Used my Noodle and went to Boodles

Tuesday I went on a business lunch to Boodles, in Madison Heights. Now I was a resident of Madison Heights for over 20 years, and lived my whole life in the vicinity and have only been to the hidden gem once before.  Many moons ago, I took my mom on a Mother’s Day Brunch here, which I recall was exceptional.

Boodles, really is a hidden gem.  Located on the corner of 11 Mile Road and the I-75 Service Drive, this place does not look very exciting from the outside.  With a warn out awning I have looked at for as long as I can remember, it looks more like a corner bar than the gourmet restaurant it is.

For lunch, I ordered the Chicken Picatta. Made with mushrooms (I ordered without), artichokes, caramelized onions, capers, all in a creamy lemon butter sauce.  The chicken was cooked perfect, and they did not skimp with the artichokes.  Served with rice (or potatoes or veggies) it was a delicious meal. The meal started with a potato leek soup, which I expected to be creamy, actually was broth based with sliced leeks and chunks of perfectly cooked potatoes.  It was a nice start to a great meal.  Wash it down with a perfectly made Arnold Palmer and I am a happy camper.

Omar and I will now have to return for dinner.  With appetizers such as Steamed Mussels, Calamari, Seared Ahi Tuna and Raw Oysters this is for sure a place that would be right up Omar’s alley.

If feeling adventurous, dinner boasts a VIP table side preparation of: Caesar Salad,  Steak Diane, Steak Au Poivre, Steak Stewart and many more selections, all prepared to order.

Dinners range from filet, to create your own pasta, fish, chicken, ribs, burgers and a variety of sandwiches, salads… you name it.

They even offer table side flaming desserts if you have a date to impress!

For my limited trip there, I would definitely recommend this restaurant.   Look more more reviews in the future when Omar and I visit!!

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Grilled Cheese, Yes Please!

While in Grand Rapids, I spent the day with my daughter Jamie and later with my other daughter, Allison, too, as Grand Valley is just a bit further than where I was for my HR conference.  Jamie and I were killing time to wait for Allison to get off work so decided to go bum around the mall.  We were searching for somewhere to eat when we saw Tom+Chee, a soup and grilled cheese restaurant.  On a cold day, this sounded just like the kind of comfort food we were looking for.  I guess Tom+Chee is famous for their grilled cheese doughnut.  That’s right, you read that right.  Grilled cheeses and a variety of toppings grilled on a glazed doughnut.  Cut and turned inside out and loaded with fillers.  Jamie and I opted for the “hearty white bread” as the doughnut did NOT sound appealing.  Although they did have a s’mores desert doughnut, grilled with marshmallow fluff, graham crackers and chocolate.  If I had even the tiniest of room left after lunch I could have been persuaded to try it!

We both ordered almost the identical sandwich.  Grilled hearty white bread with mozzarella, grilled chicken, pesto and tomatoes.  I also added melt-y cheddar to mine. They have a variety of tomato soups.  Classic tomato, chunky tomato and a creamy tomato basil.  Also offered is a variety of daily specials, including sandwiches and soups.  Jamie opted for a “dipper” portion of the classic tomato and I went for the dipper sized chunky. Frankly, both soups tasted identical except for the extra chunks of tomato in mine.

Jamie and I both enjoyed our meals, and Jamie commented that she is afraid they would be getting lots of her money in days to come.  Who can say “no” to a rich, melt-y warm grilled cheese sandwich?  I would have liked to see a pickle option on the menu, as since I was a kid my mom served a pickle with my grilled cheese.  Now I feel they go together like, well, peanut butter and jelly!!

This company is really cool.  A couple guys, who started a grilled cheese truck to feed skaters after a long day on the ice.  With determination and drive, they segued their small truck concept into a huge enterprise, with franchises all over the US. They surged in popularity when featured on TV’s “Man vs. Food” and later on Shark Tank.

You can see Adams adventures here.   http://www.travelchannel.com/shows/man-v-food/video/ohio-s-grilled-cheese-doughnut

For the strong of heart, they offer their Bakers Dozen challenge.  Eat 13 grilled cheese doughnuts in one sitting, no bathroom breaks. Not sure what you win – a heart attack? Diabetes?

This company roasts their own meats and make their own dressings, sauces, and spreads from scratch. They also offer gluten-free bread, vegan cheese, vegan/vegetarian soups and make their basil pesto with sunflower seeds (perfect for blog followers with tree-nut allergies).

Really, a good place to eat. Jamie and I give it two thumbs up!! And, you’re welcome!!

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Bob’s Your Uncle

Recently attended a Human Resource Conference in Grand Rapids. Our entertainment for the evening was dinner and drinks at a place called the B.O.B. (Big Old Building). This place is really cool and very eclectic. It is a remodeled old warehouse, with floor after floor of restaurants, comedy clubs, and bars. Our evenings entertainment put us on the third floor with a live band (who were pretty good) and the fourth floor for Dr. Grins comedy club. As this was a sponsored event, it is difficult to review the menu as we had a pre-chosen buffet. Rather three buffets. One area had a variety of cold salads, BBQ smoked chicken sliders, which were spicier than I expected, and a beef station with carved filet, baked beans and cornbread. The filet was the star of the show, cooked as a whole tenderloin, medium rare, and smoked perfectly. The beans were cooked with onions and BBQ sauce and were really tasty. The cornbread is not even worth mentioning, however.
Station #2 was a pseudo Mexican gala with pulled pork tacos and chicken nachos. I did not try the tacos, but the chicken on the nachos were very dry.
Station #3 was pasta, Caesar salad and pizza. I had a bit of the Caesar salad, which was well, Caesar salad. Not impressive, but good. The one pasta I tried seemed like a bacon infused mac and cheese. Pretty good. The second pasta looked good, a tortellini spinach pasta, but loaded with mushrooms so I opted out. The pizza looked underwhelming, so I opted against.
The BOB has its own brewery – who knew? I really have to go back to Grand Rapids and enjoy the craft beer culture that has over taken the city. With Founders Brewery, The Bob and numerous restaurants catering to a more refined beer drinking college crowd, such as Hopcat, it really is a beer lovers destination.
My beer of choice for the evening was SpaceBoy Stout, an oatmeal stout, light and creamy and easy to drink. 6% abv, it is similar to my other love, Rochester Mills Milkshake Stout.
A fun evening, and I have discovered a fun new beer, and a fun new place to visit when in Grand Rapids. I recommend both!

Wrap it up!!

Went to the new Boukie’s Grill for a work lunch on Wednesday.  Boukie’s is in Royal Oak at 11 Mile and Main and touts itself as a “Fine Mix of American, Greek and Lebanese Food”.

They have a large menu, and a smaller restaurant.  In nicer weather, they have a patio where you can eat outside, with lovely views of 11 Mile Road and a delightful view of the side of the building.

For lunch, they have a smaller lunch portion sized menu with salads, combination plates and sandwiches. They start your meal as all good Mediterranean/Greek/Lebanese restaurants do, with hot fresh bread and that killer garlic emulsion.  I ordered the beef schwarma sandwich (although a wee bit put off when they call it generic meat schwarma and not beef) which came with soup or salad and I upgraded to the fries.  The Lentil soup and schwarma wrap were very good and I could have, and wished I did, stop there, but I ordered fries too.  Imagine my disappointment when battered fries were served.  I really need to learn my lesson!

A good lunch, a bit on the pricier side for a comparable meal (I walked away spending $12 and I just got water). But overall, I would go again.

After lunch, we walked down to Royal Oak’s newest restaurant, La Dulce, a Spanish Tapas (small bite) and Churro restaurant with a fabulous decor of hand made Spanish furniture and art, set up like a friend’s living room, with intimate seating.  We looked at the menu and it looks really interesting… look for more to come…..

Merry Making, Memorial and Menudo?

Saturday Night we went to El Patio’s in Troy to have a dinner in honor of Lila Seaman’s birthday.  Lila was Omar’s sister, who passed away last year after a long battle with breast cancer.  Lila was a remarkable woman who graciousness and generosity touched the hearts of all who knew her.  She had a way of bringing out the best in everyone.  I am very fortunate to have gotten to know her before she was taken away, far too soon.  We had a great dinner, laughing, talking and feeling like Lila was there with us.  We we joined by  Omar’s parents, who graciously hosted the event, Omar’s kids, Lila’s daughter, Lila’s sister in laws, in-laws and special friends.

As this is a restaurant review blog, I guess I need to get to the reason of the blog.  The food.  El Patio opened in Troy I believe in 2012. We were happy to see a new restaurant open up close to home. El Patio is just rich with authentic, tasty, affordable Mexican fare.  They bring you baskets of fresh, hot, crispy tortilla chips and a very tasty salsa. Be careful though, their hot salsa is HOT.  Even for Omar.  I dare not even try it.  I recommend the cheese dip too.  A very simple white cheese dip, but very good with the chips. What I would avoid is the guacamole.  Obviously not made from scratch, this “pre-packaged” green monstrosity is not guacamole.  When it doesn’t brown, turn it down!!! Ha good rule of thumb for guacamole.

I must say, I don’t veer off far from my standard “create your own combo”.  How can you go wrong with 3 items of your choice, rice AND beans??  My go to – beef taco, chicken burrito and beef burrito.  Yumm. Omar is not as stuck in his ways as I am. He has sampled the Enchilada’s Verde, a variety of combination plates (there are many) and his favorite, the Special Dinner which includes – are you sitting down? A Chalupa, a taco, an enchilada, a chile relleno, a tamale and ric and beans!! You can seriously split this meal with a friend.

This night however, I did take a walk on the wild side and ordered the fGRand Burito Fajita, with steak.  It was flavorful and so filling!

Feeling adventurous? They even have Menudo Soup.  No, not named after the delightful Puerto Rican Band of the 70’s, but a traditional Mexican soup made with beef tripe (which for the faint of heart is beef stomach lining).

El Patio is one of our go to places.  They are fast, efficient, food always good and staff eager to please. There have been many restaurants in this spot, and I hope this one fares better than the rest and lasts!!