Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Booze: Not Just for Saturday Mornings Anymore

In October I noted that Governor Granholm was considering a bill that would allow for Sunday morning liquor sales beginning at 7AM (formerly noon) as well as lift the ban on Christmas Day liquor sales. The bill was not without its issues, and was stalled a bit before a compromise between lawmakers could be reached.

The bill that Granholm finally approved eliminated some of the controversial provisions that were packed into the version she rejected in October. The next hurdle will be in the weeks it will take for bars, restaurants and stores to get the additional $160/year permit that will allow for these early sales. As we are now in the midst of the biggest selling season for booze, businesses desperately want to take advantage of these weeks prior to the observance of the birth of the Purportedly Magical Jew.

For the time being, however, you'll have to get your hair of the dog the old-fashioned way: by drinking the remaining swill from half-empty cans of warm beer that you left sticking to your living room table in puddles of coagulating cheese dip product before you passed out immediately after that last shot of Jameson's and all your friends left you on your floor and you woke up hoping for a merciful death during those seven excruciating minutes between the time you rose from the dead and the time the bars start serving booze so you can drown that vile feeling in tomato-flavored vodka as God intended.

Praise the Lord and pass the vodka!

View the complete details of House Bill 6224 here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Real Detroit Weekly: Vicente's Cuban Cuisine

"There is a stereotype regarding Latin culture that it is somehow inherently sexy — something about the sensual dance, spicy food and sweaty climate ... just think of the tango scene at the beginning of Mr. & Mrs. Smith (oh if only...).

'For five years, Vicente's Cuban Cuisine has been heating up Detroit with its unique Cuban dinner experience where visitors have an entire evening of dining and entertainment under one steamy roof. Guests come for traditional Cuban dishes like the everything-but-the-kitchen-sink Cuban paella with lobster, shrimp, calamari, scallops, Spanish sausage, chicken, clams, mussels, vegetables and Spanish saffron rice. Afterwards they burn off the calories by salsa dancing into the wee hours. Stereotype, meet even more awesome reality..."

Read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Real Detroit Weekly: Six-Drink Slam @ Oslo

If Kat Lemos ever decided to quit the restaurant/bar/nightclub industry, she could easily be a stand-up comic (and that's not just the six drinks talking). When she wasn't scrutinizing every last detail of the cocktails she was crafting for Oslo's version of the 6-Drink Slam, she was bringing tears to our eyes with impersonations of her Thai-born mom (and business partner) and jokes that some readers might find inappropriate. Well ... probably not YOU.

Drink 1: The Narviktini

One of their many signature cocktails, this has Fuki plum wine, sake and fresh squeezed lime. It is light, refreshing, thirst quenching and almost got knocked over when I lunged for the next drink.

Drink 2: Kevin Love Japan

Nicole love Kevin Love Japan. Named after Kevin Reynolds, a Detroit DJ who has worked with Kat since Oslo reopened and who also apparently "love" Japan, this boozy brilliance has Jameson, Fuki plum wine, fresh squeezed lime and is topped with Sprite. Smooooth. Or, as one of my drinking partners noted, "It's gentle but it will knock you on your ass!" To which I replied, "Like a sweet-talkin' man!" And how ...

Drink 3: Pineapple In Yo Face Cake

She drinks a whiskey drink, she drinks a vodka drink ... next up, the Pineapple In Yo Face Cake made with muddled pineapple and cherries, Stoli Vanil, Stoli Citros, a splash of Malibu coconut rum, simple syrup and pineapple juice. Might as well have called it "All Over My Face Cake." At this point I'm starting to get a little warm. I'm starting to laugh a little harder; a little louder. I may even have a mild case of the "I love you man"s.

Drink 4: Raspberry Flirt

DAMN these bitches is strong. "They're potent but balanced," Kat says. And it's true. These expertly made cocktails are as smooth as sugar-flavored silk and go down just as easy. You think you're fine until you stand up and are swaying in place wondering why the rest of the room is moving while telling the server how much you appreciate the great job he's doing. (Thanks again, Brian!)

The Raspberry Flirt may have been my tipping point. It's an Asian-style flirtini made with Moonstone raspberry sake, muddled raspberries, Chambord and topped with Zipang sparkling sake, a touch of simple syrup and a splash of sour mix. The Zipang has a slight carbonation, so the drink is sweet on the tongue with a dry finish.

Drink 5: The Pama Sutra

This is a derivative of flavored cosmos and Stoli drinks. Kat spun it a bit, using Stoli White Pomegranik, PAMA liqueur, a splash of cranberry, Cointreau and a splash of sour mix and lime. Made me want to stand on my head but I'm not sure how much of that was "Sutra" and how much was just vodka.

Drink 6: The Roy

Last up — sad face — was the Roy, the drink that Kat takes to bartending competitions which was originally called the "Ecstasy" and was made for a stripper. Crown Royal, peach Schnapps, Amaretto, cranberry, sour mix and fresh-squeezed lemon. Tastes like what a stripper might taste like if strippers were candy.

Kat takes great pride in her creations and is equally proud that Oslo is the only bar where you can get them. (Go ahead and try to order a Kevin Love Japan anywhere else.) She has been bartending for 12 years and is a passionate perfectionist when it comes to cocktails. Go see her and have one of her amazing drinks. It will get you drunk. The end. | RDW

1456 Woodward Ave., Detroit • 313.962.1700

Read the full article with all the other Six-Drink Slammers here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

From Clawson Patch: Due Venti

Note: (a) This is my new favorite place, and (b) I thought was editor was talking crazy talk when she kept having problems with my images but now I see what she meant. So here are clear and color-tweaked images for your vicarious visual enjoyment that include the exact same pork chop image that is mysteriously blurry on the site, I swear it's the same one.

"What's that smell? Garlic. Wonderfully fragrant and delicious garlic, and at Due Venti in Clawson, owner-chefs David and Nicole Seals do not hold back in their generous distribution of it in their carefully crafted and perfectly balanced dishes.

'Nicole was trained at the Culinary Institute of America in New York and David has spent much of his career in kitchens. The married couple opened Due Venti near their home in Clawson two years ago with a goal of presenting northern Italian cuisine in a style that reflects what diners would find in Europe. What this means in layman's terms is, 'Abandon all thoughts of marinara sauce, ye who enter here...'"

Read the rest of the article here.

Husband and wife team David and Nicole Seals

Insalata della casa
Pork chop special


Budino di Polenta

Monday, November 15, 2010

I Guess My Real World Reference Was Too "Out There": Ronin

326 W. 4th St., Royal Oak
248-546-0888, www.roninsushi.com
Hours: Sunday and Monday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Remember on the original “Real World: New Orleans” when Melissa (the bi-racial bi-sexual, not the Mormon Gone Wild) said she wouldn’t eat avocado because she thought it would be so good it would be like sex and she wouldn’t be able to stop? That was probably the most moronic thing ever said on “reality” TV up to that point, but then again that was before Jessica Simpson or Jersey Shore.

Yes, avocado is just like sex. Cool, creamy, mushy green sex.

At Ronin in Royal Oak, you can get all the creamy, luscious avocado you desire, alongside some of the metro area’s most creative sushi. Now, sushi purists tend to be at odds with most Asian-fusion joints -- which this place certainly IS -- for what they consider to be a lack of authenticity or too much pandering to American palates by means of spicy mayo, cream cheese and ... well ... avocado. But at Ronin you might find yourself singing a different tune, one that embraces this NOT bastardized but modernized breed of distinctly American sushi (a song that may resemble the sonic warbles of Morrisey, but I get ahead of myself). One taste of sushi chef Kaku Usui’s contemporary creations will make you a nu-sushi songbird in no time.

But Kaku -- a name you might recognize from the original incarnation of Oslo -- can’t take all the credit: the “Fasian” menu here is a group effort. Chef Mickey Lutes’s kitchen menu is full of intriguing cross-cuisine creations. Take their “burgers,” for example: your choice of Kobe sliders with ginger, smoked bacon, sriracha, lettuce, tomato and boursin cheese, or grilled Ahi tuna burgers with banana pepper-sesame aioli. My favorite hybrid is the sushi pizza. Actual name: Ahi Tuna Pizza, consisting of a crispy grilled tortilla, tomato, avocado (l’amour), cilantro and jalapeno with big, beautiful ruby-colored cuts of fresh sushi-grade Ahi tuna. This moshing of textures and flavors is completely unexpected -- the tuna itself dominates the dish but the kick from the jalapeno and contrasting crunch of the tortilla and smooth avocado create an impression of sushi deconstructed.

From their specialty rolls, sushi chef Keith Cha’s signature is the Cha Cha Roll -- spicy tuna topped with shrimp and garlic aoili, wrapped in sesame soy paper and baked. It has the deceptive visual impression of toasted marshmallows but is a very rich, decadent roll thanks to the heavy egg-based aoili. By contrast the vegetarian Shinto roll is light and downright delightful. Again playing on the contrasting textures of crunchy and creamy, this roll has lettuce, carrot and tempura bits with garlic mayo and topped with avocado -- all the joys of sushi without any of the concerns over parasites.

Sushi aficionados who frown at such Westernized flavors, take heart: the menu may be mass-audience-friendly, but Kaku is a traditionally-trained sushi chef lauded as one of the very best in the area. If REAL sushi is what you want (cuttlefish, quail egg, eel), Kaku abides. It’s the best of both worlds, really. And if after your meal of "healthy" sushi ("healthy" being all relative, really, what with all the mayo and cream cheese ... one must awe at the distinctly American ability to make some of the healthiest food in the world and transform it into high-fat, high-cholesterol, high-calorie garbage. What's next, swapping out the seaweed paper for bacon? You know what, forget I said that ...) you feel you can justify a decadent dessert, the exceptionally creative desserts with an Asian-inspired flare will cure your cravings. Try the Oreo Cookie Tempura with black sesame ice cream and vanilla crème anglaise -- basically an Asian deep-fried Oreo.

Ronin is the best of both worlds in a lot of ways. It’s definitely hip and trendy, but in the antithesis way to BlackFinn. At Ronin you get a little glimpse of the Royal Oak that once was: girls with lips almost red enough, eyeliner almost thick enough, hair almost black enough to be called “goth;” lots of gender-blind tattooed sleeves. And while most trendy sushi joints are all about the techno, here you’ll get a mix of James Brown and New Order. “Ronin” means a masterless samurai, and by Royal Oak standards this Ronin is certainly a renegade.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Real Detroit Weekly: Fountain Bistro

The quiche is rad, check it.

"Located directly in Campus Martius about 20 steps away from the magnificent fountain (and the towering holiday tree in the winter), Fountain Bistro is a venue unlike any other. Currently geared towards the downtown business crowd, with breakfast and lunch hours offering both speedy to-go service or full sit-down dining service (as well as business catering), long-term plans are to grow the concept and really transform it into 'what's happening' in the area. You can book a private party here and not just be stuck inside a restaurant, but also be able to have fun outdoor activities all around you, from summertime concerts to ice skating all winter.

'Fountain Bistro's official grand opening was just this past June, making this their first winter transition. They are introducing their new fall and winter menu this week, which focuses more on cold weather comfort food, since the fresh ingredients emphasized in the opening menu are now out of season..."

Read the rest of the article here.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Real Detroit Weekly: Sajo's Clinton Township

"The Sajo's brand has been an Eastside staple for over 20 years. Seven years ago, Jim Sage opened a second Sajo's in Clinton Township in a location that had previously seen a lot of turnover with one unsuccessful restaurant after another. Fortunately, this hasn't been a problem for Sage.

'This large, spacious restaurant includes several separate banquet facilities that can accommodate anywhere from 25-180 people for anything from baby showers to luncheons to small wedding receptions. The interior is a bit airier and a little more welcoming than most outdated, stuffy banquet halls. Sajo's is decorated with bold and bright colors, offset by blonde wood, tempered glass and muted tones of sage green. The overall effect is cozy contemporary..."

Read the rest of the article here.