Sunday, February 28, 2010

Yelp Drinks: Week-Long Happy Hour

Week-Long Happy Hour?!?!? I'm speechless!

Mostly because I don't want to sound like a total alcoholic.


WHO: Yelp is a local business review site that connects people with great small businesses in Metro Detroit. Locals all throughout Southeastern Michigan have been writing reviews of their favorite watering holes, restaurants and even auto mechanics and dentists.

WHAT: Metro Detroit Yelp has identified 10 of buzz-worthy bars in the area and partnered with them to present Yelp Drinks. The special promotion is a week-long happy hour featuring half-off drink specials. Participating locations will feature up to 3 adult beverages for 50% off throughout the promotion.

WHEN: Monday March 1st – Sunday March, 7th, 2010

1) Yelp Drinks prices are good all day Monday through all day Sunday while supplies last.
2) Please tip on regular price.
3) Please consume responsibly.


Ashley's Bar & Grill (Westland)
Bell's Two Hearted (reg: $4.50, $2.25 during Yelp Drinks Week)
Long Island Iced Tea (reg: $6, $3 during YDW)
Stella Artois (reg: $5, $2.50 during YDW)

Babs’ Underground Lounge (Ann Arbor)
Pomegranate Martini (reg: $7, $3.50 during YDW)
Lemondrop Martini (reg: $7, $3.50 during YDW)
Draft Beer (reg: $5, $2.50 during YDW)

The Bosco (Ferndale)
French 75 (reg: $8, $4 during YDW)
Booberry (reg: $9, $4.50 during YDW)
Melonade (reg: $7, $3.50 during YDW)

D'Amato's and Goodnite Gracie's (Royal Oak)
Key Lime Martini (reg: $10, $5 during YDW)
Pomegranate Martini (reg: $10, $5 during YDW)
Sour Raspberry Martini (reg: $10, $5 during YDW)

Mind Body & Spirits (Rochester)
All Organic Beers (reg: $4, $2 during YDW)
Bottles of Organic Wine (reg: $26-45, $13-22.50 during YDW)
MBS Mojito (reg: $7, $3.50 during YDW)

Rochester Mills Beer Company (Rochester)
16 oz. Wits Organic Beer (reg: $4.50, $2.25 during YDW)
Mills Mojito (reg: $6, $3 during YDW)
Mills Martini (reg: $9, $4.50 during YDW)

Rosie O'Grady's (Ferndale)
Car Bombs (reg: $8, $4 during YDW)
Absolut Bloody Mary (reg: $5.50, $2.75 during YDW)
Malibu & Pineapple (reg: $4.50, $2.25 during YDW)

Sidetrack (Ypsilanti)
Pint of Huma-Lupa-licious (reg: $4.25, $2.13 during YDW)
Chocolate Martini (reg: $6.75, $3.38 during YDW)
Glass of House Cabernet (reg: $6.75, $3.38 during YDW)

Woodbridge Pub (Detroit)
Pint of Ghettoblaster (reg: $4, $2 during YDW)
Mark West Pinot Noir (reg: $8, $4 during YDW)
Bloody Mary (reg: $6, $3 during YDW)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Detroit Restaurant Week Spring Edition Announcement!


Ladies and gentlemen, the moment you've all been waiting for...

(Or, at least, the moment I'VE been waiting for, and that's really all I care about.)

Detroit Restaurant Week has announced their dates for their Spring Edition!

I feel like Stevie Nicks. "I can't wait, I can't wa-ait!"

Hard to believe it's been almost 6 months since the last one, eh? Damn near took me that long to recover, too. cholesterol hurts just thinking about it. And, also, liver.

The fine folks at Paxahau and the Downtown Detroit Partnership are once again bringing you 10 days of fine dining at an even finer value for the second edition of the hugely successful Detroit Restaurant Week, April 16-25, 2010. The concept remains unchanged: 17 restaurants all offering special prix fixe menus at $27 for 3 courses.

But wait, there's more!

Beginning in March, I will once again be giving you weekly DRW menu previews from select participating restaurants. Need a little refresher course from last year? Feel free to peruse:

DRW Preview #1: Andiamo
DRW Preview #2: Cuisine
DRW Preview #3: Iridescence
DRW Preview #4: The Whitney
DRW Preview #5: Atlas Global Bistro
DRW Preview #6: Detroit Fish Market

Menus will be changing to reflect seasonality; check back here weekly for regular updates!

PS, I'm soooooooooooooooper excited about this, if you couldn't tell!

For your reading pleasure, here is the official release:
Historic Roma Café in Eastern Market will be the newest eatery to join the Detroit Restaurant Week (DRW) lineup when Paxahau Promotions Group dishes out a second serving of fine dining paired with exceptional value for the Spring
Edition—Friday, April 16 through Sunday, April 25.

“We were thrilled when Roma Café signed on,” said Jason Huvaere, Detroit Restaurant Week Executive Director. “They will be a fantastic addition to an already
stellar list of restaurants. I think their unique Detroit history and classic Italian fare will make them a foodie favorite.”

Roma Café has been serving traditional Italian cuisine since 1890. Considered the oldest restaurant in Detroit, the iconic establishment began as a boarding house for farmers. They received a hot meal and a cot, but word quickly spread about how delicious the meals were, prompting the expansion of services and opening of Roma Café.

“We at the Roma Cafe are so excited to be a new partner in this spring's Detroit Restaurant Week,” said Janet Sossi Belcoure, third generation owner of Roma Café. “As Detroit's oldest restaurant, we look forward to sharing our food and history with our guests during restaurant week.”

Besides the addition of Roma Café to the roster, and Spring-inspired menus to be offered by participating restaurants, the Detroit Restaurant Week winning recipe will not change.

Diners from across Southeast Michigan and Windsor will again be able to order a three-course dinner for an exceptional price of $27 per person (exclusive of beverage, tax and gratuity).

Detroit Restaurant Week Spring Edition will offer specially-priced dining at these fine restaurants:

24Grille – Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
Andiamo Detroit Riverfront – GM Ren Cen
Atlas Global Bistro - Midtown
Coach Insignia – GM Ren Cen
Cuisine – New Center
Da Edoardo Foxtown Grille - Foxtown
Detroit Fish Market – Paradise Valley
Forty-Two Degrees North – GM Ren Cen
Iridescence – MotorCity Casino-Hotel
Mosaic Restaurant - Greektown
Opus One - Downtown
Rattlesnake Club – Stroh River Place
Roast – Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
Roma Café – Eastern Market
Saltwater – MGM Grand Detroit
Wolfgang Puck Grille – MGM Grand Detroit
The Whitney – Midtown

Reservations for Detroit Restaurant Week Spring 2010
Organizers for Detroit Restaurant Week note that reservations are not required, however they are strongly encouraged so that restaurants can provide an outstanding experience for each guest. Huvaere said, “based on last year’s numbers and the fact that many of the restaurants recorded sellout evenings, it would be a good idea to make reservations sooner rather than later.”

To make a reservation, visit and click on the “Restaurant Page” to obtain contact information for each establishment. Reservations can be made by contacting the restaurants directly or through the Open Table link, which can also be found on the Detroit Restaurant Week - Spring Edition web site.

Menus for each restaurant will be available in the coming weeks.

Expectations High for Spring Edition of Detroit Restaurant Week
Last fall’s inaugural Detroit Restaurant Week served-up the city’s finest dining establishments on a silver platter. It pumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into the greater Downtown Detroit economy in just 10 evenings. The reservation ledgers at the 17 restaurants were full about every night thanks to the more than 27,000 people who visited the establishments during the first DRW.

Amy Englebert of The Rattlesnake Club told organizers, “We sold out every night.” While Paul Grosz of Cuisine said Detroit Restaurant Week “is one of the best promotions I have ever been a part of…”

The greater Downtown districts of Midtown, Corktown, New Center, Downtown and Eastern Market jointly sponsored the inaugural Detroit Restaurant Week in 2009.

“The Downtown Detroit districts were pleased to underwrite this promotion last fall – and now continue the sponsorship again this Spring – because it brings thousands of diners to experience fine dining in Downtown, Midtown, Corktown and New Center,” said Ann Lang, President & CEO of Downtown Detroit Partnership. “And now we welcome the venerable Roma Café which has been a landmark in Detroit’s Eastern Market for over 100 years.”

About Paxahau
Paxahau Promotions Group, with its network of alliances and resources that span the globe, has earned the reputation over the past 12 years as a premier promotions organization. Established to promote electronic music, Paxahau has grown to become a year round event production company. In addition to producing the Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit, Paxahau has booked talent or provided production services for Motown Winter Blast; Red Bull Air Races; Comerica Cityfest; Arts, Beats & Eats; North American International Auto Show events; BravoBravo!; and the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel. Visit to learn more.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Real Detroit Weekly: Wolfgang Puck Grille

I'm still reeling over that bottle of Latour.

"Wolfgang Puck Grille is one of four “Grilles” in the Wolfgang Puck family of restaurants. The premise of the Grille is to incorporate a little of everything from all of the Wolfgang Puck menu concepts under one roof. The end result is an establishment that caters as much to the clientele looking for a simple pizza and beer combo before a Red Wings game as it does to the wealthy business types looking for Prime Rib with a bottle of Chateau Lafite Bordeaux.

'You can tell a lot about a place by its wine list: and this one is carefully separated into “Old” and “New World” categorizations, heavy on the big name French and Californian producers and runs the full gamut of styles and price points in between. The cheapest bottle is a Pinot Gris from California at $32 — the most expensive, a bottle of 1982 Chateau Latour Bordeaux for $2450. (Realistically expect a midrange of $60-80.)..."

Read the rest of the review here.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Supper Club at Saltwater

Join Detroit Synergy’s Supper Club as we visit Detroit Free Press’s “Restaurant of the Year” for 2008: celebrity chef Michael Mina’s Saltwater inside the MGM Grand Detroit.

Saltwater is one of two Michael Mina restaurants located in the city of Detroit (Bourbon Steak, also inside MGM, being the other). Since debuting a little over two years ago, Saltwater has been lauded as one of the finest seafood restaurants in the metro area, offering a wide variety of fresh fish prepared with contemporary American refinement and exceptional attention to detail. This is less a classic fish market and more a full five-star opulent dining experience, focusing on the bounty of the sea for its elegant inspiration.

On Wednesday, February 24 beginning at 6:00PM, taste some of Saltwater’s seafood specialties with a special prix fixe menu designed just for Supper Club members at the low price of only $40.00 per person, including tax and gratuity. Only 40 seats are available: this event WILL sell out!

First Course

Ahi Tuna Tartar
Toasted pine nuts, ancho chile, sesame oil

Second Course

Dungeness Crab Agnolotti
Candied fennel, Maine shrimp

Third Course

Char-Grilled Loch Duart Salmon
Braised cabbage, hedgehog mushroom, mustard spätzle


Key Lime Pie
Graham cracker, brown sugar meringue

Tickets are $40.00 in advance at the DSG store,, and include tax and gratuity. Tickets to this event are available by online purchase only, and all purchases must be made by the end of the day Tuesday, February 23rd.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Fun, Games, and Absinthe: The Bastone Complex

Cafe Habana interior

I was recently at a media tasting inside the Bastone Complex in Royal Oak. There's a brewery (Bastone), a wine bar (Vinotecca), a cuban eatery (Cafe Habana), and an absinthe bar (Commune Lounge). Oh yeah. I got into some absinthe at 4:00 in the afternoon on a random Tuesday. You wish you had my job.

Apparently there was food there but I focused mostly on the libations, of which there were plenty. I also had the chance to talk shop with some like-minded industry folks, including this guy here and this other guy here, which is inevitably egotistically entertaining and terribly other words, a hell of a good time every time!

This media tasting was coordinated to introduce Executive Chef Robert Young's updated menus for the distinctly different restaurants, showcasing how one complex can house four unique establishments each with their own identity, all presided under one managing chef (who just joined the Bastone Complex last August).

Vinotecca interior

I'm getting to the booze, bear with me. Young graduated from culinary school in his native Wales, then jumped the pond to work at the Grand Hotel on Mackinaw Island. He then spent time at a roadhouse followed by a steakhouse-slash-brewery, which rounded out a very diverse set of restaurant industry experiences before he joined Bastone. He has background in everything from fine dining to the burn-and-turn business, which more easily enables him to adapt to the demands of four different restaurants/bars under one roof.

To the Bastone and Vinotecca menus Young has brought a more authentic European background, as well as expanding the menu at Vinotecca from simple small plates to a more fleshed-out dining experience with muliple course options.

There was a nice spread at Vinotecca which included seafood paella and strong, pungent can imagine how far I got. Manager and beverage specialist Bronwen Nikora was on-hand to explain the different wines available for sample, which included an interesting Roussanne from Steele's Writer's Block label, a fairly new wine only in its second vintage but with serious promise (the Roussanne varietal is typically associated with the Rhone region and Chateauneuf du Pape, and hasn't gained much notoriety from any California-grown estate).

From there we traversed over the Bastone, where we were given beer. Lots of beer. Head brewer Rockne VanMeter was there to walk us through his different brews. Bastone Brewery has accumulated quite the collection of awards recently, including a Bronze in the Great American Beer Festival for their Saison du Bastone in 2009 and a Silver for their Bastone Müncher Dunkel in 2008. But better to experience them for yourself...with ME this Sunday, February 21st, as Discover Detroit Dining launches with a Brew-Ha-Ha! Bastone is one of three stops which also includes Kuhnhenn and Sherwood Brewing Co.; tickets are limited and are available for purchase here. Come party with me on a beer bus!

The next stop was Cafe Habana, where I partook of some Carne Asada with a killer chimichurri sauce as well as a Volcanic Mojito made with fresh mango and pomegranate liqueur. Mojitos: not just for summer anymore.

Last but not least, we headed down into Commune Lounge, which was recently renovated from the industrial-chic Cinq to look more like an old 19th-century Parisian absinthe house, all decorated in heavy scratched wood, cloudy mirrors with ornate frames, sheer curtains, wrought iron, and antique-looking chandeliers. It's all very Montmarte, and their focus is on their absinthe (absynthe, absynth, absinte...etc.).

Now, contrary to popular belief, real absinthe is NOT legal here in the States. The laws have recently been changed to allow for absinthe-style liquors with only trace amounts of the active drug wormword (which gives it that delightful blackout effect) to be sold here, though the REALLY real stuff can still only be procured in Europe.

Trust me, this legal absinthe still does the trick.

Ah, absinthe. I remember you from a night I don't remember in New Orleans. Those were good times, or so I'm told. Your green death NyQuil flavor I haven't forgotten though, and no amount of melted sugar cube can change that. EXCEPT: for this lovely cocktail Bronwen gave us called the "Bohemian Revolution," an electric green-blue concoction made with Absinthe Ordinare, blue curacao, orange juice and fresh lemon. THIS is a drink I could actually drink (as opposed to plugging my nose and gulping down); the acidity of the orange juice and tropical sweetness of the curacao cut the gag flavor of the absinthe nicely, and ultimately led to the coining of the phrase "Fun, Games, and Absinthe."

Something something food something; I drank a lot. As far as places to drink go, two enthusiastic thumbs up for the Bastone Complex! Now come drink with me on the 21st for the 3D Tour--I promise fun and games, but alas, no absinthe. Well, maybe after. Guess you'll just have to find out!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Nothing Says Love Like Vodka: Valentine Vodka

I think that title pretty much speaks for itself?

"The day of lovers fast approaches, and once again the decision must be made: chocolates or flowers?

'Let’s face it -- the traditional Valentine’s Day gifts have become a bit passé. And while no female of sound mind would ever reject such presents (1-800-FLOWERS has a fine delivery service and one can just simply never go wrong with Godiva), secretly we desire something a little more…unique. Come on, boys, show us that you actually put some thought into it!

'This Valentine’s Day, go ahead and give the chocolate…so long as it is attached to a bottle of locally-produced vodka.

'Valentine Vodka, which launched in March 2009, is offering a special Valentine’s Day promotional package that includes their elegant 750mL bottle paired with an individually-wrapped, heart-shaped artisan chocolate made by Grocer’s Daughter Chocolate for only $29.99, available most places Valentine Vodka is sold. The chocolate is filled with raspberry caramel, specially made to complement the flavor of Valentine Vodka..."

Read the rest of the article from Metromix here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Birmingham Restaurant Week: Forest Grill

Birmingham Restaurant Week is happening now through February did a little skip-de-loo over the weekend so technically it ran Feb. 1-5, then picked up again for the 8-12. For some reason I was convinced it ran through Valentine's Day weekend, but I was wrong. How crazy would THAT be, anyway? $25 for Valentine's Dinner at the Rugby Grille? BET!

(On a side note, I wonder what they would offer for that pricing? My guess is salmon and short ribs. Ooooooh, lookey that. AND they're the exception to the $25 pricing by charging $35 for their Restaurant Week prix fixe dinner! Tsk tsk tsk. Oh, Birmingam.)

Birmingham Restaurant Week was super-well promoted, too, what with the article in Hometown Life and no website and all. *cough*

Well, anyway. I've been meaning to try Forest Grill in Birmingham for over a year now, as I've been curious to see what Chef Brian Polcyn has been up to at his latest venture, which already received the prestigious recognition of being Hour Detroit's "Restaurant of the Year" for 2009.

If you're an about-town foodie, the name Brian Polcyn should certainly ring a bell. But I will give you a quick Culinary Cliff Notes all the same.

Polcyn trained under the world-renowned Certified Master Chef Milos Cihelka at the Golden Mushroom, blessed be thine name. He also worked at the Lark and opened the acclaimed Pike Street in Pontiac before eventually making his way out to Milford to open the nationally-recognized Five Lakes Grill, which showcased his talents as a charcuterie expert (which refers to the art of salting, smoking, and curing of meats). He has won numerous awards, has been featured in publications all across America, has himself been published, and has also garnered a few James Beard Award nominations (though has yet to see a win...that's okay, it's an honor just to be nominated. Really!). He opened Forest Grill in the summer of 2008 (and has since transformed his old bread-and-butter Five Lakes Grill into Cinco Lagos, a more accessible restaurant serving handmade upscale Mexican cuisine), once again to much immediate acclaim.

The great thing about Restaurant Weeks is that they are a fantastic way to explore new restaurants without breaking the bank. The crappy thing about Restaurant Weeks is that they are a terrible way to introduce a new restaurant. Forest Grill was no exception.

The Charcuterie Assortment De Jour has been calling my name, so even despite the prix fixe menu I insisted on this (luckily my dining partner didn't put up much of a fight there). This is, after all, what Polcyn is known for.

Mmmmmmmm-meat. Salute, salumi! Prosciutto, ham, salame...served with a bunch of other stuff (olives, cornichons) we didn't touch. More meat for the meat-eaters, please! The Charcuterie did not disappoint--and I would highly recommend the Prosciutto de Birmingham with white truffle oil--though I naturally would have enjoyed it infinitely more had there been a big slab of Bra Duro or Pecorino Toscana on the side (cheese). Ah, well. (Note: There is a assortment of cheeses available on the dessert menu.)

The prix fixe Restaurant Week menu ($15 for lunch, $25 for dinner) includes three courses with choices for each. The first course was a choice of Tomato Bisque en Croute or a Baby Heirloom Beet Salad with warm goat cheese, candied walnuts, and petite organic lettuce. My partner and I split the ballot here, with me opting for the salad and she for the soup. The flaky, chewy crust smelled like heaven as it came out, which is lucky: the soup itself tasted like marinara sauce. I'm not even kidding you. Marinara sauce. For confirmation I sought the opinion of another well-versed chef...marinara sauce.

The beet salad was much better, and I did particularly enjoy the fried goat cheese with the slightly bitter greens and the tart vinegar reduction. Granted, I could have just ate them like tater tots, but that's not the point.

The second course was a choice between Lake Superior Whitefish with lemon, capers, artichokes, haricot vert, potato puree, and a tomato confit butter sauce or Veal Cheeks with Parisian herb & Ricotta cheese gnocchi, wilted spinach, and tomato. What do you think I chose?

Disappointment, is what. Well, not really. It was a perfectly tasty dish. Quite good, even. But for this place? Disappointing. I'll let you in on a little secret: veal cheeks taste just like short ribs. Ah, short ribs, old friend, how've you been? Can't seem to get enough of you on a prix fixe menu. *sigh* It was certainly tender with lots of flavor, a rich broth, the gnocchi was good, parmesan added flavor...but overall, I was underwhelmed. This is certainly not their "A" game.

Also, the portions were exceptionally small--which is fine; I'd rather pay less money for less food and not take anything home to sit in my fridge and grow mold, but I'm sure plenty of other people would take issue with that. Besides, if the portions are going to be smaller, I would expect the offerings to be more varied. In other words, don't offer me the cheapest things on your menu AND give me less of or the other, people.

This is where they win: the desserts. Ohdeargod, the desserts. I can't seem to find any information on the pastry chef either on their menus or on the website, which means either the pastry chef has gone entirely uncredited (I feel bad for pastry chefs...they are SO the red-headed stepchildren of the culinary world), or Executive Chef David McHotty Gilbert is pulling double-duty. Regardless, the desserts are pure divinity.

Take the Brioche Bread Pudding with chocolate pistols, creme anglaise, and Tahitian Vanilla Bean ice cream: dense, gooey, decadent. But it had nothing on the Chocolate Pot de Creme.

Such a demure-looking little dish, so polite. Our server Joseph liked to say it with a British accent--I liked him! Yes, it is by all appearances a chaste finale. Until you taste it: the closest I have experienced to having a thousand angels dancing on my tounge since The Egg at Tribute. Think of the flavor of a rich chocolate souffle, and then make it the consistency of a thick custard. It has no comparison. Absolutely sinful, wholly divine.

I may not recommend Forest Grill for their Restaurant Week menu, but I look forward to sampling more of their regular menu. They have a full raw bar as well as clay-oven-baked pizzas (the Pizza Prosciutto with prosciutto, baby arugula, asiago cheese, and truffle oil taunts me), and a variety of cross-disciplinary items best described as "contemporary bistro." The Hudson Valley Foie Gras Torchon is apparently a specialty of David McHotty Gilbert (I love foie gras and I am at peace with that); other highlights include a Cider-Glazed Sweetbread Risotto, Cassoulet Toulousain (made with garlic sausage, pork belly, and duck confit), Bone Marrow & Confit of Pork, and the classic 14-oz. Cote Du Boeuf (for only $29, which I found surprising...guessing it's not a 30-day dry-aged cut from Neiman Ranch). The Parmesan Creamed Spinach side also sounds like a win, and the Tres Leches cake with Sassafras-infused egg nog has me curious. Yes, yes--the regular menu merits further investigation. It's a shame most restaurants don't have more manueverability with such fixed pricing.

Forest Grill is probably best described as a contemporary American bistro with influences from French and Italian cooking traditions and an emphasis on "clean lines"--simple dishes that highlight the flavors of the ingredients, focused on utilizing locally-sourced seasonal products with a commitment to sustainable cuisine and greening initiatives. The interior is bright, crisp, and clean...simple yet elegant, free of anything flashy but still very sleek.

One of the highlights of this particular experience was the wine list, which I was most impressed by. Sommelier Mario Plaza has put together a list of some of the best varietals from around the world, de-emphasizing the pedigree of labels and organized not by country or region but by style and impression. This is probably one of the most intriguingly-orchestrated wine lists I've ever seen, and receives even more accolades for offering wines not only by the bottle and glass, but also by taste--so if you'd like just a little more wine but not another full glass, you can order a 3-oz. taste (about half a glass) for about half the price. Bloody brilliant idea.

My favorite categorization is "So You Like Big Cabernet But It's Time for a Change--Intense Reds: Cabernet Franc, Touriga Nacional, Nebbiolo, Aglianico." True story. Never have I seen France, Portugal, and Italy play so nicely together. Judging solely by the exquisite attention to detail apparent on this wine list, Mr. Plaza is a true wine lover's wine lover. Unimpressed by big-name producers, he tends towards smaller boutique producers that crank out interesting, eclectic wines. The Trimbach Gewurztraminer from the Alsace region of France that I had speaks to this: a complex crispness with notes of exotic fruits that would pair just as well with Thai food as with stinky blue-veined cheeses. If the wine list is any kind of indication of what I can expect from the regular menu, I eagerly anticipate my return.

And you know how reluctant I am to ever travel to the 'burbs.

For Real Detroit Weekly: Boodles

*scratch* <----------that's the sound of me putting another notch in my publication belt. WHO DAT!?!?

My first Clean Plate Club column for Real Detroit Weekly published this week, for Boodles Restaurant in Madision Heights. If I were in the mafia in the '80s, this would be my place! They're keeping traditions alive over there at I-75 and John R, and the food? Fit for a kingpin!

Check it out:

"The slogan at Boodles is “Where East Meets West.” And no, it's not another Asian-fusion joint. It's an old school-style fine dining establishment. Owned by Bruno and Charlotte Ferguson for the 26 years it’s been in operation, Boodles is the kind of place where every customer gets VIP treatment (as it clearly states all over the menu).

'Located at the corner of John R. and 11 Mile Rd., Boodles is the kind of place that remains an out-in-the-open secret, but those in the know are tried-and-true regulars, on a first-name basis with the staff. With their cigar and single-malt scotch menus and their tableside service of Chateaubriand and Bananas Foster, Boodles is one of the last-standing remnants of the three-martini lunch era.."

Read the rest of the review here.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Discover Detroit Dining: Brew-Ha-Ha

I can haz a corporation! :D :D :D

It's finally here: Discover Detroit Dining. That's me, weeeeee!!!

3D Tours is a culinary tour program offering themed dining packages which will introduce guests to various different restaurants, food shops, wine and martini bars, breweries, cooking classes, and whatever else strikes my your gastronomical fancy in the metro Detroit area. Part food-lovers' fantasy/part alternative social scene, 3D Tours will offer fun evenings with like-minded foodies at venues that have all received my official seal of approval.

And that should say a lot, should it not?

The website is now live and tickets are now on sale for the first event: a Brew-Ha-Ha! Sunday, February 21, 4-8PM, 3 different breweries, food and beer, tax/tip/transportation--$50. Only 28 seats are available so act quickly! Though I do always love to hear a person beg...

I will be writing more on Bastone and Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. later this week; in the meantime, check out what I had to say about Sherwood Brewing Co. here.

And here's the deets!

Press Release:
For the launch Discover Detroit Dining/3D Tours outing, it’s a “Brew-Ha-Ha!” Michigan is home to some of the most top-rated craft breweries in the world, raking in medals from top competitions such as the World Beer Cup and the Great American Beer Festival. There are currently over 70 craft breweries in the state of Michigan, with many producing some truly astounding brews.

For 3D’s first-ever culinary tour event, we will be heading to three of our favorite local breweries to sample selections of their current brews, as well as tasting some of their signature foods.

On Sunday, February 21, 2010 beginning at 4:00PM, our first stop will be Bastone Brewery & Restaurant in Royal Oak, where guests will receive a flight of four current brews of their choice. Bastone was awarded a Bronze in the Great American Beer Festival for their Saison du Bastone in 2009 and a Silver for their Bastone Müncher Dunkel in 2008. In between chatting with head brewer Rockne about his award-winning creations, we’ll also sample some of their warm soft pretzels with cheese fondue dip. Nothing goes better with beer than cheese and pretzels!

Really, though—it’s true! Next on our journey to discover Detroit’s breweries, we’ll head over to Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. in Warren, where the brothers Kuhnhenn will be setting out eight different samples of their highly-regarded brews, including their Fourth Dementia Old Ale which took home a Bronze in this year’s Great American Beer Festival. Notes of toffee and caramel mask the 9.5% ABV content. Consider yourself warned! They’ll also be serving a selection of seven different artisanal cheeses, including Danish Bleu Cheese and Tillamook White Cheddar. Beer + cheese= win.

Last on our brew tour is the happiest place on earth: Sherwood Brewing Co. In addition to brewing great beers (like the ultra-hoppy Green River Wheat IPA), owners Ray and Lisa Sherwood are incredibly welcoming and make every guest feel like a family member. They’ve also made the commitment to the Slow Food ethos, incorporating fresh, seasonal, and locally-sourced products in their kitchen, and even hosting regular dinners for Slow Food Detroit. All of their menu items are made from scratch in-house, including their sauces and dressings which they make with their own beer and wine. As both a brewery and a restaurant, Sherwood is top-notch—which is probably why they’ve been voted WDIV’s “Best Brewpub in metro Detroit” for three years in a row. They take great pride in their kitchen, and are eager to share with us some of their specialties, listed below:

~Fresh Fried Chips with housemade hummus and feta spinach dips
~BBQ Chicken Pizza with bold and spicy beer sauce
~Hand-Battered Mozzarella Triangles with garlic wine sauce
~Homemade Beer Ice Cream

The tour starts promptly at 4:00PM. We will meet inside Bastone, located at 419 S. Main St. From there the Night Move shuttle will take us to Kuhnhenn then Sherwood, and will drop us back off in Royal Oak at the parking garage located on the northwest corner of 6th & Lafayette, which is where we suggest all guests park for the event. Parking in Royal Oak is free on Sundays. The tour will last approximately four (4) hours.

All-inclusive tickets for this event are $50.00 which includes beer flights, food, tax, gratuity, and transportation during the tour. Tickets are available on the Discover Detroit Dining website at and are subject to availability. Tickets must be paid for in advance in order to participate. Seating is VERY limited—once we have reached capacity no exceptions can be made. This event is open to guests 21 & older only. For more information about this or other events, please contact Nicole Rupersburg at

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

From Concentrate: Zingerman's U

"If you live within twenty miles of Ann Arbor you are undoubtedly familiar with the Zingerman's brand. What began as a humble delicatessen in 1982 has since grown into a $30 million artisanal empire that includes a creamery, a bakery, a restaurant, a deli, a market, a coffee roasting outlet, a candy manufactory, as well as steady catering and mail order business. And along with its yummy foodstuffs Zingerman's also exports its philosophies and practices to other businesses for a fee. In a very expensive nutshell, the company has made a name for itself with its strict adherence to exceptional quality, subscribing to standards that most of its competitors don't even bother trying to aspire to.

'The end result is often products that are outstanding examples of their particular variety—robust yet delicate coffees, tender pie crusts filled with pricey lard, cheese made from an antiquated recipe no other creamery in the world uses. Quality is emphasized and underscored so much that the resulting product can seem inaccessible, even intimidating, to the fledgling connoisseur.

'It's okay: there's an app for that…er…rather, a program at Zingerman's to educate the eager gourmand!..."

Read the rest of the article here.