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May 15, 2011 08:27 PM

How did Detroit Chowhounders spend the rainy weekend? (any Salvadoran??)

Here’s how I spent mine---I didn’t go to Eastern Market to fight the rain on flower day, but I’m sure some of you did. (I’d imagine that Berkley Gary and Berkley Babe have a sharp looking place—herbs, flowers and the whole nine yards). I did make it to Royal Oak Farmers Market on Saturday. The season has barely started, and the crowds already have me feeling claustrophobic. But, I got some organic Michigan radishes and asparagus, some John Henry beef short ribs and some Otto’s fresh chicken thighs. It was a tasty bounty. (I also saw there that Dining in the D gentleman...he seemed pretty cool and approachable, but I had forgotten what was needed to qualify for a prize from him, so I didn't drag my kid over to him and strike up a conversation.)

Somehow, I also found space in my stomach to enjoy an upstart Madison Hts bakery named Natalie’s. Wonderful little place on the northwest corner of 13 Mile and John R. Maybe at this stage it is a step behind Give Thanks Bakery in Rochester...but a TRUE artisan local bakery, nonetheless.

Additionally, while coming home from Whole Foods Troy, I spotted the “grand opening” of a Salvadoran Taqueria, on the northeast corner of Maple and Livernois. This is a ramshackle place frequented by the owner’s family friends, but the food was interesting and quite good, even though this place sells more “Salsa Fiesta” international phone calling cards than they do actual tacos. I had two pork tamales with a side of slaw.

Despite the fact that meals often are microwaved before the customers’ eyes, I found them to be simple and wonderful. My slightly sweet tamales (just $4.50) were served with a tasty red salsa on the side, which surely came from a big can that has been open for a few days, and they were wrapped in banana leaves. The included cabbage slaw contained a mix of herbs and chiles and intentionally, or unintentionally, had sat around and fermented such that it possessed a delightful tang. A must try. Other customers were eating reheated chopped beef tacos as well as shredded beef fresh tortas. Both looked well worth coming back for!

My only gripe is that grandma was standing behind the counter at a sink with a commercial high pressure dishwashing water spray wand, getting after some raw chickens such that potentially contaminated water was ricocheting EVERYWHERE. Bless her heart, but these aren’t free range chickens slaughtered by the neighbor two hours ago. These are toxic agro-industrial franken-fowl. Use gloves. Don’t spray. Cook thoroughly. Say your prayers. Again, though, let me emphasize that this place is a nice little addition to the area, in the spirit of Taqueria Alameda, and I definitely will soon be back.

I hope to catch some of you at Zayeqa this coming Saturday for some Moslem Indo/Pak lamb hoof. (I still haven’t asked my wife for permission, so wish me luck).

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  1. "I hope to catch some of you at Zayeqa this coming Saturday for some Moslem Indo/Pak lamb hoof. (I still haven’t asked my wife for permission, so wish me luck)."

    Doesn't she like surprises? ;)

    As for the Salvadoran place, that sounds a little bit too, um, chancey for me. I'm not ultra anal about hygiene standards, but from your description, it's a bit too far of a jump for me. *Maybe* if I'm driving right by...

    1. I too was at El Guanaco this Sunday. Had the chicken quesadilla seated at one of the four window seats (card table). I feel fine today although the chicken was thoroughly cooked. The pupusa was equally interesting but they don't really hit the spot for me. Not sure this is a go-to place for me but I wish them luck.

      El Guanaco

      59 E. Maple rd

      Troy, MI

      1. I spent Saturday either Shrooming or cooking. We found a good amount of Morels, a few Chantrells and I still am able to get Ramps. As for dinner...we knocked out some good Soul food. I handled the Ribs, Potato Salad, and Ranch Style Beans, Dad hit up the Greens and Cornbread. Mom hit the bottle! :)

        Sunday....locked in a office with a few Beers for most of the day.

        1 Reply
        1. re: JanPrimus

          Hi Sir Boagman, Restaurant boondoggles no longer are considered adorable adventures by my wife...marriage does that :-)

          GG, I must have missed you by just an hour at El Guanaco. Shoot. (thanks for the name/address...I had tried to get a menu/card/flier, but their printer wouldn't work.)

          JP, So, you must have had a pretty awesome Sunday?

          PS--Anybody catch the new series, "Luke's Vietnam" on the Cooking Channel? Pretty good.
          PPS--Went to Penny Black in Rochester tonight. Last time I'll bother wasting two gallons of gas for such a mediocre (that's generous) meal...despite the nice locale and server. An experience not even worth a post. At least it didn't cost me much per plate, and I had a good Michigan beer and a good view of the Tigers game.