Foodie Night in Detroit

Foodie Night in Detroit

The Tower

I told you recently that I had just about the perfect day/night at the Bon Jovi concert.  I figured things like that only happen every now and then.  But it turns out, anything is possible, especially in nice weather.

Last weekend, Mom, Dad, and I met up with Dad’s boss and her husband, Jana and Steve, whom we have become friends with.  We had a blast with them last year at the Detroit Athletic Club and this most recent outing may have been even better.

The Ren Cen

We began our evening with dinner at the London Chop House.  It was popular back in the day, had been closed for a few decades, and was resurrected five years ago.  We hadn’t been and it sounded like the place to go.

Unfortunately, the service and food were far from the high expectations we all have when dining at a steakhouse with prices to match.  The most glaring errors were bones in Jana’s fish and Steve’s forgotten entrée.  That’s pretty unacceptable no matter where you dine.

London Chop House Fish

Too bad they left the bones when they filleted it :/

LCH Hamburger Steak

Dad was fine with his filet and sides of macaroni and cheese and a stingy portion of fries.  Mom’s entrée the Hamburger Steak was again, fine.  My food was probably the tastiest.  I ordered the tuna appetizer and fried Brussels sprouts.  You can never go wrong with Brussels!

Dessert was just as strange.  Housemade blueberry gelato had a strange nut/coconut thing going on that none of us liked, the crème brulee was not fully set and warm.  Dad’s carrot cake was the star of the whole evening.  I may have eaten more than my fair share.  Oops!

LCH Carrot Cake

Despite the odd food and service experiences, the company and conversation were great and more than made up for it.  I won’t be going back to the Chop House though.

From London Chop House, we walked to Bad Luck Bar.  I have been DYING to go to Bad Luck since it opened in December 2016.  It is known for pricey craft cocktails and is something totally different for the Detroit area.

Bad Luck Bar

Though the evening was a bit brisk, the walk was nice.  We made it a bit after our designated time and were thrilled the bar sat us anyway.  It is teeny tiny and has a speakeasy vibe.  We were presented with menus and given an amuse bouche: a warm pisco beverage with cinnamon and honey that was pretty much EVERYTHING!

We each ordered a drink after carefully going through the menu.  I had the Tower and loved every bit of it.  The complex flavors went together perfectly in this smooth cocktail.  I also tried Mom’s Past Lives, a tequila and rum based drink that was fruity and sweet and went down super easy.  Steve also had the Past Lives, Jana had an Old Fashioned, and Dad’s drink was something with citrus and good too, but I don’t remember what it was.

Past Lives

Past Lives

The Tower

The vibe of the bar was awesome, as were all the drinks and the people who work there.  They were knowledgeable, friendly, and happy to explain all about the bar and deal with our slightly tipsy attempts to set me up with one of the workers.  #sorrynotsorry – he was cute and nice … and not single 🙁

On our way to the bar, we passed the recently opened Shake Shack and joked about stopping on the way back to the restaurant to pick up our cars.  As we neared leaving the bar close to ten pm, it wasn’t a joke.  Not only did I FINALLY get to go to Bad Luck, but I FINALLY got to try Shake Shack.

Shake Shack

It’s so not like me to get a burger at 10 at night, but with our lackluster meal, we weren’t that full and it sounded fun.  I let go and went and it was awesome.  Shake Shack wasn’t very crowded, thankfully, and we pretty much walked right up.  Everyone there was so nice!

The fries were fine, though I bet the cheese fries might be better.  But the Shack Burger.  Let’s just talk about that Shack Burger.  It isn’t too big or too small and has just the right bun to meat to cheese ratio and the sauce is good and it’s all-natural, non-GMO, and it’s just great.  I’m not the kind of girl who eats a whole burger, but I would have eaten that one and hope to go back for another very soon.

Foodie Night in Detroit

We walked back to the restaurant for our cars and five and a half hours after our evening began, I didn’t want it to end.  It was an evening totally unlike me.  Yes, I love going to dinner, but not typically dinner and a bar and an almost midnight snack.  It felt good, like a preview of the life I want in the midst of times that are often stressful and disappointing.

Nights like that remind me that I am very lucky and I need to appreciate all I have.  They also remind me I need to keep fighting for my dreams and goals, because I can and will reach them.

Also, when can I go back to Bad Luck and Shake Shack????

Bon Jovi at The Joe

Bon Jovi at the Joe

Have you ever had one of those days where everything goes right?  From start to finish, top to bottom, it’s just a good day.  There are no traffic jams are bullies.  No spilled food or drink or broken glass.  No arguments or tears.  Just a great day.

Even better is when you are aware of its greatness as it’s happening.  It’s one of those times when you take literal and mental photos and cherish as many memories as you can because you know days like that are fleeting and few and far between.

I had one of those days a couple weeks ago at Joe Louis Arena when Mom and I went to see Bon Jovi.

 

There were some jitters since we hadn’t driven there in a long time and were trying to find the best route, but once we got ready, ate dinner, and even cleaned up without having to rush around, a calm washed over me.  I couldn’t remember feeling like that in a long time.

We hit the road on a chilly but rather nice late March day and found no traffic issues.  Seriously, you guys, none.  When was the last time you went to an event of any kind and did not encounter a line of traffic?  Um, never.  We breezed right into our parking lot and had a fair amount of time to kill before Bon Jovi would take the stage.

Joe Louis Arena

If you don’t live in the Detroit area, you have probably never heard of Joe Louis Arena.  It’s a pretty big deal around here.  The Red Wings play there and have won quite a few Stanley Cups, and this was the final year for them to play there.

It’s a bit sad, even if the Arena is rather run down, and has us all feeling rather nostalgic.  I fondly remember going to see hockey games in a suite many, many years ago.  After snapping some pics in front of the famous stairs outside, we headed inside and explored.

Bon Jovi at The Joe

The corridor leading to the floor has logos and Wings murals where we snapped a couple pics, and the Olympia Club was open to the public.  Because we had so much time, we took the elevator up to the main concourse (the Joe Louis workers were kind enough to let us skip the stairs that have no rail – scary!) and walked around the entire arena.

It was super fun to see The Joe one last time, even if it was packed and we even ran into Jay Towers.  I used to listen to him on the radio all the time and now I watch him on Fox 2 news every morning.  I’m still hoping he can get me on to make some recipes 🙂

Bon Jovi at the Joe

We made our way to our seats after the walk, very nice aisle seats on the main floor so we could see all of the action.  The show started before long and the whole Arena was jamming all night.

Bon Jovi played a lot of new songs, which I loved, as I have been listening to them a lot lately and really enjoy the new music, but he made sure to work in all those old hits.  He kept the talking to a minimum and just played great music, working from This House is Not for Sale to open the show to You Give Love a Bad Name, always a crowd favorite.

Bon Jovi at The Joe

When he worked Old Time Rock and Roll into I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead the whole crowd went wild.  It’s so fun when performers sing an old, well known song, that is special just for that crowd.  It’s My Life came shortly after.  That’s my favorite Bon Jovi song and one of my favorite songs of all time.  I think it was one of my first iTunes downloads all those years ago.  I sang and danced so hard I broke into a sweat!

 

Bon Jovi himself is very talented, singing, dancing, and playing guitar, but the rest of the band is awesome as well.  They all really add something to the performance, along with the light show.  The set is pretty bare bones and the only thing that draws your attention are the moving and color changing lights.  Some confetti would have been appreciated though 😉

Something I don’t think enough people realize is the wonderful positive message that permeates Bon Jovi’s music.  The songs talk about standing up for yourself and ignoring haters and being you.  It’s something we can all relate to, particularly me.  Those empowering words and beats are something I treasure.

Bon Jovi at The Joe

The only break the band took was before the encore and it was well worth the wait.  I barely saw anyone leave because we all knew some of the best songs were yet to come.  Raise Your Hands was followed by two all-time classics: Wanted Dead or Alive and Livin’ on a Prayer.  The whole crowd singing along was electric.  I wish I could have bottled that energy and saved it for another day.

 

When all the singing was done, as the crowd was leaving, Bon Jovi had one last surprise.  Understanding the history of The Joe, he pulled out a Red Wings jersey with his name on it and put it on.  It was really special to see that he took pride in performing there and this wasn’t just another tour stop.

After two and a half hours of music, I was beat.  My ears rang, my voice had disappeared, and my feet hurt.  I don’t know how Bon Jovi stayed so energetic for so long, because I wanted to immediately sit down and relax for a few moments.

It one of the best shows I’ve seen (only behind Katy Perry) and was one of the best days of my life.  I didn’t want it to end.  But it did, and though that makes me sad, we have the memories to keep us company.

Bon Jovi at The Joe

Detroit Basketball

Detroit Basketball

A few weeks ago, my parents and I went to our very first Pistons game.  We’ve been to lots of Lions and Red Wings games, and one Tigers game, but never ever a Pistons game.  It was time.

We love the Palace, having been there for many concerts.  While there is lots of fanfare around the Pistons moving to Little Caesars along with the Red Wings, I am really sorry to see the Palace go vacant.  It is a well maintained very nice destination for concerts and games that happens to be out of the congestion of Downtown Detroit.

The Palace of Auburn Hills

The Palace certainly knows how to make a basketball game fun too.  We actually began our evening in the Palace Grille, a fine dining type restaurant down on the lower level of the arena with really outstanding food.  We were glad to get a good meal before the game.

We might not be the biggest basketball fans, but I absolutely loved the game, and so did Mom.  I think Dad got a little bored, but oh well.

Detroit Basketball

Our seats were very close and let us see all the action and how small the court looked in person versus TV.  This Pistons might not be the best this season, but their opponents for the evening, the New York Knicks, are even worse and they pulled out the win.

After awhile, I’ll admit basketball is just the players kind of running up and down the court, but there is plenty of entertainment to keep things interesting.  The dancing usher, t-shirt sling shots, a race up and down the stairs, cheerleaders, a drum band, and a flag team are just some of the fun things they do during time outs and what not.

Detroit Basketball

Halftime was a Zumba performance which was super cool.  I am so amazed at how all those people coordinated their routine.  I always want to give Zumba a try, but I seriously lack coordination.

Detroit Basketball

One of the other super fun things they did were pizza parachute drops from the sky.  It was so funny to see the tiny pizza boxes with their tiny parachutes coming down from the rafters.

I am sorry I waited so long to check out a Pistons game in person, and equally as sorry to see the Palace go.  Sports in person are always a blast and the Palace is such a welcoming venue.  Hopefully we’ll have many more good times in Little Caesars Arena.

Pistons Mascot Hooper

Detroit Basketball

Parc Detroit

Parc Detroit

Cold weather is just not my thing.  I know this and yet I wanted to go to Parc, one of Detroit’s newest and hottest restaurants, right in the beauty of Campus Martius.  And it was a cold night.  So cold walking into the restaurant and especially back to the car and even sometimes in the restaurant with the air from the windows that encase almost the entire building blowing on me.  I’m cold just thinking about it.  Oh, so cold.  Excuse me while I go turn up the heat.

Okay, I’m back.  Despite the cold weather and the fact that if it would have been sixty or seventy my night would have been that much better, Parc is a really fabulous addition to the area’s dining scene with some outstanding food.

Crab Pasta

The location is the draw to Parc.  We met up with some friends the night before they took down the Christmas tree steps outside of the restaurant.  The lights are beautiful, there’s a fire pit with that comforting scent, music plays, people abound.  It’s where you want to be.

Because of this, it would be easy for Parc to make food that was fine but nothing special.  They didn’t take the easy way out, though, with outstanding and unique food including some tableside presentations.

Shaved Vegetable Salad

The appetizers didn’t wow me (though I am intrigued by the charred burrata they flame at the table), but the pastas did, so we ordered the crab pasta to share.  It was a nice size and allowed everyone a decent taste.  It arrived at the table piping hot and the housemade pasta was perfectly coated in a rich sauce.  It is one of the best things I have ever eaten.  Truthfully, it didn’t even need the crab, though the fennel was a nice touch.

Main courses were up next.  I had the shaved vegetable salad which I devoured with the tangy mustard seeds and lemon vinaigrette.  All the vegetables were bright and fresh, though it was definitely a little light on the apple, as well as the quinoa and almonds, which I’m not even sure were present.

Pasta Carbonara

Wild Boar Pasta

Dad and one of our guests went with the pasta carbonara and wild boar Bolognese, respectively.  They liked them, but Dad admitted the crab pasta was the best.

Our other guest had the filet mignon, which she enjoyed, and Mom had one of the specials, a Wagyu strip steak, which was perhaps the best she’s ever had out.  It was so well marbled and presented with flavorful and pretty roasted vegetables.  Meat lovers can rejoice because they have tons of super nice meat specials and at least one is sure to suit your tastes if you are craving steak.

Filet Mignon

The waitress, who with a waiter assisting her, was very nice, but did tell Mom that the side that came the steak was not much so which additional side did she want.  She ordered the Yukon gold wedges, which were awesome with the romesco and an aioli, but they also appeared on the bill.  It wasn’t a huge deal but slightly misleading.

One more nit-picky thing before we move onto dessert, oh dessert.  One of the gentlemen who answers the phone says “how may I service you?” when answering.  I definitely appreciate that he wants to be helpful, but this sounds weird, if not more than a little creepy.  How may I help you will definitely suffice.

Wagyu New York Strip

Now that we got that out of the way, for dessert they have baked Alaska.  I love that they have this old school treat and that they do it right.  It is flamed tableside – so cool!  The base is carrot cake and on top it is layered with carrot sorbet, cream cheese ice cream, and lemon buttermilk ice cream.  All of it is topped with an irresistibly gooey and melty marshmallow meringue.  Plus it is more than enough to share.

Parc is a great fine dining destination in a wonderful environment.  Plus, the food is fab.  Now I’ll just have to go back in the summer when I can remember more than how cold it was.

I’ll be back Friday with my fashion look and more about the atmosphere.

Flaming Carrot Cake Baked Alaska

Grey Ghost Detroit

Grey Ghost Detroit

Grey Ghost may have only been open for a couple months now, but the buzz surrounding it has been strong from the very beginning.  So strong in fact that Mom, Dad, and I had to meet our friends on a Sunday night because we couldn’t get Saturday reservations.

Luckily, it was a beautiful early November night and we headed out to downtown Detroit.  Parking was a bit of an issue and the restaurant wasn’t even packed, so I can imagine at other times it is almost impossible to park.

Once inside, the small restaurant had a welcoming vibe and our waiter Scott greeted us and was incredibly helpful throughout the meal.

Butternut Squash Salad

We ordered our cocktails (bourbon for me) and then some appetizers.  Our guests had been to Grey Ghost numerous times and fell in love with the butternut squash salad.  It is thinly sliced and layered with apple, pomegranate seeds, and green mole and garnished with mint.  The colors are so striking and it is a celebration of fall that reminded me once again how much I love mint in dishes.

I went in knowing I had to try the cheeseburger, but eating a whole one sounded like a lot.  So Mom, Dad, and I split it for an appetizer.  It was great with a soft bun and tons of melty cheese, though it’s not the best burger I have ever had.

New York Strip Steak

Entrees arrived before long.  The waiter informed me that they had a chocolate doughnut, so to be on the safe side, I shouldn’t eat anything from the fryer.  I really appreciated him being on top of my allergy, but it was definitely a bummer that I couldn’t try the fries or Mom’s steak since he forgot about the fried onions on top that were not listed on the menu.

Everyone raved about that steak.  It was cooked perfectly and seared so well.  One of our guests had the pork schnitzel which was super crispy and he said tasted just like schnitzel should.  The other guest had the scallops with panko breadcrumbs on one side.  They practically melted in your mouth and other than dessert (which we’ll get to in a moment) were my favorite bite of the evening.

Seared Sea Scallops

Sweet Potato Angolotti

Dad had the sweet potato agnolotti with grilled broccoli and enjoyed it greatly.  I had the whitefish salad.  It was a nice dish and was heartier than I imagined.  The flavors of mustard, dill, onions, and the irresistible creamy sauce mixed wonderfully.

Smoked Whitefish Salad

We also had the Brussels sprouts with chicken skin, that the waiter had the chef roast instead of fry and the shishito peppers with candied oxtail.  While I always love sprouts, the peppers surprised me in their extreme tastiness.

But let’s get to dessert.  The aforementioned doughnut was out of the question but the peanut butter and jelly sundae and kuri squash pie were not.  The sundae was very good.  I didn’t love the jam which read a little too sweet but I still can’t get over the perfection of the peanut butter ice cream.  It was silky smooth and tasted just like peanut butter.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Ice Cream Sundae

And then there’s the pie.  Have you ever eaten something at a restaurant and wanted more?  And most of the time you tell yourself no.  you guys, I wanted another piece of pie and I ordered it.  My defense is that I’d had a crappy day (week, month, whatever – agents and Hollywood, ya know) and I knew I’d never have another chance to eat the pie.

Plus it was that good.  The crust was perfection with a flaky, crunchy texture.  I feel like there was something nutty in it, but I don’t know.  The filling was creamy and just slightly spiced and the whipped cream, oatmeal crumble, and rosemary on top made me fall head over heels in love.  I have never ever had a pie other than one I have made that I love so much and I doubt I will again.

There are plenty of reasons to check out Grey Ghost, but maybe their pie (in always changing flavors) is my favorite.

Toasted Oak Grill and Market

Toasted Oak Bar and Grill

We have been very lucky here in Michigan to have some lovely October days and nights.  A couple weeks ago on one such night, I just couldn’t stay home and inside, so Mom and I headed to Toasted Oak Bar and Grill in Novi, Michigan to sit outside for dinner.

I spent most of the day searching for a restaurant that still had an open patio.  Luckily, Toasted Oak did, because on an 80 degree, sunny, breezy warm October night, I wasn’t going to be cooped up inside a stuffy restaurant.

French Fries

I have heard about Toasted Oak for a while and wanted to try it, so I was excited to finally have the chance.

Like so many restaurants these days, they source as many local ingredients as possible with a farm to table philosophy and make pretty much everything on the menu from scratch.  What sets them apart is that instead of in a space somewhere in downtown Detroit, Toasted Oak is in a hotel adjacent to a mall in a suburb of Detroit.

The mall and hotel setting fell away as we sat on the evergreen enclosed patio, the sun setting and the building thankfully blocking most of the breeze.  Plus, we only got attacked by one bee, so I’m calling that a serious win.

Our waiter was nice and knowledgeable and presented us with cornbread.  It was warm and super moist with great flavor and the whipped butter along with it was nice as well.

Lobster Salad

The housemade kielbasa was our appetizer and favorite dish of the night.  The charred outside of the meat contrasted the tender, decadent interior and the mustard and potato salad accompaniments were delightful on their own.  We were so glad we tried this dish, as it isn’t something we would typically order.

Before long our entrees arrived.  Mom ordered one of the specials, a ribeye steak with potatoes, onions, bleu cheese, dried cherries, and a peppercorn crust.  It was cooked to perfection and melt in your mouth tender, something that can’t always be said of a ribeye.

Ribeye Steak

I ordered another special, a lobster salad.  I had had a craving for lobster so it was fate.  The perfectly cooked meat went so well with the last of the season local tomatoes, black radishes, some greens, and a bold dressing.  I devoured it, but was disappointed to find a few pieces of shell.  Kindly the manager did remove it from the bill.

Mom and Me

We also tried the French fries, because you know I can’t skip fries!  They were good but not great.  It would have been better had they been slightly less brown and crispier.  Still they stand up to most of the local fries I’ve tried.

The meal might not have been perfect, but the evening was.  We had such a nice time sitting outside and enjoyed our meal.  And really, you can’t ask for much more than that.

Heart to Heart Event #FashionFriday

Heart to Heart Event #FashionFriday

You know I love a good event, an excuse to get dressed up and have a fun day out.  So when I heard about the Heart to Heart Glam Lunch and Fashion Show benefitting Beaumont Health, I was in.

As it is October and I haven’t moved to California yet (why oh why?????), it was a chilly rainy day as Mom and I headed to the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham, the swankiest hotel in the area where lots of stars stay when in town.  Luckily, they also have valet!

Heart to Heart Event #FashionFriday

Heart to Heart Event #FashionFriday

Mom and I bought fashion show only tickets so we arrived around noon and wondered around the ballroom and lobby while we waited for the show to begin.  Before long, it did begin and Monica Gayle from Fox 2 was the host for the afternoon.  We watch Monica and Fox 2 every day, so it was nice to see her there and even meet her.

After a few speeches about the heart center at Beaumont Hospital (did you know heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women?), the fashion show began.

Mom and Me

LK Bennett, Tapper’s, Bricker Tunis Furs, Max Mara, Halston Heritage, and Saks Fifth Avenue each showcased some of their latest fashions.  The show was great and the way it was set up was even better, with different aisles so every seat was great and we all got a nice view of each and every model.

The clothes and shoes were gorgeous, though we did notice price tags hanging off lots of pieces!  After about a half an hour of awesome fashion and music, the show ended, but the day was young, and Mom and I didn’t feel like going home.

Heart to Heart Event

We wandered around the hotel for a bit and then headed to the Rugby Grille for dessert and drinks.  Though the rain was still falling, we sat by a window, and the still blooming flowers we beautiful.  It was a lovely day and another to add to a string of just wonderful experiences this year.

Heart to Heart Event #FashionFriday

Heart to Heart Event #FashionFriday

Wright and Company

Wright and Company Potato Chips

This summer has been one of many fun things including try lots of new and exciting restaurants.  As with anything, they have been a bit hit and miss.  Wright and Company was our latest adventure about a week and a half ago.

They don’t take reservations and have been known to have two hour waits, so Mom, Dad, and I met some friends there just after 4, when they open.  I’m pretty sure we were the first to arrive and were welcomed by smiling hostesses, waiters, and bartenders.

Wright and Company

The restaurant is on the second floor of a building not too far from Ford Field and Comerica Park, offering a nice view of the city.  The inside is also welcoming with a bar stocked with glimmering bottles and nice round booths facing the windows.

Our waiter approached and took our drink orders.  I always either order bottled water or bring my own when the restaurant doesn’t have it.  Say what you will, but in this era of lead being found in water all over the place, this is something I will not apologize for.  He brought a glass full of ice to go along with my water.  When I asked for a glass without ice, he walked three steps to the service station next to our booth, dumped the ice, and replaced the glass on the table.  I drank from the bottle.

Escarole Salad with Ricotta Salata

As for the cocktails themselves, we tried three different ones.  One with vodka, one with rum, one with bourbon, and all we could say about them was that they were incredibly strong.  We all enjoy a good cocktail and our guest actually coughed when she first tasted hers.

The waiter suggested we each order two dishes, which we did.  However, the dishes were not presented in that way.  The potato chips came first, which was fine.  They were an excellent start to the meal and enough for everyone to share.  Not a bit greasy and loaded with white cheddar sauce and bacon, they are craveable.

It would have been nice for the remainder of the dishes to be presented as all the appetizers at once and all the entrees at once.  This, however, did not happen, much like at Republic.  They were presented in a haphazard manner, each set in the middle of the table with a sharing spoon.  While none of us minded sharing, this was not how we ordered out food.  I for example ordered the Escarole Salad with ricotta salata, stone fruit, and rhubarb vinaigrette.  The dressing was very good, though the salad felt like it was just missing something.  Dad ordered the sirloin steak with corn.  Though overcooked, it was a huge hit with all of us.  We were willing to share our dishes, but they were just that: our dishes.  However, they were presented as community food.

Sirloin Steak with Corn

This was an issue throughout the meal, though pretty much everything we ate was great if not outstanding.  The pork belly sliders on brioche with a Sriracha aioli were crispy, yet tender, and the flavors melded beautifully.  The heirloom tomatoes with burrata showcased the best of the season and the pesto totally popped.

The crisp Gulf shrimp with Thai chili sauce may have been the best dish of the night.  The shrimp were delicate and crispy, not at all fishy, and the sweet, tart, and spicy sauce is something I would happily put on just about anything.  Our guest also enjoyed the sea scallops, which were golden brown and presented with corn.

Crisp Gulf Shrimp with Thai Chili Sauce

We, along with our guests, ordered the eggplant cannelloni, despite the waiter’s warnings it was super eggplant-y.  However, the dish never arrived.  The waiter forgot to put it in, so he ordered it late and one arrived.  Apparently he still didn’t know we wanted two.  It was fine, but a bit of a shame as the dish was not at all eggplant forward and was delightful.  The tender pasta, the gooey cheese, the acidic tomatoes on top to cut through the richness.  Anyone and everyone should try this dish.

Heirloom Tomatoes with Burrata

It came time for dessert.  We tried the butterscotch pudding as well as the special, a semolina cake with blueberries and lemon curd.  The butterscotch pudding was a disappointment with an overwhelming artificial taste.  However, the blueberry cake more than made up for it.  It was balanced and a perfect celebration of summer.

In the end, it was a beautiful September night, we had great company, some fabulous food, and a wonderful overall time.  However, after wanting to go to Wright and Company for a couple years, I was disappointed in the service and pacing and presentation of the food.

Butterscotch Pudding

Blueberry Semolina Cake with Lemon Curd

Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails

Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails

Rainbow Trout

Over the past few years a plethora of trendy restaurants have popped up throughout Detroit.  With the buzz and rave reviews many of them have received, I have been trying to check as many as possible out, especially over the summer months.  Some are better than others.

Chartreuse Kitchen and Cocktails located near the Detroit Institute of Arts is by far the best.  By far.

Though Mom was hesitant to try it worried not everyone would find something to eat or be satisfied at the end of the meal, a hesitation that was only intensified by the need to put down a credit card at the time of making the reservation, we all left thrilled and eager to go back.

Burrata with cucumbers, tomatoes, balsamic, and prosciutto

Burrata

It was recently my parents’ thirtieth wedding anniversary (congratulations!), so we met up with some friends to celebrate.  It was a yucky rainy night, but we didn’t let that get us down.

The brightness of Chartreuse with the green painted walls is welcome amid the often dark dining destinations.  It is not very large and has high ceilings, so the noise is a factor but mostly adds to the fun vibe.  We were seated at a large, nice table, perfect for all the food we were about to order.

The only, literally only, bad thing I can say about the entire evening is that I ordered the Good Fortune cocktail.  It’s a great drink and I just loved the spiced infused Saint Germain along with the sake and lemon.  Even better, it came with a fortune attached to the drink with a tiny clothespin that I took home as a souvenir along with the menus printed with Happy Anniversary.  But the fortune was so dumb and had a grammar error.  Again this is the only bad thing I can say, but seriously, Chartreuse, up your fortune game.

Melon Salad

Melon Salad

We requested the complementary bread (be sure to do so), and though I am not a big bread eater anymore, I can tell you this bread with the homemade basil butter was outstanding.  I would put that butter on anything and everything.

Before long the appetizers arrived.  Burrata with cucumbers, tomatoes, prosciutto, and balsamic.  A salad with cornbread croutons and vegetables from Recovery Park, a farm not too far from the restaurant.  Melon salad with stone fruit, peppers, bee pollen, and the best dressing ever.  We devoured them unable to say which was better.

We were debating ordering the eggplant hummus, so the waitress, Tricia, who was fabulous sent it out for the anniversary.  It was to die for!  The peppers on top added the perfect spice and the pesto rubbed naan bread is something I haven’t stopped thinking about for the past eleven days.

Short Ribs with Eggplant

Short Ribs

Also one of the food runners noticed me struggling to get at the dressing left in the melon salad with my fork.  He presented me with a spoon without even having to ask.  Now that is service!

The entrees arrived not too soon after.  The meal, in general, was paced incredibly well.  Dad and one of our guests both ordered the short ribs with eggplant and chicken and dumplings.  they enjoyed both, but Dad said the short ribs were his favorite.

Mom had the steak, a tender cut from the sirloin that melted in your mouth.  The onions, leeks, and green beans that accompanied it were tender and delightful.  Our other guest had the rainbow trout, golden and crispy on the outside and served with a Dijon cream that was to die for.

Steak with Onions and Leeks

Steak

I had the tomatoes with an egg yolk cream, corn, green beans, pesto, and little flowers on top.  I devoured it.  Though I tend to order salads and lighter dishes, this felt entrée worthy to me with the plate full of vegetables.  Just to round things out and because we seemed unable to stop ourselves from ordering anything, we tried the potatoes, which were red skinned, blue, and sweet, accompanied by cubes of crispy ham and colorful sauces whose flavor was as vibrant as their appearance.

Before dessert came (yes we made room for dessert), Tricia brought out a little tasting of chartreuse for each of us.  We really appreciated this.  It is something I have been curious about but would never order on my own.  It was super strong and had an anise flavor, but we all really enjoyed it.

Tomatoes with corn and egg yolk puree

Tomatoes

Then dessert came.  OMG!  Just thinking about it has my mouth watering all over again.  We had the vanilla pudding with basil gel on top, blueberries, and rosemary cookies.  It is the pudding dreams are made of, and though I don’t always love herbal desserts, the herbs here were used in moderation and didn’t overpower anything.

The tart cherry and nectarine cobbler came steaming hot out of the oven with whipped cream melting all over it.  The filling was fab, but it was that topping, softened just enough by the fruit and cream that kept me going back for bite after bite long after I was full.

Vanilla pudding with basil and blueberries

Vanilla pudding

If you are ever anywhere near Detroit, do yourself a favor and head to Chartreuse.  I promise you will not be disappointed.

Summer Night #FashionFriday

Summer Night #FashionFriday

All summer long I wanted to do one thing, well a lot of things, but one thing in particular.  I wanted to go to Townhouse in Birmingham and eat outside.  But every time I wanted to do this throughout the summer months, it was sweltering out and I decided not to die of heat exhaustion just to fulfill my summer bucket list.

So on the last day of August, the weather was perfect, seriously perfect, and I went to get my hair done so it was looking good, and Mom and I headed to Townhouse.

Vietnamese Spring Rolls

Townhouse Salad

We sat outside and it wasn’t even buggy.  Our waitress, Lily, greeted us kindly and before long we ordered the Vietnamese Spring Rolls for an appetizer – the perfect light and refreshing start to the meal.  Then Mom had the classic Townhouse burger (I stole some of it too), which is a thick patty with caramelized onions, melted white cheddar, and a buttery brioche bun – aka the perfect burger.  I built my own salad with the red onion vinaigrette and devoured it, loving the freshness.

Townhouse Burger

Strawberry Shortcake Trifle

Plus, that let me save room for dessert.  I have been dying to try their Cake Cake Cake, a funfetti masterpiece that dare I say is at least as good as Momofuku’s, if not better, and something I want to eat all the time.  We also tried the strawberry shortcake trifle, and loved it with the jammy strawberries and whipped cream.

Summer Night #FashionFriday

For our fun night out, I chose a casual cool outfit pairing my classic Victoria Beckham lbd with a fun Chanel pearl belt and bright blue wavy heel Christian Louboutins.  I was super comfortable and felt like I was sitting somewhere in California, all my dreams having come true, just loving life.  And really, that night, and many, many others this summer, I did just love life.

Dress: Victoria Beckham // Belt: Chanel // Bag: Chanel // Shoes: Christian Louboutin // Sunglasses: Anna Karin Karlsson

Summer Night #FashionFriday

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