Author: Jackie F.

Exploring is a major theme in both of my blogs, 100 Places in the D (where I chronicle my quest to visit new-to-me restaurants, bars, shops, parks, etc. in the Metro-Detroit area) and A Cookable Feast (a food blog focused on whole-foods-based cooking, located at www.acookablefeast.com). I love to try new things and exercise my creativity. I believe that life should be full of adventures - even if the adventures we seek aren't of the crazy mountain-climbing, skydiving variety. Everyday adventures can be pretty darn awesome, too!

401. Candle Wick Shoppe – March 19, 2019 – Ferndale, MI

March2019CandleWickShoppe1 (2)March2019CandleWickShoppe3 (2)March2019CandleWickShoppe2 (2)After cozy journaling time at Civitas Coffee House in Hazel Park on a Tuesday afternoon in mid-March, I continued on to downtown Ferndale, where I visited a place I’d long been curious about: Candle Wick Shoppe.

The store sells all kinds of high-vibing products: candles, crystals, essential oils, incense, books, jewelry, and other goodies. According to its website, reiki sessions are also offered through the shop.

While at Candle Wick Shoppe, I enjoyed interacting with the friendly sales clerk, who helped me pick out my purchases. I went with a smoothly polished and satisfyingly hefty rose quartz stone, a rainbow-luminescent stone called opalite, and a tall blue candle dedicated to the third-eye chakra.

I love crystals for their different meanings and their beauty, and I’m obsessed with candles (I burn them daily), so I was happy to add to my collection of both – as happy as I was to soak up the calming, positive energy radiated by Candle Wick Shoppe.

175 W. 9 Mile Rd.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.candlewickshoppe.com

Advertisements

400! Civitas Coffee House – March 19, 2019 – Hazel Park, MI

March2019Civitas1 (2)Visit Number 400 is hitting 100 Places in the D!!! Say hello to Civitas Coffee House of Hazel Park.

I adore indie coffee shops with their funky, cozy vibes, sense of community-fostering, and ability to make me feel as if I’m hiding away from the oft-chaotic world for a moment of blissful respite. So I was excited to visit this new-to-me one for some tranquil journaling time (fueled by a caffeine jolt, naturally).

The interior of Civitas Coffee House has a welcoming ambiance, with warm wood paneling, ample natural lighting, and walls painted a denim blue. During my visit in mid-March, tiny vases holding lime-green carnations graced each table.

I visited Civitas Coffee House for about 45 minutes, sipping a cappuccino whilst writing and enjoying the coffee-shop ambiance. The experience provided me with that special feeling of repose that only coffee houses can evoke, so: mission accomplished, Civitas!

Reflecting upon the milestone of this visit five months after it occurred (better late than never, eh?), I’m amazed by the fact that up to this point – and in just over five years – I’d visited 400 new-to-me, locally-owned places in the Metro-Detroit area. FOUR HUNDRED! Here’s to the magic of starting a project and seeing where it takes you.

906 E. 9 Mile Rd.

Hazel Park, MI 48030

(Closed Sundays)

https://civitas-coffee-house.business.site/

399. Trizest Restaurant – March 15, 2019 – Sterling Heights, MI

March2019Trizest1 (2)March2019Trizest2 (2)Every time I think of Trizest Restaurant, I crave its Gong Bao chicken, which is some of the best I’ve had.

Tender chicken, flavorful veggies, and a delightfully spicy, tasty sauce characterize the Sterling Heights-based Chinese restaurant’s iteration of this classic dish, which is also known as Kung Pao chicken.

I didn’t need to peruse Trizest’s menu during my visit, because Gong Bao chicken is my Chinese go-to; I adore it. But I did notice that its menu is loaded with a plethora of appetizers and entrees, including a vegetarian section featuring plant-based “chicken.”

I dined at Trizest back in March. It was packed when I arrived around 7:30 that Friday night. I soon learned why: its food is fantastic! My visit was five months ago, and I still long for that Gong Bao chicken on the regular. Memorableness is a mark of a good visit, for sure!

Another aspect of dining at Trizest that struck me as memorable was its lighting. It was BRIGHT – like, grocery-store-in-the-middle-of-the-night bright. You are not likely to fall asleep whilst dining at Trizest. And hey – that’s a good thing, because you wouldn’t want to miss a moment of noshing on its delectable cuisine!

33170 Dequindre Rd.

Sterling Heights, MI 48310

(Closed Mondays)

www.trizest.com

398. Three Cats Café – March 15, 2019 – Clawson, MI

March2019ThreeCatsCafe1 (2)March2019ThreeCatsCafe2 (2)March2019ThreeCatsCafe4 (2)After my visit to the lovely Leon & Lulu on a Friday night in mid-March, I continued on to the Three Cats Café, its sister business just next-door.

I was enchanted with the place. The Clawson-based establishment is more than a café housed in a former movie theater, its glittery marquee intact and its street-facing ticket booth still present, complete with a “talking” vendor mannequin rattling off facts about the place. It’s also an expansive shop selling artwork, mugs, handmade cards, and other perfect-for-gifting goodies, much of which are locally made and/or Michigan-centric.

The café counter of Three Cats Café is in the front of the building, near the entrance, while the shop/seating area is behind it. The nature of my visit (a pre-dinner-date jaunt) didn’t allow me to sample any of the café’s delectable-sounding soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and other goodies (though the Not Your Mama’s Grilled Cheese w/ Cup of Tomato Basil Soup on its current online menu is hitting me pretty hard with the cravings right now!). Instead, I opted for a cappuccino from its menu of coffee and tea drinks.

This cappuccino was steamy, creamy, foam-laden deliciousness that I enjoyed while sitting at a table in the Three Cats shop/seating area. It’s a brightly colored, aesthetically pleasing space, an ideal place to retreat from the outside world and relax. I could feel myself unwinding with every sip.

116 W. 14 Mile Rd.

Clawson, MI 48017

www.threecatscafe.com

397. Leon & Lulu – March 15, 2019 – Clawson, MI

March2019LeonandLulu2 (2)March2019LeonandLulu3 (2)Leon & Lulu, what a breath of fresh air you were for me!

I’d been wanting to visit the Clawson-based store since I’d learned about it several years prior, and having some time to kill before a nearby dinner date with a friend on a Friday night in mid-March, I decided to check it out.

It’d been a rough couple of weeks for me from an emotional standpoint. I was in need of that giddiness I get from visiting an awesome new place. And I definitely got it when I stepped inside Leon & Lulu.

The place is a cornucopia of brightly colored, aesthetically beautiful delights! Upon stepping inside Leon & Lulu’s large storefront, I immediately felt the relief of the baddie feelings melting away, replaced by a jolt of excitement.

An employee greeted me immediately, and when I told him it was my first time visiting the shop, he welcomed me and explained how the building was a former roller rink (a disco ball from back then is still suspended from the ceiling).

I got to exploring. Leon & Lulu is packed with artwork, furniture, and other home goods; clothing, jewelry, and bags; pottery, candles, and potholders emblazoned with snarky sayings. It also stocks books, toys, funny socks, stationary, handmade greeting cards, Michigan-centric items, and loads more.

Leon & Lulu is one of those places where you can go to get a fabulous, one-of-a-kind item that makes the perfect gift. Many of the products it proffers have a humorous bent, such as a book it recently featured in an Instagram post titled The Best Places to Pee: A Guide to the Funky & Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland.

After about a half hour of browsing, I opted to go the humorous route with my purchase, buying an oven mitt decorated with a drawing of a 1950s-esque woman cooking and the caption “droppin’ a new recipe on your ass.”

The explosion of creativity on display at Leon & Lulu, the beauty and the whimsy of the items sold, and the friendly customer service that I received provided much-needed emotional respite to me that night, and for that, I am exceptionally grateful. My visit there was a reminder of the power of exploring to positively shake up one’s life, to get the good energies going. Whatever mood you’re in, this one is definitely worth a visit!

96 W. 14 Mile Rd.

Clawson, MI 48017

www.leonandlulu.com

396. The Whiskey Six – March 2, 2019 – Grosse Pointe, MI

March2019WhiskeySix1 (2)A friend and I stumbled across The Whiskey Six on a Saturday night in early March.

When I say we stumbled across The Whiskey Six, I mean that literally: we were walking around and around this little corner of downtown Grosse Pointe, looking for another restaurant that our GPS said was there but that we just. couldn’t. find. But there was The Whiskey Six, its windows glowing warmly at us, and we were like, why not?

We walked inside The Whiskey Six and were greeted to a bustling scene, an establishment that felt both refined and welcoming.

Featured in the front of the restaurant is this impressive wraparound bar with these multi-tiered wooden shelves holding both backlit bottles of spirits and flat-screen TVs. The overall vibe is industrial-chic-meets-rustic, with wrought-iron chandeliers, exposed brick and ductwork, and a shiny antique car displayed on a ceiling-level platform.

As you’d expect, The Whiskey Six serves a “vast selection of fine whiskeys,” as it puts it on the About page of its website. It also offers craft beers (including many local choices), wine, and cocktails.

The restaurant’s food menu features a variety of appetizers (from Fish Tacos to Crispy Rice Balls to Buffalo Cauliflower “Wings”); soups and salads; sliders (including lamb and meatball options); pizzas; burgers and sandwiches; and entrées. That latter section features pastas and protein-centric dishes such as Macaroni and Cheese and Char Grilled Salmon.

I emphatically opted-in for the W6 Tenderloin, an eight-ounce filet of beef wrapped in bacon and served with mashed cauliflower and vegetables. I also ordered the Maiden Manhattan as my alcoholic beverage du jour. It was tasty and strong and complemented the tender, savory W6 Tenderloin.

Our server at The Whiskey Six was great, attentive and friendly. Further enhancing the ambiance of the place was a band that struck up lively tunes during our dinner.

So much of modern life is planned – at least, my modern life is. My unplanned visit to The Whiskey Six was a reminder of the power of spontaneity. I’m grateful that my friend and I happened upon it on accident and that the restaurant facilitated our dining experience as divinely as it did.

646 St. Clair Ave.

Grosse Pointe, MI 48230

www.thewhiskeysix.com

395. Harry’s Detroit – March 1, 2019 – Detroit, MI

March2019Harry's1 (2)March2019Harry's2 (2)100 Places in the D is marching into March – finally! (Never mind that we’re still five months behind here – progress is progress. :P)

A visit to Harry’s Detroit kicked off the month. The bar was packed during my dinnertime visit, most likely due to the Michael Bublé concert soon taking place at nearby Little Caesars Arena. My mom and I were attending that concert and decided to stop off at Harry’s first.

The bar has a classy yet homey vibe, with lots of glossy dark wood and a blackboard spelling out drink specials in colorful chalk. It also has a covered rooftop patio that looks like a very good time – but alas, I was not able to enjoy it during the frigidity of my late-winter visit.

Harry’s menu showcases an enticing array of bar-food fare: appetizers that scream of high calorie counts and deliciousness (see the Jalapeño Poppers Eggrolls with their deep-fried casings stuffed with bacon, jalapeños, and cheddar, Gouda, and cream cheeses and served with ranch – !), hefty burgers, and stick-to-your-ribs sandwiches. It also offers comfort-food-focused entrées such as baked macaroni and cheese and meatloaf, plus soups and salads.

I was craving a Greek salad (I get on kicks with those suckers sometimes; they’re SO good! Says the woman who didn’t like salads until her late twenties). So I went for Harry’s Detroit Greek Salad, to which I added grilled chicken.

The salad was hearty and flavorful with its mixed greens tossed with roasted beets, spicy pepperoncini, and creamy feta, plus onions, olives, cucumbers, and tomatoes bringing the veggie goodness. Accompanying it were triangles of soft, chewy pita bread. It was the perfect sustenance to energize me for a night of cheering on my favorite Canadian crooner. 🙂

2482 Clifford St.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.harrysdetroit.com

394. Buon Appetito – February 23, 2019 – Romeo, MI

February2019BuonAppetito1 (2)February2019BuonAppetito3 (2)After dining at Cantoro Trattoria the Saturday prior, Italian was again on the docket for me the following weekend, this time at Romeo’s Buon Appetito.

I certainly did not object to the repeat in cuisine; I LOVE Italian food. And I loved Buon Appetito’s Eggplant Parmigiana, which I enjoyed as my lunch that day. It was rich, cheesy, deep-fried goodness.

(BTW, how is it that eggplant transforms into something so melt-in-your-mouth amazing when it’s simply dipped in bread crumbs and deep-fried? I’m not a huge fan of that veggie otherwise, but when it’s fried – MAN!)

The restaurant offers a wide array of traditional Italian favorites, including veal-, steak-, and seafood-centered choices and various pastas (with the ability to build your own customized pasta dish). It also serves beer and wine.

No flowery elaboration required here: Buon Appetito’s cuisine is simply delicious, and it’s definitely worth a visit!

117 W. Lafayette St.

Romeo, MI 48065

www.buonappetitoitaliancuisine.com

393. Cantoro Trattoria – February 16, 2019 – Troy, MI

February2019Cantoro1 (2)February2019Cantoro2 (2)February2019Cantoro3 (2)I love Italian food; it’s so rich and comforting and luxurious on the palate! At least, it’s all of those things when it’s done well. And, as I discovered on a chilly evening in mid-February, Cantoro Trattoria in Troy does Italian well.

My mom and stepdad had been raving about the restaurant for months, so I was excited to finally visit it with them for dinner. I was impressed by its sleek modern interior; the prompt, friendly, and polite service that we received; and the delicious cuisine.

The Napoli Caprese salad we shared, for instance, was excellent with its luscious mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. So was my entrée, the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese with its weighty house-made noodles and hearty tomato sauce laden with pancetta and ground beef, veal, and sausage.

Cantoro’s menu is loaded with delectable-sounding offerings such as these. It offers a variety of appetizers, pizzas, pastas, and grill items such as Costoletta di Vitello (veal rib chop) and Branzino alla Griglia (Mediterranean sea bass).

Sitting there in the glitzy dining room of Cantoro Trattoria, sipping red wine and enjoying great food and company, I felt as cozy as can be despite the freezing outdoor temperature. My heart was warm, and my stomach was full – who can ask for anything else?

1695 E. Big Beaver Rd.

Troy, MI 48083

(With an additional location in Plymouth)

www.cantorotrattoria.com/troy

392. Chili Mustard Onions – February 9, 2019 – Detroit, MI

February2019ChiliMustardOnions6 (2)February2019ChiliMustardOnions2 (2)February2019ChiliMustardOnions4 (2)February2019ChiliMustardOnions5 (2)Chili Mustard Onions is in the house!!!!!

I’m not a vegan, but I don’t mind playing one sometimes – especially if it means eating at an establishment as phenomenal as this one. Chili Mustard Onions is serving up the FLAVOR!

The vegan restaurant is modeled after a Coney Island, except that its gyros, Coney dogs, nachos, and chili-cheese fries are chockful of plant-based ingredients rather than animal products. And I was totally digging it during my February visit.

Besides proffering plant-based versions of the above-mentioned dishes and others such as pitas, sandwiches, and a Big Mock burger, Chili Mustard Onions features a drink menu full of vegan beers, wines, and spirits. Non-alcoholic drinks such as iced tea, pop, and kombucha are also available. Vegan soft serve and other desserts are offered, too.

I’m a big fan of chili fries, so I knew I had to try CMO’s Chili Cheeze Fries. I also opted for the Beetball Sub, followed by a slice of chocolate cake that was modeled after a Snickers bar, with peanuts and layers of chocolate- and caramel-flavored frostings.

Those Chili Cheeze Fries, you guys – they were fantastic. In the almost six months since I have lunched at Chili Mustard Onions, I have not stopped thinking about those fries! They were so, so, so, SO good. They were frankly better than the real, meat-laden thing. The chili was more like a gravy; it didn’t have any chunks of plant-based meat in it, which I preferred, as I’m not a big fan of traditional meat substitutes such as tofu and tempeh. And the cheese sauce! Wow, did it taste like the real thing! It was creamy and savory and delicious.

The Beetball Sub was amazing, too. The meatballs were made from beets and a combination of other plant-based ingredients; I believe there was tofu in them, for instance. Again, I didn’t feel like I was eating fake meat but extreme deliciousness. I enjoyed the Beetball’s cashew-based mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and its rich, tomato-y sauce.

And then came the Snickers cake, which was chocolatey, decadent goodness. A satisfied appetite and very full stomach came along with it.

This first visit of Blog Year Six for 100 Places in the D was most definitely a memorable one. I’m confident that Chili Mustard Onion is going to end up in my list of top-ten visits for the year. I’m also excitedly anticipating a revisit – possibly this week, as a friend has mentioned she’d like to try the restaurant, and I am totally down for the ride. Chili Cheeze Fries, here I come!

3411 Brush St.

Detroit, MI 48201