Roma Cafe

>> Saturday, July 24, 2010

Friday, July 23rd. No guest stars, and no Thad again! Thad had to work late.....very disappointing.
We have been to the Roma Cafe once before (before I decided to start this blog) and had really loved it....so we thought we would do it again. But this time, we were not so thrilled. Lulu thinks maybe we were too drunk the last time, making everything taste better? The Roma Cafe is pretty much in Eastern Market. There is valet parking, which I take advantage of tonight due to the rain and tornado warning! This restaurant is very old. I think the interior is charming. The bar area is tiny. I love the professional old school bartenders they have had there on both my visits.
Our server tonight is Dmitri. When we ask him to pronounce some italian on the menu, he states "Why would I be able to do that? I'm Greek!". Duh, Dmitri...Greek name. The Greek and Dmitri begin to speak Greek to each other. Lulu and I wonder if they are talking about us.... Anyhoo, drinks. I have the house chianti....followed by the house chianti. Lulu has the house merlot and The Greek,of course, has jack & coke....he only drinks two things: J & C and red wines. Period. You gotta respect someone who knows what they like and never deviates, I guess. We order garlic toast instead of the plain bread basket. Wow, this bread is good, but talk about a calorie bomb. Lulu and I have been trying to cut calories....but tonight she states to be warned because she "is going to eat alot!". She is starting a 24 day cleanse on Sunday. 24 days! Entrees: I order the homemade paglia & fieno. This is what they are calling shoestring pasta, with prosciutto and peas. The Greek orders veal scaloppine a al tosca. Lulu creates a veggie combination: homemade fettucine alfredo, side of steamed broccoli, side of fried eggplant. Lulu and I also order a house salad each. All meals come with a cup of the minstrone. Lulu and I love this soup and salad. The soup is perfect. The salad, with homemade italian dressing, garbanzo beans, green pepper and egg, is perfect with a little parmesan. We were disappointed in our entrees. The Greeks veal was rather dry. My pasta was just ok, not very flavorful. Ditto for Lulu's fettucine.
.Paglia & Fieno
I could only eat about a quarter of that pasta...The Greek took the rest home. Thad sends us a text saying working late "sucks wet monkey ass". Charming, isn't he? Dmitri stops by our table often to chat about Greece with The Greek. He literally sweats on Lulu! Really, he wipes his brow and slings it on Lulu. Into her hair. She said it was in slow motion coming at her. He stops by yet again, and does it once more! She looks dumbfounded and distressed....speechless really.
Dessert is a small piece of what looks like store-bought cheesecake, with strawberries. We share. We each have cappucino. I swear it tastes so familiar....somewhere deep in my past....could this be International Coffee Instant? With some foam on top?
I will give Roma Cafe 3 D's tonight, I almost want to give 2.... Service was good, not great. Food lacking for sure. Total bill: $125 plus tip. We are SO boring tonight, as nobody feels like scoping out a bar afterwards like we usually do. Lulu must work in the morning, I am writing a paper for school.
The Greek and I decide that I jinxed our experience. We had established the "Tumbleweed Rule" long ago....we are tumbleweeds and never return to the same place twice. I cursed us by returning to Roma Cafe.
Next Friday: Annual Ferndale Pub Crawl. I host a pre/post party at my house each year, and Lulu will be babysitting....so no dinner. Perhaps I will review my favorite Ferndale bars instead....
However, we will try to get a reservation at Wolfgang Puck's for the following week....We have tried before, with no luck. Can ADD get special privileges with reservations? Apparently not.

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Polish Yacht Club

>> Saturday, July 17, 2010

Are you down with the PYC? Yeah, you know me...
July 16th. Polish Yacht Club, aka the Ivanhoe Cafe. No website. But Google the address.
No guest stars this evening. PYC....sing it to the tune of PYT...
This place is the 2nd oldest restaurant in Detroit, est. 1909. The oldest is the Roma Cafe, which we love and will go to next week to review officially. Ok, this place is in a rough neighborhood. For those of you unfamiliar with Detroit, let me show you an example of the area:
I love Detroit...but so much of it is full of burned out houses and buildings, and open fields of garbage. Anyway, don't be scurred of the area! Well, be a little scurred if you get lost.....warning: Do not believe the map that Joseph Campau goes straight up from Mack! There is a big empty field in the middle of it! You must park on the street here, but there is an attendant who watches the vehicles. PYC was so cool inside, like a big very old home. The atmosphere was like a grandmothers house chocked full of tchotchkes.
We drink Polish beer: Okocim, it comes in pilsner & porter. The menu is pretty basic with lots of pierogi, kielbasa and potato pancakes. It also, being the "yacht club", has tons of fish on the menu, and frog legs. I try to talk Thad into ordering frog legs, but to no avail. Lulu, having done her homework, says that at one time they had planned on actually having a canal built all the way from the Detroit river to here, therefore boats could dock! Wow, ambitious. I'm sure this was way back in the day. Anyway, there is no AC, and it is HOT in Detroit again today....
They serve coleslaw and a pickle/pepper plate to the table. Lulu loves pickles. She states these are the best ever. Lulu orders the vegetarian peirogi with steamed broccoli. The rest of us each order the Polish platter: peirogi, kielbasa, potato pancake, saurkraut and homemade fries. It is all very good. The peirogi is really good, but I suspect my neighbor Ms. K (see http://www.peoplespeirogi.com/) does a better job. The service is slow...but in this atmosphere, we do not call it slow, we call it "homelike". If you were waiting for your Polish grandmother to cook for you, would you complain?
My salt sensitivity continues though, as I feel the sausage and the pancakes are so salty. Nobody else agrees. We stuff ourselves. Then we start to feel drained from the combination of salt and heat. The Greek states he is going to go dance on the sun to cool off. Lulu and I go to the ladies room, which is a closet, but is the cutest little restroom with aquanet and a radio....and a fan, Lulu does not want to leave the coolness of the fan.
Ok, what is so funny to me, the way the law of attraction works. I'm singing PYC to the tune of PYT in my head so many times, it actually plays on the radio.....eerie! All the meals served came with complimentary homemade cupcakes. So homelike. Each cupcake had a plastic sea-themed ring. So cheesy and appropriate. We wear our rings for the rest of the night.
I amuse myself with a Finding Nemo Joke. Lulu LOVES her food here. Lulu LOVES the pickles. The waitress offers to bring her more to take home....and brings her literally 50 pickles! We give the PYC a 4 D for the food, but a 5 for the homey atmosphere. You almost want to clear the table and help with the dishes. I take my liberty to assign an over all 4 rating to the PYC. Total bill $104 plus tip (the beers were probably what racked up the bill, as the menu is pretty cheap). The ONLY Polish joke of the night was mine, when Thad says he could use some chopsticks....and I say, what does a Polish chopstick look like? Is it only one stick?? Guess you had to be there, but I continued to amuse myself this night.
Being rather close to Hamtramck, I suggest we check out the Belmont, which usually has pretty cool local rock bands....either a little alternative or harder metal....www.myspace.com/thebelmont.
But, the band canceled. And it was rather dead. Thad plays internet jukebox and I swear they want us to leave. We are not cool enough for this crowd, or at least Thad and his music choices are going to be asked to leave. I was overall disappointed in the Belmont this evening, as I have enjoyed shows there before, and I was talking it up to my cohorts. Thank you, Thad, for letting me beat you at pool.
Next week: The oldest restaurant in the D, Roma Cafe, est. 1890.
I forgot to mention....I know we were actually supposed to go to South this week. They are such the new "hot spot" in the area, impossible to get in....we will have to wait until the buzz dies down.
Addendum: Oh, and I wore my new t-shirt from "the bitchy waiter"......I told you I would buy one and I follow thru...See Sylte Project 365 Detroit for proof!

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omg omg

>> Sunday, July 11, 2010

I'm so excited that I have a follower that is NOT someone I know....and the best part is WHO it is!!! The Bitchy Waiter!!

I am so honored, thank you. Just for this, I will buy a t-shirt.
I feel my time spent on my amateur blog is validated somehow.
Please, everyone, if you have not read anything by The Bitchy Waiter, do so right now.
He makes me laugh everyday.

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Roast

>> Saturday, July 10, 2010

Friday, July 9th. www.roastdetroit.com
We have two guest stars tonight, Mrs. L (yet again, she loves us) and Mr. C.
This place is all about MEAT....therefore Lulu has declared days before that she will eat her dinner before we go! The menu has many interesting things...such as beef cheek peirogi, roasted marrow, beef tartare.
We arrive early and have a drink at the bar. The drink menu is full of unique cocktails and pricy wines. I tell the bartender I want to be adventurous, he makes me something "off menu". An old-school cocktail called The Aviator or The Aviation...I forget now! It is simply gin, lemon and maraschino liqueur with a twist of orange, and it is delicious. Mrs. L and The Greek have their special bloody mary made with pepper infused vodka. Mrs. L says it has a unique spice flavor and is very good.
The restaurant itself smells of roasted meat. You can actually smell meat from across the street, really. It is also very loud. I have to yell to talk to The Greek on the other end of our table, but that is ok, we still have a good time. Except for Lulu. In the dining room you can see the "roast beast of the day" rotating on a spit. Today it is suckling pig. Lulu is greatly distressed.
Our server for the evening is Israel. He is probably the most "professional" waiter we have had thus far. Lying napkins in our laps, pouring our wine, etc. He tells us what his favorites are on the menu and answers all our questions perfectly. He helps us avoid the pricy wines. We drank 3 bottles this night, one malbec per Israel's suggestion (Ique 2008) and 2 pinot noir... all pretty good. The appetizers we order: Roasted Marrow, beef tartare, crispy fresh bacon and a sample of the "beast of the day". When the appetizers come, this is when Lulu cannot stand us anymore and banishes herself to the bar. Vegetarians beware! Anyhoo, the marrow was the last straw. It was huge sliced bones with gelatinous marrow to be scraped out. Of course I had to try it. I did not like it. Not at all. The gel texture. But The Greek loved it and scraped the bones clean! Everyone else also really liked the fresh bacon, I did not care for it. My favorite was the tartare. Spread it on the crostini with avocado....it was yummy. The suckling pig was ok, Thad and I thought it didn't have as much "flavor" as we expected. We were both glad we didn't order it as an entree.
Roasted marrow.
Speaking of entrees. Mrs. L: Halibut. Mr. C: Ribeye. The Greek: Lamb Ragu. Thad: Rack of Lamb. Me: Braised Beef Shortribs. Lulu: Still at the bar and refuses to join us. Israel, the great professional that he is, continues to check on her and make sure she has what she needs. He did offer that the chef can make her anything vegetarian she would desire, but she refuses to eat! The side dishes are served family style: Fried brussel sprouts, roasted cauliflower, sauteed mushrooms, mashed potatoes. We all really like our entrees, no complaints. The shortribs were great, really rich, I couldn't eat all of it. My favorite though was the lamb ragu, served over pappardelle. I would get that if I ever return. I highly recommend! Thad loved his lamb. The ribeye was BIG, super-thick. The steaks are all great I'm sure, you probably couldn't go wrong. Ok, I know i'm more into veggies these days than meat. I have to rave about the brussel sprouts and cauliflower. They were awesome! I could have made a meal from those! Frying and roasting veggies are the way to go in my house!
Desserts: Chocolate cake, creme brulee and strawberry passionfruit sorbet. Each of them was excellent! The cake was served on a meringue cookie, interesting. The brulee was perfect. The sorbet was an "explosion" of flavor.
The total bill: around $564 including 20% tip.
Our consensus: 5for service, 4 for food. I am taking the liberty to give it an overall 5rating. Thad invents the rule that guest stars do not get access to the ability of 4 or 5ratings...lol! Mr. C contends that he lives with a princess, therefore should be allowed!
Afterwards we cannot decide where to go for drinks....after standing on the sidewalk arguing, The Greek takes off in disgust at our indecisiveness. We follow him on what feels like a miles long journey (death march on foot in heels!). We walk all the way to La Casa de la Habana. www.lacasadelahabana.com This is another of our regular spots. I enjoy Mojitos and Negra M0delo (my absolute favorite beer). We know that The Greek always loves this place so he can flirt with "cougarlicious" Lori King. She sings here every weekend. Before we leave, I buy cigars for Mr. P (they have a lovely walk in humidor), because I'm such a thoughtful hutch. Thad, Lulu and I decide to explore the upstairs before we leave, and find the secret entrance to the VIP area, with their own private bar, humidors, flat screen tv, patio and lounge! We didn't know this existed! We want to be a part of this next time, but I see it is $100 per month....naw, nevermind.
Next week, South in Birmingham....I cannot find a website for this place. Sad.

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Pippi BBQ in Ferndale

>> Saturday, July 3, 2010

Friday, July 2nd. Our guest stars this evening are both Mrs. L and Mr. P!
I set up our outdoor bistro, now called "Sylte Summer Shanty" or is it "Sylte Summer Shandy"?
The Greek wants to call it "The Red Taco", for reasons to remain unspoken.
The Menu: baby back ribs, my famous greek pasta salad, chips w/ homemade black bean corn salsa, Mrs. L's corn salad, Lulu's spicy apple chutney brie, Lulu's caramelized onion dip (yum) and LOTS of red wine. Of course, this meal gets a 5! Everyone enjoys the meal. Even Thad likes most the food, I think? I'm not sure I believe him.
I have never made ribs before, and I used my sister's recipe (Mrs. J). These were awesome! Truly! I will definitely make these again. I love falling-off-the-bone ribs. Here is how to make them: I bought slabs of baby back ribs from Costco. The night before I cut them in half, rinsed them, and rubbed a combination of bbq rubs on each side. I think any rub will do. I bought, from westborn market, sweet mesquite rub and a garlic black pepper rub. I mixed the two together. I sealed them tightly in pans with foil and put them in the fridge overnight. The next morning, do not open them. Stick them right in the oven at 230 for 2 hours. Bump up the temp to 250 for 3 hours. Do not open the oven door or open the foil! Turn off the oven and let them sit for at least 3 more hours in the oven. I thought they would have cooled into the temperature danger zone at that point, but they did not! Now put them on the grill, flip and baste both sides with your favorite bbq sauce. I used Baby Ray's Sweet & Spicy on half, and Chipotle Hot Squeeze on the rest. Yummy! They were so tender and slid off the bone. Thank you Mrs. J! Even vegetarian Lulu tries the ribs and I think she liked them? Oh, and let me give Mr. P some credit for doing the actual grilling. If you knew how little he knows about cooking or food prep, you would understand how much credit he deserves for this....!!
My famous greek pasta salad, I will give you the jist as I don't use a recipe. This may sound simple, but everytime I make this, no matter the crowd, people rave and want the recipe. It is basically farfalle, cherry tomatoes (halved), chopped cucumber, kalamata olives, green onion and feta cheese. The dressing (dress while pasta is hot) is about a cup or more of olive oil, 2-3 heaping Tbsp of dijon, 1-2 big cloves of garlic (crushed), salt, sugar and black pepper to taste - wisked together. I also usually toss in some herbs from my garden....basil, oregano and/or chives. This is always a favorite, I promise. You must love garlic though, as the raw garlic in the dressing is usually potent. I love it so much, I am eating it right now as my breakfast. Warmed up slightly with extra cracked black pepper.
For dessert, watermelon. Thad has brought circus peanuts.... gross. But Mrs. L attempts to make them appealing LOL:
And then we flambe it with ouzo.... don't ask. Trust me, nobody is eating it.
But wait....my neighbor, Ms. K, from the people's pierogi collective, http://peoplespierogi.com/, brings over her new creation: Apple cinnamon pierogi. We are willing guinea pigs. I think they are wonderful. Lulu agrees. The Greek demands they need more sugar. I disagree. They are perfect Ms. K. Feel free to test out your creations on ADD anytime!
After dinner, when the mosquitos get to be too much, we head into the Best Bar in Ferndale.... my basement. Then we head to Rosie O'Grady's. Rosie's is about two blocks from my house, yes, I live in the center of the Ferndale action, and I love it. We sit on the patio and drink...I try to stick to club soda, but am convinced to do a shot. Ugh. I'm not a huge fan of Rosie's though. Not sure why. I just prefer some other lovely Ferndale locations.
Next week: Hmmm... we did not make a plan. The Greek and I discussed future possibilities of Roast. I also mentioned I want to go to South in Birmingham, then we could do Dick O'Dow's after dinner? TBA.

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