Monday, September 26, 2011

Royal Oak, MI - Cafe Muse; So far, three different breakfasts and each one was a home-run or at least a triple. Each dish is well thought out, the flavors compliment each other well, clever flavor combinations, and each dish was truly unique. The atmosphere is very nice and elegant, but not enough where you have to dress up. Remember, it's just breakfast.

The first breakfast was the Orange Yogurt Pancakes. These hotcakes had a nice hint of orange zesty flavor. Not too much, but definitely enough were you knew it was there. It was accompanied with candied pecans and a sharp cheese on top, but I don't remember the name of it. The cheese by itself I thought was too sharp, but when eaten with the pancakes and a little syrup, it was a perfect combination. The portion was a little small, but I guess it's better that I don't over eat. Good portion control I guess.

A standard menu item is the Exotic Mushroom Scramble. It's a wonderful scramble for mushroom lovers. The mushrooms are earthy, oily, and with a touch of truffle oil, the eggs are mushrooms are a great combination. It's not your ordinary mushroom and eggs. It also came with a sweet potato mash, which I've now tried twice. The mash is slightly sweet from the potato, but it can be a tiny bit bland. They are creamy, blended well, but just missing something.

The Ammoglio Scramble is also a stand item and right up there with the mushrooms, it's a great combination of flavors. The sauce on the eggs is tomatoes, basil, garlic, and olive oil. I would compare it to a "salsa and eggs", but much better. The only weak part of this dish is that the ammoglio sauce is cold served on top of the hot eggs. If you like the contrast of temperature, it's perfect for you. If you think the temperature is going to through you off, just wait a minute or two and the eggs will do all the work to heat up the sauce. By the way, the scrambled eggs are probably one of the best I've had so far. They are cooked perfectly, fluffy, and they don't have a strong eggy flavor. Some how they soften the flavor, brilliant.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Detroit, MI - Jamaica Jamaica Restaurant and Bakery; This is the diamond in the rough. Jamaica Jamaica is truly the real deal between the man behind the counter or the food you can experiment with. Other reviewers have mentioned the bulletproof glass and not a great neighborhood. Get past all that and go. If you're a real foodie, you'll know why once you start eating.

We walked in and started chatting with the fellow about different dishes. He gave us some fried dumplings while we were looking at the menu and said to enjoy while you decide. Seriously, I love fried food, but this little fried dough ball, it makes you weak in the knees. He was a good marketer because while eating that, I could have said, give me everything on the menu if it's as good as this.

So we started with the dumplings, which are flour, butter, and honey rolled and deep fried. At first the honey doesn't come through, but then you get this wave of sweetness that really makes it a spectacular little dumpling.

On to some main courses, we started with the curry goat. I think it may be my first time having goat and it was just like eating beef. It was extremely tender and fell apart when you were eating it. The curry sauce was also wonderfully thick and extremely aromatic and flavorful. Each entree comes with a fried dumpling, plantains, rice and beans. Of course the fried plantains were so perfectly oily and sweet, just fantastic.

Course two, oxtail. This is my first as well and as I can't say there is a ton of meat on it, you get the meat on the bone, and it just doesn't fall off the bone being so tender, it almost melts in your mouth. It does have a slightly meatier taste than the goat, but still very very good.

Last entree, the jerk chicken. Now we're really talking. Pow, the smell hits you and you dive in. This is the dish right here that I've been waiting for. It's also extremely tender and the flavor just isn't on the skin where the spices are, it's through the meat so you know it's been marinated in it for some time. It will leave this wonderful flavor that really makes you say that it was the best dish.

With all these dishes, we also had the traditional bread, roti, with it. Use the roti with your hands to scoop up any rice and beans, curry sauce, anything. The roti by itself really doesn't have a whole lot of flavor, but it is two small layers of a corn-like tortilla with spices in the middle of it. You can almost separate it to see it if you want.

Lastly, do not leave this place with out trying some of their juices. They are hand made in the morning and we started with the mango, then onto ginger beer, and lastly punch back. The mango was out of this world. The perfect mango flavor with still small bits of mangos in it. Definitely not from any kind of concentrate. If you don't like ginger ale, stay away from the ginger beer. It's really strong in ginger flavor, not alcoholic. Actually, it doesn't have any alcohol in it. It does almost have some kind of carbonation, I felt the tingle, but not exactly sure. None of us liked that one very much. For the last drink, we tried the punch back which is peanuts, raisins, and other things he didn't tell us. It was like an eggnog consistency, but not much of the same flavor. It was very good though and I recommend trying that one too.


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Traverse City, MI - Tuscan Bistro; We settled on this Italian restaurant when we couldn't go to the original Italian place we picked. The original didn't have any reservations available and could have been at least a two hour wait. However, I called Tuscan and they had didn't have a wait at all. That's a good thing right? What also scared me was that we had a two hour wait at one place and this one, no wait at all. I think the other people know something I didn't

They were right. I would come back here for an entree or dessert. The appetizer was fine, but I had the Cavatelli for dinner and bread pudding for dessert.

The server warned me that the Cavatelli is a heavier dish, however, not only was it heavier, but it was also very bland. It was extremely weak in flavor, the pasta was extremely dense, and it was very oily as well. Stay away from this dish if you happen to find yourself there.

The bread pudding looks good, it's better to look at it than to try and eat it. It was not good at all. It was extremely dense and we almost had to use a knife to cut through it. The chocolate sauce around it was overly sweet and I tried to avoid dipping in it or any piece of the bread pudding that was touching the sauce. The table next to us ask if it was any good. I first thought about giving the usual response, good good, not bad, etc...Oh no, he saw me hesitate and start shaking my head back and forth and I told him my thoughts.

Stay away from both of these dish.