With apologies to Noel Coward “Mad Michiganders go out in the Midday Frost.” Yankee ingenuity and the need to keep a business afloat and to allow people to make a modicum of a living has created a unique situation in the State of Winter Wonderland, at one time that was the slogan on our license plates. It appears somewhere in the mumbo-jumbo of science that is being proffered here in our state, that a certain virus can thrive in a restaurant, but not in a carryout situation, and a proviso has been added that one can dine out, if they actually dine outdoors, not indoors like Newsome, who can’t tell the difference. January 15 is the newest date being dangled like a treat to a family pet, that perhaps the virus will stop attacking indoor restaurants and perhaps another segment of a broken economy in the state may be salvaged, time will tell. Just in case restaurants that have patios or can create patios are enclosing them in visqueen plastic wrap, or the latest is the purchase of geodesic domes or yurts (and before this era, one had to enjoy the New York Times Crossword to know that word or liked to travel with nomadic tribes in Central Asia) to create dining outdoors. This has probably caused a shortage of gas space heaters which may be the new toilet paper of 2021. Michiganders or Michiganian (we actually answer to both sobriquets) have a certain in-grained independence and desire to get out of cages, real or perceived; similar to a certain dentist that tries to pull rank to get his boat in the water ahead of others.
We recently went out again for the desire to have some normalcy in an aberrant setting and went to another restaurant, this time in one of the eastern suburbs of the Detroit area. We met a friend there at 1:00 when the restaurant opened and there was already a line of people with the same intention, so I guess there are plenty of selfish and criminally intent people that want to eat out like human beings did, just a year ago. It turns out that this restaurant had a huge enclosed patio with large gas-station style garage doors to open in the summer time. There was a bar built in kind of the center of the patio and tables were spread out with propane gas heaters set up to keep everyone from freezing. In hind-sight we should have taken one of the high-tops, and then our feet would not have been on cement the entire time and it would have probably been warmer, next time, if there has to be a next time. The restaurant was an ethnic Greek restaurant, I am not mentioning any names just to be prudent. We started with an order of Saganaki, the flaming Greek Kasseri cheese when doused with brandy with the necessary vocalization of “Opa” for the ladies, and I ordered a plate of Roasted Hot Peppers that on the abbreviated menu courtesy our phones, was not listed as stuffed with Feta cheese which I also shared with the ladies, my Bride was also happy to get the additional Feta that I scraped out of the peppers as goat cheese and I do not get along. Our friend ordered her traditional order of five lamb chops with sides as her dinner. My Bride ordered Broiled Shrimp and it was covered with Kasseri cheese, much to her chagrin (also not mentioned on the abbreviated menu) and I went with a half of a Roasted Chicken, as I figured that it was the safest of the dishes besides a hamburger. We finished off the meal with either Rice Pudding or Chocolate Mousse.
When in Rome, we ordered a Greek wine. Kouros Rhoditis Patra 2018 from Greek Wine Cellars, formerly known as Kourtaki Wines. Greek Wine Cellars has several labels including Kourtaki, Apelia, Calliga and Kouros. The company was founded by Vassili Kourtakis in 1895 and he was one of the pioneers in oenology in Greece. The company was famed for bulk wine sales, and they are now in the third generation of being family owned and have spread out into varietal wines as well, especially in the export end of their business. Patra (Patras) is in the wine producing region of the Peloponnese Peninsula and there are four Protected Designation of Origin appellations there and Roditis (Rhoditis) is one of the appellations. Roditis is a catch-all name for several pink-red grape clones that grow in abundance in Greece and is one of their most famous white wines, it is found both as a varietal type wine or blended. When it is not over-grown as a crop the wine tends to have bright acidity and some terroir notes with a finish of apples and pears, but as a dry white wine. This particular wine was quite refreshing and quite affordable. Here is hoping that soon when we dine al-fresco it will be in the midday sun.