Tag Archives: shawn smith

TeaHaus ranked #1 tea store in Ann Arbor, so I goes, and get happy

Since returning from Japan, I’ve been drinking green tea regularly. I even wrote a blog about it :)

My tea adventures have brought me most recently to Ann Arbor’s TeaHaus, a tea store with more than 200 varieties of tea. They work with a German vendor (so you know it’s good … haven’t you  heard of ShamWow!?!).

In fact, 28 of the vendor’s teas were among the best teas in their categories at a 2008 world tea competition.

If that’s not enough to impress you, head over there and talk to Andrew about anything related to tea. He’ll gladly take some time and explain just about anything you want to know on the subject. And if you want to stay for a while, they have some seats where you can relax and chat.

Here’s my quick tour:

Andrew also turned me on to a in-cup tea strainers. I had been using a French press for tea, but as he explained, French presses continue to steep tea even if the press is pushed to the bottom, which leads to a bitter, high-caffeine last cup.

Here’s the new strainer I got:

If you’re interested in tea, check this place out. Other places I’ve had luck is Cafe Japon, who’s owner is a certified tea expert and the Crazy Wisdom bookstore.

In case you were wondering, I found TeaHaus by searching “best tea ann arbor.” Good job on your SEO :)

Can Nikki Win Her Office Cubicle-Decorating Contest?

Nikki’s office is hosting a cubicle-decorating contest for the holidays, so she and I spent a good portion of our Sunday picking out a design scheme and setting it up.

I’m sure her co-workers will be surprised when they arrive in the office. Here’s what it looks like:

What do you think? Can she win?

I didn’t see any other cubicles decorated, but I think Nikki might have to go a little further to ensure she takes home the prize in this contest.

Office Holiday Party Saved by Sticks in Ypsilanti

This year, I’d say you’re extremely lucky if your office had a holiday party … and paid for it! My office canceled its annual party, and so the staff took it upon themselves to gather and have some fun.

We convened on Sticks in Ypsilanti, Michigan, during happy hour :) Pizzas were half off and there was a deal on beers. I was kind of shocked by how many people showed up, and it made for a good time.

Here’s what the place looks like:

I lost a couple games at pool, and then ended up just taking photos of the event. You can see more pics of the holiday party, but you’ll probably be more interested in the magician who showed up!

That’s right! There was magic in the air. In fact, the magician shows up every Friday night, so we weren’t that special. But it was cool to see him trick us. Here’s a video of one of his tricks:


Magic Man Wows MLivers at Sticks in Yspsilanti from shawn smith on Vimeo.

Yup, another successful year in the corporate life. Hope your holiday party was fun too!

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 :)

Apollo Studios Launches in Cincinnati, and I’m There To Witness It

My buddy Mark Rapaport recently launched Apollo Studios, a designer clothing brand based in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Many of my friends and I gathered in Cincinnati for the launch party and it was the first time since high school we all were in one place at the same time. It was great to see everyone again.

Here’s Mark explaining a little bit about the clothing line:

Good luck to Mark and his business partners. If you’re interested some cool, exclusive clothing, check out the Apollo Brands website and become their friend on Facebook.

See more of my pics from the party, but you won’t find videos. After watching those, I think they’re best left unposted :)

Shawn Smith and Friends Party at Bell’s Eccentric Day

For the second year in a row, I trekked to Kalamazoo, Michigan for Bell’s Eccentric Day. My co-workers Jonathan and Mike and I headed down after work and braved the snow and cold for one of the best nights of the year in Michigan.

Eccentric Day is a celebration of the beers from Bell’s Brewery, where people from around the country gather in eccentric dress and costume to dance the night away and sip great beer.

I’ve been looking forward to this night since I attended my first Eccentric Day in 2007.

To make things even better, I ran into some friends I haven’t seen in quite a while: Kevin, Liz and Corrine. I surprised them because they didn’t think I was coming.

This year, I came as a Santa pimp, similar to last year’s costume. The vibe wasn’t as wild as the 2007 Eccentric Day, and there seemed to be less food.

Here’s a video introducing Eccentric Day that ends when I run into Kevin and Liz for the first time during the night:

You can also take a look at what the main room looks like in the following video, which also features quick commentary from Mike Itchue:

See more videos and pics from Bell’s Eccentric Day 2008.

Shawn Smith Joins Cool Kids Club, Gets an iPhone

You didn’t think you’d ever see the day when I joined the ranks of smart phone users, did you? Well, maybe you did, but I’ve really been holding out for quite a long time.

I wanted a phone that did streaming video straight to the web, but I didn’t see it from the Blackberry storm and not the new Nokia N97 either. So, I bit the bullet.

After getting the error message on my old clamshell saying it wouldn’t charge, I decided to just go buy the iPhone. So here it is:

It seems pretty nice so far. But I’m stil looking for someway to get video on the web quicker.

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.

Shawn Smith Gets Glasses At Ann Arbor Optometry

It’s been about three years since I’ve worn glasses, but I’ve needed them for a long time. After doing some Google searching and reading reviews about Ann Arbor optometrists, I decided to visit Ann Arbor Optometry, headed by doctors Christina L. Curcione and Jennifer M. Sortor.

Nikki and I booked Dr. Curcione because of her web reviews, and we were really happy we did. Curcione allowed us to be seen together and was very friendly. She had a great story about how the practice came together that is truly inspiring for anyone looking to start out in business.

Without further adieu, here’s my new specs:

I have to admit, my eyes hurt for the first day of wearing my new glasses. The change to being able to actually see was straining. I adjusted in about a day and my vision makes me feel like I’m seeing things in HD :)

I’m not going for contacts since I’m scared to touch my eyeballs, plus, I look pretty good don’t I?