Metro-Detroit

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

 

 

253. Eastside Bagel – June 11, 2017 – Saint Clair Shores, MI

20170611_110033 (2)20170611_111700 (2)Good morning, all! If this morning has not been as good as you’d like it to be, there’s still time to redeem it by heading over to Eastside Bagel in Saint Clair Shores. I mean, check out that delightful Everything-bagel sandwich above with its turkey and bacon and spicy cream-cheese. Perfection! Not hard to see why this place was bustling on the weekend morning that I visited it last month, patrons crowding around the little tables to enjoy their bagels, sandwiches, salads, and soup in leisurely Sunday-morning fashion.

21601 Harper Ave.

St. Clair Shores, MI 48080

www.eastsidebagel.com

250. KouZina – June 2, 2017 – Royal Oak, MI

20170602_135821 (2)20170602_132001(1)I’m especially excited about today’s post because I especially LOVED this place. OMG, KouZina!

How had I NOT been to KouZina before? I became aware of it on Yelp but realized upon visiting it that I’d passed it on Main St. in downtown Royal Oak jillions of times. It’s set slightly apart from the strip where most of the Main Street businesses are clustered, just north of 11 Mile Road and across from the Emagine movie theater.

KouZina is what some might liken to a Greek Chipotle: a fast-casual establishment that allows you to create your own signature bowl with the meat, rice, and topping options you choose. I had the KouZina Large Signature Bowl, which contained all three meats that are offered (gyro-style lamb, chicken, and pork), rice (I chose brown), and my chosen toppings: fresh spinach, cubed beets, cucumbers, banana peppers, chickpeas, red onion, feta, and a spicy feta sauce. OH YEAH. It was delicious with a capital “D” and in 12-foot letters! That spicy feta sauce . . . MMMM. So, so good – and even better enjoyed outdoors on KouZina’s open-air patio.

Besides giving patrons the option to create their own signature bowls, KouZina offers gyros (of course!) and classic Greek salad, soup, and side-dish options such as Greek salad, lentil soup, Spinach pie, pita chips, from-scratch Greek yogurt (yum!), and this insanely amazing-sounding dessert called a Bougatsa, which is described on the menu as “Warm custard wrapped in phyllo dough, topped with powdered sugar and cinnamon” (!!!). I badly wanted to try one, but I was so full after the meat-rice-and-veggie-bowl that I knew I would have to save that for another visit – because I will DEFINITELY be back to KouZina.

121 N. Main St.

Royal Oak, MI 48067

www.gokouzina.com

249. The GrubHouse – May 23, 2017 – Saint Clair Shores, MI

20170523_183051(1)20170523_183123 (2)May 23 was a busy day for me in visiting new places. I got a carryout lunch from the Troy location of Neehee’s, an Indian vegetarian street food joint, and enjoyed it at a picnic table overlooking the lake at Sylvan Glen Lake Park. Then I had dinner with a friend at The GrubHouse, a diner-type restaurant in Saint Clair Shores.

I appreciated that the decor at the GrubHouse was super cute and modern compared to the (non-existing) style you would see at a typical diner. It was obvious that the owners had put attention and care into its ambience. I also appreciated that the service was attentive, the food came quickly, and that the Michigan Cherry Salad I ordered, with its herb-marinated chicken, dried cherries, walnuts, feta (substituted for its usual blue cheese), red onion, cucumbers, and raspberry vinaigrette dressing was DELICIOUS.

As with any quality home-style restaurant, the GrubHouse’s menu covers a lot of ground, offering an extensive selection of appetizers; sandwiches; salads; burgers; Coney dogs; seafood dishes; and meat-centric entrees such as a chicken kabob platter, country-fried steak, and lamb chops (a steal at only $13.99!).

22230 Greater Mack Ave.

St. Clair Shores, MI 48080

www.mygrubhouse.com

248. Sylvan Glen Lake Park – May 23, 2017 – Troy, MI

20170523_13092620170523_123429After ordering delicious vegetarian Indian carryout from Neehee’s in Troy back in late May, my colleagues and I decided to enjoy our lunches on the grounds of Sylvan Glen Lake Park.

I’d passed this little park off of Rochester Road between Long Lake and Square Lake roads dozens of times over the years and had always intended to check it out. While it’s small, I found its vibrant green grounds nestled up to a lovely little lake a beautiful and tranquil place of respite. We ate lunch at a picnic table right in front of the lake, taking in the sunshine, pleasant temperatures, and views of people fishing and otherwise enjoying the grounds.

Now I know where to go when I need a momentary retreat from hectic suburban living.

5501 Rochester Rd.

Troy, MI 48085

247. Neehee’s – May 23, 2017 – Troy, MI

20170523_115311 (2)20170523_121542 (2)20170523_123712Hi, guys! It’s so great to be back to the blog after being gone for over a month and a half. I didn’t mean to be, but once again, life got a hold of me (in a good way)! Mostly I was busy preparing for and taking an 11-day vacay to Europe (with two days in London and the rest of the time in Switzerland).

I’ll admit, after luxuriating in the beauty of the Swiss Alps (truly breathtaking!), I was reluctant to come home – unusual for me, as I’m generally a home-sweet-home kind of person. But now, after being back for two weeks, I’m settling into my regular routines and feeling content and pleased to be here. After all, I love my D and realistically couldn’t stand being away from it for too long! 🙂

What else have I been up to for the last month and a half? Well, even though I wasn’t posting here, I was busy visiting new places; I hit 13 counting today’s visit! So now that I’m back in the swing of everyday life and not gallivanting about the Old World, I’ll be going H.A.M. on the posting and hopefully inspiring you to do some good ol’ summer exploring (because we all know that summers in the D are THE BEST!!!).

One place to add to your must-visit-this-season list if you’re a fan of Indian food? The Troy location of Neehee’s, an Indian vegetarian street food fast-casual restaurant whose flagship store is in Canton. I’d been wanting to make the (for me) voyage-with-a-capital-V out to that Canton location since learning about it in Hour Detroit. But now there was a Neehee’s practically in my backyard! After discovering this, I recruited some coworkers to hit up the bright-yellow building on Rochester Road for some lunchtime Indian deliciousness.

One of the first things you’ll likely notice when you walk into Neehee’s is the extensive overhead display of menus above the counter where you order. There are a LOT of choices. The Chaat section features snack-sized portions, and there are sandwiches and meal-sized portions as well, including what the restaurant’s website refers to as “Indo Chinese fusion” dishes in addition to South Indian fare.

After at least 10 minutes of super-serious deliberation (because making the right lunch choice IS serious business, right?), I decided on the C3, the Bhel Puri, from the Chaat section of the menu, described there as “Crispy rice puffs mixed with chutneys, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, cilantro and spices.” It was fresh and flavorful and healthy tasting (in a good way). It also came in a much larger portion size than I expected. I was told by the friendly counter person helping us make our choices that it would be small and would not likely fill me up, but as you can see from the photo above of my selections (that’s it on the left in the nearest photo pictured), it was pretty large-and-in-charge for a snack. It could have easily been a meal for me.

But I’m glad I didn’t stop with the Bhel Puri and that I also ordered the A4, Gobi Manchurian, from the Indo-Chinese side of the menu, because WOW! That stuff was GOOOOOD! The breaded, crispy cauliflower tossed in a spicy sauce with diced veggies mixed in was addictive. It’s hard to believe that cauliflower can taste that decadent! But once you taste it, you’ll become a believer.

And believe me when I say to you, fellow omnivores, that you won’t be missing meat when you dine on Neehee’s creative, flavorful dishes! THIS is where I would be going on the regular if I decided to cut the carnivore act from my diet.

4924 Rochester Rd.

Troy, MI 48085

www.neehees.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

243. Jalapeños – April 19, 2017 – Pontiac, MI

20170419_192330 (2)20170419_192753 (2)20170419_195340 (2)Any night is a good night to get Mexican food, right?

At least, that’s my point of view. Mexican food is one of my dearest loves (all of that spicy, cheesy goodness . . . mmmmm). I’m actually slated to go and get some tonight at my fave pre-100-Places-in-the-D Mexican restaurant EVER, El Charro in Fraser (an East-side classic!).

Two weeks ago to the day, I was also out eating Mexican food – but at a new-to-me restaurant, Jalapeños in Pontiac. [NEW PLACE ALERT!!!]

One no-brainer marker of a good Mexican restaurant is, in my opinion, its chips. Free and tasty chips with endless refills are a must. Check mark in Jalapeños’ favor – its chips were awesome during my visit. They were fresh and crispy and salty, and I gorging on them like a starving woman while waiting for my friend whom I was meeting. (It’s not a visit to a Mexican restaurant if you don’t nearly completely fill up on chips before your entrée arrives, right?).

Another distinction of a great Mexican restaurant: generous portion sizes. No daintiness, please; that’s not what I came for. Jalapeños delivered on their portion sizes with my tamale dinner, which contained three good-sized tamales and rice and beans. Add to that the bright, cheerful restaurant interior and the most obvious marker of a solid Mexican restaurant, the overall tastiness, and you’ve got a high score from me for Jalapeños.

806 Baldwin Ave.

Pontiac, MI 48340

242. Polish Village Café – April 12, 2017 – Hamtramck, MI

20170412_121246(1)20170412_121433 (2)20170412_124825 (2)Hamtramck is represented on the blog – via a visit to a local institution, Polish Village Café!

So excited to represent Hamtramck on the blog! This is only my second time down there, but I love the neighborly feel of its downtown area and the houses nestled all close together. I know from a friend who lived there for years that community is an important part of living in a Hamtramck neighborhood, and I could feel it. People were out walking around during my visit, living life. As much as I love being a hermit sometimes and want to stay-stay-stay in my bubble, I also crave that sense of community – which is what draws me out to explore, I suppose!

Polish Village Café was a microcosm of community on the Wednesday afternoon that I visited it. Place was kicking! I was impressed, because I didn’t expect it to be that packed for a weekday lunch. But its illustrious history as one of the most popular Polish restaurants in the Detroit area (the “cellar beer garden,” as it’s referred to on the restaurant’s website, has been around since 1925; it was named the Polish Village Café in 1976) apparently ensures that it stays busy!

Lunch with coworkers was the reason for my visit, and YET again, we were visiting a delightful establishment that I didn’t want to leave to return to our dreary corporate office, because, I mean, a tavern strewn with twinkle lights and blue and white paper lanterns is a MUCH more magical place than a gray cubicle any day of the year. That’s a truth right up there with the Law of Gravity.

And the food! If you visit Polish Village Café, go for the pierogis and dessert crepes; they were both excellent. I’m sure I don’t have to twist many of your arms to get you to try the potato-and-cheese pierogi with its fried-dough exterior and creamy, savory, cheesy, comfort-food-y filling. Or to sample the raspberry dessert crepe, both rich and delicate in that way that only a crepe can be.

I will admit something that may be akin to sacrilege for Polish Village Café devotees: I didn’t especially care for the entrée I ordered, the Garlic Chicken. It was a breaded, pan-fried chicken breast that sadly came out kind of dry and not tasting at all garlicky. And the green beans accompanying it were canned green beans, which I didn’t expect. The sauerkraut included on the plate was awesome, though! Probably I should’ve went with my gut and ordered a platter of pierogis instead, rather than bumming just the one off of my coworker.

Despite my disappointment in my entrée, I’d like to give Polish Village Café another whirl sometime given how beloved it is and how delicious I found the pierogis and crepes to be. Plus I dug its whole basement-tavern ambience thing. Seriously, why can’t offices be made to look like basement taverns? Even if we weren’t all drinking while we were working, it would still make going back to work after lunch feel more FUNNNN.

Worth noting: if you are planning to eat at Polish Village Café, it’s helpful to know that it’s a cash-only establishment. Yep, that’s how O.G. they are.

2990 Yemans St.

Hamtramck, MI 48212

www.polishvillagecafe.us

241. La Dulce – April 8, 2017 – Royal Oak, MI

20170408_180021 (2)20170408_185207 (2)20170408_18244120170408_182656 (2)Hi guys! I am popping on before a Detroit Day (~SQUEAL!~) to recount my visit a few weeks ago to La Dulce, a Spanish tapas place in Royal Oak.

The interior of the restaurant is light and airy, sophisticated, done up in blues and whites. In addition to standard table seating, there are also clusters of upholstered chairs and couches situated around low tables, so that if you are eating at one of those (as we were), you feel as if you are at an intimate dinner in someone’s living room.

I enjoyed a glass of rosé with the tapas spread my friends and I shared: a bowl of green olives, the Ibérico Ham Tosta (thinly sliced cured ham on toasted bread spread with garlic, grated tomato, and olive oil), Patatas Bravas (fried potatoes smothered in a white cheddar sauce, spicy red sauce, and more Ibérico ham), and Gildas (skewers loaded with anchovies, tuna, olives, peppers, and cornichon pickles).

OK, if my 30s mean sitting in elegant restaurants sipping wine and enjoying flavorful tapas with good friends, then I am all about this life! Who said being an adult had to be boring, anyway? If you are looking to treat yourself to a fancy, grown-up-yet-not-dull night out, La Dulce is definitely worth a visit.

115 S. Main St.

Royal Oak, MI 48067

www.ladulce.com