Brunch

265. Beverly Hills Grill – August 12, 2017 – Beverly Hills, MI

20170812_13440020170812_133916Beverly Hills is represented on 100 Places in the D! It’s another new-to-the-blog city!

I remember when I learned that a city named Beverly Hills existed in the Detroit area. I was 22, a life-long Michigan resident, and I had no idea that there was a town named after a Hollywood enclave a mere half hour from downtown until I encountered it en route to a staffing agency where I was filling out paperwork for a job. That’s the exciting thing for me about the Detroit area: it’s bigger than I ever realized as a kid (I can leave my house and drive for an hour and still be in the Tri-Country area?), and there are still so many cities within this territory that I have no familiarity with. Metro-Detroiters who live in what for me is a far-flung locale (like Livonia – I have no clue what it’s like!) are equally as clueless of where I call home in Southern Macomb County.  It’s fascinating to me. I love exploring and uncovering for myself the cities I previously had no idea about.

It’s no surprise, then, that I was psyched to finally spend some quality time with the once-unknown-to-me city of Beverly Hills when my friend Jaclyn agreed to meet me there on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon last month. Our first stop: the Beverly Hills Grill.

For years I’d listened to one friend rave over that elegant establishment that is part of the Roberts Restaurant Group (proprietors of such area staples as Town Tavern and Roadside B&G), so I was thrilled to finally eat there. I ordered the Pulled Chicken salad and devoured every bit of its wholesome, flavorful goodness. The menu describes it best: “Port Soaked Cranberries / Wild Rice / Almonds / Crispy Won Tons / Maple & English Mustard Vinaigrette” – a.k.a. PURE YUMNESS that certainly lived up to all of the hype.

I had been torn about what to order, because multiple tantalizing choices piqued my interest. I was this close to getting the Kobe Meatloaf with its cabernet wine sauce, portobello mushrooms, shallots, and veggies. And because the weekend menu features brunch options, there were a host of breakfast choices available as well, such as the Bananas Foster French Toast, Breakfast Toastada and Corned Beef Hash – and of course, ample boozy brunch drinks.

Because of the Beverly Hills Grill, I am no longer unfamiliar with the town that shares its namesake. I can move on to another of the Metro-Detroit cities that are uncharted territory for me (Livonia, I’m coming for you!).

31471 Southfield Rd.

Beverly Hills, MI 48025

www.beverlyhillsgrill.com

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261. The Hudson Café – July 16, 2017 – Detroit, MI

20170716_11431320170716_120209One of my favorite versions of Heaven is taking in a ballgame at Comerica Park during a perfect-weather day (my other versions are: 1) shopping in a gourmet Italian produce market and 2) browsing in a multi-leveled independent bookshop. Yes, I am kind of a nerd). And when I venture downtown for a day game, I like to make a day of it – to have a meal and/or drinks beforehand. So in anticipation of my mom and I going down to the D back in July for what seems to be becoming our annual mother-daughter ballgame, I of course was like, “Can we go somewhere for brunch beforehand – preferably somewhere that is new to both of us?” Because yeah, trying new places is my pinnacle obsession these days (and happily, one that my loved ones indulge).

My mom suggested The Hudson Café, a breakfast/lunch restaurant that she’d heard good things about. She’d attempted to eat there during Memorial Day weekend, but her and my stepdad decided not to endure the long wait for a table at the time they were there, so they went to the Woodward location of Avalon International Breads instead (excellent alternate choice – LOVE those guys!).

Armed with this knowledge of how busy the joint could be, we settled in for a long wait at The Hudson Café – and got a table after about an hour, which wasn’t all that bad because we could jaunt up and down Woodward in the interim (and shop at lovely nearby Avalon, procuring a loaf of its insanely delish Farnsworth Family Farm sourdough and some Gus and Grey Floozie peach bourbon jam – oh yeahhh. Can’t help fan-girling over that place!).

Once triumphantly seated inside The Hudson Café after our lengthy wait, I enjoyed the bustling atmosphere and brightly colored murals of breakfast foods interspersed with Detroit landmarks. My mom ordered the banana pancakes, and I decided on the Chicken Pesto sandwich.

Let me say one thing about The Hudson Café: its portions are GENEROUS! The banana pancakes were huge – like, bigger-than-your-face huge. The Chicken Pesto sandwich, with its hefty grilled chicken breast, slabs of tomato, and smotherings of mozzarella, spinach, and pesto on weighty ciabatta bread, did not come to play. It and the double-serving of sweet potato fries that accompanied it meant gastronomical business! Hungry tummies are turning into happy, full (possibly overstuffed-and-in-need-of-a-nap) tummies after a visit here!

Besides offering the usual breakfast-centric fare (a generous variety of pancakes, waffles, French toast, sweet/savory crepes, omelettes, Eggs Benedict dishes, and other egg-centric fare), The Hudson Café’s menu boasts numerous entrée-salad and sandwich choices such as the Chicken Pesto.

1241 Woodward Ave.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.hudson-cafe.com

256. Red Crown – July 2, 2017 – Grosse Pointe Park, MI

20170702_114710 (2)20170702_130215 (2)20170702_121700 (3)Hi guys! I hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend and were able to enjoy the lovely weather and get some fantastic exploring in. I got a Detroit fix with a visit to a recently-opened coffee shop that is just LOVELY – more on that when I eventually catch up on this backlog of posts!

I was reminded of all of the places I’ve visited in the last two months and have yet to write about when recently scrolling through my phone photo gallery; a lot of awesome establishments are waiting to be profiled, and I hate that I’m so behind because I can’t wait to share all of the goodness with you. But it is what it is; I’m sure all of you can relate to that feeling of being behind on life stuffs and not wanting to let it get to you. One step at a time, right? And today’s step is to chronicle an AWESEOME restaurant called Red Crown in Grosse Pointe Park, where I went for brunch during the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

Yes, Grosse Pointe Park is represented on the blog – it’s a first for that city! And what an excellent representation of Grosse Pointe Park – Red Crown is fabulous. I love it’s ambiance, for one – it’s modern and stylish and fun and totally embracing the building’s legacy as the Standard Oil Red Crown Service Station built in the 1930s, with elements of the garage-y façade being maintained. And that patio! What a lovely patio, with its open air and cheery red umbrellas – and when I was there, a performer singing and playing piano and stirring up chill, brunch-y vibes.

And the Monte Cristo waffle I ordered – glorious! I admit when it came to the table, I was like, “Huh? This isn’t what I ordered,” because I expected it to be the stereotypical beefy brick of a Monte Cristo sandwich, except with waffles instead of bread. It was not; as you can see from the photo above, the dish looks like typical waffles, until you look closely at those waffles and see the layers of cheese and meat pressed onto one side of them. But despite the unassuming size, the flavor of this waffle mash-up was mighty, and the accompanying raspberry jelly and mustard sauce complemented it nicely.

I would love to come back to Red Crown for dinner. It leans toward Southern and barbecued offerings, which I totally dig. I want to order up an appetizer of fried green tomatoes, share a Southern Sampler for Two (described as “smoked Carolina pulled pork, RC brisket, Saint Louis style ribs, and baby back ribs” – yummm), and gorge myself with mac and cheese on that gorgeous patio in the last dregs of warm weather.

15301 Kercheval Ave.

Grosse Pointe Park, MI 48230

www.redcrowngp.com

239. Rebel Café – March 26, 2017 – Royal Oak, MI

20170326_110900 (2)20170326_121723 (2)20170326_113306 (2)Sunday brunch has become a regular thing for me and two of my best friends, and Royal Oak is a routinely agreed-upon meeting spot. I thought we were running out of new places to try – until I stumbled upon Rebel Café!

All of my friends have been incredibly accommodating of my desire to visit locally-owned, new-to-me places for this blog. It’s at the point where many of them will automatically ask when we’re planning to hang out, “Where have you not been yet?” For this I love them more than they could possibly know. After three-plus years, I was afraid this obsession of mine with the novel would be getting tiring for them. But they have wholeheartedly embraced it, and I’m loving it. So cheers to my lovely pals! I’m glad to know they were getting sick of the same ol’, same ol’ corporate chains, too.

Sorry – little tangential love-fest there. But speaking of love, I can pretty much say I heart Rebel Cafe’s Asian salad. It is DELICIOUS – and I appreciate that they are not shy with the proportions on this one. This bad boy is loaded with shredded cabbage, carrot, jicama, crispy wontons, edamame, onion, and cucumbers and tossed in a sweet sesame dressing – and there’s the option to add chicken to it, too (yes, please!).

I had assumed that the Rebel Café was solely a breakfast and lunch joint – maybe because it features the kind of eats you would typically consume at those times: a slew of early-morning items such as pancakes and breakfast burritos, plus popular noontime items like sandwiches and salads. But it’s open in the evenings, too – until 3 a.m. (Coney Island competition!) on Fridays and Saturdays and until 9 p.m. every other day  of the week.

This is one of those casual joints where you order at the counter. The food was tasty and the place was clean and pleasant during my visit, so it’s getting my vote for a quick and affordable meal option whether morning, noon, or night.

410 S. Main St.

Royal Oak, MI 48067

www.rebel-cafe.com

235. Dime Store – March 5, 2017 – Detroit, MI

Dime3Dime1Dime2Dime4 (2)The Sunday before last, it was all about heading downtown for brunch at a place that’s been on my radar for the last year, Dime Store. It’s inside the beautiful old Chrysler Building – or Dime Building, as it was formerly called – and is a breakfast/lunch joint.

OK, I’d heard this place was popular, but I didn’t do my homework around exactly how popular it was. Me and my two friends accompanying me waited an hour and 15 minutes before being sat at the counter. I know people have waited an hour and 15 minutes to be sat at restaurants; that’s not revolutionary, but damn! did that feel like a long time! Needless to say, we were all very much ready to eat by the end of it.

So the moral of the story is, if you visit Dime Store on a Saturday or Sunday around prime breakfast/lunch time, be prepared to wait (at least you can kill time by shopping for delectable chocolate nuggets at Bon Bon Bon as we did). We were told that coming before 10 a.m. helps, so if you’re an early bird, you’ll probably be good. Also, we noticed that groups of two got sat more quickly than larger groups; the tiny environs appears to accommodate them more easily.

Once we finally got in, I enjoyed the cute hipster-diner ambiance and unwinding with a glass of Vinho Verde wine (there’s a full bar and a section of the menu aptly titled “Day Drinking” featuring brunch-centric drinks). And the food was awesome. I got the Sweet Poached Pear salad pictured above and enjoyed the flavorful combo of mixed greens, sweet pear, spicy pepita seeds, cornbread croutons (mmmm), fennel, onion, and shredded cheese (I’m blanking on what kind – fontina, I believe) substituted for the usual goat cheese, all tossed in a bacon vinaigrette dressing. SO good! My friends also enjoyed their meals (French toast and an omelette), and it was a relief to know that our long wait wasn’t in vain.

With all of the other excellent restaurants in the area, I can’t say that I’ll make a habit of eating at Dime Store during the harried weekend brunch rush. But I’d love to check it out again at a more subdued time.

719 Griswold St., Ste. 180

Detroit, MI 48226

www.eatdimestore.com

229. The Morrie – February 5, 2017 – Royal Oak, MI

20170205_122447-2Today is a special day for 100 Places in the D, because it’s the first day of Blog Year 4!!!

I honestly can’t believe I’ve been posting on this blog for THREE years. I started 100 Places in the D in February 2014 with the daunting goal of visiting 100 new-to-me and locally-owned restaurants, bars, shops, parks, etc. within the Tri-County Metro-Detroit area over the span of a year, and somehow, I achieved and exceeded that goal with 102 visits.

My goal going forward was not to aim for 100 new visits each additional year, but to maintain the blog simply because I enjoy the hell out of it – it’s an excuse to make sure I continue to explore the area, get out of my comfort zone, and discover new-to-me local establishments. Thank you for following my journey, and if you’re intrigued by the prospect of starting your own version of the 100 Places Challenge whether you live in the D or elsewhere, I encourage you: please do it! Making exploring a priority has so brightened my life and expanded my horizons, and I hope it does the same for you if you’re inspired to follow in suit.

The Morrie restaurant in downtown Royal Oak has the distinction of being the last place I visited within Year Three of the blog. I didn’t achieve all of my goals set for Year Three (as always, I wish I had went further afield from my East Side environs more frequently than I did – there’s always Year Four for that), but I’m pretty pleased with what I did accomplish and mostly, with the fact that I’ve kept this all going. I’ll share a Year Three review soon.

Mostly, I have this rich and lively area to thank for the longevity of 100 Places in the D. D and Metro-D, I heart you! You never cease in unveiling intriguing new places for me to visit. 🙂

Take downtown Royal Oak, for one. It’s a fount of new establishments lately. What the heck is going on down there with the crazy turnover these last few years? Every time I go down to Main Street, I discover that a few more places have closed and new ones are slated to take their places. I hope for the sake of the businesses involved that it stabilizes down there. But one upside is that there are always new places for me to try despite the fact that I’ve been regularly visiting downtown Royal Oak since my teenage years.

The Morrie is one such recently opened establishment. It’s down near Bigalora, and according to a Detroit Free Press article I found online, it was formerly the Franklin Wine Store, which I kind of remember but never visited. I discovered The Morrie on Yelp when searching for a new brunch spot.

The rock-n-roll-themed restaurant/bar is a sleekly modern, beautiful space. There’s a wall plastered in classic vinyl and record sleeves. The Morrie’s big pull is that it hosts live music a few times a week: on Fridays and Saturdays and sometimes Thursdays, according to its website. A small stage juts out from the far end of the restaurant, intimately close to guest seating – an awesome vantage point from which to experience live music.

Live music wasn’t in the cards on my visit, because I was there for Sunday brunch. So were a lot of other people – specifically dudes, which my friend noticed, commenting, “Have you ever seen this many men at brunch?” There were two large tables of young guys near us. Apparently The Morrie is bro-brunch approved! We joked about getting her husband on board.

The restaurant’s brunch menu has such an eclectic mix of items that it’s easy to see how it would appeal to everybody in some way. There are classic breakfast items (French toast, pancakes, chicken-and-waffles) and iconic brunch items with a unique spin (three different varieties of Eggs Benedict, including one with pork belly and a five-space hollandaise and another incorporating potato skins). There’s a Croissant ‘Wich and bagels-and-lox, and there are items encased in bowls: the Smoked Salmon Bowl, Southwest Bowl, the Veggie Bowl. There’s a jazzed-up order of avocado toast sprinkled with pepitas, sunflower seeds, and chipotle-and-lime-infused salt, and there’s a sandwich called Chick Norris.

As someone who goes to brunch quite regularly but is not really a brunch person (conventional breakfast foods don’t especially thrill me), I so appreciate the vibrance, creativity, and extensive nature of this menu. I ended up getting the Asian Ramen salad, a filling bowl of shredded cabbage and carrots, thinly sliced red bell peppers, radishes, bean sprouts, orange segments, and crispy breaded chicken in a peanut curry dressing. I also ordered a side of beautifully fresh fruit and a whipped cream-topped Spanish coffee, the latter because the waitress suggested it and because Spanish coffees are one of those drinks that I love and always forget about.

Royal Oak has loved and forgotten many a restaurant, but I can’t see The Morrie succumbing to turnover anytime soon. It’s obvious a lot of care has been put into curating the interior design, the menu, and the bands (you can see a list of the scheduled live acts on The Morrie’s website under the “Music” section).

511 S. Main St.

Royal Oak, MI 48067

www.themorrie.com

205. Café Muse – October 30, 2016 – Royal Oak, MI

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Hello, everybody! Happy Friday! This post is going to be short and sweet today, so we can all get out there and start exploring. 🙂

Last Sunday I was back in Royal Oak for the fourth time in two and a half weeks, for brunch with the gals at Café Muse on Washington Street. I’ve been hearing good things about this joint for years, and its Short Rib and Grilled Three Cheese Sandwich did not disappoint. The pretty, peaceful ambience of this small restaurant makes it the perfect place for a lowkey breakfast date (available daily starting at 7:30 a.m.). It also offers lunch seven days a week, starting at 11 a.m. (I ordered off of the lunch menu), as well as dinner Tuesday through Saturday nights.

418 S. Washington Ave.

Royal Oak, MI 48067

www.cafemuseroyaloak.com

186. Rochester Brunch House – August 26, 2016 – Rochester, MI

20160826_12130720160826_12122220160826_12372220160826_123737Hello, all! Happy Tuesday!

It’s not too soon to dream of the holiday weekend, is it? If you live in the U.S. and are anything like me, you’re counting down the work days until the sweet, sweet patio-ing, barbecue-ing, bathing-suiting shenanigans. I am not going out of town for the Labor Day holiday, but I don’t mind. I just need a glass of wine, good company, and some golden rays! From what I can see of the weekend forecast so far here in Metro-Detroit, the weather looks like it’s going to comply with that last wish.

Speaking of sunshine, do you know which area establishment has some pretty excellent outdoor seating? The Rochester Brunch House! Last Friday, some coworkers and I lunched there. Located on Walnut Street (one street over from Main Street) in downtown Rochester, the lunch/brunch joint is nestled inside a large, Victorian-esque building that appears to have originally been someone’s home – typical of many of that area’s businesses.

Because the outside of RBH looks so quaintly old-fashioned, I expected its interior to be more granny’s parlor than contemporary. But it is surprisingly, gorgeously modern, all white walls, crystal chandeliers, and vibrant greenery both faux (wooden crates bestooned with fake lichen as artwork) and real (fresh, single-rose centerpieces on each table).

As I believe I’ve explained on this blog before, while I go to brunch with friends quite regularly, I’m admittedly not a big breakfast-foods person – mostly because I find eggs icky. And they are featured prominently in like 90% of restaurant breakfast menu items! Because the Rochester Brunch House has an extensive lunch menu – featuring a multitude of salads, sandwiches, wraps, and burgers – this made me a happy camper indeed! I ordered the Spicy Chicken pita wrap with hearty chicken, grilled jalapeños, creamy tzatziki sauce, and Swiss cheese.

Of course, most people are attracted to RBH for its brunch menu, which is also extensive – and, eggs aside, looks pretty damn phenomenal. I need to go back to try the Monte Cristo French toast; several people around us in the restaurant that day got it. We also spotted a few enticing platters of pancakes, all festooned in thick icing. And my tablemates’ Sammy Benny (Eggs Benedict with salmon), amped-up biscuits and gravy (including fried chicken and scrambled eggs), and chicken and waffles (pictured above) made for pretty displays, as well – and satisfied bellies!

301 Walnut Blvd.

Rochester, MI 48307

www.rochesterbrunchhouse.com

185. Vivio’s – August 21, 2016 – Detroit, MI

When I went downtown for the Tigers game last Sunday with some friends, Supino Pizzeria was our intended lunchtime destination. But it was closed! WAH WAH. I was surprised, because I’ve been there on a Saturday and know that with Eastern Market open, the pizza joint attracts a mega crowd. So by happy accident, I got to check out nearby Vivio’s instead.

Vivio’s is known for its bomb Bloody Marys. The multiple varieties warrant their own menu. You should see these things (and you can, if you pull up the Bloody Mary menu on Vivio’s website). They are INSANE. Seriously, they resemble floral arrangements more than beverages. Check out this description for the Loaded Bloody Mary shown on the website: “Our Famous Bloody Mary with thick cut, ranch bacon, spicy asparagus spears, prosciutto stuffed olives and provolone. Served with pickle spear, lime and beer chaser.” The cup in the corresponding picture is stuffed to the gills with all of these goodies. And one of the Bloody Marys on the menu at the restaurant featured – among many other things – jerky. Jerky!

Confession: I am not a Bloody Mary person. I felt I should become a Bloody Mary person so as to experience one of these fabulous drinks, but I couldn’t muster up the stomach for it. Of our table of four, no one got one! My one friend there loves Bloody Marys, but I couldn’t get even her to do it. I think we all wanted to focus on our meals. Boringly practical, I know! So if you go to Vivio’s and try one of those bad boys, please report your experience in the Comments field. I’d love to know how it was!

Instead of imbibing a glass o’ charcueterie-infused tomato juice, I chowed down on a burger. I can’t find it on the menu on Vivio’s website (which appears to be somewhat different from the one I ordered off of at the restaurant, as does the Bloody Mary menu). But it had bacon and cheese on it and was ensconced in a pretzel bun. It was delicious. I’m a sucker for pretzel buns!

Some other fun facts about Vivio’s: 1) it opens at 8 a.m. on Saturdays and features a breakfast menu 2) it offers a shuttle to Lions and Tigers games and 3) there is also a Warren location.

2460 Market St.

Detroit, MI 48207

www.viviosdetroit.net

180. Bobcat Bonnie’s – July 17, 2016 – Detroit, MI

20160717_12465520160717_14091520160717_133437Hi, all! It’s that time again – THE WEEKEND!!!!! Woo-hoo! It’s looking pretty gorgeous out there so far here in the Metro-D – albeit meltingly hot and muggy (I’ll take that any day over freezing). So if you head out and about this weekend, be sure to hydrate! Fortunately, if you’re in the mood to pound some fluids (which sounds horribly dirty – sorry), Bobcat Bonnie’s in Corktown, which I visited last Sunday for brunch with friends, is a fabulous choice. Check out that Bloody Mary/mimosa bar in the photo above. You’ll be able to stay hydrated at an affordable price. And while you are drinking, you’ve gotta keep that stomach full, right? I had the biscuits and gravy and a side of fruit during my visit – because I had to temper all of that deliciously rich saturated sausage fat with some plant-based nutrients. One friend had an open-faced sandwich with goat cheese, candy-bright heirloom tomatoes, and basil, a perfect choice to capitalize on the freshness of midsummer produce.

I totally dug not only the food and watermelon whiskey drink I had at Bobcat Bonnie’s, but it’s overall aura. It’s another one of those gorgeous old brick buildings down in the D where you sit and soak in the character and speculate: what was this originally built to be? Was it always a pub?  Or a bank, perhaps? What kind of people originally congregated here? What kind of crazy shit has gone down here? It’s fascinating to me, the concept of the history of these buildings: the thought of what they were and how they died and reincarnated into these vibrant new things. I love the current manifestation of this one, its inviting industrial/fun-basement vibe, the fact that it has a couple of arcade games in the back.

Bobcat Bonnie’s serves brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and offers lunch and dinner menus as well (it’s open until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and until midnight on Friday and Saturday).

1800 Michigan Ave.

Detroit, MI 48216

www.bobcatbonnies.com