Macomb County

514. Deshi Kitchen – July 16, 2021 – Sterling Heights, MI

Friday night carryout from Deshi Kitchen: what a treat!

In these COVID times, having the ability to order takeaway is not something I take for granted – even now that life is (somewhat) back to normal. I felt that sentiment the night I picked up my meal from this Sterling Heights-based Indian restaurant.

It was a delight to devour Deshi’s delicious fare. The chicken vindaloo I ordered was optimally spicy, while the aloo gobi was utterly tasty with its potato and cauliflower chunks tossed in a sauce of warm spices. The garlic naan was fresh, pillowy goodness!

Deshi’s menu boasts a plethora of favorite Indian dishes, including chicken korma, butter chicken, goat curry, palak paneer, and biryani.

43095 Hayes Rd.

Sterling Heights, MI 48313

www.deshikitchenmi.com

513. Lamir Mediterranean Cuisine – July 9, 2021 – Clinton Township, MI

Lamir Mediterranean Cuisine is serving up deliciously fresh fare!

The Clinton Township-based restaurant’s specialty is Persian cuisine. Its menu features dishes such as koobedeh (skewers of broiled, spice-infused ground beef), barg (marinated, thinly-sliced beef filet), and mahiche (slow-cooked lamb shank in a saffron tomato sauce). Other beloved Mediterranean fare from shawarma to falafel, tabbouli to grape leaves are also offered. I’ve gotten carryout twice from Lamir and have been impressed by the polite, friendly service, fresh ingredients, and ample portions.

The first time I ordered from Lamir, I had its Hummus with Gallaba entrée. It features sautéed beef and vegetables on a bed of hummus. Lamir’s entrées include a side plus soup or salad, so I also opted for rice and a fattoush (included with entrees for an upcharge).

From that one meal’s plentiful portions, I made three. The saffron rice and the fattoush each filled large carryout containers. My entrée abounded with creamy hummus topped with a hefty portion of beef and vegetables.

I loved the freshness of the fattoush salad, its zesty dressing tossed with onion, cucumber, tomato, romaine, and pita chips. The hummus was delicious slathered on the pieces of pita bread that accompanied it. And the gallaba’s beef was tender; both it and the sautéed vegetables were richly flavored. I was INTO it! So into it that I ordered it again a month later.

That time, I got the hummus and gallaba separate from each other so I could enjoy each component on its own. I also ordered six extra pieces of Lamir’s fresh-baked pita bread, which is SO good warmed and slathered in hummus. I can’t help but love that it’s shaped like little hearts. But then again, there are many things to love about Lamir and its food!

39890 Garfield Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

www.lamirmediterranean.com

512. Le Andos Cafe – June 19, 2021 – Macomb, MI

Le Andos Cafe is for breakfast connoisseurs!

The Macomb-based restaurant has something for everyone. But breakfast lovers will go especially ga-ga over this place. Le Andos’ list of breakfast offerings is impressive and extensive. It offers a slew of omelets, French toast, waffles, crepes, pancakes, combo plates, breakfast wraps and sandwiches, and other beloved breakfast items.

There are six different versions of eggs Benedict alone on Le Andos’ menu, including the Philly Style layered with shaved steak, onion, bell pepper, and mushroom and another featuring your choice of crab cake or salmon. There are 12 different types of French toast, and 18 different kinds of omelets! The former includes decadent options such as Salted Caramel (French toast topped with caramel, pecans, sea salt, and powdered sugar), Banana Foster Stuffed (featuring banana, raisins, pecans, and a sweet cream cheese filling), and Red Velvet Stuffed (which skips the breakfast pretense and goes straight to dessert, featuring three slices of red velvet cake!). The latter includes omelet varieties that range from Hawaiian to Greek to Corned Beef and Swiss.

Dessert breakfasts seem to be Le Andos’ domain. I get giddy with excitement when I read the Pancakes section of the menu. Nutella Stuffed Pancakes, Birthday Cake Stuffed Pancakes, AND Pineapple Upside Down Pancakes? Pancakes incorporating banana, coconut, and pecan then layered with Le Andos’ cream cheese filling, pineapple, powdered sugar, and mango and raspberry syrups? (That’s the Tropical Breeze pancakes.) This is the stuff of childhood dreams! And I haven’t even touched the Waffles and Sweet Crepes sections of Le Andos’ menu. See the Cannoli crepe including every part of the iconic Italian dessert, from filling to shell to chocolate chips!

So yes, Le Andos’ breakfast menu is epic. But the café also boasts a sizeable lunch menu featuring a variety of burgers, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and more. The restaurant is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays as of the writing of this post.

During my brunch-time visit to Le Andos, I opted for the Monte Cristo, a heftily-portioned crepe stuffed with turkey, ham, and melted Swiss and American cheeses; sprinkled with powdered sugar; and drizzled with raspberry melba sauce. It’s included in the Savory Crepes section of Le Andos’ menu, but obviously, it’s a mash-up of sweet and savory – as is the iconic sandwich it’s inspired by. And it’s utterly rich and delicious!

It was hard to choose just this one dish from Le Andos’ offerings. I could go on and on about the creativity of its menu. As someone who loves to cook – and eat – it inspires me to get into my kitchen and create! Or . . . maybe I could just revisit Le Andos and order those Birthday Cake Stuffed Pancakes. 🙂

15433 Hall Rd.

Macomb, MI 40448

www.leandoscafe.com

511. BurgerFin – June 12, 2021 – Clinton Township, MI

I love burgers AND patio dining. So of course I was game for a mash-up of the two with a visit to BurgerFin.

The Clinton Township-based restaurant (at The Mall at Partridge Creek) is all about mash-ups. Its menu features both burgers and sushi.

A burger-joint-slash-sushi-bar! Have you heard of one of those? I certainly hadn’t until BurgerFin. But why not serve both sushi and burgers if you’re going to do them as well as BurgerFin does?

Seafood is not my thing. So I don’t find much reason to eat sushi. But did I wish seafood was my thing when I saw BurgerFin’s Las Vegas rolls? Most definitely! Filled with salmon, cream cheese, and avocado, they’re deep-fried and drizzled with spicy mayo and sriracha, then topped with jalapeños and sesame seeds. What flavor amalgamation! Other sushi offerings on BurgerFin’s menu are its Spicy Tuna Roll, Shrimp Tempura Roll, and California Roll.

While I’m not a sushi aficionado, I’m pretty into burgers. And BurgerFin’s intrigued me.

I should clarify: BurgerFin’s burgers are actually sliders, the baby cousin of the sandwiched-sized original. Not all these sliders feature beef patties. Choices range from Crispy Chicken to the Maple Bourbon BLT (BurgerFin’s riff on the classic bacon sandwich) to the Mobster Lobster filled with lobster salad, scallions, and a tangy mustard sauce.

I opted for the BBQ Bacon Me Crazy beef sliders topped with grilled onions, melted cheddar, bacon, and barbecue sauce. They were delicious little burger nuggets! I ordered them as part of BurgerFin’s slider meal combo, which includes two sliders and a side of fries or salad. I opted for the house salad.

This salad was EXCELLENT! I feel a little silly raving about a side salad, but honestly, it was SO good. The mixed greens, red onion, tomato, and cucumber were SO fresh and tasty, and I loved the zesty vinaigrette dressing and crunchy croutons. Add salads to the list of things BurgerFin does well! Its menu does include an elaborate build-your-own salad option that presents a variety of nuts and seeds, fruits and veggies, greens and cheeses, proteins and dressings.

Those healthful salads on BurgerFin’s menu are balanced by decadent deep-fried fare. Under Appetizers, see the bacon-studded Mac & Cheese bites served with ranch dressing and the Crispy Brussel Sprouts coated in chile lime sauce and parmesan cheese. Drool over the Fries & Sauces section’s Bonfire Fries with their layers of seasoning, sriracha, and Fat Tire-laced beer cheese.

Try it all, from sliders to sushi, salad to those Bonfire Fries. BurgerFin will totally embrace your meal mash-up!

17380 Hall Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

www.burgerfin.com

507. Trini’s Mexican Carryout – April 24, 2021 – New Baltimore, MI

I love Mexican food! So when a friend suggested lunch from Trini’s Mexican Carryout, I was game.

From the tiny confines of this New Baltimore-based carryout restaurant comes big flavor – and big portions! The Teresa’s Pick 3 combination plate I ordered came in two carryout containers. One was devoted to ample portions of rice and refried beans; the other, the two enchiladas and Street Taco I’d opted for as part of the Pick 3 combo.

The enchiladas were meaty, cheesy goodness! I got one cheese and one ground beef enchilada. Both were rich in flavor – as was the Street Taco. Nestled in a soft corn tortilla, it was a delicious melding of pork, cheese, cilantro, lime juice, onion, and tomato.

Trini’s menu offers a plethora of options besides that Pick 3 combo. Dinner plates combining sides of rice and refried beans with Mexican favorites such as tamales, burritos, fajitas, and chimichangas abound. There’s also an à la carte section offering tacos, tostadas, and other goodies sans the sides. Lunch specials are available, as is a build-your-own nacho platter coming in three sizes: Super, Mini, and Micro. So much goodness on one menu!

35710 Green St.

New Baltimore, MI 48047

www.triniscarryout.com

506. Naked Burger – April 14, 2021 – Clinton Township, MI

If there’s one place I’ve OBSESSED over this year, it’s Naked Burger. This upscale burger restaurant and bar based in Clinton Township is bringing sophisticated ambiance, friendly service, and FANTASTIC food. I’ve eaten its wares four times already (twice via carryout; twice in restaurant) – which, for someone who’s consumed with trying new places, is a LOT. But Naked Burger is most definitely revisit-worthy!

The first time I had Naked Burger was in late March, when a friend and I ordered carryout. I didn’t get to experience the restaurant’s interior – but I did experience its Hangover burger, which was awesome with its juicy beef patty layered with candied bacon, caramelized onions, aged white cheddar, avocado, garlic aioli, and tomato jam (I skipped the sunny-side-up egg that typically comes with it). And I had one of its Espresso Martinis, a delicious mixture of vodka, Kahlúa, and espresso that came in the equivalent of an adult juice box to-go container (complete with straw).

A couple of weeks later, that same friend I had Naked Burger with initially called and asked if I wanted to go out for an impromptu drink. I said yes (a rare moment of spontaneity for me on a week night) and suggested the restaurant.

It was thrilling to go out at 8 p.m. on a Wednesday night! These days, I usually have one foot in bed by 8 p.m. And given that I was only two weeks into being back at indoor dining (after being fully vaccinated), dining at Naked Burger felt especially special.

The restaurant’s dining room is sleek and modern, featuring dark wood, contemporary artwork (which incorporates burgers, naturally!) and a bar gleaming with rows of backlit bottles. Gas-lit flames lick out from an island in the middle of the restaurant. These elements meld to form an aesthetic that is both sophisticated and inviting.

During this visit to Naked Burger, I enjoyed two of its craft cocktails: the Oaxaca Old Fashioned, a subtly spicy blend of tequila, mezcal, agave, and chili-lime, and the Vieux Carré, a delicious (and strong!) melding of sweet vermouth, rye whiskey, Bénédictine, cognac, and cocoa. While Naked Burger’s cocktails are on the pricey side, they make up for it in potency. These are NOT watered-down drinks!

The pièce de résistance of this visit to Naked Burger was the sandwich I ordered as my entree: the Chick Mac-Net.

THIS SANDWICH! It is hands-down one of the most phenomenal things I’ve ever eaten. I’ve had it three times now, and each time, my mind and taste buds are BLOWN by how good it is!

The Chick Mac-Net consists of a fluffy, sesame-seed-studded bun layered with lemon-parsley aioli, coleslaw, a thick cut of crispy-breaded buttermilk fried chicken, and Naked Burger’s Five Cheese Mac mac-n-cheese. This melding of crunchy-breaded, juicy chicken, creamy, spiral-noodled mac-n-cheese, zesty lemon-parsley aioli, and crunchy coleslaw is PERFECTION. I’m so into it, it has made me a Naked Burger evangelist. After this visit to Naked Burger, I became a broken record of praise for it, repeatedly extolling its virtues to family and friends.

One thing I love about Naked Burger’s menu is the variety of burgers offered. If the Chick Mac-Net sandwich doesn’t sound like your thing, there’s also a lamb burger; a vegan portabella mushroom burger; and grilled chicken and breaded cod sandwiches. And of course, there are beef burgers – in varieties as varied as the Diablo with its spicy-hot accoutrements (jalapeño, habanero aioli, and ghost-pepper jack cheese) and the Kimchi with its namesake topping.

It comes as no surprise that a restaurant with such elaborately-dressed burgers also has fancified fries. Naked Burger offers several varieties of dressed-up fries, including its Naked Poutine, Truffle Parmesan, and Feta Oregano varieties. I’m in love with the Chipotle Ketchup that comes with the Naked Fries and the Sweet Potato Fries!

The restaurant’s menu is rounded out by appetizers (including a serving of Five Cheese Mac you can dress up with truffle and/or candied bacon), soup and salad offerings, and enticing desserts. I’m intrigued by the Espresso Truffle Cheesecake, which sounds deliciously decadent with its espresso reduction, caramel, and black truffle honey. I certainly don’t need an excuse to return to Naked Burger – but if I did, that cheesecake would be it!

43203 Garfield Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

www.nakedburgerdetroit.com

505. 900 Degrees Pizzeria Bistro – March 30, 2021 – Shelby Township, MI

March 30, 2021 was momentous for me. Not only was it the day I visited Yell Sweets bakery, it was also the day I visited 900 Degrees Pizzeria Bistro . . . AND dined inside a restaurant for the FIRST TIME IN OVER A YEAR!!!

For someone who adores restaurants – especially locally-owned ones (hence, this blog), this milestone in the topsy-turvy pandemic voyage was a BIG deal. Being fully vaccinated gave me the confidence to eat inside restaurants again, and I was READY.

Driving to the restaurant on that fateful day, my stomach was aflutter with nerves as if I were going on a first date! And in a way, I was: it was my first date back with the indoor-dining experience.

Sitting down at a table inside 900 Degrees and taking off my mask was the oddest sensation. It all felt so wrong: to be sitting there with the air kissing my face, conversing with the masked server while I was sans face covering. I’ll never forget that initial mix of disconcertment and excitement.

It felt very full-circle to have my first meal back be with the same person I’d last dined indoors with: my friend Jessica (our visit to Guiseppe’s in Chesterfield was two days after the first recorded COVID-19 case in Michigan and four days before my personal lockdown began).

Once Jessica arrived at 900 Degrees and I started sipping my drink, I relaxed into the experience. By the end of our dinner, it felt totally normal to be doing this once-normal thing that had been made foreign by very unnormal circumstances.

This meal at 900 Degrees was everything I’d hoped it would be! It started off with a shared Caprese, which was excellent with its fresh mozzarella and flavorful tomatoes and basil. Then I had the very fresh, very tasty house salad. My entree was the Pappardelle al Ragù di Agnello, a delicious melding of thick egg noodles and tomato sauce rich with ground lamb and flavor. My meal finished with a delectably creamy tiramisu.

Seeing lamb ragu on 900 Degrees’ menu made my entree choice an easy one – it’s one of my go-to dishes. But as I review the menu, I’m reminded of how many enticing choices the Italian bistro has. Its specialty is pizzas cooked in its wood-fired oven, and the menu reflects that: there are 20 different types of pizza on the current menu. Choices range from Pesto to Calzone to Fig & Pig (a tantalizing mix of mozzarella, burrata, prosciutto, fig jam, and crushed walnuts). The menu also boasts hefty pasta and meat-centric sections, featuring dishes such as Lasagna al Forno, Lobster Ravioli, Branzino alla Griglia (grilled sea bass), and Vitello Saltimbocca (veal layered with prosciutto, sage, and white wine sauce).

As I drove home from dinner that night, I couldn’t stop thinking about how special that meal at 900 Degrees Pizzeria Bistro felt. I told myself, “I never want to forget this feeling!” And I haven’t. That first night back inside restaurants reminded me that having the ability to dine out is truly a privilege. I don’t want to take that privilege – or the fact that I’m still here – for granted.

50925 Hayes Rd.

Shelby Twp., MI 48315

www.900pizzeria.com

504. Yell Sweets – March 30, 2021 – Shelby Township, MI

I have such sweet memories of Yell Sweets! The Shelby Township-based bakery makes PHENOMENAL cupcakes, which I learned from my March visit.

I went to Yell Sweets to purchase a birthday gift for a friend – and a gift for myself (because I couldn’t leave that bakery without something for little old me, as well!). The timing of my visit was fortuitous because it was a Tuesday, and Tuesdays at Yell Sweets are $2 cupcake day! Once I learned that, I asked the kind staff member assisting me to please add more cupcakes to the for-me pile.

That for-me order consisted of Peanut Butter Cup, Strawberry Crunch, Banana Pudding, and Carrot cupcakes. I purchased nearly the same order for my friend, swapping the Carrot cupcake for a Solder Boi (a red-white-and-blue-hued melding of cherry, blue raspberry, and vanilla flavors).

All four of the cupcakes I got were AMAZING, so it’s hard to pick a favorite. If I had to, I’d go with the Carrot, which was a super-moist carrot cake cupcake dotted with raisins and nuts and slathered with Yell Sweet’s oh-so-good cream cheese frosting. The Peanut Butter Cup also stole my heart with its rich chocolate cupcake and swirl of peanut butter frosting topped with a bunny-shaped, peanut-butter-filled chocolate candy (love that finishing touch!). The Strawberry Crunch was a tasty melding of strawberry-and-vanilla marbled cake, cream cheese frosting, and a strawberry crumb crust. And the Banana Pudding cupcake wasn’t messing around with its sumptuous banana pudding center!

These flavors are only a drop in the bucket when it comes to Yell Sweets cake offerings. Check out the bakery’s website for more enticing choices and for pictures of its pretty cupcakes and elaborate custom cakes.

14142 Lakeside Blvd. North

Shelby Twp., MI 48315

www.yellsweets.com

501. Donut Castle – March 6, 2021 – Warren, MI

Blog Year Eight of 100 Places in the D kicked off right, with a visit to Donut Castle!

This one lives on in my memory. Donut Castle is this unassuming little bakery in Warren producing the most PHENOMENAL donuts. Their crullers . . . OMG, are they good. During my visit back in March, I got some super fresh ones that were the PERFECT blend of deep-fried, glazed-kissed outsides and airy, melt-in-your-mouth insides. The buttermilk sticks I purchased were great, too: crispy-crusted cake donuts coated in a honey-sweet glaze. I’m swooning recalling these donuts!

The donuts weren’t all that was swoon-worthy about my visit to Donut Castle. Besides offering its namesake confection, the bakery has fresh-baked bagels and bagel sandwiches. I got a club sandwich on a cheese bagel, and it was A-MAZING. Everything was so fresh. I remember marveling at the time, “This sandwich is so good, it has me liking iceberg lettuce!” I usually think iceberg lettuce is a total waste of space on a sandwich. But the iceberg on this Donut Castle club was fresh and crispy, enhancing the deliciousness of the turkey and the ham, the provolone and bacon and tomato.

This Donut Castle club sandwich wasn’t skimping on the portions, either; it was amply layered with meat. And the bagel was so soft and fresh, with a thick layer of melted cheese on top – I believe it was parmesan. The name of the bagel escapes me, but the epic deliciousness of it and that sandwich and those donuts are burned into my memory!

11831 E. 13 Mile Rd.

Warren, MI 48093

500! Pho LineUp – February 7, 2021 – Clinton Township, MI

This is a big day for 100 Places in the D, because it’s time to highlight Visit Number 500: Pho LineUp!

What a restaurant worthy of this milestone! Pho LineUp’s Garlic Noodle with Shaken Beef was FANTASTIC when I experienced it via a February carryout visit. How could I not gobble up its tender beef, fresh vegetables, and irresistibly saucy, peppery noodles? The Cha Gio eggrolls were just as delicious, their crispy-fried rice paper rolls nestling pockets of flavorful pork and veggies.

As you may have deduced, Pho LineUp is a Vietnamese restaurant, but it serves other Asian fare, including Chinese dishes. It offers several iterations of pho; Vietnamese sandwiches; a variety of stir-fries and other dishes served with rice, rice vermicelli noodles, or egg noodles; and even American favorites such as wings, popcorn chicken, and fries. Its menu’s assortment of coffee, tea, and smoothies looks pretty on point, featuring pretty-hued drinks dotted with boba and topped with whipped cream. That drink section alone is a prime excuse for a revisit!

36831 Garfield Rd.

Clinton Township, MI 48035

www.pholineup.com