Clawson

410. Woodpile BBQ Shack – May 23, 2019 – Clawson, MI

May2019WoodpileBBQShack1 (2)May2019WoodpileBBQShack2 (3)Making a visit to Woodpile BBQ Shack in Clawson just before Memorial Day this past May made me feel, in retrospect, like I was ushering in the summer. Because for me, summer isn’t summer without barbecued meat!

I love ribs. I love their tender, fatty, savory, fall-off-the bone goodness, their flavorful dry rubs and rich sauce.

All of these adjectives describe ribs done right, of course – it’s possible to get ribs wrong. Fortunately, as I discovered during my visit, Woodpile BBQ Shack does ribs right!

The barbecue joint offers all manner of smoked meats: chicken, cheddar sausage, beef brisket, pulled pork, and spare ribs grace the menu. Combo plates are available, including two-meat and three-meat options (each of which include two sides), as are sandwiches and group-centered meals such as the Feast for Four.

Woodpile BBQ Shack is not just in the smoked-meats game; they also serve ice cream – made by Treat Dreams!!! If you’ve ever tasted this local purveyor’s wares, you get what a big deal that is (I still dream about its Dark Sea Olive Oil ice cream I enjoyed on my birthday two years ago). I admittedly can’t imagine having room for dessert after gorging on barbecue, but if I did, I’d go for the Bourban Pecan Pie ice cream, which is labeled as a signature flavor crafted for Woodpile and described on the restaurant’s website menu as “sweet and salty and sticky and boozy!” [cue drooling].

During my visit to Woodpile BBQ Shack, I had the Two Meat Combo plate with pulled pork, spare ribs, and sides of the Mac & Cheese and Roadside Pit Beans. It was DELICIOUS, all of the rich, tender, fatty, savory bliss described above.

Ordering at Woodpile is done at a counter. Seating is available in a dining area that is open-air during the warm-weather months, as it was during my visit. It’s got a fun, rustic feel, all wood beams and corrugated metal, with tables incorporating wooden barrels into their design. There’s a bar out there that serves beer, wine, and liquor.

Mourning summer’s end as I write this post on the last day of August (R.I.P., Summer 2019!), I’m reminded that barbecue can – and should – be enjoyed at any time of year. Places like Woodpile Barbecue Shake make that deliciously possible.

303 S. Main St.

Clawson, MI 48017

www.woodpilebbqshack.com

398. Three Cats Café – March 15, 2019 – Clawson, MI

March2019ThreeCatsCafe1 (2)March2019ThreeCatsCafe2 (2)March2019ThreeCatsCafe4 (2)After my visit to the lovely Leon & Lulu on a Friday night in mid-March, I continued on to the Three Cats Café, its sister business just next-door.

I was enchanted with the place. The Clawson-based establishment is more than a café housed in a former movie theater, its glittery marquee intact and its street-facing ticket booth still present, complete with a “talking” vendor mannequin rattling off facts about the place. It’s also an expansive shop selling artwork, mugs, handmade cards, and other perfect-for-gifting goodies, much of which are locally made and/or Michigan-centric.

The café counter of Three Cats Café is in the front of the building, near the entrance, while the shop/seating area is behind it. The nature of my visit (a pre-dinner-date jaunt) didn’t allow me to sample any of the café’s delectable-sounding soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and other goodies (though the Not Your Mama’s Grilled Cheese w/ Cup of Tomato Basil Soup on its current online menu is hitting me pretty hard with the cravings right now!). Instead, I opted for a cappuccino from its menu of coffee and tea drinks.

This cappuccino was steamy, creamy, foam-laden deliciousness that I enjoyed while sitting at a table in the Three Cats shop/seating area. It’s a brightly colored, aesthetically pleasing space, an ideal place to retreat from the outside world and relax. I could feel myself unwinding with every sip.

116 W. 14 Mile Rd.

Clawson, MI 48017

www.threecatscafe.com

397. Leon & Lulu – March 15, 2019 – Clawson, MI

March2019LeonandLulu2 (2)March2019LeonandLulu3 (2)Leon & Lulu, what a breath of fresh air you were for me!

I’d been wanting to visit the Clawson-based store since I’d learned about it several years prior, and having some time to kill before a nearby dinner date with a friend on a Friday night in mid-March, I decided to check it out.

It’d been a rough couple of weeks for me from an emotional standpoint. I was in need of that giddiness I get from visiting an awesome new place. And I definitely got it when I stepped inside Leon & Lulu.

The place is a cornucopia of brightly colored, aesthetically beautiful delights! Upon stepping inside Leon & Lulu’s large storefront, I immediately felt the relief of the baddie feelings melting away, replaced by a jolt of excitement.

An employee greeted me immediately, and when I told him it was my first time visiting the shop, he welcomed me and explained how the building was a former roller rink (a disco ball from back then is still suspended from the ceiling).

I got to exploring. Leon & Lulu is packed with artwork, furniture, and other home goods; clothing, jewelry, and bags; pottery, candles, and potholders emblazoned with snarky sayings. It also stocks books, toys, funny socks, stationary, handmade greeting cards, Michigan-centric items, and loads more.

Leon & Lulu is one of those places where you can go to get a fabulous, one-of-a-kind item that makes the perfect gift. Many of the products it proffers have a humorous bent, such as a book it recently featured in an Instagram post titled The Best Places to Pee: A Guide to the Funky & Fabulous Bathrooms of Portland.

After about a half hour of browsing, I opted to go the humorous route with my purchase, buying an oven mitt decorated with a drawing of a 1950s-esque woman cooking and the caption “droppin’ a new recipe on your ass.”

The explosion of creativity on display at Leon & Lulu, the beauty and the whimsy of the items sold, and the friendly customer service that I received provided much-needed emotional respite to me that night, and for that, I am exceptionally grateful. My visit there was a reminder of the power of exploring to positively shake up one’s life, to get the good energies going. Whatever mood you’re in, this one is definitely worth a visit!

96 W. 14 Mile Rd.

Clawson, MI 48017

www.leonandlulu.com

246. Kahve Coffee – May 12, 2017 – Clawson, MI

20170512_185240 (3)I love a good independent coffee shop. There is something about being in public and yet in obscurity that I find incredibly appealing – the introvert in me loves that. A quality coffee shop offers respite from the world in the midst of a busy day, a hideaway to hole up and take care of business, a comfortable space to relax and get a caffeine fix between appointments. I love knowing there’s a solid coffee shop nearby to duck into when I need it.

After my recent visit to Kahve Coffee in downtown Clawson, I am adding it to my list of beloved independent coffee shops. I immediately dug its warm interior with colorful artwork posted on the walls, the friendly service, and my Earl Grey latte. The piece of baklava I chose from a selection of locally made baked goods was rich and flaky without being overly sweet – YUM. Baklava is one of those desserts I always forget about until I eat a piece and then am like HOW AM I EXISTING WITHOUT THIS IN MY LIFE EVERY DAY?

Another thing that makes Kahve stand out besides the fact that it serves stellar baklava is that included among its various delicious-sounding hot-beverage offerings is Turkish coffee – which I’ve never tried and would like to . . . hmmm. Perhaps I will get that during my next visit and be bouncing off the walls after drinking that strong, unfiltered brew (I’m a caffeine lightweight).

I expect to be back to Kahve and downtown Clawson soon because I’ve realized that the only other time I’ve highlighted a place in that city for this blog was all the way back when it started in 2014, with my visit to Vietnamese restaurant Da Nang (#26). And downtown Clawson is worth more than a once-every-three-years visit! There are several cool-looking restaurants down there that I can’t wait to check out.

22 S. Main St.

Clawson, MI 48017