Step into another dimension at Weiss Distilling Company! Otherworldly ambiance and thoughtfully crafted cocktails make this Clawson-based speakeasy a place to experience.
I visited Weiss Distilling early on a Saturday evening, when there was still daylight. I followed the hostess through the tiny lobby and through a sliding elevator door that led not to an elevator but to a tasting room. Suddenly, I was transported into another realm: into this gorgeously moody bar that was the personification of midnight. Orange light spilled from a glowing wall illuminating shelves of bottles; a geometric-patterned mirror wall exuded its own bewitching luminescence. Flamboyant bundles of flowers exploded from the ceiling, and the dark-pattered floral wallpaper seemed to glow in places. A round bar dominated the room and is where I perched that evening, feeling ten times more glam for having stepped into this space.
Weiss Distilling produces a variety of spirits: gin, vodka, bourbon, rum, absinthe, and moonshine. Showcasing these wares is a robust menu of craft cocktails, with cheeky names such as Sexty Texty and Cinnamon Stick-It in Your Sassy. Drinks range from unabashedly fruit-forward (the gin-based Trop Cherry, for example) to more spare and savory (the Tara Strong: vodka infused with dill, sea salt, lemon, and soda water). Intriguing ingredients abound: dragonfruit tincture, rose bitters, a brown sugar-and-balsamic reduction. Nonalcoholic drink options are available, too.
I didn’t realize until writing this post how similar the flavor profiles of the two drinks I ordered at Weiss Distilling were (I guess I have a type!). The Karl Havoc was a delicious concoction of bourbon, orange liqueur, orange, citric acid, cinnamon, and aromatic bitters; the Tinderella, its vodka-based cousin, infused with orange liqueur, orange, citric acid, cinnamon, chocolate bitters, and demerara sugar.
What a treat it was to sit and sip these delightful potions in this delightful portal, removed from the real world. Weiss Distilling is definitely a place to which I want to escape, again and again!
Whiskey Taco Foxtrot is serving major flavor! And fun. The restaurant/bar based in downtown Clawson exuded mega TGIF vibes during my February visit.
Whiskey Taco Foxtrot’s well-stocked bar includes extensive whiskey and tequila collections, beer, hard cider, and craft cocktails. That latter category has an especial focus on margaritas and old-fashioneds – no surprise given the aforementioned liquor collections.
I LOVED the cocktail I ordered at Whiskey Taco Foxtrot. The Peanut Butter Old Fashioned was a deliciously tasty concoction of peanut butter-flavored whiskey, black walnut- and chocolate-flavored bitters, and orange zest. A girl could get used to having a drink like that in her life!
The restaurant’s food menu features Mexican fare: nachos, burritos, enchiladas, and the like. But the pièce de résistance is the tacos. Options range from conventional – ground beef, carnitas – to creative, with more tacos in the latter category. There’s a Fried Avocado taco, a Buffalo Chicken taco, a Chicken Parm. There’s an Asian Chicken taco with a cabbage slaw, sliced jalapeño, and sweet chili sauce, and a carnitas taco infused with a Rock & Rye barbecue sauce (which is presumably infused with the Faygo pop of the same name).
From those tantalizing taco options, I chose three: the Carnitas, the Rock & Rye Carnitas, and the Potato & Avocado. And let me tell you, all three of those tacos were FANTASTIC. Every single bite of those tacos was exclamation mark-worthy!
The Carnitas featured tender pork on a bed of avocado serrano sauce, topped with pickled red onion. It was AMAZING. The Rock & Rye Carnitas, with that rich Rock & Rye-infused barbecue sauce and battered-and-crispy-fried onion strings, was also exceptional! And the Potato & Avocado? It was – you guessed it – also OH SO GOOD!
How could a meat-free taco taste so great? When the meatless filling includes fried potato, creamy avocado, pepper jack cheese, and chipotle mayo – that’s when!
After scarfing down those revelatory tacos, it was no wonder to me why Whiskey Taco Foxtrot was full on this Friday night. Fabulous food and drink make this a place worth getting acquainted with, no matter the day of week!
Have a fun and flavorful night on the town at Regale Craft Food & Drink! The Macomb-based restaurant and bar is a classy, convivial place to grab a well-crafted drink and sample delicious dishes.
Regale’s menu consists of shareable-sized dishes representing a variety of cuisines. Lamb Empanada and House-Made Gnocchi sit alongside Kimchi Fried Rice and Wild Mushroom Croquettes. As explained in the About section of Regale’s website, the “moderately portioned dishes are perfect for sharing so that everyone can experience a variety of offerings that Chef Shawn has carefully created.”
I can attest to that! Admittedly, I didn’t share either of the dishes I ordered at Regale. But I did order two dishes that represented wholly different cuisines: the Poutine (total TGIF fare!) and the Curried Vegetables (my attempt to balance the Poutine’s decadence with healthfulness).
The Poutine came out before the Curried Vegetables, and I was so into it that I ended up crushing the entire dish. How could I not when the fries came topped with a heaping mound of tender beef brisket, creamy cheese curds, crispy fried onion, sumptuous demi-glace, and a generous drizzle of sour cream? They were so rich, so flavorful, SOOO delicious!
Because I filled up on that Poutine, I didn’t get to savor enough of The Curried Vegetables until I finished them later at home. Served with rice, this was a comfort-food dish in its own right. It was a delight to eat the steaming-hot veggies and rice complemented by the creaminess of the coconut milk, the crunch of the cashews, and the vibrance of the curry and cilantro.
Speaking of complementary: if you’re looking to get a well-balanced cocktail at Regale, you can’t go wrong with the Date Night. Consisting of a date-infused vodka complemented by ginger, thyme, and green cardamom, the well-balanced cocktail is a very easy sip. And if sweet-and-spicy is your thing, go for the Ghostarita: a lively concoction of ghost pepper-infused tequila, chili, and mango.
Regale’s craft cocktail menu is intriguing enough that I can’t see myself veering from it. But if I did, I’d have a well-curated selection of beer, wine, and spirits to choose from.
Careful curation: that’s what Regale is all about! Well-prepared, flavorful food and drink, inviting ambiance, and stellar service meld to make a place people want to be.
Cozy up to The Backdoor Taco and Tequila Bar! You’ll be privy to its selection of over 150 tequilas, plus margaritas, craft cocktails, and of course, tacos.
The bar based in downtown Rochester has a Not Tacos section on its menu, too (yes, that’s literally what it’s called). So if one of The Backdoor’s seven taco varieties isn’t speaking to you, you can order nachos, flautas, or another Not Tacos treat.
Tacos are always speaking to me. I ordered two of The Backdoor’s tasty Pork Carnitas tacos, opting for the “Street Style” preparation: tacos incorporating two corn tortillas, with diced onion and cilantro atop the filling, and served with a lime wedge. As part of the Make It a Combo! deal, I added sides of rice and beans.
Waiting for my tacos, I sipped a Blackberry Beret margarita on the rocks (Hornitos Reposado tequila and triple sec infused with muddled blackberries, agave syrup, and fresh lime juice) and soaked up the ambiance of the sleek, dimly-lit bar. The Backdoor’s small interior lends an intimate vibe, aiding in its aim to embody a speakeasy. Its nondescript storefront and location behind its sister restaurant, D’Marco’s, further enhance that vision.
Everybody wants to steal away from the real world sometimes – and if you can do that and eat tacos, even better. The next time you’re seeking solace in the form of shredded chicken or shrimp tacos, sidle up to The Backdoor’s bar!
Michno’s Café is a neighborhood bar oozing comfort and charm! The Redford-based pub offers down-to-earth environs; friendly, fast-moving servers; a well-stocked bar including a sizeable selection of Michigan craft brews; and a food menu featuring burgers, sandwiches, fish-n-chips, and other hearty pub fare.
With this visit, Redford is now represented on 100 Places in the D! It’s always exciting for me to feature another city on the blog. And it’s always exciting to celebrate the start of the weekend by taking that first bite of a rich, juicy cheeseburger, which Michno’s served up to me! I can also attest to its Trish’s Ultimate Reuben being excellent (a friend shared hers with me). And its fries. Michno’s fries were delectably crispy.
If you’re looking to feel at home in a cozy watering hole with fantastic food and fair prices, you can’t go wrong with Michno’s!
To visit Host is to have an EXPERIENCE! An immersive, thoughtfully curated, extremely delicious one. From its phenomenal food, drink, service, and ambiance, this restaurant in downtown Utica checks ALLLL the boxes.
Host is unique. Not only is it a restaurant-slash-coworking space, it also offers rotating residencies to chefs. That means that every month or two, there’s a brand-new menu!
Take a look at Host’s schedule for the next several months. As of the writing of this post (February 2023), Chef Mark Camaj (who helped open SheWolf) has curated an enticing array of Italian dishes. German food pop-up DeutschTroit will take residence for the month of March. Then Italian returns when Chef Michael Murabito brings a Sicilian Mediterranean menu in April and May. And chef duo Breakin’ Cornbread will kick off summer at Host with a menu described as “Big Energy Comfort Food,” available from June to mid-July. There’s tastiness for DAYS!
I visited Host in early November. Chefs Davante Burnley (now Host’s Executive Chef) and Kiluanji Watkins curated a menu of extreme deliciousness. Dining with three friends who love food as much as I do meant sharing a variety of dishes. These included the Confit Duck Pontine, Smoked Plum and Burrata, and Crudites (a spread of smoked pepper hummus, confit tomato and garlic, fresh vegetables, and grilled pita). Yes, these dishes were all as amazing as they sound! With its hand-cut fries topped with shredded duck, pecorino cheese, chives, and a sumptuously rich duck demi glaze that I could drink by the gallon, the Duck Pontine in particular was to die for.
That spread could have been a complete meal in itself, but you know we had to try more! We continued by ordering individual entrées. For me, that was the Lamb Bolognese. I’m a sucker for lamb Bolognese! And chefs Davante’s and Kiluanji’s version did not disappoint. Their ground lamb arrabbiata tossed with bucatini noodles and accented with shredded pecorino and fresh basil was full of flavor.
After eating our own dinners, our group reconvened the family-style experience, sharing the Cider Mill Donuts. And you know, based on everything else you’ve previously read, that those donuts were ABSOLUTELY as good as you’re imagining. Better, even! The fresh-fried donuts were oh-so-delectably crispy on the outside, soft and cakey on the inside. Tossed in cinnamon sugar, they were served with a house-made caramel sauce. And they were LIFE. What a mic drop to an amazing meal!
Throughout this exceptional culinary journey, we were also imbibing exceptional drinks. I started with the Avocadica, an intriguing concoction of tequila and mezcal infused with lime and spicy avocado. I ended with a fantastic rendition of a classic: an Old-Fashioned.
While at Host, my friends and I were well taken care of. Our server was great, friendly and attentive, and both the bartender and Chef Davante paid us visits. The bartender gave us drink recommendations, and we enjoyed thanking Chef Davante for our exquisite meal!
Ambiance-wise, I was totally feeling Host, too. The decor incorporates both natural and modern elements. Cut-outs in the wall behind the bar are covered with verdant moss, while an arrangement of dried plants and pendant lights hanging from the ceiling highlight a long table in the center of the restaurant. The tables are bedecked with vases of fresh flowers, and an art installation comprised of what look to be large, neutral-colored dried leaves, moss, and feathers is emblazoned with the restaurant’s name in neon-light letters. It all meshes into a vibe that’s both chic and cozy. It’s an ambiance that enhances the immersive feeling you get when you visit Host. You leave the everyday world behind for one that feels intimate, special.
Speaking of ambiance: I’m thinking I need to check out Host’s coworking space. Judging from pictures on Host’s website, it’s got ambiance for days, with plush leather chairs, exposed brick, and velvety green curtains. Packages range from the Office – which, at a fee of $1,100 a month, presumably hosts a team – to the $29-a-day drop-in fee for individuals.
Not only does the restaurant offer dinner, but it boasts a brunch menu, plus what it’s dubbed a “Coffee & Pastries Pop Up” on Mondays. Check Host out for yourself, and prepare to have an experience!
Nain Rouge Brewery, serving up sinfully good beer!
I discovered the Detroit-based brewery during birthday celebrations for moi last month. Friends ordered its beer during dinner at Smith & Co., and we noticed the brewery was right across the way. So we popped over for a round of drinks after, before continuing on to Willis Show Bar.
It turns out that Smith & Co. is the only restaurant to serve Nain Rouge’s wares. The brewery also works with Eastern Michigan University’s brewing school, according to its website, aiming to “help promote diversity in the beer industry.”
What an awesome partnership! Obviously, Nain Rouge Brewery’s character is nothing like its namesake’s, that legendary creature who is said to cause mayhem in the D. Nain Rouge the brewery was, in my experience, a welcoming place devoid of drama – a chill space to enjoy pre-show drinks. But the “red dwarf,” as its name translates, has left its imprint on the brewery – in the form of its devilishly delicious beer.
Nain Rouge’s current tap list boast a range of choices, from an amber lager to a coffee stout to a honey- and hibiscus-infused wheat beer. There are three kinds of IPAs, a kölsch, a pilsner – even an Oktoberfest selection. I went for the Wisehead Chocolate Vanilla Porter, and it was right up my alley: rich, tasty, smooth.
Maybe that’s how Nain Rouge the imp is able to sneak in and cause a ruckus: by being as smooth as Nain Rouge the brewery’s beers. Maybe Nain Rouge Brewery has more in common with its namesake than I initially thought!
A Saturday night spent with friends in Detroit: is there anything better? That’s especially the case when you’re dining on Smith & Co.’s Nain Rouge Mac & Cheese!
The Midtown/Cass Corridor-based restaurant and bar serves up hearty fare in a convivial environment. The interior ambiance can be described as upscale industrial: concrete floors, exposed beams, and destressed elements mixed with leather banquettes, gloss, and mod lighting.
Delving into the menu’s array of sandwiches, salads, pizzas, and entrées, I saw several choices that enticed me – the Korean Fried Chicken sandwich being one. I even toyed with the idea of getting a salad, intrigued by the Fried Green Tomato with its medley of kale, kamut, beans, radishes, red onion, snap peas, feta, croutons, mint, the titular tomatoes, and balsamic vinaigrette.
But the Nain Rouge Mac & Cheese won out – and I’m SO glad it did! The noodles were doused in creamy beer cheese and tossed with barbecue sauce-infused pulled beef, chunks of bacon, and fried onion. It was rich, flavorful, indulgent – the exact qualities you want a birthday dinner to have.
The drink I imbibed at Smith & Co. embodied those same traits. A luxurious mix of Kahlua, vodka, coffee, and dalgona topped with coffee foam, the Espresso Martini Chamber Seven was so nice, I ordered it twice! The current selection of specialty cocktails includes the Pumpkin Spice Old Fashioned and a seasonal sangria. Beer from nearby Nain Rouge Brewery is on draft, and for those who don’t drink, a Zero-Proof section features two mocktails and drinks from the likes of local leisure soda vendor, Casamara Club.
Celebrating my birthday with friends at Smith & Co. was wonderful – namely because of those friends’ company. But the delicious food and drink amplified the experience. Thanks, Smith & Co., for helping make this special day even more special!
Tucked away behind an unmarked door inside TigerLily sushi bar (formerly Antihero), the Ferndale-based speakeasy tiki bar is a whimsical kaleidoscope of colors and flavors: the perfect contrast to the muted winter landscape soon to befall Metro Detroit.
Mai offers an array of tropically inspired drinks served in the way characteristic of tiki bars: in visually arresting ceramic tiki mugs bedecked with fun garnishes such as mint leaves, pineapple wedges, and orchid blooms – or half a flaming lime (that’s the garnish for The Zombie!). The bulk of Mai’s specialty cocktails incorporate rum and fruit juices – another trait characteristic of tiki bars. But the drinks are much more nuanced than the ones you’d find at a stereotypical tiki bar (those kinds that cater to tourists in popular vacation spots). Mai’s incorporate interesting ingredients such as orgeat syrup, cinnamon, and pomegranate.
Take one of the drinks I ordered, The Jungle Bird. Its blackstrap rum, Campari, and demerara syrup melded with pineapple and lime juices to make a drink that was one part sweet, one part bitter – and one hundred percent delicious! I especially enjoyed the molasses flavor brought by the blackstrap rum.
But humans can’t live on wonderfully nuanced liquid libations alone. When you’re in need of nourishment after downing a Mai Tai or two, look to Mai’s food menu. The assortment of plates offer something for everyone, from veg lovers to meat-focused folks to seafood fanatics intrigued by the Mai Tiki Shrimp, Aku Roll, and three kinds of fish tacos (salmon, hamachi, and tuna).
I went the veg and meat route, ordering Mai’s Chicken Karage and Shishito Peppers. A flavorful yuzu chili aioli accompanied the tender Chicken Karage. And wonder accompanied the Shishito Peppers! The cooked peppers were topped with bonito flakes, which were moving – writhing all over the peppers.
Apparently, this is a common occurance. Bonito flakes are shaved dried fish; when sprinkled on hot foods, the heat causes them to rehydrate, and they start wiggling as a result. But it was my first time experiencing this phenomenon, and it was hard to shake the feeling that they were alive. Order those Shishito Peppers and play a party trick on your friends!
Party trick or not, visiting Mai Tiki Bar is a shindig in itself. Vibrant ambiance and compelling food and drink make it a escape worth taking.
Bowlero is a place to be! What a delightful time warp this bowling alley/bar is.
The locally-owned, Royal Oak-based Bowlero has been around since 1957. But its age isn’t the sole reason for its cool vintage looks; Bowlero was renovated in 2019. It’s intentionally retro, in a ’70s-heavy way, incorporating groovy design motifs, lots of orange, and throwback programming playing on the TVs (Grease the night I was there). The women’s room alone is a selfie-lover’s dream with its flashy pink-and-orange wallpaper, mirrors with cartoonishly-shaped frames holding cans of Aqua Net, and a Ms. Pac Man arcade game.
The area of Bowlero that has a decidedly more contemporary feel is the lounge. Retro elements are incorporated into the decor of the long, narrow room, but it has a more hipster than hippie feel. The bar serves up wine, beer and hard cider (including multiple Michigan brews), and specialty cocktails featuring Michigan-made spirits (Two James, Valentine, Detroit City Distillery, Petoskey’s Gypsy Vodka). One such cocktail is Bowlero’s take on a White Russian, The Bowlero Orange Russian: a blend of Gypsy Vodka, Tia Maria, Cointreau, and vegan creamer.
Besides offering 16 lanes of bowling and seasonal bowling leagues, Bowlero regularly features no-cover live music (every Friday and Saturday), themed nights (Punk Nite and 80s Video Night being two examples), karaoke, and other events. Check this calendar for the current line-up, then boogie on over to Bowlero!