Hanging with the Ladies and Johnny Black

Met some old friends at Johnny Blacks Public House in Sterling Heights. Well, my friends weren’t old, well not older than I am (ugg). We all used to be neighbors what seems like a million years ago. It’s funny how you meet up with people you haven’t seen in a long time, and it seems like time never passed.

Johnny Blacks has a feel of an upscale sports type bar, with many TV’s, high top tables and an upscale menu. They even have a small outdoors area you can sit weather permitting.

The menu has a large selection of small plates, sliders, salads, appetizers (including loaded tots, my new favorite) and a full entree selection.

I ordered the sliders with fries and was a bit disappointed when the fries turned out to be those darn battered fries. At least these were seasoned. The sliders were fairly good, on mini bricohe buns. A bit dry though.

They had a fairly large beer selection. I opted for my go to Atwater Vanilla Java Porter, which I already told you all about, many times. ¬†ūüôā

Overall atmosphere is cheery, friendly and efficient service.  I would definitely go back again, and try something different. Like the loaded tots! A stand by local hangout to make one on your stops.

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Mmm… Johnny Cakes

Omar and I decided to grab a quick breakfast before jumping into another home project. ¬†It seems that’s all we have had a chance to do lately! We decided to try Johnny Cakes Cafe’, in Troy on John R just South of Long Lake. ¬†I had read reviews quite some time ago about the great breakfast, but this was the first chance we had to check it out.

The menu has an eclectic offering of really different breakfasts. ¬†And if your name is Johnny Cakes, you assume they have a large selection of pancakes, which they did not disappoint. Yes I know Johnny Cakes are cornbread, but “cakes” make you think pancakes, so…. ranging from Lucky Charms pancakes (the special of the day) to red velvet, oreo, futopia and more! An interesting collection of Eggs Benedict, “shillets” and crepes, this place was a foodies wonderland.

Our waitress, Vickie was friendly, attentive and offered great suggestions. I ordered the Huevos Rancheros, to which Vickie suggested I put the Ranchero sauce on the side because it was hot Рand let me tell you, Vickie did not lie!! Wooo Baby that was spicy!  Crispy hash browns, topped with oozy cheddar cheese, topped with freshly grilled corn tortillas, more melted cheese, all topped with two perfectly cooked over easy eggs. You cut into the eggs and the warm yolks just pour onto the crispy tortilla, and with the hash browns, a touch (just a touch!) of the Ranchero Sauce, and a bit of the sour cream and guacamole, gives a bite brimming with savory deliciousness. It was truly  a symphony of flavors.

Omar ordered the “2 and 2”. 2 eggs any style and 2 pancakes, any flavor AND hashbrowns. ¬†Omar decided to try the peanut butter and nutella (pictured below) and the Resee’s Peanut Butter Cup. What he didn’t know were the pancakes were the size of ¬†your head, we expected two small side pancakes, we didn’t expect the works of art that was brought to the table. ¬†Vickie apologized that the chef accidentally made the peanut butter and nutella as pecan and nutella, she profusely apologized as our actual order would take a bit longer and asked that we take the “mistake” so it didn’t go to waste, humm OK, twist our arms!!

I am not kidding when I said the pancakes were a work of art, and delicious too. They were a bit of a sweet overload for breakfast. Almost seemed like desert pancakes if there is such a thing!

We also had to order the “homemade corned beef hash” on the side. Don’t judge our piggishness. Omar and I are corned beef hash snobs, and after making our own for so long have a hard time finding anything more than canned dog food out, but I digress. This corned beef hash was most definitely homemade. Tasty, but in our opinion needed more corned beef, and maybe some onions. But definitely in the running for best corned beef from a restaurant.

Look at that pancake below! Swirls of peanut butter and nutella in an edible masterpiece!

Our suggestion – go to Johnny Cakes. TODAY. OMG you won’t be disappointed. ¬†The meals are a bit expensive but well worth it. ¬†Our bill for two was about $30 but we feasted. And had leftovers.

  

 

Sedona is a Beautiful Place This Time of Year!

Sedona Tap House opened on Big Beaver in Troy.  The place sounded great, promising a large variety of craft beers as well as cocktails and wine.  The beer list did not disappoint. Hundreds of beers available for the tasting, and tasting we did! We sat at the bar, and the restaurant offered a cheerful murmur and casual ambiance. The wall was lined with beer taps, and a large variety available by bottle. The menu was rather eclectic, with offerings such as goat cheese and tomato jam bruschetta.

We started the meal with Desert Fire Jalapenos, 4 halved jalapenos, stuffed with¬†Stuffed with 4 different cheeses, wrapped in bacon wrapped with a chilled lime cilantro sauce. They were pretty good, but as with these “fancy” restaurants seemed scant on the plate.

Omar continued just with appetizers, opting for the Prince Edward Island Mussels which are prepared with Tomatoes, red onions, garlic and a lemon basil sauce. He said they were very good, and I would just have to take his word for it Рblecch.

I ordered the Salmon Asparagus Salad which the menu describes as broiled Atlantic Salmon, organic greens, asparagus, feta, walnuts, tomatoes, dried cranberries. House made lemon balsamic vinaigrette. The salad was good, and plentiful enough. Salmon cooked well, and not fishy. An overall nice salad. But what really matters is the beer!

Beers on our flights included:

Ellison Tiramisu Coffee Stout 8% apv – a dark brown creamy stout, with aroma of vanilla, coffee, caramel, chocolate a bit of coconut and dark roasted malts. Very drinkable, not too heavy and overall very good.

Osker Blues Breckenridge Bourbon Barrel Aged Ted-Fidy 12.9% abv : Rich chocolates and vanilla, lots of malt. Oak and bourbon very dominant. Very full bodied with great “barrel” feel.

Cake Walk Vanilla Cream – Right Brain 3.8% abv – A light cream ale infused with vanilla bean. A very light, drinkable beer, similar to cream soda.

Saugatuk Barrel Aged Blueberry Maple 6% abv – Notes of berry and maple in this lighter stout beer. Blueberry takes a back seat to the maple, which isn’t my favorite. A very sweet beer.

Crankers Aphrodisiac Chocolate Pomegranate Stout 8.4% apv – very dark, overtones of chocolate and a hint of fruit. A nice contrast of flavors and overall good beer.

Perrin Damil in Distress 10% apv – Looks similar to root beer, this Roggenbier style beer has sour smell, but overtones of malt and rum (as it is a rum barrel beer) easy drinking.

Odd Side Ales Mango IPA 6% apv – ok, an IPA and you know I wouldn’t normally order this, but sounded intriguing with the mango. A sweet start to the beer, has a bitter aftertaste that is indicative of an IPA. Not my favorite, and wouldn’t order again.

The Brewery So Happens it’s Tuesday 14% apv – an American Double/Imperial Stout – dark and tasty, with hints of bourbon, molasses, vanilla, oak, chocolate and malt. Very boozy with the highest abv of the day.

Overall a great experience and would go again! Just use the app to make reservations, which gave is a table in no time, otherwise prepare for a long wait!

It Was Our Destihl-y

Allison had her onsite visit and interview at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Science. We stayed overnight at the TownPlace Suites by Marriott. The hotel was nice and very accommodating. Parking was a bit difficult, you have to pull into a nearby parking structure and call by pressing a button on the ticket stand. ¬†We rang and rang with no answer and wound up actually having to call the hotel to buzz us in. ¬†Once we got the hang of the “system” it was much easier. After her interview for potential entrance into the Fall semester we visited Deshtihl Brewery with my niece Amber who already attends University of Illinois. ¬†Deshtihl was recommended by the hotel staff who said the food was great and beer plentiful. ¬†They tout themselves a Gastropub, They are an interesting place to visit. They are trying to be “fancy” but seem to be one of those pretentious restaurants where ingredients are randomly added to food to make it sound more “gourmet”.

Dishes include such items as Chorizo stuffed dates, fennel sausage and date pizza (they use a lot of dates. Dates must be fancy) and Weissenheimer Chicken. Now that’s a mouthful. Nothing on the menu really jumped out at me. I ordered the Ancho Chicken Salad sans blue cheese. The salad had lettuce, ancho spiced chicken, avocado, black beans, white cheddar, red onion, diced tomatoes roasted corn with a ancho lime ranch dressing. ¬†The salad was ok. Toppings rather sparse, dressing good, but the salad itself was not huge.

Amber ordered the BBQ pulled pork two ways. It came on a plank, with pork a couple of ways, pulled and ribs. Served with lemon corn muffins and a chipotle coleslaw. She said the dish was good, not great. She didn’t eat much of it, so I think it wasn’t spectacular.

Allison ordered a spicy squash and cashew cream dish served over squash noodles. ¬†The dish started out ok, with some interesting flavors of coconut milk, basil and a “cashew cream sauce”. It was very spicy and not an easy dish to finish.

They had quite a few beer choices, and some interesting fruited beers. Amber, not yet 21 didn’t drink and I ordered a simple red beer. It was again, an ok beer. I think OK is my ultimate review of Deshtihl. ¬†I don’t know if I would ever even go there again. ¬†As Allison has since been accepted into the fall program, I am sure I will find myself in Urbana-Champaign again, but may not revisit Deshtihl.