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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

169. Le Petit Zinc – March 20, 2016 – Detroit, MI



Le Petit Zinc’s jambon et fromage (ham and Swiss cheese) crepe

Happy Easter, all! I’m popping on to recount my visit to the very lovely Le Petit Zinc for brunch last Sunday. Housed in what appears to be an old house in an area of Corktown that is off the beaten path, it’s a gorgeous little café done up in vibrant colors, with a cute little outdoor garden patio that will probably be stunning once the plants start to bloom.


As you may gather from the name, this restaurant is a French-themed one – specializing in crepes, although its menu offers other items, such as sandwiches, salads, ratatouille (vegetable stew – not just the name of that Disney movie), and quiche. I’m sure the other food is great (my friend enjoyed her sandwich), but the crepes are where it’s at, guys!

MMMM, crepes. I am not a crepe afficianodo or anything, but it does seem to me that many foods are better with a thin, fluffy, delicate pancake-tortilla wrapped around them. And Le Petit Zinc offers a selection of both sweet and savory crepes – the best of both worlds! The jambon et fromage (ham and Swiss cheese) crepe I ordered – shown above and accompanied by a mixed-greens side salad – was glorious meaty, melty deliciousness. For dessert, I ordered our server’s recommendation, the citron sucre (lemon-sugar) crepe – AMAZING!

So yeah, Le Petit Zinc is a slam dunk in my book, especially coming at it from the brunch angle. I go to a lot of Sunday brunches with friends and enjoy the heck out of myself, but I’m admittedly not a big brunch-foods person; the fact that I don’t like eggs really cramps my style when ordering off of a menu where every dish is loaded with those suckers. So any menu that gives me the chance to have a lunch-y meal rather than a brunch-y meal – and a fresh, delicious one at that – gets extra gold stars in my book.

Another point toward Le Petit Zinc I learned while perusing its website is that it uses “all organic flour and local produce, when possible.” It also makes a crepe that is vegan for those of you who refrain from eating animal products. Yay, yay and yay!

An additional tidbit worth mentioning: there is no booze at Le Petit Zinc. So no mimosas for you and your squad if you decide to brunch here. But there are fun coffee drinks – espressos, cappuccinos, macchiatos – aka, the good stuff that really makes you fly! So you can get your caffeine buzz on instead.

1055 Trumbull St.

Detroit, MI 48126

(Open for lunch and dinner: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sunday)

159. Bosco’s – January 17, 2016 – Ferndale, MI

20160117_112931Do brunch at Bosco’s on a frigid Sunday morn and savor the cream-cheese-stuffed berry French toast and an Irish coffee. Your stomach will smile and radiate warm and fuzzy feelings toward you. Seriously, the French toast is amazing, and the drink pours are substantial here (my friend’s mimosa was practically as big as her face!). Love the wood-paneled, rustic-chic look going on, too.

22930 Woodward Ave.

Ferndale, MI 48220

134. Toast – August 2, 2015 – Ferndale, MI

Toast Ferndale 1

Toast Ferndale 2

Sunrise Drink Toast Ferndale

Toast! I’d been wanting to visit either this Ferndale location or the Birmingham one for the longest. I found the Ferndale spot – a small, vibrant, bustling modern-day diner that serves breakfast and lunch – very charming. I brunched with a friend, and over an awesome waffle-and-fried-chicken-sandwich and the requisite pretty-hued brunch drink (the Sunrise, a tequila sunrise and mimosa mash-up, shown above), we caught up and enjoyed the lively ambiance. Waits for seating at this popular Ferndale fixture are known to be long; I believe ours was about 25 minutes, which I honestly didn’t think was terrible for late-morning on a busy Sunday. It didn’t hurt that it was gorgeous outside, making the wait out there amidst the blue skies and sunshine a pleasant experience (I heart you, Michigan summers!).

23144 Woodward Ave.
Ferndale, MI 48220