Booze at Coney Island – Whaaaat?

Omar and I decided to look for some trivia on a Sunday night that we were looking for something to do. We found a live game being played at “Jimmy’s Tavern” on Van Dyke in Warren, I know the location, but did not remember a bar there. Well come to find out that is because the bar is behind, owned by and part of National Coney Island. You can order drinks at Coney Island or Coney food at the bar. That’s right. Mind BLOWN! Jimmy’s also has their “tavern menu” which is supposed to be slightly more upscale than National.

This night, we didn’t plan on eating, just enjoying a beer and some trivia. The beer menu is vast, with a wide array of ales, porters, stouts and fruited beers. Omar is enjoying their PB & J’ale’y beer from Elk Brweing Company. 5% apv, It has a nutty flavor, mingled with a sweet fruited taste. Not my jam – pun intended.

I have been ordering the Erik the Red beer from Dragonmead Brewery. Also 5% apv, it is copper in color with overtones of caramel, malt and hops.

The trivia was fun, and we are happy to say we won second place in game 1 and first place in game 2. Happy to walk away with $40 in gift cards for our next trip!

The next visit was the following Sunday as we felt like playing trivia again, This time we decided to eat since we had the gift cards. I ordered the “tavern nachos” off the tavern menu and Omar ordered wings and tavern fries which are waffle fries covered with melted cheese bacon and scallions. The nachos said they were fresh made in house with melted cheese and even the coney island chili. What I received, however, was stale chips, with hamburger meat, that gross cheese goo melted over it with some black olives. They were not good and a far far cry from the menu’s description, I sent them back which is something I almost never do, but these were basically inedible. The bartender was quite surprised to see I was served the National Coney Island nachos and not the “tavern menu” nachos. She quickly apologized and the correct nachos were brought out soon after. These were worlds better, with totally different chips, real melted cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and coney island chili, Very good, but very large. Too much for me to eat! The wings were average, and the tavern fries good, but not mind blowing.

The food is average, and the National Coney Island food is exactly what you expect. The bartenders are friendly, trivia fun and beer menu extensive. I would recommend a visit, on either side. Jimmy’s Tavern and enjoy a beer, a Hani and a baby greek salad or on the Coney Island side, enjoying a nice alcoholic beverage with your Coney Island dinner.

Spent a Night at Tina’s Country House

Omar and I joined our friends Erich and Pam for dinner at The Tavern at Tina’s Country House. The Tavern is located at the corner of North Ave. and 23 Mile Rd. A bit of a hike for us, but we were excited to try somewhere new.
Upon first glance, the Tavern is unassuming and has the appearance of every other dive bar. Located on the same site as Tina’s County House and Gardens, a reception venue for weddings and other special occasions, the Tavern looks quite underwhelming in comparison to its sister venue. I had my expectations low more and expected fairly pedestrian bar food.

I was pleasantly surprised to see the Tavern was rather nice inside and the packed house was a sign that the food must be good. Things were looking up! We had made reservations, luckily, and avoided the long line to get a table. We were sat right by where the band was to set up later, and we had great seats.
The menu was far more extensive and upscale than I imagined. Food ranging from pizza, flatbreads, panini’s, burgers, pasta and salads.

Our first waitress was friendly, but she left for the night so we got a second waitress to take our table over. She was sassy and really funny. We had a lot of fun with her waiting on us. Super nice, and you could tell just happy to be there. So refreshing.

We started our night with some drinks. Omar and I chose the Milk Shake Stout. It was so cold, so good and just hit the spot. I know we have reviewed Milk Shake Stout before, but in case you want the specifics again: brewed by Rochester Mills, it is brewed with a proprietary blend of 7 malts, has a very low hop level creating a deep dark beer featuring rich, sweet roasted flavors of coffee, chocolate, caramel and vanilla. 5.0% apv.

Erich got a Moscow Mule and asked that I let you all know that the drinks were really good. They were not shy with the Tito’s!

I had a second *gasp* cheat day this week, and I justified as Friday I had a cheat meal rather than a cheat DAY, and I did have a good workout, so I opted for the Tavern Nachos. I had just been craving nachos and they sounded so good! I must say, they were delicious! Made with a a homemade queso, which I typically do not like, it was cheesy and flavorful. The guacamole was spot on, rich, creamy, with tomatoes and cilantro. The jalapenos offered just the right amount of heat, and the chicken was still moist and tasty. As usual, I was only able to tackle about half of the, but they were quite satisfying.

Omar, being good and trying to stay healthier, opted for the antipasto salad. The salad was fresh, with ample meats and cheeses. Served with a nice french roll. Pam ordered the Cobb Salad, and also was fresh, with fresh avocado, crispy bacon and plenty of toppings.

Erich ordered the whitefish reuben, which he was a bit disappointed it was served fried. He assumed grilled, but we didn’t clarify and that was totally on us. The sandwich was grilled on nice french bread, and served with obvious homemade potato chips. Crispy and salty with the right amount of “overdoneness”.

We hung out talking and catching up, waiting for the 2 piece band to start. I was glad the band was acoustic, which would allow us to continue our conversation. The band, Aspersions, was a two-piece band, drums and acoustic guitar, playing classic tunes from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. They were really good and were dynamo’s, playing song after song, without even a small break in between. Classic songs including the Beatles, The Monkees, some Motown, Chicago, Guess, Who and the Lovin’ Spoonful. A huge repertoire of tunes. A really nice surprise. Although we only caught the first set, it was a great show.

While we watched the band, the boys ordered their “desert” second dinner. Wanting a “snack” while watching the band, they ordered the Tuscan Flatbread, while was just piled high with chicken, artichoke, spinach, tomato, mushroom and feta. Besides the mushrooms, it looked fantastic, but after my nacho endeavor there was no way I could even try a bite. The rest of the table said the flatbread was amazing, and I had to agree it sure looked like it. This place does NOT skimp on ingredients, that’s for sure.

This place was a true hidden gem. Great food, great staff, great music. We will definitely go again, even if it is a bit of a hike. Our only regret is that it is not closer! They even have trivia on Monday nights! Take a trip out to the Tavern at Tina’s Country House. Check out their website and see if the Aspersions are playing – you will be guaranteed a great night.

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?