Small Plates

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

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232. Otus Supply – February 18, 2017 – Ferndale, MI

20170218_173945-220170218_180659-220170218_192810-220170218_182632-220170218_1851121Otus Supply! From its F’IN PHENOMENAL food to its mesmerizing hipster ambience, the recently opened Ferndale restaurant has me enamored with it. Can you tell by the number of photos I’ve included?

OK, part of my photog enthusiasm here was due to having recently gotten a new phone with a better camera. I’m not someone who puts a lot of stock in cellphones; sometimes I wish they were never invented on account of how they’re glued into all of our hands 24/7. But you know what? Having a pristine, speedy-moving, bug-free Galaxy S7 instead of my previous phone with its so-so camera, lethargic GPS system, and lemon battery that took twice-a-day charging is GLORIOUS. And emojis – I have a full span of emojis on my cell for the first time ever! This is life-changing!

Shamefully only half-kidding around my enthusiasm here. If we can’t go back to the days when no one except Zack Morris and our rich uncles had cell phones, I guess I’ll jump onto the pro-smart-phone bandwagon if it means I get to text people little pictures of burritos and kitties with heart eyes. I’ll simply refuse to be glued to mine and will continue to keep it on vibrate and ignore it much of the time, much to my mother’s chagrin (sorry, Mom!).

But I digress. Back to Otus Supply and how awesome it is! A friend and I decided to meet there after realizing that Ferndale is the perfect halfway point between our respective far-flung East- and West-side homes. I was surprised to see that the restaurant isn’t right in the thick of the 9 Mile-and-Woodward epicenter of downtown Ferndale but a bit east of it, just past the Go Comedy! Improv Theater (which I somehow haven’t visited yet after years of wanting to – new-place alert!) on 9 Mile. It has its own (tiny) parking lot, which is quite a distinction given the focus on metered public parking in the area.

The interior décor is a conglomeration I’ll call boho-rustic-industrial-chic: lots of wood, exposed copper duct-work, Persian rugs, brocade-print wallpaper, mysterious artwork. The sum of these design details is a pleasantly otherworldly vibe that I highly endorse. I’m all about a little escapism here and there.

The menu is a mix of small plates and a few entrée-sized items. My friend and I shared the Ourgherita – Otus Supply’s rendition of the Margherita pizza – and the sourdough-encrusted fried chicken, which were excellent. We also couldn’t resist ordering dessert and devoured the ice-cream-topped apple crumble served in a mason jar and the S’mores Thingy, essentially a gloriously deconstructed S’more with chocolate-and-salted-caramel-flavored macaroons, chocolate mousse, graham cracker pieces, and toasted meringue standing in for the marshmallows. Damn, were they both good!

And Hang Up Your Hang Ups, the rum- and sweet vermouth-based cocktail incorporating tamarind, pink peppercorn, coconut, and black garlic shavings, proved to be aptly named, as its alcohol-packed-prowess certainly helped me to forget my troubles for a while. A mix of signature cocktails, a wide-ranging selection of craft beers, and a few wine-by-the-glass options round out the drink menu.

Ferndale, you’ve got another beauty in this one! Welcome to the fold, Otus Supply, and I’m sure we’ll become reacquainted real soon.

345 E. 9 Mile Rd.

Ferndale, MI 48220

www.otussupply.com

225. Katoi – January 18, 2017 – Detroit, MI

20170118_17380620170118_17390120170118_173909The first half of January, I didn’t do any exploring – I was too busy recovering from the busy holiday season and acclimating to 2017, I guess! I’d been dying to get down to Detroit for weeks and weeks, and I was there to see Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Fisher Theatre the week after New Year’s – but alas, no exploring of new places occurred then (the neighborhood around Fisher Theatre is sorely lacking in restaurants and bars –  local restaurateurs, scope it out!). So I was psyched to have an excuse to go downtown again on the 18th – not only because I was going to the Red Wings/Bruins game thanks to a generous friend who gifted me a ticket for Christmas, but also because I knew we’d be trying at least one new place (yay to friends who are open to exploring!).

I was especially enthused when my friend said she was down for dining at Katoi. The Thai restaurant, which opened last year, had been on my radar thanks to a coworker who is supplying the restaurant with her free-range, organic pork. She’d praised the creativity and skill of the head chef and commented on the unique space that housed the restaurant.

Apparently, I wasn’t paying enough attention when she spoke about the building, because I didn’t realize that Katoi is housed in what appears to be a former auto shop. It’s also on a stretch of Michigan Avenue in Corktown that’s less lively than the strip that houses Sugar House and Slow’s and Astro Coffee and Gold Cash Gold about a third of a mile down. Perhaps the desolation I felt was summoned by the GPS navigating us off of Michigan Ave. to the trash-strewn alley behind the restaurant, telling us that we had arrived . . . yeah, NO, GPS.

At any rate, the outside of Katoi is nondescript and deceptive, belying the awesomeness that is inside. Stepping across the threshold of this former industrial building, I stepped into – what else? – a trendy, intimate dining space, all exposed brick, frosted glass, and colorful lighting. Like so many other buildings in Detroit, this one has been reborn into something completely different from what it once was. I never tire of discovering the various incarnations of this city. The repurposing, the creativity – it’s so exciting!

The menu presented so many intriguing options that it was hard to select only a few. Most dishes were more like small plates than full-blown entrees, so my friend and I ended up sharing four: the Stir-Fried Brussels Sprouts with a cashew cream sauce, the nuanced Thrice Cooked Sweet Potatoes, the spicy Drunken Pastrami Noodles, and the meaty Crispy Spareribs coated with a caramel fish sauce crust. All were delicious, but the vegetable dishes were our hands-down faves; they were so flavorful! My friend and I were like, “We need someone to cook us vegetables this delicious every day!”

We also had some KILLER cocktails whose names I neglected to take note of. Mine was pink, grapefruit-infused, flavorful, and strong.

When we left Katoi around 6:45 to head to the Joe, the tiny waiting area was packed, and the lot, alleyway, and street outside the restaurant were littered with cars parked every-which-way. Not a bad draw for a Wednesday night in the middle of winter!

2520 Michigan Ave.

Detroit, MI 48216

www.katoidetroit.com

 

203. La Feria – October 27, 2016 – Detroit, MI

20161027_202617.jpg20161027_192528.jpgHey everyone! Happy Sunday! I hope you’re getting a chance to get out and explore today. I’ll be hitting a new place for the blog myself today (brunch date with the gals!), but here I’m going to recount the excellent dinner I had Thursday night at La Feria, a Spanish tapas restaurant in Midtown.

It was such a treat to be in Detroit on a work night! They can feel dreary for me sometimes, with all of the to-dos I pile on myself as a textbook Type-A person. Go to the gym and make dinner and clean up and make tomorrow’s lunch and clean the cat box and don’t forget to pay that one bill . . .. While I appreciate my responsible nature, I’m super-grateful for the adventurous part of me that loves to get out and try new things – and for my friends who similarly enjoy and encourage that. My good friend Jaclyn is the reason I was down in the D Thursday, enjoying a hard cider at Motor City Brewing Works and then bustling over in the chill (I busted out my gloves on Thursday, guys! Wasn’t it frickin’ freezing?) to La Feria’s warm and cozy interior.

Seating is limited in this tiny restaurant. There were no tables open when our group of four arrived, so we opted to sit at the bar. We shared a bottle of white wine and 10 small-plates dishes – well, 11 counting dessert (crispy fried churros with chocolate dipping sauce!). Our fare varied from pork coated in a cumin-and-sticky-rice breading (excellent), to spinach with chick peas, to toasted bread smeared in garlicky sheep’s cheese (so simple, yet phenomenal). Our bartender gave us excellent service, recommending two wines based on our preferences and giving us ample tastings of them so we could properly deliberate.

4130 Cass Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.laferiadetroit.com