A Taste of Ann Arbor- Last Stop, Sheesh Mediterranean Cuisine

As the summer is coming to a close, so ends Lauren and my journey as Taste of Ann Arbor food critics and Eco-Friendly Interns at Ingenex Digital Marketing. So to celebrate our journey from wide-eyed interns to digital savvy marketers the whole Ingenex gang joined us on our lunch excursion.

Today’s lunch brought us to Sheesh Mediterranean Cuisine, a Lebanese restaurant, just a few blocks down from our office on Main Street.

Upon our arrival, the Ingenex team noticed the painted murals and lush burgundy curtains that adorned the space and gave the restaurant an authentic look and feel. As we took in our surroundings a booth was found to accommodate our 7 person group with plenty of leg and elbow room. We were promptly brought a few baskets of pita bread and the restaurant’s Middle Eastern salsa, along with glasses of ice-cold water. Among the buzz of conversation we also decided to order some homous to tide us over until our food arrived.

In Lebanon it is customary for meals to last a few hours because the host will urge their guests to take second, and many times third helpings because this shows that guests are enjoying their meal and are savoring the whole dining experience. To be expected our servers were very hospitable and frequently visited the table refilling our pita and water glasses, however the wait time between when we ordered our food and when it arrived was rather lengthy.

Ordering everything from Fatoush Tawook Feta to Mjadra and Falafels our team sampled a wide variety of Lebanese cuisine. The general consensus at the table was that despite the lengthy preparation time, Sheesh was worth recommending in the future.

Lauren and I would like to thank everyone that made A Taste of Ann Arbor possible and we know we will most definitely miss our Ingenex co-workers as we move on to the next stages in our digital marketing and advertising careers. Thank you for all the experience, it has truly been a pleasure.

A Taste of Ann Arbor at a Great Value- Weber’s Inn and Restaurant

This week’s A Taste of Ann Arbor took us outside of our typical walking distance to Weber’s Restaurant and Hotel, located on Jackson Avenue in Ann Arbor, MI. The boutique hotel, well known for its overnight accommodations in Ann Arbor added its restaurant to the mix in 1937, and has remained a landmark Ann Arbor hotel and restaurant, perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner, for over 70 years.

Weber’s Ann Arbor restaurant features a daily lunch buffet offered at an affordable price. Today’s buffet options included salad, sandwiches, kielbasa, sauerkraut and soup – all of which many guests in the main dining room, where we were seated, seemed to be enjoying. However, to get a true feeling for the affordable lunch menu, each of us (Megan, Tiffany and myself) ordered from a variety of menu options.

Our very kind and attentive waitress started our meal with a warm basket of bread, the perfect beginning to any fine dining experience. Our menu choices included, french onion soup, walnut chicken Gorgonzola salad, chicken picatta and a french dip sandwich. All of which were delicious, and served to perfection.

That atmosphere created within the walls of Weber’s Restaurant and Hotel is peaceful, and unique. After enjoying our meal in the main dining room, complete with monogrammed place mats, glasses and a variety of beautiful chandeliers that complete the interior design, we gave ourselves a tour of the area and found these other seating locations:

  • Ventura Bar -the perfect place for wine tasting, fine ports and after dinner drinks
  • Habitat Ultra Lounge – a spot for enjoying dancing, bands and entertainment in Ann Arbor
  • Outdoor Terrace – next to the Habitat Ultra Lounge, this outdoor dining area allows up to 50 guest to experience beautiful annual flowers while seated under designer shade umbrellas

Weber’s Restaurant and Hotel has created an all inclusive experience for all of its guests. One of the top ranked hotels in Michigan and Diner’s Choice winner at opentable.com for 2010, Weber’s also offers banquet and conference property to its guests. So whether you are nearby, or across the country on a business trip or a vacation, Weber’ Restaurant and Hotel is the perfect Ann Arbor destination. We all enjoyed it, and we hope you will too.

Follow Weber’s Inn on Twitter, or visit them on Facebook.

A Taste of Ann Arbor Visits Google!

As Lauren mentioned in last Tuesday’s post, she and I visited a different kind of lunch spot today. This week’s trip took us inside Google’s Ann Arbor Office.

Now you may be wondering how Lauren and I were able to merit an invitation to one of Google’s private employee lunches. So here is the story…

While sitting at one of the Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing (LA2M) networking events, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to teaching about all things marketing, I met a guy named Rob. Rob works for the Google Adwords team and oddly enough knows my roommate’s sister- small world. While talking with Rob about his job at Google and my internship at Ingenex Digital Marketing, where I dabble in Adwords, we discussed the fun, laid-back, colorful work environment that has become synonymous with Google’s name. And being that we were at a lunch event, we discussed the fabulous lunches that are served at his office each day. Long story short Lauren and I headed to the Google office, located on South Division just a few minutes walk from our office, this afternoon.

Upon entering the reception area we were greeted with a warm welcome and hello, and were asked to sign in. Rob arrived a few minutes later and we walked through the brightly colored halls to the Google cafeteria. Inside we helped ourselves to the buffet style lunch that had been laid out by the office’s culinary crew. The spread was delicious with fresh salads, fruit, veggies, rice, salmon and lamb linguine pasta. After our meal, the general consensus was that Lauren and I could not leave without tasting the peach cobbler dessert. So we walked around the corner and to our great surprise the tray was being filled with a brand new peach cobbler- still warm and gooey, fresh from the oven.

After the meal Rob gave us a tour of the building. We got to check out the employee rec room- with games, tvs and loads of snacks; a few conference rooms- each named after cities in Michigan; the employee work stations- each decorated with colors and personalized themes; and so much more. But I think it’s safe to say that Lauren and I enjoyed viewing the Lansing room best of all; being that we are grads of Michigan State University (I graduated last May and Lauren will graduate this coming spring) and Lansing and MSU are near and dear to our hearts. So it was neat to see the Lansing room with its mural of the State Capitol, and photographs of the MSU football stadium and campus.

We’d like to thank Rob and the rest of the Ann Arbor Google Team for allowing us the chance to sit in and enjoy such an exclusive lunch with you.

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- Zingerman’s Delicatessen

Image thanks to Flickr user: jhoweaa

Today’s journey took Lauren and I out of the familiar six block span on Main St that we usually frequent for lunch, and brought us to the streets of Kerrytown. Kerrytown is about a five minute walk from our office, at Ingenex Digital Marketing, on South Main Street in Ann Arbor. And is home to many local favorites, including Zingerman’s Delicatessen. We had both heard of Zingerman’s before our outing today and decided that if the locals were talking about it, then it was definitely a spot that needed to make our ‘Taste of Ann Arbor’ list.

Zingerman’s has been in business since 1982 when Paul Saginaw, Michael Monahan, and Ari Weinzweig began the deli; which serves (non-kosher) traditional European-Jewish delicatessen dishes and sandwiches.

Known for it’s fun atmosphere, friendly service and welcoming feel; Lauren and I had high expectations for the Ann Arbor deli that even President Obama couldn’t resist visiting, this past May when he delivered the commencement address at the University of Michigan. And as luck would have it, we were not disappointed.

As we approached Zingerman’s we were greeted with a welcoming smile and a bubbly, “How are you today? Would you like to try some free samples before you head in and order?” So Lauren and I grabbed a toothpick and dug in while admiring the brightly colored buildings, and red brick road around us. Before ever stepping in the door, we felt right at home.

Upon entering Zingerman’s we were handed a menu so we could peruse through page after page of options. After about two minutes a man, named Tom, from behind the deli counter stepped down to help us narrow our choices. He highly recommended the Gemini Rocks the House sandwich. Which is normally a vegetarian option made with Zingerman’s own handmade fresh mozzarella, tomatoes & Italian pesto on grilled farm bread; but on this occasion Tom suggested adding bacon to the sandwich, which is what we ended up deciding on. Tom was also the one that suggested we split the sandwich and try some of their homemade salads. So in the end, Lauren and I ended up ordering the Gemini Rocks the House sandwich, a side of Mediterranean potato salad, and a side of fruit salad.

After placing our order at the deli counter we took a seat under Zingerman’s outside tent and seating area. The outside patio was colorful with umbrellas and picnic tables all around. Within ten minutes our food was brought out to our table with an amusing and creative flare. Servers carry out food and yell in almost a game-show fashion that your food is ready. Everything was delicious, and Lauren and I could not stop talking about how the mozzarella and Italian pesto, along with the fruit salad made our outdoor picnic lunch taste just like summer.

Next to the deli is a building, conveniently called Zingerman’s Next Door, with indoor seating, a barista house and gelato parlor. And although we did not get a chance to sample anything that this building had to offer, due to being so full from our wonderful deli lunch, Lauren and I will definitely be making another trip to Zingerman’s in the future and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a laid back, fun atmosphere for lunch.

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.

A Taste of Ann Arbor – Seva

It’s restaurant week here in Ann Arbor! That means gourmet food at phenomenal prices. Megan and Lauren are both on vacation, so Eric Rodriguez (our Client Services Manager) and I decided to take on A Taste of Ann Arbor.

Seva is nestled into the heart of downtown on E. Liberty St. As a fully vegetarian restaurant, Seva takes pride in creating new, tasty, and organic dishes. Eric chose the Burrito con Elote stuffed with butternut squash, corn, beans, and cheese (which can be modified into a Vegan dish) while I munched on a Quinoa-Spinach Salad. Both were served by friendly staff that smiled as they passed and never let our water glasses go dry. 

Seva offers as many organic and local products as possible. In keeping with the eco-friendly theme, the restaurant offers biodegradable items, such as little paper cups of salsa and guacamole instead of plastic. If you are looking for a natural pep, try one of their juiced drinks. I decided to order a Ginger Shot. The ingredients are simple: ginger, which is known for its healing properties.

The vegetarian hot spot offers reasonable prices, but during Ann Arbor’s Restaurant Week, Eric and I enjoyed our entrees for $12 and found a new place to frequent.

A Taste of Ann Arbor – Logan: All American Restaurant

Today marks the beginning of eco-friendly interns take on Ann Arbor cuisine, a taste if you will. Ann Arbor is full of small get away restaurants that are certain to impress. The question is, how to choose?

This week, Megan V Meade and I chose to take a suggestion from Derek Mehraban, CEO of Ingenex Digital Marketing, and visit Logan, an American restaurant, located at 115 West Washington Street, with the hopeful expectation of a good meal in the Ann Arbor lunch environment.

This first experience at Logan was nothing less than delightful. The warm inviting atmosphere was a great beginning, to a wonderful meal accompanied by high quality customer service and delicious meals. Our water glasses never went empty, and never once did our waiter make us feel as if we were forgotten, or as if he was overbearing on our dining experience.

Our meals, Penne & Gruyere cheese and Oven-dried Tomato Pasta were served in the right portions, at the right price and within the right amount of time.

Needless to say, our next “Taste of Ann Arbor” destination has giant shoes to fill. Just one question, where will the next Ann Arbor lunch spot be?

A Taste of Ann Arbor- The Beginning

As Eco- Friendly Interns at Ingenex Digital Marketing, Lauren Weingartz and I have grown accustomed to writing press releases, coming up with headlines, and scouring the web for templates and how-to guides. But this week we have been given the opportunity to embark on a new kind of adventure. An adventure far from the likes of Adwords and Google how-tos. Every Tuesday we will be walking around Ann Arbor and exploring the wonderful world of Ann Arbor restaurants, eateries, diners and bistros and then blogging about our experience. Service, atmosphere and “melt-in-your-mouth” food quality will all be up for discussion. So grab your sunglasses and umbrella – this IS Michigan- and join us on our latest dining excursion.