixture. Press the remaining berries into the oats, and sprinkle top with cinnamon.

Bake for 35 – 45 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes or refrigerate and reheat leftovers.

Rebecca’s in Northville, MI

Rebecca’s in Northville, MI

I’m 34 years old, so I grew up most of my childhood without the internet and I still wonder what we did without it. I’m happy that we have websites like Yelp to find information and great places we might otherwise overlook. Reviews on Yelp were how I stumbled onto a little restaurant in Northville, Michigan called Rebecca’s Family Restaurant and Ice Cream Parlor. They don’t have  website of their own, though they do have a Facebook page. Without a review focused website I may never have tried this place.

We arrived on a beautiful Sunday morning just in time to beat the crowd to Rebecca’s. We grabbed a two-person table in the corner near the window as the place was beginning to fill up.

We were greeted promptly by friendly staff. I opted for the much raved about sweet potato pancakes with a side of turkey sausage links. Josh had the buttermilk pancakes and a side of hashbrowns. Despite the busy morning our food came out surprisingly fast and we were not disappointed at all by our breakfast!

The sweet potato pancakes were thick and soft. The spices they used made them almost taste like pumpkin pie! The turkey sausage was nice and flavorful, not greasy and lightly browned. Josh really enjoyed his pancakes and hashbrowns too.

The walls are decorated with sweet Americana merchandise. The diner feel makes for a cozy atmosphere. You can tell that there are a quite a few regulars here as well.

I sneaked a peak at their lunch menu which had some great sounding shakes and tempting sweet potato fries with a brown-sugar glaze – do you a see a theme here? I’ve got it on good authority that the shakes and sweet potato fries are excellent too!

I think we’ve found another breakfast spot to frequent. It’s a little bit further out for us, about 25 minutes, but I will attest that it certainly seems it was worth the trip! We’ll be back for lunch this summer.

What are some of your favorite Michigan breakfast spots?