Transylvania, Romania, may be Dracula's hometown, but it's also the hometown of something much sweeter?chimney cakes. The cylindrical cakes, which were originally baked on hot coals by the area's Hungarian residents, look a little like ribbon wrapped around a spool. To make them, bakers roll special dough by hand into an even strip, and then wrap the dough around a wooden or steel cooking roll. Next, they coat the dough in sugar and bake it. The result is a fully, soft inside and a crispy outside that is quickly coated in sweet toppings while it's still hot.
They used to be made only for special occasions in Romania and Hungary, but they've become quite popular and are slowly spreading across the world. In 1985, when the Chimney Cake Caf? opened, they officially touched down in Ann Arbor.
In the decades since then, the cafe team has added flair to the traditional pastry. They've started stuffing savory, garlic-and-cheese-covered chimney cakes with fillings such as chicken and feta cheese, and they've improved upon hot coals as their cooking method, upgrading to modern ovens and lasers. They also specialize in chicken and lamb shawarma. However, they still create the popular sweet cakes coated with such toppings as Nutella, Oreos, and coconut.
After Somali militias destroyed the Hassan family's perfume store, they decided to push through their poor luck and open a restaurant. This was no easy task: Because the streets of Mogadishu weren't safe for women, sisters Amina and Hawa Hassan would do the cooking, then send food to the restaurant in the morning. Unable to make sandwiches fresh, they put a Somali slant on the calzone, which a customer named the “min.” The name translates to “bomb” in the Somali language, in honor of the item’s heft and powerful flavor.
Since moving to the United States in 1996, things have become easier for Amina and Hawa. Samosa House bustles with people who chat over the calzone-style minato with ground beef and fresh veggies. The menu centers on Somali dishes, which blend culinary influences from India, the Middle East, and Italy, but also includes less traditional vegetarian and chicken options. After polishing off a steaming curry, diners congratulate Amina on her reputation as a star samosa maker for local fundraisers.
Blossoming from the original Pennywise, established in 1969, Expresso Car Wash now shoos dirt form begrimed automobiles at six convenient lube-and-detail facilities. Upholding a focus on swift service, mechanics perform quick 10-minute oil changes, towel off 12-minute full details, and scrub cloths on their eight-minute abs. As environmental stewards, the detailing staff carts off all used water to a water-treatment facility and uses fewer chemicals than home washings tend to.
Each vehicle's aesthetic and under-the-hood beauty gets continual boosts with additional services, including air-conditioner and timing-belt repair and transmission flushes. When they are not pampering autos, the Expresso staff lends philanthropic support to nonprofits, including local schools, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and teenage cars saving up for a new driver.
Crepes and coffee have long gone hand-in-hand, but Sky Crepe Dearborn takes the delicious combination one step further by also throwing frozen yogurt, burgers, flatbreads, and salads into the mix. Chefs create sweet and savory crepes with toppings ranging from fresh berries and cream to smoked salmon with arugula and capers, and top burgers with extras like crispy onion straws and pepper jack cheese. Meanwhile, at the coffee counter, staff whip up frozen concoctions like caramel frappes or hot mugs of espresso and chai tea. But the sweetest treats of all are the shop's specialty frozen yogurt sundaes. Topping combinations vary, but favorites include the Coffee Lover, a mixture of espresso yogurt, Heath bar chunks, caramel, and hot fudge, and the Peanut Butter Panic, a helping of vanilla yogurt served with peanut butter sauce, Reese's Peanut Butter cups, hot fudge, and a paper bag to breathe into if the excitement gets to be too much.
Paradise Cafe & Lounge is the kind of place you can hang out for hours. And it is not just because it'll take that long to choose which craft beer to pair with bar snacks such as White Castle sliders and the beer sponge?a pretzel stuffed with jalape?o cheese. It's because there's always something going on. It could be the game on TV, local bands and solo acts, a Monday open mic, Tuesday karaoke, or a Friday comedy show. For those looking for more interactive activities or a very tiny thimble, the bar also has a large selection of board games.
Though inspired by the northern California caf?s of the early 1980s, Espresso Royale fits right in with Michigan?s modern coffee drinkers?in 2014 readers of The Michigan Daily voted it Best Coffee Shop for the fifth year in a row. Their coffees include a house blend developed in 1987, which has since been joined by a seasonally appropriate autumn spice blend and a southern Italian-style espresso called Napoli. Royale's customers also clamor to the counter for favorites such as raspberry mochas, mint hot chocolates, and ginger dragon, a tea layered with fresh lemon and steeped ginger root that can be served iced or heated by a dragon named Ginger.