Ciao Amici’s

Today on the Bite Tonight: Ciao Amici’s Italian Restaurant.

My brother is in town for Houston so he decided to rent a lake house in Brighton instead of a hotel. On our way back from a full family day, we decided to grab some grub. Ciao Amici’s is located on Main St. in Brighton. See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Price: 3 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3 out of 5 bites

Service: 3 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 2 out of 5 bites

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Emigila Romagna: Sliced Italian sausage, tri-colored peppers & onions baked with crushed garlic. The huge hunks of Italian sausage were a surprise and I would’ve preferred them to be cut smaller. Flavor was on point and the crust was crispy and chewy.

italian sausage pizza

Classic Pizza: House blend mozzarella and pepperoni. Nice sauce to pie ratio. Classic, simple, yet comforting.

pepperoni pizza

We stopped in to Ciao Amici’s around 4 pm Monday and it was completely empty. Service was good, but we sat at the bar and waited for our pies to be done then took it back to the lake house. The prices were a bit higher than your average carryout pizza joint, but that’s expected when you get carryout from an Italian restaurant. Stop in and check em out!

The best part of the lake house was a bonfire equipped with smores!

Classic smore

smore

Chocolate banana smore. Now, this is where it get’s interesting. My brother had a great idea to soak a banana in Jamison Irish whiskey (no rum on hand) then roll it in sugar and caramelize it over the fire. It was awesome with chocolate in between a graham cracker!

banana smore

It was a great trip and I was sad to come back home! Thanks to my family for some great company.

lake house view

Ciao Amici's on Urbanspoon

Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Today on the Bite Tonight: Potbelly Sandwich Shop

I like Potbelly because they have their own thing going on and it’s a nice break from Subway or Jimmy John’s. This past weekend, Josh and I visited the Allen Park, MI. location on the hill. See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 3 out of 5 bites

Price: 3 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 4 out of 5 bites

Service: 3.5 out of 5  bites

Wow Factor: 2 out of 5 bites

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Italian: Capicola, Mortadella, Pepperoni, Salami &  Provolone Cheese on Multi grain bread. Fresh ingredients on hearty, soft bread. My favorite thing about Potbelly is the hot peppers! Boy, are they hot.

potbelly

Potbelly has gluten free and skinny (less meat and cheese on thin cut bread) options as well as soups, salads, smoothies, shakes, and baked goods. Established in 1977, Potbelly is still staying true to their roots and doing things the same. Stop in and check em out.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop on Urbanspoon

Panchos Mexican Restaurant

Today on the Bite Tonight: Panchos

Located on Dix Rd. in Lincoln Park, MI, Panchos is serving up some pretty killer Mexican food. When it comes to Mexican, I know what I like and it’s hard to find that Downriver. Every restaurant has their own style and spin on their cuisine, but my family has come to enjoy Panchos. See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Price: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 4 out of 5 bites

Service: 3 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 2 out of 5 bites

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Taco Dinner:  2 beef and 1 chicken with side of rice and beans. Ma and I love Panchos because they will fry the flour tortillas for us making them crispy. The meat has good flavor, Muenster cheese is my favorite, and the rice and beans are delicious and authentic.

taco dinner

Irony got the best of us because Ma suggested going to Panchos even though they were a few miles further from our house than Taco Especial. Ma wanted to go there because on a Saturday night, she never has to wait and their prices are more reasonable than other local Mexican restaurants. We ended up having to wait about 20 min for a walk-in carry out order. Which isn’t too bad, and for the wait they even threw in an extra taco. Unfortunately, they gave us all beef tacos instead of one chicken taco. I think this was the first time our order was ever compromised and can be forgiven because they were so busy and we scored an extra taco out of it. If you haven’t experienced Panchos, check em out!
Pancho's Mexican on Urbanspoon

24 Grille & Astoria Pastry Shop

Today on the Bite Tonight: My birthday continues @ 24 Grille & Astoria Pastry Shop

Amanda treated me to a birthday dinner @ 24 Grille and since I’ve never been there, I was excited to try them out. Located at the Westin Book Cadillac Downtown Detroit is 24 Grille. 24 Grille offers what I like to call an upscale everyday menu, happy hour specials, Sunday brunch, and a champagne bar. With everything from burgers to sea bass and pork tacos and a Maurice salad, 24 Grille has a taste for every pallet. See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites

Price: 2 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3 out of 5 bites

Service: 4 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 2 out of 5 bites

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Risotto Croquettes: Parmesan risotto, flash fried, beurre blanc (French for “white butter”). The outside resembled a tater tot and was delicious and the inside consisted of lightly seasoned rice. Just OK, nothing special.

parmesan risotto. flash fried. burre blanc.
parmesan risotto. flash fried. burre blanc.

risotto app

Truffle Mac & Cheese: The overpowering truffle flavor was absent, which I was happy about. Cheesy, lightly browned, and comforting.

mac and cheese 24 grille

Cajun Honey Glazed Roasted Chicken: Half roasted chicken with a spicy seasoned skin, served with potato puree and honey glazed carrots. The Cajun seasoned skin was crispy, spicy, and delicious. I was a little disappointed because we were one of a few tables in the restaurant and our orders took a long time. Then when the entree finally came out, most of the chicken was dry. The carrots were sweet and I couldn’t get enough of the potato puree.

cajun chicken

If you’re looking for a nicer atmosphere with a broad menu, 24 Grille is a good spot. However, I don’t think it’s worth the price. The food was decent, but I’ve had better for less. Service was really good aside from our meals taking well over 25 minutes. And the worst part was that I cleaned my plate and left not fully satisfied.

Here’s my sweet, Zoe. Now everyone can see why she’s called “the Monster.” I will give her brownie points for behaving at dinner. :)

zoe mac and cheese

After dinner, we took the people mover to Astoria Pastry Shop in Greektown for dessert. I love Astoria because they have everything!

Zoe went with a White Chocolate Covered Pretzel with Sprinkles.

white chocolate pretzel

I went with a rich, decadent, Chocolate Brownie.

chocolate brownie

It was great to spend the time with Amanda and Zoe. Thanks for dinner, dessert, and the amazing birthday card!

24 Grille on Urbanspoon

Astoria Pastry Shop on Urbanspoon

Dago Joe Italian Catering & Buffy’s Mexi-casian Grill

Today on the Bite Tonight: Food trucks!

In my opinion, food truck’s are where it’s at. This past weekend was my work Summer party @ Campus Martius and I was thrilled because instead of buffet food, they offered food truck selections. When it comes to Dago Joe’s, they are doing delicious Italian favorites like no other. Buffy’s Mexi-casian Grill marries impressive Mexican and American cuisine. Check it out.

 Dago Joe’s Meatballs: Giant flavorful meatballs topped with spicy marinara. Dago Joe’s advertises the best meatballs around and I would agree. Both the meatballs and marinara were bursting with incredible flavor. You could really taste the love and passion in the food. Amazing!  Check out the meatball sandwich.

meatballs

Dago Joe Italian on Urbanspoon

Buffy’s Mexi-casian Grill’s Chicken Chimichanga: Deep fried tortilla stuffed with chicken and topped with lettuce tomato, guacamole cream sauce, and spicy sauce. First of all, I just want to point out that everyone was ordering these and they looked so good that it was turning heads and sparking interest. When I ordered mine, the taste was as up there as the presentation. Crispy, fresh, spicy, and cool. I’ve never had a chimichanga that tasted so good. It wasn’t greasy and the chicken was marinated and had such a good flavor.

chimichanga

The party itself was entertaining, but of course, I  look forward to the food. If you are ever Downtown Detroit, stop by Campus Martius for lunch and visit the food truck scene. You won’t be disappointed.
Buffy's Mexi-Casian Grill on Urbanspoon

AP’s the Daily Scoop

Today on the Bite Tonight: AP’s The Daily Scoop

AP Daily Scoop

To continue with my birthday celebration, Ma and I got dessert in her old neighborhood. Since my mom grew up in Allen Park and I spent a huge chunk of my childhood there, it just seemed right to revisit the area. Family owned and operated since 2008, AP’s the Daily Scoop serves up Michigan made ice cream, cakes, candy, frozen yogurt, hot beverages, and small bites including chips and soup. See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Price: 4.5 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 4 out of 5 bites

Service: 2.5 out of 5 bites (little bit of a wait)

Wow factor: 2 out of 5 bites

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Blue Moon: Apparently this flavor is a Mid-West thing. Fruity, nostalgic, which took me right back to my childhood.

blue moon

 

Chocolate Peanut Butter: Rich with a good balance of chocolate and peanut butter goodness.

chocolate peanut butter ice cream

AP’s the Daily Scoop hasn’t been around long, but they are doing things right.  Our delicious ice cream was served with smiles and patience (we asked to sample a couple flavors). Each day a free kids scoop is given away to the lucky child with the chosen name. Although, my name would probably never be on that board, I thought this was a super fun idea. The next time you’re craving something sweet, try AP’s the Daily Scoop.

ap free scoop

 

Ap Daily Scoop on Urbanspoon

Happy Birthday!

Today on the Bite Tonight, It’s my birthday!

Last Wednesday was my birthday and to celebrate, I took a day off and Ma and I had an adventurous day.

We started the day off with a nice relaxing early afternoon movie @ MJR Theater in Southgate: Wish I was Here. What better way to celebrate then to indulge in buttery popcorn?

Next, we enjoyed lunch with Zukin’s Rib Shack, in Lincoln Park. The food is always delicious and hits the spot.

Rib Kabob Dinner: Thick signature BBQ sauce coats the delicious breaded kabobs and french fries.

zukins

Sizzler Steak & Cheese Sub: Delicious chewy sub bun filled with tender steak and fresh veggies.

steak and cheese sub

Next, we stopped into Liberati’s Italian Deli and Bakery in Allen Park, MI. Liberati’s is a local favorite offering fresh Italian dishes, pasta, deli meats and cheeses, imported beer and wine, breads, and desserts. Our eyes lit up when we spotted the olives.

Herb and Garlic Olives

herb and garlic olives

Hot Olives

spicy olives

Chocolate Eclair

eclair

My birthday outing was relaxing, yet fun. It was so nice to spend it with Ma enjoying some of our favorite foods. Thanks for making it such a great day, Mom. I love you!

 

Liberati's Italian Deli & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Benihana

Today on the Bite Tonight: Benihana

To celebrate my birthday Wednesday, Josh took me out to dinner. We normally frequent the Dearborn location, but decided to try out something different and ventured to Big Beaver Rd. to Benihana in Troy. Specializing in hibachi style cooking, Benihana is sure to please any diner, with they’re interactive, entertaining experience. See how they ranked.

grill

Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites

Price: 3 out of 5 bites (sign up for the email club for $30 on your birthday)

Quality/Taste: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Service: 4 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 2 out of 5 bites

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I had to get the sushi!

Crunchy Roll: Shrimp Tempura, avocado, cucumber, crab, and tempura crumbs. Not as good as expected, but still yummy. Smooth and creamy from the avocado with a nice crunchy texture from the tempura and cucumber.

crunchy roll

Las Vegas Roll: Salmon, avocado, cream cheese, jalapeno, with spicy sauce on top and deep fried. Now, I don’t normally care for cream cheese with fish, but this roll has changed my mind! You get warm, creamy, crunchy and spicy all in one roll. Presentation was money. Superb!

las vegas roll

Now for the good stuff.

Teriyaki Chicken served with onion soup, salad with ginger dressing, shrimp hibachi appetizer, hibachi vegetables, and dipping sauce. The only thing I didn’t like was that the chef put so many sesame seeds on everything! Our server asked us if we had any food allergies when we ordered, but she should’ve asked if we liked an excessive amount of sesame seeds.

Tip: Order Chicken fried rice! And then order another! It’s delicious and I always get two orders.

benihana dinner

The good part about Benihani is that everything is cooked right in front of you on a screaming hot grill. If you get a good chef, he will do tricks (and not just the “toss the shrimp tales in his pocket” one either). It’s fun, interactive, and entertaining. The bad part is that it takes a long time and you should allow a solid two hours for dinner. I do think the food at the Dearborn location tasted better, but liked the more intimate dining room at the Troy location better.

Green tea ice cream: Refreshing, light, with a hint of green tea. Different, yet delicious.

green tea ice cream

After dinner, Josh surprised me with lots of birthday gifts which included a delicious Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake. He won’t tell me where he bought it, so I will just have to wonder. It it was still tasty and chocolatey without being too rich.

cheesecake

Thanks, Baby! You made my birthday a great one. I love you!

Benihana on Urbanspoon

Gizzmos Bistro & Bar

Today on the Bite Tonight: Gizzmos Bistro & Bar

Located on Biddle Ave in Downtown Wyandotte, Gizzmos is celebrating their 10th anniversary this year. Specializing in martinis, Gizzmos has recently expanded their menu introducing tapas style food items, over 50 martinis, and close to 20 local brews. See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites

Price: 3 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 4 out of 5 bites

Service: 4 out of 5 bites

Wow factor: 3 out of 5 bites

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Now before you judge a book by it’s cover, just know that I didn’t drink all these martinis alone. My good friend, Michelle and her sister, Nicole were in town, so Nastassia and I met them for a night of catching up.

DD Dirty Dog: Nastassia’s pick. Smirnoff Vodka, Olive juice, and olives. Salty, strong, and classic.

dirty dog

Banana Split: Nastassia’s 1st pick that she didn’t care for. Vodka, Tequila Rose , Creme De Banana, Creme De Cocoa. Nice flavor, but really sweet and heavy. Great for banana fans!

banana split

Bellitini: My pick. Vodka, Peach Liqueur, Champagne. Light, fruity with a hint of bubbly. Bellitini

Skittletini: Nicole’s pick. Vodka, Razzmatazz, Peach tree Liqueur, Triple Sec, Orange and Cranberry juice. Tasted just like a skittle and not booze. Fruity and sweet.

Skittlitini

Mint Chocolate Chip: Michelle’s pick. Vanilla Vodka, Creme de Menthe, Irish Creme, Cream. Like a scoop of ice cream in a glass. Delicious, decadent, and rich.

mint choc chip martini

What I liked about Gizzmos was that each martini was garnished beautifully. With a newly renovated interior, Gizzmos has live music and a great menu to suit any taste bud. The staff was friendly and it really seemed like our server wanted us to have a great experience, making conversation and offering her drink knowledge and recommendations. Even though I’ve lived Downriver all my life, this was my first visit to Gizzmos and it won’t be my last. No matter if you’re in the mood for a sophisticated cocktail or a beer and a small bite, stop in and check out Gizzmos.

Thanks for a wonderful evening, ladies! It was so great to see you guys.

 

Gizzmo's Martinis and Memories on Urbanspoon

Hungry Howie’s Pizza

Today on the Bite Tonight: Hungry Howie’s Pizza

I’ve featured Hungry Howie’s before, but my latest visit was so successful that I just had to post again. By viewing their website, I realized Hungry Howie’s has a lot of different menu options to suit your palette. Check it out.

Pepperoni, Onion, & Pineapple Pizza: With Bold and Spicy sauce and BBQ & Butter flavored crust (You need the butter so the BBQ seasoning will adhere better). I was leery on the crust, but it actually went really well with the sauce and toppings. Subtle spice with a solid flavor. The BBQ crust was sweet and was delicious with the pepperoni. I don’t know how I missed this sauce choice, but if you haven’t tried it, get it ASAP!

pepp and ham

Ham and Pineapple Pizza: Double pineapple with butter, garlic, Parmesan flavored crust. Josh has been on a “pineapple on his pizza” kick lately and the double pineapple was awesome. The combo of sweet and salty really pairs well. And who doesn’t love butter, garlic, and Parmesan crust?

pineapple and ham pizza

Josh and I ventured a little bit out of our pizza comfort zone and it paid off! We got one “normal” pizza and one “wild” pizza. I really like Hungry Howie’s because everything is always delicious, fresh, and fast. They offer multiple flavored crust options, an array of toppings, calzones, salads, wings, and oven baked Howie rolls. A wild Saturday night is not drinking until you’re hungover, but ordering something wacky on your pizza! Be wild.

 

Hungry Howie's Pizza on Urbanspoon