Macomb County

488. Weiss’ Meats & Deli – November 21, 2020 – Chesterfield, MI

During these pandemic times, I’m finding joy in simple pleasures – such as a juicy T-bone steak from Weiss’ Meats & Deli!

The Chesterfield-based market offers exceptional service alongside its meat, seafood, and deli counters and grocery area proffering dry goods, wine and beer, produce, and other foodstuffs. The polite, friendly staff will bring your parcels of meat and seafood to the cashier counter for you – an impressive touch, in my book!

Weiss’ offers online ordering and curbside pick-up, plus party-sized subs and trays of fruits and veggies, cold cuts and cheeses, and other festive finger foods. For all of you hunters, Weiss’ offers deer processing, as well!

I am not a hunter – unless you count stalking butchers’ counters as hunting. In that case, I achieved three kills at Weiss’: the aforementioned T-bone steak, plus country ribs and two pounds of ground round. The T-bone steak was cooked the night after I visited Weiss’ and was a tender, delicious dinner. The ribs and ground round are nestled in my freezer, ready to be unearthed when simple pleasures of a carnivorous kind are called for!

51094 D.W. Seaton Dr.

Chesterfield, MI 48047

www.weissmeatsanddeli.com

485. Lula’s Café – November 5, 2020 – Shelby Township, MI

Yay for Lula’s Café!

The Shelby Township-based restaurant/coffee shop serves an assortment of caffeinated beverages and meals that are both healthful and decadent (see the Buddha quinoa bowl with its goat cheese, egg, and assortment of veggies and the “Chocolate” Pudding made from avocado, cacao, and maple syrup). It boasts breakfast-centric items such as the goodness-laden Acai Bowl and hearty Breakfast Burrito, plus protein-and-plant-packed bowls, salads, wraps, and smoothies.

The café’s interior is minimalist-chic with its predominantly black-and-white color palette and exposed-bulb lighting, but it also manages to feel cozy and welcoming, with homey touches such as chalkboard menus and a profusion of potted plants. The staff member who assisted me augmented those welcoming vibes with her kind and conversational demeanor; she made me feel at home at Lula’s, even though I was there for only a few minutes.

I contemplated lingering longer when I saw Lula’s patio. With its cheerful lime-green chairs and strands of overhead lights, it enticed me to sit and stay a while. I almost did! But after hours of running errands, my home’s pull exuded more power.

My lunch from Lula’s, the Southwest salad (sans cheese), was AWESOME with its ample chunks of tender grilled chicken, turkey bacon, corn, diced red onion, and avocado on a bed of fresh spinach and drizzled with creamy chipotle dressing. This was my second time eating the salad; a friend had brought me carryout from Lula’s back in September. Because somewhere doesn’t count as a new-place visit unless I go there myself, I had an excuse to again eat from Lula’s – which I’m more than happy to have done!

45271 Market St.

Shelby Twp., MI 48315

www.lulas-cafe.com

481. The Little Mustard Seed Café and Shoppe – September 26, 2020 – New Baltimore, MI

A summer-like Saturday in late September was worth celebrating with an alfresco lunch at The Little Mustard Seed Café and Shoppe.

The restaurant/retail space in downtown New Baltimore promotes itself as an organic, gluten-free café with a focus on fresh ingredients. Chalkboard menus showcasing a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, smoothies, pizzas, baked goods, and coffee drinks line the walls of its bright, bunting-bedecked interior. Also sold are a carefully curated selection of dry goods: packaged snacks, jams, and honeys, plus gift-friendly items such as naturally-derived lip balms.

I enjoyed the seedy, obviously house-made bread of the Club sandwich I ordered at The Little Mustard Seed. It went well with the turkey, ham, turkey bacon, tomato, mixed greens, and cheese that constituted its iteration of the classic sandwich.

If you’re looking to eat a healthful, whole-foods-focused meal AND support a local business, you can’t go wrong with The Little Mustard Seed! Summer-like weather abounding or not, it’s worth a visit.

5111 Washington St.

New Baltimore, MI 48047

www.thelittlemustardseedcafe.com

477. Leila’s Lebanese Kitchen – July 30, 2020 – Clinton Township, MI

After a three-and-a-half-month hiatus from the blog, I can’t help feeling like a kid returning to school after summer vacation. I’m here to regale you with tales of what I did this summer – including a new-place visit to Leila’s Lebanese Kitchen!

It was a weird summer for me – and that’s not even considering COVID! Long story short: I spent nearly six weeks in the throes of an intense health condition that had me weak, fatigued, mostly homebound, and greatly restricted in what I ate. THANK GOD I’ve recovered! But from Fourth of July to mid-August, exploring was mostly out of the question.

I did, however, make one new-place visit during that time: to Leila’s Lebanese Kitchen in Clinton Township. What a bright spot that jaunt was, a beacon of normalcy during a very strange, very discouraging time!

Desperate for a meal more jazzy than chicken-and-rice one afternoon in late July, I realized that lemon rice soup and chicken shawarma pita wrap should be fairly unobjectionable to my delicate constitution. So I excitedly phoned up Leila’s to put in a carryout order.

I’d been wanting to try the Mediterranean restaurant since it’d come onto my radar in the last year. After all of the anticipation, I was not disappointed! Leila’s lemon rice soup was thick with luscious lemony stock, white rice, and hearty chicken pieces, while the chicken shawarma pita was utterly delicious with its crunchy grilled bread, tender chicken, zesty pickles, and wonderfully garlicky sauce (garlic sauce = holder of the key to my heart!).

I’ve visited Leila’s several times after that initial visit. I’m impressed by the friendly staff, reasonable prices, and consistently awesome food. Besides its chicken shawarma pita and lemon rice soup, I’ve enjoyed its chicken shawarma entrée (its flavorful grilled chicken – served with rice pilaf, veggies, and garlic sauce – is so good, it just might make a poultry fanatic out of this red-meat devotee!) and its fattoush salad (addictively fresh and zesty and crunchy; the small-sized version with grilled chicken is so filling, I can’t finish it in one sitting). I even ordered a large container of its garlic sauce to jazz up my convalescence diet (it made otherwise banal dishes pure, swoon-worthy heaven!).

Leila’s menu contains other Lebanese staples besides these: hummus, kibbie, falafel, spinach pie, beef kafta, and crushed lentil soup, to name a few. I’m looking forward to trying the Chicken Ghallaba over Rice on one of my future visits – that is, if I can keep myself from re-ordering the delectable dishes I’ve already sampled. Leila’s is the kind of place where I’m compelled to choose from the same few offerings that are so good, I’m not tempted to stray!

I’m so grateful to be feeling better these days – and to be back here on 100 Places in the D! I have plenty of visits to share from the last two months, each one a testament to the fact that even during these challenging and scary times, we can still find joy and adventure – and do good with our dollars by supporting locally-owned businesses such as the lovely Leila’s!

40777 Garfield Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

www.leilaslebanese.com

476. Kawaii Bubble Tea – June 21, 2020 – Clinton Township, MI

June2020Kawaii1 (2)June2020Kawaii2 (3)Summer heat can cause us to seek out refreshing moments of respite. Kawaii Bubble Tea is ready to facilitate such an experience!

The Clinton Township-based shop serves bubble tea, also known as boba tea. The drink originated in Taiwan and is an infusion of tea, sweetened milk and/or flavorings, ice, and tapioca pearls or jellies.

Kawaii offers fruit teas and milk teas. You choose your tea – black, green, or passion  – and up to two flavor enhancers. With the fruit teas, you can choose from flavors such as Strawberry, Lychee, Green Apple, and Mango; with the milk teas, options such as Bubblegum, Spiced Chai, and Cookies N Cream. Both fruit and milk teas can be poured over ice or blended with ice to make slushies.

And of course, there’s the pièce de résistance: the boba! At Kawaii, you choose from three different kinds of boba: the traditional pearl, which is dark and chewy and made from tapioca; the Popping Pearls, explained on its website as “juice balls that burst and disintegrate”; and Coconut Jellies, which are described as “firm and chewy” and of the three, closest resemble candy to me. The Popping Pearls and Coconut Jellies come in a variety of flavors.

Confession time: prior to visiting Kawaii, I’d not been a bubble tea person. I learned about it in high school and was excited to try it but found the tapioca pearls distracting rather than whimsical. I decided it wasn’t for me – until recently.

I found myself increasingly intrigued by Kawaii’s signage, the cute cartoon fox logo and “i”s dotted with hearts in its name. And from scoping out the shop’s menu online, I learned it served Thai tea. I was sold. I even decided I’d opt for the boba; experiencing them again would be an adventure. In this action-starved quarantine time, any adventure, large or small, was a win in my book!

I walked into the shop on a Sunday afternoon and took a spot in line, constituting one of the four customers allowed inside at once due to COVID-19 guidelines. A chalkboard mounted above the counter displayed the shop’s offerings, while the counter itself proffered brightly-colored macarons (a tantalizing possibility to ponder!) and other snacks.

I went for the large Thai tea served over ice and traditional tapioca pearls, downing half of the sweet, milky beverage on the car ride home. When the first tapioca pearl entered my mouth, I was surprised. I’d expected the eating of the boba to be a deliberate exercise, but many of them slid up the canal of the thick straw without effort.

I was also surprised by the fact that I didn’t mind the boba this time around. They struck me as mostly flavorless, with a faint hint of celery (anyone else taste that?). As I chewed and chewed and chewed (there were a lot of boba in my drink), I found them growing on me; they were pretty fun to eat. The tapioca pearls have distinctly moved out of the Distracting category and into the Whimsical. (Thanks for converting me, Kawaii!)

As of the writing of this post, Kawaii Bubble Tea is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. It is also currently carryout only; you can order online via its website or downloadable app or in-person at the shop. Please see its website for additional ordering guidelines – and enjoy the refreshing respite it offers!

43301 Garfield Rd.

Clinton Township, MI 48038

www.kawaiibubbletea.com

475. Chickpea Kitchen – May 22, 2020 – Sterling Heights, MI

May2020ChickpeaKitchen1 (2)May2020ChickpeaKitchen2 (2)I’m relishing every bright spot I encounter these days, and visiting Chickpea Kitchen was a definite bright spot!

I hope all of you are staying safe, healthy, and as grounded as you can. It’s been such an intense time here in the U.S. with the coronavirus raging and the brutal murder of George Floyd by police and the aftermath of that. June has personally been a struggle for me as I attempt to keep my spirits up while normal life continues to elude us and division tears our country apart. I’m hopeful that someday we can be a more united country where systemic racism and hate is not a thing. I mean, come on, America! But in the present-day, it can feel awfully bleak.

So any positive experiences cropping up during this time – wow, have they been blessings! I haven’t tried many new places lately: only two in the last month and a half – which you know has me antsy. I have, however, re-experienced some delightful establishments (yeah Fattoush, Modern Cone, and Irish Tavern!). And I did successfully execute a visit to Chickpea Kitchen the Friday night of Memorial Day weekend.

I was super impressed by the Sterling Heights-based Mediterranean restaurant when I entered it to pick up my carryout. Masks were required to enter, and the place was sparkling clean. There were tables placed in front of the ordering counter to force social distance between patrons and employees, and all of the staff wore masks.

Chickpea Kitchen offers soups, salads, several varieties of house-made hummus, and other goodies such as French fries and desserts. But its featured menu items are its build-your-own pitas and bowls, where you get to choose the protein, hummus, vegetables, and sauce you’d like to include in your meal.

I love a good build-your-own option! I was excited to build a rice bowl with grilled steak, onions, cucumbers, chickpeas, pickled turnips, spinach, pickled cabbage, garlic sauce, and bell pepper hummus. I also ordered a small fattoush salad, because it’s hard for me to go to a Mediterranean place and not order one!

Arriving home with my food and digging in was a thrill. The fattoush salad was one of the best I’ve had; I loved its crunchy pita chips, zesty dresssing and finely chopped onion, cucumber, and tomato.

And the bowl: it was SOOO delectably tasty, packed full of flavor! I loved the combination of tender steak, vibrant veggies, and flavorful hummus and garlic sauce. It was so wonderful that I ate most of it – which was a stretch, considering that I’d also eaten the whole fattoush salad. But it was a very worthwhile indulgence – especially at under $14 for both items.

As of the writing of this post, Chickpea Kitchen appears to be offering carryout only. Check it out if you’re in need of a bright spot in your day!

39525 Mound Rd.

Sterling Heights, MI 48310

(Closed Sundays)

www.mychickpea.com

473. King’s Pizza – May 8, 2020 – Clinton Township, MI

May2020King'sPizza1 (2)May2020King'sPizza2 (3)My visit to King’s Pizza was 25 years in the making.

I’d wanted to try the pizza from this Clinton Township-based carryout joint since I was a kid and we started receiving flyers in the mail for it. The pies in the pictures on the flyers always looked so delectably cheesy. My mother, despite my appeals, was not interested in giving King’s Pizza a whirl. My childhood dream was deferred.

In recent years, the dream was revived. Passing its storefront periodically on 15 Mile Road, I mused that King’s Pizza would be a perfect candidate for a 100 Places in the D visit, since it’s locally owned.

With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the restaurant business and the world in general, I hadn’t tried any new-to-me places since my March 12 visit to Guiseppe’s Restaurant in Chesterfield. I did some pretty hardcore sheltering-in-place at the start of the stay-at-home mandate period, not driving anywhere for four weeks straight. Then when I did go out, it was to grocery stores, where I stocked up on wayyyy too much food. I wanted to support local restaurants that were open for carryout and delivery – but first, I had to eat up all my groceries!

My current goal is to try a new-to-me restaurant once a week on average. I want to support locally-owned restaurants and do my part to help keep them open. While one person getting carryout once a week from local chains is a tiny action in itself, hopefully if those of us who are able to do so chip in in this manner, we can make a difference in helping keep beloved restaurants open.

King’s Pizza made it easy for me to do my part. It offers delivery, but I wanted to (safely) pick up the pizza in person so it would count as a “visit” for the blog. So I opted for carryout and picked up my pizzas via a drive-through window that’s been set up for carryout orders. It was really easy and made contact minimal.

King’s offers both build-your-own and signature pizza options, plus a food menu filled with all other manner of goodies: chicken, ribs, fish and chips, cheesy breadsticks, pasta, salads, subs, and more. Who needs extra-large grocery orders when you have access to such a bountiful menu?

Pondering my order from King’s, that round cheese pizza featured so enticingly in many an advertising flyer was a no-brainer. I ordered a large one, plus a small round of one of its specialty pizzas that captured my attention, the Chicken Mediterranean.

When I arrived home with my two pizzas after driving through a freakish snow flurry (because snow-in-May is the kind of world we are living in right now???), I was soooo excited to try them. It was the MOMENT OF TRUTH!

I grabbed a slice of the cheese pizza, took a bite, and . . . it tasted like cheese pizza. LOL. I don’t know what I was expecting, but after 25 years of fantasizing about what a pizza tastes like, you’ve built up a lot of hype. It was good cheese pizza, though!

The Chicken Mediterranean was fantastic. It was bringing the flavor with its cheesy mozzarella, savory chicken, salty feta, zesty red onion and banana peppers, dash of oregano, and drizzle of olive oil.

After gorging on multiple pieces of both pies, I still had plenty of leftovers. And here’s the interesting thing I learned about that King’s cheese pizza: it was excellent reheated. Maybe it wasn’t warm enough when I had it on my first go-around (it did have to travel and endure me taking multiple photos of it before eating it), but having it piping-hot out of the oven with its gooey cheese and its excellent crust, all well-done on the outside yet delectably doughy on the inside . . . well, that satisfied my 1990s-era dream of an epic Italian pie just fine.

20571 15 Mile Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48035

(with an additional location in Roseville)

www.kingspizza.com

472. Guiseppe’s Restaurant – March 12, 2020 – Chesterfield, MI

March2020Guiseppe's1 (2)March2020Guiseppe's3 (2)Guiseppe’s Restaurant was the last establishment I dined at before the coronavirus blew up here in Metro-Detroit. I’m so grateful to have had the experience of eating dinner there with a friend before this necessary period of social isolation set in.

For those of you who have lost loved ones to this virus, who are battling the virus yourselves, or whose lives have been affected by it in other terrible ways, I am sorry, and I am sending love to you. I know this little post on an Italian restaurant in Chesterfield, MI isn’t the kind of thing that can ease your pain in any real way, but I hope it provides a momentary diversion for those of you who are seeking it.

Guiseppe’s is located in a strip mall. Its interior is unpretentious and homey – and it serves up a mean Eggplant Parmesan.

The restaurant was offering a 2-for-$20 special during my visit, meaning you could purchase two featured meals – with soup or salad included – for only $10 bucks apiece. The Eggplant Parmesan I opted for was part of that special. It was delicious with its melt-in-your-mouth breaded and fried eggplant slathered in rich tomato sauce and cheese and served with a side of al dente penne pasta.

That 2-for-$20 menu is available Sundays through Thursdays and includes a variety of pasta dishes (including Manicotti, Homemade Lasagna, and Spaghetti Carbonara), plus chicken- and fish-centric meals such as Chicken Marsala and Beer Battered Fish and Chips.

Guiseppe’s regular dinner menu features a more in-depth list of pasta dishes, plus appetizers, salads, pizzas, and meat-focused entrées such as Steak Siciliano, Veal Scaloppini, and Shrimp Casalinga. The restaurant has a full bar; I enjoyed a tasty glass of pinot noir while there.

As of the writing of this post, Guiseppe’s was still open, accepting carryout orders only. So you can still experience its delectable Italian cuisine at this time if you’re local and looking to take a break from cooking.

49120 Gratiot Ave.

Chesterfield, MI 48051

www.giuseppesrestaurant.net

468. Lazybones Smokehouse – March 4, 2020 – Roseville, MI

March2020LazybonesSmokehouse1 (2)March2020LazybonesSmokehouse2 (2)March2020LazybonesSmokehouse3 (3)Serendipity led me to Lazybones Smokehouse – and am I glad it did!

I’d been wanting to visit the barbecue joint in Roseville for years; I pass it regularly on Groesbeck en route to 696, and I’d long intended to incorporate a visit there with a jaunt along that route.

Cancelled plans on a Wednesday night in early March led me to execute that plan on the fly. I was two-thirds of the way to a meet-up in Ferndale when I learned it’d been postponed. Not wanting to waste the drive, I decided a stop at Lazybones upon doubling back would make lemonade out of the lemons I’d been handed (or, pulled pork out of a pig of a situation? Cheesy-Dad-joke-level pun intended!).

I entered the carryout restaurant and studied the menu above the counter. The employee helping me explained that there wasn’t an individual-portion combo plate. There was the Texas Sampler, which includes tastes of all of Lazybones’ smoked meats, plus two pint-sized portions of sides and four slices of cornbread, and the Family Feast option, which showcased way more food than I was looking to reckon with; otherwise, menu items were available à la carte, in various sizes. (The restaurant also offers a catering menu that includes packages and a wider selection of dishes than its restaurant carryout menu.)

I studied the array of smoked meats (including brisket, pork belly, chicken, turkey, and sausage), sandwiches, salads, and sides and chose the two meats that were the obvious choices for me: the Carolina Pulled Pork and the St. Louis Spareribs – plus sides of the Baked Mac and Cheese and the Vinegared Garlic Slaw and a slice of the Honey Buttered Cornbread. It was more food than I needed, for sure, but I wanted to sample several items (and who says leftovers are a bad thing)?

I was so excited to get home and dig into my feast! And dig in I did. I tried a little of everything, slathering the pulled pork and ribs with Lazybones’ vibrant sauces (I’d opted to try the Carolina Vinegar and Screamin’ Inferno varieties. A third barbecue sauce was thrown in for good measure; I’m unclear on its identify but suspect it was the Hillbilly due to the “HB” written on the outside of its container) and taking turns dipping into the sides.

The clear star of the show in that meal? The Carolina Pulled Pork. It was phenomenal, so tender and flavorful that it didn’t need sauce to be utterly delectable – though I still doused it with sauce because I am a sauce gal, and Lazybones’ are very tasty. But man, was it good!

I enjoyed the meaty St. Louis Spareribs, as well; they had a great smoky flavor. I appreciated that the Vinegared Garlic Slaw wasn’t drowning in mayonnaise; it was zesty, peppery, and garlicky and actually tasted like a healthy vegetable that could aid in counteracting all of the saturated fat I was eating. The Baked Mac and Cheese was covered in creamy dairy goodness, and the Honey Buttered Cornbread delivered a craved carb infusion.

I got my money’s worth of that meal, eating off of it two additional times in subsequent days. Thanks to Lazybones Smokehouse, what could’ve been a bummer of an evening was instead a spur-of-the-moment rendezvous with deliciousness!

27475 Groesbeck Hwy.

Roseville, MI 48066

www.lazybonessmokehouse.net

457. Vast Kitchen and Bar – January 7, 2020 – Shelby Township, MI

January2020VastKitchenandBar1 (3)January2020VastKitchenandBar2 (3)Vast Kitchen and Bar = my first culinary crush of 2020!

I thoroughly enjoyed my dining experience at this Shelby Township-based restaurant. Everything about it was fantastic: the ambiance, the service, the drinks, the food. I’m all about starting a new year off strong, and Vast helped me to do that, transforming what would have otherwise been an ordinary Tuesday night in early January into a gastronomical voyage!

Walking into Vast, I instantly felt at home. Its interior exudes modern class and coziness with its rich red walls, dark leather booths, glossy wood finishes, and rows of backlit bottles gleaming above the bar.

The server who waited on me and the friend I dined with at Vast made the place feel even more welcoming. Friendly, helpful, and professional, she provided excellent service. A former waitress, I can’t help but be attuned to the level of customer care provided at a restaurant; it can truly make or break a meal for me. Thanks to our server at Vast for helping to make the experience awesome!

On to the drinks! From Vast’s selection of signature cocktails, I selected the Tradition in Fashion, an amped-up Old Fashioned that was perfection with its bourbon melded with raw sugar, cherry liqueur, and black walnut-flavored bitters. I enjoyed it so much that I ordered a second (twist my arm!).

Superior ambiance, service, and drinks: I was already swooning over Vast at this point. And then came the pièce de résistance: the meal I ordered as my entrée, the Signature Meat Loaf.

This meat loaf is by far THE BEST I have ever had. Drenched in gravy, served on a bed of mashed potatoes and creamed corn, it was rich, tender, flavorful, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness – and topped with delectably crispy-battered onion rings, to boot. It was SO SO SO SO GOOD.

According to Vast’s menu, this meatloaf is crafted from a mix of meats: ground beef, pork, and veal. And according to my taste buds, it’s crafted from PURE MAGIC.

Besides offering that mythic-level meatloaf, Vast’s dinner menu contains a collection of upscale appetizers (see the Tuna Poke Bowl, Pei Mussels, and Beef Carpaccio), burgers, salads, steaks, seafood dishes, and other hearty entrées. I doubt I could go there and order anything other than that Signature Meat Loaf as long as it’s on the menu, but I can see how dishes such as the Sesame Crusted Ahi Tuna and the Roasted Red Pepper Alfredo Pasta would be just as tempting.

Vast Kitchen and Bar, it’s official: I’m in crush with you! Thank you for being you and for providing such a top-notch dining experience.

52969 Van Dyke Rd.

Shelby Twp., MI 48316

www.vastkitchenandbar.com