Clinton Township

418. Fattoush Lebanese Grill – July 19, 2019 – Clinton Township, MI

July2019Fattoush1 (3)July2019Fattoush2 (3)July2019Fattoush3 (2)Two reasons to get excited about Fattoush Lebanese Grill of Clinton Township: 1) its FANTASTIC Mediterranean cuisine and 2) DEEP-FRIED OREOS!!!

I don’t think Lebanese restaurant when I think purveyor of deep-fried Oreos, but Fattoush has got ’em, and let me tell you, they are an EXQUISITE with their fried, cakey outer coating, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate-and-cream center, ample drizzles of chocolate, caramel, and strawberry sauces, and whipped cream, strawberry, and powdered-sugar garnishes.

I didn’t know about the deep-fried Oreos before visiting Fattoush – or need them to bring me in the door (though I’m certainly thrilled to have encountered them). Mediterranean food is my JAM! I love discovering another Mediterranean restaurant in the Metro-D to add to my mental rolodex. So when a friend suggested meeting for dinner at Fattoush on a Friday night in mid-July, I was game.

One reason my friend knew about and liked Fattoush was because it has a noteworthy vegan menu. The restaurant has meatless takes on traditional Lebanese dishes (chicken and beef shawarma wraps made with Beyond meat) and other popular fare (a burger, nachos, and quesadilla made with animal-free protein). She enjoyed the vegan chicken shawarma wrap with its hefty pieces of plant-based chicken, juicy pickles, and zesty garlic sauce.

The main portion of Fattoush’s menu is extensive, showcasing classic Lebanese favorites such as grape leaves, hummus, and kibbee, tabouli salad and crushed lentil soup, kabobs and ghallaba. The dessert section boasts decadent fare in addition to those deep-friend Oreos: fried cheesecake, baklava, and a molten chocolate cake, for instance. Fresh juice and fruit smoothies are also served.

I’m fairly obsessed with fattoush salads at this stage in my life (they’ve got everything you need: zing and crunch and deep-fried pita!), so it was a no-brainer for me to order a large one with grilled chicken as my entrée during this visit. And Fattoush’s iteration of its namesake dish was excellent with its ample portion of tender, perfectly-seasoned grilled chicken, crispy pita pieces, zesty dressing, and fresh mix of romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and red onion. (Man, I’m so dearly craving that salad now!)

As a former server, there’s no way I could end this post on Fattoush without giving a shout-out to the wonderful waitress who took care of me and my friend there. She was prompt and friendly and incredibly welcoming.

This visit to Fattoush Lebanese Grill confirmed for me that the restaurant is not only for Mediterranean-food enthusiasts, it’s for food enthusiasts in general. With its ample vegan options, top-notch Lebanese cuisine, and ultra-luxe desserts (Deep-Fried Oreos 4L!!!), Fattoush offers something for everyone.

41170 Hayes Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

www.fattoushgrill.com

407. Che Cosa – May 11, 2019 – Clinton Township, MI

May2019CheCosa1 (2)May2019CheCosa2 (2)May2019CheCosa3 (2)Che Cosa!!! I got excited when I realized the next post on the docket for 100 Places in the D was this one for the Clinton Township-based coffee house, because I totally dig this place.

On a busy Saturday in mid-May, I was between engagements and looking to kill time at a coffee shop, and I’d long been curious about Che Cosa, which happily fit logistically into the scheme of my day. So I stopped in to see what it was all about.

The interior of Che Cosa is cozy, with furnishings (such as the plush leather couch shown above) that make you feel as if you’re hanging out in someone’s home. Then you see the tall metal shelf loaded with large jars of roasted beans, and it’s abundantly clear that you are in a shop that is serious about its coffee.

After waiting on a rush of customers ahead of me, the woman working the counter that morning explained that shelf of beans to me. She said the owner of Che Cosa roasts the many varieties of coffee beans on display and adds flavoring to some.  Beans with luxurious-sounding flavorings, such as Banana Nut Bread and Cinnamon Danish, are available for purchase via a cup of fresh-brewed coffee or bagged for at-home brewing.

Foods such as soup, ice cream, and biscotti are available for purchase at Che Cosa, too. But I was all about the liquid caffeinated goodness that day.

I was tempted to order a cup of coffee made with the flavored beans (Southern Pecan Pie, you were calling my name!), but in the end I went with my old-faithful coffee-shop order: a cappuccino. And I was glad I ordered that cappuccino, because it was the best one I could remember drinking!

The word that kept coming to mind as I sipped Che Cosa’s cappuccino was “balanced.” Its flavors were perfectly balanced: the espresso didn’t taste burnt, nor watered down by too much milk, and there was an ideal amount of foam. That Che Cosa cappuccino was perfect.

Not only was the coffee at Che Cosa delicious, but I really enjoyed how welcoming it felt to be there. For most of the time that I hung out there, I chatted with the woman working the counter and a gentleman who was a Che Cosa regular. He told me about his life, and I told him about mine, and the barista chimed in about her life, and it was just a really, really nice experience to connect with some kindly strangers during an outing when I’d simply been looking to kill some time and check out a new place. Cozy, community-fostering, and brewing up a damn good cappuccino: that’s Che Cosa for ya!

Worth noting: Che Cosa’s hours of operation appear to vary, so it’s worth calling before a visit to make sure it’s open.

24394 Crocker Blvd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48036

Phone: (586) 477-1200

391. The Rusty Nail – February 3, 2019 – Clinton Township, MI

February2019RustyNail2 (2)February2019RustyNail3 (2)The Rusty Nail! The bar has long been an institution in Clinton Township, and I was excited to visit it for the first time this February.

I was there for The Nail’s celebration of the Big Game, that NFL championship extravaganza everyone gets all gaga about. My dad had clued me in to the fact that the bar had a complimentary food spread set out for the event. Being of the in-it-for-the-snacks Big Game enthusiast camp, I decided to check it out and watch the first part of the game with him there.

The spread was impressive – and delicious! The chicken was excellent, as were the homemade baked beans and everything else I ate. I was told that many of The Rusty Nail’s regulars had contributed to the potluck, and I loved that the bar harbors a community willing to prepare dishes for the general public to enjoy.

A variety of free swag was also available that day: t-shirts, hats, and other goodies branded with the logos of various alcoholic beverage distributors. I snagged some headphones emblazoned with the name of a popular whiskey maker.

Despite being nearly full for the football-viewing celebration, the bar had a comfortable, laid-back vibe that resonated with me. Service was good, drink prices were reasonable, and I could definitely see myself returning – maybe to see one of the many bands it hosts or to witness the bar-organized dart tournaments.

35703 Groesbeck Hwy.

Clinton Twp., MI 48035

www.thenewrustynail.com

320. La Mia Lebanese Cuisine – April 18, 2018 – Clinton Township, MI

April2018LaMia1 (2)April2018LaMia2 (3)Shout-out to my friend Jac for introducing me to this gem of a restaurant, La Mia Lebanese Cuisine in Clinton Township!

We went there Wednesday and ordered carryout. I thoroughly enjoyed my shawarma wrap with its grilled pita stuffed with tender chicken, crunchy pickles, and delectably garlicky sauce. The crushed lentil soup was piping-hot, savory deliciousness, as well.

While we didn’t eat in the restaurant, I appreciated the clean, pleasant dining area and friendly service we received. I was also impressed by how quickly our carryout orders came out – they were ready in about five minutes.

I’d not previously heard of La Mia, and I live relatively close to it. It’s on a part of Gratiot Avenue – just south of Hall Road/M-59 – that I don’t often traverse. I’m admittedly fascinated by such unfamiliar pockets, those sections of towns that I live relatively close to yet rarely pass through or visit. They’re one of the best types of places to explore, if you ask me, because they’re near familiar ground and yet feel novel. Ideally, they contain all kinds of intriguing new-to-us establishments just waiting for us to discover them and declare “NEW PLACE TIME!!!!!!!!!”

Whether or not you live in the general vicinity of La Mia and/or are familiar with the neighborhood it’s in, I invite you to check it out if you’re a fan of Mediterranean food and have not yet been there. It’s a goodie!

43998 N Gratiot Ave.
Clinton Township, MI 48036

311. Golden Donuts – March 3, 2018 – Clinton Township, MI

March2018GoldenDonuts1 (2)March2018GoldenDonuts2 (2)Donuts, glorious donuts! How I adore those little glazed nuggets of goodness and having an excuse to purchase them – and to try a new bakery for this blog, of course.

Visiting a dear friend on a Saturday morning is as good an excuse as any to purchase a half-dozen donuts from a new-to-the-blog bakery. Thusly, my visit to Golden Donuts on Harper Avenue in Clinton Township commenced a few weeks ago.

Stepping into the tiny storefront located inside a strip mall, I was reminded of another local donut shop I’d visited in the last year: Donut Factory of Warren – mainly because both had an old-fashioned vibe and elderly gentlemen hanging out in them at the time of my visit. I got the impression that the two elderly gentlemen hanging out in counter seats at Golden Donuts were regulars, that they were familiar to the woman working behind the counter, that they were killing time in the companiable way that a certain type of retiree is wont to do.

The presence of these older dudes, it was oddly comforting to me. Maybe because I aspire to one day be able to pass time that way, in the practice of sitting and doing nothing much, really; maybe it’s because elderly people remind me of my beloved grandmother who passed away last summer. Regardless of the reason why, I saw Golden Donuts being the kind of place where elderly gents like to hang out as a plus-sign, as random as that sounds.

Of course, the most critical component of a donut shop is not its perceived desirability as a hangout spot by senior citizens but whether its donuts are any good. I set out to determine this out by ordering a half-dozen of Golden Donuts’ namesake wares: a white-cream-filled donut, a custard-filled, a red-velvet glazed, a honey-glazed chocolate, a chocolate-and-sprinkle-topped glazed, and a vanilla-and-chocolate-drizzled variety that looked to be jelly-filled and that was called a Napoleon.

While the donuts I tried that day – the red velvet, the honey-glazed chocolate, the white-cream-filled – were tasty, the true star of the show was the Napoleon, the one I randomly threw into the mix because I thought my friend or her husband might like it but which I didn’t expect to try. When it ended up left in the donut box and back at home with me, I decided to give it a whirl, not really expecting it to be my thing (I’m not really a jelly-donut girl) but not wanting to waste it.

This Napoleon turned out to be not just any jelly donut: it was quite possibly the best jelly donut EVER MADE. Certainly, it was the best jelly donut I can remember eating.

First of all, this Napoleon donut wasn’t a regular donut in terms of the dough used to make it: it was more of a flaky, puff-pastry kind of consistency. And it wasn’t simply filled with strawberry jelly; half of it was, but the other half was filled with CUSTARD. This was a half-jelly-filled, half-custard-filled, puff-pastry-esque, vanilla-AND-chocolate drizzled donut! It was AMAZING!

Based off of that glorious Napoleon donut alone, I would say that Golden Donuts passes the good-donut test. If the Napoleon sounds at all intriguing to you, I encourage you to give it a try! Or if you want to check out Golden Donuts’ other wares, such as its pasties and other baked goods – or to simply sit and hang at the counter with the old dudes – that is of course cool, too.

34155 Harper Ave.

Clinton Township, MI 48035

267. Juan Miguel’s – August 12, 2017 – Clinton Township, MI

20170910_163706 (2)20170812_183531August 12 was a busy day for me, as I’d inadvertently overbooked my social calendar. The up side was that I got to hang out with two beloved friends and try three new places in one day, with visits to the Beverly Hills Grill and Michigan Beer Growler Co.  in the afternoon and Juan Miguel’s in Clinton Township in the evening.

Mexican food is one of the Universe’s greatest gifts to us earthlings, in my opinion. All that cheese and spice and flavor and YUMMM. So of course I was excited to check out Juan Miguel’s, crafter of many cheesy-spicy-flavorful Mexican goodies.

The restaurant’s menu is extensive, affordable, and contains all of the faves: tacos, enchiladas, chimichangas, burritos, nachos, chile rellenos, fajitas, botanas . . . you get it. It also contains a few items that you won’t generally see being peddled at the conventional U.S. Mexican restaurant, such as menudo (beef tripe soup – a.k.a. soup make from stomach tissue – a.k.a. not the average patron’s thing but a traditional dish that many do enjoy) and nopalitos, described on the menu as “Tender pieces of cactus cooked with eggs, onions, green peppers, and our special spices.” I’ve never thought of cactus as being edible, AND I’m completely intrigued by this dish!

My palate wasn’t up for beef tripe or cactus during my visit to Juan Miguel’s – because it was up for cheesy beef enchiladas with Spanish rice and beans instead. Of course, my palate is always up for cheesy beef enchiladas with Spanish rice and beans because it is LIFE. And the beef enchiladas at Juan Miguel’s certainly hold up their end of the bargain with the whole cheesy-spicy-flavorful YUMMM-factor.

21342 Hall Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

www.juanmiguels.com

206. Gnocchi – November 2, 2016 – Clinton Township, MI

It is definitely the time of year when the heavy comfort food especially appeals to me. And last Wednesday night, it was appealing to both me and a friend I’d just went bridal dress shopping with as her maid of honor (a title that is a first for me!). After several hours of traversing Oakland and Macomb counties, scrolling through racks of heavy wedding dresses and doing try-ons with ultimately no luck, we needed some heavy sustenance. Gnocchi won out, because it was close by, Italian food appealed to the bride-to-be – and I’ve been wanting to scope it out since it opened this year. Another one checked off the list!

Located in a strip mall situated on what I think of as the main drag of town, Garfield Road, Gnocchi is relatively small and unpretentious in terms of decor. But it’s homey. Service was strong when we were there – although admittedly, it wasn’t too busy (there was one large party there and us). And the food was great.

As you may gather from its name, Gnocchi is a place that is focused on: gnocchi, those delightful Italian dumplings traditionally made from potato, flour, and egg or, as my family makes them – and in my biased opinion, the far more delicious method – ricotta cheese, flour, and egg. Apparently Gnocchi’s chef agrees with me, as the ones it makes and serves are also ricotta cheese-based, according to its website.

Unsurprisingly, much of the restaurant’s menu is devoted to dishes that incorporate the featured pasta, but not all of it; there are a few meat-centered items that do not include them. But if you are going there, you are likely going there for the gnocchi – or “lead,” as my father termed them growing up. Yes, gnocchis are rich and can be heavy in your stomach, but I can attest that they are the most delicious-tasting lead pellets in the world. And Gnocchi’s spinach-and-ricotta ones served with a Bolognese meat sauce were pretty excellent. I actually finished my leftovers of that dish while I was typing the first part of this post and was reminded of how rich and flavorful it was.

Another perk: Gnocchi’s prices are incredibly reasonable. My meal was $13.99, constituting a generously portioned entree, salad and bread service. I asked to upgrade my salad to a bowl of cheddar and broccoli soup and wasn’t charged extra for the substitution, as I would be at most places.

One bummer is the fact that Gnocchi doesn’t currently have a liquor licencse. Our server told us that they are working on obtaining it. As my friend commented, a dinner out at an Italian restaurant isn’t quite the same without a glass of wine to accompany it. But the food is solid enough to warrent giving this restaurant a try sans alcohol.

41620 Garfield Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

www.gnocchiclintontwp.com

176. Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. – May 14, 2016 – Clinton Township, MI

Hello, all! I have missed this blog so! Life has been rather crazy lately for me, and I miss my writing and exploring. But I am carving out some time today to talk about one of the awesome places I have visited in the Metro-D within the last month and a half, Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. in Clinton Township. The brewery has a Warren taproom, as well – which I totally forgot about until my friends were calling me saying they were inside the bar and asking where I was – and I wasn’t seeing them. Yeah . . . they were in Warren. Whoops – sorry, guys! As a consolation prize for them having to drive over to meet me, I had the soft pretzel pictured above waiting for them. This, my friends, was not any pretzel. It was a GIANT pretzel, bigger than your face, brought to the table in a small pizza box! It was pretty glorious. And the drinks were great, too. Kuhnhenn brews its own beer, wine, and mead. I had a pint of the Simcoe Silly, a Belgian-style ale with a fruity flavor that belied its strength (8.5% alcohol by volume), as well as a glass of the salted caramel wine, a red that surprised me by conveying the salted-caramel flavor quite well. Delicious!

The Clinton Township taproom is a gorgeous, open facility with lots of rich wood and gleaming brewing equipment on display at its entrance. There’s a long bar rail, and communal tables give it that European-beer hall vibe. I’ve never been to the Warren facility, but I’d say the C. Twp. taproom has a leg up because it has a hot food menu, which is relatively small but features that giant pretzel, various appetizers, sausages, a few sandwiches, and a Caesar salad. The Warren taproom sells basic snacks, such as cheese and crackers and peanuts – but the brewery website does mention that food trucks are on site Tuesday through Saturday evenings – so that is pretty awesome. I might actually have to check that out!

36000 Groesbeck Hwy.
Clinton Twp, MI 48035

www.kbrewery.com

165. Lone Wolf Paintball – February 18, 2016 – Clinton Township, MI

20160218_212203

I did not take my cellphone into the fray to take pictures at Lone Wolf Paintball, but here are my battle-stained clothes after several matches.

Paintball, you’re so crazy! Seriously. Last week, my visit to Lone Wolf Paintball in Clinton Township as part of a friend’s birthday extravaganza was an experience. I got shot with a paintball pellet in the mouth – the mouth! It jumped in under the gap at the bottom of my helmet, and it hurt like a bitch! Paint all over my mouth, and I was convinced I was bleeding. Nope, just a red, welted mouth-chin area that quickly dissipated, fortunately. A temporary battle scar that resulted in no real scar and no real street cred, but maybe a little paintball-field swagger.

 

So obviously, paintballing can get intense! Then again, I was only engaged in matches within a group of five polite, considerate friends, not in games filled with hardcore, competitive paintballers – though there were various packs of them herding off and onto the field when we were there. Lone Wolf Paintball has quite a following!

This was my first time playing, and I must say, the thrill of dodging those plastic paint-filled pellets was pretty exhilarating. And the time I got hit in the mouth was the only time I was (painstakingly) aware of myself getting hit by a splattering paintball – though as you can see, the clothes I wore there were covered in paint by the end, so I either got hit more than I realized or got paint all over me from leaning against the large inflatable barriers studded all around the field (likely possibility). Luckily, it is a cornstarch-based paint that washes out incredibly easily.

Many props to the kind and friendly guys who were working at Lone Wolf that night, who showed us the ropes and tolerated us in our newbie-ness. They made us feel at ease despite our coming in totally clueless and made the experience enjoyable.

I will probably stick to the pain-free version of paintball – laser tag!!! – in the future. But I’d definitely say it’s worth trying at least once if you’re curious. The cool thing about Lone Wolf Paintball is that in addition to the indoor field in Clinton Township, it also has outdoor fields in Mount Clemens and Metamora, which are open on the weekends during warm-weather months.

44323 Reynolds Dr.
Clinton Township, MI 48036

www.lonewolfpaintball.com

104. The Clean Plate – February 14, 2015 – Shelby Township, MI

20150214_163915

20150214_164628

I had been wanting to try this place for a while now, and I finally made it over for a lovely little Valentine’s Day lunch. You know me and my curiosity toward vegan and vegetarian food! I just enjoy food that is healthy and fresh but flavorful, too. Life is too short to eat bland, boring food! The Clean Plate seems to get that. It’s owned by the same people who own Cacao Tree Café in Royal Oak (which I visited last April). That place is totally vegan, but The Clean Plate is more vegetarian – offering the option of both dairy cheese and vegan cheese, for instance. The vegetarian chili on cornbread with dairy cheese that I had was hearty and delicious. It had butternut squash in it instead of the fake tofu meat of which I am so not a fan – though there are some items offered with tofu and tempeh in them if you’re into it, and The Clean Plate does also offer the option of the delicious ground-nut meat that Cacao Tree Café has and of which I’m a fan. The staff was very attentive and friendly, too. It’s great to have an organic vegetarian place on this side of town, specifically one that is so high-quality.

45629 Hayes Rd.

Shelby Twp., MI 48315

http://cleanplate4u.com/