Clinton Township

556. Cake Mitten Bake Shop – April 22, 2022 – Clinton Township, MI

You don’t need an excuse to visit Cake Mitten Bake Shop!

I felt like I needed an excuse to visit the Clinton Township-based bakery back in April – and a friend’s birthday celebration was the perfect one. I got her – and myself – some cupcakes. The two I chose for myself, a chocolate bumpy cake and a carrot cake, were delicious! The cupcakes were moist, and the cream cheese frosting on the carrot cake was especially decadent. I could eat a vat of that cream cheese frosting!

Special occasions such as a birthday are an excellent reason to visit Cake Mitten. Check its website and Yelp page for photos of its work. Cake Mitten’s bakers are TALENTED! The intricately decorated cookies and cakes are works of art. Favorites of mine include the wedding cakes festooned with fresh flowers, cookies decorated like mini pizzas (and cut into mini pizza slices!), and a cake shaped like a giant cheeseburger.

Besides cupcakes and custom cakes and cookies, Cake Mitten offers cake pops, cake jars, chocolate-covered strawberries, and pretzels dipped in chocolate and caramel. Look to this bakery to celebrate your next special occasion – or your next everyday Tuesday. Because life is hard, but places such as Cake Mitten remind us that every day is an occasion to celebrate – especially when chocolate and cream-cheese frosting are involved!

40750 Garfield Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

www.cakemitten.com

536. Inspire Marketplace – December 4, 2021 – Clinton Township, MI

Inspire Marketplace is a cornucopia of locally made, handcrafted goodies!

The shop based at The Mall at Partridge Creek is bursting with the fruits of artisan creativity: mugs and shirts and artwork and candles, hats and bags and barbecue sauce. Much of the work is handmade, and much of it is Michigan-centric.

There are coasters featuring Detroit landmarks, preserves made from Michigan cherries, wine bottles filled with twinkle lights, works of art lauding lake culture, and so much more.

Buying locally made, handmade holiday gifts from a locally owned business – how could you go wrong?

17420 Hall Rd.

(Inside The Mall at Partridge Creek)

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

(With an additional location at Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi)

www.inspire-marketplace.art

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

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

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

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

491. Sam’s Kebab House – December 27, 2020 – Clinton Township, MI

Mediterranean food is one of my great culinary loves. So it’s no surprise that I adored Sam’s Kebab House!

The Clinton Township-based restaurant serves up a mean chicken fattoush salad, as I learned back in December. This salad was everything you want a fattoush to be: fresh and flavorful, with zesty dressing, ample slices of tender grilled chicken, and plenty of fried pita chips (the pièce de résistance of the fattoush salad!).

My carryout order from Sam’s included an appetizer-sized portion of garlic sauce that would last me a week (much to my delight) accompanied by fresh pita bread. Delicious choices abounded on Sam’s menu, including classic dishes such as ghallaba, shish tawook, chicken shawarma, and falafel.

How lucky are we Metro-Detroiters to be in proximity to so many amazing Middle Eastern restaurants? I’m swooning just thinking about it. Thanks, Sam’s, for being one of those tantalizing choices!

43253 Garfield Rd.

Clinton Township, MI 48038

www.samskabob.com

477. Leila’s Lebanese Kitchen – July 30, 2020 – Clinton Township, MI

After a three-and-a-half-month hiatus from the blog, I can’t help feeling like a kid returning to school after summer vacation. I’m here to regale you with tales of what I did this summer – including a new-place visit to Leila’s Lebanese Kitchen!

It was a weird summer for me – and that’s not even considering COVID! Long story short: I spent nearly six weeks in the throes of an intense health condition that had me weak, fatigued, mostly homebound, and greatly restricted in what I ate. THANK GOD I’ve recovered! But from Fourth of July to mid-August, exploring was mostly out of the question.

I did, however, make one new-place visit during that time: to Leila’s Lebanese Kitchen in Clinton Township. What a bright spot that jaunt was, a beacon of normalcy during a very strange, very discouraging time!

Desperate for a meal more jazzy than chicken-and-rice one afternoon in late July, I realized that lemon rice soup and chicken shawarma pita wrap should be fairly unobjectionable to my delicate constitution. So I excitedly phoned up Leila’s to put in a carryout order.

I’d been wanting to try the Mediterranean restaurant since it’d come onto my radar in the last year. After all of the anticipation, I was not disappointed! Leila’s lemon rice soup was thick with luscious lemony stock, white rice, and hearty chicken pieces, while the chicken shawarma pita was utterly delicious with its crunchy grilled bread, tender chicken, zesty pickles, and wonderfully garlicky sauce (garlic sauce = holder of the key to my heart!).

I’ve visited Leila’s several times after that initial visit. I’m impressed by the friendly staff, reasonable prices, and consistently awesome food. Besides its chicken shawarma pita and lemon rice soup, I’ve enjoyed its chicken shawarma entrée (its flavorful grilled chicken – served with rice pilaf, veggies, and garlic sauce – is so good, it just might make a poultry fanatic out of this red-meat devotee!) and its fattoush salad (addictively fresh and zesty and crunchy; the small-sized version with grilled chicken is so filling, I can’t finish it in one sitting). I even ordered a large container of its garlic sauce to jazz up my convalescence diet (it made otherwise banal dishes pure, swoon-worthy heaven!).

Leila’s menu contains other Lebanese staples besides these: hummus, kibbie, falafel, spinach pie, beef kafta, and crushed lentil soup, to name a few. I’m looking forward to trying the Chicken Ghallaba over Rice on one of my future visits – that is, if I can keep myself from re-ordering the delectable dishes I’ve already sampled. Leila’s is the kind of place where I’m compelled to choose from the same few offerings that are so good, I’m not tempted to stray!

I’m so grateful to be feeling better these days – and to be back here on 100 Places in the D! I have plenty of visits to share from the last two months, each one a testament to the fact that even during these challenging and scary times, we can still find joy and adventure – and do good with our dollars by supporting locally-owned businesses such as the lovely Leila’s!

40777 Garfield Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

www.leilaslebanese.com

476. Kawaii Bubble Tea – June 21, 2020 – Clinton Township, MI

June2020Kawaii1 (2)June2020Kawaii2 (3)Summer heat can cause us to seek out refreshing moments of respite. Kawaii Bubble Tea is ready to facilitate such an experience!

The Clinton Township-based shop serves bubble tea, also known as boba tea. The drink originated in Taiwan and is an infusion of tea, sweetened milk and/or flavorings, ice, and tapioca pearls or jellies.

Kawaii offers fruit teas and milk teas. You choose your tea – black, green, or passion  – and up to two flavor enhancers. With the fruit teas, you can choose from flavors such as Strawberry, Lychee, Green Apple, and Mango; with the milk teas, options such as Bubblegum, Spiced Chai, and Cookies N Cream. Both fruit and milk teas can be poured over ice or blended with ice to make slushies.

And of course, there’s the pièce de résistance: the boba! At Kawaii, you choose from three different kinds of boba: the traditional pearl, which is dark and chewy and made from tapioca; the Popping Pearls, explained on its website as “juice balls that burst and disintegrate”; and Coconut Jellies, which are described as “firm and chewy” and of the three, closest resemble candy to me. The Popping Pearls and Coconut Jellies come in a variety of flavors.

Confession time: prior to visiting Kawaii, I’d not been a bubble tea person. I learned about it in high school and was excited to try it but found the tapioca pearls distracting rather than whimsical. I decided it wasn’t for me – until recently.

I found myself increasingly intrigued by Kawaii’s signage, the cute cartoon fox logo and “i”s dotted with hearts in its name. And from scoping out the shop’s menu online, I learned it served Thai tea. I was sold. I even decided I’d opt for the boba; experiencing them again would be an adventure. In this action-starved quarantine time, any adventure, large or small, was a win in my book!

I walked into the shop on a Sunday afternoon and took a spot in line, constituting one of the four customers allowed inside at once due to COVID-19 guidelines. A chalkboard mounted above the counter displayed the shop’s offerings, while the counter itself proffered brightly-colored macarons (a tantalizing possibility to ponder!) and other snacks.

I went for the large Thai tea served over ice and traditional tapioca pearls, downing half of the sweet, milky beverage on the car ride home. When the first tapioca pearl entered my mouth, I was surprised. I’d expected the eating of the boba to be a deliberate exercise, but many of them slid up the canal of the thick straw without effort.

I was also surprised by the fact that I didn’t mind the boba this time around. They struck me as mostly flavorless, with a faint hint of celery (anyone else taste that?). As I chewed and chewed and chewed (there were a lot of boba in my drink), I found them growing on me; they were pretty fun to eat. The tapioca pearls have distinctly moved out of the Distracting category and into the Whimsical. (Thanks for converting me, Kawaii!)

As of the writing of this post, Kawaii Bubble Tea is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays and open from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. It is also currently carryout only; you can order online via its website or downloadable app or in-person at the shop. Please see its website for additional ordering guidelines – and enjoy the refreshing respite it offers!

43301 Garfield Rd.

Clinton Township, MI 48038

www.kawaiibubbletea.com

473. King’s Pizza – May 8, 2020 – Clinton Township, MI

May2020King'sPizza1 (2)May2020King'sPizza2 (3)My visit to King’s Pizza was 25 years in the making.

I’d wanted to try the pizza from this Clinton Township-based carryout joint since I was a kid and we started receiving flyers in the mail for it. The pies in the pictures on the flyers always looked so delectably cheesy. My mother, despite my appeals, was not interested in giving King’s Pizza a whirl. My childhood dream was deferred.

In recent years, the dream was revived. Passing its storefront periodically on 15 Mile Road, I mused that King’s Pizza would be a perfect candidate for a 100 Places in the D visit, since it’s locally owned.

With COVID-19 wreaking havoc on the restaurant business and the world in general, I hadn’t tried any new-to-me places since my March 12 visit to Guiseppe’s Restaurant in Chesterfield. I did some pretty hardcore sheltering-in-place at the start of the stay-at-home mandate period, not driving anywhere for four weeks straight. Then when I did go out, it was to grocery stores, where I stocked up on wayyyy too much food. I wanted to support local restaurants that were open for carryout and delivery – but first, I had to eat up all my groceries!

My current goal is to try a new-to-me restaurant once a week on average. I want to support locally-owned restaurants and do my part to help keep them open. While one person getting carryout once a week from local chains is a tiny action in itself, hopefully if those of us who are able to do so chip in in this manner, we can make a difference in helping keep beloved restaurants open.

King’s Pizza made it easy for me to do my part. It offers delivery, but I wanted to (safely) pick up the pizza in person so it would count as a “visit” for the blog. So I opted for carryout and picked up my pizzas via a drive-through window that’s been set up for carryout orders. It was really easy and made contact minimal.

King’s offers both build-your-own and signature pizza options, plus a food menu filled with all other manner of goodies: chicken, ribs, fish and chips, cheesy breadsticks, pasta, salads, subs, and more. Who needs extra-large grocery orders when you have access to such a bountiful menu?

Pondering my order from King’s, that round cheese pizza featured so enticingly in many an advertising flyer was a no-brainer. I ordered a large one, plus a small round of one of its specialty pizzas that captured my attention, the Chicken Mediterranean.

When I arrived home with my two pizzas after driving through a freakish snow flurry (because snow-in-May is the kind of world we are living in right now???), I was soooo excited to try them. It was the MOMENT OF TRUTH!

I grabbed a slice of the cheese pizza, took a bite, and . . . it tasted like cheese pizza. LOL. I don’t know what I was expecting, but after 25 years of fantasizing about what a pizza tastes like, you’ve built up a lot of hype. It was good cheese pizza, though!

The Chicken Mediterranean was fantastic. It was bringing the flavor with its cheesy mozzarella, savory chicken, salty feta, zesty red onion and banana peppers, dash of oregano, and drizzle of olive oil.

After gorging on multiple pieces of both pies, I still had plenty of leftovers. And here’s the interesting thing I learned about that King’s cheese pizza: it was excellent reheated. Maybe it wasn’t warm enough when I had it on my first go-around (it did have to travel and endure me taking multiple photos of it before eating it), but having it piping-hot out of the oven with its gooey cheese and its excellent crust, all well-done on the outside yet delectably doughy on the inside . . . well, that satisfied my 1990s-era dream of an epic Italian pie just fine.

20571 15 Mile Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48035

(with an additional location in Roseville)

www.kingspizza.com