Monday, January 17, 2011

A Little Smelt Goes a Long Way

Today, since we had the day off of work, a couple friends and I decided to have a day of fun in Detroit, where my friend Sara, lives with her husband, Matt. Another friend, Sarah, and I drove out there to meet up with them and have some adventures. Because their names are both Sara(h), it can  be confusing to tell stories about them, but since one spells her name with an "h" and the other doesn't, I think you'll be able to keep them straight.

Anyway, first on the agenda was feather bowling. Never having heard of feather bowling before, my first thought was, "I hope this doesn't involve trying to hurl a feather down a lane, because I'm pretty sure I can't think of anything more dissatisfying. But it turned out, it had nothing to do with throwing a feather. I think a few pictures will explain better than I could with words, but I'll make an attempt with words to help you explain the pictures (am I talking in circles?)

1. feather bowling is Belgian.
2. it involves hurling something like a wooden ball/wheel down a dirt lane trying to get it as close as possible to a pigeon feather stuck in the dirt.
3. it is in a way similar to shuffleboard, in that you try to knock your opponent's ball (away from the feather, in this case).
4. in one hour I became good enough to go pro.

Here are the pictures:

Team Sara(h) taking their turn.

Hurling the ball down the lane

Pommes frites break

The time team Sara(h) nailed it (the feather here reminds me a lot of the wicked witch of the east, right?)

I could post more pictures, but I think you get the idea. In case you were wondering, Team Non Sara(h) won in the speed round. There was some debate about if the speed round was a legit way to win, but the people debating it weren't on the winning team, so... you decide.

After feather bowling, we went to a restaurant with an impossible name to remember: Traffic Jam and Snug. I decided to be adventurous and order some breaded Canadian smelt. It turned out... it was a bit too smelty for me. The problem was that I really didn't know what smelt was. I knew it was some kind of fish, but that's all I knew.  And when it came out totally breaded, the mystery remained. After I'd eaten about six smelt, I cracked one open, at Sara's suggestion, and saw what was under the breading. I was done. It was a tiny fish (head chopped off), covered in breading. An entire fish. Gross gross gross gross! When the server came over and asked if I wanted a box, I said, "no thank you. Sorry." He said, "That's ok, a little smelt goes a long way."

Sara and Sarah walking into the restaurant

The main reason we went there: fried pickles
Then, because we hadn't consumed enough calories, we stopped at Good Girls Go to Paris, where my friend Christy joined us for some crepes.

So, did you stick with me this far? I know this was a picture heavy post, but I wanted you to feel like you were with me today.

How was your day today? What did you do?


Joyce and Bill said...

Ah smelt... I don't know if there are good smelt in the U.S. But at a meeting in Copenhagan they served them raw marinated in different sauces, along with a wonderful variety of cheese, Danish pastry, etc. At the morning and afternoon breaks. My first experience with smelt and I loved them. The sauces made all the difference.

Stephanie Curtis said...

I feel like since it is your blog and therefore your rules. I should give an explanation on why I am going to totally disregard your specific instrutions to talk about my day. As your day was filled with fun and mine was not I am not going to infect your blog with my non-fun. So here is what I really want to say: I am sad that you enjoyed something until you found out what was inside. I think that is almost as bad as judging a book by its cover. Also I want to hear more about the fried pickles. They sound amazing. Can I get them close by or are they better at the place you went? Finally, I love the crepe restraunt for many reasons.

Elizabeth Downie said...

To be fair, I wasn't really enjoying the smelt even before I found out what was inside. They were a bit too strong for me. Looking inside only confirmed my suspicions that something fishy was going on there.

See what I did there? Pun-tastic.

And yes, you can get fried pickles at Sidetrack. Let's please use that as an excuse to hang out soon! :)

Today's Gift said...

I had work today. :( Then I went to FHE tonight.

Looks like you had a fun day off!

Katherine said...

What an awesome day!!! I want to reread this post and relive your day over and over! It looks like a lot of fun! Well, except for the smelt, which I would not be daring enough to try. You know about my day, and while the wood debacle could be categorized as exciting, it was the wrong kind of exciting. I did have some dreams, but they were the sleeping kind and nowhere near as powerful and moving as Martin Luther King's. :)

Sara(h) said...

Dang, I love Michigan and all the amazing random assortment of things we get to see, eat, and do! :) (PS: Why isn't your beautiful face in any of the pics from this outing??)

violet50 said...

This is so funny from feathers to smelt to pickles. I wouldn't have tried the smelt, you brave thing! However the crepes....yummmmm

Sara(h) said...

I just reread your statement that "in one hour, I became good enough to go pro"!! :) I *love* that line!! :)

Sara said...

Or at least good enough to be #10 on the Top 10 list of featherbowlers.

I was driving to work today with the phrase "whoever smelt it dealt it" in my head. Really really unfortunate. When I got home and told Matt about the smelt he said all casually, "Oh, yeah, they're a U.P. thing". Going smelting is a tradition up there. Who knew? I guess yoopers do, but not us!

Ramsey said...

Looks like such a fun time...I'll take your day for sure! Looks like a blast..and delish!

Mrs. McGregor said...

Oh smelt!!! So funny! I LOVE smelt! I like my smelt and pickles on the small side. Is the picture of the the pickles or the smelt. Either way, they seem large. Big Boys used to carry fried smelt when I was a kid. Loved them! Here in Alaska they call them Hooligan. They are mainly used here as bait to catch larger fish. However, some people like me enjoy munching on them. This year I threw them into a tinfoil dinner on the fire with lots of dill sans the fried crispy crust and was really pleased with the end result. Way better for me and still yummy. Yes, I like eating the little smelt spines - but not the heads.
Did you ever go to the Pickle Barrel restaurant in Willis? They had excellent fried Pickle chips. I think the restaurant may have closed. :(
Thanks for the nice highlight of the detroit haunts! Back in the day some of the A2 crowd working downtown D would work our way around blocks for lunches, trying new places everytime. Lots of great spots in Hockey town!!

Mary Burnette said...

The Pickle Barrel closed but the new owners still serve pickle chips and they are the best! I prefer the pickle chips vs. the spears.

Jessica said...

Holy smokes. I'm glad you tried smelt so that I will never have to. No more curiosity about what that is!