One of the greatest regrets of my life is failing to capture a better picture at lunch at Little Daddy’s. You see, Little Daddy’s is a Greek-style diner in Southfield, Michigan, with locations in Taylor and Bloomfield Hills as well. It’s kind of like a Coney Island, but more Greek, which means they serve up saganaki. Saganaki is not a misspelling of the Japanese city of Nagasaki. No, it is a flaming cheese.
Growing up in the Detroit area, it was pretty easy to take Greek food for granted. There is literally a Greektown in Detroit and Greek food can be found in every suburb. LA, however, is not so fortunate in this Mediterranean fare. Thus, I was pretty excited when I was invited out to the Good Greek Grill‘s new location in Hollywood for a free sampling of their food.
As a man from the Detroit area, I was pretty spoiled by Greek food growing up. Thus, I am pretty skeptical when I encounter the stuff anywhere else, especially in Midtown Manhattan, which is not exactly known for good food. Nonetheless, my brother-in-law recommended stopping in to Souvlaki GR and I joined to find essentially the smallest Greek restaurant in history with enough charm to get my hopes up.
In a land where they pronounce gyros like the beginning of gyroscope, a friend of mine never shuts up about the greatness of the gyros at a place called The Greek Gourmet in Squirrel Hill. The Greek Gourmet, by the way, is more of a quickie Greek market than a restaurant, seeing as it only seems to serve gyros alongside its packaged hummus, tzatziki, pita and whatever else you may expect from a Greek grocer.
Downtown Pittsburgh might have some shiny new restaurants, there are still some spots that remind me of my native Detroit. One of these is Mike & Tony’s Gyros, a Greek place that has American favorites like burgers as well. As we stumbled our way to a Pirates game, this seemed like the best place to stop and grab some much-needed food. We were met by a griddle, spools of meat and smiling faces that told us of an $8 special including a gyro (painfully pronounced like gyroscope), fries and a drink.
Faced with the undesirable need to stay in Johannesburg for a night, my lady and I stayed at a place Emperor’s Palace nicknamed “The Vegas of Africa.” We weren’t interested in the gambling aspect, but we were happy about the fully-enclosed nature of the place in a city we had heard could be treacherous. As for the Las Vegas part, our hotel was a part of a large complex of hotels and there was a single Caesar’s Palace-esque casino in the middle of it all. It’s replete with a fountain, partly-cloudy skies painted on the ceiling, shopping and a variety of restaurants. Except that it’s tiny. Like slightly bigger than an average mall food court. Nonetheless, it has the look down and had some good-looking restaurants.
Sometimes the best way to find out about a new restaurant it to simply see it and decide you want to try it out. No research, no recommendation. That’s how I ended up at Firehouse Restaurant in Tarzana, a Greek place whose sign stating “GYRO” dwarfs the sign with the actual name of the restaurant. Being from Michigan, I have a pretty strong opinion about Greek food and I was more than a little worried that I was going to leave disappointed.
While wandering the Hermosa Pier in search for some sort of food to eat, the girlfriend and I discovered a place called Mediterraneo. It seemed like one of the few places on the pier that would be a better restaurant than a bar, so we decided to check it out. While the name implies Greek food, we were surprised to find that this wasn’t some simple gyro and pita place (although that wouldn’t necessarily have been a bad thing). Instead, we found that they were a tapas place that didn’t limit itself to the Spanish style. In addition to Spanish, there was also a nice Greek influence that could be found in menu items like hummus, beets and feta cheese.
In North Hollywood there is a deli unlike any I had ever seen before. Rather than being filled with cold cuts, pastrami or Italian sandwiches, this deli has food with more of a Greek and Armenian flair. It is called Noosh Deli and although not the usual deli, I figured it had to be worth a try. Scanning the menu, I decided any Greek place had to have some good gyros, so I ordered their Beef Gyro Sandwich (with fries and a drink for 6.99). It came with lettuce, tomato, onion and yogurt sauce. I ordered without the veggies and waited 7 or 8 minutes until the sandwich was prepped and ready to go.
With nearly every visit back to Michigan (time permitting), there is a requisite stop at a Coney Island. You can’t drive more than a few miles in the metro Detroit area without hitting a Coney, and I’m pretty sure they are all awesome. My go-to Coney growing up was Leo’s, but sometimes convenience outweighs loyalty. So last time I was back in the homeland, we went to Lulu’s Coney Island in Walled Lake.