361. Bolero – September 19, 2018 – Detroit, MI

September2018Bolero1 (3)September2018Bolero2 (2)Filet on a Wednesday night? How luxurious! Thanks to a visit last week to Bolero, I enjoyed a sumptuous meal that included that tender cut of beef.

A friend and I have gotten into a groove of trying new places on weeknights, and I’m LOVING it! Visiting downtown Detroit post-workday is especially thrilling to me; it transforms what could otherwise be a banal evening of me in my robe wrangling dinner out of leftovers and perusing my DVR for scraps (come on, fall TV line-up!) into one of adventure and excitement.

The excitement last Wednesday started with me doing one of my Favorite Things in Life (SOOO J/K): seeking parking in the crowded Midtown area of Detroit. Fortunately, there is a garage on Forest Avenue near Bolero that had reasonable rates that night (it cost $6 for under two hours of parking; I believe it’s a Wayne State University structure, but it was open to visitors).

If you plan to visit Bolero and are street-parking-phobic like me, I’d recommend parking in this garage if it’s open, as the curbs in this area are KICKING now that Wayne State’s school year is in full swing. Worth noting: this structure is a pay-at-a-kiosk-before-you-leave operation, where you have to walk to the pay station near the elevators on the first floor, insert the ticket you received when you drove into the garage, then pay the given amount with cash or credit card. You then have 15 minutes to exit the structure.

With parking shenanigans out of the way, it was on to Bolero! The Latin restaurant owned by the same proprietors who operate Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine opened last December. My visit to Vicente’s in March has been a highlight of Blog Year Five, so I was enthused about trying Bolero.

Arriving in the midst of happy hour, which touts food and drink specials Tuesdays through Fridays from 4 to 6:30 p.m., we kicked off the night with a round of $2 shots. Their selling point: the strong, light-colored liquor of which they consisted came in mini shot glasses fashioned from chocolate (YUM!).

I then ordered a glass of red wine as well as the aforementioned filet, the Bife de Buey a La Argentina. The eight-ounce tenderloin was excellent, cooked a perfect medium-rare and incredibly tender. It came with a side of chimichurri sauce that was BOMB (I could practically drink that stuff, it was so good!). Accompaniments of roasted potatoes and asparagus rounded out the meal.

I boxed part of the Bife de Buey to take home and scoped out Bolero’s dessert tray. When I saw the restaurant offered chocolate tres leches cake, I was sold. Being a tres leches lover AND a chocolate lover, this cake was absolute heaven to me in all its spongy, sweet-cream-saturated glory.

Not only was the meal at Bolero superb, the service we received was stellar. Our server was perfectly attentive, polite, and friendly. She also scored major points with me when, unprompted, she brought me an extra side of that life-changing chimichurri sauce to take home with my leftovers.

So thank you, Bolero, for offering a memorable dining experience on what could have otherwise been a forgettable Wednesday evening!

51 W. Forest Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.bolerodetroit.com

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360. TreeRunner Adventure Park – September 13, 2018 – West Bloomfield, MI

September2018TreeRunner1 (2)September2018TreeRunner3 (4)A workday spent frolicking above the forest canopy? Sign me up!

Last week, I got to fulfill a several-years-held dream of visiting TreeRunner Adventure Park in West Bloomfield – on my employer’s dime! My department at my day job was required to attend a six-hour retreat at the park. We spent half of the day on land, completing various team-building exercises, and the other half up in the air, navigating ropes courses and zip lines.

According to its website, “over 165 exciting obstacles and zip lines, five difficulty levels, and 10 different courses” constitute TreeRunner Adventure Park. Adding to the experience is the fact that the zip lining and obstacle maneuvering occurs in a wooded area, making one feel as if she is flitting among the treetops like a human-sized squirrel.

The ground-oriented team-building exercises (working a multi-person set of wooden skis in unison; figuring out how to get from one platform to another so as to avoid imaginary lava; etc.) were fun. But I was all about the aerial obstacles, which I performed during the second half of the day.

I completed a ropes course for the first time during a vacation in Ecuador earlier this year and LOVED it. I got the same rush from it that I did as an eight-year-old climbing the pine trees in my backyard. And I’d experienced the exhilaration of zip lining during a trip to Costa Rica a decade ago, soaring along routes strung over lush expanses of rainforest.

TreeRunner Adventure Park’s obstacles don’t reside in the mountains of South America, nor a tropical rainforest. They’re in a wooded area behind a Jewish community center in the Metro-D. But the intricate networks of platforms and ropes and pulleys hung at varying height levels among the leafy green canopy are fascinating to behold – and to navigate.

The navigating was especially interesting blindfolded.

The guides at Treerunner Adventure Park don’t usually facilitate blindfolded obstacle-course runs. My employer asked for this element to be added to the experience so that those not participating in the aerial activities (due to an aversion to heights or the park-imposed weight restriction) could participate as guides, shouting instructions from the ground to blindfolded teammates in the trees. Climbers were allowed to scale vertical ladders and perform the zip lines sans blindfold, but our eyes had to be covered for the obstacle runs.

I was resistant to the blindfold at first. The aerial activities I’d been gung ho about performing became nerve-wracking to contemplate without the benefit of sight.

I ended up, however, enthusiastically enjoying the added challenge of completing the obstacle runs blindfolded. My team’s guide offered great support with his descriptive directions, while I learned to feel with my feet for evidence of each hanging plank, block, and bridge I needed to navigate. Secured as I was via harness to the sturdy wire running the length of each obstacle, I knew that even if I did falter, I’d be caught.

Ditching the blindfold for the zip-line portions of the course proved worthwhile. The zip lines on the Level 3 run my team completed were much abbreviated compared with the loping ones I rode in Costa Rica, but they still delivered the rush of barreling airborne through the trees.

Overall, my experience at TreeRunner Adventure Park was super rewarding. Not only did it help me and my colleagues hone our teamwork, leadership, and communication skills, it also helped us connect to our inner-child selves on a day when we normally would’ve been hunched over our computers in our cubicles. Here’s to traipsing among the tree branches instead!

6600 W. Maple Rd.

West Bloomfield, MI 48322

(Open Friday through Sunday to the public;

group reservations available Monday through Thursday)

www.treerunnerwestbloomfield.com

359. Detroit Vintage – September 9, 2018 – Detroit, MI

September2018DetroitVintage1 (4)September2018DetroitVintage3 (2)September2018DetroitVintage2 (2)Detroit Vintage is MAGICAL!

This most enchanting of coffee shops is in an unlikely location, sandwiched as it is between a weed dispensary and a liquor store on Eight Mile Road in Detroit.

But does pure, magical goodness depend on prime real estate from which to derive its powers? Heck no! If anything, the disparity between Detroit Vintage and the surrounding area enhances the ethereal otherworldliness beyond the coffee shop’s threshold.

This place is STUNNING, a cozy-beyond-cozy space decorated with knick-knacks and bunting and stacks of books and twinkle lights and chandeliers and cushy leather chairs and COLOR – so much bold, bright color. Another delight of a gem in the D!

As is often the case with otherworldly realms, entering Detroit Vintage can be complicated – at least for a first-time visitor unaware of the admittance process.

While I’d read online prior to visiting the coffee shop that patrons should access it via its back entrance, when I attempted to do so, I encountered a locked metal gate obscured by colorful decorations beyond the exterior door.

Is this right? I stepped back to re-assess the building.

In the meantime, two more would-be first-time visitors to Detroit Vintage appeared. Together we puzzled over the latched gate-door – until a woman inside heard and let us in.

It turned out that this door was the proper one through which to enter; to gain admittance, we were supposed to ring a bell attached to the gate-door, which we had missed.

Once inside, I could see why Detroit Vintage is guarded so carefully. I was immediately taken with the beautiful space, as I was with the two welcoming women who ran it.

I ordered a cappuccino at the counter to the rear of the shop and was told that it would be delivered to me. I took a seat at a small wooden table decorated with a stack of books and a teapot stuffed with flowers and soaked up the enchanting ambiance, complete with classical music playing softly in the background.

My cappuccino was brought to me a few minutes later. It was piping-hot, perfect on that blustery Sunday afternoon, with a deliciously rich flavor.

I spent about an hour nestled inside Detroit Vintage on that visit, in sweet sojourn from the outside world. The charming environs captured my imagination, and I knew I would be back for a revisit. Magical spaces such as this linger long in my memory!

10335 W. 8 Mile Rd.

Detroit, MI 48221

(Open Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; cash only)

www.bucky313.wixsite.com/detroit-vintage-

 

358. Ottava Via – September 6, 2018 – Detroit, MI

September2018OttavaVia1 (3)September2018OttavaVia3 (2)Ottava Via: what a delight! This restaurant exceeded my expectations, presenting an immensely enjoyable dining experience.

I didn’t hold much in the way of expectations around Ottava Via prior to going there because I didn’t know much about it. Here’s what I knew: it served Italian, was located in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit, and a friend of mine had once snatched a barely-eaten appetizer off an abandoned table there and eaten it (apparently it was too enticing to pass up!). AND it was on my collected list of places to visit, so I’d likely read something good about it at some point. With that background information in mind, I recruited a pal for a dinnertime visit and motored down to Michigan Avenue.

Pulling up to the restaurant’s storefront, I realized I’d passed its nondescript black-and-white sign quite a few times. I also realized its demure appearance belies the glory that resides just behind it.

Pulling around to the rear of Ottava Via to park, I saw this gorgeous gated patio with pots of flowers, strings of twinkle lights, and wooden communal tables. A fire burned in a brick fireplace, and adjacent to the patio was a bocce court where guests could play the traditional Italian game. It was a hidden paradise!

There was no way my friend and I weren’t sitting in that garden enclave, especially during the last dregs of the warm-weather season. We plopped down at one of those communal tables and soaked up the pleasant patio-side vibes.

I perused Ottava Via’s menu and was quickly sold on the Ragout Alla Bolognese with its veal- and pork-infused sauce, though several of the small-plate and pizza options intrigued me, including the prosciutto- and cheese-stuffed fried Arancini balls and two of my fave Italian classics, Caprese salad and Margherita pizza. My friend ordered the Artichoke pizza with its namesake veggie, pecorino cheese, garlic, lemon zest, and a spinach pesto sauce.

The meals came out promptly, and I was pumped to dig into the Ragout Alla Bolognese with its thick pappardelle egg noodles, meaty sauce, and dollops of fresh ricotta.

Dug in I did, to discover that the dish was delicious. The sauce was rich, the ricotta was creamy, the noodles were wonderfully fresh and flavorful. I enjoyed those house-made pappardelle noodles in that Ragout Alla Bolognese as much as I did the sauce, which surprised me. I guess I’m used to eating dried pasta that tastes more like the cardboard box it came in than a from-scratch culinary staple with a rich tradition. Ottava Via’s pappardelle pasta definitely tastes like the latter; it’s a prime component of the Ragout Alla Bolognese rather than simply a vessel for the sauce.

My friend raved about her pizza with its chunks of artichokes and pesto sauce, and it looked so appealing that I had to try a bite of it; it was tasty, and I would have loved to scarf the whole of it myself.

To drink wine and eat pizza and pasta while dining alfresco and enjoying good company: is there anything better than that? In the scheme of life, it’s a simple experience, and yet the unadulterated pleasure it offers makes it a magical one – especially when dining at a place that offers as much in the way of cuisine and ambiance as Ottava Via does.

1400 Michigan Ave.

Detroit, MI 48216

www.ottavaviadetroit.com

357. Pages Bookshop – August 31, 2018 – Detroit, MI

August2018Pages1 (2)August2018Pages2 (2)After enjoying a delicious cold-brew iced coffee during a visit to Always Brewing Detroit, I continued my recent afternoon in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood of Detroit with a visit to Pages Bookshop.

This jaunt was SUPER exciting for me as a lifelong lover of books (shout-out to my fellow bookworms!). Independently-owned bookshops hold a special charm for me, especially in this day and age of online conglomerates and digital over paper. They are doing the good work, keeping physical bookstores and the curated, personal book-buying experience alive!

When I buy from indie bookshops, it feels like a total win-win: I am financially supporting a business whose mission I value, AND I have an excuse to buy new books. How great is that?

And Pages Bookshop, specifically, is a FANTASTIC indie bookstore. Its one-room shop is relatively small, but it’s loaded with thoughtfully chosen fiction and nonfiction offerings – including books by local authors – as well as cute Michigan-centric goods and other items that make great gifts, such as cards and journals.

On the day I visited, Pages was helmed by the owner, Susan, and the shop cat, Pip. Susan was a delight to share my enthusiasm around books with, and Pip melted my heart with her adorably plump frame and sprawling request to be petted (Feline Friends 4L!).

I browsed in Pages for about a half hour and found loads of books I was interested in. Like most indie bookshops, Pages affixes handwritten notecards touting staff recommendations to its shelves (I’m a sucker for those!).

Limiting myself to three purchases, I decided on two novels (The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin) and one nonfiction tome (Small Victories by Anne Lamott). My fix to the conundrum of being interested in more books than I’ll allow myself to buy, BTW: I text myself the titles and authors of the ones I don’t get so I have a record of them (bookworm hack!).

I left Pages with my purchases in a complimentary canvas tote and the warm feeling that being around books infuses in me.

Once home, I scanned the list of upcoming events that Susan had given me and plotted my next visit. Pages regularly hosts author visits, sometimes several a week; a schedule is available via the Events calendar on its website.

Whether for the purpose of attending an event there or not, a visit to Pages Bookshop is most definitely worthwhile, especially if you love books as much as I do. How fortunate we are to have this indie bookstore in Detroit!

19560 Grand River Ave.

Detroit, MI 48223

www.pagesbkshop.com

 

356. Always Brewing Detroit – August 31, 2018 – Detroit, MI

August2018AlwaysBrewing1 (2)August2018AlwaysBrewing3 (2)Independent coffee shops are my JAM, so you know I was down to visit Always Brewing Detroit last weekend!

A Detroit jaunt was the obvious choice for me last Friday after an early work dismissal in honor of Labor Day weekend. With Grandmont Rosedale fresh in my memory after a recent visit to Detroit Vegan Soul, I opted for a return to the Northwest Detroit-area neighborhood and the chance to become acquainted with another local coffee shop.

Upon stepping into Always Brewing Detroit, I immediately liked it. The shop had a cozy, welcoming vibe with its glinting copper ceiling tiles, vintage-looking furniture, strands of exposed-bulb lighting, bookshelf available for browsing, and floor-length rose-colored curtains pulled aside to let in the sun. A chalkboard above the service counter advertised now-past events open to the community: an open mic, a game night.

I had a hankering for an iced coffee and ordered a medium-sized one from the laid-back, friendly barista. It was awesome, rich in flavor and not at all tasting diluted by the ice. I confirmed with the barista that it was a cold brew; he said that’s the only way they’ll do iced coffees there. Obviously, they take the craft of coffee brewing seriously, which I appreciate!

Hanging out at Always Brewing was a chill experience, a wind-down from my workday and an excellent start to the holiday weekend. This is definitely another indie coffee shop that I’ll be adding to my rotation!

19180 Grand River Ave.

Detroit, MI 48223

www.alwaysbrewingdetroit.com

355. Shatila Bakery – August 23, 2018 – Dearborn, MI

August2018Shatila4 (2)August2018Shatila1 (2)August2018Shatila2 (2)August2018Shatila3 (2)SHATILA BAKERY IS ON 100 PLACES IN THE D!!! [Cue official-sounding bugles and confetti!!!]

You guys, I’m super excited about this post, because visiting Shatila Bakery in Dearborn was EPIC. This bakery is amazing!

Prior to my visit, I’d assumed Shatila Bakery was awesome because I’d sampled its baklava on several occasions when a coworker at a former job brought it into the office. Baklava is one of my favorite desserts (all that rich honey, crunchy pistachios, and flaky phyllo dough . . . YES, PLEASE), and Shatila does baklava RIGHT. Needless to say, when a friend mentioned she wanted to visit the bakery’s Dearborn location, I didn’t need convincing to tag along.

Knowing how tasty Shatila’s baklava was and seeing how extensive its hours of business are (the Dearborn location is open from 7:30 a.m. to at least 11 p.m. – sometimes 12 a.m.! – daily), I knew the place had to be a big deal. But I was surprised by what I encountered when I walked into the bakery.

Cue to: a vaulted ceiling. A food-court-esque seating area surrounded by twinkle-light-strewn palm trees, supplemented by outdoor patio seating. An ice cream counter with house-made ice cream. And the pièce de résistance: a wraparound bakery counter filled with shelf after shelf of enticing cakes, cookies, and traditional Mediterranean desserts, including various varieties of baklava.

I was beside myself with delight. This was not simply a bakery: Shatila was an experience!

An experience that called for preparation. This was not the type of place where you dawdled around deliberating, my friend and I decided. We’d each picked a paper ticket designating the order we would be waited on upon our arrival but dismissed them once we realized we needed time to study the display cases and the myriad of options they encased. We did just that for a good 10 minutes before we felt confident enough to pick out numbers again – at which point, a sizable crowd had gathered inside the bakery.

Despite the crowd, it didn’t take long for our second round of numbers to be called. Shatila was amply staffed, and its staff members moved with the precision and professionalism of a well-trained army. When it was my turn, I was ready: I ordered six pieces of baklava and a chocolate bool (or boll – I’m admittedly not clear on the spelling), a round confection coated in chocolate that I was told was filled with pistachios.

When I got home, I saw an extra piece of baklava slipped in amongst the six I’d ordered – whether accidentally or intentionally, I’m not sure (I had mentioned to the staff member who served me that I was a first-time visitor and loved baklava, so thanks to him if it was intentional!).

That extra piece of baklava sweetening the deal aside, all of the goodies I got from Shatila that day were delicious. I especially enjoyed two pieces of baklava shaped like little phyllo cups nestling whole pistachios and drenched in honey. The chocolate bool was lovely, too; it appeared to be filled with nougat in addition to the nuts and was rich, chocolatey goodness.

After tasting those delectable desserts, I deemed it official: Shatila Bakery is revisit-worthy! I’m not sure if I’ll ever get past ordering loads of baklava when I return, but if I do, I have to try a slice of the knafeh (described on Shatila’s website as “a shredded dough pastry stuffed with sweet cream or cheese and topped with sugar syrup” – Mmmm) – and a slice of the chocolate mousse cake – oh, and the Jordan almonds . . ..

14300 W. Warren Ave.

Dearborn, MI 48126

(With an additional location in West Bloomfield)

www.shatila.com

354. Detroit Vegan Soul – August 23, 2018 – Detroit, MI

August2018DetroitVeganSoul1 (2)August2018DetroitVeganSoul2 (2)August2018DetroitVeganSoul3 (4)Detroit Vegan Soul = my latest culinary crush!

If you’ve been following 100 Places in the D for any amount of time, you’ll know I’m not vegan (I praised a delectably beefy cheeseburger in my last post). But I eat a mostly processed-free, heavy-on-the-plants diet when I eat at home and enjoy trying out vegan and vegetarian restaurants due to my love of produce and clean eats.

Thusly, Detroit Vegan Soul was on my to-visit list; it had been for years. I decided this summer HAD to be the one I finally got over there and tried the Coconut “BLT” Wrap, for which I’d heard high praise.

After spontaneously asking a friend if she’d like to accompany me to the restaurant last Thursday, the Grandmont Rosedale-based location was the one we decided open (there’s another location – the original one – in the West Village neighborhood of Detroit). FINALLY, it was time for me to order up a dish of Detroit Vegan Soul!

When we arrived at the Northwest Detroit-area neighborhood with its grand old houses where Detroit Vegan Soul – West resides, I got excited. I’m an East-Side suburbanite and don’t venture much beyond the East-Side Detroit neighborhoods – unless I’m going to Southwest Detroit (so.much.culinary.goodness there!). Northwest Detroit is new territory for me – territory that I can’t wait to explore further.

This West-Side location of Detroit Vegan Soul is on Grand River Avenue, down the way from Pages Bookshop (an independent bookstore that has long been on my radar) and across the street from another soul food restaurant – of the meat variety – called Auntie Betty’s Café (which, with its constant stream of carryout customers and invitation to “Get Hooked” emblazoned on its windows, intrigued me).

But this post is not about those other places – this post is about Detroit Vegan Soul, which fully deserves the spotlight. From the ambiance to the service to the food, the experience it proffered was excellent.

The restaurant’s interior is fairly small but offers various seating options. It’s clean and pleasant, all dark wood, lime-green walls, and exposed-bulb lighting. Fronting the restaurant is a patio table that carryout guests can dine at (our server explained that Detroit Vegan Soul is in the process of getting this patio area adherent to zoning laws that will allow them to serve guests there).

Our server was great: polite, friendly, and attentive. He put in my friend’s order of the Soul Platter and mine of the Coconut “BLT” Wrap, and our meals came out promptly.

I was impressed by the amount of food that came with my order. This BLT wrap was hefty, loaded with coconut bacon, creamy avocado, juicy tomato, crisp lettuce, and Vegenaise (which is – you guessed it – a mayonnaise substitute). I got it with a whole-wheat wrap; a raw collard leaf was also a wrap option.

With my first bite into this Coconut “BLT” Wrap, I was blown away by how much the coconut bacon tasted like actual bacon! I didn’t notice the inherent coconut flavor at all at first – all I noticed was the smoky bacon-y goodness. Eventually, I did become aware of the coconut’s original flavor profile – but it didn’t matter, because the sandwich was so delicious. The coconut bacon was cut in little chips – like bacon bits – rather than in thick slices as I’d expected.

A fresh spinach salad with a zesty dressing was a lovely accompaniment to the wrap – as were the yam fries. They were cut into coin shapes like chips but soft on the inside like a typical fry; the seasoning on them was AMAZING.

I ate heartily of this meal and had enough remaining on my plate to take leftovers home. I found the amount of food included with the Coconut “BLT” Wrap a great value for the $9.69 price tag, especially considering that vegan/vegetarian/clean-eating establishments can be pricey.

BTW, my friend loved the Soul Platter, which consisted of dairy-free mac-and-cheese, collard greens, black-eyed peas and rice, glazed yams (her favorite part), and a cornbread muffin.

It was obvious during the course of our visit that it wasn’t just us who had fallen in love with Detroit Vegan Soul. While the place was mostly empty when my friend and I walked in around 6:30 p.m., we watched it fill up over the next hour with dine-in patrons and carryout guests. By the end of our visit, the line of people waiting to reach the counter ended near the front door. Look at you, Detroit Vegan Soul, garnering culinary crushes left and right!

19614 Grand River Ave.

Detroit, MI 48223

(with another location on Agnes Street in the West Village neighborhood of Detroit; check website for each location’s specific hours and days of operation)

www.detroitvegansoul.com

353. 5th Tavern – August 12, 2018 – Bloomfield Township, MI

August20185thTavern1 (2)August20185thTavern2 (2)5th Tavern is POPULAR among the brunch crowd.

I learned this when I attended a baby shower at the Bloomfield Township-based restaurant on a Sunday afternoon a few weeks ago. The place was KICKING when I walked in at noon, to the point where I found myself having flashbacks of pure-chaos Sunday afternoon shifts (the shift that’s most likely to end with someone breakdown-crying, in my experience) from my restaurant-server past.

The crowd was enjoying 5th Tavern’s weekend brunch buffet and live music by a gentleman playing what appeared to be an electric clarinet (I had no idea woodwind instruments came in electric form!). The restaurant’s classy ambiance and outdoor patio seating most likely enhanced the appeal of the place for the clientele, as well.

The baby shower I attended at the 5th Tavern was tucked away in a room separate from the main dining area, so we were somewhat insulated from the hubbub. The celebration offered a set lunch menu with three items to choose from: the Salmon Salad, Chicken Marsala, and American Kobe Burger.

I’m not one to put stock in Kobe beef being superior, but let me tell you, this American Kobe Burger was AWESOME. It was a thick-patty burger that came cooked at a standard temperature of medium that was incredibly tender and juicy and delicious. MAN, was it perfect topped with melted cheese and nestled within a brioche bun! The accompanying fries were excellent, too: thicker cut and crispy-fried on the outside while soft on the inside . . . YUM. It’s 9:15 in the morning as I’m writing these words, and I am hardcore craving that 5th Tavern American Kobe Burger.

So despite the lively crowd giving me server-nightmare-esque flashbacks, I enjoyed the fact that I got to spend time at 5th Tavern on that Sunday afternoon. I’d love to go back and try more of its menu, which is loaded with various salads, sandwiches, burgers, flatbreads, and meat- and seafood-centric entrées (such as Lamb Chops and Michigan Cherry BBQ Salmon).

I’m also intrigued by the various promotions that 5th Tavern offers throughout the week, including happy-hour food and drink deals Mondays through Fridays from 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to closing and half-off bottles of wine on Wednesdays. No wonder the place is such a popular hangout!

2262 S. Telegraph Rd.

Bloomfield Twp., MI 48302

www.5thtavern.com

352. Elie’s – August 1, 2018 – Birmingham, MI

August2018Elies4 (2)August2018Elies2 (2)August2018Elies3 (2)Tender steak, toasted pinenuts, and sautéed onions nestled on a bed of hummus? Fattoush salad with crisp vegetables, crunchy pita chips, and zesty dressing? Yes, yes, and YES, please!

These are the dishes I enjoyed at Elie’s, a Mediterranean restaurant in downtown Birmingham, whilst lunching on its lovely patio earlier this month.

While Elie’s lunch menu is loaded with delectable-sounding choices that I’d love to explore further (ranging from Lamb Shawarma to Shish Tawook to Homemade Chicken Pot Pie), the hummus with tenderloin was a no-brainer for me.

I mean, creamy hummus and red meat combined – how could that not equal GLORIOUS? And it was glorious, especially when scooped up with soft, piping-hot pita bread.

The Fattoush salad was equally fresh and flavorful and delicious. I got the large-sized salad, which was substantial and more than I needed; I easily filled up on half of it.

The restaurant’s pretty patio was an ideal place to dine; the location along Pierce Street makes it a prime spot for people-watching. As the sands in the hourglass are running out on our patio days here in Metro Detroit, I find myself especially appreciating any opportunity to dine alfresco.

All in all, my experience at Elie’s was a pleasant one – one that I would definitely say YES to again.

263 Pierce St.

Birmingham, MI 48009

www.eliesgrill.com