Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Bivouac Eats: Behind the Scenes at Babo Market (Ann Arbor, MI)

    It’s no secret we’re fans of SavCo. From delectable tapas at Aventura to mouthwateringsteaks at Sava’s Restaurant, we’ve time and time again sung the praises of Ann Arbor local Sava Lelcaj and her ambitious, thriving mission to improve the world by first improving its nutrition. While we’re sure no one at SavCo would protest if you ate three meals a day at one of their fabulous restaurants, SavCo has never been about putting a healthy lifestyle out of reach for the average Ann Arborite. In 2011, Sava pulled back the curtains on its latest project, one aiming to make every meal – not just that special Saturday treat out – as wholesome, nutritious, and locally-sourced as its restaurants.

    Officially titled “babo: a Market by Sava”, the E Washington St. “grocer·ant” (that’s “grocery/restaurant”) opened its doors to runaway success. From a single original neighborhood grocer, babo has expanded to 3 locations (including one tucked away in Ann Arbor’s famous Nickel’s Arcade) and serves up everything from fresh vegetables and organic groceries, to a full grab-and-go prepared foods menu alongside its own line of salads and juice cleanses.

    And Ann Arbor has noticed: as a University of Michigan student, it’s impossible to walk across the Diag without spotting one of babo’s ubiquitous juice bottles or white paper bags, posed by someone out enjoying a lunch break in the sun. Apparently, it’s also impossible to write reviews of Sava’s restaurants without turning a head or two in their office – just last week, I had the incredible opportunity to go behind-the-scenes at babo Market as they prepped hot and cold food for a busy day serving downtown Treetown. 

Today on Bivouac Eats: we Meal Prep with babo Market!

Recipe #1: Tuscan Bean Salad (Cold)

  • Kidney Beans
  • Cannellini Beans
  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Roasted Red Peppers
  • Green Olives, Sliced 
  • Red Onions, Chopped
  • Tomatoes, Diced 
  • House Made Balsamic

babo was pretty hush-hush about the precise proportions, but chef was able to offer his one tip: when it comes to dressing, less is more. And with that many colorful veggies in the mix, I’ll take his word for it.

Recipes #2: Chipotle Chicken (Hot! Hot! Hot!)

  • Chicken
  • Peppers Mix
  • Tomatoes
  • Red Onions
  • Garlic
  • Chipotle Peppers
  • Blue Cheese (to top)

    While I’d like to believe that every student house has an open-flame grill and that our readers at home could all turn out the same beautiful grill marks that chef serves up, 30-40 minutes in a 400° F oven (or until golden) will cook chicken breast just as well. 

    Chipotle Chicken is also a great “leftovers friendly” meal for any aspiring meal preppers. If you don’t want to make your own sauce, any of babo’s delectable condiment choices will make a great accompaniment. Once done, just add the sauce and veggies, then serve!

    All in all, my first experience “behind the scenes” at a busy, downtown eatery was something I’ll never forget. This “Bivouac Eats” is a tad shorter than most, considering I was too busy taking in the sights and smells to take many notes. But – as I’m sure you’ve noticed - I did take tons of pictures!

    Try the recipes at home, enjoy this look into the wild world of babo, and make sure to stop into one of the 3 markets on Boardwalk Dr, E Washington St, or in Nickel’s Arcade! Your stomach will thank you.  

~Alex R. -Men's Fashion


Bivouac: Where Outdoor Passion Meets Indoor Fashion.

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