Friday, June 11, 2010

Home away from home

So we're pretty much settled in our new apartment and it's beginning to feel a little more like a semi-permanent home rather than a transient hotel. Everything's unpacked and things are in places where they're supposed to be. Sophie seems completely adjusted to the new place- fearlessly crawling everywhere (full carpeting helps), exploring the different rooms and constantly trying to infiltrate the kitchen, the one place that (she knows- I'd like to think...) is out of bounds to her.

We're also exploring our neighborhood a little more and coming to realize that the area we live in is pretty awesome for foodies like us :) A minute away is literally the best ramen Jude and I've had yet- Orenchi Ramen where I surprised Jude with for his birthday dinner a couple of nights ago. It was a Yelp find and we were blown away by how amazingly flavorful it was- the broth was rich, almost smoky, and stick-to-the gut awesome. Really. A hole-in-the-wall, it tastes like how I've always imagined ramen should taste like but have never really had. And if the reviews are to be believed, Orenchi bests even the finest ramen joints in San Francisco, so much so that Jude wants to go back tonight :)

Then there is My Cooking Papa, a recommendation from our friend Jonas, who's originally from Hong Kong. For our readers in Singapore, it's like a Crystal Jade and tastes just as good if not better! Authentic shui-kau soup, seafood hor fun, and Chinese roast meats- it was like we were home home :) And they're so friendly and accommodating to Sophie :) The best thing? Four minutes from our apartment!

Three minutes the other direction is Paris Baguette, a place we've always believed Ann Arbor needs. It combines what we love about Asian bakeries (fresh cream fruit sponge cake and baked bean buns) with the best of European patisseries (delicious breads and pastries). I got Jude his birthday cake from there and I think it made him very happy :)

In terms of grocery stores, there's a great Korean supermarket we discovered our second day here where we can get Asian cuts of meat and our Asian veggies- big, clean, and fresh, it's a far cry from the slightly ghetto Asian supermarkets we're used to. For Sophie's organic produce, we find the Whole Foods here a little pricier than back home actually-- and not nearly as friendly-- and have decided to start shopping at Sprouts instead. The layout leaves a little to be desired but the fruits and veggies are fresh and we can even buy their meats and seafood without feeling like I'm shelling out our month's paycheck for the bill.

So yes, we can't complain about where we live- it took me a while to get used to the apartment and general outlying area but it's grown on me. Having interesting (and not too expensive) places to eat and get our food has become even more important now that 1) Sophie's starting to want to eat more table food and 2) I don't have my own kitchen equipment or a full pantry with which to cook and so eating out's just the easier option. Not that we mind exploring and finding new food gems, of course :)

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