Frita Fail

What I was supposed to have for lunch at/from Frita Batidos, where my Saturday co-workers and I stopped for a takeout this afternoon:

Tropical Salad: Romaine tossed with tropical fruit, toasted macadamias, shredded coconut, queso secco, red onion, smokey guava vinaigrette & avocado spread.

What I had:

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4-6 small leaves of romaine, about 1/4 cup mango, about one teaspoon of coconut, one tablespoon nuts of some sort (not macadamia), and a weirdly thick guava dressing (not pictured). No cheese, red onion, or avocado spread.

I went back and asked for the avocado spread, not having noticed the other missing ingredients, and was given 3 small slices of avocado. I asked if this was the spread, and was told, oh, I thought you wanted avocado. No, I want the spread that’s supposed to be on the salad! A few more minutes’ wait and I was on my way with the assorted avocados.

How much did I pay for this salad? $9 + tax + tip. By my calculations, I could have made the same salad for the four of us – including all the omitted parts – for under $5.  I could have bought a better and more generous salad from Wendy’s for under $5.  Oh Ann Arbor.

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1209 Frita Batidos

There are a few things you can expect when dining at a restaurant that has just opened.  The menu, while printed on nice heavy paper in an attractive font, is still being fine-tuned.  The staff is still getting into the rhythm of prep and service.  Your questions about dishes or pairings may be met with blank stares, as your server tries to remember the tasting notes for tonight’s specials.  You might have to wait.  A while.  For everything.

None of these things were the case at Frita Batidos – Eve Aronoff’s new “Cuban inspired” restaurant.  We’d talked about grabbing a coffee there later in the evening, but I was hungry, cold, and didn’t feel like cooking, so instead we popped in for an early dinner.  We didn’t end up getting that coffee, but neither of us really minded.  Dinner was that good.

The restaurant concept seems to be street food – while the menu contains things other than fritas (burgers) and batidos (Cuban milkshakes), most items can be eaten out of hand at the communal picnic tables and counters.  I ordered the turkey frita – a moist and well-seasoned turkey patty served with lemon mayo on an impossibly flavorful brioche bun.  Now imagine swapping the turkey for chorizo and piling it up with muenster cheese, cilantro-lime salsa, a tropical coleslaw, and a fried egg.  Is your mouth watering yet?  Are you reaching for napkins at the messy, delicious mental image?  That was Shane’s dinner.

Which reminds me – one of these days I need to get a picture of Shane’s happy eating face.  It’s really quite singular – somewhere between pleasure and sadness, a face that could be easily misconstrued if you didn’t know that his taste buds were totally blissing out at that very moment.  I saw that face several times in the course of this meal.

While waiting for our fritas to arrive, we shared a coconut cream batido.  If you like coconut – as I do – this is the closest thing to drinking up an entire coconut that I can imagine.  Batidos are sort of like a milk based smoothie – healthier than a milkshake, but just as decadent in flavor and mouthfeel.  I would’ve happily made this my entire meal – in fact, I might do so in the future.

On the whole, a really enjoyable experience.  The restaurant’s only been open about a week, so I’m sure it’s going to get MUCH BUSIER, but both the menu and the seating lend themselves to fast turnover.  I’m certainly looking forward to going back once they launch their breakfast menu: churros and Spanish drinking chocolate, anyone?