Macomb County

570. Coffee Break Cafe – July 26, 2022 – Eastpointe, MI

Coffee Break Cafe has a devoted following! And it’s easy to see why. The coffee house tucked into a strip mall in Eastpointe serves delicious drinks.

During my visit to Coffee Break Cafe, not one but two customers raved to me about how great the place was. One loved it for studying; the other, as his regular supplier of coffee beans (which he said he’s taken with him all over the world). Both loved the owner, who is a friendly, welcoming guy.

Speaking of those beans: Coffee Break Cafe roasts its own. It offers varieties from all over the world – places such as Kenya, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala. The shop offers a plethora of coffee- and tea-based drinks. There’s an array of lattes, in enticing flavors such as Cherry Fudge, Cheesecake, and Tiramisu, and flavored cappuccinos, too. Baked goods and bottled drinks (pop, juice, sparkling water) are also available.

During my visit, I enjoyed a cold brew iced coffee and a Chai Tea Latte. The Chai Tea Latte was especially good: rich, foam-capped, warmly spiced deliciousness.

Next time you need a break from the world, make Coffee Break Cafe your place of respite!

19156 E. 10 Mile Rd.

Eastpointe, MI 48021

www.coffeebreakcafe.business.site

568. Max & Ollie’s – July 14, 2022 – Mount Clemens, MI

Max & Ollie’s offers a sweet selection of old and new! The shop in downtown Mount Clemens has a thoughtfully curated collection of vintage clothing, jewelry, accessories, glassware, china, and other home goods. And it’s got brand-new items, too: candles by Mitten Candle Co., for one. Not only are these handmade soy candles crafted made by a friend of mine, they smell downright fabulous (the Firewood scent alone – SO good!).

And Max & Ollie’s is fabulous, too! Not only for stocking my friend’s candles and giving beautiful pre-owned goods a second life, but also for having an owner who is warm and welcoming. This is definitely a small business worth championing!

65 Macomb Pl.

Mt. Clemens, MI 48043

563. Brown Iron Brewhouse – May 26, 2022 – Washington, MI

Washington is represented on the blog – with a visit to Brown Iron Brewhouse!

I visited the local brewery in May, yearning to sit on its pretty patio. A rainy day – alas! – made that impossible. But I did get to experience Brown Iron’s convivial beer hall interior. There I feasted on its beefy bacon cheeseburger (the Brown Iron Burger) and sipped one of its raspberry saisons.

Brown Iron features a wide selection of beers and hard ciders on tap – both its own and those of other breweries. The Washington location’s tap list is currently 69 items strong! Wine and cocktails are also available.

And the food! A feature of Brown Iron’s food menu is its barbecued meats. It has a smoker – and that’s reflected in menu offerings such as Slow Smoked BBQ Pork, Texas Beef Brisket, and St. Louis Spareribs. Sandwiches, salads, and pub-friendly appetizers (here’s looking at you, Crispy Cheese Curds and Beer Hall Nachos!) are also available.

57695 Van Dyke Ave.

Washington, MI 48094

(With an additional location in Royal Oak)

www.browniron.com

560. Clementine’s Pastries – May 6, 2022 – Mount Clemens, MI

Clementine’s Pastries, a beacon of sweet deliciousness, right in downtown Mount Clemens!

I first stepped into the adorable bakery on a rainy Friday morning, after a repeat visit to Black Cat Coffee (conveniently located next door). The interior was a cheerful sight to behold coming in from the rain. It reminded of a French café, with its mauve accent walls and little tables bedecked with vases of flowers.

I knew I couldn’t miss out on Clementine’s macarons! Every month, the bakery features select macaron varieties. During my visit in May, Snickers and cookie dough were two of the featured flavors, so I snatched one of each variety up. I also purchased a blueberry cream-cheese croissant, based on the recommendation of the staff member helping me.

All of these treats were SO good! I savored the blueberry croissant’s luscious cream cheese filling. And the macarons! They were delightful iterations of this classic confection, with their perfectly crisp-yet-pillowy meringue cookies sandwiching rich and creamy ganache. YUM and YUM!

Clementine’s offers so much more than cookies and croissants. Other featured goods include bundt cakes, cupcakes, cannolis, tarts, bear claws, cheesecakes, muffins, and even house-made dog bones. Vegan and gluten-free options are available. The next time you’re craving a sweet treat, look no further than this local gem!

57 Macomb Pl.

Mt. Clemens, MI 48043

www.clementinespastries.com

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

www.winegardensterlingheights.com

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

www.cakemitten.com

552. Strawberry Fields – April 3, 2022 – New Baltimore, MI

Strawberry Fields, I’m so pleased to have met you and your phenomenal Reuben sandwich!

I’d been enthralled by this New Baltimore-based restaurant since discovering a couple of years ago that it’s not your average eatery. Strawberry Fields is a Beatles-themed restaurant!

Probably this shouldn’t have surprised me, given the restaurant’s name. All I know is that I was laughing really hard when a friend’s husband read me some of the headings from the very punny menu (I have a Dad-joke sense of humor, so puns are wont to make me LOL). “I Wanna Hold Your Hash” and “Eight ‘Crepes’ a Week” are two favorites of mine.

I knew I had to experience the place firsthand – and I finally did one Sunday afternoon in early April. Many people shared that same desire; Strawberry Fields was kicking! Whether attracted by the puns, the walls lined with Beatles memorabilia, or the well-stocked menu, people were out enjoying “The Fields” (as my friend calls it) that day.

The restaurant serves breakfast and lunch/dinner dishes (as of this writing, it’s open until 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and until 2 p.m. Sundays and Mondays). Breakfast lovers will be enthused by the plethora of choices: crepes and omelets and French toasts and hashes and SO many kinds of pancakes (nine) and waffle dishes (seven). Those who prefer more afternoon-focused fare – as I do – are sure to find a salad, sandwich, hamburger, pita wrap, plate of pasta, fish dish, or other entrée item that intrigues them. A full bar makes for plenty of beverage choices, too.

I ordered the Dr. Robert’s Reuben (from the “Yellow Submarine Sandwiches” section of the menu, naturally) and was SO into its melted Swiss, piles of tender pastrami, zingy sauerkraut, Thousand Island dressing, and crispy-toasted, butter-saturated rye bread. YUM!

You don’t have to be a lover of puns or the Beatles to enjoy Strawberry Fields. You simply need to be a lover of good food, which Strawberry Fields has in spades!

51070 S. Foster Rd.

New Baltimore, MI 48047

www.strawberryfieldsdining.com

551. Black Cat Coffee – March 25, 2022 – Mount Clemens, MI

Black Cat Coffee, a place where you want to be a regular!

I don’t appear to be the only one who espouses that sentiment about the indie coffee house based in downtown Mount Clemens. From what I’ve experienced of Black Cat, it attracts repeat customers – and for good reason. The baristas are super welcoming, happy to chat you up, recommend a drink – even make change so you can feed your parking meter. The shop is beautiful: a soothing-glam oasis with its gleaming tin ceilings, scarlet walls, potted plants, and crystal chandeliers. And the drinks! The drinks are oh-so-delicious, perfect little infusions of caffeine and flavor.

I’ve visited Black Cat twice now, savoring those tasty drinks during remote-work sessions. Its cappuccino is rich and creamy; its nitro cold brew is full of flavor. Its Spicy Cougar signature drink is phenomenal, a deliciously sweet, spicy, chocolatey concoction. And its Café Miel! Black Cat’s take on the classic espresso drink infused with steamed milk and honey is SO good. That’s going to become a regular in my rotation, for sure.

Visiting new-to-me places is (obviously) an obsession of mine. But some places are so good, I can’t help but revisit. Black Cat Coffee is one of those places. I see myself returning again and again to this sweet little coffee-lover’s haven.

55 Macomb Pl.

Mt. Clemens, MI 48043

www.coffeeatblackcat.com

550. Sahara Mediterranean Grill – March 20, 2022 – Shelby Township, MI

Sahara Mediterranean Grill: SO worthy of a revisit!

I want to dine in this Shelby Township restaurant’s gorgeous dining room, with its sleek neutrals (white walls, black marble, black leather banquettes, gleaming gold accents, honeycomb-tile mosaic of white, black, gray, and gold), its glitz and glam (chandeliers of interlocking crystal-and-gold squares) and pops of color (chairs upholstered in turquoise velvet). I want to order a glass of wine and joke with the friendly and funny owner. And the food! I want to savor all of it: the kabobs and the kafta, the shawarma and the eggplant salad and the garlic sauce – lots and LOTS of garlic sauce.

I didn’t dine in during this visit to Sahara. I ordered carryout after a busy afternoon of errands and picked it up and wished I were dining in. But once I got home, I was totally content to be there with my stash of delicious food. The hummus was decadently rich and creamy and came in a much larger portion than I’d expected (it filled a standard-sized to-go container). The fattoush salad was fresh and flavorful, with deliciously zesty dressing. I especially loved it with the shawarma chicken add-on. That chicken was SO good! It was perfectly seasoned and perfectly tender.

My home is much less elegant than Sahara’s dining room, but Sahara’s food elevated my environment that Sunday evening.

45199 Market St.

Shelby Twp., MI 48315

www.saharagrill.com

543. Barleycorn’s Public House – January 12, 2022 – Shelby Township, MI

What a way to kick off my 2022 dining diary, with a visit to Barleycorn’s Public House!

The Shelby Township-based restaurant sure knows how to make a Wednesday night feel special! I dug its luxe yet inviting interior, its sage-colored walls, industrial-chic chandeliers, and brick-fronted bar with gleaming shelves of spirits, plants, and fancy knickknacks. I took a cozy seat at one of the wrap-around booths.

Barleycorn’s has an impressive bar selection, with a myriad of craft cocktails, beers on taps, and wines by the glass and bottle. I enjoyed a glass of pinot noir. And while I didn’t make it in time for Happy Hour, I appreciate that Barleycorn’s has a generous one. It runs from 2-6 p.m. on Sundays and Tuesdays through Fridays, and both food and drink specials are available, including a $10 Burger + Pint special.

Barleycorn’s food menu is a mix of starters, sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, and comfort-food-oriented entrées such as Fish and Chips, Brick Chicken (Chicken Marsala), Meatloaf, and Beef Tip and Portabella Gnocchi.

I opted for that Meatloaf, which was phenomenal! A rich gravy of caramelized onions and bacon jam coated the tender meat, which lay on a bed of creamy, smoked gouda-infused grits. Chunks of maple-glazed carrots were also infused with the delicious gravy. I know decadent isn’t the first word that comes to mind when you think meatloaf, but that’s what Barleycorn’s meatloaf is: decadent! It’s So. Very. GOOD. A girl could get used to eating such meatloaf!

And a girl could get used to visiting Barleycorn’s Public House. It’s a revisit-worthy type of place that can make any day feel like a singular treat!

50985 Hayes Rd.

Shelby Twp., MI 48315

www.barleycornspublichouse.com