But since yesterday's weather was sunny and in the 40s, we decided that the walking to dinner might do us some good. Plus I wanted to try a restaurant that recently opened by the same owners as my favorite restaurant in Ann Arbor, MANI Osteria and Bar, which I have written about before. MANI's owners' new venture is a Mexican restaurant called Isalita. But when we arrived at Isalita a little before 6 PM, the place already had a 40 minute wait. We were willing to wait the 40 minutes because I really wanted to try this place, but just for the heck of it, we went next door to MANI to see if they had immediate seating, and lo and behold, they did. We decided that we'd try Isalita another night when we could get there a little earlier for immediate seating and go with a tried and true pick instead.
It was just what I needed. Just as we did last time, we were seated at the chef's bar where we were treated to an hour-long performance of garnishing, pizza making, and previews of every dish that was dashed out of the kitchen prior to being delivered to hungry, eager diners.
Every dish that we ordered last night was perfection, just as it was the last time we ate there, starting with our drinks. I of course, ordered what I always do: sangria, a consoling drink for me since MANI's sangria is almost identical to the sangria at my favorite restaurant in Royal Oak that recently closed, aptly named Sangria. My husband ordered a strawberry mint lemonade that had just the right amount of pucker and sweetness with just a hint of mint. If I hadn't been so enamored with my own drink, I probably would have ordered one for myself too.
|Cheers! Sangria and strawberry mint lemonade|
We ordered two small plates for our appetizer: warm, crunchy and gooey arancini, AKA, risotto balls, which were delicious, but the real star of their small plates menu is the crispy pork belly, which is so good it will make your eyes roll into the back of your head and you may even experience a When Harry Met Sally moment if you know what I mean. ;)
|Crispy pork belly with apricot marmalade|
So I guess the lesson here is, if ever I need cheering up, a trip to my favorite Ann Arbor restaurant is in order. Despite coming home and going to bed early last night (I shouldn't have gone for that second glass of sangria), I woke up this morning in a great mood and ready to conquer the world. Well, not so much the world as that giant mountain of papers I have to grade.