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!

Published by rike52

I retired from the Rheumatology division of Michigan Medicine end of June '19 after 36 years there. Upon hitting Ann Arbor for the second time (I went to school here) it took me almost 8 months to meet Kathy, 17 months to buy her a house (on Harbal, where we still live), and 37 months to marry her. Kids never came, but we've been blessed with a crowd of colleagues, friends, neighbors and family that continues to grow. Lots of them are going to show up in this log eventually. Stay tuned.

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