Month: March 2017

237. Tonia’s Victorian Rose – March 21, 2017 – Rochester, MI

20170321_125022 (2)20170321_113006 (2)20170321_115355 (2)Happy Friday, guys! I hope you’re looking ahead to a weekend open to much fun and exploring. I’ve got some good plans on the docket for the next few days, including visiting a brand-spanking-new local brewery tonight (counting down the minutes until happy hour as I type!), so look out for more new posts soon.

Today is all about my recent lunch visit to Tonia’s Victorian Rose, a tea room located in downtown Rochester.

OK, so I know the term “tea room” is probably not the most ear-perking one for many of ya, but let me assure you, Tonia’s Victorian Rose is straight-up delightful. A coworker treated me and another gal to lunch there Tuesday, and once I stepped into its soothing lilac-walled, sunshine-kissed, vintage-tunes-infused, grandly-grandmotherly interior, I didn’t want to leave. I was like, “Can we go get our laptops and hunker down with pots of tea and work here the rest of the afternoon?” Seriously – because pretty much this joint is the antithesis of my corporate day-job office. It has good vibes, is what I’m saying.

As you’d expect, the menu of Tonia’s Victorian Rose showcases a multitude of teas, including intriguing flavors such as Acai Pomegranate Blueberry Green Tea and Lavender Earl Grey as well as various decaffeinated options. I enjoyed a pot of decaf Earl Grey.

And the food there was great! I appreciated the selection offered, which surprised me for a tea room menu. I expected the few typical choices: chicken salad, mini sandwiches of the cucumber and egg-salad varieties, the requisite scones. And yes, there are chicken salad and scones on the menu, and you can get trays of those OG mini tea-party sandwiches if you make a reservation ahead of time. But there are also: sandwich varieties that you might not expect, such as the Italian Chicken and the Grilled Veggie Focaccia; crepes of both the sweet and savory varieties; two kinds of quiches; pot pie; and several soup and salad choices.

I ordered the Extreme Victorian Rose Salad, a mash-up of two of the salads on the menu, the Cashew Chicken and the Victorian Rose. To be honest, I was confused about what I was ordering; I somehow missed that the Cashew Chicken Salad was a chicken salad of the aforementioned chicken-mixed-up-with-mayonnaise variety. I’m generally not a fan of chicken salad, so I was bummed by my misstep. But I ate it, and let me tell you: it was excellent! I loved the raspberry vinaigrette on the leafy part of the salad, the cashews mixed into the chicken-salad part, and the juicy mandarin oranges. The dish also came with a cranberry-orange scone accompanied by this awesome whipped butter with orange zest mixed in.

And then, there was dessert! Yes, the menu of Tonia’s Victorian Rose also offers various desserts, such as the rose-flavored ice cream topped with a dried (and edible) rosebud we enjoyed as a palate cleanser and conclusion to this tasty and tranquil meal.

118 W 3rd St.

Rochester, MI 48307

(Open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday)

www.toniasvictorianrose.com

Advertisements

236. Nancy Whiskey – March 12, 2017 – Detroit, MI

20170312_114523 (2)20170312_114645 (2)20170312_120512 (3)Happy St. Patrick’s Day, all!!!

If you are looking to cut out of work early and indulge in some crazy St. Paddy’s Day non-adulting shenanigans, Nancy Whiskey is the place for you. Cuz you know this Corktown Irish bar is going crazy right about now with half-gone celebrants decked out in green knee socks and tophats and shamrock-themed face paint.

I’m not planning to go out and revel with the revelers today, but I am feeling mighty nostalgic right now for my early-to-mid-20s, when taking off work to start drinking green beer at 9 a.m. was a given. ~Sigh.~ Those were the days!

If I’m being honest with myself, though, I’ll admit I got my fill of the St. Paddy’s Day party vibes last Sunday after running in the Corktown 5K associated with the parade held annually in that historically Irish part of town.

If you’ve never been to the Corktown St. Patrick’s Day parade – held annually on the Sunday prior to the holiday – it’s definitely something you should consider experiencing at least once. It’s quite a spectacle! Just aim for a year when it’s not 40 degrees and downpouring (2016) or with temps in the teens and a bitter wind chill (this year). Crossing my fingers for a balmy 50-degrees-and-sunny experience next year!

But I digress – back to Nancy Whiskey! It’s one of the D’s oldest bars. According to its website, it’s been around since 1902! And the corned beef it served up on parade day was excellent. I’d heard good things about it from a former coworker and Corktown-parade diehard who was obsessed with getting a corned-beef sandwich from Nancy Whiskey every year, and man, it lived up to her hype. I only got one corned-beef slider, but it was loaded with an ample amount of tender, thinly-sliced meat – Mmmmmm. It was a much-needed beacon of comfort as I tried to ignore the fact that I was walking around in frigid temps in sweat-dampened race clothes (the unglamorous side of running in the Corktown 5K).

2644 Harrison St.

Detroit, MI 48216

www.nancywhiskeydetroit.com

235. Dime Store – March 5, 2017 – Detroit, MI

Dime3Dime1Dime2Dime4 (2)The Sunday before last, it was all about heading downtown for brunch at a place that’s been on my radar for the last year, Dime Store. It’s inside the beautiful old Chrysler Building – or Dime Building, as it was formerly called – and is a breakfast/lunch joint.

OK, I’d heard this place was popular, but I didn’t do my homework around exactly how popular it was. Me and my two friends accompanying me waited an hour and 15 minutes before being sat at the counter. I know people have waited an hour and 15 minutes to be sat at restaurants; that’s not revolutionary, but damn! did that feel like a long time! Needless to say, we were all very much ready to eat by the end of it.

So the moral of the story is, if you visit Dime Store on a Saturday or Sunday around prime breakfast/lunch time, be prepared to wait (at least you can kill time by shopping for delectable chocolate nuggets at Bon Bon Bon as we did). We were told that coming before 10 a.m. helps, so if you’re an early bird, you’ll probably be good. Also, we noticed that groups of two got sat more quickly than larger groups; the tiny environs appears to accommodate them more easily.

Once we finally got in, I enjoyed the cute hipster-diner ambiance and unwinding with a glass of Vinho Verde wine (there’s a full bar and a section of the menu aptly titled “Day Drinking” featuring brunch-centric drinks). And the food was awesome. I got the Sweet Poached Pear salad pictured above and enjoyed the flavorful combo of mixed greens, sweet pear, spicy pepita seeds, cornbread croutons (mmmm), fennel, onion, and shredded cheese (I’m blanking on what kind – fontina, I believe) substituted for the usual goat cheese, all tossed in a bacon vinaigrette dressing. SO good! My friends also enjoyed their meals (French toast and an omelette), and it was a relief to know that our long wait wasn’t in vain.

With all of the other excellent restaurants in the area, I can’t say that I’ll make a habit of eating at Dime Store during the harried weekend brunch rush. But I’d love to check it out again at a more subdued time.

719 Griswold St., Ste. 180

Detroit, MI 48226

www.eatdimestore.com

234. Bon Bon Bon – March 5, 2017 – Detroit, MI

Bon3 (3)Bon2Bon1Bon4Hi, guys! Happy Monday!!!

I hope you had an excellent weekend and were able to get some exploring in. Mine entailed some intense decluttering Saturday (getting rid of unnecessary crap is the best!) and running in the Corktown 5K in those frigid temps (windburn city!). The race went better than I expected in the bitter cold, and afterward I was able to hit a new bar during the St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans (post forthcoming!), so you know I’m happy. But today I’m here to recount a visit I made the weekend before this last one, to the downtown storefront of Bon Bon Bon.

Bon Bon Bon! I’d been wanting to taste their wares since I’d read about them in Hour Detroit a year or so back. Because come on, artisan bon-bons! Chocolate is one of my Top Five Favorite Things in Life, so I knew the Bons, as the candies are called, would be right up my alley.

I had aspired to visit the Hamtramck location, which is the facility where the chocolates are made and the storefront is open to the public on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. But the Universe was like, “Real talk: this meeting of you and the Bons is taking wayyyy too long for you to orchestrate, so I’m going to orchestrate it for you.”

And so it came to pass that while waiting to get seated at a very popular brunch restaurant (to be revealed in my next post!) inside the Chrysler Building downtown the Sunday before last, I stumbled across Bon Bon Bon’s Detroit storefront, also within that building. It’s small and pleasant, with bright orange walls and display cases featuring the glorious individually-boxed and numbered bons.

If you have to kill time during an absurdly long wait for a table, buying artisan chocolates has to be the very best use of that time EVER.

Given the wide selection of novel chocolate gems – including a whole section featuring Paczki-inspired Bons containing cake-and-jelly-flavored filling (my friend got a strawberry one and said it was amazing), Bons sprinkled with Earl Gray tea, and one topped with crushed Better Made Chips (yes!) – picking only a few to take home was a challenge. After much deliberation, I chose three (the parenthetical descriptions of each are quoted from Bon Bon Bon’s website): a Number 24, Strawberry and Balsamic (“balsamic reduction, strawberry jam, dark chocolate olive oil ganache”); Number 40, Arabic Coffee (“Great Lakes Coffee espresso ganache, cardamom royal icing, coffee bean”) and Number 41, Whisky Lullabye (“whisky caramel, chamomile dark chocolate ganache, candied chamomile”).

Once I made my selections, the woman behind the counter encased them in the cardboard packaging shown above, stamping its interior with the name of each Bon before sealing it up with red tape and a rubber Bon Bon Bon band. The whole experience felt special, the antithesis of purchasing a factory-manufactured candy bar from a vending machine. At $3 apiece, the Bons were treats that I knew I must truly savor and enjoy.

And savor them I did. Each tiny handmade work of art packed a massive flavor punch, making them well-worth their price tags. It’s a toss-up between the Strawberry and Balsamic (that balsamic reduction was wonderful!) and the Whisky Lullabye (a most decadent caramel!) on which one is my favorite.

So thank you, Universe, for guiding me to this shop by accident so I could finally make this much-anticipated visit! I can’t wait to see where in the city you take me next.

719 Griswold St., Ste. 100

Detroit, MI 48226

www.bonbonbon.com

233. Eagles Bar and Grill – February 20, 2017 – Chesterfield, MI

20170220_193247-220170220_180638-2Chesterfield represented on the blog! It’s another new-to-the-blog city, via a recent visit to Eagles Bar and Grill.

I love a solid sports bar, and The Eagles checks off all of my requirements on that front. Extensive menu of affordable drinks and grub? Comfortable ambiance? Ample TVs? Check, check, and check. They’ve even got select draft beer 22-ounce pours for only $2 every day. Score!

I wasn’t familiar with the area around the bar and was surprised to see that it was located within a retail area called the Waterside Marketplace. If you’re not familiar with this neck of the woods either, hang with your GPS, and you’ll be through the winding labyrinth of big-box stores and strip malls and on to burgers and brews before you know it!

50640 Waterside Dr.

Chesterfield, MI 48051

www.eaglesbargrill.com

232. Otus Supply – February 18, 2017 – Ferndale, MI

20170218_173945-220170218_180659-220170218_192810-220170218_182632-220170218_1851121Otus Supply! From its F’IN PHENOMENAL food to its mesmerizing hipster ambience, the recently opened Ferndale restaurant has me enamored with it. Can you tell by the number of photos I’ve included?

OK, part of my photog enthusiasm here was due to having recently gotten a new phone with a better camera. I’m not someone who puts a lot of stock in cellphones; sometimes I wish they were never invented on account of how they’re glued into all of our hands 24/7. But you know what? Having a pristine, speedy-moving, bug-free Galaxy S7 instead of my previous phone with its so-so camera, lethargic GPS system, and lemon battery that took twice-a-day charging is GLORIOUS. And emojis – I have a full span of emojis on my cell for the first time ever! This is life-changing!

Shamefully only half-kidding around my enthusiasm here. If we can’t go back to the days when no one except Zack Morris and our rich uncles had cell phones, I guess I’ll jump onto the pro-smart-phone bandwagon if it means I get to text people little pictures of burritos and kitties with heart eyes. I’ll simply refuse to be glued to mine and will continue to keep it on vibrate and ignore it much of the time, much to my mother’s chagrin (sorry, Mom!).

But I digress. Back to Otus Supply and how awesome it is! A friend and I decided to meet there after realizing that Ferndale is the perfect halfway point between our respective far-flung East- and West-side homes. I was surprised to see that the restaurant isn’t right in the thick of the 9 Mile-and-Woodward epicenter of downtown Ferndale but a bit east of it, just past the Go Comedy! Improv Theater (which I somehow haven’t visited yet after years of wanting to – new-place alert!) on 9 Mile. It has its own (tiny) parking lot, which is quite a distinction given the focus on metered public parking in the area.

The interior décor is a conglomeration I’ll call boho-rustic-industrial-chic: lots of wood, exposed copper duct-work, Persian rugs, brocade-print wallpaper, mysterious artwork. The sum of these design details is a pleasantly otherworldly vibe that I highly endorse. I’m all about a little escapism here and there.

The menu is a mix of small plates and a few entrée-sized items. My friend and I shared the Ourgherita – Otus Supply’s rendition of the Margherita pizza – and the sourdough-encrusted fried chicken, which were excellent. We also couldn’t resist ordering dessert and devoured the ice-cream-topped apple crumble served in a mason jar and the S’mores Thingy, essentially a gloriously deconstructed S’more with chocolate-and-salted-caramel-flavored macaroons, chocolate mousse, graham cracker pieces, and toasted meringue standing in for the marshmallows. Damn, were they both good!

And Hang Up Your Hang Ups, the rum- and sweet vermouth-based cocktail incorporating tamarind, pink peppercorn, coconut, and black garlic shavings, proved to be aptly named, as its alcohol-packed-prowess certainly helped me to forget my troubles for a while. A mix of signature cocktails, a wide-ranging selection of craft beers, and a few wine-by-the-glass options round out the drink menu.

Ferndale, you’ve got another beauty in this one! Welcome to the fold, Otus Supply, and I’m sure we’ll become reacquainted real soon.

345 E. 9 Mile Rd.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.otussupply.com