Vegetarian/Vegan Options

418. Fattoush Lebanese Grill – July 19, 2019 – Clinton Township, MI

July2019Fattoush1 (3)July2019Fattoush2 (3)July2019Fattoush3 (2)Two reasons to get excited about Fattoush Lebanese Grill of Clinton Township: 1) its FANTASTIC Mediterranean cuisine and 2) DEEP-FRIED OREOS!!!

I don’t think Lebanese restaurant when I think purveyor of deep-fried Oreos, but Fattoush has got ’em, and let me tell you, they are an EXQUISITE with their fried, cakey outer coating, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate-and-cream center, ample drizzles of chocolate, caramel, and strawberry sauces, and whipped cream, strawberry, and powdered-sugar garnishes.

I didn’t know about the deep-fried Oreos before visiting Fattoush – or need them to bring me in the door (though I’m certainly thrilled to have encountered them). Mediterranean food is my JAM! I love discovering another Mediterranean restaurant in the Metro-D to add to my mental rolodex. So when a friend suggested meeting for dinner at Fattoush on a Friday night in mid-July, I was game.

One reason my friend knew about and liked Fattoush was because it has a noteworthy vegan menu. The restaurant has meatless takes on traditional Lebanese dishes (chicken and beef shawarma wraps made with Beyond meat) and other popular fare (a burger, nachos, and quesadilla made with animal-free protein). She enjoyed the vegan chicken shawarma wrap with its hefty pieces of plant-based chicken, juicy pickles, and zesty garlic sauce.

The main portion of Fattoush’s menu is extensive, showcasing classic Lebanese favorites such as grape leaves, hummus, and kibbee, tabouli salad and crushed lentil soup, kabobs and ghallaba. The dessert section boasts decadent fare in addition to those deep-friend Oreos: fried cheesecake, baklava, and a molten chocolate cake, for instance. Fresh juice and fruit smoothies are also served.

I’m fairly obsessed with fattoush salads at this stage in my life (they’ve got everything you need: zing and crunch and deep-fried pita!), so it was a no-brainer for me to order a large one with grilled chicken as my entrée during this visit. And Fattoush’s iteration of its namesake dish was excellent with its ample portion of tender, perfectly-seasoned grilled chicken, crispy pita pieces, zesty dressing, and fresh mix of romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and red onion. (Man, I’m so dearly craving that salad now!)

As a former server, there’s no way I could end this post on Fattoush without giving a shout-out to the wonderful waitress who took care of me and my friend there. She was prompt and friendly and incredibly welcoming.

This visit to Fattoush Lebanese Grill confirmed for me that the restaurant is not only for Mediterranean-food enthusiasts, it’s for food enthusiasts in general. With its ample vegan options, top-notch Lebanese cuisine, and ultra-luxe desserts (Deep-Fried Oreos 4L!!!), Fattoush offers something for everyone.

41170 Hayes Rd.

Clinton Twp., MI 48038

www.fattoushgrill.com

354. Detroit Vegan Soul – August 23, 2018 – Detroit, MI

August2018DetroitVeganSoul1 (2)August2018DetroitVeganSoul2 (2)August2018DetroitVeganSoul3 (4)Detroit Vegan Soul = my latest culinary crush!

If you’ve been following 100 Places in the D for any amount of time, you’ll know I’m not vegan (I praised a delectably beefy cheeseburger in my last post). But I eat a mostly processed-free, heavy-on-the-plants diet when I eat at home and enjoy trying out vegan and vegetarian restaurants due to my love of produce and clean eats.

Thusly, Detroit Vegan Soul was on my to-visit list; it had been for years. I decided this summer HAD to be the one I finally got over there and tried the Coconut “BLT” Wrap, for which I’d heard high praise.

After spontaneously asking a friend if she’d like to accompany me to the restaurant last Thursday, the Grandmont Rosedale-based location was the one we decided open (there’s another location – the original one – in the West Village neighborhood of Detroit). FINALLY, it was time for me to order up a dish of Detroit Vegan Soul!

When we arrived at the Northwest Detroit-area neighborhood with its grand old houses where Detroit Vegan Soul – West resides, I got excited. I’m an East-Side suburbanite and don’t venture much beyond the East-Side Detroit neighborhoods – unless I’m going to Southwest Detroit (so.much.culinary.goodness there!). Northwest Detroit is new territory for me – territory that I can’t wait to explore further.

This West-Side location of Detroit Vegan Soul is on Grand River Avenue, down the way from Pages Bookshop (an independent bookstore that has long been on my radar) and across the street from another soul food restaurant – of the meat variety – called Auntie Betty’s Café (which, with its constant stream of carryout customers and invitation to “Get Hooked” emblazoned on its windows, intrigued me).

But this post is not about those other places – this post is about Detroit Vegan Soul, which fully deserves the spotlight. From the ambiance to the service to the food, the experience it proffered was excellent.

The restaurant’s interior is fairly small but offers various seating options. It’s clean and pleasant, all dark wood, lime-green walls, and exposed-bulb lighting. Fronting the restaurant is a patio table that carryout guests can dine at (our server explained that Detroit Vegan Soul is in the process of getting this patio area adherent to zoning laws that will allow them to serve guests there).

Our server was great: polite, friendly, and attentive. He put in my friend’s order of the Soul Platter and mine of the Coconut “BLT” Wrap, and our meals came out promptly.

I was impressed by the amount of food that came with my order. This BLT wrap was hefty, loaded with coconut bacon, creamy avocado, juicy tomato, crisp lettuce, and Vegenaise (which is – you guessed it – a mayonnaise substitute). I got it with a whole-wheat wrap; a raw collard leaf was also a wrap option.

With my first bite into this Coconut “BLT” Wrap, I was blown away by how much the coconut bacon tasted like actual bacon! I didn’t notice the inherent coconut flavor at all at first – all I noticed was the smoky bacon-y goodness. Eventually, I did become aware of the coconut’s original flavor profile – but it didn’t matter, because the sandwich was so delicious. The coconut bacon was cut in little chips – like bacon bits – rather than in thick slices as I’d expected.

A fresh spinach salad with a zesty dressing was a lovely accompaniment to the wrap – as were the yam fries. They were cut into coin shapes like chips but soft on the inside like a typical fry; the seasoning on them was AMAZING.

I ate heartily of this meal and had enough remaining on my plate to take leftovers home. I found the amount of food included with the Coconut “BLT” Wrap a great value for the $9.69 price tag, especially considering that vegan/vegetarian/clean-eating establishments can be pricey.

BTW, my friend loved the Soul Platter, which consisted of dairy-free mac-and-cheese, collard greens, black-eyed peas and rice, glazed yams (her favorite part), and a cornbread muffin.

It was obvious during the course of our visit that it wasn’t just us who had fallen in love with Detroit Vegan Soul. While the place was mostly empty when my friend and I walked in around 6:30 p.m., we watched it fill up over the next hour with dine-in patrons and carryout guests. By the end of our visit, the line of people waiting to reach the counter ended near the front door. Look at you, Detroit Vegan Soul, garnering culinary crushes left and right!

19614 Grand River Ave.

Detroit, MI 48223

(with another location on Agnes Street in the West Village neighborhood of Detroit; check website for each location’s specific hours and days of operation)

www.detroitvegansoul.com

104. The Clean Plate – February 14, 2015 – Shelby Township, MI

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I had been wanting to try this place for a while now, and I finally made it over for a lovely little Valentine’s Day lunch. You know me and my curiosity toward vegan and vegetarian food! I just enjoy food that is healthy and fresh but flavorful, too. Life is too short to eat bland, boring food! The Clean Plate seems to get that. It’s owned by the same people who own Cacao Tree Café in Royal Oak (which I visited last April). That place is totally vegan, but The Clean Plate is more vegetarian – offering the option of both dairy cheese and vegan cheese, for instance. The vegetarian chili on cornbread with dairy cheese that I had was hearty and delicious. It had butternut squash in it instead of the fake tofu meat of which I am so not a fan – though there are some items offered with tofu and tempeh in them if you’re into it, and The Clean Plate does also offer the option of the delicious ground-nut meat that Cacao Tree Café has and of which I’m a fan. The staff was very attentive and friendly, too. It’s great to have an organic vegetarian place on this side of town, specifically one that is so high-quality.

45629 Hayes Rd.

Shelby Twp., MI 48315

http://cleanplate4u.com/

98. Inn Season – January 10, 2015 – Royal Oak, MI

20150110_142427This frigid but sunny Saturday afternoon I headed over to Royal Oak and my first lunch at Inn Season. I’d seen a lot of mixed reviews about the place on Yelp regarding service – but it was super-prompt and friendly on my visit, to the point where my friend and I felt like we were being total slowpokes. And the coconut curry special dish I had was scrumptious – a veggie mix including sweet potatoes, spinach, and red peppers served with saffron rice and a delicious apple chutney. Whether you are a vegetarian/vegan or a devoted omnivore like me, check this place out if you are looking to eat more clean in 2015.

500 E. Fourth St.

Royal Oak, MI 48067

www.theinnseasoncafe.com

49. Amici’s – August 22, 2014 – Berkley, MI

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Photo courtesy of http://www.amicispizza.com

I am so bummed, because I took some pictures of Amici’s delightfully flower-festooned patio, but I accidentally deleted them off of my phone, thinking I had already emailed them to myself . . . yeah. So the picture of the patio above is one from the Amici’s website. The restaurant’s interior itself is cute, but as you can see, the patio is where you gotta be on a gorgeous summer day!

I love that this pizza place is a Certified Green Restaurant and that they offer some really unique pies. I ordered the Caribbean spicy jerk chicken pizza, which has a ginger-peanut sauce – quite a surprising flavor for a pizza (I wasn’t really sure about it at first, but it grew on me). I hope to try the black bean pizza when I return.

Probably my favorite part about Amici’s, however, was the two full pages of specialty martinis that they offer. I chose the salted caramel pretzel-tini – yum!

3249 Twelve Mile Rd.

Berkley, MI 48072

http://www.amicispizza.com