Month: May 2016

175. Mabel Gray – May 4, 2016 – Hazel Park, MI

Hello all! It’s been nearly a month since I’ve written a post here, and I’ve missed it so! May has been a crazy-busy month for me, and June promises to be even more cray-cray – but it’s all cray-cray in an extremely good way. Lots of excellent stuff blossoming – and it’s summer, too! FINALLY! OK, so it’s technically not summer yet for a few weeks, but the weather has felt like it here in the D for the last 10 or so days, as we’ve been graced with some absolutely phenomenal weather. I hope all of you are enjoying the warmth and lushness and expansiveness of the season, wherever you are!

I’m happy to be introducing a new city to the blog today. Mabel Gray is representing Hazel Park on 100 Places in the D!

I’d been wanting to eat at Mabel Gray for months and months and months, ever since I read about it in Hour Detroit (that beloved local publication that planted the seed of this blog in my mind years ago). I’d hyped the restaurant up pretty good in my mind. Fortunately, it delivered.

See that ribeye in the photo above? That, my friends, is quite probably the best ribeye steak I have ever eaten in my life. It was PHENOMENAL, tender and juicy and with just the right amount of fat marbling, cooked a perfect medium-rare. And check out those gorgeous desserts. Your life will be made complete by Mabel Gray’s desserts. My friend had the lemon tart pictured above and let me try a bite; it was awesome. But the chocolate torte? The chocolate torte was out of control! It was served with Chantilly and this cashew caramel sauce that was absurdly good. I couldn’t stop thinking about that torte and that ribeye for days.

I’m really not surprised that I loved what I ate there. Mabel Gray is all about featuring fresh and local ingredients, and that’s kind of my jam. The menu is a handwritten menu that changes regularly, the fare being influenced by what’s available in the kitchen. There’s the option to participate in a tasting menu if you’d like to sample all that’s available that evening.

Based off of what I tasted, this concept is working for the restaurant. And based off of the crowd gathered in its tiny interior on the Wednesday night that I visited, and the need for reservations to snag a table – even right when the restaurant opened at 5 – others are totally agreeing with me. Take note: you can sit at the bar without reservations – at least, we were able to on the night we went. You can make table reservations at Mabel Gray’s website, given below.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that prices are a bit steep; this is definitely a special-occasion place for moi on my current budget. But the hit to my wallet was more than worth it to me, because I experienced a completely memorable meal.

23825 John R Rd.
Hazel Park, MI 48030

174. Las Tortugas Taqueria – April 30, 2016 – Shelby Township, MI

20160430_16211820160430_164907Utica represented on 100 Places in the D! Or so I thought. On Saturday, in a fit of desperation, I went on Yelp to find a new place to visit. It was the last day of April, and I needed to hit my quota of going to at least one local place located within a new-to-the-blog city a month. I’d procrastinated on it all month. Plus, I was in a lazy-day Saturday mood and didn’t want to drive far. Las Tortugas Taqueria was the first result to pop up for nearby Utica restaurants. Because it had excellent ratings, because Utica has never been represented on the blog, and because Mexican food is very high up on my Favorite Things in Life list, I decided to give it a whirl.

It wasn’t until writing this post and looking at the Mexican restaurant/market’s website that I realized that Yelp had posted inaccurate address information. Drats! I thought that looked like Shelby Township! In Yelp’s defense, when I then Googled the street address, half the resulting entries also had Utica as the city of origin. The restaurant must be right on the cusp. Still, since the business website has the city listed as Shelby Township, that’s what I’m going with. I’ll have to hit two new cities this month to compensate.

Oh, well. Life is too short to worry about exactly where on the map such phenomenal Mexican food originates. Because let me tell you, Las Tortugas Taqueria’s food is excellent! So, so, so, so GOOD. OK, I was at a high level of hangriness when I took my first bite of the tamales I’d ordered. I’d put off lunch for wayyyy too long, so that it was practically dinnertime, so any food I’d put in my mouth at that point would’ve tasted pretty great by default. But even so, this is some exceptional Mexican food! It’s the real deal. And look at how much food they give you! Look at these two tamales in the photo above – they’re huge! All that food for only $7.99! Much love, Las Tortugas Taqueria, much love. I have to be grateful for the city mix-up – otherwise who knows when I would’ve found you!

Marked by a simple red-and-white exterior sign, Las Tortugas Taqueria stands out from its neighbors in the tired-looking strip mall in which it’s located in more areas than its awesome food and great prices. Its tiny interior houses both a restaurant and a market, with seating area on the left and grocery offerings on the left. It’s impressively clean and organized and has a great vibe. It’s obviously run by people who care, and I love that as much as I love those tamales!

46691 Van Dyke Ave.

Shelby Twp., MI