Madison Heights

209. Pho Tai – November 26, 2016 – Madison Heights, MI

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Pho Tai’s beef Pattani curry dish

Hello, everyone! I hope you are doing excellently on this Thursday and first day of December! Can you believe we’re in the last month of the year already? I definitely cannot. The holiday season is a wonderful time, but it’s a hectic time, and I’m not sure I’m quite ready for it. I’ve got to eeeease into it. I’ve got to simplify it. Online shopping and saying no to invites that don’t thrill me are my staple survival mechanisms at this time of year. And cookies – lots and lots of holiday cookies!

Saying yes to things that I love – such as exploring – is another way I keep myself sane. Last weekend, I was fortunate to have an opportunity to get out and try a new-to-me restaurant when I went bridal dress shopping in Madison Heights with my friend whose upcoming wedding I’ll be in (she didn’t find The Dress, but hopefully soon!). Afterwards, we lunched at a wonderful locally-owned establishment, Pho Tai.

If you aren’t familiar with it, Madison Heights boasts a plethora of restaurants and markets that are Asian-influenced, with Vietnamese and Thai cuisines especially represented. Pho Tai is a hybrid – it offers dishes from both ethnicities! So decisions, decisions when you dine there! Do you want pho, with its delicious slurpy brothiness and long noodles, or Pad Thai, with that irresistible spiciness and crushed peanuts? A pork vermicelli bowl or Drunken Noodles? Enticing choices abound!

After much deliberation, I went with a Thai dish, Pattani, with beef, a coconut curry sauce, a variety of vegetables (including my absolute fave, baby corn – LOVE those cuties!), cashews, and rice. It was excellent! My only critique is that I asked for the spice level to be hot, and from my perspective, it was definitely more of a medium. I like my spicy food SPICY! I want my tongue to burn and my nose to run; I’m one of those people. I’ve gotta think that Pho Tai’s kitchen can offer up that kind of power, but maybe that heat level is categorized under another designation, such as “extra hot.” Regardless, the coconut curry sauce had great flavor – and I’m sure my digestive track was happy I didn’t get the intensity I wanted!

Service was great at Pho Tai; our waitress was very pleasant and present, and our food arrived quickly. Prices were reasonable, too. Worth mentioning: Pho Tai offers alcoholic beverages (beer, wine, and liquor). Helpful to know, right? When you need respite from the chaos of the season, ducking into this joint for some hearty, flavorful sustenance is a much-recommended remedy.

30577 Dequindre Rd.

Madison Heights, MI 48071

www.photaimi.com

 

208. Natalie’s Bakery – November 19, 2016 – Madison Heights, MI

20161119_124358-220161119_124522img_1255-2Hello, all! I have missed you! Over two weeks passed where I didn’t explore any new places. I was getting antsy!

With the increasingly shorter days, it’s been a struggle for me to choose what I’m going to do with my scarce and precious weekend daylight hours. I’ve had to be quite intentional. The weekend prior to this past one, I ran myself ragged using the time to cook and photograph three new recipes for my food blog, A Cookable Feast. This weekend was scheduled to be just as busy, with a first birthday party on Saturday and a family Thanksgiving event on Sunday. But I was determined to fit some exploring in! So en route to the birthday party in Royal Oak Saturday, I stopped at Natalie’s Bakery, located in a strip mall on John R. near 13 Mile Road in Madison Heights.

Natalie’s had on my list for a while. I’d stumbled across it on Yelp, where reviewers had given it high praise, and I’m a sucker for quality baked goods (who isn’t?). And what a gem it is! It was hard not to get excited in that tiny bakery storefront, with its shelves crammed with delectable-looking bakery items: caramel-laced cakes, colorful French macaroons, pumpkin mousse-filled fried croissant squares. “Pumpkin mousse-filled fried croissant squares?” Yes, for real – and soooo good; I bought one, and it was as INSANE as I’d imagined it, all fried cinnamony dough and rich pumpkin-y mousse. You can see it in the photo of the bakery case above.

And then there was the bread.

The bread! I love a solid artisan loaf of bread – but again, who doesn’t? In fact, the bread was a big part of why I was at Natalie’s Bakery. I wanted to stop and get some loaves for the Thanksgiving stuffing recipe I’m preparing to create for A Cookable Feast this week. The selection didn’t disappoint. I decided on the rosemary garlic ciabatta bread and the seven-grain bread, both shown above. Both are excellent, especially the ciabatta bread with those distinct savory flavors. After being reminded of how satisfying fresh-baked bread is, I mused, why am I not stopping and getting handmade loaves of bread every week?

Bread gets a bad rap these days. But when it’s baked with fresh ingredients such as the ones Natalie’s uses – it prides itself on using organic and local sources whenever possible – I can’t see how it can be all that bad. These breads are echelons above the sorry processed loaves that dominate grocery store shelves.

31023 John R. Rd.
Madison Heights, MI 48017

www.nataliesbakery.net

124. QQ Café and Bakery – June 12, 2015 – Madison Heights, MI

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One of my coworkers had raved about QQ Café and Bakery to me, so I hit it up last Friday on my way over to dinner with a friend at my favorite Thai restaurant ever, Orchid Café in Troy (on Rochester Road north of Big Beaver – and serving the best Pad Thai I’ve ever had – check it out!). It was delightful! The young guy who waited on me was very friendly and helpful when I told him it was my first visit there; he helped me to pick out a few things. One pleasant discovery: the offerings are super-cheap! One dollar gets you great value at this Asian bakery; that’s all the red bean bun, with its sweetish red-bean paste, and the pork bun (shown above), stuffed with savory barbecued pork and still warm, each cost me. I also got a wedge of cake with a delicious mocha frosting that only cost me $2.25. One thing worth noting: QQ, like the lovely Le Petit Prince, only takes cash. So scrounge around your car for all that loose change and head on over!

30941 Dequindre Rd.

Madison Heights, MI 48071

112. Satay House – March 28, 2015 – Madison Heights, MI

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Pineapple chicken with rice – yum!

My lunch at Satay House Saturday occurred amidst bummer circumstances. I had asked a friend that morning if she’d like to meet me at this Malay-Thai-Chinese restaurant for an impromptu lunch – and then she got in a car accident on the way there! She was okay, fortunately, but her car was not. So I ended up eating lunch alone, and I couldn’t shake the sadness regarding what had happened to her. At least my pineapple chicken with rice ended up being excellent. It took quite a while, but when it came out piping-hot and delicious it was worth it. My friend and I will have to stage a do-over and come back here. Thank God she was okay!

31101 Dequindre Rd.

Madison Heights, MI 48071

http://www.satayhousemadisonheights.com/