A couple of weeks ago, I flew up to Detroit for a former roommate’s wedding. I’ll admit, Detroit in November did not sound super appealing. Maybe if it was going to be warmer, and perhaps if my flight wasn’t set to take off out of La Guardia, which had been a lake only a few days prior due to Hurricane Sandy. However I have to say after getting there, Detroit is a pretty cool city. We were only there for the weekend, but I have to say we hit several highlights and, of course, several tasty spots along the way.
Friday night, our flight got in late and we scrapped plans to head to downtown Detroit in favor of just grabbing a bite nearby our hotel in Dearborn. We learned that dinner at almost 11pm wasn’t super easy to find in Detroit. We finally came across Buddy’s and when it was open, it was our winner. Unbeknownst to us, Buddy’s is on all sorts of lists of best pizza in the US, so I’m glad we found our way there. The pizza was square and deep dish style. The sauce was a tad smoky, toppings plentiful (I have no idea as to how many jalapenos were sacrified for my pizza – so so many), and crust slightly crispy. Chicago deep dish isn’t my favorite – it’s just too heavy for me. For me, this landed somewhere between New York hand-tossed and deep dish and ended up with a deep dish I can do! Yes! Only a shame this isn’t available closer to the Big Apple.
I scheduled plans on Saturday morning around my friend N’s availability. She’s always coming into town and we head out to fun restaurants all over Manhattan. Getting to try some of her Detroit faves was a priority for me. We met her bright and early for breakfast at Cafe Muse located in Royal Oak. The area had a cute downtown feel to it, lined with restaurants, boutiques, and thrift shops. The restaurant itself was super cute and the menu was filled with so many options I wanted that I was bummed at the get go that I wasn’t going to be able to go back and try more!
I finally settled on their “carrot cake” pancakes with raisins, orange, ginger and spices off of their specials menu. When it arrived, it was definitely different than any other pancakes I have had. The pancakes weren’t super sweet – almost similar to a texture of buckwheat though slightly lighter. I opted to add in the maple syrup to add a bit more sweetness. Quite good though. If you are a fan of carrot cake, you will love this one. My only change might have been to add in a bit of cream cheese to spread in place of butter (since cream cheese and carrot cake are so closely linked).
Knowing me, N insisted on us getting a side order of their seafood cheddar grits made with crabmeat and scented with lobster. I was curious to try these since I have pretty strong feelings about when grits and seafood collide. Sometimes the seafood is too overwhelming for me and I’m not a fan. I liked the fact that they made the lobster such a subtle element, and the crabmeat was also not overpowering at all – even softer of an addition than shrimp tends to be. The dish was overwhelmingly cheesy, which made it amazing in my book.
Another excellent selection was their bacon waffle, which similar to a Prospect Heights fave of mine (Woodwork) also put bacon pieces in the batter itself. The brilliance here is one part time saver (no need to eat bacon and waffle separately = genius!) and one part flavor boost (you get that smokey bacon goodness in each and every bite). Served with a maple butter and maple syrup, this one is another menu standout.
And no trip to another city would be complete without trying the local cupcake standout – which for Detroit, I learned was Taste Love Cupcakes of Cupcake Wars fame. I was greeted at breakfast by a selection of 4 cupcakes from Taste Love – red velvet, sweet potato, buckeye bliss, and chocolate salted caramel. The sweet potato won for originality for me. Not too sweet and with icing bordering on cream cheese but still light and fluffy, it was a perfect fall treat. The red velvet was a close second and I have to say it was the best red velvet I’ve ever had. The cake was very moist and the cream cheese was especially flavorful. I really liked the chocolate salted caramel as well, though I wished they hadn’t included the super salty filling at the center. Ended up being a bit too much salt for my taste. The Buckeye was a fun play on a buckeye, even containing one at the center. Super chocolate-y option!
N also sent me back with some brown butter shortbread from Pinwheel Bakery. It was rich and flavorful. I don’t think I want to know how much butter went into these guys – they were some of the most buttery baked goods I’ve ever had, but so good. I think it’s what helped to keep them slightly less crumbly than shortbread tends to be, and the brown butter was a nice way to add a bit more flavor to the shortbread. Another great find!
And seeing as I actually didn’t go to Detroit just to eat… I feel it’s appropriate to end with some photos from the wedding. Big congrats to Sarah and John!