On the Road Eats: Detroit(Suburbs) and Ann Arbor

I have something to share with you.

I have to find the local spots.  And I knew heading to the Detroit suburbs and Ann Arbor would cause me to spend some time finding the right spot for one dinner and two lunches.  Turns out I got a second dinner too!

Cafe Thai
img_0729Call and request an early hotel check-in.  Take the bus to Hertz, choose a car and while I wait in line to check out, call Cafe Thai.  Order lunch to go and let them know I will be there in 25 minutes.  Head towards Southfield and they will have lunch ready to go.  Check in at the hotel, eat quickly and head to my client meeting.  Same routine for many years if I have to head to the suburbs after an early flight.  Always Cafe Thai.  And still my favorite Pad Thai to date.

I read about a restaurant in Ferndale, a 15-minute drive from my hotel that was named one of the top restaurants in the country.  Nothing fancy, just great seafood.  And they were right.  I could have sat at the bar and ate for hours.

Monahan’s Seafood Market
I have never been to Ann Arbor so of course I had to drive through the campus, see the stadium and find some good food.  I happened upon Kerrytown while looking for Monahan’s not realizing I was in the right spot.  On this particular day, there was a farmer’s market and the vendors pointed me in the right direction.  I walked into the Kerrytown Market and Shops and found Monahan’s.  Order at the counter, hope you can find a table or seat at the counter, and wonderful fresh mish is delivered via paper plate.  They had an amazing butternut squash that day and I could not resist a cup of the clam chowder.  Awesome experience!

Zingerman’s Delicatessen
Apparently Zingerman’s is an Ann Arbor institution.  When I told someone I had just returned from Ann Arbor, their first question was if I stopped by Zingerman’s.  I was happy to be able to say yes.  And I must admit it was a neat place with multiple buildings and experiences.  I didn’t really have a plan for a meal before heading to the airport but at the last minute decided I should get something before heading back to the Detroit airport.  Corned beef on rye and some rugelach.  The drive took less than an hour which was a bit difficult with this great sandwich on the seat next to me waiting to be eaten but I made it through security quickly, found a quiet spot to chill for 30 minutes and enjoyed my final meal of this trip!



On the Road Eats: Detroit and Beyond

I have something to share with you.

For 6 years I have been traveling to Detroit once or twice a year.  I have seen a lot of changes in the downtown area and have always received great recommendations for dining.  This trip was no exception – four great meals during two days in Detroit, Southfield, Royal Oak and Fenton.

my lunch here!  They have a few lunch specials and I took advantage.  The Ploughman Lunch – pick 1 small plate and 1 sandwich – served in 20 minutes and the cost is $20.  I chose the Cheese Board as my starter – burrata and pimento cheese with toast points.  I ran out of toast and rather than asking for more, I just ate the rest with a fork – delicious!  Then I ordered the Duck Pastrami Dip, served medium rare with horseradish mayo, duck jus, horseradish cheddar and caramelized onion on a hoagie roll with housemade seasoned chips.  Loved it!  Guess I need to push dinner back as I won’t be hungry for a while!

Bistro 82
imageThis was my first time in Royal Oak and I look forward to returning.   It’s got a lively downtown area with lots of shops and restaurants and I read in the Detroit Free Press that Bistro 82 was chosen as the number 2 best new restaurant in Detroit.  Royal Oak was only a 15 minute drive from my hotel and after I found a parking spot, I walked over and found a spot at the bar.  Their entire menu is presented via iPad.  I had my heart set on the scallops before I walked in but based on the bartender’s recommendation I went with the Sweetbread Tortellini with sausage, carrots and a Dijon bordelaise.  Perfect meal to end my day!

Cafe Thai
imageI have been coming to this tiny restaurant in Southfield for years.  It is my must stop restaurant in this area, whether I get to have just a few bites after a client dinner or if I get to eat an entire meal for lunch. There is something very unique about their Pad Thai – served with a lemon and yes, it is yellow in color.  My absolute favorite place for this dish.  Too bad I have to travel so far to enjoy it!

The Laundry
Of course I posted to Chowhound to ask where to eat on the way to Flint(my departure city) so big thank you to “coneywitheverything”.  I stopped by The Laundry on the way to the airport, sat outside in the beautiful weather(20 plus degrees cooler than Texas) and enjoyed a meal before my flight.  What did I get?  There were so many good choices but I settled on a very simple dish that can be super fantastic depending on how it is made – Chilaquiles.  They served their dish in a cast iron skillet, covered in cheese and my perfectly cooked fried egg.  On the inside was smoked pork, cilantro-lime crema, housemade salsa, black beans, tortillas and more cheese.  I wish I could get this dish in Dallas as they prepared it – it was that good!  As I paid I noticed a small bakeshop in the back and bought an oatmeal cookie on the way out for my flight(s) home.

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Marriott Southfield
Let me start with the good.  The hotel is in the process of a renovation.  The lobby is nice and new and they are upgrading the elevators.   The bad- the rooms are old(but being renovated in the future) and well, I had to have a chat with the very nice manager due to cleanliness issues.  Let’s leave it at that.  There are things the hotel cannot control like the roadwork being done that makes this hotel super inconvenient to get to right now(August 2015) but they can definitely set the standards on the level of cleanliness which they missed the mark on during my visit.  Yes, I’ll get points due to that conversation but I left completely grossed out with plans to stay at the SpringHill up the road or the Baronette Renaissance in Novi(an awesome hotel) during my next visit.

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On the Road Eats: Michigan

I have something to share with you.

I had some concerns.  I was traveling to Michigan for work and my first opportunity to eat would be near the airport in Grand Rapids(hate to say it but near the airport is usually chain-city).  I asked Chowhound for some help and all options pointed me to downtown.  Then I was headed to Lansing, a college town, and when I arrived at my hotel, they recommended a lot of college bars/restaurants.  Would I get lucky with my options on this trip?

Euro Bistro
I googled and yelped my way to this restaurant.  And I was pleasantly surprised.  I am going to assume that the menu at dinner would have been more enjoyable due to the variety of entrées but I chose French Onion soup and a chicken breast sandwich and it was a good meal.  If you must eat near the airport in Grand Rapids, this is a solid option.

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Black Cat Bistro
imageWhere do you eat in a college town that doesn’t have a college bar feel?  The Black Cat Bistro is a great option.  Although I was disappointed they were out of mussels, I opted for the flat-iron steak with chimichurri sauce and hand cut fries.  It was delicious.  Pair that with a Dirty Blonde Ale from the Atwater Brewery in Michigan, and you have a great meal to enjoy while sitting at the bar.

The Soup Spoon Cafe
imageI was told this was a great spot for lunch by Yelpers and other locals that I asked during my visit.  And I am happy to say they are RIGHT!  This little cafe was busy with folks and I got to sit at the bar and watch a lot of food come out of the window(and it all looked great)!.  Think sandwiches, pasta dishes and of course, the main reason I made my visit, the SOUPS!!  They offer a soup flight, 4 cups soups with bread for $10.  My order:  seafood chowder, french onion, roasted tomato and fennel, beef and cabbage.  The seafood chowder was my favorite, then the fennel beef and well, I enjoyed the other two quite a bit.  Next time, I will do a cup of chowder and one of the fantastic looking sandwiches!