Sunday, June 13, 2010

Lone Star Steakhouse & Saloon - Belleville, MI

I did not feel like any of the limited usual Belleville options so my husband suggested here. I figured why not.

The decor here is trashy faux Texan. A lot of tin and a neon sign stating *Don't mess with Texas*. Children are apparently allowed to run wild without a word said about it. Our table and the drinks menu on it were sticky and our waitress was a study in how to accomplish the barest minimum without a hint of friendliness.

The food was ok. I guess I have odd expectations. For instance when I ask for a sweet potato with butter, cinnamon and sugar I do not expect to have to dump out a good quarter cup of cinnamon sugar onto a bread plate to make it edible. Who puts that much raw sugar on their sweet potato?

We had to wait forever for bread and when we got it it was very doughy and clearly undercooked, by the time we got it we were leaving at any rate. Refills were like pulling teeth and finally a manager got me more, my husband however, never got any despite his glass going empty for over 15 minutes after my refill..

The fried shrimp was your average selection but tasty with the cocktail sauce, my husband seemed to enjoy his grilled. The steak medallions were cooked to order and had an optional garlic butter sauce that I liked but my husband was not jazzed about at all, they were just ok. The BBQ chicken breast was a throwaway, very bland BBQ and rather forgettable, served cold to boot.

I got a huge pile of mashed potatoes doctored up with bacon and cheese, they were cold though. My husband opted for the au gratins and he was less than impressed. Just not what I know as au gratin more like a slightly cheesy and undercooked scalloped.

Overall just not anything that will have us rushing back. Fairly typical chain, not cheap either. Good portions but not done with any quality.

Asian Fuzion Cafe - Ann Arbor, Michigan

I know, I know, fusion sucks right? Eh maybe usually. I liked it here though.

The waitress Amy was on the ball. I asked about the special wonton noodle soup that I had seen online on their menu and she explained it was a lunch item but that they would be happy to make it up for us no problem. Definitely happy news.

In a flash we had tall glasses of ice water and a pot of hot tea.

We ordered a bit of everything as we were starving. We got eggrolls, potstickers, the wonton noodle soup and some basil fried rice.

The eggrolls were odd, stuffed with meat very similar to a potsticker. Tastyish but just not expected. I noticed after they also have veggie eggrolls which may be more my thing. My mom really liked the eggroll we got though.

The potstickers were standard and therefore tasty. I am a huge fan of fried dumplings and these met my expectations and I quite enjoyed.

The soup was huge, more than enough for two and leftovers. Full of chicken broth, egg noodles, wontons, bok choy, crab, fish balls, shrimp, cilantro, scallions and shallots. The broth was excellent and it made a great share.

The basil fried rice was my favorite item. Basil, peppers, onion and juicy chunks of chicken in a very zesty version of fried rice. It was absolutely delicious. Definitely a nice plate, plenty for two to share if they include an app.

We ended up taking home a lot of leftovers, plenty for each of us to have more of everything.

The owner was there and swung by for a really nice chat. I like that. Our waitress was also super attentive and friendly. Overall, it was a good value for solid and tasty food. I will go back.

Bread Basket Deli - Ypsilanti, Michigan

Closer to me which makes this my new go to Bread Basket Deli!

The manager was extremely nice as were both the other staff we met. We showed up slightly before they opened for the day in a bit of a snow squall in between yet another round of tests at St Joes for my mom. They let us in right away and even got our food ready in record time.

I had my usual #3 and thought the quality was stellar. Thinly sliced corned beef in huge quantity made delicious with the fat all rendered into it, a thick slice of buttery swiss, crunchy creamy cole slaw and a bit of zippy russian dressing all bundled into three pieces of toasted bread. I could only eat half but the other half reheated nicely for later.

My dad got a tomato stuffed with tasty tuna salad. It was gigantic, definitely enough for two meals. It came with gherkins, black olives, banana peppers and a hard boiled egg garnish on a bed of lettuce.

My mom had a pastrami reuben which she declared *the best*. Of course she could hardly eat any of it at one time but it was a perfect all day munch on type sandwich.

The potato salad was better here than in Livonia but I'm still not doing cartwheels over it, I am really picky though. I don't care, I am so in love with the giant sammiches that I would not have room for it anywho. The delicious Topor's new dill pickle made up for it, all cucumber-y snap. Yum. My dad prefers the old dills and they are excellent too.

I will definitely be back. I am so excited they opened one up here!

IHOP - Ypsilanti, Michigan

The only IHOP I like, we have been here before but only during late night hours on weekends.

We went in last night following my massage. I had a massage so James got to pick our dining choice. He is a huge fan of breakfast and so he picked here.

They have a special running on loaded home fries. I got the home fries with a lot of chunks of sausage and cooked onion topped with country gravy and cheese with scrambled eggs and a side plate of pancakes. A bargain at 5.99. I thought the eggs were decent zipped up with a touch of cholula and tabasco, the home fries were good and different, the pancakes were nice enough with four syrups to pick from. I wish they had real maple syrup but its just not that type of place.

My husband had a Colorado omelette with no onions, which is holy stuffed with meat. Bacon, sausage, shredded beef and ham with cheese and green peppers. Instead of the salsa he asked for sour cream and they brought him three containers of it no charge. He also upgraded his pancakes to the strawberry cheesecake varietal and was very pleased with them.

Our waitress was sweet and our service was good. There were sticky table issues though. Sorry but I hate getting sticky and as it is a pancake place they should know this could be a problem and wash better between patrons.

All in all, a decent stop. Not mind blowing but solid and nicely priced.

Nu Wave Fish & Chicken - Ypsilanti, Michigan

The prices here are reasonable and the food is good. They run nice deals on bigger portions, making it great if you are sharing with a crowd carry out style.

They have coupons and will often let you have food at the coupon prices even if you don't possess one before you go in, just ask because they are pretty nice. They also will generally give you some coupons to take home too.

They have very nice chicken, decent catfish (I prefer the place down the street) and shrimp. I have not tried the ocean perch or whiting because I am not a fan of either anywhere. I think the crispy yet juicy chicken wings are my personal faves but I would have to say as a general rule I find the chicken here to be the superior option to the seafood, given the choice.

Fries, slaw and bread are nothing to write home about. We like getting the chicken to go on its own instead, delaying the heart attacks and saving some calories by eating it with our homemade veggie or salad type sides at home.

Give it a whirl if you are nearby, it makes a quick dinner at reasonable prices.

Grape Expectations - Plymouth, Michigan

I will confess that I love Grape Expectations more when they have a deal. Luckily the daily $5 a glass happy hour works for me, if you are not into wine they also have $1 off beers and 25% off mixed drinks. If you are feeling like a midweek night out, you can take advantage of the half off bottles of wine on Wednesdays with the purchase of an entree.

As I am usually a single glass type of girl with a non wine drinking partner, I love places that have good wine by the glass. It is hard to come by fresh, quality wine of good variety when you drink in this manner but it is no problem at all at GE.

I have found both the cutting board option and the cheese plates to be tasty. I also have enjoyed the chicken bistro and Italian vegetarian paninis. I will give a shout out to the la forestiere pizza with the variety of mushrooms and goat cheese as well as the apparently popular pear, gorgonzola and walnut which has already been mentioned by others.

Is it spendy? Well I would not come here ravenous or anything but it is a great place to come and enjoy a casual lighter nosh and glass of tasty wine if you are at all worried about your wallet. It is not cheap per se but for what it is it is not outrageous either. Give it a try for happy hour and judge it for yourself. You will find tasty things at a variety of price points. I will grant the fancy special meals are indeed a bit steep but a panini is not.

Oh and the desserts are very nice according to friends, but once I have had the wine its off limits for me sadly.

Taqueria Alameda - Westland, Michigan

I finally made it over here with my husband. I had promised to save this one for a time when he could come with me so it took a minute as he works teh crazy hours.

I really liked the tacos in here. I had some of my standby Al Pastor and of course I had to sample some of the cabeza, which indeed was the best version I have had. If you have not yet delved into this taste sensation I have to urge you to give it a whirl here at least. If you do not like it here then it is not the thing for you anywhere. Such richness.

James got the taco combo and I ended up stealing his beans. I did not feel guilty a bit as they are not his thing. He has no clue what he is missing really. He enjoyed his rice at least.

I like the atmosphere here, friendly and fun. Definitely like you are in someone's kitchen, you are nearly tempted to ask to pitch in and help. It's that kind of authentic.

James likes the grocery items a lot and had fun browsing while we waited and after we were done. We also plotted what we will try on the next trip, a great sign for my husband that he really did like it. This is strictly standard behavior from me though, I am always thinking a meal ahead.

We did not have room for dessert but as this is not too far from us I am sure we will get around to it. We will definitely be back.