Frugal Friday at Palio - try the special rooftop menu
Mary Bilyeu | Contributor
Wendy had offered to go anyplace I might want to write up for a Frugal Floozie Friday feature, and I'd offered to take her anywhere she wanted to go for our party of two. Turns out, we each won!
Now, a girls' night is a fabulous thing even if you're sitting on the sofa in sweatpants, only eating popcorn and ice cream. But it's an even more wonderful time if you can look out over Main Street on a gorgeous Friday night as the sun is setting, and spend hours talking, hoping, and dreaming while enjoying wonderful food. We were thrilled to find that the rooftop — Palio del Sole, with its own menu differing a bit from that of the restaurant downstairs — had a table for two just waiting for us.
Wendy ordered her favorite dish, the Cannelloni di Funghi [cahn-eh-LOH-nee dee FOON-ghee]; it was a tremendously generous portion, enough to feed at least two people, but the pricing puts it out of our mandatory budget of $5 or less per person. (Worth every penny, but...) Should you not be striving for budget consciousness, it is a stellar feast of pasta with mushrooms, cheeses and a Florentine tomato sauce.
Mary Bilyeu |Contributor
I also ordered the exceptional assortment of tapenades pictured above: Roasted Garlic with Olives, Artichoke Lemon Herb, and Goat Cheese with Sun-dried Tomatoes. For a mere $7.95, I received generous portions of each spread, which could easily have been split by two to average out at less than $4 per person. I was able to take about two-thirds of this home (having started with the salad, of course), and thoroughly enjoyed them all again the next evening. These are delicious treats that are a tremendous deal!
The olive tapenade was my favorite, with a vivid flavor that let hints of the garlic shine through. The artichoke spread was wonderful, with a chunky texture. It was great to find true artichoke flavor, rather than having it diluted with the ubiquitous spinach. (Not that I haven't eaten my fair share of that famous dip!) The sharpness of the goat cheese shone through in the tomato variety, and it was so rich and creamy.
Now, a birthday party isn't a real celebration without sweets. So, of course, we asked our fabulously charming waitress, Erin, to bring the dessert tray 'round for a perusal. Never underestimate the skinny girl with the sweet tooth or her amazing BFF who runs half-marathons: I ordered an obscenely decadent, brandy-laced tiramisu, and Wendy ordered the rich and spicy carrot cake... and yup, we chose a third dessert and split the unbelievably seductive chocolate-drizzled peanut butter pie.
I think Erin was both appalled and yet rooting for us. But she's also a distance runner, so we all bonded over celebratory eating as a great motivation for either runs (Wendy) or long walks and free weights (me) since one must burn off the calories. Desserts are $5.95 each, but are so large that they are easily split by people who are less... let's be polite, and say "indulgent." (Yes, we finished every extraordinary bite.) So they can easily come in under the $5 per person budget, and would make a lovely treat after a movie or a concert, or "just 'cause."
Mary Bilyeu, Contributor
So, whether you want a perfect summery salad all to yourself, or whether you want to split a distinctive appetizer or luscious desserts, Palio has a variety of frugal options to choose from. Go! Enjoy!
Palio 347 S. Main St. Ann Arbor, MI 48104 734-930-6100 Monday - Thursday: 5 - 10 p.m. Friday - Saturday: 5 - 11 p.m. Sunday: 4 - 9 p.m.
Go visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — where she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related; and look for her monthly articles in the Washtenaw Jewish News. "Like" her on Facebook, or send a tweet on Twitter, too.
The phrase "You Should Only Be Happy" (written in Hebrew on the stone pictured in this post) comes from Deuteronomy 16:15 and is a wish for all her readers - when you come to visit here, may you always be happy.