Sunday, January 11, 2009

Savory & Sweet

One of the Ann Arbor establishments that will stay forever in our iconic memory as an icon is Morgan & York, previously known as the Big Ten Party Store. Classic, huh? Big Ten refers to Ann Arbor's obsession with football, and "Party Store" is used to designate liquor and junk food spots, the drunk person's oasis. This store, though, is far from junk. It's filled with delicacies and specialties from near and far. While the atmosphere could be perceived as elitist, I think of it as just being a phenomenal food and drink resource with an interesting and kooky persona. The clerks in the store are extremely knowledgeable and wear long and literal blue collared garments. They offer samples, engage you in pairing your foods and drinks, teach you more than you want to know about fondue cheeses, and arguably make the best cappuccino in the county. I love going in there, almost as much as my wallet loves the freedom of its weighty contents once we've gone.

Being in the poorhouse as of recent, we probably should not continue to think that it's reasonable for us to shop there, regardless of the desire to comply with our expensive tongues. But I can't help but believe everyday is a beatific celebration in food and substance, worth tastes that bring satisfaction and comfort. It's really a solace, like a massage for my palate and brain. This most recent trip we came home with a delicious bottle of French red wine, pastrami from Sal Ginsberg in Detroit, Comte cheese sliced for sandwiches, and a soft cheese called Pave Sauvage. Oh my, my, my... it was so delectable.

We had a nice loaf of farm bread that was ready to be used at home and a croak of fermenting sauerkraut that recently reached it adulthood. With great rumbling tummies, we cut thin slices of bread, toasted each piece, and then layered the sandwiches with the Comte cheese (crusty rind still attached), perfect peppery pastrami, forkfuls of sour homemade sauerkraut, and dijon mustard. The sandwiches ended up being about $2 a piece, which isn't necessarily cheap when they are made at home, but oh so worth it and so much cheaper than if we had bought them at the party store or zingerman's.

With the soft, spreadable tarragon and pepper crusted Pave Sauvage we made a pear salad. Earlier in the week I bought a bag of organic red pears and had tired of eating them by the fistful. To rejuvenate the fruit we diced the pears, tossed them with fresh crushed pepper, very flavorful and syrupy balsamic vinegar, walnut oil, sliced almonds (I wish we had pecans), some dried herbs, bacon (Yes! Bacon!), and this three pepper and tarragon crusted cheese, smooshy and tangy. I could eat a bag of pears a day in this style. I had been inspired by a co-worker who saw my weary afternoon face on Friday and offered me a bite of her pears with bleu cheese. My thoughts just brewed as I chewed that delicious quick bit of sweet and savory.

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