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While chains like Starbucks and Biggby are quite popular places for students, Ann Arbor offers a vast array of accessible shops and cafes to satisfy any locavore. One of my favorite places to study is Babo, an eclectic market that sells exquisite food and wine and also a casual hang out spot where you can grab a cup of coffee (or sangria) and a salad. In the daytime sunshine, Babo is a vibrant little store, abundant with colors and eye-catching window displays. By night, this sensation is heightened with their whimsical strung lights that light up the outside patio. Regardless of the time, I often can be found on the patio with my Macbook and a bottle of their fresh squeezed juices.

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I have yet to try any of their food, but be sure to watch for a Babo food post when I inevitably do.DSC_0118

Restaurant Week: Marnee Thai and Cafe Felix

The idea of Restaurant Week is to make high end Main Street restaurants accessible to broke college students eating ramen in their dorm rooms. Restaurants condense their menu with their special Restaurant Week choices, and offer lunch entrees for $15 or 2/$15 and dinner for $28 or 2/$28. It's a nice idea. And I did indeed participate. But....

I definitely discovered some things:

1) College students are not actually broke. Somehow I am an exception, but the rest of the student population seems to be faring quite well. I shall continue dreaming about the day where I won't cringe at the "$$$" and above places on Yelp and Urban Spoon.

2) At the higher end places that you manage to find 2/$15 deals for, they will give you less food. Gasp! Granted, a smart person probably would have assumed this, but somehow my belly always speaks before my head.

3) Reservations are a great thing to have.

With that said, my first restaurant week stop was Marnee Thai.

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I ordered panang: a thick red curry with coconut milk, and it was average. There wasn't anything particularly special about the dish, but I enjoyed what I got for the amount I paid. DSC_0049

My experience at Cafe Felix was definitely more memorable.

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I wanted to try something new, so I ordered their ratatouille. Upon first glance, it was so strikingly similar to my side of tomato bisque that I thought the two would taste pretty similar. However, looks really can be deceiving--the eggplant that was hiding under all the red made my first ratatouille experience delicious. DSC_0065

My friend ordered their margarita pizza:

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For desert, we ordered bread pudding and brandied chocolate mousse. DSC_0073

Hands down, this was the BEST chocolate mousse I had ever had. The consistency and texture was spot on--not runny or chunky or anything else that would raise eyebrows. If I come back, it will solely be for this dessert. DSC_0074

Why "The Machine"?

11746_10151558705203330_884196816_n My name is Jiaxin, pronounced like "Machine" but with a "J". I love all kinds of food, and am rarely seen without my camera.

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I have always had an interest in blogging, but never really did any quality blogging. I am trying to transition from a strictly photo blog with sporadic posts, to this more in-depth and broad lifestyle blog.

Inspired by blogs like Cupcakes and Cashmere and Sea of Shoes, I want to share all the great food and style that I am so fortunate to be surrounded by! I am inspired by the many things I find in Ann Arbor, and hope to have some great travel anecdotes to share as well.

Happy blogging!