On Saturday, Kyle and I went out for a dinner and a movie.  We went to Vinology in downtown Ann Arbor after a two-year refusal to dine there because of a terrible first experience: we were never served.  After 30 minutes.  Though waitstaff occasionally came by to tell us "someone would be right with us."  We made a reservation.  We dressed up.  We were ready to lay down some cash.  And we never even got to order drinks.  Soooo...needless to say, we weren't too keen on going back when there are some many other great - and dependable - options downtown.  Well, after the two-year moratorium, we decided to give it another yet.  It had a great seasonal menu and large wine selection and we remembered liking the atmosphere from our previous 30-minute fiasco of a visit.  

So dressed in a cozy dress and cardi, off we went, crossing our fingers that we wouldn't be disappointed the second time around:
Flared Caraz Dress: Anthropologie
Cardi: Carson's
Tights: Lane Bryant 
Headband: The Potting Shed (A local boutique)
Well...we absolutely loved it.  And kicked ourselves for not giving Vinology a second chance sooner.  

Let me walk you through our glorious meal:

Cheese Flight:

I love cheese boards and charcuterie plates of every variety.  You get to nibble on a little bit of this and a little bit of that and then pair things together to create glorious flavor mash-ups.  Kyle and I sometimes (embarrassingly) find ourselves reenacting this scene from Ratatouille as we try ingredients on their own and then in combination:
Here's the website description:
· baked fontina in phyllo & red wine pears   
· bourbon smoked maple leaf goat cheese & fig crostini
· michigan triple crème & quinoa cornbread
· aged gouda & walnut-arugula napoleon

The stand-out?  The fig crostini and wrapped goat cheese.  Such a spectacular combination, I'm making it for our next dinner party.  We each paired the cheese flight with a different white wine by the glass.  I had a glass with  notes.  Kyle's had an off dry, easy-drinking Ravenna Reisling, while I had a glass of the Albarino, Desa Nui, with notes of nectarine, mandarin orange oil, and minerality.  

Next...

The Sage Bread Crostini:
This was such a clever and whimsical dish - like Thanksgiving deconstructed and reconstructed on crostini.  There were three different toppings: a green bean puree with crisps mushroom rings on top, reminiscent of green bean casserole; mashed potatoes and gravy for comfort food; and tart cranberry sauce to cleanse the palate.  It was a perfect dish.  So many different flavors and textures, and it truly transported us to the Thanksgiving table in the absolute coolest way.

And then...for our entrees:

Juniper Roast Pork: 
Kyle ordered the pork and now wants to make an oxtail and fruit pie of his own.  The rich and starchy pea puree and lentils were brightened with fresh mint, and the pork was cut thin and was perfectly tender.  Kyle only let me have two bites, so I can't recall all of the details.  I just loved that puree and lentils.

As for me, I ordered the duck:

Smoked Duck Breast:
Holy duck!  This was a beautiful plate.  See that vegetable gratin the duck is laying on?  So incredibly delicious.  The duck ravioli sits on a bed of creamed cabbage.  What a revelation!  Lots of creaminess on the plate but balanced with the poached pear.  And see that dark sauce pool behind the duck?  Yeah, that's chocolate sauce.  Oh, how incredible my life was for the duration that I consumed this meal.

Also, they have a "last of the bin" wine list at steep discounts.  We shared a bottle of Merlot from Bordeaux, France for a price we could easily afford.  Cheers to that!

Kyle and I raved about it all night and the next day and will probably bore anyone we talk to in the next few days with a detailed account of our feast.  Definitely one of the best meals we've had.  Tristan in Charleston, South Carolina still holds a tender place in my heart.  It was, after all, our special honeymoon dinner, and those chocolate ribs and that Four Vines Zinfandel that we buy whenever we spot a bottle won't soon be forgotten.  Then there's Alligator Soul in Savannah with its chef's tasting menu, crafty cocktails, and exotic meats.  And we do love our very local Common Grill with the best bread in the universe and tasty seafood dishes.  But Vinology, you so exceeded our expectations, and that's not because of how low they were after our first visit.  Attentive, helpful service; creative, seasonal dishes; and a foodie's dream dinner.

Then we went and saw Flight...  It was an intense, nail-biting first 15 minutes...  The remainder of it was solid...  We enjoyed it...  Just not as much as dinner!  
Grandma
11/7/2012 07:00:19 am

You two are at it again. You do amaze me....always.

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11/13/2012 06:26:37 pm

The royal blue color looks so amazing on you! Your dinner sounds fantastic! My husband and I love to try places like that. I get so inspired by the creative dishes and interesting combinations. We keep a Top 5 list of our favorite meals of all time. :-)

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11/14/2012 05:57:04 am

Thank you! It's unfortunate that I don't like the color blue more because it does go well with my eyes and hair. Instead, I like crazy, colorful prints that clash with my orange locks and pink skin. Ah well. I like what I like.

One of the reasons I like your blog so much is because it has a good mix of fashion and food, two of my favorite things! My husband wanted me to start documenting what and where we eat on here to keep track of recipes and dishes we want to order again or imitate.

One of my one-day dreams is to open a tiny restaurant and serve a tasting menu, a different one every night. I'm sure those places exist in big cites, but not in south-east Michigan that I'm aware of. Another reason to make the move to the big city!

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