Mediterranean

326. 2941 Mediterranean Street Food – May 7, 2018 – Rochester Hills, MI

May20182941Med1 (2)May20182941Med4 (2)May20182941Med3 (2)2941 Mediterranean Street Food has hit 100 Places in the D!!!

I was super excited to visit 2941 Mediterranean Street Food of Rochester Hills for lunch with friends last week, as the fast-casual Detroit-area chain had been on my radar for a few years (as was the case with many of the places I’ve covered on this blog. Cheers to the moments when long-anticipated visits finally happen!).

I adore Mediterranean food, and as mentioned in my recent post on Burrito Mundo, I also love places that allow me to build my own meals, choosing from a plethora of ingredient options the ones I’d like to add to customizable bowls, burritos, etc. 2941 Mediterranean Street Food is one such place that allows you to build your own bowls, loading them with all kinds of fresh, flavorful goodies.

Stepping inside the bright and clean Rochester Hills storefront with its long communal tables and wicker-basket-accented lighting (check out the light shades that appear to be made from upside-down baskets with the handles still attached in the photo above), my friends and I approached the ordering counter toward the back of the room, where we began the assembly-line production of the build-your-own-bowl process.

In succession, I was asked to: pick my grain base (I chose the Turmeric Basmati Rice); my protein (I did pork; chicken, steak, lamb, falafel, and veggie options were also available); two sauces (garlic sauce was a given for me, and I chose another spicy sauce whose name I can’t recall); two types of torshi, which are pickled vegetables (I went with the Atum beet-and-turnip mixture and the Osiris cauliflower-and-mixed-veggie combo); and two items from the Salads and Snacks category (I nabbed hummus and a salad that included radish, chickpeas, and parsley).

This was an intense decision-making process, my friends. I felt – as I had the week prior at Burrito Mundo when I was shepherded through its burrito-making process – that my first bowl-building experience at 2941 Mediterranean Street Food was simply a dress rehearsal for the next time I was there. Before that subsequent visit, I’ll likely study the menu ahead of time and get all strategic about my choices, because these are important decisions to be made (lunch is on the line!) and because I am that much of a nerd when it comes to customizable meals.

Still, despite feeling unprepared for the intricacies of the meal-crafting process, I felt pleased with how my bowl turned out at 2941 Mediterranean Street Food. I had opted for the larger-sized bowl, which yielded enough food to constitute both my lunch and dinner for that day. It was accompanied by a sizable loaf of soft, irresistibly chewy samoon bread that was perfect for dipping in the hummus and garlic sauce.

While I was surprised at the cost of 2941’s build-your-own bowl (an $11.50 base price for the large-sized bowl, with additional upcharges for extra sauce, extra meat, etc.), the ample portions and pure deliciousness justified the higher-than-expected price in my mind. The pork was tender and well-marinated, the vegetables were fresh and flavorful, and the hummus and garlic sauce were pure, addictive, garlicky goodness (I am SO a hummus/garlic sauce girl!). High-quality ingredients melded together to make a wholly delectable bowl of Mediterranean goodness, and I was TOTALLY a fan.

While the build-your-own-bowl option appears to be the centerpiece of 2941 Mediterranean Street Food’s menu, there are also some signature-bowl configurations to choose from, as well as soups, flatbreads, and a load of what are labeled Street Snacks on the menu (Marinated Olives, Habibi’s Nachos, and Veggie Grape Leaves, for example). Knowing me and my obsession with the whole build-your-own-bowl concept, I’ll probably stick with that option, but it’s nice to know there are predetermined choices on 2941’s menu should I be struck with decision-making paralysis during a visit.

How about you – have you been to 2941 Mediterranean Street Food? If yes, I’d love to hear what you thought of it; feel free to weigh in within the Comments field below!

87 W. Auburn Rd.

Rochester Hills, MI 48307

(With additional locations in Auburn Hills, Birmingham, Bloomfield Hills, and Detroit)

www.2941streetfood.com

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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

309. Ike’s Restaurant – February 17, 2018 – Sterling Heights, MI

February2018Ikes1 (3)February2018Ikes2 (4)I’m always looking for an excuse to celebrate – especially in February, when there’s not inherently a lot to celebrate in Michigan (Another snowfall? The umpteenth gray day of the year? Not slipping and falling on an ice patch? Actually, that last one is totally worth celebrating).

So when the sister-in-law/best friend of one of my oldest pals reached out letting me know they were planning a surprise birthday party for her, I was like, “Heck yes, I will be there!” Heck yes to having this celebration as a bright spot to look forward to after wayyyyy too much snow-wrangling the weekend prior!

(Snow, we over you here in Metro-Detroit, for reals. Please be a dear and take the hint.)

When I found out this surprise birthday dinner was going to be at Ike’s Restaurant in Sterling Heights, a Mediterranean restaurant I had never been to, I was heck-yes-ing times a million. New-place time! GARLIC-SAUCE TIME!

Mediterranean cuisine is one of my favorite types of cuisines, and garlic sauce is its pinnacle. I mean, what’s not to like: it’s creamy, it’s garlicky . . . that’s really it, but do you need anything else in a sauce? No sirree, in my humble opinion.

When the night rolled around and the whole surprise-thing was pulled off without a hitch (my friend was truly surprised – how often does that happen?), I realized that Ike’s menu contains more than Mediterranean food.

It contains a lot more: bar-and-grille-esque fare such as steaks and lamb chops and ribs and chicken and fish dishes; Italian favorites such as veal marsala and chicken parmesan; a whole section of vegetarian options – some Mediterranean, some Italian, some Greek.

The variety impressed me; the ribs and steak piqued my interest because both ribs and steak are kind of my jam. Ultimately, I knew I had to stick with the Lebanese section because visions of me inhaling Mediterranean food had basically haunted my psyche since I’d received this invitation.

I’m admittedly really boring when ordering Mediterranean food: I get crushed lentil soup and lemon-oregano chicken OR a chicken shawarma pita – accented by, of course, loads and loads of pita bread slathered in garlic sauce. I don’t believe my order has ever wavered from those choices – probably because those choices are so AMAZING that why would I bother to vary them? Still, this is a departure for me in a lot of ways, me of the loving-to-try-new-places-and-dishes-and-the-weirdest-sounding-cocktail-you-can-throw-at-me variety.

So when pondering Ike’s menu, my eyes went to laser in on the lemon-oregano chicken – and didn’t see it. It was not on Ike’s menu – wah wah.

Not to worry – I asked our server if the kitchen would be able to make the prized lemon-oregano chicken, and she said it would, though she claimed it probably wouldn’t taste as lemony as I was accustomed to. I didn’t mind; I was sure it’d still be good.

It was: my lemon-oregano chicken was glorious. Yes, it wasn’t as lemony as usual, but it was still wonderfully tender and flavorful and delicious – and generous in portion size.

That’s a definite plus about Ike’s: the amount of food it serves you. Portions are hefty – and who doesn’t like that? Additionally, both soup and salad came with my entrée (ol’-faithful crushed lentil was naturally my soup choice).

And the garlic sauce? Well, garlic sauce and pita bread isn’t a complimentary appetizer at Ike’s as it is at a lot of Mediterranean restaurants, but it’s available for order; our table ordered a platter of it to share. It goes without saying that it was GLORIOUS.

Given the high-quality food, generous portions sizes, elegant ambiance, and excellent service our table received, I can confidently vet Ike’s as an top-notch venue for celebrating any kind of occasion, from birthdays to I-didn’t-slip-on-ice-and-fall-flat-on-my-face kinds of days.

38550 Van Dyke Ave.

Sterling Heights, MI 48312

www.ikesrestaurant.com

276. Lyla’s Catering – September 16, 2017 – Grosse Pointe Woods, MI

Lyla's1Lyla's2Lyla's3 (2)On the jaunt from an Arts and Scraps donation run in Detroit to Saint Clair Shores, I decided lunch was in order and that this would be the perfect opportunity to visit Lyla’s Catering, a Lebanese catering and carry-out establishment I’d read about in Hour Detroit a few years ago. And with that Grosse Pointe Woods, a new-to-the-blog city, was represented!

Four of the five Grosse Pointe neighborhoods have now been repped on 100 Places in the D (Grosse Pointe Shores is left). But the most important thing about that day is that I got a scrumptious, flavorful, filling meal at Lyla’s.

I stepped into its sunny orange interior and ordered from the friendly owners the fatoush salad with grilled chicken, plus two spinach pies and two pieces of baklava. They were ready quickly, and I ate a portion of the huge fatoush salad while sitting at one of the two tables inside Lyla’s, savoring the freshness of the greens,  tomato chunks, cucumber slices, and crispy pita chips tossed in the garlic, lemon, and olive oil dressing and the slices of warm marinated chicken breast. What a perfect on-the-go meal: healthful and hearty and void of processed ingredients!

I had the rest of the salad for dinner that night, as well as one of the spinach pies and both pieces of the baklava. The triangular dough-encased mini pie with its vibrant spinach filling had this irresistible hint of nutmeg, and the baklava with its honey-drenched layers of phyllo dough was straight-up addictive.

Lyla’s has both its carry-out and catering menus on its website, so you can check out their offerings and order ahead should you decide to visit – which I highly recommend you do!

20083 Mack Ave.

Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236

www.lylascatering.com

254. Shish Palace – June 28, 2017 – Rochester Hills, MI

20170628_121657(1)20170628_124149 (2)It’s hard for me to conceive of the concept of bad Mediterranean food, because being insanely delectable is kind of its thing. But why gamble on deliciousness when you can get a sure thing at Shish Palace in Rochester Hills?

I got lunch there back in June: the lemon-oregano Shish Tawook, all rich, savory, citrusy goodness, plus a cup of crushed lentil soup. YUMMM. Our server was attentive and funny, and she kept the free bread and garlic sauce coming (the BEST part about eating in a Mediterranean restaurant EVER!).

165 S. Livernois Rd.

Rochester Hills, MI 48307

(Locations also in Taylor and Allen Park)

www.shishpalacerestaurant.com

 

 

171. La Marsa – April 9, 2016 – Troy, MI

20160409_19544120160409_185341A few weeks ago, I had a night on the town with my best homegirl, cheapie style! She had a gift card for Bahama Breeze, where we dreamed of summer whilst sipping tropical cocktails on the enclosed patio; I had a Groupon for La Marsa in Troy, where we dined prior to drinks, stuffing ourselves full of wonderful food, including fabulously free, never-ending refills of pita bread and garlic sauce (essential!).

An elegant dining area, excellent service, and gloriously garlicky lemon-oregano shish tawook makes La Marsa a must-visit if you’re craving high-caliber Mediterranean food. Troy isn’t the establishment’s only location; it also has restaurants in Bloomfield Hills, Brighton, Waterford, West Bloomfield, and two locations in Farmington Hills.

3720 Rochester Rd.

Troy, MI 48083

www.lamarsacuisine.com

130. Ollie’s Lebanese Cuisine – July 6, 2015 – Dearborn, MI

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Ok, so I have mentioned in at least one post (#72 – Café Med) that I’ve worked in Dearborn for the past year but am a complete wimp about driving around there because I find its road system cray-cray. Really, it’s nothing against Dearborn; it’s just all about familiarity for me – I can whip around four-lane, mad-traffic-laden Hall Road like a boss, but Dearborn and Detroit’s looping roads and largely grid-pattern adverse set-ups get me all white-knuckled and frantic. So I’ve largely avoided driving around the neighborhood surrounding my workplace, and honestly, I’m one to bring my lunch to work every day anyway (more money to go out to dinner!). But a few weeks ago, I forgot my lunch at home, and that prompted me to venture at least a few miles out, for Pete’s sake, Jackie! and try out Ollie’s, a Dearborn institution lauded by both Yelp and my coworkers. And you can bet I felt like Rocky after going the distance when I made it there and back. You gotta celebrate your baby steps, no matter how small or silly-sounding to others, right?

Check out that gorgeous patio in the above photo!

16351 Ford Rd., Ste. 100

Dearborn, MI 48126

www.olliescuisine.com

72. Café Med – October 10, 2014 – Dearborn, MI

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Ok, so I’ve worked in Dearborn for about two months now, but this was the first time I tried a new place there. Why? Because driving around there is, for me, a maddening experience. Besides being totally unfamiliar with the area and not being a fan of driving in new areas I know nothing about, there is currently construction everywhere. A few weeks before this, I actually tried to pick up carryout from a place a few miles from my work that looked like it would be very straightforward and easy to get to, and it was a complete debacle. When I looked up driving directions online, it didn’t take into account the fact that pretty much the whole route was embattled by hardcore construction and that the amount of time needed to get there was doubled. I only have a half-hour lunch, so I immediately knew upon putting the address into my phone GPS (which does note current traffic times) that I was screwed. Then, once I got to the area where the place was supposed to be I couldn’t even find it, and after calling them and attempting to get more detailed directions, I was feeling so flustered and already due to be late back to work that I just turned around and went back with no lunch (which then consisted of peanuts from a vending machine and some castoffs from the lunch of a kind coworker). I felt like an asshole for abandoning my carryout and a failure for not being able to find this place (which, one of my coworkers conceded, is a pretty tricky place to find). I vowed to never drive around Dearborn again.

But then I forgot my lunch again (which was what had prompted me to head out for carryout that first day), and I was resolved to make it at least to the corner, for Pete’s sake. So I put in my order of a chicken shawarma sandwich and crushed lentil soup with Café Med, a restaurant very close to my place of employment – and I’m happy to report that this time I made it! Never mind the fact that this place is super-close to my work – the route was still weird enough, because Dearborn streets are cray-cray. But the food was delicious, so it was worth it. And I was proud of my little baby step.

3337 Greenfield Rd.
Dearborn, MI 48120

71. Cedar Grille – October 6, 2014 – Troy, MI

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I’m kind of obsessed with mediterranean food right now. If it wasn’t for this blog and the need to diversify and visit new places, I probably would’ve been back to La Saj several times since visiting it in August, for instance. I love garlic sauce and hummus and lemon chicken, which is the dish that I ordered here at Cedar Grille for a late-birthday lunch after the shopping trip in Northville (one bummer about shopping in Northville on Mondays – all of the restaurants I was interested in visiting were closed for lunch – or all day – on Mondays). It was excellent!

5377 Crooks Rd.

Troy, MI 48098

http://www.cedargrille.com