Though he couldn't have known it at the time, Adam Caldwell arranged what arguably could be considered one of the most successful first dates in modern history. He not only ended up marrying his date, Danna, but also had such a memorable time with her in the frozen-yogurt shop that the two of them were eventually inspired to start their own. They opened Menchie's Frozen Yogurt in California in 2007, and within just a few years, found themselves with a family of hundreds of thriving stores sprinkled all around the world.
As the Menchie's brand grew, Adam and Danna kept a simple mission in mind: to make their customers smile. An adorable cast of animated characters is featured throughout the stores, including on the colorful spoons, and customers can have fun creating endless frozen-yogurt combinations. There are almost 150 rotating yogurt flavors, and the selection includes eight versions of vanilla. Of course, there are plenty of toppings as well, displayed in help-yourself bins filled with fresh fruit, nuts, cereal, and candy.
The yogurt is made from fresh milk from a Canadian dairy, and it is free of the artificial growth hormone rSBT. All the yogurt is kosher, and certain flavors accommodate vegan and gluten-free diets.
In a 1930s-era walk-in vault that once guarded diamonds, The City Grill now stores ruby-hued merlots and cabernet sauvignons. The vault is a relic of McCreery’s Diamond Store, whose art-deco aesthetic has been revived by The City Grill, setting the perfect backdrop for feasts of upscale culinary creations.
The restaurant’s carefully designed atmosphere relies on illuminated globes, exposed brick, and black-and-white photomurals depicting the days in Windsor’s past when even robots had to get around by horse-drawn carriages. A spacious patio invites guests to soak in the fresh air and sip libations that range from Chilean syrahs to signature dessert drinks such as an espresso martini.
The drinks pair with globally inspired food dreamt up by Executive Chef Shawn McKerness, who previously captained the seafaring kitchens of the luxurious Holland America Line cruises. McKerness combines fresh ingredients from local sources for a menu of contemporary food that, like the moon’s wardrobe, changes seasonally. Diners might slice into a horseradish-encrusted tenderloin, Maui-style ahi tuna, or red snapper lounging under exotic fruit salsa.
Each Saturday, live musicians play celtic songs on Kilt & Fiddle's stage, while patrons sip dark stouts capped in perfect heads of creamy white. Exposed brick walls, decorative instruments, and Irish-inspired decor surround the performance space and the aptly named Guinness Room. In these ways, Kilt & Fiddle brings a little bit of Ireland to downtown Windsor—with a few breaks from tradition, like when Pop Rock Saturday defies the the celtic ambiance with live rock bands and green-apple martinis.
Regardless of the occasion, diners can always find flavors of the Emerald Isle at the bar. Taps fill pints to the brim with Guinness Stout and Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale, which pair well with one of the kitchen's signature burgers. Swiss cheese, corned beef, sauerkraut, and thousand-island dressing crown the Irish Burger's 8-ounce patty. The Red Pepper Burger, meanwhile, comes with the option for gravy, just like everything in life. Rounding out the menu are fresh sliced corned-beef sandwiches, pierogies, and Belfast Boxty, a classic Irish dish of savory potato pancakes and various toppings.
If Bubi’s Awesome Eats were a planet, Bubi sauce would be its sun. Nearly every dish on the menu dons generous dollops of the garlicky housemade condiment. Chefs serve it with sweet-potato fries, drizzle it on wraps, and slather it on hamburger buns. The sauce’s coveted, taste-bud-wooing recipe is one of the reasons Bubi’s Awesome Eats earned screen time on the Food Network's You Gotta Eat Here! in 2012.
Bubi’s chefs continue the theme of made-from-scratch cooking throughout their menu, which includes tenderized chicken breast that they marinate in milk and eggs, bake with housemade garlic butter, and then deep-fry to a crisp. They also hand shape hamburger patties before accessorizing them with off-the-wall ingredients such as almond pesto and gravy. Diners in search of a burger large enough to dress in baby clothes can behold Bubi’s 8-pound Big V8 burger. If they can eat the entire burger in one sitting, they not only win bragging rights, but also $1,000. Be warned: not even Canada’s tallest man could finish it.
When Chef Luciano Verardi was a teenager he traveled through Europe, less on a soul-searching quest than on a mission to discover new flavours. That voyage resulted in the collection of ever-evolving recipes that fill Da Luciano Trattoria’s menu and pay homage to Old-World traditions. His dishes combine time-tested techniques with updated presentations—he and his staff hand make their ravioli, for instance, serving the pasta in a sauce of mushrooms, peas, cream, and tomato for the signature ravioli Luciano. Marsala wine, meanwhile, flavours tender cuts of veal, and calamari comes one of three ways: fried, spicy, or grilled. To reanimate an Italian favourite, 15 types of specialty pizzas bake in a wood-fired oven—the classic precursor to today's phonebook-fired oven. Mozzarella and chili peppers dapple the Sicilian pizza, whereas the Pescatore wears the decoration of seafood. The chefs also whip up more obscure Italian delicacies, such as Calabrese-style tripe and quaglie alferri—grilled quail.
Though he's continued to refine his culinary skills for more than 20 years, Chef Enzo's mastery of Italian food was cemented at age 26, when he opened his first restaurant, Tutto Ristorante. Today, using locally sourced ingredients, he pushes his innovation of Italian cuisine even further at Enzo's Trattoria. Instead of supplying signature pastas, he gives diners a choice of 11 noodles—gnocchi, gluten-free penne, and whole-wheat spaghetti among them––and 14 sauces, including vodka sauce and housemade meat sauce.
More housemade elements grace Chef Enzo's grilled paninis, which he fills with housemade sausage and meatballs. His other meaty mains include veal scallopini topped with white-wine tomato pesto sauce and prosciutto and chicken breast sautéed in wild-mushroom blush sauce, named for how embarrassed chefs get seeing mushrooms go wild. Available by the glass and bottle, wines from Australia, Italy, and Canada complement meals, which unfold in a lantern-lit dining area where guests feast beneath brick archways and among painting-lined walls.
Detroit’s urban-farming organizations believe in treating the city as an ecosystem, nurturing the bond between community gardens, downtown Detroit restaurants, and residents. By supporting the development of agriculture in blighted areas, these groups hope to create jobs and deepen individuals’ connections to the foods they eat.
Here’s a look at five urban-farming organizations and some of the restaurants that support their causes.
ACREIn a nutshell: The farm harvests more than 30 kinds of fruits and vegetables, specializing in growing rare heirloom varieties such as the cosmic purple carrot and the moon and stars watermelon.Restaurant partner: Astro Coffee uses some of ACRE’s organic produce to make its baked goods and sandwiches whenever possible.
In a nutshell: This 2-acre organic farm in Rouge Park was founded by the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network and grows crops including kale and tomatoes.Restaurant partner: In addition to buying D-Town Farm’s produce, Colors–Detroit supports the farm’s mission of empowerment by hiring unemployed community residents, providing valuable restaurant job training and work experience.Food FieldIn a nutshell: Situated on the site of the abandoned Peck Elementary School, the 4-acre Food Field features rows of sprouting vegetables, a fruit orchard, more than 50 egg-laying hens, honeybees, and a pond stocked with catfish and bluegill.Restaurant partner: Brooklyn Street Local supports its community while creating the smallest possible environmental footprint. To accomplish both goals, chefs use ingredients from urban farms, including Food Field, when preparing poutine, vegan breakfast scrambles, and other healthy comfort foods.Green Toe GardensIn a nutshell: Green Toe Gardens has created 100 beehives in urban farms, community gardens, and yards across the city and the inner-ring suburbs. Neighbors learn to harvest pure, raw honey and beeswax.Restaurant partner: The unpretentious diner-style menu at Rose’s Fine Food distinguishes itself by spotlighting ingredients from local producers and urban farms such as Green Toe Gardens.RecoveryPark FarmsIn a nutshell: RecoveryPark Farms transforms blighted areas into urban farmland. The ultimate goal is to create permanent jobs while supplying local restaurants with farm-fresh produce and helping residents become even more invested in their neighborhoods.Restaurant partner: Local flavors matter at Selden Standard. Just like at many of the best restaurants in Detroit, menus change regularly as chefs discover new and exciting ingredients from nearby farmers, ranchers, and artisans.Photo: IMG_1311.JPG by mercedesfromtheeighties under CC BY-SA 2.0.