Archive for the category “Chinese”

Three different experiences… breakfast, lunch and dinner in the Greater Detroit area.

After having dinner with some fantastic colleagues last week, I realized that there were two other local posts I hadn’t yet written.  One was about breakfast in Northville, and the other was about lunch in Farmington Hills.  So, I decided to write a post documenting all three meals at different restaurants nearby.

Part 1:

My breakfast post takes me back to my favorite time of year – college football season!  Last October, I was invited to attend the UofM game versus Illinois.

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This was my fourth or fifth time at The Big House, but it was my first time doing a proper tailgate (and in freezing cold weather!).  The morning started with a generous host simply refusing to take “no thank you” as my answer to his offer of a morning beverage.  So…I started with this:

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I was careful not to drink too much that day, even starting with a beer at about 11AM.  Once we left his house, our group headed into downtown Northville for breakfast at a local fave – Rebecca’s Family Diner.

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 photo (24)Rebecca’s is a casual, noisy, energetic, and simply cool place.  By all accounts, it’s a great diner, so I decided to just allow our server to choose my meal.  She came back with a hearty breakfast burrito – which totally hit the spot!

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No need for anything else (there were veggies, potatoes, meat and cheese in the sandwich).  I was full just from the sandwich!

We spent a few hours tailgating in the parking lot.  I was able to meet up with an old friend of mine (tall, good-looking dude), instantly starting the rumor mill.  I swear men are worse than women when it comes to gossiping!

And, then…we (and a hundred and ten thousand or so others) watched the Wolverines utterly embarrass Illinois.  All in all, a very fun day!

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Part 2:

Speaking of fun days, last weekend, I had a girls’ day out with two coworkers from Masco Cabinetry.  The plan was to get pedicures (them, not me), head to Plum Market, and then grab lunch before we all went on to finish our weekends at home.

We had a great time exploring the market.  Neither Jess nor I had been before, and Danielle just knew that two people who appreciate food as much as Jess and I do  would enjoy this place.  And, we did!  Beautiful produce, organic meat, excellent wine selection, gluten-free everything, a large selection of Papyrus cards, outstanding service, and fresh flowers (2 dozen roses for $8.99!).

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This is a place to go for supplementary groceries, not your full list, as it’s a bit pricey.

After hitting the market, and catching up over pedicures (and the most insane massage chairs I’ve ever seen!), Danielle took us to one of her favorite Chinese restaurants.  You know that age-old rule…if an ethnic restaurant is full of ethnic patrons, it’s probably very good?  Well, the crowd gave me confidence that Danielle had chosen a great spot by taking us to Hong Hua in Farmington Hills.

You can look at the menu and see that it’s pretty standard for a Chinese restaurant.  I wasn’t craving anything in particular, so I asked our server to choose her favorite dish for me.  Two funny things happened next:  1) Danielle looked at me like I had three heads!, and 2) our server asked me if spicy was okay – to which I replied “Sure!”.  Our server responded with a big grin (basically saying…girl, you’re in TROUBLE!).  Jess looked at me and actually said that…you’re in trouble, Ker.

We started off with Wonton Soup.  Then, I was delivered the Shrimp in Szechuan Style.

photo (27)While it did have a kick to it (lots of red chili peppers), it wasn’t terribly spicy.  In fact, it was quite good!  I didn’t finish the meal – as you can see, it’s huge!  But, that wasn’t because it wasn’t tasty.  The three of us walked out of Hong Hua quite satisfied.  Jess even took home a few things for her husband, Bryan, who was at home watching all of our dogs.

Part 3:

The third part of this post had a less satisfying outcome.  I had spent the last couple hours on Tuesday meeting with various designers from across Masco business units.  We were figuring out how to keep everyone connected after they returned to their respective locations (and their day jobs!).  It was a productive use of our time, and it was some of the most fun I’ve had at work recently.  When the meeting coordinator (my former boss) asked if I’d like to join them for dinner, I quickly agreed.

I arrived a bit later than everyone else since I had to stop at home to walk my dogs in what was becoming a nasty snowstorm.  When I arrived at our table, I didn’t even bother to peruse the menu.  We were at Ristorante Caio, an Italian restaurant in Dearborn, and I felt comfortable handing over a blog card and relying on our server’s recommendation.

Throughout the evening, we had energetic, and really funny, conversations.  However, the moment our plates were delivered, the conversation stopped and everyone dug right in!  What did Sarah choose for me?  A beautiful filet with a (rather large) house salad on the side.

Filet

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photo (31)The filet had great flavor to it. The Portobello mushrooms added a lot to the “best cut of meat” Ristorante Ciao serves (per Sarah and the chef).  The only problem I had with it was that the meat was way overcooked.  This beautiful filet was served well-done, and my stated preference on my card is medium-rare!  I did end up letting the server know, and I also left a good portion of the steak on my plate as further evidence.  I devoured the vegetables – the smashed potatoes were delicious!

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Despite being disappointed by the chef’s execution of my meal yet again, I really did have a lovely time with the group! And, Ristorante Ciao does have a beautiful setting.  It’s also close to home, and I’m sure I’ll give it another try.

And, there my friends, are three different experiences in the greater Detroit area.  What are your favorite breakfast, lunch or dinner spots?

Singapore! Day 2 – China Town, Little India and Robertson Quay

As impressed as I was with myself, (and Steve was too), for staying up last night until 11:30 or so, I was as much surprised that I awoke at 6AM this morning and stayed up pretty much all night again.
“Pretty much”.  I did take another cat nap on Steve’s couch before we set out for a late dinner. But, more about that later…
After leisurely enjoying fresh fruit on the patio for breakfast, I wrote the last blog post, caught some rays by the pool, got up to date on email, and watched a few “Friday Night Lights” episodes (highly recommended by friends) – all while Steve went into work for a few hours. My mind told me that I should have gone back to bed, but my body just wasn’t tired enough to do so.
When he got home, we set out (on foot) toward Dhoby Ghaut (a short walk), through the beautiful artists’ park, Istana Park.
We hopped the MRT over to China Town.  Please let it be known that Steve enjoys testing me, and I am becoming well-versed about the train routes already, as I’m confident Steve will confirm, and I’m equally confident that my friend Dennis will, rightfully, question – DT, I’m getting MUCH better these days! We then hit the town, so to speak.
I have been to China Town in Manhattan many times, and I was anticipating something similar.  While the concept is the same, Singapore’s China Town was much more grand in scale, in my opinion. Beautiful architecture, not only in the temples, but in the buildings in general. Still very “touristy”, but with a bit more Chinese influence in the surrounding areas…IMO.
We walked the streets and checked out the shops; I bought my friend the obligatory “cheesy [insert city] magnets I always buy him, as well as a couple of other carefully chosen trinkets for friends and family.

For JB, with love (and a nanny, nanny, poo, poo) always,
Ker

And, go figure, in China Town, Steve and I stopped for Bratwurst sandwiches for lunch.  This stand is legendary in Singapore.
The Austrian gentleman, Erich, who owns the place, seen in the center of the picture, has quite the loyal customer base, and is always busy. It was he, himself, who cooked and served us our food. He is a rightfully proud man!
I regret to admit that we dug into our sandwiches so quickly that I forgot to take a photo. The brat was fantastic, though there was too much bun, IMO. Between the bun and the mustard, I felt the brat flavor was a bit lost.  Still, I’d go back there anytime I visit Singapore’s China Town!
Then…the rain set in.  Luckily, Steve and I were near the “yellow chairs”.  I don’t even know what restaurant that officially is, but it has yellow chairs outside, thus, the name. We sat down in said yellow chairs and ordered Tiger beers (my call – it was, after all, 4PM on a weekday. Let’s be scandalous!). Two (large) beers
turned into four,
turned into five beers

Note: these were five split between the two of us…not something I could accomplish alone!

as the rain continued coming down.  We had a great time people watching and chatting with each other whilst drinking our afternoon “dessert”. If I do say so myself, it was a good call on my part!
We then set out toward Little India to stop by Mustafa’s – the local equivalent of a Walmart meets a Marshall’s meets a TJMaxx, etc.  Thirty-eight doors and four floors of ANYTHING you need/want/didn’t know you needed/wanted.
In other words, my personal hell.  Steve knows I hate to shop, but he’s a deal freak, so he “had” to show me this gem of Singapore (mostly so he could do his  own shopping).
This is two days straight he has used the “it’s a must-see” excuse to make me shop with him.  Note to Steve: my shopping fuse is short right now! 🙂
We had planned to go out to eat after coming home from Little India, but that plan got delayed as I played on my computer and Steve fiddled with the new toy he bought in China Town. And, then as he got sucked into a movie and I got sucked into a nap. Fast-forward to 8:45PM, and we’re ready to go.
We decided on Bella Pizza in Robertson Quay. I still wasn’t very hungry, but the menu was expansive and everything looked delicious.  Steve advised me not to do the “She Ordered What?!?” method, but rather to trust my gut. Although, everything is good, according to Steve, it’s best to choose what you really want.
Given that guidance, I chose the Antipasto Bella Pizza, which is the “chef’s selection of cheeses with salami, Parma ham and fresh arugula”.
Oh. My. Goodness…the selection was decadent!  Although…I will say that the arugula was a bit overpowering in comparison to the rest of the salad.  I couldn’t eat too much of it.  Nor could Steve.
Steve chose the Calzone Napoletana, which is described as “a folded pizza with mozzarella, ricotta, salami, and Parmesan”. Can you tell that we’re cheese lovers?? (and, btw, this calzone was enormous!)
His too, was delicious.  I stole a few bites (which he had gladly offered up), and I can only say that I’d have liked some crushed red pepper to add spice to the meal. Apparently, that’s not common in Singapore, so I didn’t press the issue.
Despite the earlier rain, we lucked out again with gorgeous weather and had a fun day of hanging out in Singapore’s “ethnic districts”.  I wish I would have had some of the regional food, but Steve has promised me that we’ll indulge later in my trip.  (I think he’s trying to ease me into the local fair – a kind gesture!)
Day two score: Steve = alive, Ker = alive
Therefore, success!! 🙂
Just teasing…Steve and I have a ball together, but we’re two hard-headed, smart-mouthed, highly intelligent, quick-witted people.  That’s a recipe for disaster! So far, we’ve averted disaster. I hope we continue to do so!
Cheers!

Ker

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