Heard on 4th floor, Chicago House, West Quad circa 1970, every day around 5:30: “d’jeat?” “no d’jew?” “’squeat!”. And on this momentous day in Michigan “squeat” out! is possible, and I don’t mean “outside dining”! In honor of this day, which it seems we’ve awaited for an eternity, I’d like to recount the finest meal I had out before the latest lockdown. It was at a place I wrote about here about a year ago, little Albena, in the back of the Siren Hotel on Broadway in downtown Detroit https://wordpress.com/post/theviewfromharbal.com/44. The meal was in late October.
Their website https://albenadetroit.com/ is so minimalist, it doesn’t even list a phone number. “Contact” gets their e-mail, a click on “reservations” gets a message that they aren’t currently taking them on Tock. They were practicing “social distancing” before it was required, never seating more than 4 at their 8 stool bar, keeping dining parties as far from each other as possible. Of course, if they’re restricted to 25% capacity, that’s one couple at a time. Even at their prices, it might be tough to keep the lights on with that kind of traffic. We’ll see what kind of answer my e-mail gets.
As you depart they give you a little tiny scroll. I thought it was the menu. I just unrolled mine hoping it would jog my memory. Alas it is just some inspirational crap. Now I have a pretty good memory, though not up to Mr. John Prine’s (God rest his soul) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ww1SenQwaMg. So here’s what I recollect.
I’m afraid I can’t remember all the courses we wolfed down at Albena that day. All I can provide are pictures, taken like a good millennial at his/her food. Our millenial shutterbugs got all 8 courses. It seemed those 3 behind the bar were always just preparing our next delicacy behind the counter. Of course, there were also the wine pairings, which I did not capture. So here goes
Course #1. Something beany
Course #2. A little salad sort of thing. Locally grown, of course. Probably picked from out back, grown in the grit of Woodward. I trust they washed it off first.
Course #3. More colorful tastiness. Yes, of course we ate the flowers.
Course #4. I believe those were little fishes. Scrumptious. Cooked too. The dabs of sauce between were essential.
Course #5. Lookit that lovely lamb chop, and of course the innocuous sauce next to it. They did’t mind if you just grabbed the bone and gnawed away. No bibs necessary.
Course#6. I totally forgot what this was. Probably in a swoon after the lamb. I’m sure it was delicious
Course #7. So you need a dessert to lead you to the dessert? How about a little yogurt atop raspberries topped with pignoles?
Course #8. Now they didn’t whip up this behind the counter as we watched. Probably yesterday. But a nice slice off nonetheless.
I can’t imagine a more pleasing dining experience than having these kids tend to you. Save up your $$$ and go if you get a chance. You’ll have no regrets.
*Translation from Quaddese
d’jeat?: did you eat?
d’jew?: no, did you?
‘squeat!: let’s go eat!