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Posted on Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 8 a.m.

Opera on Tap at Frenchie's makes for a fun and delicious Frugal Friday

By Mary Bilyeu


Mary Bilyeu, Contributor

Opera on Tap is a fabulous event held at Frenchie's, next door to the Sidetrack Bar and Grill, on the first Tuesday of each month. I happen to love opera, and everyone knows I love to eat! Food and fun are both found here!

That you can also find your food and fun at Opera on Tap for $5 or less person... well, that qualifies it to be this week's Frugal Floozie Friday feature.

Rather than being a stodgy affair, this is a most entertaining evening for which attendees must make reservations. (Call 734-483-5230 well in advance to leave your name and the number of people in your group. I don't know how bookings are for September 6, but try anyway in case they can fit you in.) There is no charge — just pay for your food and drinks and leave a generous tip for your server.

Tom and I meandered into the August session a bit late, so we unfortunately missed any introductions there may have been. My understanding is that Opera on Tap features local singers, music students, and enthusiasts, all of whom performed with exceptional talent.

Everything from the most passionate Italian arias to the beautiful "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess was performed — some melodrama, some humor, and great variety. The singing was so profoundly moving that I can truly say tears came to my eyes at one point. And yet, two of the singers also took turns wearing Brunhilde-worthy horns and schmoozing with the audience while drinking beer between songs. A good time was had by all!

Now, this describes the "fun" portion of the evening. What about the food?

That came in the form of carrot cake — the triple-layered vision of loveliness pictured above, available for ordering from the Sidetrack menu.

Prepared by the amazing pastry chef Bryant Stuckey, of Decadent Delight, the cake is moist, dense, rich, spicy, and topped with a crowning glory of smooth, sweet, luscious cream cheese frosting... sigh. One could easily relish this in utter selfishness, not sharing so much as a crumb; but it's so luscious that really, you want to share your bliss by having someone you love join you.

At $5.50 per slice, splitting dessert not only saves you calories but money as well. Order a cup of tea to complement it, and you're still within our Frugal Floozie Friday limit of $5 per person. There are also lots of other appetizers and desserts to enjoy on your own or to split with friends and family, all within our restrictive budget.

So immerse yourself in music and treats, delights to all your senses. Opera on Tap offers a fabulous evening of food and fun!

Frenchie's/Sidetrack Bar and Grill
56 E. Cross St.
Ypsilanti, MI 48197

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Mary Bilyeu has won or placed in more than 60 cooking contests and writes about her adventures in the kitchen. She was thrilled to have her post about Scottish Oatmeal Shortbread named as one of the daily "Best of the Blogs" by the prestigious Food News Journal.

Go visit Mary's blog — Food Floozie — on which she enthuses and effuses over all things food-related. Her newest feature is Frugal Floozie Friday, seeking fun and food for $5 or less ... really! Feel free to email her with questions or comments or suggestions:

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 as they cook along with her ... may you always be happy here.



Sat, Aug 27, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

Don't tell everybody. You're going to make it too hard to get a reservation!

Mary Bilyeu

Tue, Aug 30, 2011 : 1:28 p.m.

True ... but then, how great would it be to have people actually begging for a seat to listen to arias??? And to eat fabulous food, too! Hope to see you there in September ... come find me and say "hi"!


Fri, Aug 26, 2011 : 4:07 p.m.

Don't forget to tip the musicians too! They do these shows for free, so every little bit counts :-)

Mary Bilyeu

Tue, Aug 30, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

Absolutely! If there's a tip jar, by all means feed it generously!