Archive for the tag “Dearborn”

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.

photo (19)

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:

photo (21)

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.

photo (22)

 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!

photo (23)

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!

photo (20)

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!).

photo (28)

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

photo (29)

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!

photo (30)

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?

Wine-ot let a subject matter expert choose for you?

Since my last travel was cancelled due to Mother Nature’s wrath, I haven’t had much to blog about. I’m heading out tomorrow for Atlanta, and I know we have a couple of good dinners planned down there.  Posts soon to come!

In the meantime, I was lucky enough to have my friend, Kris, visit me from Texas this past weekend.  Though we covered a bit of ground while she was here, we didn’t try any new restaurants. We did, however, try a new wine.  Saturday afternoon, we stopped at Westborn Market in Dearborn to pick up a bottle (actually two) of wine.  Kris was leaning toward Chardonnay, and I was leaning toward a Cabernet Sauvignon.  Therefore, we bought one of each.  Being the open-minded and social gal that Kris is, she allowed the resident wine man (I can’t for the life of me recall his name!) to recommend a Chardonnay to her.

Sidebar: I’ve worked with him before too, and he has made very good, if sometimes pretty expensive, recommendations.  He’s a man whose opinion I trust.  That said, when someone recommends a very expensive wine to me, I typically decline.  When I quit my first job at Corning, Inc (a great company!), I splurged on an expensive bottle of wine – at the local wine shop’s recommendation.  This bottle of 1997 Tera Bella Cabernet Sauvignon was ~$80 in 2003.  There were only 100 cases in total, so the wine was in high demand.

That bottle of wine tasted like any other $15-18 bottle, in my opinion.  I didn’t have an advanced palate, and I still don’t consider myself a connoisseur – though my palate may be a bit more discerning these days.

Back to this past weekend… The Chardonnay we took home was this 2010 Michael Pozzan Chardonnay ($15.99), and it was delicious!  Very oaky (a pre-requisite of Kris’s), with a smooth and slightly buttery flavor.

It was so good that we stopped back at Westborn Market to pick up another bottle (or three) just in case we wanted to have a glass after we experienced the Oakland Roller Derby bout.  (and, to allow me to keep a couple of bottles for later dates)

We didn’t drink any wine later that evening, but Kris did mention that she would take bottles home with her, had she checked her bags.  And, this comes from a woman who works for an alcohol company!  She knows her stuff!

Moral of this story…the man in the wine department at Westborn chose a great Chardonnay for us.  Again, putting some faith in the experts panned out.

Cheers!

Ker

Answering the question: What were your favorite dining experiences?

I started this blog back in April, and I’ve had many people provide support and feedback along the way.  I wrote a post about that early on, and since then, I’ve received even more encouragement!

Recently, a former coworker of mine, who is a super picky eater, told me that he has taken the baby step of allowing barkeeps far and wide to choose his drinks for him, ala this post. A small step toward surrendering dinner plans to his server!

I’ve also had many people ask me about my favorite “She Ordered What?!?” experiences.  I must admit that I haven’t had too many lackluster experiences using the “let the server choose my meal for me” method.  I have had some rather spectacular outcomes though!  I’ve tried dishes I probably would have overlooked otherwise.  Not necessarily because they were “exotic” or “daring”, but more so that I would just default to other options.

Some of my favorite experiences include:

This one which was actually the meal that catapulted me into this blogosphere.  Seriously, the looks on everyone’s faces when I turned my order over to the server were classic.  And, the interest when my dish arrived…from a highly invested group of individuals.  This blog wasn’t even a thought in my mind at that particular dinner, so I didn’t take pictures, and thus, it wasn’t amongst the first posts.  The restaurant was fantastic enough to send me pictures of my dinner – even though I wasn’t a blip on the food circuit radar!

Another favorite? This one!  I recently revisited Tria at The Henry, and met up with Audra again.  We both shared such great memories of that night!  The staff had such fun choosing my every taste that evening,  and I had a wonderful time experiencing food and wine through their recommendations.

A third favorite? Right now, I’ll say this one: An incredible server really makes the dining experience.  Kelsey was that incredible server! On top of that…the food was amazing! Der Braumeister is a must-stop in Cleveland, OH, IMO.  And, please check out the video of Kelsey at the end…she’s got personality and spunk!

Special mentions go to:  Zingerman’s RoadhouseGood Girls, Crave Lounge, as they all provided fabulous experiences as well.  As did The Mac Shack – not once, but twice!

I’m also in love with all of my guest posts.  This is one that created the most intrigue: did they? or didn’t they? (have a second date) <– yes, they did! But, don’t forget these posts:  Hom, Fondue, and Bistro 70.

I’ve got some travel coming up next month (thank goodness!), as well as another guest post or two to come.  I’m looking forward to sharing more “She (He) Ordered What?!?” adventures.

Cheers!

Ker

The Ker-Bear Roll! A fun discovery during Girls’ Night Out.

I was hoping to add a post or two from outside of the greater Detroit area, but I really haven’t been traveling for work lately.  It’s kind of a bummer, and I miss traveling to see coworkers across the nation, but that’s the deal with respect to my current role.  Hopefully, I’ll still be able to get to South Carolina (CLEMSON!) and to Singapore (for fun) this fall!  At least then I can mix things up a bit!

In the meantime, if you’re interested in contributing to http://www.sheorderedwhat.com, please feel free to shoot me a note, tweet, Facebook post, etc.  I’m happy to oblige!

Now, onto the latest great meal I had out…

(No, all of my meals are not great – I’ve had people ask me that.  Two rather lackluster experiences were documented here and here)

A couple of weeks ago, the girls who were featured in my first post came into town for a visit.  Megan and Sharon (who was also featured in this post) have been really good friends of mine for many years.

 

We’ve had tons of dinners together – at each others’ homes, and out on the town.  In the picture above, counterclockwise: Sharon, Ker, Megan, and Dana (local friend).

That Saturday night, Sharon agreed to “take one for the team” to support Megan’s craving (pun intended) for sushi.  So, I made reservations at Crave Lounge in Dearborn.  Sharon has never been a fan of sushi, and in particular, the nori (seaweed) used in making maki (rolls).  She figured some of the small plates Crave offers would be just fine for dinner – trooper that she is!

We started off with one of my favorite appetizers, the Watermelon Napoleon (three time award winner + healthy choice award, consisting of seedless watermelon, French feta, toasted walnuts, Michigan tart cherries, organic Mediterranean olives, Mediterranean micro herbs, organic olive oil, and Balsamic vinaigrette).  I’ve made my own versions of this dish at home when I want a tasty, yet light meal.

We also munched on edamame (doesn’t everyone do that at a sushi joint?) while chatting, laughing, and giving our server, Phillip, a complex! When he came back to take our dinner order, we decided to try one roll with soy paper rather than nori, to see if Sharon would like it.  Our other friend, Dana, has an aversion to soy, so we had to balance things out.  Note: Phillip did not charge us for the first substitution, but soy paper is typically a $1 up charge per roll at Crave.

At Phillip’s recommendation, we ordered a couple of “off the menu” rolls.  To the left is the “Crave Roll” (made w/ traditional nori) and on the right is the “Care Bear Roll” (affectionately, renamed the “Ker Bear Roll” and made with mamenori (soy paper).  As you can see, I’m never quick enough to catch a photo before we dig right in!

The Crave Roll is basically a fried California Roll, with light seaweed on top, seared Ahi tuna , jalapeno, Wasabi aioli, and a sweet drizzle.  We all enjoyed the roll, including Sharon – who couldn’t taste the nori.  Great flavors, folks!

*Oh, and it’s worth mentioning that Sharon received “rookie chop sticks” from the owner – he made them for her on-the-spot! A total MacGyver move…the chop stick wrapper, a rubber band, and VOILA! She can use chop sticks!*

But, the big hit of the night was the “Ker Bear Roll” which was comprised of spicy tuna , shrimp tempura, asparagus, crunchy flakes and mango Albacore tuna aioli. Folks, it was tremendously flavorful! So much so that we ordered a second serving!  (see below)

 

While that was closing in on the end of our dinner, Sharon and I should have taken the hint that Megan and Dana had bigger plans in mind!  (Those two are mentioned in the post I referred to earlier)

Yup, folks.  Those are lemon drop shots in their hands (and their wine in the foreground!).  Just the start of the evening for these two crazy ladies! And, I love them for knowing that Sharon and I wouldn’t “hang”, so we were better off at home later that night, and into the next morning!

Finally, I have to post a picture of the fabulous man who was our server that night. Phillip was not only an incredible sport (y’all should have heard some of the conversation he overheard that night!), but he made great recommendations, AND, he was pretty nice eye-candy!  He’s preparing for a teaching career, and I can already see that he will be the most popular teacher in school!  🙂

 

I’m a fairly regular customer at Crave Lounge (though I don’t frequent it as much as I’d like to!), and I’ve never left disappointed.  This night, however, was particularly enjoyable because we tried some new rolls, we had a delightful server, we chatted with the management (great people!), and we were amongst dear friends.

If you’re in the area, and craving (pun intended, again!) sushi, I do recommend Crave Lounge.  The atmosphere is cool, the staff is great, and the food is delicious!  I’m also told that the menu has been changed up a bit over the past week.  New Carpaccio items, new appetizers, small plates and rolls.  And…anyone who’s known me for any period of time knows that my intel is rock-solid!  😉

Gochiso-sama,

Ker

Tria, Inspired American Cuisine, Dearborn, MI – Categorize this under “I needed that!”

So, for any of y’all that read Jerod’s memorable guest post, you’ll likely recall that he was so energized by his evening that he sat down and wrote the post well into the latter part of his night.  (he emailed it to me around 12:30AM!)  After a long week, poor sleep, and finishing week two of the Brazil Butt  Lift workout, I am ridiculously exhausted – as in – I need toothpicks to hold my eyelids up exhausted!  However, I had such a thoroughly enjoyable dining experience at Tria (inside the lovely Henry Hotel) tonight that I couldn’t resist writing this post.

To start, I had the privilege of being served by two incredibly nice, conversational, attentive, and interested women – Audra and Alicia.  Alicia was the first to approach me as I sat at the bar inside this gem of a spot in Dearborn.  She asked if she could get me anything, and I responded by letting her know that I would like a glass of wine, but whatever wine she felt would accompany the dinner I would have her choose for me.  I handed her my “SheOrderedWhat?!?” card, and she read it, conferred with Audra (out of earshot, as I pleaded that they not tell me what I would be served until it was presented to me), and simply clarified – “seafood is okay, just not scallops?”.  I replied affirmatively, knowing she had tipped her hand a little, but was perfectly okay with seafood tonight (as any night!), so all was good.

Then, Audra, intrigued by the card, came over and asked me a few questions about the blog.  She said she thought it was a very cool idea, and she was happy that an “excellent chef is back there – we’ll come up with something great”!

They asked if I cared for a salad or soup to start, and my reply was “I’m not super hungry tonight, but if you feel a salad is appropriate with the meal, okay.  If not, just the entrée is fine.”

First, I was served a delicious white wine.  While a wine-consumer, I’m not a wine connoisseur!  I thought it tasted a bit like a Pinot Grigio, but I wasn’t sure.  It was light, crisp, with slight fruit undertones (and, that folks, is about as fancy as I get!).  Perfect for a warm spring evening.  Then, I was served their delicious bread and crackers.  I only picked at a few things, because I couldn’t resist. The crackers are AMAZING!  I have friends who will be happy to attest!

Fresh bread, and the best cheese crackers around!

At this point, all I knew is that I was served a delicious white wine.

Then, came the meal…  A different employee brought out a colorful plate and placed it before me, saying “Salmon for you, ma’am?”.  Why, yes, I guess it was salmon for me!  I have to admit that some time back, I had decided that salmon was my least favorite type of fish.  I think I had been served “fishy” pieces a couple of times.  It’s just not the fish I would order off the menu.  However, after tonight, my attitude changed!  There were three (rather large!) hunks of salmon on the plate (“hunks” makes it sound a bit low-class, but the food was plated beautifully – see below!), over a gorgeous zesty, chunky tomato sauce with Kalamata olives (which I later found out is “tomato ragout”, fennel salad, and aioli).  As my girlfriend Jenny would say “a party in my mouth”!

My “salmon” dish.

Audra and Alicia checked in to see how I liked the dish, and I assured them that they had made a terrific decision, and that the light, smooth wine paired perfectly with the wonderfully flavorful dinner.  I learned that the wine was “Sancerre”, and that I was pretty spot-on with my dissection of flavors/layers!  Though, it was not a Pinot Grigio, but rather a Sauvignon Blanc.  I fail the Sommelier test! 🙂

Chateau de Sancerre Sauvignon Blanc (they only set the bottle out so I could see what the ONE glass of wine I had was – I didn’t drink the bottle!)

I also thanked them for wisely choosing to forgo the soup/salad, as I couldn’t even finish my dinner – no reflection on the taste – it was simply too much food!

We also chatted about how the clientele at Tria has been changing – more younger folks are coming in, rather than just the standard hotel-guest clientele.  Folks, here’s the reason, IMO: the food is superb (whether small plates or entrees), the drink selection is great, and they are VERY reasonably priced (e.g. wine is sold by flight, 5oz or 8oz pours, and at retail by the bottle), and the service is tremendous.   Locals…please spread the word!

After I had handed my not-quite-finished dinner plate over to Alicia, she asked whether I’d like to try dessert or not.  I was full, but she sold me on the fact that Tria also offers dessert by the flight – so to speak.  They offer “mini-bites”, as singles, or in sets of three or five.  I requested she choose three minis – as long as I could also take them home, knowing I could not possibly finish them.  All the while, she sweetly topped my glass of wine off for me.

Alicia brought me a trio of small bites:  Tiramisu (a personal FAVE!), a dark chocolate and peanut butter pop (think Buckeye – only WAY better!), and a coconut raspberry bar (as delicious as it sounds!).  I promise, I only took a bite or two of each, and the rest sits in my fridge – awaiting a sweet-tooth attack!

From left: Tiramisu, Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter pop, Coconut-Raspberry bar.

I’m telling you, this dinner was devine!  Really delicious.  Friends, when you come to visit, we’re heading to  Tria.  And, I hope we see Alicia and Audra again. I could not have possibly stumbled upon more accommodating and wonderful servers!  Alicia and Audra were absolutely awesome – and just what I needed on a night that found me tired, hungry, and looking for a positive ending.  Thank you so much, ladies!  You made my night!

And, probably my tomorrow!  😉

The delightful “to-go” container.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: