587. Recipes – October 9, 2022 – Rochester, MI

Recipes, a pinnacle of brunch places! The restaurant based in downtown Rochester serves hearty, flavorful fare in a setting worthy of champagne sipping.

Recipes’ menu is chockful of breakfast choices. It’s got omelets for days (including a make-your-own omelet-skillet option), a plethora of pancakes, granola, hashes, frittatas – you name it! There are seven kinds of Eggs Benedict, and egg skillets with names such as Rambler (a sophisticated mix of mushroom, chicken, broccoli, almonds, onion, and hollandaise sauce) and Straggler (a mix of mushroom, ham, Cheddar Jack cheese, tomato, onion, and potato). It’s a cornucopia of a.m. options!

More of a lunch person? Recipes has got you covered. Burgers, sandwiches, wraps, salads, and Asian fare such as Pad Thai and Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio (vermicelli noodles with grilled pork) are included on its menu.

Perennially the person favoring the lunch side of a brunch menu, I opted for Recipes’ Crunchy Thai Salad. The mix of fresh raw veggies (cabbage, cucumber, carrot, cilantro, green onion) and healthful protein (chicken breast and peanuts) were just what I needed after a night of birthday-celebration indulgence. Fried wontons, rice sticks, and Thai peanut dressing brought additional crunch and vibrance to this wonderfully tasty mix, which was served with cheese-topped garlic bread.

Alcohol is also offered at Recipes. It serves brunch-friendly cocktails such as the Irish Coffee and Bloody Mary – and, as do other brunch spots of its ilk, champagne and multiple kinds of mimosas.

Ready to sip, savor, and celebrate a day a brunch-i-ness? Look no further than Recipes Rochester!

134 W. University Dr.

Rochester, MI 48307

(With additional locations in Farmington Hills and Troy)

www.recipesinc.com

586. Nain Rouge Brewery – October 8, 2022 – Detroit, MI

Nain Rouge Brewery, serving up sinfully good beer!

I discovered the Detroit-based brewery during birthday celebrations for moi last month. Friends ordered its beer during dinner at Smith & Co., and we noticed the brewery was right across the way. So we popped over for a round of drinks after, before continuing on to Willis Show Bar.

It turns out that Smith & Co. is the only restaurant to serve Nain Rouge’s wares. The brewery also works with Eastern Michigan University’s brewing school, according to its website, aiming to “help promote diversity in the beer industry.”

What an awesome partnership! Obviously, Nain Rouge Brewery’s character is nothing like its namesake’s, that legendary creature who is said to cause mayhem in the D. Nain Rouge the brewery was, in my experience, a welcoming place devoid of drama – a chill space to enjoy pre-show drinks. But the “red dwarf,” as its name translates, has left its imprint on the brewery – in the form of its devilishly delicious beer.

Nain Rouge’s current tap list boast a range of choices, from an amber lager to a coffee stout to a honey- and hibiscus-infused wheat beer. There are three kinds of IPAs, a kölsch, a pilsner – even an Oktoberfest selection. I went for the Wisehead Chocolate Vanilla Porter, and it was right up my alley: rich, tasty, smooth.

Maybe that’s how Nain Rouge the imp is able to sneak in and cause a ruckus: by being as smooth as Nain Rouge the brewery’s beers. Maybe Nain Rouge Brewery has more in common with its namesake than I initially thought!

666 Selden St.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.nainrougebrewery.com

585. Smith & Co. – October 8, 2022 – Detroit, MI

A Saturday night spent with friends in Detroit: is there anything better? That’s especially the case when you’re dining on Smith & Co.’s Nain Rouge Mac & Cheese!

The Midtown/Cass Corridor-based restaurant and bar serves up hearty fare in a convivial environment. The interior ambiance can be described as upscale industrial: concrete floors, exposed beams, and destressed elements mixed with leather banquettes, gloss, and mod lighting.

Delving into the menu’s array of sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and entrées, I saw several choices that enticed me – the Korean Fried Chicken sandwich being one. I even toyed with the idea of getting a salad, intrigued by the Fried Green Tomato with its medley of kale, kamut, beans, radishes, red onion, snap peas, feta, croutons, mint, the titular tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette.

But the Nain Rouge Mac & Cheese won out – and I’m SO glad it did! The noodles were doused in creamy beer cheese and tossed with barbecue sauce-infused pulled beef, chunks of bacon, and fried onion. It was rich, flavorful, indulgent – the exact qualities you want a birthday dinner to have.

The drink I imbibed at Smith & Co. embodied those same traits. A luxurious mix of Kahlua, vodka, coffee, and dalgona topped with coffee foam, the Espresso Martini Chamber Seven was so nice, I ordered it twice! The current selection of specialty cocktails includes the Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned and a seasonal sangria. Beer from nearby Nain Rouge Brewery is on draft, and for those who don’t drink, a Zero-Proof section features two mocktails and drinks from the likes of local leisure soda vendor, Casamara Club.

Celebrating my birthday with friends at Smith & Co. was wonderful – namely because of those friends’ company. But the delicious food and drink amplified the experience. Thanks, Smith & Co., for helping make this special day even more special!

644 Selden St.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.smithandcodetroit.com

584. Sylvan Table – October 6, 2022 – Sylvan Lake, MI

Visiting Sylvan Table was a special experience! And not only because I visited it on a special day: my birthday. No, I would’ve gotten the warm-and-fuzzies from visiting this Sylvan Lake-based restaurant any day of the year.

There aren’t many restaurants like Sylvan Table. How many restaurants reside in a 300-year-old barn that was shipped from Metro Detroit to Maine? Or have both a wood-fired pizza oven AND grill? Or an on-site, three-acre farm including fruit trees and a beehive?

The restaurant’s singularity, its rustic beauty, and its dedication to locally-sourced ingredients and sustainability made it an obvious choice for my birthday dinner. And I was not disappointed by my visit. From the moment I walked onto Sylvan Table’s grounds and saw the gardens, greenhouses, and the barn, I was charmed.

Walking inside, I continued to be delighted by the two-story barn’s pretty, wood-plank interior bedecked with warm lighting, potted plants, and a welcoming fire in the glass-ceilinged solarium.

I dined on the restaurant’s second floor with my mom, who was celebrating my special day with me. Our friendly, attentive server gave us excellent service and patiently answered our questions about the menu.

Libation-wise, I was compelled to order the Peter Cocktail. Mezcal infused with orange bitters, a cinnamon syrup, and carrot and lime juices AND served in a pink peppercorn-rimmed glass? Yes, please! I loved the drink’s rich flavors and the fact that it wasn’t too sweet. Other current cocktail offerings include the Apple Butter Manhattan (with house-made apple butter) and the Hey, Gourdgeous! with maple-barrel-finished bourbon, pumpkin shrub, and fall-forward spices. Sylvan Table’s full bar includes a weighty wine list, plus multiple Michigan-made beers and hard ciders. Mocktails and non-alcoholic beer options are also available.

Food-wise, we started by sharing a Prosciutto Flatbread, which was delicious with its rich, salty prosciutto and Parmesan complemented by peppery arugula, garlic, lemon, and olive oil. The delectably chewy, wood-fired dough was my favorite part.

My dinner, the Deckle Steak, was EXCEPTIONAL. This was one of the most richly flavored steaks I’ve ever had! The tender, juicy steak would have been amazing on its own, but it was enhanced by a vibrant chimichurri sauce. Roasted carrot and fingerling potatoes rounded out this wonderful meal.

Other intriguing entrée choices at the time of my visit were the Harvest Fettuccine with various veggies, herbs, lemon, and Parmesan and the Chicken Under a Brick: chicken seasoned with rosemary and lemon salt and cooked in the wood-fired oven.

Mom-made birthday cake was waiting for me, so I didn’t have dessert at Sylvan Table. But if I did, I most definitely would have gotten the Peach Upside-Down Cake with spruce tip gelato if it was still on the menu – or the Carrot Cake currently on offer.

I look forward to returning to Sylvan Table to see what inventive dishes its kitchen cooks up next using beautifully fresh ingredients from local farms and its own. This was my first 100 Places visit to Sylvan Lake, but I suspect it won’t be my last!

1819 Inverness St.

Sylvan Lake, MI 48320

www.sylvantable.com

583. Detroit Public Theatre – October 2, 2022 – Detroit, MI

Get swept away by story at Detroit Public Theatre!

Season Eight of the local theater company kicked off in a brand-new home: the renovated Third Avenue Garage building in Detroit’s Midtown/Cass Corridor neighborhood. Prior to this, Detroit Public Theatre held its plays at venues around town – most recently at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

The theater is a beauty of a building! The airy lobby is an elegant example of the industrial aesthetic, with neat concrete floors, exposed brick walls, and a wood-plank ceiling. A bar along one side serves beer, wine, cocktails, and non-alcoholic libations.

I was there to see Mud Row. Written by lauded playwright and native Detroiter Dominique Morisseau (who is also Detroit Public Theatre’s Executive Artistic Producer), the play explores themes of racism, civil rights, gentrification, and (oft-complex) family dynamics. The intimate theater was an ideal space for this emotionally raw, moving production. Seated a couple of rows from the actors, I definitely felt in on the action.

Mud Row wrapped on October 30. Detroit Public Theatre’s next production, Noura, a tale about an Iraqi immigrant family grappling with their past during the holiday season, debuts November 15. To learn more about Noura and Detroit Public Theatre’s other Season Eight productions – and to buy tickets! – click here.

3960 3rd Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.detroitpublictheatre.org

582. Mai Tiki Bar – September 30, 2022 – Ferndale, MI

Mai Tiki Bar is a sweet escape!

Tucked away behind an unmarked door inside TigerLily sushi bar (formerly Antihero), the Ferndale-based speakeasy tiki bar is a whimsical kaleidoscope of colors and flavors: the perfect contrast to the muted winter landscape soon to befall Metro Detroit.

Mai offers an array of tropically inspired drinks served in the way characteristic of tiki bars: in visually arresting ceramic tiki mugs bedecked with fun garnishes such as mint leaves, pineapple wedges, and orchid blooms – or half a flaming lime (that’s the garnish for The Zombie!). The bulk of Mai’s specialty cocktails incorporate rum and fruit juices – another trait characteristic of tiki bars. But the drinks are much more nuanced than the ones you’d find at a stereotypical tiki bar (those kinds that cater to tourists in popular vacation spots). Mai’s incorporate interesting ingredients such as orgeat syrup, cinnamon, and pomegranate.

Take one of the drinks I ordered, The Jungle Bird. Its blackstrap rum, Campari, and demerara syrup melded with pineapple and lime juices to make a drink that was one part sweet, one part bitter – and one hundred percent delicious! I especially enjoyed the molasses flavor brought by the blackstrap rum.

But humans can’t live on wonderfully nuanced liquid libations alone. When you’re in need of nourishment after downing a Mai Tai or two, look to Mai’s food menu. The assortment of plates offer something for everyone, from veg lovers to meat-focused folks to seafood fanatics intrigued by the Mai Tiki Shrimp, Aku Roll, and three kinds of fish tacos (salmon, hamachi, and tuna).

I went the veg and meat route, ordering Mai’s Chicken Karage and Shishito Peppers. A flavorful yuzu chili aioli accompanied the tender Chicken Karage. And wonder accompanied the Shishito Peppers! The cooked peppers were topped with bonito flakes, which were moving – writhing all over the peppers.

Apparently, this is a common occurance. Bonito flakes are shaved dried fish; when sprinkled on hot foods, the heat causes them to rehydrate, and they start wiggling as a result. But it was my first time experiencing this phenomenon, and it was hard to shake the feeling that they were alive. Order those Shishito Peppers and play a party trick on your friends!

Party trick or not, visiting Mai Tiki Bar is a shindig in itself. Vibrant ambiance and compelling food and drink make it a escape worth taking.

231 W. 9 Mile Rd.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.maitikibar.com

581. Milk & Froth – September 18, 2022 – Detroit, MI

Milk & Froth, bringing summery ice-cream vibes year-round!

One unnaturally hot Sunday in mid-September, I fulfilled my dream to visit this ice cream shop operating out of the Guardian Building in downtown Detroit. Milk & Froth brings delicious dairy and non-dairy goodness in the form of intriguing ice cream flavors such as Malt Cherry Chocolate, Matcha Pistachio, and Chocolate Hazelnut.

I opted for one of Milk & Froth’s house-made waffle cones topped with scoops of Salted Caramel and Sea Salt Butter Cake. It was SOOOO good! The ice cream was richly flavorful and luxuriously creamy. And the waffle cone? It wasn’t mere window-dressing for the ice cream, but delectably fresh and crunchy.

I went for two of Milk & Froth’s dairy ice creams, but I was tempted by a couple of the vegan varieties. My friend raved about the Roasted Strawberry made with coconut cream, roasted strawberries, and strawberry compote.

This visit to Milk & Froth was the topper to an amazing day spent spent wandering Detroit, which included visits to Founders, Astoria Pastry Shop, and the world’s largest rubber duck on display outside Huntington Place (or Cobo Hall, as it’s still known in our hearts!). EVERYONE was out that day: at the auto show, the Lions game, the Tigers game, the restaurants, the casinos. It was my favorite view of Detroit: brimming with all kinds of people enjoying all the city has to offer. Milk & Froth is one such offering, and it’s one you shouldn’t sleep on! Grab a cone or pint from the shop – or seek out pints at the stores showcased on its website.

535 Griswold St.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.milkandfroth.com

580. Baobab Fare – September 14, 2022 – Detroit, MI

Delicious Baobab Fare! The restaurant on Woodward Avenue in Detroit serves up flavorful East African fare in an artfully designed, welcoming setting.

Baobab Fare is owned by husband-and-wife duo Nadia Nijimbere and Hamissi Mamba, who originally hail from Burundi. According to Baobab Fare’s website, their intention is for the restaurant to “serve as a safe space for other immigrants and Detroiters alike, knowing that it is a meeting place where all are welcomed and embraced. Baobab will help to fill a gap as it relates to African fare and culture in the city.”

That’s a mission I can get behind – especially when it’s being so deliciously done! The meal I had last month at Baobab Fare, the Mhogo, was SO tasty. It’s a dish Baobab Fare only serves on Wednesdays. It consists of chicken that’s been pan-fried, shredded, and infused with a mustard-onion sauce, yuca root, and the choice of either yellow beans or peanut-stewed spinach (I opted for the latter). I ordered a side of plantains to accompany it (because plantains are EVERYTHING to me), and an African tea with oat milk.

I cannot stress how wonderful this meal was! The chicken and spinach were rich and flavorful; the yuca, buttery, starchy, comfort-food goodness. The spinach especially had me exclaiming. How could something as innately banal as spinach be transformed into such tastebud-thrilling fare??? I don’t know the answer to that question – but Baobab Fare does. The accoutrements to the meal – the spiced African black tea and plantains – were just as delicious.

Sitting in Baobab Fare’s beautiful dining room, chatting with a good friend whilst savoring this marvelous meal – on a workday Wednesday, no less – was such a treat. Here’s to new-place visits that elevate the everyday – especially when they’re visits to restaurants with purpose, heart, and a talented kitchen staff! Baobab Fare checks all the boxes there.

6568 Woodward Ave., Ste. 100

Detroit, MI 48202

www.baobabfare.com

579. Lebon Sweets – September 10, 2022 – Dearborn, MI

Sweet Lebon Sweets! The Dearborn-based bakery sells kanafa, which I sampled during a stop on the Yalla Eat! food tour offered by the Arab American National Museum. Lebon’s iteration of the sweet-cheese dessert was rich and creamy.

The locally-owned Lebanese bakery also sells bread and other baked goods, including multiple varieties of baklava and maamoul cookies filled with date, pistachio, or walnut paste. Its sesame-studded bread stuffed with kanafa cheese and drizzled with sugar syrup is exquisite! Get yourself down to Lebon’s to try some – or order it online and get it shipped to you.

13743 W. Warren Ave.

Dearborn, MI 48126

(With an additional location in Dearborn Heights)

www.lebonsweets.com

578. Hashems – September 10, 2022 – Dearborn, MI

Hashems is a delight for the senses! Neatly-ordered rows of fragrant coffee and spices and candy in every color of the rainbow greet guests entering this Dearborn-based shop.

I visited Hashems as part of a walking food tour offered by the Arab American National Museum. Hashems was the second of the tour’s three stops (to read about our first stop, click here!).

I debated including Hashems on the blog because it technically doesn’t fit 100 Places in the D criteria. It dictates that I highlight locally-owned businesses in the Metro-Detroit area (Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties) that don’t have locations outside of the state. I made this rule to keep myself from highlighting nationally-sprawling chains. Well, Hashems has three locations in Michigan (two in Dearborn and one in Dearborn Heights) – and another in Bint Jbeil, Lebanon! But it is a family-owned establishment, and it’s not a corporate chain. According to Hashems’ website, Bint Jbeil is where Hashems originated, when Abu Ali Sheik Theeb opened the first store there in 1959. It’s the source of the goodness! And having a store outside of the state certainly doesn’t make Hashems some cookie-cutter conglomerate. So I’m allowing myself to bend the rules here, because Hashems is worth some rule-bending.

The Warren Avenue shop is an emporium of deliciousness, indeed! With its wide selection of fresh-roasted coffee and nuts, dried fruit, tea, hand-prepared spice blends, and candy (SO much candy!), shopping at Hashems is a special experience. During my visit with the Yalla Eat! food tour, I tried its tasty coffee, chocolate-covered fruits and nuts, and Turkish delight. I’d never before had the jelly-like confection, of which Hashems sells numerous varieties. I liked it so much that I bought a Nutella-filled raspberry variety: slices of delight for the road!

13041 W. Warren Ave.

Dearborn, MI 48126

(With additional locations in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights)

www.hashems.com