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Detroit Restaurants: Reviews & Recommendations


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Has anyone else eaten at Gala (33316 Grand River, Farmington)? A few friends and I had lunch there a few months ago. We all loved it. There was a wide enough variety of dishes on their menu so that my friends who have all kinds of food issues were able to find several dishes that they could eat and enjoy. The food was great ... fresh ingredients prepared well. The chef was trained at the CIA (the cooking school not the government entity). The prices were moderate. The atmosphere reminded me of an old style fancy pub. The waitstaff, unfortunately, did not seem to know the menu or the dishes very well and also seemed fairly inexperienced; however, they were not obnoxious.

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Is anyone taking the cooking classes Chef Kyle at The Lark is teaching? It was more of a lecture class than a hands on class since the kitchen would not be able to accomodate that many; however, my husband did get to torch the creme brulee. Men and fire, what can I say? It was a lot of fun. Chef Kyle is a very gracious and entertaining person. The menu was fantastic. Even my husband, who has always said he does not like seafood nor lamb, said he really enjoyed the meal (which included seafood and lamb). When the class was completed everyone in the class sat down for a complete meal. The conversation was enjoyable. The service was wonderful. The food was fantastic. This was the first time in a couple of years that Chef Kyle has offered a cooking class. If you get a chance, definitely do this.

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It was more of a lecture class than a hands on class since the kitchen would not be able to accomodate that many; however, my husband did get to torch the creme brulee.
Alas, most cooking classes are 90% talk-and-watch and 10% actual hands-on... anyone know of any hands-on experiences in the Detroit area?

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

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Wanted to post a quick mention of Cafe Muse in downtown Royal Oak (Washington, S of 11 Mile). It has been open for 5 weeks. Breakfast and lunch. Nice setting, nice people, good food. Today for brunch I had a portobello, ammoglio, and gruyere sandwich with a couscous salad with pecan and dried cherries.

Here's Molly Abrahams Detroit News writeup.

http://detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?A...0324/1010/BIZ01

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It was more of a lecture class than a hands on class since the kitchen would not be able to accomodate that many; however, my husband did get to torch the creme brulee.
Alas, most cooking classes are 90% talk-and-watch and 10% actual hands-on... anyone know of any hands-on experiences in the Detroit area?

u.e.

I went to a truffle making class at Zingerman's Deli earlier this month that was hands-on. The woman who was running it didn't follow the instructions that were printed on the recipe sheets we were given, causing most everyone to mess up their ganache. But I did learn some good tips, and was able to make these the next day:

P4150373-vi.jpg

Tapawingo runs weekend long hands-on cooking classes in the winter off season. I'd love to go some year, I think it would be a blast! It's not Detroit area, but it's Michigan, at least.

Tapawingo Cooking Classes

Tammy's Tastings

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eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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I went to a truffle making class at Zingerman's Deli earlier this month that was hands-on.

Yes, I heard about this... how was it?

The woman who was running it didn't follow the instructions that were printed on the recipe sheets we were given, causing most everyone to mess up their ganache.
Where did she/the class go wrong (instruction-wise?)... what happened? Did the chocolates bloom?

Gorgeous truffles tammylc. Did you infuse the ganache with anything? If so, can you give us a run down of the different truffles you made? Also, how did you make the square ones? Did you just cut the ganache into small squares after cooling it?

u.e.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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I went to a truffle making class at Zingerman's Deli earlier this month that was hands-on.

Yes, I heard about this... how was it?

It was fine. The person running it wasn't really a truffle making expert - she's just an enthusiastic amateur. We worked in teams of two, either with the person you came with or, like me, just another random person. We had a little hot plate and a pot and bowl for melting the chocolate.

The woman who was running it didn't follow the instructions that were printed on the recipe sheets we were given, causing most everyone to mess up their ganache.
Where did she/the class go wrong (instruction-wise?)... what happened? Did the chocolates bloom?

She had us pour the cream onto the chocolate and immediately start stirring, instead of letting the cream and the chocolate stand for a minute (as the instructions said, and is what I know from making ganache myself). So for most people, their chocolate didn't melt fully and we had to put it onto a double boiler to finish it. Mine never fully melted, so she let us make another batch. I followed the written instructions for that one, and it worked out perfectly.

A lot of people's chocolate bloomed, in part because the room we were working in just got too warm, and it was a really humid day - not ideal for chocolate making. She told us to go ahead and start dipping when our chocolate was at 92.3 or something (target temp was 90-92), and those were the only chocolates we had that had significant blooming.

Gorgeous truffles tammylc.  Did you infuse the ganache with anything?  If so, can you give us a run down of the different truffles you made?  Also, how did you make the square ones?  Did you just cut the ganache into small squares after cooling it?

The way the class worked was that we infused some cream, then made the ganache. We didn't have time for the ganache to set up, so we tempered some chocolate and then dipped pre-made centers that were provided for us. We got our ganache to take home and do whatever with. Because we got to make a second batch when our first didn't turn out great, I had a container of spiced ganache and half a container of raspberry ganache. (For the spiced ganache I used the Republic of Tea Cardamom-Cinnamon tea, which also has pink peppercorns and star anise. It turned out really nice - kind of chai like, or five spice powder.)

The round truffles are made with the raspberry ganache, just spooned out with a melon baller. Because of the problems we had with the spice ganache, it was much stiffer, so I cut it into squares. I tempered the chocolate then dipped the centers, then drizzled a little bit of excess chocolate on the square ones for a decorative effect. They both turned out fabulous, although the raspberry ones definitely had the nicer texture - very smooth.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Truth be told, I was really wanting to attend one of the classes, but couldn't make it out there on either night (I think she offered it two days). I actually got to try the raspberry ganache from a friend who attended - although I'm not sure it was from the same batch you had. I, personally, found the raspberry infusion weak - but then again, I like my chocolate infusions a bit on the wow-bang-boom side... (you can see/read some of my chocolate-eating tasting notes here They include a few chocolates that I purchased from Z's).

What chocolate (brand) did you use for the ganache, couverture? Cluizel? Valhrona?

Last question: what did you use to measure the temperature of the chocolate? Candy thermometer?

Well, I certainly agree tammylc - your truffles are gorgeous!

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Tammy, those truffles look absolutely fabulous! I had wanted to take that class but had another commitment that night. Hopefully they'll run it again.

With regards to hands-on cooking classes, I am a big fan of the classes at Schoolcraft Culinary Institute's continuing ed program. My biggest problem is that I can't afford all the classes I want to take... Anything with Chef Gabriel is bound to be a learning experience. Of the hands-on classes, I have taken European Breadmaking, Grilling & BBQ, French Pastry (millefeuille and pate a choux), and a couple more pastry classes with Michelle Bommarito. You have to take the 101 class before you can take anything else, and that is coming up in a couple of weeks. I am pondering the Sauces class for this semester. I really wish I had the time and money to take one of Chef Gabriel's four day classes.

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With regards to hands-on cooking classes, I am a big fan of the classes at Schoolcraft Culinary Institute's continuing ed program.

Isn't this where chef Brian Polcyn teaches?

=R=

"Hey, hey, careful man! There's a beverage here!" --The Dude, The Big Lebowski

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Truth be told, I was really wanting to attend one of the classes, but couldn't make it out there on either night (I think she offered it two days).  I actually got to try the raspberry ganache from a friend who attended - although I'm not sure it was from the same batch you had.  I, personally, found the raspberry infusion weak - but then again, I like my chocolate infusions a bit on the wow-bang-boom side...  (you can see/read some of my chocolate-eating tasting notes here  They include a few chocolates that I purchased from Z's).

What chocolate (brand) did you use for the ganache, couverture?  Cluizel?  Valhrona? 

Last question: what did you use to measure the temperature of the chocolate?  Candy thermometer?

Well, I certainly agree tammylc - your truffles are gorgeous!

u.e.

Did your friend attend Friday night? I worked with a woman whose name started with A - Alison, maybe? Anyway, she was saying she was taking her half of the ganache home to share with friends. You're right, the raspberry was too subtle - I would add more Framboise last time - we were being cautious. The spice was nice and assertive, though, just the way I like it.

In the class we used 62% (I think) Cluizel for the ganache, and 72% Cluizel for the couverture. We tasted Sharffenberger and the Arriba, and I liked the Cluizel the best (damn my expensive tastes...)

We used just standard digital thermometers to measure the temperature. At home I used my Polder probe thermometer.

Thanks for the kind words. It was a lot of fun, but made me realize that I have really high standards for myself. My husband was making some suggestions about something we should try next time and said "they might not look as good, but that won't matter to anyone" and I realized that no, it did matter to me!

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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With regards to hands-on cooking classes, I am a big fan of the classes at Schoolcraft Culinary Institute's continuing ed program.

Isn't this where chef Brian Polcyn teaches?

=R=

Yes. I believe you are correct.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Yes, Brian teaches there. In fact, when I took the 101 class, he had a ton of leftover charcuterie from a demo he had done in the day program, and he brought it for our class to sample. That was the first time I had ever eaten "homemade" charcuterie and it prompted me to request his restaurant, Five Lakes Grill, for my birthday dinner that year. It doesn't look like he's teaching anything this summer though. In the past, he has done a charcuterie & sausage making class.

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Did your friend attend Friday night?  I worked with a woman whose name started with A - Alison, maybe?  Anyway, she was saying she was taking her half of the ganache home to share with friends.
I don't know which night my friend attended, but her name isn't Alison...
You're right, the raspberry was too subtle - I would add more Framboise last time - we were being cautious.  The spice was nice and assertive, though, just the way I like it.
Did you bring the spice or was it provided by Z's?
In the class we used 62% (I think) Cluizel for the ganache, and 72% Cluizel for the couverture.  We tasted Sharffenberger and the Arriba, and I liked the Cluizel the best  (damn my expensive tastes...)
I would agree that the Cluizel is the best - I think in terms of mouthfeel and the bitterness... Arriba tastes burnt and over-roasted to me... although I have eaten their 100% bar. Scharffen Berger's been weird for me... I think I'm laying off for a while while they go through the whole Hershey's transition...

I hear that Z's is going to pick up a new line of chocolates that I'm really excited about having near me: Pralu... I *love* 'em and damn my expensive tastes! :hmmm: Pralu's chocolates, if you're not familiar with them, are naturally smokey and deep... varying from bacon-esque to ancho and chipotle... simply amazing. You'll have to try them when they get them in...

Also, have you tried their Guido Gobino? I don't much care for its leathery taste, but it's certainly unique...

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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That was the first time I had ever eaten "homemade" charcuterie and it prompted me to request his restaurant, Five Lakes Grill, for my birthday dinner that year.

How was your birthday dinner? I hope it was better than mine... I have some pretty, okay miserably, poor-quality pictures of my birthday dinner at the Five Lakes Grill here. I was terribly disappointed... I had such high hopes... :sad:

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Tammy, those truffles look absolutely fabulous!  I had wanted to take that class but had another commitment that night.  Hopefully they'll run it again.

Or we could just make plans to get together some time and make some truffles...

With regards to hands-on cooking classes, I am a big fan of the classes at Schoolcraft Culinary Institute's continuing ed program.  My biggest problem is that I can't afford all the classes I want to take... Anything with Chef Gabriel is bound to be a learning experience.  Of the hands-on classes, I have taken European Breadmaking, Grilling & BBQ, French Pastry (millefeuille and pate a choux), and a couple more pastry classes with Michelle Bommarito.  You have to take the 101 class before you can take anything else, and that is coming up in a couple of weeks.  I am pondering the Sauces class for this semester.  I really wish I had the time and money to take one  of Chef Gabriel's four day classes.

Thanks for reminding me about Schoolcraft. I've been thinking I should check out there offerings as part of figuring out how serious I am about switching to a food related career.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Okay, here I am with the lunch question again. Anywhere interesting in the Detroit area worth the drive for a weekday lunch? High end, cheap ethnic eats, whatever. I haven't quite figured what else to do with my friend that day, but I'd be particularly interested in suggestions in Royal Oak (since it's a fun place to kill some time just wandering around, and we might go to the Detroit Zoo). Or maybe around the DIA, since that's another possible excursion for the day. Or someplace else entirely - I'm flexible. Extra points for a great food suggestion that's combined with an entertaining activity. We'll be coming from the airport. (No Ann Arbor suggestions, please - I live there.)

Thanks all!

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Okay, here I am with the lunch question again.  Anywhere interesting in the Detroit area worth the drive for a weekday lunch?  High end, cheap ethnic eats, whatever.  I haven't quite figured what else to do with my friend that day, but I'd be particularly interested in suggestions in Royal Oak (since it's a fun place to kill some time just wandering around, and we might go to the Detroit Zoo).  Or maybe around the DIA, since that's another possible excursion for the day.  Or someplace else entirely - I'm flexible.  Extra points for a great food suggestion that's combined with an entertaining activity.  We'll be coming from the airport.  (No Ann Arbor suggestions, please - I live there.)

Thanks all!

If you're going to the DIA, how about lunch downtown at Rowland Café? You could combine it with a tour of The Guardian Building.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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Rowland Cafe is nice, but wouldn't necessarily be a "destination" restaurant. (I work across the street). The Guardian Building is beautiful though. We're excited to have good coffee downtown though that comes from somewhere other than Starbucks.

What about Twingo's? I have heard good things about it since they re-opened, and parking would be easier there than Downtown. It's close to the DIA too.

I tried the Breakfast House last week. I enjoyed my pulled chicken omelette, but the service was slow. It definitely isn't geared towards the business lunch crowd, but if you're just hanging out with a friend it shouldn't be bad. The big thing seemed to be fried chicken and waffles - I figured that out after I had ordered. Next time I know what to get!

Edited by annarborfoodie (log)
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Rowland Cafe is nice, but wouldn't necessarily be a "destination" restaurant.  (I work across the street).  The Guardian Building is beautiful though.  We're excited to have good coffee downtown though that comes from somewhere other than Starbucks.

What about Twingo's?  I have heard good things about it since they re-opened, and parking would be easier there than Downtown.  It's close to the DIA too.

I tried the Breakfast House last week.  I enjoyed my pulled chicken omelette, but the service was slow.  It definitely isn't geared towards the business lunch crowd, but if you're just hanging out with a friend it shouldn't be bad.  The big thing seemed to be fried chicken and waffles - I figured that out after I had ordered.  Next time I know what to get!

Twingo's, yeah. Here's a review.

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."  -George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, Act 1

 

Gene Weingarten, writing in the Washington Post about online news stories and the accompanying readers' comments: "I basically like 'comments,' though they can seem a little jarring: spit-flecked rants that are appended to a product that at least tries for a measure of objectivity and dignity. It's as though when you order a sirloin steak, it comes with a side of maggots."

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If you're going to the zoo, I briefly mentioned lunch at Cafe Muse upthread. It's on Washington, S of 11 mile, in Royal Oak. It's small, has some charm, friendly service, and good food. Besides, it's fairly new (5-6 weeks old), and everybody should support new places, right?

As far as ethnic goes in Royal Oak, Kathmandu Chullo on Washington, again between 10 and 11, offers Nepali. I wasn't rapturous about the food, but it was fine and a kind of cuisine you can't get in Ann Arbor, I think, though perhaps it's not all that different from the Northern Indian or Indian/Chinese places there. Also, the tables are really low, so you sit (or more accurately, lounge) on these big floor cushions. It's kind of fun. My 3 yr old liked the cushions.

(These two places are within spitting distance of each other, along with a lot of other options, so you could just peer in and decide whether there're for you.)

There's Cafe Habana on Fifth just E of Main in Royal Oak. There are a couple Caribbean places in Ann Arbor, I know, but I don't think one with a Cuban emphasis. Kind of hole-in-the-wall, but the food was fine.

None of these are must go recommendations -- just if you'll be eating near the zoo ...

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Did you bring the spice or was it provided by Z's?

The advertising for the class suggested bringing a fresh herb or dried spice of your choice. I was one of only two people who actually did that. The rest used flavorings that Zing had on hand - Bonny Doon Framboise, rosemary, mint and I think orange zest.

I had planned to do cardamom, but when I went to the store to buy some, they didn't have any whole pods. But I spied the cardamom-cinnamon herbal tea mix in the bulk section, and thought it would make a neat ganache.

I don't know if I've tried the Guido Gobino. But the Pralu's sound great - I'll have to keep my eyes open!

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Rowland Cafe is nice, but wouldn't necessarily be a "destination" restaurant.  (I work across the street).  The Guardian Building is beautiful though.  We're excited to have good coffee downtown though that comes from somewhere other than Starbucks.

Yeah, I think I'm looking for more of a destination restaurant. But the building certainly is amazing, at least from the website.

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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Twingo's looks great, so I'm thinking we'll give that a try, and pair it with a DIA excursion. Maybe visit the Guardian Building before lunch. That sounds like a good few hours to spend in Detroit.

Suggestions are still welcome, as this circumstance is almost certain to arise again.

Leonard Kim mentioned a few Royal Oak places below, but said that none of them are "must-go." What do people consider the destination Royal Oak restaurants?

Tammy's Tastings

Creating unique food and drink experiences

eGullet Foodblogs #1 and #2
Dinner for 40

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With regards to hands-on cooking classes, I am a big fan of the classes at Schoolcraft Culinary Institute's continuing ed program.

Isn't this where chef Brian Polcyn teaches?

=R=

To answer my own question from above... if you're interested in hands-on, Sylvia Rector of the Detroit Free Press just wrote this feature on a seemingly pretty hands-on Indian cooking class taught by a woman out of her home in Novi.

u.e.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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