Monday, June 27, 2016

What's Been on My Plate During the First Half of 2016

Osso Buco from Roadside B&G
We're almost at the halfway mark of 2016, and I've had the pleasure of eating at several excellent Michigan restaurants this year. Here are some of my favorites from this year.

Roadside B&G

I have eaten at Roadside B&G in Bloomfield Township several times, and I always leave satisfied. Their balsamic glazed brussels sprouts with dried cranberries is a great appetizer. As for main courses, my favorites are the roasted vegetarian enchilada (I get it with short rib added) and the baby back ribs. On my most recent trip, I tried an osso buco with polenta special that was perfection. The restaurant also makes a very good mac & cheese (and the kids menu version, with its large portion, might be the best bargain on the menu).


Chartreuse makes a lot of "best of" lists for Detroit, and the Detroit Free Press named it the restaurant of the year for 2016. I have only visited Chartreuse once, but one visit convinced me that it deserves the accolades it receives. The restaurant is next door to the Detroit Institute of Arts, so my wife, Allison, and I decided to try Chartreuse after attending the Freep Film Festival at the DIA.

It was a snowy April day, and Chartreuse's bright chartreuse-colored interior felt warm and inviting. We had a short wait for a table, so we ordered a couple of drinks at the bar. I tried the delicious "gon now git," a combination of rye, averna, and lemon. Allison had the Last Word (Then again, she always does), a tasty mixture of gin, chartreuse green, lime, and maraschino. For dinner, I tried the spare ribs, which were phenomenal. Allison had the vegetable bulgogi--a strange mix that included pineapple, poached egg, green curry, and excellent kimchi, but all the flavors worked well together.

Fork n' Pint

Asian beef tacos from Fork n' Pint
I reviewed Fork n' Pint after my first time eating there. I have been back to this Waterford restaurant a few more times because it has quickly become one of my favorite restaurants in Metro Detroit. I love their fries. Their pizzas and burgers are very good. The walleye n' chips (served with potato chips, not fries) are wonderful, and so are their vegetarian options, like the coconut curry tofu. And they have fantastic tacos, as I recently discovered when I tried their Asian beef tacos. With its great menu, large drink menu, and relaxing atmosphere overlooking Cass Lake, I am always happy to visit Fork n' Pint.

Buffy's Mexi-casian Grill

I love a good food truck, and I really love a good burrito, so I was happy to discover Buffy's Mexi-casian Grill in May. Buffy's burrito is a 12-inch flour tortilla stuffed with shredded beef or chicken, beans, rice, pico de gallo, cheese, lettuce, and chipotle sauce. The chicken burrito I had was everything a burrito should be. Buffy's Mexi-casian Grill serves the Detroit area, and I will be on the lookout for it.

Griffin Claw Brewing Company

A beer from Griffin Claw in Birmingham
Birmingham's Griffin Claw Brewing Company is not new to me in 2016, but I don't believe I've ever mentioned them on this blog before. Griffin Claw brews tremendous beers and serves quality burgers and fries. Fried pickles are one of my favorite appetizers, and Griffin Claw's pickle fries definitely get the job done. My two favorite burgers are the Morning Glory (with bacon and egg on a pretzel bun) and the spicy Nightmare on Eton Street. Griffin Claw allows diners to substitute a delicious black bean patty, so vegetarians do not have to feel left out. Besides their food and beer, I also like that Griffin Claw feels like a neighborhood brewery because it is a little bit away from the crowds of downtown Birmingham.


Chicken Pasties from Trifles
Trifles is a bakery in West Bloomfield that makes wedding cakes and other baked treats, but what drew me in was the sign in their window that says "Pasties." I know there are a few places in Metro Detroit that serve the U.P.'s favorite dish, but I had not seen Trifles on any of those lists. The small shop clearly focuses on cupcakes, chocolates, cakes, and other sweets, but they do carry a small collection of premade pasties that you can heat up in the oven at home. They only had chicken pasties when I visited, so I bought a couple for my family for lunch. Overall, they are very good (much better than any of the frozen store-bought pasties I've tried), and I will probably pick some up again.

Cork and Rye

Cork and Rye in Farmington Hills is a huge liquor store that also has a great deli. The restaurant opened earlier this year in the building that used to house Vineyards. Cork and Rye has traditional deli sandwiches, but it also has Middle Eastern sandwiches that are delicious at a decent price. Beware of the shawarma if you do not like spicy food, because Cork and Rye's shawarma has a little bit of spice (I enjoy it, though).

Imperial Bar

Tacos and the Elote Epecial from Imperial Bar
Ferndale's Imperial Bar is both a bar and a taco joint. The bar is nice, but I went for the tacos on a friend's recommendation. The tacos are a la carte, so I ordered a few as well as the Elote Especial (grilled sweet corn with poblano lime cream, cotija cheese, and chilis). Everything was excellent, and I highly recommend Imperial Bar to anyone looking for good tacos.

Looking Forward to the Last Half of 2016

This list is very Oakland County-centric since I have not had the opportunity to travel around the state as much as I'd like. Luckily, I will be visiting the U.P. and South Haven soon, and I hope to take a couple of day trips away so I find more excellent Michigan restaurants to write about.

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