Month: June 2022

557. The Wine Garden – April 22, 2022 – Sterling Heights, MI

The Wine Garden is an oasis of alcoholic options!

This Sterling Heights-based shop boasts row upon row of wine bottles, a plethora of varieties and price points. It also showcases a hefty selection of beers and spirits. It’s the place to pick up your favorite craft beer – and discover a few new favorites. Or buy that hard-to-find wine you fell in love with on vacation.

That latter scenario? That was mine at The Wine Garden. I’d visited Chile about a month prior and become enchanted with one of its popular wine varietals, Carménère. The red wine is ubiquitous in Chile but tough to find in the United States. But The Wine Garden had two different types of Carménère!

I’d also gone to The Wine Garden seeking a craft beer as a gift for an IPA-loving friend. I came out with Pigeon Hill Brewing Company of Muskegon’s Philosoraptor IPA – a brew she’d never tried and said was delicious. The Wine Garden for the double win!

Check this place out the next time you’re looking for an interesting liqueur or a bottle of wine that’ll impress guests. The Wine Garden’s friendly owner and staff are happy to help you score your own winning finds!

13927 19 Mile Rd.

Sterling Heights, MI 48313

556. Cake Mitten Bake Shop – April 22, 2022 – Clinton Township, MI

You don’t need an excuse to visit Cake Mitten Bake Shop!

I felt like I needed an excuse to visit the Clinton Township-based bakery back in April – and a friend’s birthday celebration was the perfect one. I got her – and myself – some cupcakes. The two I chose for myself, a chocolate bumpy cake and a carrot cake, were delicious! The cupcakes were moist, and the cream cheese frosting on the carrot cake was especially decadent. I could eat a vat of that cream cheese frosting!

Special occasions such as a birthday are an excellent reason to visit Cake Mitten. Check its website and Yelp page for photos of its work. Cake Mitten’s bakers are TALENTED! The intricately decorated cookies and cakes are works of art. Favorites of mine include the wedding cakes festooned with fresh flowers, cookies decorated like mini pizzas (and cut into mini pizza slices!), and a cake shaped like a giant cheeseburger.

Besides cupcakes and custom cakes and cookies, Cake Mitten offers cake pops, cake jars, chocolate-covered strawberries, and pretzels dipped in chocolate and caramel. Look to this bakery to celebrate your next special occasion – or your next everyday Tuesday. Because life is hard, but places such as Cake Mitten remind us that every day is an occasion to celebrate – especially when chocolate and cream-cheese frosting are involved!

40750 Garfield Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

555. Tipping Point Theatre – April 16, 2022 – Northville, MI

Tipping Point Theatre, weaving the magic of story into my Saturday afternoon!

Is there anything more compelling than live theater when it’s done right? Being able to attend plays again since COVID happened has been such a treat for me. So I was excited to experience a production of The Baxter Sisters at this community theater in downtown Northville.

The experience was wonderful! The Baxter Sisters was a moving tale of four sisters from small-town Michigan attempting to make it big on the dance circuit of the 1930s – until the tragedies and realities of life lead them down different paths. While I’m sure every seat in Tipping Point’s intimate, 100-seat theater is a good one, I felt especially fortunate to be seated in the first row facing the front of the stage – front and center to the singing, dancing, and drama!

Tipping Point Theatre is a non-profit community theater that started in 2007. Check its site for tickets to upcoming performances, and experience the magic yourself!

361 E. Cady St.

Northville, MI 48167

554. Browndog Barlor & Restaurant – April 16, 2022 – Northville, MI

When in Rome – or Browndog Barlor of downtown Northville – savor a Drunken Muppet.

The Drunken Muppet is a drink, not an inebriated puppet – a boozy milkshake, to be exact. It’s a delightful concoction of Browndog Creamery’s Kookie for Cookies ice cream, chocolate vodka, and chocolate liqueur, topped with house-made whipped cream and cookie pieces. The ice cream gives it a minty-blue hue.

Kookie for Cookies is not your typical cookies-and-cream ice cream. Not only is it dyed blue, it’s also got the cookie factor times three. This ice cream is infused with chunks of cookie dough, chocolate-sandwich cookies, and house-made chocolate-chip cookies!

I didn’t walk up to the bar of Browndog Barlor and order one of those Kookie for Cookies milkshakes. I ordered a Mocha Under the Influence, an intriguing concoction of chocolate ice cream and espresso-infused vodka (I almost never pass up a chocolate option on a dessert menu!). But somehow my order got lost in translation, and I was brought the Kookie for Cookies. Hence the “when in Rome” aspect of this visit to Browndog. I couldn’t bring myself to waste a perfectly good milkshake!

And good it was. The Kookie for Cookies was decadently creamy; it went down so very easy. Boozy milkshakes are dangerous in that they belong to that category of drink that makes you oblivious to how much alcohol you’re consuming. I didn’t leave Browndog Barlor bombed, by any means, but I did have a good little buzz going.

Browndog serves more than just boozy milkshakes crafted with its artisan ice cream. It also features a full food menu with hearty fare such as tacos, burgers, and sandwiches. Brunch is served on Saturdays and Sundays, and scoops of Browndog’s signature flavors are always available, as are pints to go.

And Browndog isn’t skimping on the flavor varieties! The current ice cream menu includes six ice creams made in conjunction with Faygo (the Rock & Rye varietal, Choc & Rye, with its swirls of fudge and brownie pieces, beckons my childhood self!). Other options are as varied as Flowers & Figs (featuring lavender, fig jam, and honey) and Fruity Cereal Milk (described on Browndog’s site as “White chocolate covered Fruity Pebbles are hand mixed into a Fruity Pebble steeped cereal milk ice cream.”). A cornucopia of choices awaits you and your own “when in Rome” moment!

120 E. Main St.

Northville, MI 48167

(With an additional location in Farmington)

553. Norma G’s – April 8, 2022 – Detroit, MI

Norma G’s, a beacon of fun and flavor!

Walking into this Caribbean restaurant in the Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood of Detroit is an immediate mood booster. Norma G’s is a kaleidoscope of colors, from its ceiling hung with multi-hued decorations to its vibrant walls done in blue, orange, and yellow.

The vibrance continues with the menu. With dishes such as Nachos Oxtail, Jerk Wings, and Curry Chicken, Norma G’s is not skimping on the flavor. Flavor abounds at its full bar, in the form of specialty cocktails such as the Sorrel Martini and Bajan Margarita (made with rum and Cointreau instead of tequila) and in desserts with fun names such as Muddy Beach and Mango Tango – the latter consisting of frozen custard from Wally’s of Saint Clair Shores and Norma G’s house-made mango chutney.

I felt I couldn’t visit Norma G’s without trying its Jerk Chicken Dinner. What a treat it was! The buttery cabbage, savory rice and beans, and tender, flavorfully seasoned chicken were so, so, SO delicious! I gobbled them all up, saving the slices of fried plantain for last. The subtly sweet, wonderfully caramelized nuggets of goodness were the ultimate dessert! I loved those plantains so much, I ordered an additional side to keep the goodness going.

Reliving my memories of this fantastic restaurant is keeping the goodness going in my mind right now! From its cheerful vibes to its flavorful yet reasonably-priced fare, Norma G’s is a total gem.

14628 E. Jefferson Ave.

Detroit, MI 48215