In theory, I love the idea of a restaurant week. (I'm sure I offered up this same rant last summer.) I love a good "event," and I love to go out to eat. And I love trying new places, or trying the best of what an old place has to offer. But in Ann Arbor, there just aren't that many meals that are worth $25. Don't get me wrong, there's a lot of great food here. But it's all pretty reasonably priced. So why would I go to the same places and pay more than I normally would? Forget it! (Even if the price included a beverage [even a coke!], or was just $5 less....) That being said, there are always a few gems on the participating restaurants list (and admittedly lunch is typically a pretty good deal), and I do believe Lisa and I discovered one tonight, the first night of this summer's restaurant week. And for me it really was a total surprise... Pacific Rim... Asian food! Ew! Ha ha!
I've been there two other times, years ago. I remembered liking it, but as my Asian food thing has gotten stronger, I was less and less compelled to ever go back. But when Lisa and I couldn't secure a Sunday-night reservation at our other top choices, I threw it out there. Turns out, she'd never been. Whatever my opinions are, people love it there, so I thought it was important she go before she leaves AA, too. And the choices seemed pretty neutral, so I felt safe enough. And I actually was daydreaming about the calamari for days prior, so I was even excited (for the food! Of course I was more than excited for the company regardless).
Kind of random for me, but I started with the lemonade (not included). It was house made and boasted of hints of lime and orange, too, so I ordered it on a whim. It was beautiful, so summery. And the perfect amount of not too bitter and not too sweet (although I am nursing a tiny tummy ache, which I believe the lemonade is to blame for). It went perfectly with the much-anticipated calamari, which was as delicious as I hoped it would be. I even ate every last bit of the spicy peanut dipping sauce (including dumping the last drops onto the plate so I could scoop them up. Who am I?!). Not too overly fried, not chewy at all, and I think they even snuck a few tentacles in there.
Lisa went with the wine flight (a pretty good deal actually) and the Saigon spring rolls. They looked tasty and Lisa confirmed they were as good as they looked.
The restaurant week menus typically include an appetizer, main course, and dessert. I like dessert, so I was initially a little ticked off that there was no dessert; rather, a second appetizer-type course. Of course, it all worked out in the end (we got the molten cake anyway; at $8, more than worth it, especially if you split it), as the cold avocado soup was amazing. A risky decision for me, but I had three Greek salads this week -- I couldn't handle any more lettuce. But it was sooo yummy. (And smelled good, too.) Lisa was initially a little unsure, but it seemed to win her over a few bites in as well. It really did taste like guacamole, with a hint of spice... but I promise it was yummy. And there were crunchy thingies, and I do always appreciate something crunchy in, well, everything I eat.
For the main course, I went in planning for the scallops. I love them but very rarely order them because they often come in such small servings I feel meal-cheated. But these scallops came with noodles, too. I was momentarily swayed by the discovery of risotto, but I mentally smacked myself and stuck to my guns. Scallops it was. And the scallops was delish! Noodles, veggies, scallops -- lots of different textures to keep my mouth happy (although my first bite pulled in a giant hunk of fresh cilantro, which is my new nemesis. I promptly picked the rest out and made a little pile on the side of my bowl) and my belly full. And peanuts! Yum.
Lisa decided on the salmon. I don't typically order salmon either, but I have to admit her salmon looked amazing. It was (in appearance, at least) perfectly cooked (pink and fluffy), and she said she was very happy with her selection. Her rice had a surprising hint of wasabi in it, too, which also seemed to please her. :)
After dinner, we walked around downtown for a while. It was the perfect night (and the weather's perfect, too). I'm definitely rooted very firmly in limbo right now. No where really feels like "home" -- I just kind of feel like a visitor wherever I am. But today I felt like Ann Arbor was MY town again. It was a nice feeling. I may have strutted a little, just maybe. It was exactly what I needed. Thanks, Pacific Rim, and thanks, Lisa!