A Taste of Ann Arbor visits the Prickly Pear: Southwest Cafe

Ann Arbor Art Fair week, it is here. A five day stretch of the art fair brings in individuals from all over the great mitten shaped state. With all the preparations, the atmosphere surrounding Megan and I thought it would be a great idea to pick an Ann Arbor restaurant that has outdoor seating in the middle of the action. We chose to dine at the Prickly Pear, a southwestern style cafe on Main Street, just a few doors down from Ingenex Headquarters.

Use Google Maps to find your locations virtually - check out the walking directions - perfect for the downtown area!

As is the trend, we had a FABULOUS meal. Ann Arbor sure knows how to satisfy everyones taste buds. Today was the perfect day for a outdoor seating lunch, not too hot and not too cold. The Prickly Pear has a great team of employees, our water glasses never went empty and they brought us a basket of chips and salsa to enjoy before our food arrived. Great customer service all around!

Megan went for the House Specialty Beef Burrito, and for me, the Red Pepper Pesto Glazed Chicken Breast Quesadilla. I think that it is reasonable to say that we would both highly recommend BOTH of these choices from the Prickly Pear menu – original and tasteful, southwestern cuisine.

Since we chose to dine outside, we did not get the opportunity to check out the inside of the restaurant, however if I can tell anything by the outdoor seating, I am sure it is quite comfortable. The Prickly pear uses colorful napkins and dishes giving it a fun image. The seating was covered by umbrellas. While this may not be preferred by all, I enjoyed being able to sit in a reasonable distance from those dining at the next door restaurant, Gratzi. You can take in the visual elements of two dining experiences at one time – the wonders of downtown Ann Arbor!

Be sure to check out next weeks blog as well – we have an exciting destination planned!

A Taste of Ann Arbor – The ORIGINAL Cottage Inn Pizza

Five blocks or so from Main St. down E. William St. is the home to a landmark restaurant. An Ann Arbor Italian cuisine location that opened its doors in 1948 and in 1986 expanded into the pizza franchise market. The Original Cottage Inn was the destination for this weeks Taste of Ann Arbor Experience.

Excited to get to the roots of the franchise pizza spot in our home college town of East Lansing, Megan and I took off for the journey through Ann Arbor sidewalk construction. Tucked into a brick building near the campus of The University of Michigan, we were without a doubt impressed. The inside of the building is beautifully decorated with painted leaves that can be located throughout the inside and outside of the building, grapes and more giving an elegant – yet cozy environmental feel.

From Flickr user: Robert Blackie

Jordan, our waitress, was kind and personable, yet not overbearing – adding to the relaxed environment. After we made our preliminary menu choices, Jordan was helpful in helping to make the final decision. Megan tried the wheat penne pasta with pesto based sauce and minestrone soup, I opted for the lunch special, a BBQ Meatball pizza, recommended by Jordan. And while we waited for our food, we enjoyed fresh bread and oil.

I have found that recommendations may just be the best asset to a restaurant. I personally always find myself having a hard time making a decision, but with the help of a waiter or waitress that barrier is crossed. And I have yet to have an experience where I did not like the recommendation. So a thank you goes to Jordan, for keeping that streak going – our meals were delicious!

While the franchise locations offer some of the same great food, The Original Cottage Inn is a different experience. Hidden in the streets of Ann Arbor, the restaurant is a delicious dining experience that can only be gained at the original.

I would hate to jinx it for the future, but Megan and I have yet to experience a distasteful restaurant or meal. Thank you Eric for the suggestion, we loved it!

A Taste of Ann Arbor- The Jolly Pumpkin

What better than the first day back to work from a week off then a visit to a well-known Ann Arbor restaurant to continue our Taste of Ann Arbor!  This week, for our return Megan and I ventured across the street from Ingenex headquarters to The Jolly Pumpkin, and as luck will have it, we were accompanied by Tiffany as well.

Now, I know that we missed out on some great eats and extraordinary prices as both Megan and I happened to be on vacation during the bi-annual Ann Arbor Restaurant week, but The Jolly Pumpkin still managed to excel as an eatery and satisfy each of our taste buds at an affordable price!

Christy, our friendly and energetic waitress was a great component to our experience at The Jolly Pumpkin. She offered suggestions, and was not afraid to tell us her honest personal taste opinions of each menu option we asked about. She knew each menu item, and what it tasted like, and if she had not tried it just yet, she was honest! With Christy’s guidance, Megan tried the Margherita pizza, Tiffany had one of their lunch specials, and for me, the Not Just a BLT. Each menu item featured a unique flavor, for example, my Not Just a BLT contained different ingredients such as mozzarella cheese and salsa verde. Maybe not what you would expect on a BLT, but they gave the sandwich a unique Jolly Pumpkin flare.

I think it is safe to say that each of us would recommend these menu items to anyone looking for fine Ann Arbor cuisine. For all of those that do not have a visit to A2 planned in the near future, check out The Jolly Pumpkins other locations in Michigan, Dexter and Traverse City.