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DTW "Jewmas" restaurant recommendation for two Shicksas

I didn't take Elyssa's advice to Mrs. Bridges, and indeed I got lectured when I called today at 4:45pm requesting a Christmas Eve dinner reservation. They said my family MAYBE could come at 9:30pm.

Thus, I ended up at East Lake in Troy, so as to get my 'Peking Duck two ways.' At $36, it was $5 or $10 cheaper than Hong Hua. The skin was very good and crispy and acceptably carved. The meat was a bit dry and bland (I suspect the bird had been completely prepared at a specialty place in Chicago or somewhere and then reheated and crisped up in house...just a wild guess). Served with wraps and scallions and pickled radish rather than cucumber. I'll give it a 7 or 7 minus. For reference, I gave the affordable places in Beijing an 8, while assuming that luxury places must be even better, such that 9s and 10s should be reserved for those, in the event I could ever try them.

The second way was a duck breast stir fry with garlic shoot chives. May not be everyone's cup of tea but I really liked it. Had that "breath of the wok" and the veggies were super fresh.

Actually, I also optioned up (+$8) for the duck carcass broth soup. Huge portion and light/healthy (fresh baby bok choy and tofu) but it didn't add much for me, personally. BTW, note that unlike Hong Hua, East Lake lacks a liquor license.

Well, all things considered, I'll surely do it again. But, I'd first like to give Hong Hua's duck a try (with apologies to Sir Boagman, who had a bad fish conflict there) to see whether it is better than East Lake, rather than simply being the equivalent. Merry Christmas friends!

about 5 hours ago
VTB in Great Lakes

Russian Imperial Stout - DTW

Sounds like RedTop is on to something!
Hey, if you get pressed for time, though, you also can get a couple different Russian Imperial Stouts (RIS) at Meijer these days. Below is a link to ratings of various popular RISs. Of course, I'm prejudiced towards our region's RIS offerings-- Dark Horse, Bell's, Great Lakes, Founder's, etc.. I must say, though, that RIS is not particularly drinkable except to dudes who are REALLY hardcore. If I may, I'd suggest you also pick up a six pack of Bell's Two Hearted Ale, just in case--less harsh but still strong (alc by vol) and loaded with character. Note that Macomb Co also has a brewpub/microbrewery on Mound north of 13 Mile which is excellent, named Kuhnhenn (soon coming to Clinton Twp). They have RIS, but were not offering that particular one for take home, last time I checked.
http://www.beeradvocate.com/lists/sty...

1 day ago
VTB in Great Lakes
1

Russian Imperial Stout - DTW

Sorry... you mean a pint glass of it at a bar/microbrewery or a six pack at a store? Are you looking to try a local made version? Is it for cooking?

Dec 22, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes
1

Best Middle Eastern in Dearborn area?

Cedarlands is good food at a good price (always in huge quantities). The quality isn't tip top, but many people still consider it their overall favorite. The bread is NOT fresh baked. I am kind of partial to Ollie's.
http://www.olliescuisine.com/
Al Ameer has good bread. As a foodie, I would recommend that you sneak out multiple times and bring back "snacks" for everyone at your host house. This will allow you to try many different places' dishes, while looking like a generous guest, as opposed to giving the impression that you are rejecting the host's game plan for food (if you are a smooth subversive). There seems to be no "one best" place. I think you have to try the features at multiple different places. Even if it means getting small meals back to back at three different places. And, save room for the wonderful desserts! !!

Dec 20, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Tried Mandaloun Bistro in Southfield today [DTW area]...

Wow, nice pics on their website. I want to take my wife and the little guy to split that $30 "MB" platter for two.
Thanks for the info.

Dec 19, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Pars Persian Restaurant Farmington Hills Update

Thanks for the read! Sadly, it will be a couple years before I'm back in Los Angeles, but for future reference, do you tout the Darya in Santa Ana or west LA -Santa Monica Blvd (they seem different)?

Dec 16, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

DTW- new Venezuelan restaurant-El Rey de las Arepas

Will try during Christmas break (& report back), thanks!!

Dec 10, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Breakfast in Plymouth, MI /DTW

Man, we now know our 'Go-To' person for all things Plymouth! Cool.

Dec 04, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Beans & Cornbread [Southfield/DTW]

It got me to make red beans and rice last night, and cornbread will be on offer tonight. Maybe I just need to get over there! (But I'm using up miscellaneous herbs, veggies and cornmeal ingredients leftover from Thanksgiving.)

Dec 01, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Vietnamese-Style Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Nov 22, 2014
VTB in Recipes

Vietnamese-Style Summer Rolls with Peanut Sauce

Nov 22, 2014
VTB in Recipes

ISO Beef Tallow [DTW]

Thank you very much HoB. I really feel like I don't know what I should regarding eastern market butchers. Ronnie's sounds like a good lead, after the closer Hollywood and Meijer, of course.

Nov 21, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

ISO Beef Tallow [DTW]

Hi, Anybody know where I could buy a quart of beef tallow (meltable fat), preferably not super far from Troy (MI)? Would be willing to go to Eastern Market if necessary.TIA

Nov 21, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Tried Ottava Via for Detroit Restaurant Week...

Finally made it to Ottava Via.  Now that Corktown is hopping like crazy I felt a little more safe leaving my car parked on the side street by the restaurant.  Fun place and, even though they go for the “Italy is better than America” vibe, it still is not a bad place to catch a Detroit team game on the T.V.’s.

 

Per the above recommendation, I had to try the pork.  Thank you!  I decided to get the plate rather than the sandwich ($16 instead of $10).  The sandwich probably is the better deal, but I was very happy, regardless.  It was made by rubbing herbs (and a tapenade?) on a salted slab of Berkshire pork belly and then rolling it into a log and cooking it “confit” method.  I was pretty sure I knew what this meant, but I looked it up to be certain:  Slow cooked while submerged in its own rendered fat (never to exceed 185°F), then stored (preserved) under that fat at room temperature for days to months.  Interesting way to preserve meat.

Anyway, they pulled the log out from the fat and sliced me a one inch thick piece, five inches in diameter, crisped-up the outside under the broiler, and served it with a small arugula fennel salad, a few baby roasted red skin potatoes and a splash of jus.  Not quite a hungry man’s full meal, but for $16 of quality chow in a nice atmosphere, I call that a heck of a start.  

 

I also split a ten inch vegetarian pizza ($12).  It was quite nice—grilled asparagus, fresh mushroom, red peppers, capers, etc..  The only reason why Ottava Via’s pizza doesn’t stand out is because it faces stiffer competition in Detroit than does, say, their confit.  Tough going against the likes of Tomatoes Apizza, Biga, Supino’s, etc..   But, if you can make it between 3pm and 6pm on Mon & Tue you currently can get half off on all pizzas.  Nice!  On Wed Happy Hour they have half off on all small plates, such as garlic shrimp, arancini (yum!), calamari, etc..  Each weekday for HH they serve $4 craft cocktails, too.  Wish this place were closer to my suburban home…

Nov 16, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Looking for MILROYS style Fish and Chips in Detroit Area.

Always appreciate tips on the Specials. Thanks!

Nov 16, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Yard*Bird (BBQ); Keego Harbor; DTW

Thanks for the tips.  I left even more upbeat than you guys.  My perception (I don’t fully trust myself in this case*) is that Slows has slid downward a bit over the last few years.  So, based on only my first visit to Yardbird, I found it preferable to Slows. 

*As a point of reference, on the other hand, I found during my last visit to Lazybones that their Sides had improved, after originally being okay but later slipping into inedible territory until only recently.

 

I tried the brisket, pulled pork and sausage plate, and was thrilled with all three.  Did you guys pause at the smoker when coming in from the back parking lot?  What a scent!  I didn’t try the sauces, as I just wanted to savor those meats.  Will sample sauces next time. 

 

BTW, the servers are hip and funky and the manager was nice to me.  That being said, one server dropped a tray of glasses and another fell on floor (yikes).  Maybe it was slippery or coincidental, I don’t know.

 

The cornbread was excellently moist--- wish I could make it that way at home.  The mac and cheese was quality stuff, though I should warn parents that it may not be kid friendly, due to sharpness.  Maybe high character cheese in a béchamel sauce with an acidic touch of mustard or wine?  For a change of pace I also had fried green tomatoes which also were worthwhile. 

 

I was given a taste of the attractive-looking deep fried catfish.  The fish was moist and seemed fresh enough but the crisp batter was dark and strongly herbed/flavored (maybe even grated hard cheese in the batter?), seemingly by design;  however, I needed to soften the punch with big dollops of mild aioli. 

 

Looking forward to trying the chili next time. Just hope that is soon.

Nov 14, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Birthday dinner in Oakland County, MI

If you can still get the Groupon for Lelli's in Auburn Hills I'd definitely choose that old school steakhouse. Delicious and a bit of a nostalgic hoot.
http://touch.groupon.com/deals/lelli-s-4
(There are several detailed write ups already on this board.)

Nov 12, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Anybody tried? - farm direct, dry aged [DTW]

Farm in Brighton. No mention I could find regarding how long the cuts are dry aged, but interesting nonetheless. May be a closer but more expensive version of John Henry's.
http://www.premiumqualitybeef.com/the...

Nov 09, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Middle Aged Suburbanites Do Detroit #2 - Vincente's, Russell Street Deli, Detroit City Distillery

As RedTop indicated--Thanks for the read!
I'm glad to hear there is at least one other person out there who is done with tolerating bacon mania.

Oct 29, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Shatila...and the wonders it holds. [DTW area]

And, as RS said, don't forget the Shatila on 15 Mile and Ryan, next to the pretty solid Sahara Chaldean restaurant.

Oct 26, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Marine City Fish Company (DTW)

Hi RedTop, When you report back on MCFC, please share with us some of the other food or non-food trip highlights, too. Thanks!

Oct 26, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes
1

Dinner at El Asador, drinks at Sugar House (SW Detroit)

Thank you to Alpoe and HoB for encouraging me to try El Asador. If this joint was up in my burb, I’d probably hit it at least once per month, even though I don’t get out that much these days. This isn’t to say my meal was deeply memorable, but it is to say that it was solid and that I enjoy Mexican food and there unfortunately isn’t much competition in the Metro area.

Here was my experience: I went on Saturday night at 8:30pm. I figured out that the parking lot is accessed from the back alley. Cool. Went in to find that all 11(?) small tables were occupied (by suburbanites), but there was nobody in front of me on the waiting list. So, I was seated within eight to ten minutes. While I was waiting, I admired the guacamole cart activity. Nothing fancy. Just real fun.

Once seated, the service was swift. I wanted to try HoB’s scallop and swiss chard tacos. Sold out. I pivoted to the char grilled pork with adobo sauce. Sold out. I resorted to the mahi mahi Veracruz. Sold out, too! Still, I don’t have a problem with this, given the lateness of my arrival. And, hey, ACROSS THE BOARD the menu looks good, I can appreciate them not wanting to carry buffer inventory (which would just have to later get sold, less fresh). The waitress then offered* to have the salmon prepared for me Veracruz (mahi mahi) style. Sounded like a good compromise, so I got it with beans and red rice, preceded by HoB’s poblano soup.

*Okay, actually I’m a cheapskate, and when I said, “if you don’t have the mahi mahi, then I’ll have the salmon in banana leaf,” the waitress (reading my personality) warned me that often on Saturday nights (including this one) they charge $5 extra for that salmon for reason of having added a mandatory chile cream sauce, called the “Saturday Special.” My gently indignant reaction to this scheme resulted in the hybrid ‘salmon Veracruz’ solution. ;-) Did I mention that it is amazing these adorable young waitresses from the ‘hood outwardly show no contempt for the suburbanite Yelp foodies who have overrun the place? Let’s just say that these youngsters/moms don’t yet have iPhone 6s, designer riding boots and intercontinental boyfriends, yet they still can perform empathetically for their with-it customers’ ‘big night ethnic adventure experiences,’ in the down-draft of a graffiti-ridden refinery, aka ‘Home,’ to them.

Speaking of down, I took Mouseman’s advice and walked the nominally scant seventy meters to the liquor store “across the street.” There was enough light, in the night, for me to see that the route was probably clear as I set off, but there was no guarantee that some rascals wouldn’t be wandering along by the time I got cashed out and had to thirstily make the glory dash back to the restaurant. Regardless, I’m the type who would unequivocally risk life and limb, for booze. While at the counter, I received an admonition from the clerk about how the bullet proof glass was “not just there for decoration.” Of course, this place is surely far from the most dangerous area of Detroit, and it may show much nicer in daylight. Still, don’t forget to lock your car, if you come after sundown.

Back to El Asador at serving time (much later, due to overrun kitchen). The poblano soup was simple and inspiring. I will definitely try to recreate this six-ingredient puree at home within the next few weeks. Yum. The fish was enjoyable. Nice sauce of serrano peppers, olives, cilantro, citrus, capers, onions, garlic and a bit of tomato sauce, along with some other things, perhaps avocado tree leaves or something...maybe bay leaves but I don’t think so? Probably unique for the Metro area. Same topping as the pictured snapper on the Wiki website “Cuisine of Veracruz” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuisine_.... The salmon filet section was just 3”x3”x0.75”, but that was fine with me given all the goodies there were to eat in the topping. It was not overcooked, but may have been just a minute or two beyond peak.

The rice and beans both were of tiny portion and no better than Don Pablo’s (which I actually find somewhat enjoyable), at best. Also included were good chips and three tablespoons of interesting homemade salsa. For $15 before drinks, tax or tip, I felt that they provided good value, even if not a kick-ass great deal.

Good enough that I ordered a takeout chicken mole meal for my wife who was arriving at the airport 17 minutes away. This meat and the sauce also were good like the fish dish, but not quite as so (maybe the mole sauce actually ranks very good and I just am not knowledgeable enough to fully appreciate it?). The pan roasted zucchini side was fresh and fine. The white rice I ordered turned out to be refried beans. The chicken noodle soup was a bit disappointing, though maybe my expectations were unreasonably high.

Next time I’m doing a pick up at the airport, I’ll hit this place again. I want to try the homemade salad dressing and check out those borracho beans that come with the kabobs; but as a substitution, because I’m going to give a try to the grilled sirloin with mixed chile butter sauce…double yum! It is an asador (grill/rotisserie) after all. Thanks again for the tips, you all.

Oct 20, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes
1

Coming back to Detroit from Grand Rapids...

West Texas BBQ Co ?
http://www.westexbbq.com/

Oct 17, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Ann Arbor Michigan

Love the sour beer at Jolly Pumpkin! Great area for a stroll / window shopping, too.

Oct 13, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Ann Arbor Michigan

Aventura is quite good if you can afford to go a little bit trendy and upper scale.
I don't feel that their suckling pig is what they do best, though, despite their touting of it. Cool bar and some genuine talent in the kitchen.
http://aventuraannarbor.com/#about

Oct 12, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Dinner at El Asador, drinks at Sugar House (SW Detroit)

Wow, great write up HoB! Thanks for sharing. I'm now kind of wondering how I might put together a cream of poblano soup. Love the thought of swiss chard on a taco.
Good luck at work...

Oct 12, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

So if you were going to lunch in Birmingham, MI where would you go

Even if Social isn't the single optimal answer (can't be significantly from it), you still are going to need to hit this place to check it off on your list. So, you can't really lose.
If it is a cocktail lunch, I recommend the white sangria. Yum!

Sep 22, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

Trip Report - Traverse City, Kalkaska, Leland, Fenton, Ann Arbor, Port Clinton

Ron's Cajun Connection ;-)
Their ettouffee and jambalaya recipes are on their website, but not their gumbo.

Sep 18, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes

A Personal Announcement

Thank you for facilitating my years of enjoyment on the board. Kick butt in Law School. :-)

Sep 09, 2014
VTB in Site Talk
2

Lunch between Detroit and Frankenmuth, Michigan

Flint is more half way. But, if you are considering to stop around Clarkston, then go to the Clarkston Union or to the Woodshop. Not Andiamo's please...

Aug 31, 2014
VTB in Great Lakes