03 August 2008

You so viney.

Last night, Brad and I had such a fantastic dinner at Vinology that I could barely contain my itch to blog about it as soon as we got home (alas, Brad managed to suck me into Titanic, for the 500th time!). We had our first meal at Vinology this fall for our 2nd anniversary. It was tasty and a nice change of pace, but it wasn't earth shattering. At some point this spring, we took Doug and Melissa there and again, ok and fun, but no more. Earlier this summer, Brad and I decided to go back and grab dinner at the bar. I honestly don't remember what we ate (rather, my delicious raspberry martini), but we had a great time chit-chatting with the friendly bartenders. They let us know that a new chef was about to start, and they'd be revamping the menu. Rumor had it, the new chef would be employing more local and seasonal items.

We've been talking about heading back since, and last night we finally made the move. The bartenders made such an impression on us that we immediately headed to the bar area. After a quick chat with one of them about Three Sheets, Brad ordered a Duvel, which Zane had tried on one of our favorite episodes (Belgium). I knew I had to try the Michigan harvest cherry antioxidant spritzer, and it didn't disappoint. Prosecco mixed with harvest cherry juice... Easy peasy. I will be making this soon!

Next, it was time to check out the new menu, which had the following statement (menus hot off the press just yesterday!):

Vinology is dedicated to supporting small local farmers and whenever possible sources ingredients at the height of their season from surrounding farm concerns. Local farms and businesses contributing products to today’s menu include: Tantre Farm, Back Forty Acres Farm, Rob’s Garden, Avalon Organic Bakery, Prochaska Farms, Chef’s Garden, Four Corners Creamery, and Kapnick Orchards.

Tantre? Avalon? I know those guys! Sweet! And the bartenders seem really proud of this new change and are eager to discuss the benefits of seasonal produce. It was fun to see such excitement, and there really aren't too many places I've found that make good use of all the great stuff available locally. The menu changes based on what's in season, roughly every two weeks.

Brad wasted no time deciding on the ribeye with local greens and fingerling potatoes. I'd had a big, late lunch (mmm grits and eggs at the Roadhouse!), so I wasn't super hungry and focused mainly on the small plate section. I knew immediately I had to have the squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese and served with a green tomato marmalade, and on a whim also decided to get the heirloom tomato gazpacho with crab and cucumber garnish (I've only tried one bite of gazpacho once and have never made or ordered it).

Our meals were so good, I was actually giggling with delight. Midway through, we decided it was the best meal we'd had in a long time. The squash blossoms weren't even in the same universe as the ones I made a few weeks ago, and even Brad enjoyed the one bite I was willing to share. The gazpacho wasn't like any I'd ever seen, and it was amazing. It was kind of the texture of cream of wheat, but not as thick, and the crab and cucumber added some nice crunch to each spoonful. I'm officially sold on gazpacho.

Room for dessert? Well, no, but hells yeah we're ordering it! Brad decided on the panna cotta on top of chocolate ganache (even ordering the recommended Port pairing) and I couldn't resist the cookies and milk. Three homemade (and warm!) chocolate chip cookies with a shooter of vanilla cream. Hello? YUM!

Do you think they'll get sick of us if we come in every two weeks to check out what's new on the menu? :) They're also open for lunch, and although I'm sure the lunch menu online isn't 100% accurate, it sounds delicious, and I can't wait to check that out, too. The bartender even told me you can pick up wireless from next door, so I'm looking forward to an afternoon lunch + work field trip.

It was nice because it was 8 pm on a Saturday and it wasn't insanely packed like most of the resturuants and bars on Main Street. Good for us, but probably not so good for business. I will be heartbroken if Vinology doesn't make it. So go! Eat! And enjoy. Lots!

Just a quick sidenote: I wasn't able to make it to the Farmer's Market this week, but I was pleasantly surprised with all the local goodies I found at Plum Market. Bread from Livonia, blueberries, green beans, Zingerman's cream cheese, zucchini, even tomatoes! (They had cherries, too, but I still haven't finished mine from last week.)


Alison said...

Vinology is my new favorite restaurant in town. The squash blossoms and the gnocchi are to die for. And last time I went, I had a Zinfandel that made my eyes roll back in my head. Did you know that the former executive chef for the Chop House is there now?

Lady Lisa said...

Your post has renewed my love of all things Vino! I'm totally down for a "working" lunch, and I'm really looking forward to it. I'd been to Vineology only once in the past (under somewhat tense circumstances) but I did think the food was great, so I can only be excited about it being that much better. Yahoo local. Now the real question is, who will win over my heart on a permanent basis, Eve or Vineology? Tough call...

Sara said...

I was eyeing my neighbors squash blossoms thanks to you. Always wanting to steal his produce. haha.