100 Places in the D’s Year 1 Top 20

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Public House (#47)

Yeah, I’m in a bit of a review mode right now. I like the process of tying a bow around a major project. And, to be honest, I need a reminder of which places were my absolute favorites this year now that I’m allowing myself to ease up a bit on this project and to fold some revisits back into my life. I’ve been in such a do-new, tunnel-vision state for the past year that I’ve forgotten the pleasure of having tried-and-true places you look forward to going again and again (well, almost. My one exception, El Charro in Fraser, wouldn’t let me forget it; that’s the one restaurant I’ve visited multiple times in the past year, because it is such an absolute favorite of myself, my family, and friends that it wouldn’t be denied. The allure of its Chef’s Choice combination is just too strong. I actually went there yesterday and got it!)

Working to narrow this list down was much harder than I thought it would be. I visited a lot of great places this year, many more than 20. But some places obviously stood out more than others, and I thought they should be recognized. So here is my list, in no particular order, of 20 of my most memorable favorites from Year 1 of my 100 Places challenge.

-Public House (#47, Ferndale): Those sliders were frickin’ amazing! Great vibe, great food, love the record player playing actual records, and love those boozy milkshakes. I can’t wait to get back here.

-M-Brew (#76, Ferndale): Another Ferndale bar that’s right up my alley, with excellent Michigan craft beers and those vintage ‘80s arcade games that catapult me back to early childhood.

-The Bird and the Bread (#83, Birmingham): Great food, drinks, and ambiance. What more do you need?

-Cellar 59 (#1, Clinton Township): The first placed I visited to kick off the 100 Places challenge, it’s still one of my favorites. It was so intimate and cozy feeling – though I definitely need no excuse to love an establishment that serves good wine.

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One-Eyed Betty’s (#19)

-Green Dot Stables (#5, Detroit): Drinks at affordable prices, more slider-amazing-ness, and a setting that is charmingly, wonderfully Detroit.

-One-Eyed Betty’s: (#19, Ferndale) I still fantasize about the garlic aioli on its Betty bacon cheeseburger on a regular basis. Need to get back there ASAP, as I’ve also heard about their freshly-fried donuts with chocolate sauce, which at this point have become near mythical in my mind.

-George George Memorial Park (#36, Clinton Township): It’s possible my yearnings for warmer weather are building this place up in my head, but man, it’s so soothingly gorgeous! I bet it’s even gorgeous now in winter.

-Goldfish Tea (#59, Royal Oak): This is the perfect place to curl up and have a cup of tea and a chat with a friend, or to study if you’re in school. In fact, the last time I was there, I found myself envious of the college girls sitting across from me, wishing I had an excuse to visit it more often.

-La Saj (#46, Sterling Heights): I’ve only been here once more since first visiting it in August, but in my mind I’ve already visited hundreds of time. A must-try if you love Mediterranean food.

-Bad Brad’s Barbeque (#50, New Baltimore): Pretty damn good barbeque, and I’ve had some damn good barbeque in my day.

-Love and Buttercream (#7, Royal Oak): Such a cheery and charming bakery. And those macaroons!

-Oakland Art Novelty Company (#43, Ferndale): Visiting is like stepping into the most pleasant of time warps and being handed a carefully crafted, delicious cocktail upon arrival.

-Inn Season (#98, Royal Oak): Scrumptious vegetarian dishes that even meat-eaters (like me) will love.

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Motor City Brewing Works (#31)

-Motor City Brewing Works (#31, Detroit): In my mind, I’m already pleasantly sweating my butt off on its gorgeous rooftop patio.

-Vinotecca (#24, Royal Oak): I told you I love wine. Fabulous happy-hour specials here, including some really good small plates.

-Blake’s Ciderhouse and Winery (#53, Armada): Its hard cider is really great. Like, obsessively great.

-El Guanaco (#38, Troy): As my brother would say, those Salvadorian pupusas are chronic! I’m definitely planning to go back here.

-J. Baldwin’s (#17, Clinton Township): Another great place for happy hour. Loved those delicious martinis in their little iced glasses!

-Clubhouse BFD (#16, Rochester Hills): An impressively in-depth beer selection and the holy grail of all fried-potato creations, The Sweet Potato Tot, reside here.

-Town Tavern (#37, Royal Oak): One of those places that has so much amazing-sounding stuff on its menu that you can’t decide what to get – but then, whatever you do pick is amazing, so does it really matter what you pick?

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