Category Archives: Shawn Smith’s Food Habits

How The Bangkok Locals Get Their Drink On!

Ever thought about drinking from a plastic bag? Sounds ridiculous right?

It’s actually pretty great! And thank you to Bangkok for showing it to me!

Many drink stalls and carts in Bangkok (usually only on the street) will serve you fresh mixed tea and coffee drinks, sometimes sodas, in plastic bags.

First, the vendor fills the bag with crushed ice, then mixes up your drink and pours it in. Usually any drink like this will cost about 15Baht or about $0.50USD.

The plastic bag makes it really easy to carry around… although I think most vendors put too much ice and not enough drink in. That’s the Bangkok way I suppose.

If you want to try this, get the sweet iced coffee Oreleang (I love this) or some black tea that looks orange. both are refreshing!

Frankenmuth’s Bavarian Inn Restaurant Stuffs Shawn Smith and Friends

During my recent tour of Michigan newspapers, my co-workers and I stopped off at Frankenmuth’s Bavarian Inn Restaurant for some tasty German cuisine. (see all pics and videos from Frankenmuth’s Bavarian Inn Restaurant)

Frankenmuth is one of Michigan’s most-heralded tourist attractions. The town casts itself as a Germanic throwback village that comes complete with costumed workers and an overwhelming affection for Christmas cheer. If you’re visiting Michigan during the holidays, you really shouldn’t skip this right of passage destination.

Despite it being the holidays, we visited Frankenmuth for a different reason: To stuff ourselves full of delicious German dishes.

Justin Rogers ordered the family platter for us, which came with four different salads (think navy bean salad, chicken salad, coleslaw and a cranberry relish salad), a platter of five meats and a few sides. The dinner is followed by desert, an ice cream and cookie.

Take a look at the dinner:

I definitely enjoyed the food, but the ambiance and staff is really what makes this place an enjoyable experience. All of the staff dons some sort of old world dress and they are all very friendly. Our server even let me take a photo with her and the food!

The dinner costs about $22 per person, not including a drink. The Bavarian Inn Restaurant’s menu includes many German beers to choose from and each costs in the $4-6 range. I think we each skated out of there spending about $35 including tip.

A fun experience, but a little pricey if you’re looking for a cheap meal in Frankenmuth. My advice, get the most out of your interaction with the staff. The food is good, but it doesn’t stand up to the atmosphere of the town.

Kobe Burger at Ann Arbor’s Cafe Zola is Hard to Beat

I love a good burger, and Ann Arbor certainly has its share of unique burgers to choose from. Want the classic, go to Old Town. Want the quick and dirty, try Blimpie Burger.

But if you’re interested in a burger that’s delicious in a place you wouldn’t expect to find one, check out Cafe Zola‘s Kobe beef burger.

If you haven’t been to Zola, here’s what the dining room looks like:

I admit I was very skeptical before ordering the burger at Zola. I have only eaten breakfast there, but my co-workers say the Zola is able to get the burger right. So I gave it a shot.

Although the dining room was pretty full, we didn’t have much of a wait for getting our food. Here’s what the burger looks like:

The end result? I really enjoyed the burger. It came with a mayonaise sauce and pineapple to put on the burger, which really gave it a nice tangy taste.

I was more than impressed that Zola could pull this off, since I’ve only known them as a breakfast place, and one of my favorites at that.

I also did a quick video on Zola’s menu, but I didn’t want to embed that here. Check it out if you’re interested.

And if you haven’t been to Zola’s, and you like crepes, try this place out for real. The crepes are awesome! And so is the fritatta omelete :)

Ann Arbor’s Paradise Restaurant Gets High Marks from Keech St. Crew

Looking for a super friendly Chinese/Vietnamese restaurant with good food? Try out Paradise Restaurant on Eisenhower Parkway in Ann Arbor.

I had heard from friends this place was good, and it might just be the best Chinese food in the entire city, Kyle and Amanda say. I haven’t eaten enough Chinese in the past 5 years to really make the call.

I will say the wonton soup was fantastic, and the kung pao chicken didn’t skimp on the peanuts (thankfully). The portions weren’t as huge as Gourmet Garden on Stadium, and my combo meal came with fried rice instead of regular white rice.

One thing I did notice, the patrons were mostly white. Usually, I would expect more Asian diners in an Asian restaurant. Here’s the video from inside:

Give it a try if you haven’t been there before. The staff is very friendly and it’s not too expensive.

Ann Arbor’s Newest Restaurant, The Blue Tractor, Opens for Lunch!

Mahalo friends. My coworkers grabbed me today for a great lunch at Ann Arbor’s The Blue Tractor, a new place owned by the owners of Grizzly Peak and Cafe Habana.

Take a quick tour of the inside: (more pics and vids at Blue Tractor’s dishes

Now that you’ve seen how nice it looks inside, check out the menu:

Ann Arbor’s Blue Tractor Restaurant Shows Off Interesting Menu from shawn smith on Vimeo.

Is your mouth watering yet?

The Blue Tractor, overall, is really a nice looking place. And what’s super cool is the restaurant connects to Cafe Habana through the basement. Check out this quick tour of the basement region:

Hope that was great for you as it was for me… I’m heading back for dinner tonight!

Shawn Smith and Coworkers Get Free Lunch from Chipotle

A new Chipotle restaurant opened in Ann Arbor today and they offered free food to local businesses and Ann Arbor VIPs as part of their staff training.

Lucky for us my coworker Tim gave them a call and ordered 23 burritos for our office. That’s right 23!

Check it out:



My burrito as well as the burrito’s of two of my coworkers were actually missing. But that’s ok. We walked back and the nice staff at the new Chipotle gave us the requested burritos and 5 bags of chips and guac. This was the best lunch EVAR!

Nikki and Shawn Drink Green Tea at Cafe Japon in Ann Arbor

I loves me some green tea! Believe it!

Nikki and I have been on a green tea kick lately after we bought a huge box of it at Costco a couple weeks ago. Since we love it so much, we decided to try some of the best green tea in town at Cafe Japon.

Nikki explains:

Cafe Japon also has an excellent ton katsu with curry dish. Try it. You will be very very happy.

Shawn Smith and Nikki Try Sadako’s Ton Katsu

Nikki and I ate out for the first time in quite a while recently – and where did we go?


Although my Japanese friend said he doesn’t care for that place much, I think it’s pretty good. The sushi is rarely bad, and their vegetable gyozas are AWESOME! It’s a Japanese restaurant, but I think it’s actually operated by Koreans. (I could be wrong though)

And it’s not too pricey. You can get a decent dinner for $10-$20 per person.

We decided to try the ton katsu (Japanese fried pork cutlet). I don’t think I’ll be getting that again. It wasn’t bad, I just didn’t really care for the house brown sauce on the pork. Although it was quite a value. Nikki and I split an order and got two fried cutlets for the normal single-dish price!

They don’t serve tea unless you ask at Sadako. I suppose it’s not a big problem, since most of the clientele don’t really give the appearance that they’re looking for an authentic Asian dining experience. Ah well. I’m on a green tea kick so I was looking for it – and it wasn’t bad once we got a cup.

Friends Gather at Juan’s Hacienda for Ed’s Birthday

Woohoo! Ed turns 26-years-old! And we celebrate by enjoying a tasty Mexican meal at Juan’s Hacienda in Madison Heights, Michigan.

The food was alright, but the real show was the waitress setting Ed’s birthday fajitas on fire! I definitely stuff myself. It’s not too pricey and the food isn’t bad. If you’re looking for Mexican dishes before a night on the town in Royal Oak, this might be the place.

We spent the rest of the evening on the roof of Woody’s in Royal Oak. It was a pleasant evening, and a number of friends showed up to celebrate Ed’s birthday.

After the bar closed, we headed to the Coney Island off Woodward and 12, which was a nice spot to end the evening. Ed ended up walking around the restaurant while eating his food. I guess that’s how things go down at 3 a.m. at the Coney.