ADRIAN -- An afternoon of three good eating experiences in Adrian proved the old adage about paying attention to what's in your own backyard.
It began with a cookie sample -- well, maybe two cookies -- continued to a nostalgic "just had to have one hamburger," and was topped at a new restaurant for dinner.
Can you wheel your shopping cart past a tasting station in a supermarket? Me neither. I can sniff out samples from two aisles away and always try something, whether it's hot, cold, sweet, or savory. This time it was sweet, but it was also healthful and that's a bonus.
At the Country Market in Adrian I spotted Suzie Miller's tasting table and responded enthusiastically to her offer of an oatmeal raisin cookie. The samples were popular on the chilly Saturday afternoon as she explained to each customer that the cookies were made with organic ingredients and whole grains.
The mixes are an entrepreneurial project of two young mothers. Ms. Miller is a resident of Sylvania Township. Her partner is Lizann Anderson of Ann Arbor. The cookie mixes are produced -- from the weighing and mixing to packaging and shipping -- from an 8-foot-by-10-foot space in Ms. Anderson's home.
The company name and product label is Among Friends. Two varieties are named for their children. Evan Heaven is the oatmeal raisin mix. C.J.'s Chocolate Crinkles are 42-calorie brownie-like bites with just three grams of sugar. Suzie Q's are oatmeal with chocolate chips. The cookie mixes make 36 cookies and the crinkle mixes make 45. According to the promotional material: "What you see is what you get. No artificial anything. Just simple whole, mostly organic ingredients, many from local farms."
Each of the women has three children and they came up with the idea for the snacks six years ago. After developing the recipe and winning applause from friends and neighbors who were given samples, they decided they were on to something
Among Friends mixes are sold in Michigan Whole Foods stores and in the Toledo area at The Andersons, Kazmaier's, and Sautter's in Sylvania.
Later, at the Sauce Italian Grill and Pub Friday night, the packed house indicated that Kim Horstman is receiving a standing ovation from Adrian townspeople for opening a downtown restaurant. Toledoans who patronize the Croswell Opera House should also be happy to have a dining choice a few blocks from the theater.
Ms. Horstman's business partner is her husband, Dave, former general manager of the Lenawee Country Club.
The Main Street location was for many years Mr. Ed's, but little remains of the original business. Ms. Horstman directed an extensive renovation that resulted in a handsome dining room and sizeable lounge and bar.
The menu shouts Italian with the traditional pasta specialties. One exception was the deep fried, heavily battered Fiery Shrimp appetizer. Half of the generous portion of multi-layered lasagna traveled in a to-go box. Sauce is open for dinner every day but Sunday.
My third eating experience took place at the Tip Top restaurant on West Maumee Street in Adrian.
I am no longer much of a meat eater, but about twice a year I simply have to have a Tip Top hamburger and eat every bit of the six-ounce sandwich. I would cry if it were ever taken off the menu at the Tip Top, a small place that is always crowded at lunch.
The bottom bun of a Tip Top burger is spread with mayo and topped with olives before the burger and top bun are added. While in grade school at Lincoln School three blocks from the Tip Top, I ate one of the burgers almost every day and sat on a different counter stool each day. The price then (notice I am not giving the years) was 20 cents. Today it's $3.95, with chips.
Mary Alice Powell is a retired Blade food editor. Contact her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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