Troy

467. Knapp’s Donuts – February 21, 2020 – Troy, MI

February2020Knapp'sDonuts1 (2)February2020Knapp'sDonuts2 (2)As of the writing of this post, Knapp’s Donuts is one of the many Metro-Detroit-area businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic; its doors are currently closed. With any luck, both its Rochester and Troy-based locations – the latter of which I recently visited – will reopen soon, and we can all enjoy its delightful donuts again.

After years of hearing my mom rave about Knapp’s Donuts and wanting to try them myself, I finally made that happen when I stopped there on a Friday morning in February. I was on my way to my last day at a job that I’d worked at for 4.5 years, and I thought it would be nice to bring my team (and myself) some donuts.

I picked out eight donuts in a variety of flavors, including Boston crème, chocolate glazed, cinnamon-sugar, and sour cream.

I knew I had to try the sour cream, as that varietal has become a personal favorite in recent years. It was SO delicious: perfectly moist on the inside and crispy-fried on the outside, with a honey-sweet glaze. I could see from eating that sour cream donut what all the hype around Knapp’s was about!

I also got to try one of its chocolate glazed donuts, which was quite tasty, too; my coworkers who opted in on the baked goodies enjoyed them, as well.

Once Knapp’s is open again, I have a feeling its patrons are going to be rejoicing by grabbing its delectable donuts by the dozens! May that time come quickly.

6057 Rochester Rd.

Troy, MI 48085

(with an additional location in Rochester)

441. Old Detroit Burger Bar – October 25, 2019 – Troy, MI

October2019OldDetroitBurgerBar1 (3)October2019OldDetroitBurgerBar2 (3)I love a big, juicy burger any day of the week, but especially on Fridays. Because burgers scream “TGIF!” to me!

Old Detroit Burger Bar is serving up the big, juicy burger goodness any day of the week, not solely Fridays. But my recent visit to the local restaurant chain’s Troy location did fall on a Friday – and I was vibing hard on its TGIF-infused aura.

The restaurant’s interior is sleek sports bar with a comfy feel: lots of browns and grays and glossy wood, accented with neon-blue fluorescent lighting. A bar with wraparound seating dominates one section; flat-screen TVs abound and are tuned in to the sport matches du jour.

Old Detroit Burger Bar’s food menu showcases much more than its namesake item: it’s got appetizers, entrée salads, sandwiches, and dishes such as Homemade Lasagna Dinner and The Lake St. Clair (fish and chips, naturally). It even serves its rendition of a Coney dog and a loose Coney burger. But my eyes were zeroed in on its burger section because: see Paragraph 1.

Names of Old Detroit Burger Bar hamburgers have a local slant to them. There’s The Ambassador, The Michigan Ave., the I-75. That last burger, by the way, is a two-pounder loaded with grilled onions, jalapeños, and American, Swiss, AND cheddar cheeses, served with Thousand Island dressing. According to Old Detroit Burger Bar’s website, if you finish one of those behemoths, you can get your picture added to a wall of fame devoted to I-75 slayers.

And there’s the burger I decided to order, The Vernor. The half-pound hamburger is bringing Southwest Detroit-inspired flair with its jalapeños, green peppers, guacamole, American and cheddar cheeses, and sour cream served on the side. I opted for tater tots to accompany mine.

My table’s food came out quickly, and I used the steak knife stabbed into my Vernor burger to cut its hefty form in half. It was everything I’d hoped it would be: juicy, beefy, cheesy, spicy, guac-laden deliciousness! The tater tots were tantalizingly crispy, greasy nuggets of spud.

My Vernor burger was so big that I was easily able to save a chunk of it to take home – though it was so tasty that I did ponder devouring the whole thing then and there (maybe if there was a wall of fame involved, I would have!).

3946 Rochester Rd.

Troy, MI 48083

(With additional locations in Lapeer, Lake Orion, and Clawson)

www.olddetroitburgerbar.com

411. Royal Indian Cuisine – June 4, 2019 – Troy, MI

June2019RoyalIndian1 (2)I’m always down to eat Indian food; I dig it (it hearts spice and flavor as much as I do). So when a friend suggested a visit to one of her favorite Indian restaurants, Royal Indian Cuisine in Troy, I was game.

Royal Indian’s menu proffers a plethora of classic Indian dishes, soups, appetizers, tandoori breads, and desserts. Selections are clearly marked as vegetarian or non-vegetarian, which was helpful for my vegan friend. A daily lunch buffet is also offered.

I ordered one of my Indian-cuisine staples during my visit to Royal Indian: Aloo Gobi, with its chunks of potato and cauliflower in their rich, spicy sauce. I also enjoyed a side of Garlic Naan bread, because: naan (enough said!).

3877 Rochester Rd.

Troy, MI 48083

www.myroyalindiancuisine.com

393. Cantoro Trattoria – February 16, 2019 – Troy, MI

February2019Cantoro1 (2)February2019Cantoro2 (2)February2019Cantoro3 (2)I love Italian food; it’s so rich and comforting and luxurious on the palate! At least, it’s all of those things when it’s done well. And, as I discovered on a chilly evening in mid-February, Cantoro Trattoria in Troy does Italian well.

My mom and stepdad had been raving about the restaurant for months, so I was excited to finally visit it with them for dinner. I was impressed by its sleek modern interior; the prompt, friendly, and polite service that we received; and the delicious cuisine.

The Napoli Caprese salad we shared, for instance, was excellent with its luscious mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar. So was my entrée, the Tagliatelle alla Bolognese with its weighty house-made noodles and hearty tomato sauce laden with pancetta and ground beef, veal, and sausage.

Cantoro’s menu is loaded with delectable-sounding offerings such as these. It offers a variety of appetizers, pizzas, pastas, and grill items such as Costoletta di Vitello (veal rib chop) and Branzino alla Griglia (Mediterranean sea bass).

Sitting there in the glitzy dining room of Cantoro Trattoria, sipping red wine and enjoying great food and company, I felt as cozy as can be despite the freezing outdoor temperature. My heart was warm, and my stomach was full – who can ask for anything else?

1695 E. Big Beaver Rd.

Troy, MI 48083

(With an additional location in Plymouth)

www.cantorotrattoria.com/troy

375. Gran Castor – November 13, 2018 – Troy, MI

November2018GranCastor1 (3)November2018GranCastor2 (2)November2018GranCastor3 (2)Gran Castor: you WOW’ed me!

It’s always thrilling to dine at a new-to-me restaurant I’ve been looking forward to trying and have it exceed my expectations. That’s what Gran Castor, the latest opening by the Union Joints restaurant group (which also owns local faves the Clarkston Union, Union Woodshop, Vinsetta Garage, Honcho, and Fenton Fire Hall) did when I visited it on a Tuesday evening several weeks ago.

Remember what restaurant was previously located at the intersection of Big Beaver and Rochester roads in Troy? That’s right: a Hooters. Now the building that housed that notorious chain-franchise purveyor of wings is Gran Castor, the restaurant/coffee bar with a gorgeous aesthetic and delectable cuisine.

Check out the above photos of Gran Castor’s dining area, complete with pleasing pops of color, mod Southwestern vibes, cozy seating areas, and eye-catching fireplace-in-the-round. Is it not STUNNING? I immediately felt a boost of happiness when I settled into that bright, beautiful, welcoming space for an after-work dinner with a friend.

Gran Castor’s food menu reminds me of that of one of its sister restaurants, Honcho of Clarkston. While the overall vibe of the cuisine is Latin, ingredients of Asian origin are prevalent in dishes such as fried chicken tacos with a “spicy soy fish sauce glaze” and a rice bowl including “kimchi house pickled jalapeño and carrots.”

It becomes even more apparent what a fusion menu Gran Castor’s is when you check out the pizza section and see how many traditionally Latin ingredients are included in the offerings there: see the Papas y Chorizo pizza with its chorizo sausage, mole rojo, and salsa criolla and The Mallmann with its chimichurri sauce and queso fresco.

For my entrée, I went with a relatively un-fusion-y offering: the Gran Castor Burrito stuffed with pulled pork. With its tender meat, smoked cheddar cheese, black beans, cactus pico, lettuce, and queso sauce, plus sides of refried beans and cilantro-lime rice, it was incredibly flavorful and satisfying.

I saved half of the large-and-in-charge Gran Castor Burrito to take home and looked toward the dessert menu. My friend and I were psyched to see that as at Honcho, that menu included fresh-fried mini donuts with chocolate and caramel dipping sauces. We opted for an order to share.

If I’m remembering correctly, eight donuts came standard with that dessert, and our server was kind enough to throw in a few more. These donuts were AMAZING: freshly fried, pillowy-soft-on-the-inside, crisp-on-the-outside decadence – especially when dipped in the rich chocolate and caramel sauces.

Our awesome server went above and beyond in offering us a top-notch dining experience, throwing in a sample of Gran Castor’s house-made soft serve for each of us, as well, and WOW – my mind and taste buds were BLOWN by how YUM that stuff was. The twisty soft serve included the cinnamony Mexican Dark Chocolate flavor and the wonderfully nuanced Vanilla-Chamomile. I loved, loved, LOVED both.

And I loved Gran Castor. From its striking interior and delicious cuisine to its stand-out service, it offered a memorable dining experience that had me super enthused about the prospect of a repeat visit (I NEED more of that soft-serve in my life!).

2950 Rochester Rd.

Troy, MI 48083

www.grancastor.com

306. Peppy’s Pizza – February 13, 2018 – Troy, MI

February2018Peppys2 (2)February2018Peppys3 (3)February2018Peppys4 (3)You know that place in your neighborhood that you’ve passed by for years and always meant to visit but still haven’t? That was Peppy’s for me – until I went there for the first time last Tuesday.

Peppy’s is not in my neighborhood, per say, but it’s close to where my mom and stepdad live, so I’ve driven by it a lot over the years – so much so that it feels like it’s in my neighborhood. My mom had told me that the little carryout joint made good pasties and other foods such as pizza, subs, and baked goods, and I’d long been curious to check it out.

Fast-forward to last week when, in the throes of a ravenous attack of hunger, I finally made a pit stop at the place after spontaneously deciding to pull into Peppy’s parking lot on the way to my mom’s house. New-place time!

Peppy’s neat, tiny storefront interior was dominated by glass display cases of pasties and other baked goodies, plus large overhead menus including chicken, ribs, pierogies, salads, fish ‘n’ chips, appetizer side dishes, and desserts such as seven-layer cake and baklava – in addition to an extensive selection of pizza, pasties, and grinders.

I’ve never met a piece of baklava that I didn’t like, so I knew I had to add two pieces of the pistachio variety to my order. I also picked up two of the pasties, one beef and one spinach-and-feta.

The pasties were large; cutting them in half produced two solid pie-like slices. Both were delicious! The spinach-and-feta one was especially amazing with its rich, savory filling, and the beef pasty was warming and hearty with its ground meat, cubed potatoes, diced carrot, and onion. The crust used for both was addictively good.

And the baklava! It was soooo on point, with its butter- and honey-saturated, nut-studded layers of phyllo dough (DELECTABLE!). I think I need to add “eat more baklava” to my list of 2018 resolutions – for real!

If adding more baklava to your life sounds like a fine goal to you, too, go check out Peppy’s! And while you’re at it, pick up some dinner from that extensive carryout menu (unless the baklava IS dinner, which does sound like a very fine dinner, indeed!).

5965 Livernois Rd.

Troy, Mi 48098

(Open 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays; closed Sundays)

www.peppyspizza.com

268. Steelhouse Tavern – August 16, 2017 – Troy, MI

20170816_19182620170816_19175120170816_183754I tried my first Monte Cristo waffle via brunch at Red Crown this July, but it wasn’t until my visit to Steelhouse Tavern in Troy last month that I had my first legit sandwich-version Monte Cristo.

I know the Monte Cristo sandwich is said to have evolved from the Croque Monsieur, the traditional French ham-and-cheese sandwich, but man, is this one of the most American things I have ever eaten! A sandwich loaded with two kinds of meat (turkey and ham), two kinds of cheese (Swiss and American), and raspberry jelly; dunked in tempura batter; deep-fried to a delectable crispiness; dusted with powdered sugar (because why not?); and served with tater tots, those venerable nuggets of potato goodness? That is ‘Merica with a Capital “M,” my friends!

I know I’m a ‘Merican at heart because despite finding much of what goes on in this country these days completely bonkers, and despite how into healthy, whole-foods-based eating I am, I still relish the chance to go out and ingest my entire day’s saturated-fat intake in one sitting via a glorious grease-bomb such as Steelhouse Tavern’s Monte Cristo sandwich. Because meat-and-cheese-and-sweet-and-deep-fried is a combo that refuses to be ignored!

I experienced this glorious first brush with Steelhouse’s Monte Cristo while sitting out on its patio enjoying happy hour. From 4 to 6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, you get access to a happy-hour menu with food and drink deals such as $5 appetizers and half-off select cocktails if you sit on the patio or in the bar area. The Monte Cristo wasn’t a happy-hour deal, but I did get to savor a Steelhouse Vesper cocktail and some Smoked Pork Nachos at the discounted rates.

I loved Steelhouse’s covered patio. Sure, it faces the strip-mall parking lot, but the patio itself is beautiful, with dark wicker chairs, sleek high-top bar stools, cool accent lighting, flat-screen TVs, and a fire pit. The sophisticated-tavern vibe carries on to the interior of the restaurant, which is glossy yet welcoming. There’s a big round bar near the entrance that was packed with patrons on the night I was there.

If you’re looking to visit Steelhouse Tavern but are interested in healthier fare than the Monte Cristo, its menu includes more sensible choices such as the Steelhouse Sirloin Steak, Cedar Plank Salmon, and Seared Ahi Tuna Salad in addition to the traditional bar fare (burgers, wings, nachos, and sandwiches). Because let’s face it: while meat-and-cheese-and-sweet-and-deep-fried is a combo that refuses to be ignored, it’s not one that’s practical to ingest on a daily basis.

1129 E. Long Lake Rd.

Troy, MI

www.steelhousetroy.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

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