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Detroit/Windsor?
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  • Post #31 - December 28th, 2008, 10:50 pm
    Post #31 - December 28th, 2008, 10:50 pm Post #31 - December 28th, 2008, 10:50 pm
    So, after having been to Smoke and Spice in Windsor and Slows in Detroit, there's just no comparison. Slows loses or ties on every count except *maybe* brisket and mac-n-cheese. The ribs were undersmoked -- cooked through, but no smoke flavor and still very tough; the chicken was overcooked but also had very little smoke flavor; the brisket was tender and moist and sliced thick, but again, no smoke flavor. Baked beans had pieces of crunchy onion in them, and were bland to boot. Everything else was what you'd expect, but no better..

    Too bad.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #32 - December 29th, 2008, 3:22 am
    Post #32 - December 29th, 2008, 3:22 am Post #32 - December 29th, 2008, 3:22 am
    gleam wrote:So, after having been to Smoke and Spice in Windsor and Slows in Detroit, there's just no comparison. Slows loses or ties on every count except *maybe* brisket and mac-n-cheese.

    Ed,

    Slows has a lot going for it, cool place in a gentrifying neighborhood, friendly owner, comfortable bar, good beer selection and two types of Van Winkle but I was not a fan of Slows BBQ.

    Slows

    Image
    Image

    Heavy emphasis on BBQ sauce, sweet being the dominant factor, my favorite, and I use the term loosely, vinegary Western NC style. Ribs were dry with a sugary pasty (gummy) rub, though I imagine I am one of the very few who request sauce on the side.

    Ribs, lots of sauce choices

    Image

    Pulled pork looks good in the picture, though there was a watery backnote that washed out flavor. Brisket washed out as well, very neutral with a gummy sticky sheen, like when fatty beef is held too long at low temps.

    Brisket, Pulled Pork, Ribs

    Image

    Side were not delectable, salty over mayoed slaw, curdled mac and cheese, corn bread dry as a herring bone, good beer list though, did I mention the beer list?

    In talking to the Brian Perrone, owner and pitmaster, I got the impression that he was a man who knew BBQ, that if I went to a cook in his backyard I'd have a great meal, but he had succumbed to good press, popularity and was simply pumping out product....Pass the sauce please.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Slows
    2138 Michigan Ave
    Detroit, MI 48216
    313-962-9828
    http://www.slowsbarbq.com
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #33 - December 29th, 2008, 10:01 am
    Post #33 - December 29th, 2008, 10:01 am Post #33 - December 29th, 2008, 10:01 am
    Speaking of BBQ in Detroit, me and my buddy Brad stumbled across Bert's BBQ setup in front of Bert's Market Place in Eastern Market, cool looking 4-chamber pit set to the side of a hot dog cart trailer.

    Bert's Eastern Market, Detroit
    Image
    Image

    While Bert's seems the type BBQ guys like myself dream about either the regular pitmaster was out sick or his heart just wasn't into it that morning. Kingsford briquettes doused in lighter fluid with no wood in evidence yielding bland chewy spare ribs with a hint of creosote.

    Image
    Image

    Bert's BBQ sauce was terrific, heavy with oily pork drippings small chunks of fat and shreds of meat. More in common with non defatted pan drippings than BBQ sauce.

    Bert's BBQ Sauce

    Image

    Sadly Bert's missed the mark, but seems the type of place that's highly variable depending on time of day and who is manning the pit. I'll give it another go next time at Eastern Market.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Bert's BBQ (Setup in front of)
    Bert's Marketplace
    2727 Russell
    Detroit, Michigan
    313-567-2030
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #34 - August 23rd, 2009, 10:58 pm
    Post #34 - August 23rd, 2009, 10:58 pm Post #34 - August 23rd, 2009, 10:58 pm
    Cynthia wrote:Almost forgot -- Fishbone's is good for cajun/Creole.

    400 Monroe St
    Detroit, MI 48226
    (313) 965-4600

    or

    29244 Northwestern Highway
    Southfield, MI 48034
    248-351-2925

    I spent a week in Southfield for work last month. We ended up at Fishbone's for dinner on our first night. It definitely reminded me of TGIFriday's with their huge menu. I asked our server what was looking good and fresh. She recommended the tilapia. Tilapia is my least favorite fish, and I was quite weary when she said that was looking fresh that day. I can't even remember what I ended up ordering - some grilled fish, but it was pretty blah. I asked for mixed veggies as my side, and it was mostly cauliflower - my least favorite vegetable. It reminded me of those frozen vegetable medleys.
  • Post #35 - August 23rd, 2009, 11:03 pm
    Post #35 - August 23rd, 2009, 11:03 pm Post #35 - August 23rd, 2009, 11:03 pm
    Pucca wrote:I spent a week in Southfield for work last month. We ended up at Fishbone's for dinner on our first night. It definitely reminded me of TGIFriday's with their huge menu. I asked our server what was looking good and fresh. She recommended the tilapia. Tilapia is my least favorite fish, and I was quite weary when she said that was looking fresh that day. I can't even remember what I ended up ordering - some grilled fish, but it was pretty blah. I asked for mixed veggies as my side, and it was mostly cauliflower - my least favorite vegetable. It reminded me of those frozen vegetable medleys.


    In that area, you would have done better at Beans and Cornbread.

    Beans & Cornbread: A Soulful Bistro
    29508 Northwestern Hwy.
    (Sunset Strip)
    Southfield, MI 48034
    248.208.1680 phone
    248.208.6144 fax

    http://www.beanscornbread.com/beansdinner.html
  • Post #36 - August 25th, 2009, 11:14 pm
    Post #36 - August 25th, 2009, 11:14 pm Post #36 - August 25th, 2009, 11:14 pm
    Yeah Beans and Cornbread would be a better choice for Soul Food items. My feelings about Fishbone's is basically that it's good "Cajun" food if you've never actually had the real thing. Basically, it's alright if you need a "Gumbo fix ", which is similar to what my cousin in Chicago says about Heaven on Seven.
  • Post #37 - August 25th, 2009, 11:39 pm
    Post #37 - August 25th, 2009, 11:39 pm Post #37 - August 25th, 2009, 11:39 pm
    I know! I tried to recommend Beans & Cornbread based on the board, but since I was the newbie in the group, I was outvoted. :(
  • Post #38 - September 30th, 2009, 11:04 am
    Post #38 - September 30th, 2009, 11:04 am Post #38 - September 30th, 2009, 11:04 am
    I enjoyed a fun weekend visiting family in Detroit, particularly because I was at Ford Field to witness the first Lions win in quite a while.

    Saltwater in the MGM Grand Casino
    pictured: Cioppino
    Image
    My first night in town we ate at Saltwater in the MGM Grand Casino. It was Detroit Restaurant Week so we enjoyed a 3 course meal for $27, an excellent deal I must say. The first course was an over-dressed Caesar salad served with two mild anchovies. The croutons were big, chewy sour dough croutons that were pretty good, but there was simply too much dressing to taste anything else. The entrée was a ciopinno (a tomato broth based seafood stew) that had beautiful hunks of halibut, salmon and shellfish. The tomato broth was tangy and peppery and a wonderful accompaniment to the fish. Also it was served with grilled bread that was ideal for sopping up the tasty broth. The dessert was a blueberry financier which was really well prepared. The blueberry filling was only slightly sweet, the cakes featured a nice crust and delicate almond flavor, and the vanilla ice cream served next to it wasn’t too rich or overpowering. I have to say I was surprised by the quality of the food overall, and I would definitely return if I ever find myself in need of casino dining. I enjoyed Saltwater a lot more than the Wolfgang Puck restaurant.
    http://www.mgmgranddetroit.com/restaura ... water.aspx

    Drago's Family Restaurant, Sterling Heights, MI
    pictured:Spinach Burek
    Image
    The next day for lunch we went to Drago’s Family Restaurant for some excellent Macedonian burek. It’s an unassuming little diner located at the intersection of 15 Mile and Ryan in Sterling Heights that my family has been going to for years. I can’t believe it, but after all these years I had never actually had the burek straight from the oven because we never thought to call ahead. It was outstanding as usual, but after having the fresh baked burek this time I don’t think I could ever go back to reheated. The burek has the perfect blend of crispy yet chewy crust surrounding layer after layer of delicious doughy phyllo layers. We enjoyed both the cheese and spinach fillings this time around, though you can’t go wrong with any of their bureks. Outside of the various homemade Turkish böreks I grew up on, this is by far the best burek I’ve ever had, and I try to make it back anytime I’m in the area. Also you can buy the burek unbaked so you can bake it at home.

    Breweries in Warren, MI
    That afternoon my dad wanted to try some of the breweries in Warren so we went to Kuhnhenn and Dragonmead. Kuhnhenn’s beers were decent but nothing was a home run, though I should mention that they’re famous for their Rasberry Eisbock which they were out of when we visited. However, they have the biggest mead selection I’ve ever seen and they were very interesting. We tried the blueberry melamel, the pinot noir pyment, and the orange blossom mead. All were really interesting though too sweet for my IPA loving taste but my sister (the sweet tooth in the family) really enjoyed them. Still we learned a lot about mead and enjoyed some very interesting beverages. Dragonmead had a huge selection of beers spanning dozens of styles. They have a sampler that allows you to have 5 6oz pours of your choosing. I tried their Wee Heavy, the Imperial Stout, the IPA, the Beglian Trippel, and the English Porter. All were decent examples of their respective styles, but none stood out as particularly above average. I suppose they suffer from brewing many beers competently rather than a few beers well. It’s a good spot to try different styles of beer, but I wouldn’t seek it out for a great beer experience.
    http://www.kbrewery.com/
    http://www.dragonmead.com/

    Buddy's Pizza
    pictured: stock footage from internet
    Image
    That night we hit up a Detroit Classic: Buddy’s Pizza. This is a must try for any pizza lover. The square pizza comes with fresh toppings that are actually placed under the sauce. The highlight is the chewy square crust that is slightly charred and perfect for eating out of hand rather than with a knife and fork like many Chicago pizzas. Apparently they’ve been winning a lot of awards recently which made me very proud since they were my go-to pizza place growing up. I also love that they have a very convenient pick up window rather than having people awkwardly hang out in the front of the restaurant, though they really would benefit from getting into the delivery business.
    http://www.buddyspizza.com/

    El Zocalo, Mexicantown
    For brunch before the Lions game we decided to go to Mexican Town in Detroit. I hadn’t been to Mexican town in probably 10 years so I was looking forward to seeing what Mexican food in Detroit was like. Unfortunately I was very disappointed. We went to El Zocalo which was completely empty on a Sunday morning. All the parking lots in the area were barren so I guess Mexican brunch isn’t a big draw in Detroit. The chilaquiles that I ordered were overcooked and drowning in thin salsa. The beans, rice, and iceberg lettuce on the side of the plate were just bad. Soggy beans, reheated rice, and the lettuce looked like it had frozen in the refrigerator. There may be good spots in Mexican town, but I don’t think I’ll be going back without a specific recommendation, and I’m guessing brunch isn’t the best time to visit either.
    http://www.elzocalodetroit.com/

    Amani's, Dearborn, MI
    pictured: Kibbeh Nayyeh
    Image
    The final stop of the trip was at another family favorite, this time Amani’s in Dearborn. I decided to order something I hadn’t had before and went with the Kibbeh Nayyeh which is spiced raw ground lamb mixed with cracked wheat and served with raw cucumbers, peppers, and tomatoes. It was exquisite. The spices were assertive and the cracked wheat added excellent texture to the dish. Also we ordered the typical veggie platter which included baba ghannoug, hoummos, stuffed grape leaves, falafel, and fattoush (which we substituted for the tabbouleh). The baba is perfectly smokey, the hoummos served much creamier than usual but wonderful, the falafel fluffy and spicy, and the fattoush is my favorite of anywhere in Dearborn. You can’t believe how much food you can get for under $20 at Amani’s. I can’t recommend it highly enough.
    http://amanilebaneserestaurant.com/

    Shatila for dessert, Dearborn, MI
    For dessert we went to Shatila to get their knafeh. It’s a sweet cheese covered in shredded wheat and topped with syrup. When it’s heated the cheese becomes very gooey and just melts in your mouth. It’s out of this world. If you’re ever in Dearborn looking for Middle Eastern food, Shatila is a must visit.
    http://www.shatila.com/
  • Post #39 - October 1st, 2009, 12:17 am
    Post #39 - October 1st, 2009, 12:17 am Post #39 - October 1st, 2009, 12:17 am
    Pucca wrote:
    Cynthia wrote:Almost forgot -- Fishbone's is good for cajun/Creole.

    400 Monroe St
    Detroit, MI 48226
    (313) 965-4600

    or

    29244 Northwestern Highway
    Southfield, MI 48034
    248-351-2925

    I spent a week in Southfield for work last month. We ended up at Fishbone's for dinner on our first night. It definitely reminded me of TGIFriday's with their huge menu. I asked our server what was looking good and fresh. She recommended the tilapia. Tilapia is my least favorite fish, and I was quite weary when she said that was looking fresh that day. I can't even remember what I ended up ordering - some grilled fish, but it was pretty blah. I asked for mixed veggies as my side, and it was mostly cauliflower - my least favorite vegetable. It reminded me of those frozen vegetable medleys.


    Yes -- unfortunately, they changed their format. Last time we went for Cajun, they said they were in transition, and would be phasing out the New Orleans theme and food and moving more toward a steakhouse and burger sort of feel. I haven't been back since, as I felt there was no point. It sounds as though they should have stayed Cajun -- but then, maybe they lost whoever it was who knew how to cook. Sorry to hear that they've fallen so far.
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #40 - October 1st, 2009, 4:25 pm
    Post #40 - October 1st, 2009, 4:25 pm Post #40 - October 1st, 2009, 4:25 pm
    That kibbeh looks really proper. Too bad we can't get anything like that in Chicago...........
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #41 - October 5th, 2009, 9:55 am
    Post #41 - October 5th, 2009, 9:55 am Post #41 - October 5th, 2009, 9:55 am
    Kibbeh nayeh is on the permanent menu at Maza and can be ordered ahead at Semirami. If you mean there's nothing that good here, you could be right.
  • Post #42 - October 6th, 2009, 8:18 pm
    Post #42 - October 6th, 2009, 8:18 pm Post #42 - October 6th, 2009, 8:18 pm
    I've never been to El Zocalo,so I can't comment on their food. I just go by the kinda standard Mexicantown rule which is places on Bagley and thereabouts are pretty much " gringo" spots. The better stuff tends to be found on or off of Vernor or at one of the Taco trucks that patrol the area.
  • Post #43 - October 6th, 2009, 8:49 pm
    Post #43 - October 6th, 2009, 8:49 pm Post #43 - October 6th, 2009, 8:49 pm
    Good to know. I might be willing to give Mexicantown another shot with that in mind. Is there a stand out option, or are they all pretty much the same?
  • Post #44 - October 6th, 2009, 9:04 pm
    Post #44 - October 6th, 2009, 9:04 pm Post #44 - October 6th, 2009, 9:04 pm
    turkob wrote:Amani's, Dearborn, MI
    pictured: Kibbeh Nayyeh

    Wow, fantastic looking kibbeh!
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #45 - October 6th, 2009, 10:38 pm
    Post #45 - October 6th, 2009, 10:38 pm Post #45 - October 6th, 2009, 10:38 pm
    JeffB,

    Have you had kibbeh niyeh at both Maza and Semiramis? Which do you prefer?

    Gary,

    Indeed, the deep red hue and spotless sheen give it away as one bad ass kibbe. I think I will make some at home next week.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #46 - October 7th, 2009, 10:24 am
    Post #46 - October 7th, 2009, 10:24 am Post #46 - October 7th, 2009, 10:24 am
    I've had it several times at Maza, but have not thought ahead to order it from Semirami's. Others here have said good things about it. I think Maza's kibbeh is fine, and they do seem to take it very seriously. I think the stuff pictured above looks a lot better, though. Sort of interesting that Maza, which is far from the epicenters of Levantine dining in Chicago, has the raw meat dish in regular rotation.

    I wouldn't be surprised if at least some of the many places in southwest Chicagoland have it, but I have yet to get down there.

    Kibbeh nayeh is one of my favorite dishes, though a good middle-European steak tartare will do the trick for me too. Laschett's and Paul Zakopane Harnas are 2 places that do a great job with an old-school dish that has become fadish lately. The portions and prices at Paul Zakopane are ridiculous, by the way.
  • Post #47 - October 7th, 2009, 11:53 am
    Post #47 - October 7th, 2009, 11:53 am Post #47 - October 7th, 2009, 11:53 am
    Well, if we're moving into beef, many of the Ethiopian places around town have raw kitfo. I like the version at the somewhat under-the-radar Addis Abeba in Evanston.
  • Post #48 - October 7th, 2009, 3:11 pm
    Post #48 - October 7th, 2009, 3:11 pm Post #48 - October 7th, 2009, 3:11 pm
    and Yook Hwe (sp?) in Korean places....
  • Post #49 - October 7th, 2009, 6:34 pm
    Post #49 - October 7th, 2009, 6:34 pm Post #49 - October 7th, 2009, 6:34 pm
    For Mexicantown:


    Good Tacos can be found at Taqueria El Rey ( Not to mention the chicken they grill on the outside is quite tasty too.), Los Altos, Arandas, and La Barca Birreria y Taqueria. I'm not much help on the taco trucks, but someone out there has actually made a map of likely locations of them. Of course , I highly recommend a trip to the Mexicantown Bakery also.
  • Post #50 - November 30th, 2009, 12:48 am
    Post #50 - November 30th, 2009, 12:48 am Post #50 - November 30th, 2009, 12:48 am
    Thanksgiving weekend found me and Mrs. JiLS in Windsor. Much of our time was spent in the very fine environs of Caesar's Windsor casino. Nero's in the casino was a solid token of the "casino steakhouse" type, a B+ for food (very nice oysters, a few dry aged steak options, extensive wine list with, in this case, several Canadian options) and A+ for friendly service and convenience to the gaming tables. In addition, as verified twice during this stay, the nachos served in the sports wagering lounge of Caesar's Windsor are extremely satisfying when taken with a liter or two of Molson Canadian.

    I come not, however, to praise Caesar's corporate dining experience, nor to bury it. Instead, I want to report on a couple of nice finds we made outside the casino, wandering in a relatively tight circle around downtown and east to Walkerville (the environs of the Hiram Walker Distillery).

    Thursday night, looking through the various fliers in the lobby of the hotel, I found an ad for Biscuits & Gravy, a little bit of the American South in Canadia. Well, they had me at hello, and we were there Friday morning as their first guests of the day. Charming setting with dozens of framed enlargements of old Windsor postcards and checked linen on the tables. The menu includes some basics (like the eponymous B&G), as well as a fairly predominate New Orleans angle. Our order consisted of the aforementioned B&G (by me) and a novel variation on eggs Benedict involving house-made sausage patties on a split buttermilk biscuit (by Mrs. JiLS). Learning that there would be a 20+ minute delay in getting the latter order done, we ordered a plate of beignets with sliced apples to tide us over. Honoring Canadian tradition, our hostess presented the beignets as the "Doughnut Course," and we dove in. These were very good, in the way fried dough usually is, but were not traditional beignets (assuming that by "traditional beignets," you mean the way they serve them at Cafe du Monde, which I do assume). First, they were smaller and more cylindrical than the CdM "pillow" shape. More importantly, they came with just a light dusting of powdered sugar, which had some cinnamon mixed in. This contrasted favorably (IMHO) with the powdered sugar avalanche that gets poured over the beignets at CdM in New Orleans. B&G presented a much tidier, less overtly indulgent and, dare I say, rational approach to sweetening the beignets. (So Canadian. Just like the bit with the cheaper health care and the costlier whiskey tax.) So, very fine beignets, and then the main courses come, and the joy continues. My biscuits and gravy is a very fine example, with square biscuits (admittedly the more efficient way of cutting biscuits, in a shape that fills the plane with no waste, but not as charming as round cuts), topped with a really very fine sausage gravy, made with the house sausage and a very healthy shot of sage. They definitely got the basics right on this dish, and I was very happy with it. (Fun note: TV in the dining room by coincidence was showing Alton Brown touring Georgia diners, including a lengthy dissertation on biscuit making; the biscuits we were served could have been pulled right from that televised oven). The Benedict also benefited from the same house-made sausage and fresh biscuit, as well as expertly poached eggs. Combined with CdM chicory coffee (offered only as cafe au lait) and decent enough "regular" coffee, we were very well satisfied when we left Biscuits & Gravy.

    Saturday morning, we walked east from downtown along Wyandotte Street into Walkerville, which meant we walked through about two miles of non-stop Lebanese groceries, cafes, restaurants, etc. An extremely impressive assemblage, of which we didn't take advantage, but it was a definite "wow" factor. We ate breakfast at a perfectly serviceable spot, the Velvet Restaurant (really a diner) on Wyandotte Street, giving me a chance to sample Pea Meal bacon for the first time and generally a good experience with the interested and friendly staff. Home fries, which I upgraded to include onions, were simply perfect ... perfectly crisp, perfectly flavorful, and perfectly floating in grease. Good, post-night at the casino cure-all grease. Good meal to walk to and from on a crisp, cold Canadian morning.

    Saturday night, we made an ill-fated attempt to try a wood-fired pizza place we saw during our morning walk on Wyandotte, but found them packed like they were selling the best pizza in (North) America, or something, and so we headed back downtown. For those not yet in the know, food and drink in downtown Windsor is largely dominated by places catering to the 19 to 21 year-old demographic crossing over from Michigan to get legally fit-shaced drunk, as well as to the fans of "adult entertainment." I somehow could not convince Mrs. JiLS on Thursday night to try the American Thanksgiving dinner at Cheetah's. I don't know what her problem was, although helping me deal with it, the nachos and pitcher of Canadian at Caesar's were some consolation.

    In any event, we found a very pleasant exception to the downtown Windsor rule in La Guardia, a tiny, charming little hole in the wall that, among other excellences, served me the finest spaghetti carbonara I've enjoyed since I first tried it in Rome in 1985. La Guardia combined a cozy, warm room with excellent service, simple but delicious food preparations, as well as very pleasant live music (singer accompanying himself on guitar, doing a James Taylor imitation that was perfectly modulated). Reading back through that paragraph, I see it might not seem very convincing, but La Guardia is greater than the sum of its parts. We, along with the room full of families and older couples and groups of friends/regulars filling the place gave it a special feel that should be experienced to be appreciated. I know we will go back.

    Biscuits & Gravy
    322 Pelissier
    Windsor, ON, Canada
    (519) 971-0744

    Velvet Restaurant
    1646 Wyandotte Street East
    Windsor, ON N8Y 1C
    (519) 256-9029

    La Guardia
    59 Pitt St. E.
    Windsor, Ontario, Canada
    (519) 524-2438

    And, hypothetically, for academic interest only:
    Cheetah's
    86 Chatham Street West
    Windsor, Ontario
    N9A 5M6
    (519)252-1106
    JiLS
  • Post #51 - November 30th, 2009, 9:51 am
    Post #51 - November 30th, 2009, 9:51 am Post #51 - November 30th, 2009, 9:51 am
    JiLS wrote:I somehow could not convince Mrs. JiLS on Thursday night to try the American Thanksgiving dinner at Cheetah's. I don't know what her problem was, although helping me deal with it, the nachos and pitcher of Canadian at Caesar's were some consolation.


    :lol: :lol:

    A
    Alle Nerven exzitiert von dem gewürzten Wein -- Anwandlung von Todesahndungen -- Doppeltgänger --
    - aus dem Tagebuch E.T.A. Hoffmanns, 6. Januar 1804.
    ________
    Na sir is na seachain an cath.
  • Post #52 - April 11th, 2010, 7:56 pm
    Post #52 - April 11th, 2010, 7:56 pm Post #52 - April 11th, 2010, 7:56 pm
    Clarkston is about 45 minutes north of Detroit. The people behind Clarkston Union and Bar opened up the Woodshop last fall. They call themselves the Woodshop b/c of their Southern Pride smoker and wood burning oven. Our party of 7 was lucky enough to get the last big table on Friday night around 6pm or so. By the time we left, there was hardly a path out with the throngs of people waiting for a table.

    We all had a late lunch so we thought ordering appetizers and drinks would be appropriate. We ordered
    burnt ends served w/a slice of grilled Texas toast
    margherita pizza
    salad topped with pulled pork, dried cherries, and mustard vinaigrette
    onion rings
    whole fried pickles
    bread with a creamy cheese spread
    wings

    The wings arrive naked b/c there are 6 sauces available on the table. Additional sauces with higher heat levels are available upon request. The Hell sauce was smokey, deep, and spicy. The wings were good naked or sauced. The onion rings and pickles were deep fried in a beer batter. I am not a fan of pickles so I can't comment on them, but they seemed to be a hit. I loved the onion rings, the burnt ends, and salad. The salad could have used more lettuce since the pulled pork portion was very generous. My dining companions ordered and enjoyed Badass beer, Kid Rock's beer. Apparently Kid Rock lives nearby and is good friends with the owner. Prices at this place are very reasonable. I'd even venture to say that it's cheap. Sorry for the lack of pictures on this visit, but hopefully we can fit in another meal when we return to the area next month.

    Union Woodshop
    18 South Main Street
    Clarkston, MI 48346-1524
    (248) 625-5660
  • Post #53 - October 13th, 2010, 11:49 pm
    Post #53 - October 13th, 2010, 11:49 pm Post #53 - October 13th, 2010, 11:49 pm
    Shatila is a remarkable place. I'm usually not a fan of sweets, especially Middle Eastern sweets, but this bakery was a highlight of a recent visit to Detroit and Dearborn.

    Image

    Image

    Image

    It's an impressive building, perhaps a bit gaudy inside with that waterfall and all those palm trees. But it's all about the pastries. Cases and cases of pastries, beautifully displayed. Three or four types of knafah, more varieties of baklava than I ever imagined, an entire section of French-style pastries—the offerings seem endless. Just about everything I sampled was best-of-type. These guys are pastry artists.

    Image

    Simply the best baklava I ever had—an impossibly crisp and flaky top layer, not-too-sweet pistachio filling and a buttery, slightly chewy base. That semolina cake also completely outclasses other versions I've tried.

    Image

    Image

    Does anyone know the names of these two pastries? Both the coconut-encased one and the one with the crispy syrup-soaked shell were terrific. The range of textures within a single pastry is simply remarkable.

    Image

    We also tried a cross-cultural oddity—a za'atar croissant. More bready than flaky, not the greatest texture for a croissant, but I loved the combination of buttery dough and zippy spices. I could regularly start my day with one of these and a cup of coffee.

    One significant problem with Shatila is their coffee. Their espresso-style brew is sour and unpleasant. Such works of pastry art deserve better accompaniment.

    Shatila Bakery
    14300 W Warren Av
    Dearborn MI
    313-582-1952
  • Post #54 - January 9th, 2011, 8:38 pm
    Post #54 - January 9th, 2011, 8:38 pm Post #54 - January 9th, 2011, 8:38 pm
    Just returned from a visit to mom in Michigan. Most of our dining was at her house, but to fit in one exceptional meal, I treated her to lunch at Forest Grill in Birmingham. This is Brian Polcyn's new restaurant. (His previous location, Five Lakes, is now Cinco Lagos, and is the place where he celebrates his Mexican heritage.)

    I had dined a few years ago at Five Lakes, at which time Chef Polcyn, who came out to great guests, mentioned that he'd be working with Michael Ruhlman on a book about charcuterie. Now that I own the book that work produced, and have joined friends in an effort to cook our ways through everything in it, I was eager to check out the charcuterie offered at the new location. It was, in a word, splendid. An order of charcuterie brings three different preserved meats, along with three small accompanying salads. With the salads, you get to choose. With the meat, you get what they have. But that's okay, because it's all good.

    Bread was amazingly good, too. It was freshly baked and crusted in seeds. Butter tasted French. Mom had the tomato basil soup en croute, and that was excellent -- wonderfully smooth and rich, with great depth of flavor.

    The rest of the meal was okay. Mom had to send back her steak frites, as the steak was tough, though the frites were unbelievably good. The waiter, who checked the meat, admitted it was tough, and said that it might have been an end piece. They dry age their own beef, and that can happen. He offered another steak, but mom just figured she'd go with the chicken and avocado club sandwich. The sandwich was a very good sandwich, but it was still a sandwich. I had the chicken paillard, which was grilled chicken with lardons, arugula, and other goodies. The chicken was a little dry, but the lardons and arugula made me happy. That said, it wasn't exactly head and shoulders over other luncheon salads. Iced tea was one of the bottled Republic of Tea offerings, which is very good but pricey, so if you're someone who knocks back iced tea with relish, be advised that one bottle is $6.50.

    I was chatting with the waiter about the dinner menu, and he encouraged me to come back for dinner sometime, as he said the dinner was much better and actually featured most of the chef's specialties, whereas lunch was kind of a concession to being surrounded by businesses that take lunch breaks.

    I'd definitely give it another try -- especially in light of how good the charcuterie was -- and the soup, bread, and frites. But if it weren't for the charcuterie, and for my previous experience at Polcyn's other restaurant, I don't think I'd consider this a destination restaurant. That said, I'd want to eat dinner there before passing final judgment. The dinner menu definitely looked more interesting -- and they had veal cheeks on offer that night (I was told it was a house specialty) -- and I love veal cheeks.

    So positively go if you like charcuterie. But I'd skip the lunch option, as it's pretty much pizza, salad, and sandwiches. Dinner appears to be where the more interesting dishes reside.

    Forest Grill
    735 Forest
    Birmingham, MI 48009
    (248) 258-9400
    "All great change in America begins at the dinner table." Ronald Reagan

    http://midwestmaize.wordpress.com
  • Post #55 - January 9th, 2011, 11:05 pm
    Post #55 - January 9th, 2011, 11:05 pm Post #55 - January 9th, 2011, 11:05 pm
    Image

    Does anyone know the names of these two pastries? Both the coconut-encased one and the one with the crispy syrup-soaked shell were terrific. The range of textures within a single pastry is simply remarkable.


    The syrup soaked pancake thing is Qatayif, the traditional Ramadan pastry, filled with either cheese or walnuts. I am surprised to see Shatila making these things outside of Ramadan.

    The other one, I believe, is a Qishta/Ishta (milk custard) based dessert, that probably has a million names that vary from town to town in the Levant. I bet it this particular version is "grandmother of something or another, grandiose".

    As a point of reference, the semolina cake you had, has at least three names: Namoura, Basboosa, Hareesa.

    Shatila looks damn good. The decor is straight Middle Eastern chic. We couldn't have it any other way. I really need to get to D-Town and do a tour of Arabian eats.
    "By the fig, the olive..." Surat Al-Teen, Mecca 95:1"
  • Post #56 - January 9th, 2011, 11:23 pm
    Post #56 - January 9th, 2011, 11:23 pm Post #56 - January 9th, 2011, 11:23 pm
    Cynthia wrote:I had dined a few years ago at Five Lakes, at which time Chef Polcyn, who came out to great guests, mentioned that he'd be working with Michael Ruhlman on a book about charcuterie. Now that I own the book that work produced, and have joined friends in an effort to cook our ways through everything in it, I was eager to check out the charcuterie offered at the new location. It was, in a word, splendid. An order of charcuterie brings three different preserved meats, along with three small accompanying salads. With the salads, you get to choose. With the meat, you get what they have. But that's okay, because it's all good.
    ...
    I was chatting with the waiter about the dinner menu, and he encouraged me to come back for dinner sometime, as he said the dinner was much better and actually featured most of the chef's specialties, whereas lunch was kind of a concession to being surrounded by businesses that take lunch breaks.
    I was in the area a few years back on a business trip and drove to Five Lakes for dinner, specifically to try out all of the charcuterie after having purchased his book and made a ton of the recipes myself. I'd agree - splendid. I was there dining alone, so I had limited ordering power and only had the charcuterie plate and then a combination dinner plate with pork several ways. Well worth the detour and stands out as some of the best house-made charcuterie I've ever had at a restaurant.

    Thanks for bringing back the memory.

    -Dan
  • Post #57 - January 11th, 2011, 8:56 pm
    Post #57 - January 11th, 2011, 8:56 pm Post #57 - January 11th, 2011, 8:56 pm
    gleam wrote:So, after having been to Smoke and Spice in Windsor and Slows in Detroit, there's just no comparison. Slows loses or ties on every count except *maybe* brisket and mac-n-cheese. The ribs were undersmoked -- cooked through, but no smoke flavor and still very tough; the chicken was overcooked but also had very little smoke flavor; the brisket was tender and moist and sliced thick, but again, no smoke flavor. Baked beans had pieces of crunchy onion in them, and were bland to boot. Everything else was what you'd expect, but no better..

    Too bad.

    I went to Slows a few weeks ago, and wasn't very impressed. I'm not the type of person who has really strong opinions about bbq, but I did grow up in Texas and I'm no stranger to good bbq. The beer list was good, the space was nice, and there was a nice demographic cross-section there. We got there at about 3 in the afternoon on a Saturday and were told there would be an hour wait for a table. We found seats at the bar pretty quickly and ate there, which was fine. I ordered the brisket sandwich and fries, and sampled my friend's pulled pork sandwich and mac & cheese. The brisket was overly fatty and flavorless. The sandwich came with cheese on it, which I almost asked them to hold, but then I thought, "Maybe there's something special going on here, so I'll try it." Nope. It was shredded cheese (why????) and looked/tasted like it came out of a bag. Waffle fries were completely unremarkable, and the mac & cheese was okay. My bite of the pulled pork was pretty tasty, so if I were to ever go back, I'd order that. Also, they gave you the option of ordering your sandwich between 2 slices of Texas Toast, which I declined. I don't know if that's just Midwesterners being cute, but it made me want to throw things.
  • Post #58 - January 17th, 2011, 11:10 pm
    Post #58 - January 17th, 2011, 11:10 pm Post #58 - January 17th, 2011, 11:10 pm
    Habibi wrote:The syrup soaked pancake thing is Qatayif, the traditional Ramadan pastry, filled with either cheese or walnuts. I am surprised to see Shatila making these things outside of Ramadan.

    Thanks for the info. I was able to find a lot more about qatayef, including news of the Guinness-certified World's Largest Qatayef prepared last Ramadan in Bethlehem. We had ours toward the end of September, definitely after Ramadan but not by much.
  • Post #59 - March 9th, 2011, 7:32 pm
    Post #59 - March 9th, 2011, 7:32 pm Post #59 - March 9th, 2011, 7:32 pm
    Realizing that many people who go to "Detroit" never bother actually going to Detroit other than to drive through it on their way to the suburbs (although happily it seems some folks have made it to Mexicantown and elsewhere in the city proper), I'm still a bit surprised no one has mentioned Roast, Michael Symon's place in the renovated and reopened Book Cadillac Hotel. I can't be the only one on this board who has eaten there? Definitely recommended. Wasn't a miss in the bunch when my wife and I ate there, although since it was a year ago I can't recall exactly what was on the charcuterie plate at the time, and with the menu not being static I don't think the steak preparation I ordered is on there anymore either.

    I'll concur with people on Slows - it's ok. They have a nice beer selection, but I wouldn't call it a BBQ destination, certainly not for someone who lives here and can easily stop in to Smoque or Honey 1 or one of the other good ones. Mudgie's Deli in Corktown, however, was quite good. It seems they now have a few dinner items in addition to an extensive and delicious sandwich menu, with a focus on local products, house-roasted meats and house-made soups. The sandwich I had (the Mudgie -- figured I'd go for the namesake) was excellent. And while you're in Corktown (although Mudgie's isn't very far into Corktown from downtown) you can stop by and take photos of the nearby famous and abandoned Michigan Central Depot. Someday they'll actually follow through on plans to do something with that building, I just hope that something isn't "tear it down."

    Roast
    1128 Washington
    Detroit

    Mudgie's Deli
    1300 Porter
    Detroit
  • Post #60 - March 10th, 2011, 3:47 pm
    Post #60 - March 10th, 2011, 3:47 pm Post #60 - March 10th, 2011, 3:47 pm
    AdmVinyl wrote:Realizing that many people who go to "Detroit" never bother actually going to Detroit other than to drive through it on their way to the suburbs (although happily it seems some folks have made it to Mexicantown and elsewhere in the city proper), I'm still a bit surprised no one has mentioned Roast, Michael Symon's place in the renovated and reopened Book Cadillac Hotel.

    Maybe you missed this thread in which I mention Roast a couple times, though I still haven't visited. The first time the restaurant was under construction, the second time it wasn't yet open for the day, and my last visit we decided to skip this offshoot of a trendy Cleveland restaurant in favor of real Detroit (and Dearborn) places—Shatila, Al-Ameer, Cadieux Café, Telway Hamburgers and Mike's Ham Place.

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