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Feb 16, 2010 08:05 AM

Good eats in Detroit (split from Ontario board)

Davwud, I'd be interested to hear what's in the Detroit area, as I live in the Windsor area and tend to save my foodie excursions for when I'm in the GTA for a visit. Is there a border crossing involved? It's funny how sometimes it takes an out-of-towner to show you what's in your own backyard.

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  1. Ya, we've been to two places in Ann Arbor that are excellent.
    Mrs. Sippi has a buddy who works for UM and we'll stop for lunch there and a visit when on the way down yonder.

    Blimpy Burger is great. Maybe my favourite burgers on the planet. Small little meat balls that are smashed up on a flat top and ordered in single, double, etc. and served on a bun. Colourful (if you want to be nice and call it that) staff and dinky little place add charm.

    Zingerman's Deli is fantastic. Great food and great food gift shop.
    The Monte Cristo is exceptional.

    If you wanted to go a little further, Tony Packo's in Toledo provides great food at a world famous place.

    Or Joe's Gizzard City in Potterville, Mi. Fantastic burgers and gizzards. They make their own in house breading and it's great. There's a burger on the menu invented by Guy Fieri.

    The last two may be a little further afield but well worth checking out if you can.

    Joe's and Krazy Jim's were both featured on Diners, Drive Inns and Dives.

    1. Can you give us a idea of what you like in food? Ethnic preferences, heat level, vegan vs the correct way to live, cost, and/or what ever suits your fancy.

      5 Replies
        1. re: Davwud

          I've been to Zingerman's before, but never the three gut-bustin' dives you mentioned above. That plate of gizzards looks dangerous. I have no self-control and might try to finish it in a sitting. Yikes! How did you get your mouth around 4 patties on a single bun? Are the burgers paper-thin?

          Honestly, my preferences run to all things Asian, with a strong emphasis on fish and seafood. I can be very happy with a vegan feast, but it's only a rare occasion when I go very meaty in my food choices. I will try anything once, though, especially if it is spicy. I've sampled crickets, dog, guinea pig, fish eyeballs, sheep's brains and many other weird and wonderful foods in my travels. Anything goes, so keep the suggestions coming, please!

          Since we're on the topic of the Detroit area and spicy food, can anyone recommend one Mexican restaurant over another for authentic, spicy Mexican eats? I'm not looking for nachos and burritos, but rather, pozole, menudo, sopa de cabeza, tacos el pastor, ensalada de nopales, cochinita pibil, ceviche. Any suggestions for restaurants with really spicy, fresh homemade salsa are welcome as well. I'm also open to suggestions for latino restaurants that are NOT Mexican (ie. Ecuadorean, Guatemalan, Salvadoreno, etc.).

          1. re: 1sweetpea

            The patties are about 2 oz. a piece. So it was about a half pound burger.
            When DD&D went there they had a girl eat 4 quints. It was her 20th birthday and she had 20 patties divided up on 4 buns.

            The gizzards were fantastic. Mrs. Sippi could only manage about half of them. Of course, she had onion rings too. I believe you can get a small order of them.

            The strangest thing I've eaten is seal.


            1. re: 1sweetpea

              I made the mistake of ordering a full compliment of Gizzards and the Triple D burger on my last visit. No I did not finish. One thing I love about Joe's is that they serve beer in Mason Jars. I love bars that ignored the trends of the ages and stuck with a simple formula that works just for themselves.

              As for Mexican food...many will lead you to El Barzon's at Junction and Michigan Ave. While the Mole was great...I had a rather lack luster take out experience. One day I will try dining in and seeing if that changes my luck.

              I personally am a big fan of a little Taqueria in Westland. They have almost everything you listed. Who ever is behind the green curtain knows how to properly season and is consistent. They are my Wizard of Oz! Best Cabeza I have had, best El Pastor also....

              Taqueria Alameda
              906 S Wayne Rd.
              Westland, MI 48185

              1. re: JanPrimus

                I second JanPrimus' suggestion of Taqueria Alameda. It's the real deal, and the best Mexican I've found in metro Detroit. Cabeza, sopes, carnitas are all excellent!

                For non-Mexican Latino flavors, try the Guatemalan tamals at Pollo Chapin.
                Pollo Chapin
                2054 Junction St
                Detroit, MI 48218
                (313) 554-9087

                And if you're into Asian, here are a few quality spots in the Detroit area:

                Thai Taste
                5063 Livernois Rd
                Troy, MI 48098
                (248) 813-0900

                Pho Que Huong
                30820 John R Rd
                Madison Heights, MI 48071
                (248) 588-0998

                Thuy Trang
                30491 John R Rd
                Madison Heights, MI 48071
                (248) 588-7823

                I wouldn't bother crossing the border *just* for the pho places--the GTA offers far superior Vietnamese food. But, if you're already in Detroit, they're good places to go if you're in the mood for Vietnamese.

        2. would be silly to ignore the Middle Eastern foods centering the Dearborn Area.

          La Pita (which I still have not gotten to yet) is I believe the boards new favorite taking over Al Ameer (Anthony Bourdain's No Reservation stop). I will toss in my personal favorite.

          On the Indian front...I have what I would call me new favorite take out place...

          10 Replies
          1. re: JanPrimus

            Well, I haven't been to Al Ameer yet, so it's hard for me to say whether La Pita is better/worse than Al Ameer. I can say without reservation that La Pita impressed the heck out of me, and I was just wowed by how good everything I had was. I'll eventually get over to Al Ameer, I'm sure. No disrespect has been intended by me, that's for sure.

            1. re: boagman

              OK one day you and I need to just hit up all three and compare notes. I am guessing you have yet to hit up Amani's either.

              I would put money that Al-Ameer's would come up third though....

              1. re: JanPrimus

                All three? All at once on the same day? How the heck am I going to eat that much food?

                Re: Amani's, you're right. Haven't been there, either. I don't get down to the Dearborn area too often for eating, so I'm not as familiar with the dining offerings down there. Still, La Pita is *always* calling.

                1. re: boagman

                  OK we can spread it all out....

                  Anyone else up for the Middle Eastern Taste test? :)

                    1. re: boagman

                      Have you two tried Tuhamas or Hamido yet? I think they're the best in town for shawarma. But for other non-shawarma dishes, maybe not so much.

                      1. re: jjspw

                        Hamido will be today's lunch! I am personally looking at the whole range of M.E. foods over just the sandwiches. From what I see over at Yelp...Hamido fits that bill better than Tuhamas.

                        One day when I get a Shawarma urge I will jump on Tuhamas....that should not take me too long.

                        1. re: JanPrimus

                          I did get a chance to drop in Hamido's for lunch...while I think they have great meats that would easily go toe to toe with Al-Ameer and Amanis . They fell short on the sides. I would go back and get Shawarma sandwiches from them in a heart beat....but the meal for two? I am sticking so far with Amani's. Alas this just might be my preference, but I hope you get a chance to try La Pita and Amani's too.

                          On a side note...They will be opening a second location in Dearborn Heights on Ford Road near Inkster Road.

                          1. re: JanPrimus

                            Well, JP, by some Modern Day Miracle of Science, I was actually able to be in the relative vicinity (Livonia) of Neehee's today, so I stopped by and tried it. In short: you're absolutely right about the place. Fantastic vegetarian fare I had there tonight. I admit that there was a bit of "Where's the *texture* of the meat?" going on in my head, but there was no searching necessary for full flavor. I was even able to get myself a table at about 7PM on a Saturday night! Sha-zam!

                            Really liked the owner, who helped me select a dish that not only was appropriate for me, but allowed me to sample several different flavors because it came with the fantastic lentil soup, a couple of different dipping sauces (viva la tomato and onion!), as well as my garlic/potato/curry infused crispy crepe-type bread. Nothing remained, as I was hungry, and it was good.

                            I also tried the sugar cane juice drink, but wasn't as taken with it. I really wanted it to be colder, and more gingery (the owner told me that I could indicate that it be more gingery or limey in the future), but it just was sort of there. It didn't matter: I still really liked the whole shebang.

                            My kind of place. Thanks for steering me there! No one's more surprised than I am that a lack of meat wasn't akin to a lack of flavor. They do their stuff well, there. One more proof? I was the *only* white guy there. Didn't care, didn't feel out of place, and was made to feel welcome.

                            I'll go back.

                            1. re: boagman

                              Every time I go to Neehee's I pick up a pound of bacon on the way home just to settle my debt to the Clan of Carnivore.