Month: January 2022

542. Delphine Jamaican Restaurant – December 31, 2021 – Warren, MI

To end the year with a new-place visit is always a delight – ESPECIALLY when it means visiting Delphine Jamaican restaurant!

The Warren-based carryout joint is serving up ultra-tasty Jamaican fare – with sides of humor and charm, to boot. The man who rang up my order (presumably the owner) on New Year’s Eve was funny, joking about how long his shift was and cracking a smile at my silly quip about being left-handed when I went in to sign the receipt. I left Delphine with a boost to my mood after interacting with him.

After tasting the meal, my mood really got a boost! I’d ordered Delphine’s Large Jerk Chicken lunch special, which kicked off with fall-off-the-bone tender chicken coated in a tantalizingly spicy rub. It was oh-so-delicious! I savored it and the bed of rice and beans that sat beneath it.

Then I moved on to the side of cooked cabbage – and my taste buds were blown away by how good it was. Who knew cabbage could taste that good? It was buttery, flavorful goodness!

The last act of this lunch? The plantain slices – another showstopper. Again, I was amazed at how good they were. I love plantains, but these were next-level: delightfully rich and spongey and subtly sweet. They were a fitting end to a filling, satisfying lunch.

Three pieces of jerk chicken atop a bed of rice and beans, with sides of plantains and cabbage, cost me $10.50 à la Delphine’s Large Jerk Chicken lunch special. What a steal! Check out Delphine’s menu for its other enticing offerings, which include oxtail, curry goat, stew chicken, jerk chicken wings, Jamaican patties, and seafood dishes such as jerk salmon and red snapper. Vegetarian options are available (such as the delicious-sounding Rasta Stew featuring pumpkin and both white and sweet potatoes), as are desserts (including banana cake and peach cobbler).

What a satisfying way to end the year, with a meal from Delphine’s!

14377 E. 9 Mile Rd.

Warren, MI 48089

541. Fin’s Eatery & Spirits – December 30, 2021 – New Baltimore, MI

With its inviting pub ambiance and PHENOMENEAL baby-back ribs, Fin’s Eatery & Spirits is the perfect place to cozy up on a cold winter’s night!

With a name like Fin’s, you don’t think ribs, right? And yet, ribs are featured in this New Baltimore-based restaurant’s logo, which tells you something. The baby-back ribs I had at Fin’s during my visit in late December were tender, fall-off-the-bone deliciousness slathered in luxe barbecue sauce. Mmm, mmm, MMM! I could eat Fin’s ribs for dinner EVERY day!

If seafood is more your thing, Fin’s does serve plenty of it: whitefish and walleye, salmon and scallops and fried shrimp, crab cakes and beer-battered fish-and-chips. And, as evidenced by those out-of-this-world ribs, it offers so much more than its sea-centric name suggests. Its menu also features entrée salads, hearty sandwiches, pastas (including a lobster-infused mac ‘n’ cheese), and meat-forward dishes such as prime rib and the Rockefeller (chicken smothered with spinach, bacon, onion, and Swiss and Parmesan cheeses). An ample appetizer section with upscale offerings such as ahi tuna, escargot, and baked brie round out the menu. The full bar serves wine, beer, and cocktails such as the Flying Monkey (a vodka-spiked raspberry lemonade) and St. Clair Punch (a medley of light and dark rums, grenadine, Sprite, and fresh-squeezed orange juice).

The next time you’re looking for a super-satisfying meal and a cozy, convivial atmosphere, harken to Fin’s!

51006 Washington St.

New Baltimore, MI 48047

540. Open Book Theatre – December 19, 2021 – Trenton, MI

Visiting Open Book Theatre – what a sweet experience!

I was introduced to the Trenton-based playhouse in December, when I attended a performance of The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley. What a delight it was to experience live theater for the first time since COVID’s appearance!

Open Book Theatre Company has been putting on plays since 2014. The theater building is small in stature, nestled between a record shop and a lighting store in a suburban strip mall. But it’s got mega-watt charm! I appreciated the diversions put out for waiting guests in the lobby, including The Wickhams-themed games and a poll asking playgoers whether they’d seen the last Pride and Prejudice-oriented play put on at Open Book (2019’s Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley). It was also fun to learn the rules of the theater via song, in a parody of the “Twelve Days of Christmas.”

But the best part about visiting Open Book Theatre was, of course, experiencing live theater. The auditorium is intimate, seating maybe 75 people. Because admission is general, I got to pick my seat, smack-dab in the middle of the third row. I loved being up close to the actors, soaking in the drama and the set’s cozy ambiance (what’s more enchanting than a 19th-century English manor kitchen decorated for Christmas?). The actors were great; the play was, at turns, fun and funny and serious and scary. It had a happy ending, as holiday plays are wont to have. And it left me with warm-and-fuzzy feelings to savor on the ride home. Oh, the magic of live theater!

If you’re ready to experience live theater again, too, check out the tickets page of Open Book Theatre’s website. As of the writing of this post, the theater’s COVID protocol dictates that playgoers must be fully vaccinated and wear a mask. Playgoers are being asked to show their vaccine cards at the door. Consult the COVID Safety page on Open Book’s website for the most up-to-date protocol.

1621 West Rd.

Trenton, MI 48183

539. A Serendipity Cakery – December 19, 2021 – Riverview, MI

A Serendipity Cakery and its exquisite Cake Drops! With their chocolatey outer shells and rich, truffle-like interiors, they were more than worth the trip.

The bakery was one of the earliest entries on my to-do list for 100 Places in the D. I’d read about A Serendipity Cakery years ago, when it was based in Wyandotte. It’s since moved, to a strip-mall storefront in Riverview flanked with pink signage and hanging baskets of brightly-hued artificial flowers.

This was my first trip to Riverview! It admittedly felt like the other side of the world from where I live. I’m fascinated by how large the tri-county Detroit area is – how you can drive for an hour and be somewhere you’ve never been and still be in Metro Detroit. That’s how I felt when I went to Riverview and A Serendipity Cakery.

I was thrilled to make an acquaintance of this bakery! How could I not be, with the variety of sweets that A Serendipity Cakery sells? Those include custom cakes, cupcakes, macarons, cookies, cannolis, ice cream, and various items dipped in chocolate. The latter category includes pretzel rods, potato chips, and something called Bacon Crack (I’m intrigued).

And of course, there are the Cake Drops, which I’d argue are the pièce de résistance of A Serendipity Cakery’s offerings (I believe A Serendipity Cakery would agree; its website is I couldn’t help but order a dozen. How could I not, with compelling flavor varieties such as chocolate-peanut butter, chocolate-banana, chocolate-caramel, and mint-chocolate chip?

As you can see, I went pretty chocolate-heavy in my flavor pickings. A Serendipity Cakery is happy to accommodate chocolate lovers like me! Many of the shop’s 50 flavors of Cake Drops incorporate dark chocolate. But there are varieties that feature white chocolate shells and non-chocolatey fillings such as key lime, piña colada, and cotton candy. The carrot cake Cake Drop I bought was one of my absolute favorites. Its moist spiced-cake filling was oh-so-delicious!

The chocolate-banana was another standout favorite. Every Cake Drop I purchased from A Serendipity Cakery was a delight in its own way. How could I not love this bakery?

18100 Fort St.

Riverview, MI 48193

538. D’Marcos Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar – December 17, 2021 – Rochester, MI

Dining at D’Marcos Italian Restaurant and Wine Bar was an absolute delight!

The Rochester-based restaurant offers a sleek, richly-furnished kind of cozy perfectly conducive to hunkering down on a cold December night. Its exterior being covered in white twinkle lights (as part of downtown Rochester’s annual holiday light show) only served to enhance the already magical ambiance.

Being out on a Friday night, wearing fancy shoes, sipping a glass of pinot noir at a corner table in a bustling restaurant . . . that in itself was magic! What a treat that was, a privilege – one that I don’t take for granted anymore since this age of COVID.

What a privilege it was to scan D’Marcos’ menu, its array of antipasti and pizzas and house-made pastas, meat-centric entrées and seafood dishes, and to choose the Veal Picatta, a bowl of piping-hot minestrone, and a side of sauce-laden noodles.

Is there anything better than pasta done right? I think not! That side plate of pasta was so good. I relished the perfectly al dente noodles covered in rich meat sauce.

And the Veal Picatta! Its tender slices of beef and artichoke hearts sautéed in lemon, butter, and white wine were so very excellent. I could drink a quart of that lemon-butter sauce all on its own, I think!

Wine, pasta, and picatta – what a trifecta! The night could have very well ended right there at D’Marcos, but I opted to keep a good thing going by ordering dessert. Enter one of the best slices of chocolate cake I’ve ever eaten in my life! With its to-die-for layers of ganache and overall chocolatey richness, this torte was utterly delicious. It was a fitting end to a special, satisfying meal.

The food wasn’t the only thing done right at D’Marcos. The service was excellent. Our server was kind, attentive – the kind of server who seemingly aims to curate an experience, rather than simply going through the motions. The manager checked on us several times, too during the course of that busy night.

A restaurant that values delicious food, dazzling ambiance, and distinctive service – how could I not love a restaurant like that? How could I not love D’Marcos?

401 S. Main St.

Rochester, MI 48307