Friday, August 12, 2011
Frugal Floozie Friday -- Earthen Jar
It's Frugal Floozie Friday, and today we're indulging in one of my very favorite cuisines: Indian. I adore Indian food, cook it often, and even have a friend - Sid, who first contacted me as an AnnArbor.com reader - who regularly tempts me by sending videos featuring Indian recipes.
So in looking for a restaurant to feature today, it was easy to decide upon one: Earthen Jar.
Earthen Jar's mostly vegan Indian buffet costs a mere $5.99 per pound. The problem, however, lies in trying to exhibit restraint - everything looks and smells amazing, and you'll find yourself wanting to try each offering. Except that then, of course, you'll end up paying $23 for your dinner! So a little of this, a little of that ... and the secret weapon: bring a friend, so you can each select different items and then share the wealth.
Tom and I recently ate dinner at this small but colorful restaurant, and I was completely seduced by all the fragrant and fabulous foods. There was an astounding variety of different lentil dishes, chickpeas, black-eyed peas, spinach, potatoes, paneer, salads; some of these were spicy, others were milder, but each had a unique and wonderful flavor.
Earthen Jar's menu is primarily vegan, including macaroni and cheese (I guess to keep the kids or picky eaters happy?); but there are a very few dairy products, such as a yogurt-based raita and the paneer which is in a couple of the dishes. There are also desserts (puddings and halwa), which we didn't get to after our immensely delicious dinner indulgence.
A few extra items are available at a charge beyond that of the buffet, such as baked goods, beverages and traditional Indian breads. Tom and I ordered naan for 99-cents each; but interestingly, without the bread, we had portioned out the food on our plates for a perfect and identical total of $5 each - the Frugal Floozie Friday budget per person.
Unfortunately, Earthen Jar is right next to Jerusalem Garden, the Middle Eastern restaurant that was featured in a recent Frugal Floozie Friday post; therefore, it is suffering the same misery of being located right in the midst of the enormous and seemingly endless project to construct an underground parking structure downtown. There is a sign saying that the two restaurants on that block are still open; but with parking non-existent and the street blocked off, it's not a particularly enticing location.
So go feast upon Indian food at a restaurant which blissfully lets you try a bit of each item rather than having to only pick one dish - the joy of a buffet! And help to keep Earthen Jar open through the construction quagmire, as it is truly a fabulous asset to Ann Arbor.
311 S. Fifth Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
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Frugal Floozie Friday: Food and Fun for Five Dollars or Less ... Really!!!
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