Oakland County

347. M.C. ‘Wiches – July 27, 2018 – Ferndale, MI

July2018MCWiches1 (4)July2018MCWiches2 (2)The Friday before last, I was in downtown Ferndale, and I needed sustenance – hearty sustenance. Bread-and-cheese-and-meat-level sustenance. I scanned the downtown stretches of Woodward and Nine Mile, seeking somewhere to satisfy this requirement, and stumbled upon M.C. ‘Wiches sandwich shop.

After scanning its menu, I knew M.C. ‘Wiches was a place where I could stuff my face with a substantial, satisfying sandwich: specifically the seven-inch Cuban B ‘Wich. I got it on toasted wheat bread, opting to keep it simple when choosing from the various bread options, which included the intriguing Jalapeño Cheddar and a gluten-free variety. My sandwich was prepared promptly by the friendly young woman working the counter, and I settled in at one of ‘Wiches’ tables to devour it.

That Cuban B was a hefty sandwich indeed! Loaded with ham and pulled pork, pickle chunks and Swiss cheese, mustard and the signature ‘Wich Sauce (a garlic aioli), it most definitely satisfied my hunger – and was delicious while doing it.

While I found the seven-inch ‘Wich to be the perfect portion, I like that M.C. ‘Wiches offers two other sandwich sizes: the 3.5-inch Lil ‘Wich and the 14-inch Double ‘Wich. Its menu also includes two combo options that add a drink and a pickle to your ‘Wich as well as a side: depending on which one you go for, you can choose from chips, coleslaw, soup, mac-and-cheese, and baked goodies (including gluten-free varieties).

Bomb bread-and-cheese-and-meat-level sustenance offered by a friendly staff in a clean, pleasant environs: M.C. ‘Wiches is doing fast-casual right!

172 W. Nine Mile Rd.

Ferndale, MI 48220

(With an additional location in Oxford)

www.mcwiches.com

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334. Detroit Cookie Co. – June 9, 2018 – Ferndale, MI

June2018DetroitCookie5 (2)June2018DetroitCookie2 (4)June2018DetroitCookie3 (2)I really don’t need to convince you to visit today’s featured place, right? I mean, who really needs much convincing around visiting a cookie joint?

I certainly didn’t need convincing around visiting Ferndale’s Detroit Cookie Co. After driving past its cheery purple-and-blue exterior scores of times, then perusing its website and laying eyes on its massive XL chocolate-chip cookie, the hype had totally built up in my head. I NEEDED a cookie from the place!

Finally, on a Saturday night a few weeks ago, the fates aligned, and I paid my first visit to Detroit Cookie Co. after a friend and I gave up waiting on a rain-delayed baseball game we were supposed to attend. As much as I love hanging out in Detroit and attending Tigers games, cookies and coffee sounded more appealing on that rainy, chilly night than braving the elements, so we scooted on out of downtown and into that bright little cookie shop on Woodward Avenue.

Other Metro-Detroiters apparently had the same idea around sugary baked goods being appealing on that gloomy night, as Detroit Cookie Co. was buzzing at the time of our visit.

Perusing the bakery cases lined with a multitude of options, including a variety of enticing cookies and croissants, the Chocolate Almond Croissant Bread Pudding with Nutella Ganache gave me pause (how insanely delicious does that sound???). But in the end, I knew I had to stay on the cookie route, so I forewent that hefty slice of bread pudding and got what my heart had been set on for weeks: the XL chocolate-chip cookie. I also got a peanut-butter-and-chocolate cookie called the Peanut Butter Volcano (because PB + Chocolate = LIIIIFEE in my book) and a small coffee.

I tore into that XL chocolate-chip cookie right away. It was studded with loads of the little chocolatey gems, making it very rich and a perfect pairing with the boldly flavored black coffee.

My friend who accompanied me to Detroit Cookie Co. ordered a cookie ice cream sandwich – because yes, the bakery has several flavors of ice cream on tap for the purpose of loading the frozen dairy goodness between layers of its fresh-baked cookies. Hers consisted of creamy vanilla ice cream set between a chocolate-chip cookie and one with peanuts and toffee chips called Night Cap that she quite enjoyed. She also got a S’mores cookie, which I later received a text from her about raving that she found it phenomenal with its chocolate and graham cracker pieces and golden-brown toasted marshmallow topping.

I myself didn’t eat the Peanut Butter Volcano I’d ordered until a few days later. I softened it a touch in the microwave and devoured that peanut butter cookie topped with a decadent dollop of creamy peanut butter coated in chocolate, and man, was it SO, SO, SO, SO good! That one was my favorite over the XL chocolate-chip cookie – though you certainly can’t go wrong with that cookie that’s bigger than your fist and loaded with double the typical amount of chocolate chips.

Of course, you CAN go wrong with a cookie that’s bigger than your fist and loaded with double the typical amount of chocolate chips if it contains gluten and animal products and those things either make you sick or just aren’t your thing. As such, it’s worth noting that Detroit Cookie Co.’s website states that both gluten-free and vegan cookie varieties are available upon request (and when I scan the photos I took there, I see at least one vegan baked good was on display at the time of my visit, so it’s possible that both vegan and gluten-free cookies are sometimes available for walk-in purchases).

So the next time it’s a rainy, chilly day, or a hot-and-sweltering day – or any day, really – and you’re craving a fresh-baked treat, consider Detroit Cookie Co. I know I won’t have to twist my own arm to do a revisit here!

23421 Woodward Ave.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.detroitcookieco.com

326. 2941 Mediterranean Street Food – May 7, 2018 – Rochester Hills, MI

May20182941Med1 (2)May20182941Med4 (2)May20182941Med3 (2)2941 Mediterranean Street Food has hit 100 Places in the D!!!

I was super excited to visit 2941 Mediterranean Street Food of Rochester Hills for lunch with friends last week, as the fast-casual Detroit-area chain had been on my radar for a few years (as was the case with many of the places I’ve covered on this blog. Cheers to the moments when long-anticipated visits finally happen!).

I adore Mediterranean food, and as mentioned in my recent post on Burrito Mundo, I also love places that allow me to build my own meals, choosing from a plethora of ingredient options the ones I’d like to add to customizable bowls, burritos, etc. 2941 Mediterranean Street Food is one such place that allows you to build your own bowls, loading them with all kinds of fresh, flavorful goodies.

Stepping inside the bright and clean Rochester Hills storefront with its long communal tables and wicker-basket-accented lighting (check out the light shades that appear to be made from upside-down baskets with the handles still attached in the photo above), my friends and I approached the ordering counter toward the back of the room, where we began the assembly-line production of the build-your-own-bowl process.

In succession, I was asked to: pick my grain base (I chose the Turmeric Basmati Rice); my protein (I did pork; chicken, steak, lamb, falafel, and veggie options were also available); two sauces (garlic sauce was a given for me, and I chose another spicy sauce whose name I can’t recall); two types of torshi, which are pickled vegetables (I went with the Atum beet-and-turnip mixture and the Osiris cauliflower-and-mixed-veggie combo); and two items from the Salads and Snacks category (I nabbed hummus and a salad that included radish, chickpeas, and parsley).

This was an intense decision-making process, my friends. I felt – as I had the week prior at Burrito Mundo when I was shepherded through its burrito-making process – that my first bowl-building experience at 2941 Mediterranean Street Food was simply a dress rehearsal for the next time I was there. Before that subsequent visit, I’ll likely study the menu ahead of time and get all strategic about my choices, because these are important decisions to be made (lunch is on the line!) and because I am that much of a nerd when it comes to customizable meals.

Still, despite feeling unprepared for the intricacies of the meal-crafting process, I felt pleased with how my bowl turned out at 2941 Mediterranean Street Food. I had opted for the larger-sized bowl, which yielded enough food to constitute both my lunch and dinner for that day. It was accompanied by a sizable loaf of soft, irresistibly chewy samoon bread that was perfect for dipping in the hummus and garlic sauce.

While I was surprised at the cost of 2941’s build-your-own bowl (an $11.50 base price for the large-sized bowl, with additional upcharges for extra sauce, extra meat, etc.), the ample portions and pure deliciousness justified the higher-than-expected price in my mind. The pork was tender and well-marinated, the vegetables were fresh and flavorful, and the hummus and garlic sauce were pure, addictive, garlicky goodness (I am SO a hummus/garlic sauce girl!). High-quality ingredients melded together to make a wholly delectable bowl of Mediterranean goodness, and I was TOTALLY a fan.

While the build-your-own-bowl option appears to be the centerpiece of 2941 Mediterranean Street Food’s menu, there are also some signature-bowl configurations to choose from, as well as soups, flatbreads, and a load of what are labeled Street Snacks on the menu (Marinated Olives, Habibi’s Nachos, and Veggie Grape Leaves, for example). Knowing me and my obsession with the whole build-your-own-bowl concept, I’ll probably stick with that option, but it’s nice to know there are predetermined choices on 2941’s menu should I be struck with decision-making paralysis during a visit.

How about you – have you been to 2941 Mediterranean Street Food? If yes, I’d love to hear what you thought of it; feel free to weigh in within the Comments field below!

87 W. Auburn Rd.

Rochester Hills, MI 48307

(With additional locations in Auburn Hills, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, and Detroit)

www.2941streetfood.com

325. O.W.L. – May 4, 2018 – Royal Oak, MI

May2018Owl1 (2)May2018Owl2 (3)May2018Owl3 (2)Roadside diners encapsulate a kind of romance for many people, that whole freedom-of-the-road, classic Americana vibe. While O.W.L. is located in a suburb (Royal Oak), its perch along Woodward Avenue, that distinguished Detroit thoroughfare, makes it feel like it’s part of that roadside romance.

From the ’50s-esque exterior sign with its namesake bird outlined in neon lighting to the cheeseburger-meets-avocado-toast menu, O.W.L. exudes classic diner vibes with a contemporary, hipster bent.

The restaurant’s interior is tiny, and true to diner form, the seating options are counter-centric: you can either sit along a window-fronting counter with a view of Woodward Avenue or one that faces the kitchen line.  The ordering system is counter-centric, too: you give your request to the cashier at the end of the kitchen-fronting counter, pay your tab, and your food is delivered to you.

About half of O.W.L.’s compact menu consists of breakfast items, boasting five different kinds of egg sandwiches (including Chorizo Sausage and Cheese and Habanero Bacon and Cheese varieties) and other egg-centric dishes such as egg hash, chicken fried-chicken topped with eggs, and chilaquiles (a traditional Mexican dish made in this case with tomatillo salsa, cotija cheese, jalapeños, radishes, eggs, and cilantro). Wings, burgers, sandwiches, nachos, the Tacos Del Dia (tacos of the day), and other breakfast-centric (grilled cinnamon rolls, habanero bacon) and Mexican-influenced items (Chips and Pico, Torta Ahogada) round out the menu.

Upon perusing O.W.L.’s menu, I went with those nachos – a.k.a. the Double Layer Nachos. The thick, crispy slew of homemade chips layered with poblano cheese sauce, sausage chili, shredded cabbage, sliced radishes, fresh jalapeños, pico de gallo, and cilantro were rich, greasy, delectable deliciousness. While they may not be a standard on the average diner’s menu, these babies deserve to be; they are the ultimate in comfort food!

I’m not an egg person, but if I was, the aforementioned Chicken Fried Chicken and Gravy breakfast dish topped with eggs, Texas toast, and a poblano cheese gravy sauce and accompanied by peas and cilantro potatoes would’ve been my bet. My friend who accompanied me to O.W.L. ordered it, and wow, does that dish proffer a weighty portion! The Double Layer Nachos was no slouch with its portion size (as you can see from the photo above), either, and I happily had leftovers to enjoy the next day.

Eating at O.W.L., I found myself reminiscing over the Royal Oak-bar-hopping nights of my twenties; the diner would’ve made the perfect closing-time stop during those evenings of revelry. It’s rare that I stay out late enough anymore that I’m looking to hit a restaurant after the bars are shuttered, but if I do happen to find myself in the Royal Oak area into the wee hours and am jonesing for some gratifying grub, I know where to go! O.W.L. offers its particular brand of roadside romance 24 hours a day, six days a week (it closes at 10 p.m. on Sundays).

27302 Woodward Ave.

Royal Oak, MI 48067

www.owlwoodward.com

323. Catfé Lounge – April 25, 2018 – Ferndale, MI

April2018CatfeLounge3 (2)April2018CatfeLounge1 (2)April2018CatfeLounge2 (3)I am wholeheartedly a cat person. I love, love, LOVE me some feline friends! My cat is the light of my life, and I identify internally as a cat whisperer even if I boast no formal qualifications or mad skills à la My Cat from Hell‘s Jackson Galaxy. So when I learned there was a place called the Catfé Lounge in Ferndale where you could hang out with cats who were available for adoption, I knew I had to check it out.

Somewhere along the trajectory of me learning about the Catfé Lounge within the last few years and my visit last week, I acquired the inaccurate perception that the place was a coffee shop. I thusly envisioned my eventual visit as one where I would sit at a café table, sipping cappuccino and typing away at my computer, while affectionate cats danced across my lap and nuzzled me and I fought off the urge to adopt them all. Probably I should’ve perused the Catfé Lounge’s website before my visit to get clear on the actual set-up of the place.

This misconception was cleared up on the afternoon of my visit. The Catfé Lounge is not a café as its name suggests – at least not in the conventional sense. It’s an adoption center that’s affiliated with the Ferndale Cat Center, a local no-kill shelter, but it’s set up in look and feel more like a cat-friendly living space than a shelter.

There are plenty of chairs around the visiting space, as well as cat-friendly cushions, nooks, and beds. There are cat food bowls, a cat water fountain, and cat toys to help visitors interact with the free-roaming feline friends. On the day of my visit, I would say there were about five cats roaming around.

Cat advocates will be happy to note that the Catfé Lounge follows a strict protocol for its visitors. When you walk in from the outside, you enter a little foyer area where there is hand sanitizer that you must apply before you walk through another door to the visiting area. You must also sign a waiver before you interact with the cats. A $10 donation to the Catfé Lounge is suggested, which I proffered. There are rules on a board on the wall that must be read and adhered to. Additionally, several women who appeared to all be Catfé employees were present during my visit, keeping a watchful eye over the entire scene.

All of the rules, protocol, and supervision admittedly didn’t prime the experience with relaxed, café-esque vibes, but it’s clear that all of these regulations are necessary, because they are there for the cats’ safety, and obviously, the cats’ safety is the number-one priority. But this was definitely the point where my dreams of the freewheeling coffee-shop scene went out the window.

Complimentary beverages (coffee, tea, and water, I believe) were available at the Catfé Lounge on the afternoon of my visit, and there may have been snacks, as well. I didn’t pay much attention to the available refreshments; I was more focused on finding a cat to interact with. There were several other visitors there when I entered, and all of the cats appeared to be preoccupied with them – playing with them, or attempting to ignore them.

Cats are often stereotyped as not giving a crap about humans besides them being the bearers of their meals. I’ve not found that to be the case in my experience with cats; I’ve found them to be generally loving and affectionate towards people, so long as you know how to interact with them. But I will say, on the afternoon of my visit, the cats at the Catfé Lounge didn’t appear to be interested in interacting with me – or any of the humans who were there, really.

There was one cat – the cat shown in the photo above – who I observed as being more friendly in her dealings with the other visitors. I got excited when she suddenly appeared to be coming right for me – until it turned out she was headed for a nearby food bowl. Wah-Wah.

Maybe it’s a good thing that this batch of cats I witnessed at the Catfé Lounge weren’t clamoring for affection, I mused after dejectedly leaving the place after less than 15 minutes. Probably it meant they were well-adjusted and well taken care of in this unconventional shelter setting. And how great is it that the Catfé Lounge lets its felines roam free instead of being cooped up in cages? My humbling experience aside, this place is totally worth checking out if you are considering adopting a cat – and hey, maybe your experience with the cats will be different than mine. There’s no saying that the felines onsite at the time of your visit won’t be all friendly and ready to frolic.

What it all comes down to is this: the Catfé Lounge is a place that is helping cats, which makes them more than all right in my book. I can go elsewhere for a cappuccino and coffee-shop vibes.

801 Livernois St.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.catfelounge.com

315. Irish Tavern – March 17, 2018 – Waterford, MI

March2018IrishTavern1 (2)March2018IrishTavern2 (2)

I spent St. Patrick’s Day this year out and about, including a stop at Irish Tavern in Waterford. As you would expect from its name, the bar was decked out in full St. Paddy’s day glory and packed with drink-swigging, green-bedecked revelers.

I was one of those drink-swigging, green-bedecked revelers enjoying the live music and festivities, and I had my eye on the prize: that lunchtime corned beef sandwich.

True, my numero-uno priority on St. Patrick’s Day for much of my 20s was consuming a maximum amount of adult beverages (shocking, I know), but there’s nothing I enjoy more about the holiday now than the excuse to enjoy an EPIC corned beef sandwich. And I was pleased to discover that The Reuben on Irish Tavern’s menu is a glorious rendition of a corned beef sandwich.

This sandwich, with its layers of thickly-sliced corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and Thousand-Island dressing between two pieces of buttery, crunchy rye bread, served with perfectly crispy, supremely seasoned French fries, was SO, SO, SO, SO good! And fortunately, The Reuben appears to be a staple on Irish Tavern’s menu, so it can be ordered at any time of the year and not just on Luck-o’-the-Irish-centered holidays [cue me happy dancing!].

Other pluses about this place: despite the busyness of the day of my visit, the various servers I interacted with were prompt, polite, and friendly. The bathrooms were clean, not a hot mess as they often are at bars on occasions of this caliber (though it was still relatively early in the day).  And I see that Irish Tavern’s menu is loaded with enticing food choices besides The Reuben, including a variety of other sandwiches; salads; appetizers; burgers; and Irish favorites such as Shepherd’s Pie, Guinness Braised Corned Beef, and several dishes centered around boxty (traditional potato pancakes). Numerous local craft brews are available, and the whimsically titled Staycation section of the menu touts daily food and drink specials.

So the verdict is in: Irish Tavern is worth a visit, and not just on Luck-o’-the-Irish-centered holidays. Certainly I can come up with an excuse to consume an epic corned beef sandwich, regardless of the day of the year!

4703 Elizabeth Lake Rd.

Waterford, MI 48327

www.itwaterford.com

307. Thai Street Kitchen – February 14, 2018 – Bloomfield Hills, MI

February2018ThaiStKitchen2 (2)February2018ThaiStKitchen4 (2)Today’s post recounts a visit made on Valentine’s Day, which was already almost two weeks ago.

Valentine’s Day was two weeks ago? We are at the end of February already? Where has the year gone????

2018 is melting away faster than snow melting in a thaw. And yet, I can’t say I’m sad about it.

To say winter is my least favorite season is an understatement. But it also realistically makes up a third of our year here in Michigan, so I work with being in the moment every day and loving where we’re at seasonally. And also, I am thrilled that it’s almost March. We’re GONNA make it, people!

Delightful times like this most recent Valentine’s Day make it so much easier for me to love where we’re at in the throes of almost-gone-but-still-here winter. On that day, I got to see my dear friend from Mt. Pleasant and have dinner with her at Thai Street Kitchen in Bloomfield Hills when she was down here dropping her husband off at the airport. We got to be Galentines!

In case you ever need a Metro-Detroit meeting point that is right off I-75, may I suggest Thai Street Kitchen? It’s conveniently located near the expressway, on Woodward Avenue near Square Lake Road and the I-75 Square Lake exit (and a few minutes from the M-59 I-75 exit). More importantly, its food is tasty.

During my visit, I enjoyed an order of beef curry noodles that was deliciously creamy and perfectly spiced – actually hot like I ordered it. So many Thai restaurants seem to not believe me when I say I like it HOT! (or have a more watered-down definition of hot than I do). Not so with Thai Street Kitchen; they brought the heat perfectly, and the server even left a spice tray on the table in case I wanted to add more (which wasn’t necessary given that the dish was perfect as-is).

Despite it being Valentine’s Day, Thai Street kitchen’s small, pleasant dining room was not especially busy. I expect the place gets more carryout business than dining-in patrons, but the orange-hued interior with ornate designs painted on the walls is elegant and cozy.

The restaurant’s menu contains iconic Thai dishes such as the Curry Noodles, Drunken Noodle, and everybody’s favorite, Pad Thai, plus soups like the classic Hot and Sour and appetizers such as Chicken Satay and Spring Rolls. A selection of organic teas are also offered.

Service was prompt and attentive. When my friend commented to our waiter at the end of the meal that her dish wasn’t quite what she expected, the chef came out and offered to cook her a new plate of whatever she wanted for free. I was quite impressed by that. It’s basic customer service, but not every restaurant will insist on cooking a new dish free of charge for a guest at the end of a meal.

Valentine’s Day, Galentine’s Day, or any other day of the year: Thai Street Kitchen, you are a keeper in my book!

42805 Woodward Ave.

Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304

www.thaistreetkitchen.com

306. Peppy’s Pizza – February 13, 2018 – Troy, MI

February2018Peppys2 (2)February2018Peppys3 (3)February2018Peppys4 (3)You know that place in your neighborhood that you’ve passed by for years and always meant to visit but still haven’t? That was Peppy’s for me – until I went there for the first time last Tuesday.

Peppy’s is not in my neighborhood, per say, but it’s close to where my mom and stepdad live, so I’ve driven by it a lot over the years – so much so that it feels like it’s in my neighborhood. My mom had told me that the little carryout joint made good pasties and other foods such as pizza, subs, and baked goods, and I’d long been curious to check it out.

Fast-forward to last week when, in the throes of a ravenous attack of hunger, I finally made a pit stop at the place after spontaneously deciding to pull into Peppy’s parking lot on the way to my mom’s house. New-place time!

Peppy’s neat, tiny storefront interior was dominated by glass display cases of pasties and other baked goodies, plus large overhead menus including chicken, ribs, pierogies, salads, fish ‘n’ chips, appetizer side dishes, and desserts such as seven-layer cake and baklava – in addition to an extensive selection of pizza, pasties, and grinders.

I’ve never met a piece of baklava that I didn’t like, so I knew I had to add two pieces of the pistachio variety to my order. I also picked up two of the pasties, one beef and one spinach-and-feta.

The pasties were large; cutting them in half produced two solid pie-like slices. Both were delicious! The spinach-and-feta one was especially amazing with its rich, savory filling, and the beef pasty was warming and hearty with its ground meat, cubed potatoes, diced carrot, and onion. The crust used for both was addictively good.

And the baklava! It was soooo on point, with its butter- and honey-saturated, nut-studded layers of phyllo dough (DELECTABLE!). I think I need to add “eat more baklava” to my list of 2018 resolutions – for real!

If adding more baklava to your life sounds like a fine goal to you, too, go check out Peppy’s! And while you’re at it, pick up some dinner from that extensive carryout menu (unless the baklava IS dinner, which does sound like a very fine dinner, indeed!).

5965 Livernois Rd.

Troy, Mi 48098

(Open 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; closed Sundays)

www.peppyspizza.com

300! The Corner – December 27, 2017 – Ferndale, MI

December2017Corner3 (2)December2017Corner1 (2)Visit Number 300 is coming to 100 Places in the D today! Ya-hoo!

It was a goal of mine to achieve Visit Number 300 before the end of Blog Year 4 (which ends on February 7), so I was psyched to hit it with plenty of time before my deadline. Interestingly enough, the place I visited, recently opened Ferndale bar The Corner, inhabits the site of a previously featured establishment, Local Kitchen and Bar (#35). (RIP, Local Kitchen and Bar!)

For my fellow Metro-Detroiters reading this: remember how frickin’ frigid it was around here for that week and a half after Christmas – those highs in the teens and the single-digit lows? It was cold! Going outside to retrieve my garbage can from the curb felt like a major accomplishment, so leaving my house at nightfall to drive to Ferndale really felt like I was crushing it. #Goals, for real!

I mean, to park and pay for parking at the little kiosk and have to take off my gloves to punch in the numbers and then to wait at the curb for the “Walk” sign to flash on so I could scurry across the street to the restaurant – that took less than five minutes, but even in that short time span and with being all bundled up, that was cussing-aloud cold! How can your skin start to ache in such a short amount of time?

In all seriousness, me having to spend five minutes outside and take my gloves off for a minute to pay for parking for the car that I own – these are truly privileged problems. I cannot imagine being homeless and not having somewhere to go to during such incredibly cold times; it is unfathomable, and my heart goes out to anyone living that experience. Good guys like COTS and other local homeless shelters welcoming those with nowhere else to go: you guys are true superheroes! Consider donating to COTS Detroit, guys; they are doing the good work.

Back to me and my silly little life: I rolled up to The Corner and its packed, low-lit interior and its . . . WALL OF GAMES.

Can I say how much I love that this bar has a big ol’ wall full of board games? Shelves crammed ceiling-to-floor with board games available for the playing equal a BIG plus-mark in my book. Playing board games is one of those things I love to do but don’t do nearly enough. (Note to self for 2018: resolve to play more board games. Perhaps start a reoccurring game night and have its introductory meeting at The Corner?).

If you decide to do a game night at The Corner, you’ve got to post in the comments and let me know! And while you’re at it, if you’re looking to eat and do some drinking of the adult beverages, may I recommend the Asian Ribeye and Ramen salad and the Yahtzee drink?

The salad was absolutely delicious, the perfect combo of healthful and flavorful with its chunks of tender ribeye steak on a bed of chopped cabbage plus greens, ramen noodles, avocado, tomatoes, peanuts, and cilantro, all tossed in a Thai chile dressing.

And the Yahtzee! That sour gin drink with the moniker of that O.G. game was delightful – as was its price tag of $6. Signature cocktails are generally crazy-expensive these days; it’s getting hard to find one under $10. But The Corner’s are all currently between six and eight dollars – cha-ching!

One thing worth mentioning about my visit: I make it a point to highlight the positive in my recountings on the blog, because 100 Places in the D is all about bragging up the Metro-D and the wonderful locally-owned establishments within it! But sometimes less-than-positive aspects of my visits stand out enough that I feel I would be remiss not to mention them to you guys. And in terms of The Corner: during our time there, my friend Amy and I sat at the bar, and the service was . . . not great.

Despite three bartenders being on duty and at least two of them consistently being behind the bar at the same time, and despite us sitting smack-dab in the middle of the bar rail, it was challenging to get their attention, and they checked on us infrequently. It was a drag. Given the thumbs-ups elicited by the food, the drink, the attractive ambiance, and that enticing wall o’ games, I’d still recommend checking out The Corner – especially since it might’ve simply been an off night or a service situation that is now remedied. Maybe just don’t sit at the bar if you can help it!

Also worth noting: on the second level of The Corner is Detroit Axe, where you can throw axes at targets and participate in axe-throwing tournaments! I didn’t go up there during my visit, but I must say I’m intrigued – though I’m not sure how long I would last in an environment where axes are whizzing through the air (they are sharp and stuff).

Lastly, it’d be helpful to point out that The Corner/Detroit Axe is closed on Tuesdays, and it opens at 5 p.m. on all other days. There – now you’re all ready for your visit!

344 W. Nine Mile Rd.

Ferndale, MI 48020

www.thecornerferndale.com

298. El Camino – December 20, 2017 – Keego Harbor, MI

December2017ElCamino1 (2)December2017ElCamino3 (4)December2017ElCamino4 (3)Keego Harbor is represented on 100 Places in the D! The new-to-the-blog city is home to El Camino, a Mexican joint that opened earlier this year. And you know I was psyched to check it out because I ADORE Mexican food to the jillionth degree (the cheese, the spice, the vibrancy of flavor – ¡sí, sí, and sí!).

Walking into the restaurant for lunch on Wednesday, I was immediately taken with its whimsically eclectic decor. Where else do you see wicker lighting fixtures, red accent walls, gilded mirrors, mini cacti, and avocado chairs (yes, avocado chairs: lime-green seats studded with an image of a halved avocado) all comingling? I was even more thrilled, of course, to discover the deliciousness of the food and drink.

The Not Cho Mojito is a refreshing riff on a mojito: it’s less sweet, infused with tequila rather than rum, and steeped with cilantro instead of mint. That little guy goes down easy, as does the chips and salsa sampler, which was AMAZING. The fresh tortilla chips are thick, crispy, grease-saturated little triangles of heaven – especially when dipped into the pico de gallo, salsa verde, and charred tomato-pineapple salsa. I especially enjoyed the salsa verde with its zesty lime flavor – a pleasant surprise for me, as I’m generally not a big fan of the green sauce.

And the tacos: they were glorious flavor bombs, tender meat sprinkled with Cotija cheese and nestled in pillowy corn tortillas. I ordered the Carne Asada with grilled steak and the Al Pastor with shredded, slow-roasted pork and grilled pineapple. I appreciated how liberally filled they were and how fresh and flavorful they tasted. They were an apt reminder that Mexican food is LIFE – not that I needed a reminder of that, of course, but I’ll take it!

2807 Orchard Lake Rd.

Keego Harbor, MI 48320

www.elcamino.cool