Friday, February 24, 2012

Guay Teow Pad Prik Prow

 Gaeng Kheaw Waan

Spicy Rib

Bloomfield Hills, MI - Bai Mai Thai; I couldn't decide between 3 or 4 stars, but it could have been a 3.5. This a carryout only place, no sitting and eating unless its on the curb outside.

The only dish my wife likes usually is Pad Thai and she tried theirs, said Nope I don't like it and wont try this place again. I believe they flavor theirs slightly different from the most common places. I think it makes it just a bit more unique but my wife is a tried and true kind of person. I could try their Pad Thai again and really see if its unique or it was an off day. If didn't have strong peanut flavor like others, slightly more on the citrus with a flavoring I wasn't use to.

I've tried three other dishes here, Gaeng Kheaw Waan, Spicy Rib, and Guay Teow Pad Prik Prow.  The first was the Gaeng Kheaw Waan, a green curry base dish. I'm a huge sucker when it comes to coconut milk curry entrees.  I'll keep trying and comparing them, but I don't even want to know many calories are in the milk.  This curry dish was a lot more watery that other places. I was first surprised by the viscosity, but then I was caught off guard by it's flavor.  It still had all it's curry and coconut flavor and heat that other dishes typically have. Some how, they prepared it different with almost the same flavor outcome.  Well done Bai Mai Thai.

Spicy rib is on so many menus and I've wondered how good it was, why not try it and I'll finally have a base to compare other places.  I think they boil it before grilling it because the meat was very tender and came off the bone easily.  The flavoring was nice with a hint of smokiness.  The sauce was an additional winner.  It had that sweetness necessary for the ribs along with the heat.  The ribs by themselves were good, but the sauce made it much better.

Now the Guay Teow Pad Prik Prow, was the winner.  It goes onto my list, for now, of favorite Thai foods.  It makes the list because the sauce was very unique.  It didn't have the traditional brown sauce, or peanut, or curry, etc... it had it's own flavor.  So many Thai dishes reuse the sauce in so many dishes making them blend together.  However, this time it was in it's own category.  It's really hard to describe and I'll just have to get it again to see if I can nail down the flavors.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Bloomfield Hills, MI - Pizza Papalis; For deep dish, how do you determine a good deep dish pizza?  Is it the crust, maybe the sauce, how about the toppings, or does the answer lie with the cheese?  It's all of them, but each one individually.

Pizza Papalis' deep dishes started in greektown in the original location.  They would make a deep dish that you would never forget and driver across the state to have.  I was hoping this place would deliver the same flavor, texture, and pizza as before.  Well, it's close but not 100% there.  The greektown deep dish pizza would have received at least four stars, this one three.

Starting with the crust, it's wonderfully think, greasy on the bottom, and think on the side and bottom.  The sauce hits its mark by having a delicious tomato base and strong with oregano.  The cheese is good, elastic when it's hot.  The website states they offer low fat cheese by saying "Lite Cheese".  However, when ordering, don't say with Lite Cheese, because they'll put less cheese on it.  Make sure you say, low fat cheese.  The toppings, having only ordered a few, were very weak.  The one that really didn't meet expectations was the garlic.  I imagined full roasted garlic cloves and it turned out to be garlic powder. You can imagine my shock and disappointment.

Don't over order, with just three pieces of a deep dish, you'll be very full.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Ferndale, MI - Om Cafe; Om is a pioneer among restaurants for vegan/vegetarian fare. It stands out among the very few restaurants in the metro area to not only carry, but specialize in vegan/vegetarian cuisine.  If it wasn't the first, it was among the select few to have paved the way.  Not only do they make special efforts to cater to the vegetarian, but also offer omnivores meat options to be inclusive and not force either one to have to settle.

We started with the nori roll, their vegetarian and vegan version of a sushi roll.  It was a nice vegetable roll, with fresh veggies, but their dipping sauce was interesting. I thought the sauce was good, but the tahini in it, gave it more of a puzzling flavor than a traditional soy with wasabi intensity.

My entree was the BBQ Seitan, with sweet potatoes, brown rice, and collard greens. This was my first time having seitan, meat alternative made primarily of wheat, I thought they did a pretty good job with making it into a familiar flavor and texture. If I were to eat it by itself, it's probably not the most flavorful meatless entree, but with the bbq sauce, it improved it's standing.  The sweet potatoes were cooked nicely, sweet and tender, but the collard greens were very bland.  It appears they were steamed without any seasoning added afterwards.  Vinegar was available at the table and after adding that to the greens, it was better, but not all that enticing to try again.  I would try to substitute it out for something else next time.

The atmosphere is very nice inside, small, quiet, quaint, and intimate.  it's good for couples and small groups.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Royal Oak, MI - Chow Catering; The best way to experience any food truck is at a Food Truck Rally recently held at the Farmers Market in Royal Oak, MI. Chow Catering was one of the seven to attend and we had to wait in line for about 30-45 minutes to just ORDER! Yeah, it's worth it! Almost every truck had the same line, but isn't the rule of thumb, if there's a long line, you know it must be good. Stay away from the short line right?

I went with a few friends so we could try multiple dishes and I'm so glad we did. We ordered: Cubano, Pork Belly Sliders, Beef Brisket Sandwich, and Wild Mushroom Pasties.

Starting with my absolute favorite was the brisket sandwich. This was perfectly marinated and pulled brisket, grilled pineapple, lettuce on Hawaiian bread. The brisket was tender, flavorful, but perfectly balanced with the sweetness of the pineapple and Hawaiin bread. I almost made my group stop eating it, just so I could take their portions. I could go for another around of this sandwich.

My next favorite, but it was almost a tie, the cubano. It was a traditional Medianoche (cuban sandwich), roasted pork, ham, swiss cheese, spicy mustard, dill pickel slices, on a pressed grilled bun. For a sec, I thought I was in Miami. The pork and ham was juicy (so many places over cook it and dry it out), just the right amount of pickels for flavor and texture crunch, and finishing with that lasting flavor of the spicy mustard. The brisket is a grandslam, but this is a three-run homer, so it's pretty close.

Surprisingly, the wild mushroom pastie past my expecations. I really didn't expect much on this dish and you wow'ed me. It was a mushroom pate, blended cheeses in a puff pastie with a mushroom bechamel. I was expecting a flatten pastie, dry, and one portabella mushroom in the center. I was wrong, I'll admit it. It turned out to be a delicious fluffy and flaky pastie and a wonderful blend of wild mushrooms and cheeses on the inside. It had a delightful earthiness flavor and featured the mushroom, but not over powering. Excellent balance.

The pork belly sliders I saved for last and wished I didn't. I had really high expectations for this one, but it really didn't meet expecations. I thought it was fine, but all the fat was removed from the pork belly, drying it out and taking away all the flavor. It was served with asian slaw with wasabi aioli, giving it some nice texture and the needed flavor that the pork lacked. Thank goodness for the slaw.

My order from favorite to least loved:

1. Beef Brisket
2. Cubano
3. Wild Mushroom Pastie
4. Pork Belly Sliders

I will find this truck on facebook and meet up where ever they are to try more from them. Hats off to the owners, chefs, and staff.

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Madison Heights, MI - China Bar-B-Que; How does China Bar-B-Que compare to other asian BBQ's, they fell short. The glass case, hanging duck, pig intestines, and bbq pork, are all present to give you the full effect, but it still has to deliver on flavor. 

I tried the bbq pork and it really didn't compare to other asian bbq places.  The pork was dry and lacked the strong bbq flavor usually present.  Maybe I caught it on an off day and I'll have to try it again to see if they deliver the same uneventful, dry, and disappointing bbq pork.