September 13, 2011

Disappearing Cookbooks


I have so many cookbooks, I sometimes misplace them.

I've been a lazy cookbook cook, avoiding getting into the kitchen all summer. Even with air conditioning, I just haven't felt like cooking.

Consequently, I've been buying a fair amount of those delicious rotisserie-style chickens you can find at most grocery stores these days. The best in my town come from the local grocer: Ric's Food Town. While the other grocery stores also prepare rotisserie chicken, there's something different that Ric's does that makes the chicken taste better. I have yet to find out what that secret is.

Rotisserie Chickens to the Rescue! : How To Use the Already-Roasted Chickens You Purchase at the Market to Make More Than 125 Simple and Delicious MealsThis post, however, is not about finding out secrets of the Ric's head rotisserie chicken chef. Instead it's about being totally unable to find a cookbook that I knew I had, somewhere.

Rotisserie Chickens to the Rescue! by Carla Fitzgerald Williams is a clever title for a clever idea: take a rotisserie chicken and see how many different ways you can use it to feed your family. I swear I used to own that cookbook.

In fact, I knew I owned the cookbook once upon a time as one of my favorite recipes is from the cookbook. But could I find the cookbook all summer? No.

I scoured the cookbook shelves. I looked under the beds and under the couches. I wracked my brain trying to remember what I'd done with the book: did I give it to the thrift store? Did I lend it to a friend? No searching either my physical space nor my brain space made the cookbook appear.

And then I went to visit my sister. Her husband made fettuccine, I brought organic basil pesto. Using some of my weekly CSA allotment, my sister cooked up crunchy bruschetta and a green salad. Dinner was an outstanding celebration of summer - topped off with homemade vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce from mom. Eventually we got around to talking about books.

We're all readers and have exchanged different books throughout the years. Fiction? Yes indeed. Science fiction? Sure thing. Non-fiction? Absolutely. History or biography? Yep. You name it, my family's probably interested in reading it, or has already read it. This time I got four of the Game of Thrones series to bring home for some autumn and winter reading material.

Another book teased me from the shelves, too and I leaned down to read the title. At first I was baffled, but then my memory kicked into gear.

I gave my sister the rotisserie cookbook, lauding one of those recipes as well as the chicken rotisserie at Ric's. The cookbook is now home with me, and I can stop hunting under sofa cushions. Hurry Curry on page 223 is definitely on the menu soon - or should it be Knife and Fork Burritos? Choices, choices...

September 4, 2011

Glad Rags For Diners - Part Two

My companions and I had just spent more than an hour meticulously investigating (and buying) delightful finds from Glad Rags Resale on Columbus Avenue in Bay City, and boy - we were hungry.

Old City Hall Restaurant at 814 Saginaw Street won the dinner debate, and it was an excellent (if a bit pricey) choice. After reading the menu, here's what we ate:

Gumbo Soup.  Cajun-styled spices, okra. Nearly too hot for me!
Sometimes when splitting items with a group, there can be a negative attitude from the waiter or waitress. That was not the case at the Old City Hall Restaurant, as we each received a small cup of soup to taste.

I also had to take pictures as fast as possible as hunger also makes people impatient. And the food all smelled so good!

Grilled Chicken Nachos
The chicken nachos were tasty, but nothing special. The corn tortillas were extra hard to chew and I wish there had been a fresh tomato salsa or or guacamole included on the side.

Artichoke Chicken in Creamy Lemon Butter Sauce
Served with seasonal vegetables the artichoke chicken was disappointing, yet certainly satisfying. I did enjoy the creamy lemon butter sauce and the crisp green beans.

Lobster Hush Puppies with Honey Chili sauce
I'd come back to Old City Hall Restaurant just to be able to eat the Lobster Hush Puppies again. I wish the sauce wasn't so hot (err, that's my issue for sure.) The little bit of the sauce I tasted had great promise:

Think honey,

and then think Thai Chili.

Add a bite of lobster,

fried crunchiness,

and feel your taste buds dance in delight!

Saginaw Street Shops in Bay City, Michigan
We finished dinner by splitting a piece of red velvet cake. No picture, sorry - the cake was pummeled by three fast-moving forks.

The Old City Hall Restaurant is located in the building that was the first city hall in Bay City. It's said that there are ghosts in the building, though I didn't see or feel any during our visit. We arrived at just after 5pm, and the restaurant was practically empty. Over the course of the next hour, the place really filled up. Despite the rather lackluster food, I would definitely return to this casual restaurant. Plus there are shops and other eateries to explore nearby.

The menu at Old City Hall Restaurant changes seasonally. I wonder what they're cooking up for autumn?

Old City Hall Restaurant
814 Saginaw Street, Bay City, MI 48708
(On Saginaw Street between 5th and Center.)
M-F Dinner 5p-10p
Tues-Fri Lunch 11:30-5p
Saturday Happy Hour 3p, Dinner 4p-10p