It’s Nacho Average BBQ Joint

We spent a work birthday lunch at Lockhart’s BBQ. I know I post a lot about my “work lunches”. Don’t judge, or be jealous, I work for a great place that celebrates everyone’s achievements, even if it is just the anniversary of being born.

Lockhart’s BBQ is typical of Royal Oak businesses with the industrial open ceilings, but has quaint wood tables, just the right amount of required neon and relaxed, comfortable atmosphere.

They always have a plethora of on-tap beers. Local breweries as well as others.  We were discussing our love for the new Sanders bumpy cake beer, brewed by Old Nation Brewing Company, when lo and behold we see it on their extensive menu. They had about 10 beers I would have loved to try, and many more (IPA’s) I did not care to, but as it was a work day and my company isn’t THAT forgiving, I stuck with water.

I have had their BBQ in the past, and although it is pretty good, I still prefer Clarkston Woodshop. Lockhart’s is nice for its location, and food is ok, but if I need to pursue amazing BBQ I head to Clarkston.  I do like Lockhart’s serve pickled and spicy onions, peppers and of course pickles on the tables, which are good with a zing and a kick.  This day, I decided to try something different and order the Smoked Pork Nachos. They make their own chips by flash frying flour tortillas and top with smoked chopped pork, cheddar and monterey jack cheese, onions, tomatoes and jalapenos all drizzled with BBQ sauce. They had me until the BBQ sauce, which I ordered without. Good choice, although the nacho’s needed something as they were very dry. By ordering the sauce on the side, I was able to try a variety of their sauces that they have readily available on the tables, which include the vinegary Carolina Gold, the Sweet, blended with root beer and grapes, the Traditional with tangy molasses and the Fire on the Red, cranked up with cayenne, chipotle and habanero.  The “flash fried” chips, when you use the flour tortillas just seem to have a powdery, dry flavor. Although crisp and light, they lacked that corny goodness you get with a real corn tortilla chip. I actually enjoyed the BBQ sauce on the nachos. I didn’t think I would, but it worked.

I would definitely go to Lockhart’s again, but I don’t think I would order the nachos. Not a fan of flour tortilla chips, and to me really brought the toppings down. Stick with the meat and the sides, order a tasty beer and tell them Jen & Omar sent you. They will have no idea who we are, but you will kind of feel like a big shot by saying it.

An Engaging Evening at Deer Lake Inn

Omar and I decided to re-enact one of our first dates so we jumped in the car and headed out to the Clarkston/Waterford area. We decided we would eat at the restaurant from our first date, Heroes BBQ and Brews on Huron in Waterford. Our first date was fun, we started here, ordered some crab cakes and had a few cocktails and we were looking forward to returning.

What we did not take into consideration is that it was July 3, and never considered that the restaurant would be closed due to the fourth of July! We didn’t find out this little tidbit of information until we pulled into the empty parking lot.

Going with the flow and determined to not have our night messed up, we headed to the second stop on our walk down memory lane, the Overtyme Bar and Grill on Dixie. We loved the Overtyme. Food was always great, and we enjoyed sitting at the bar playing Buzztime trivia sipping on a Ice Tea vodka and lemonade. I was happy to make the spontaneous change as the chicken nachos at Overtyme just can’t be beat and Omar loves their burgers. My mouth was watering! Imagine our surprise when we pulled into a second empty parking lot and found this place closed for the holiday as well. Now what do we do? We remembered that we visited another local restaurant, the Deer Lake Inn, also on Dixie Hwy, but a wee bit more North. We once again headed out, hoping and praying that this place was open. To our relief, their were cars in the parking lot, not many but enough to know we were going to be fed.
Deer lake Inn, a Kruse and Muer Company, never disappoints. Once the bartender offered me a challenge saying they had the best Calamari around, and I assured her I hate Calamari, so the bet was, if I hated it, she would buy it. I tried it, and surprisingly it was delicious. Even with a “free” appetizer on the line, I had to admit that this Calamari was really good. Nothing like the deep fried ringlets or tiny disgusting octopi I am used to, but tender Calamari, sauteed in garlic, banana and cherry peppers. It was really good.

Tonight however, after loading up on their amazing bread, I ordered the filet (I know you are all shocked) and Omar ordered the ribs. We sat outside on the wrap around patio, with a beautiful view of the field and parking lot and enjoyed a warm summers night. Our food was cooked really well, the ribs being very flavorful and sticky sweet, but perhaps a bit overdone. The filet was cooked perfectly, sides delicious, and did I mention the bread? UMMM the bread!!

After a delicious dinner we decided to head over to a special place we stumbled upon one day. The “Garden of Healing and Renewal” at McClaren Medical Center on Sashabaw. It is a beautiful strolling garden, with dragonfly and butterfly scuptures, fountains and a “labyrinth” that winds to a center point that has a acoustical anomaly that makes everything really quiet, the world washes away and it sounds like you are in a tin can. Very odd.

Omar and I were alone that day in the gardens, and I was standing in the center of the labyrinth being silly when he called me over to the bench to sit by him. It was here that he completely surprised me, got down on one knee and proposed! He was so romantic and said such beautiful things. It was such a perfect day, and looking back I am surprised that Omar never got flustered that all his carefully laid plans kept getting goofed up, but as it turns out the day was exactly was it was supposed to be. I said yes of course, but were you even questioning it?