Friday, October 14, 2011

Detroit, MI - Avalon Breads; Is there anything better than walking by a bakery in the morning and stopping because of the aroma of freshly baked bread and pastries? Avalon puts off that wonderful aroma and eve if you were not hungry, you can't resist going in and getting something.

That something you pick up could be the gigantic challah, a variety of cookies, or brioche with a chocolate ganache. So far I've tried all three of these and non lasted very long. The challah was the longest, maybe two days. The challah had a nice crispy outside with a soft inside. It's not a traditional braided challah, but still had that sour dough flavor.

The brioche with chocolate ganache was good, but not the best I've ever had. The disappointing part of theirs as well as other places is that there isn't enough ganache. There is a little bit of chocolate in there, but it turns out to be a hallow pocket inside with only a small layer of chocolate.

The pumpkin whoopie pie was very nice. The pumpkin cookie outside was sweet enough and perfectly soft while the cream inside was smooth and not overly sweet. After a few bites, it was gone.

One of their specialties that I keep going back is for their cookies. So far, I've tried oatmeal, trail mix, salted chocolate chip. I had high expectations for the salted chocolate chip, but it was only a chocolate chip cookie with a little bit of sea salt ontop. Don't get me wrong, it was good, but it could be much better. The trail mix cookie though is another story. It's an oatmeal cookie foundation, but with trail mixed in with it. this one is my favorite. I'll seek out these cookies either at the store or in one of the specialty market bakeries. It has just the amount of trail mix, seeds, the oatmeal flavor.

Word is out about this place in the neighborhood. I had to wait in line for about 5-10 minutes, but well worth it. This place is a keeper.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ferndale, MI - Anita's Kitchen; To successfully try a variety of their offerings and really get a flavor of each dish, I highly recommend the Mixed Mezza either meat or vegetarian. Take a one or two friends and split it. With two people, we were stuffed and both took some home.

The kabobs were probably the best of the dish. They were seasoned well and had a nice chard edges for the extra flavoring. The shwarmas, chicken and beef, were both marinated well and not dried out, which is so important. So many places dry out their shwarma and it gets chewy. Anita's does a great job of have excellent cuts of meats, all seasoned and cooked well on the same platter.

With so many middle eastern restaurants, there has to be something that sets them aside from other places. Their Baba Ghannouge is one of those dishes that usually tastes the same every where you go. However, there was only one place that truly made the best I've ever had outside the middle east, which was Yossi's in West Bloomfield. Since they closed, I have not been able to find anything like it. Anita's is the closest so far. It is creamy and smooth, but most importantly without that sharp tartness that most babas have.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Bloomfield Hills, MI - Bangkok Thai Bistro; This is the former Rexy's Bangkok Thai Bistro that was located on Woodward in Royal Oak. It's the same owners as before, but it's not as upscale as the former location. It's designed to be more casual and faster to order. When you walk in, you go straight to the counter, order and then sit down, much more informal.

So far, I've only tried one dish, their Pad Ped. It's an eggplant dish in a red coconut curry sauce. The curry sauce was good, probably not strong enough though. The portion was also smaller than I anticipated. However, I also ordered Pad Thai, which I didn't try, and that portion size was better.

Since there isn't any consistency for spicy levels across Thai restaurants, I usually like dishes with a nice kick. Medium in most places in the Detroit area has a kick, but not too spicy. I usually order it Medium or Medium Plus. Their medium was more like mild. It didn't have any heat, barely noticeable.

One trace of flavor that was present, different from any other Pad Ped, was a hint of fried or charred flavor. The tofu and veggies did have a hint of visible grilled or burnt side. Surprisingly, I liked it. It added a new element to the flavor that I didn't expect.

I'm looking forward to seeing what other dishes they put a twist on.