Zakey Middle Eastern Cuisine

Today on the Bite Tonight: Zakey

The next stop on my Traverse City trip is Zakey located on E Front St. right downtown. There are not many Middle Eastern restaurants in Traverse City, so Zakey is the place to go when you have a craving for culture. Zakey features belly dancers and unfortunately not during our lunch visit, but we still dined. See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 2 out of 5 bites

Price: 2 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3 out of 5 bites

Service: 3 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 1 out of 5 bites


Hummus: I really liked that the hummus came topped with pickled veggies and chick peas. I just wished there was more of it!


Cucumber Yogurt Salad: Diced cucumbers topped with plain yogurt, olive oil, and fresh herbs. Tangy, fresh, and crunchy.

cuke salad

Lamb Shawarma with a side Fatoush salad: I’m more of a “chicken shawarma” kind of gal, but I stepped out of the box and went with lamb this time. It was pretty good, but I was missing the pickles and garlic sauce in this shawarma. The salad was fresh and delicious.

lamb shawarma

I liked that Zakey has their own thing going on, but being so close to Dearborn, I am a little biased when it comes to Middle Eastern food. I thought the food was good, but not the typical shawarma that I am used to. Service was good, but the food was pricey for the portion size. If you get a chance, stop in and see the belly dancers!

Zakey on Urbanspoon


Today on the Bite Tonight: SugarKissed


Located on Front St. in Traverse City, SugarKissed has been a bright, colorful addition to Downtown since 2012. With everything for your sweet tooth from cupcakes, to cake pops to the hot chocolate bar, we stopped in for frozen yogurt. See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 bites

Price: 3 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Service: 4 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 3 out of 5 bites

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Pistachio/Raspberry Tart: Topped with blueberries, raspberries, and cookie dough bites. Light, refreshing, yet just the right amount of sweet. I really love pistachio frozen yogurt because it has a subtle nutty flavor. The tartness of the raspberry paired well with the sweet, creamy pistachio.

pistacio yogurt

Raspberry Tart/Salted Caramel: Topped with blueberries, raspberries, cheesecake bites, raspberry sauce and Reese’s. The rich, smooth Salted Caramel was just enough to balance the raspberry. The cheesecake bites are creamy with a little bit of texture from the graham cracker.

raspberry tart froyo

SugarKissed really is the best place for your inner child. When you walk in you are surrounded with vibrant colors and the smell of sweet. They serve gluten free options and offer samples of whatever flavor you want. If you’re looking for a nice dessert or even somewhere to spoil your appetite, cool off with SugarKissed.


SugarKissed on Urbanspoon

House of Doggs

Today on the Bite Tonight: House of Doggs

house of doggs

The first stop on our trip to Traverse City is to House of Doggs. As featured on Food Network’s Food Court Wars, House of Doggs is owned by a husband and wife team that also married their love for food with rock and roll. Each dog name resembles music like the” Grand Funk” or a classic favorite like the “Chicago.” See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites

Price: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 4 out of 5 bites

Service: 4 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 5 out of 5 bites

hod inside

Reggae: Topped with sauer kraut, diced dill pickles, and mustard. The dill pickle was fresh and added a huge crunch to each bite. Mom stole a few of my onions because at House of Doggs, they do not skimp on toppings.


Motown: Topped with chilli, mustard, and onions. I added nacho cheese, just because. Delicious, and really hit the spot. There’s something about a chili cheese dog done right, that goes beyond comfort food.


Side of fries: The fries were cooked perfectly, piping hot, and crispy.

french fries

The food at House of Doggs was delicious and the inside of the dining room was decorated with tons of music memorabilia from classic album covers and records to instruments. However, what I experienced next was what makes House of Doggs amazing, in my opinion. As I was waiting in line to get a refill, a man asked for a cup for water. One of the employees called him by name, Rudy and started chatting with him. From what I gathered, the employee asked how his significant other was in which he responded “Starving.” She then offered to buy them a couple hotdogs and this really touched my heart. I got the feeling that Rudy was a regular and this was a normal thing, which made me sad, but also happy knowing that House of Doggs is looking out for him. Stop in and support House of Doggs, because not only is their food tasty, but they give back to the community.

House of Doggs on Urbanspoon

Vito’s Pizzeria

Today on the Bite Tonight: Vito’s Pizzeria.

My friend Amanda and I decided to grab lunch and we agreed to check out Vito’s. Located on Fort St in Lincoln Park, Vito’s has been a neighborhood “go to” for years. With new owners (new, but still in the same family) Vito’s is still cooking up yummy pies with that same “sweet sauce” they’re known for. See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 2 out of 5 bites

Price: 2 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 4.5 out of 5 bites

Service: 4 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 3 out of 5 bites


White Pizza: Feta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses with a garlic sauce. We added ham, onions and cajun crust. Delicious! Out of all the pizza I’ve had, this one ranked top 5. The pizza was cooked perfectly, had a good balance of sauce and toppings, and the cajun crust was slightly sweet and spicy. It was a little pricey since we added toppings and it was a specialty pizza, but it was worth it.

white pizza

Vito’s is a good local hang out with pretty decent specials on food and drinks. Service was good, but we were the only table at 1 pm on a Sunday. Unfortunately our medium white pizza ended up costing almost $17 with tax because Vito’s nickel and dimed us, even charging $1 for two sides of ranch (our server even suggested them, but failed to mention the up charge). The pizza was pretty tasty though so I will be back for more.

Thanks for the lunch date, Mandy! It was fun.

Vito's Pizzeria & Pub on Urbanspoon

Red Hawk

Today on the Bite Tonight: Red Hawk

Located on State St in Downtown Ann Arbor is old bookstore turned bar & grill, Red Hawk.  Josh and I decided to meet our friends Lauren and Steve for dinner. Red Hawk has been serving locally sourced, scratch cooking since 1992. With weekly specials, happy hour, and a menu consisting of pub favorites, wine, booze, and local brews, Red Hawk is a popular local spot. 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


Lamb Burger:With roasted pepper-olive tapenade, grilled onions, feta cheese. The combo of the salty feta, sweet onions, and the bite of the roasted red pepper-olive tapenade (traditionally pureed or finely chopped olives, capers, anchovies, and olive oil) was delicious. The lamb burger was cooked medium and was full of flavor and juice.

lamb burger

Burton Town Cheese Steak on grilled cibatta: grilled shaved house-roasted sirloin, peppers, onions, mozzarella.
****A portion of the sale is donated to the university musical society, which is awesome! *** The steak was seasoned well, but the peppers could’ve been a little more crunchy. There was a lot of cheese which made it delicious, but also made it messy.

philly cheese steak

Hand Dipped Beer Battered Onion Rings: Super crunchy, salty, and delicious! The beer batter really makes for a great onion ring.

beer battered onion rings

Turkey Meatloaf Sandwich: Served with lettuce, tomato, mayo, grilled on sourdough. The meatloaf was moist and had spices and seasonings that gave it tons of flavor. Very delicious, yet light!

turkey meatloaf sandwich

Smoked Salmon Burger: Served on a grilled bakery bun with tarragon-caper mayonnaise, crisp lettuce. Side of steak fries. The burger itself was dry due to not enough mayo. Our server was busy with other tables and Steve wasn’t able to get another side of mayo and just ate it anyways.

salmon burger

For Ann Arbor, Red Hawk was decently priced and had good food. The service was OK, we didn’t have enough silverware so it was a pain having to wait until our server came back around to check on us. I really liked that the menu had a nice variety and there was gluten free and vegetarian options.

Red Hawk on Urbanspoon

Zef’s Coney Island

Today on the Bite Tonight: Zef’s

Located a few doors down from Foran’s Grand Trunk Pub in Downtown Detroit is Zef’s Coney Island. They serve breakfast and deliver local, and when you work Downtown like I do, this is key. This week, I stopped in and had breakfast. See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Price: 4 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3 out of 5 bites

Service: 4 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 2 out of 5 bites


Breakfast Special: I kept it classic. Two eggs over medium, hash browns well done, and ham with two pieces of wheat toast. I love a nice thick piece of salty ham for breakfast and Zef’s was delicious. The hash browns were cooked perfectly and this really hit the spot.


Zef’s is your typical coney island. I have had some good dishes and I have had some not so good dishes. One thing that I will say is that service was always good, even when the food wasn’t. I was even able to enjoy the morning news with CNN on two flat screen TVs during my visit which was more than most coney islands I’ve been to.


Zef's Coney Island on Urbanspoon

Granite City Food & Brewery

Today on the Bite Tonight: Granite City Food & Brewery

Located on Big Beaver Rd. right off I-75 is Granite City Food & Brewery. This brewery has come a long way, from 1999, when Granite City first opened it’s doors in Minnesota, to 2014, now operating 30 restaurants in 13 different states. See how they ranked.

granite city menu

Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites

Price: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 2.5 out of 5 bites

Service: 4.5 out of 5 bites

Wow factor: 3 out of 5 bites


Granite City had this neat little brew menu that creatively described each beer. Josh went with the Northern Light Lager: Light, clean cut, and refreshing. This was better than a Bud, Miller, or Labatt!

the northern

While we were waiting for our order, the manager heard it was our first time visiting and welcome us and offered soup samples.

Northern Light Cheddar & Ale (pictured on left): Creamy cheddar cheese soup simmered with our Northern Light lager. Our favorite! Smooth, cheesy, with a light nutty ale touch. This was not overpowering as some beer soups tend to be.

Cream of Potato Bacon (pictured on right): Creamy potato soup with bacon and cheddar cheese. Pretty spot on for a creamy potato soup.

sample soups

Maple Pepper Bacon & Tomato Pizza: Maple pepper bacon, sliced tomatoes, fresh basil, mozzarella and parmesan cheese with our signature garlic aioli. This was a nice change from your typical pizza sauced pie. The garlic aioli was subtle, yet present. The maple pepper bacon was decadent and delicious! I substituted the tomato for sliced red pepper and it was a good choice. There’s something about warm tomato that I don’t care for. The crust was chewy, yet crispy.

maple pepper bacon pizza

Cajun Pasta: Chicken, andouille sausage, red and green peppers and onions simmered in a creamy parmesan cheese sauce with a hint of bourbon. This dish started off really good and flavorful. After a few bites, Josh noticed a nice sized pool of grease in the bottom of the bowl. We assumed it was from the sausage, but it was too much to stomach. Our server was really cool and offered another option. This was unfortunate because the dish was really good and the creamy parmesan sauce was awesome and spicy from the cajun spice.

cajun pasta

Josh went with the Adult Mac & Cheese: Alfredo sauce, pepper jack and cheddar cheeses simmered with our Brother Benedict’s Bock then finished with penne pasta, chicken, red pepper, bacon and toasted breadcrumbs. Unfortunately, this dish was a bust as well. Presentation was good, but it lacked flavor. Also, I think the kitchen was in a hurry to get this back out to our table, because the Alfredo sauce was thin, runny, and didn’t stick to the pasta. There wasn’t much chicken either and we had a hard time telling the difference between chicken and breadcrumbs because the pieces were so small.

adult mac and cheese

Service and the beer was good, but we didn’t have good luck with the food. I do like how the manager came over to address the dishes and our server did a great job handling the issue. The overall atmosphere was really nice, with an upscale brewery feel and a unique menu that is constantly featuring fresh, new items.

Granite City Food And Brewery on Urbanspoon

Happy 4th of July!

Today on the Bite Tonight: Grilling without the Barbeque

Ma has a pretty badass BBQ pit that we use for most of our grilling, but it can be a pain. It also seems silly to fire it up for just a few hot dogs. So today we grilled hotdogs and hamburgers on our stove top grill pan. I made some yummy sides to go with.

On the menu:

Corn on the cob with homemade garlic cajun butter

Cucumber salad (with Greek yogurt)

Broccoli crunch salad (courtesy of Meijer deli)

Grilled onions

4th of july plate

BBQ burger with Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce on an onion roll

4th of july burger

Garlic Cajun Butter: It was delicious on the corn!

cajun garlic butter

Spice up butter by adding your favorite seasonings:

I added a couple dashes of cajun and garlic seasoning to 1/2 stick butter.

Wrap in plastic forming into a log and stick in the fridge until ready to use.

Tip: Add lemon zest or berries to butter and add to pancakes or french toast.

I hope everyone had/is having a great holiday!


Congrats Kate & Jim!

Today on the Bite Tonight: Kate & Jim’s Gender Reveal Party

Kate invited me to a gender reveal party today. In case you aren’t sure what that is….it’s where family and friends get together for the reveal of the baby’s gender, duh!

The cupcakes were super cute and delicious!


Congrats to Kate & Jim…It’s a boy!

Kate and Jim

Thanks for having me! I knew it was a boy :)

TAQO Detroit

Today on the Bite Tonight: TAQO Detroit

dining room taqo

Located on W Adams across from Grand Circus Park in Downtown Detroit is TAQO Detroit. I was visiting Amanda and Zoe at their new apartment at the Kale’s and as we were walking to Olga’s, decided to stop in to TAQO Detroit instead. Yesterday was their soft opening. See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites

Price: 3 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Service: 3 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 3 out of 5 bites


We started with an appetizer

Roasted Corn Calamari: Deep fried calamari tossed with roasted corn and jalapenos with a chipotle mayo. We opted out for the jalapenos. The mayo was thick, spicy, and delicious. The calamari was tender and the batter was light and spicy. The roasted corn made it hard to eat as a finger food, but all together this was a delicious appetizer.

roasted corn calimari

Steak Fajitas: Steak, onions, peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes. The meat was tender and the zucchini was a nice touch.


Served with a side of rice and beans,cheese,  lettuce, sour cream, pico de gallo, and guacamole.

beans and rice

Presentation was great. Service was good, but a little too good. We were there for maybe an hour and at least 6 different employees other than our server came over to ask how everything was. I’m not sure if maybe it was because it was the first day they were opened, but it was a little annoying. The food was a little pricey, but was delicious and authentic. The dining room was colorful, inviting, and had a Mexican street look with exposed brick.  Stop in for a margarita and check em out.

taqo bar

Zoe had a great time!



Taqo Cantina on Urbanspoon