Vegan

435. Unburger Grill – September 24, 2019 – Dearborn, MI

September2019Unburger1 (2)September2019Unburger3 (2)September2019Unburger2 (2)Unburger Grill, you phenomenal purveyor of vegan goodness, you had my palate exclaiming “WOW!” over and over during my recent visit to you!

I’m not vegan – or vegetarian – but I enjoy eating plant-based cuisine. Impressive vegan and vegetarian establishments reside in the Metro-D, making the meatless fare taste as good as – or better than – the animal-based originals.

Unburger Grill in Dearborn is one of those impressive vegan establishments. The fast-casual restaurant serves burgers with house-made patties made from plants; Black Bean Portobello, Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini, Sweet Potato and Quinoa, and Ultimate (described on Unburger’s website menu as “using a blend of the best vegan meat alternatives available”) are the varieties offered.

Diners choose what patty and bun they’d like for the style of burger they select at Unburger: Basic, Mushroom Swiss, Southwestern, Mac Style, or Sweet BBQ. The restaurant also serves vegan sandwiches, sausages, salads, soups, nachos, air-fried French fries, and other veggie-based sides.

A fact I didn’t know before the writing of this post: Dearborn has two downtown areas, West Downtown Dearborn and East Downtown Dearborn. Unburger is located in West Downtown Dearborn.

I’d never seen any downtown area of Dearborn and was excited to discover for myself the area where Unburger is located. It’s super cute! My friend who accompanied me to Unburger and I got enthused about exploring it more in the future.

Behind Unburger and some adjacent businesses is a courtyard with tables where patrons can sit and enjoy their meals. After walking into Unburger and ordering our burgers at the counter, we sat at one of the tables outside and waited for our burgers to be brought to us. They arrived quickly.

I ordered the Mac Style burger with a Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini patty and whole-grain bun, plus a side of the air-fried French fries. It was A-MAZING. The Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini patty was SO full of flavor; it was wonderful. It was definitely the best vegan patty I’ve ever had, hands-down!

Honestly, I found myself liking that Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini patty better than a traditional beef patty – and that’s high praise from me, as I LOVE red meat. Unburger, look at you, making me a plant-based burger convert!

It wasn’t only the Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini patty on my Mac Style burger that was deliciously flavorful – the entire burger was, too. The Mac Style burger was – you guessed it – a vegan riff on McDonald’s Big Mac. It was delicious with its lettuce, onion, pickles, vegan cheese, and Thousand Island dressing – and hefty, to boot. Between eating that Big Mac and the crispy French fries, I was stuffed upon leaving Unburger!

Another thing I liked about Unburger was that the staff was really nice. How employees treat me at a place definitely makes a difference in how I recall it; excellent meals can be marred by snotty staff, and I appreciate how lovely the staff at Unburger was the night of my visit. Thanks, Unburger, for being so welcoming – and for cooking up fare that is both healthful and INCREDIBLY TASTY!

22018 Michigan Ave.

Dearborn, MI 48124

www.unburgergrill.com

392. Chili Mustard Onions – February 9, 2019 – Detroit, MI

February2019ChiliMustardOnions6 (2)February2019ChiliMustardOnions2 (2)February2019ChiliMustardOnions4 (2)February2019ChiliMustardOnions5 (2)Chili Mustard Onions is in the house!!!!!

I’m not a vegan, but I don’t mind playing one sometimes – especially if it means eating at an establishment as phenomenal as this one. Chili Mustard Onions is serving up the FLAVOR!

The vegan restaurant is modeled after a Coney Island, except that its gyros, Coney dogs, nachos, and chili-cheese fries are chockful of plant-based ingredients rather than animal products. And I was totally digging it during my February visit.

Besides proffering plant-based versions of the above-mentioned dishes and others such as pitas, sandwiches, and a Big Mock burger, Chili Mustard Onions features a drink menu full of vegan beers, wines, and spirits. Non-alcoholic drinks such as iced tea, pop, and kombucha are also available. Vegan soft serve and other desserts are offered, too.

I’m a big fan of chili fries, so I knew I had to try CMO’s Chili Cheeze Fries. I also opted for the Beetball Sub, followed by a slice of chocolate cake that was modeled after a Snickers bar, with peanuts and layers of chocolate- and caramel-flavored frostings.

Those Chili Cheeze Fries, you guys – they were fantastic. In the almost six months since I have lunched at Chili Mustard Onions, I have not stopped thinking about those fries! They were so, so, so, SO good. They were frankly better than the real, meat-laden thing. The chili was more like a gravy; it didn’t have any chunks of plant-based meat in it, which I preferred, as I’m not a big fan of traditional meat substitutes such as tofu and tempeh. And the cheese sauce! Wow, did it taste like the real thing! It was creamy and savory and delicious.

The Beetball Sub was amazing, too. The meatballs were made from beets and a combination of other plant-based ingredients; I believe there was tofu in them, for instance. Again, I didn’t feel like I was eating fake meat but extreme deliciousness. I enjoyed the Beetball’s cashew-based mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and its rich, tomato-y sauce.

And then came the Snickers cake, which was chocolatey, decadent goodness. A satisfied appetite and very full stomach came along with it.

This first visit of Blog Year Six for 100 Places in the D was most definitely a memorable one. I’m confident that Chili Mustard Onion is going to end up in my list of top-ten visits for the year. I’m also excitedly anticipating a revisit – possibly this week, as a friend has mentioned she’d like to try the restaurant, and I am totally down for the ride. Chili Cheeze Fries, here I come!

3411 Brush St.

Detroit, MI 48201

 

187. Greenspace Café – August 31, 2016 – Ferndale, MI

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Hello, all! It’s official: summer is OVER!

Ok, according to the calendar, it’s not, but everyone knows that Labor Day signals the end of summer here in Michigan. Long-stretching daylight, flavorful tomatoes, and searing heat, I will miss thee!

I am one of those rare few who relishes an 85-degrees temperature and full-bore sunshine, so this week I will enjoy what are probably the last few days of that until, what, nine months from now? Yikes.

The good news? We’ve got fall on the docket. And autumn here in the Metro-D is pretty damn delightful. I am not ready to let go of summer, but jewel-toned leaves, fresh cider-house donuts, and the recent reemergence of my beloved oversized fleece sweatpants (best purchase EVER) will make its exit a little more bearable. I do love fall!

When I met a friend for drinks at Greenspace Café in Ferndale around 8 p.m. last Wednesday, there was already a chilly autumn-esque nip in the air on an otherwise gorgeous night. But sipping the deliciously nuanced rosebud, vanilla bean, and blood orange-infused American Beauty martini made the prospect of grabbing hold of summer and hanging on tightly a sweet possibility.

I’ve incredibly impressed with Greenspace’s attention to detail in providing a clean-eating dining experience. According to its website, owner and cardiologist Dr. Joel Kahn’s mission is to aid in preventing heart attacks by promoting a vegan, preservative- and GMO-free diet via his restaurant’s offerings. He and his family have done an impeccable job in curating the menus. Here’s what Greenspace’s website had to say about its cocktail menu: “Even all alco­hol is researched to assure no dyes, no added sul­fites, and no ani­mal prod­ucts are used in the fin­ing process.”

How many restaurants can actually say they’ve done that?

Even the water used to wash your hands in the restroom has been thoroughly cleaned by  a UV sterilizer and filtration system. I have no idea what a UV sterilizer is or what it does, but I most certainly appreciate the dedication to keeping icky crap out of my body!

Additionally, local organic raw juice purveyor DROUGHT has a counter inside the restaurant where it offers its wares (though its hours of operation appear to vary at least somewhat from the restaurant’s; the counter was closed when I was there). Some of its concoctions are ingredients in several Greenspace cocktails – making spirit-imbibing a healthier activity (yay)!

It’s safe to say that I will be back at Greenspace to sample its cuisine. I’m intrigued by the prospect of its vegan (cashew) cheese board.

215 W Nine Mile Rd.

Fer­n­dale, MI 48220

(Open Tuesday through Saturday)

www.greenspacecafe.com

81. Seva – November 8, 2014 – Detroit, MI

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The delicious General Tso’s Cauliflower

I pushed through my fear of driving downtown yesterday for a lovely lunch at Seva in Midtown (not difficult to get to at all – just remember that Woodward construction and take the Make Ave. exit on I-75). Seva serves vegan and vegetarian dishes; even though I’m neither, I love good food, and the food is good here. In fact, the General Tso’s Cauliflower is amazing – a must-get!

66 E. Forest Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

http://www.sevarestaurant.com

29. Om Café – June 13, 2014 – Ferndale, MI

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I had lunch here and really enjoyed it. My Buddhist priest stir-fry was amazingly delicious, and my server was incredibly pleasant and knowledgeable.

Even though I’m not a vegan or vegetarian (and Om Café is a vegan/vegetarian joint), I love eating at these kinds of places, because I love healthy dishes that feature whole, unprocessed ingredients. I would highly recommend this place.

23136 Woodward Ave.
Ferndale, MI 48220

http://omcafe.squarespace.com

8. Cacao Tree Café – April 5, 2014 – Royal Oak, MI

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Delicious organic vegan meals are offered here. Above is a picture of the burrito I ordered. The “meat” is a seasoned mix of walnuts, almonds, and sunflower seeds; I really appreciated how tasty it was, as I haven’t been able to stand any other fake meat I’ve had in the past. This was incredibly healthy AND great-tasting – yay!

204 W. 4th St.

Royal Oak, MI 48067