As far as impulse buys go, it's hard to beat the Louisiana Purchase. That massive 19th-century land acquisition essentially doubled the size of the United States, but more importantly it paved the way for restaurants such as Belleville's Bayou Grill. Nearly everything at this Cajun haven smacks of New Orleans, from the party beads at the hostess stand to the gargantuan alligator parked on the roof. But the food is what really stands out here. The Cajun- and creole-inspired menu features everything from baked seafood platters to spicy jambalaya. French, Italian, and Spanish influences are easy to pick out, unlike the string of beads you might accidentally drop into a bowl of piping hot gumbo.
The first issue of Sporting News hit newspaper stands way back in 1886, catalyzing the start of an iconic publication—often referred to as the “Bible of Baseball”—that still survives today. Sports fans in Detroit have more than just a magazine to associate the name “Sporting News” with; Sporting News Grill, a little spot in Romulus that serves up classic American food. A sports-bar meets family-friendly restaurant, the spot honors its namesake with constant television coverage of all sports games and competitive knitting tournaments. Myriad HD flatscreens encircle the bar, where patrons can nosh on buffalo wings, beer-battered jalapeños, and onion rings with any one of the rotating 32 draft beers on tap. Groups can also enjoy a more laid back spot in the main dining room outfitted with cushy booths, perfect for enjoying classic reuben sandwiches, burgers, NY strip streaks, and even a daily served breakfast of blueberry pancakes and veggie skillets.
Capitol Bistro & Bar serves up traditional bar food, often with an international twist. Take, for example, signature capitol steak tips or the swordfish fillet in a sweet-and-sour spicy glaze, served over rice, squash, and carrots. More conventional American entrees include grilled rib eye and the pretzel burger, which tops Angus beef with Dearborn ham, american cheese, and saut?ed onions on a pretzel bun. Diners can grab a table on the fenced-in patio out front or take a seat at the U-shaped bar, where two TVs broadcast sports.
Wild Coney & Grill serves up American diner staples with a Mediterranean twist, sliding diners a menu full of hot dogs, gyros, and burgers. Coney Island dogs ($1.95) arrive doused in traditional chili, mustard, and onion toppings, and buns and firmly gripped fingers struggle to contain the seasoned ground beef and the laissez-faire political leanings of the loose burger ($2.25). The gyros supreme meal ($7.75) pairs pita-enveloped lean lamb and cucumber sauce with a fresh, vegetable-rich mini Greek salad and fries. The restaurant serves hearty breakfasts all day, bearing heavy platters of the Wild breakfast special ($5.75), weighted with three large eggs, two slices of bacon, sausage, one slice of ham, and an astronaut-collected cube of jellied sun.
Pump It Up knows it's all fun and games until somebody gets hurt, so they skip the last part. Each piece of the indoor inflatable playground is held to the wall by a complex series of anchors installed according to strict safety standards. The staffers' watchful eyes take care of the rest. Sock-clad striplings are then free to safely launch themselves into the air with a plethora of kid-friendly bounce pads. Adult counterparts can leap alongside their offspring through gargantuan bounce houses, skip down air-filled slides, or slither like snakes covered in bacon grease through an inflated obstacle course. Occasionally, the lights get switched off, and the roomful of players navigate the air-cushioned obstaclescape with glow sticks and bracelets.
The colorful venue also hosts custom birthday parties and private team parties, each themed to please the partygoers in question. These soirees immerse children in a schedule of interactive activities befitting a pirate or a superhero that melt off youthful energy faster than ice cubes tossed into a running DVD player. At the climax, the birthday boy or girl gets to blow out the candles on their cake while seated on a blow-up throne.
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.