Hello from the Great Lakes State! I’m writing from Michigan, my home state. After a wonderfully smooth flight experience (unlike my recent craptacular flight to Colorado), I landed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. My dad had dinner plans with a friend last night, so my mom and I were on our own for dinner. I was already starving – I was in the air from 10:40am – 3pm (no, the flight wasn’t 4+ hours, it was 2+ hours, plus a 2-hour time zone change), so I never ate lunch. My breakfast in Colorado consisted of a banana, a few grapes, and the leftover salad from last night, and after I landed I bought another banana and a small container of watermelon. You can see why I was starving!
I met up with my mom as she was finishing up at her office:
Me: “I’m really hungry. Really hungry. What do you want to do for dinner?”
Mom: “Well, I never ate the salad I ordered for lunch, and it’s a big salad, so we could split that. Or, why don’t we go out to eat? There’s two restaurants I wanted you to try while you were in town. One of them is pricey, so you may not want to go there with your friends, so why don’t I take you?”
I don’t think I’ve ever turned down a fine dining opportunity where I wouldn’t be responsible for the bill, and I wasn’t going to start now!
The restaurant my mom had in mind was Assaggi Bistro, a restaurant in Ferndale, a little suburb about 20 minutes away. She had recently been there with a group of her friends, and everyone loved the food and had a great time. The restaurant has a totally unassuming facade – you would never guess by driving by that this place was recently named one of the best restaurants in metro Detroit by The Detroit News:
Assaggi has a spacious patio out back, surrounded by lots of greenery, and we got a table back there. My chair ended up being close to a speaker, and I noticed right off the bat the eclectic selection of music that totally had me laughing – a bizarre mix of standards like “That’s Amore” alongside cheesy wedding-band instrumental jazz versions of recent hits, like Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It).”
Assaggi’s menu combines elements from countries all around the Mediterranean. They have pizzas from a wood-fired oven, a meze plate with hummus, tabouleh, and other Middle-Eastern items, and dishes with French, Spanish, and even African influences.
I was less concerned with watching what I ate that I normally am, on account of the lack of calories I’d eaten so far that day, although I did choose to avoid anything deep-fried or swimming in oil. For an appetizer, my mom and I split one of their specials, California golden figs wrapped in prosciutto, stuffed with Robiola cheese (a creamy soft Italian cheese), and served with a balsamic reduction. It was the first fresh fig I’ve eaten since I bought some a few months ago, and, like me, they had come all the way from California!
The fig had so many great textures and flavors – salty, sweet, rich, crispy, creamy – a great way to start a meal. And how awesome is that photograph? I normally don’t boast about my camera work – in fact, I’ve apologized for it on more than one occasion – but these pictures came out fantastically! Probably because of all the natural light.
For my entree, I ordered their Moroccan duck legs, which came with dried fruit and pistachio couscous, spinach, and a pomegranate barbeque sauce:
I don’t eat duck very often – maybe once or twice a year, and always at restaurants. And it was goooood. The meat fell off the bones and melted on my tongue, and the pomegranates, pistachios and dried fruit perked up every bite.
My mom ordered the rainbow trout, which came with squash and heirloom baby tomatoes, a creamy dill sauce, and the same couscous I had (minus the fruit and pistachios):
I tried a piece of the fish, and it was smooth and well-cooked, but I liked my dish better.
Oh, and our meal started off with a bread basket that I didn’t photograph – we each had a piece of what seemed like a fresh-baked, warm (steamy, in fact) pita.
The dessert menu looked appetizing – who doesn’t like chocolate lava cake or creme brulee? – but we decided to pass and call it a night. It was a delicious meal!
A quick update on my lower back before I call it a night: Today I didn’t experience any discomfort or pain at all. I’m so glad I’m healing so quickly after my move-induced injury! Today was another rest day, exercise-wise, but tomorrow I’m gonna head to the gym for some light cardio. I’m not going to push myself – I just wanna see how it feels, and how my body responds. If there’s any pain or discomfort, I’ll stop. With 3 of the last 4 days being rest days, I’m getting antsy to move! I also have a massage scheduled for Thursday – which Richard Simmons recommended I get – and I’m looking forward to that as well.
Keep it up, David!