CK Mediterranean Grille

Today on the Bite Tonight: CK Mediterranean Grille

Located on Monroe just blocks away from Greektown in Downtown Detroit is CK Mediterranean Grille. It was a co-worker’s birthday and for lunch, the office pitched in to score their catering lunch deal. It was awesome!

Catering came with:

Steak and Chicken Kabobs

Steak and Chicken Shawarma

Grilled Chicken Breast

Fattoush Salad

Hommus

Rice

Falafel

Garlic sauce and pita bread

Onions and pickled veggies!

ck grille

Everything was delicious! The thing I love about CK Grille is that you always get huge portion sizes. From soups, salads, sandwiches and wraps, Mediterranean favorites and entrees, and a juice bar, you can’t go wrong. They offer delicious healthy options that suits any craving. I highly recommend the red pepper hommus! Stop in and try them out for lunch.

Happy Birthday Rachel!

Homemade Kit Kat Cake (idea from Pinterest): Decadent!

kit kat cake

 

CK Mediterranean Grille on Urbanspoon

El Paso Mexican Restaurant

Today on the Bite Tonight: El Paso

It’s no secret that I love Mexican food. So, last night for dinner, Ma and I decided to grab a carryout at a local place. Since I’ve never been to El Paso, I wanted to try it out. El Paso offers the standard Mexican favorites and drinks including horchata  (a milky drink made from ground almonds, tiger nuts, or rice).  See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 2.5 out of 5 bites (little outdated)

Price: 3 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 2 out of 5 bites

Service: 3 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 2 out of 5 bites (salsa bar for dine in guests)

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Beef Enchilada Dinner: Rolled corn tortillas filled with beef  and topped with cheese and sauce.  We actually ordered two beef and one cheese enchilada, but we received all beef. Pretty decent, not as good as Mexican Village or Taco Especial. The enchiladas were a little sloppy, but I blame that on running to the car in order to beat the downpour. I wasn’t a fan of the rice (too plain), but the beans were delicious.

beef enchilada dinner el paso

Chicken and Beef Tacos: El Paso fried the flour tortilla just the way we like it to make it crispy, but by the time we got home, the shell was soggy. The chicken was seasoned well and the tacos were pretty big. The beef could’ve used a little more spice.

chicken tacos el paso

El Paso gets kudos for price and portion, but the food just wasn’t what I’d hoped for. It didn’t satisfy my craving for authentic Mexican and I probably wouldn’t go back. I always thought that Mexican food is a little like cereal with everyone having their own preference and favorite. On the other hand, service was good and they offer a salsa bar if you dine in which I loved. Stop in and check em out!

El Paso Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Amici’s Gourmet Pizza and Living Room

Today on the Bite Tonight: Amici’s Pizza

After a suggestion from my brother, Josh and I decided to try out Amici’s (currently located in Berkley, MI) and switch up our usual pizza choice. Voted Best Gourmet Pizza by Metro Times, Amici’s was founded in 1993, and throughout the years have won multiple awards not only for their pizza, but also their martini’s. We decided to get carryout so we didn’t stay for a martini. See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 3 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: 3 out of 5 bites (unique menu)

We went with:

Caribbean Spicy Jerk Chicken Pizza: Spicy jerk chicken, peanut-ginger sauce, pineapples and Mozzarella cheese. Lots of flavor from the Jerk seasoning, but not really spicy. The peanut-ginger sauce offered a subtle nutty sweetness (unlike overly sweet Pad Thai sauce). The cheese was nicely browned and the crust was crispy.

jerk chicken pizza

I give Amici’s props for using fresh, local ingredients, and their accomplishment of becoming a Certified Green Restaurant. Aside for offering around twenty unique pizza’s, and more creative martini’s then I could count, they offer vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options. Stop in and indulge in Amici’s.

Amici's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Detroit Institute of Bagels

Today on the Bite Tonight: Bagels!

Located on Michigan Ave, in Detroit’s Corktown, is the Detroit Institute of Bagels. Normally, at work we get bagels from Panera Bread, but it was refreshing when I walked in and noticed something different.

Everything Bagel: Fully loaded! I really appreciated all the seasoning (even on both sides of the bagel), but there was something that I couldn’t quite put my taste bud on. It tasted spicy, almost like jalapeno and it was too overpowering for me.

Everything Bagel

So then I switched to an Asiago Bagel: Light with a touch of salty goodness.

Asiago bagel

Spinach and Herb Shmear: Fresh and delicious.

Spinach and herb shmear bagel

One of the things that Wowed me was the spreads and shmears. Detroit Institute of Bagels offers everything from veggie  to strawberry shmear and smoked Lox cream cheese and Butternut Squash Tahini Spread (which was awesome). DIB strives to create masterpieces in bagel craft and I would agree that they are on the right track.  If you’re feeling adventurous, stop in and try the Sriracha Lentil Spread.

 

Detroit Institute of Bagels on Urbanspoon

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 (varies by location) 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