Strangely situated in the middle of West Bloomfield, Michigan is one very authentic Chinese restaurant. It’s called Shangri-La and has the endorsement of not one, but two Chinese/Taiwanese people I know that have been there. It also has the endorsement of all the other people that show up on the weekends for their dim sum.
Once upon a time, Paul Revere rode through the streets of Boston, warning all patriots by shouting, “The redcoats are coming!” These redcoats, of course, were the British soldiers and the Americans knew that danger was coming. But when Redcoat Tavern came to West Bloomfield, Michigan, the people did not sense danger. No, they embraced it. That’s because the original Redcoat Tavern in Royal Oak had been serving up some of the most delicious food in metro Detroit for years. Yet, while I embraced the branching out of Redcoat Tavern, like the Founding Fathers, I also prepared to do battle against its famous burger.
For some brunch before my annual photo shoot with my grandparents, we headed to Zoe’s House of Pancakes in West Bloomfield, Michigan. Zoe’s didn’t exist before I moved out west, so going here wasn’t exactly a trip down memory lane, but I was glad to see a new business doing pretty well. Even on a Monday for brunch, they had a pretty good number of people, so I assumed they would have some pretty great food. I took a look at the menu and found some of the most inspiring breakfast food I’ve seen in a long time, with everything hovering around the $5 price range. They had tons of different pancake varieties, including one enticing option called the Fruit Explosion. Despite pancakes being the namesake of the place, my eyes drifted to the waffles section.
The phenomenon of the Coney Island is one of the greatest aspects of eating out in the Detroit area in Michigan. Completely unrelated to the actual Coney Island in New York, these restaurants are a result of the mixing of Greek and American foods, with the addition of the famous Coney Dog. Everyone has their favorite Coney Island, and sometimes the favorite one is just around the corner. I grew up with Farmington Coney Island half a mile away and would go at least once a week.
The Stage Deli of West Bloomfield seems a bit out of place. Sandwiches are named after Broadway shows and aside from the one picture of Eminem, everything reeks of New York. Nonetheless, The Stage Deli is a staple Jewish deli in West Bloomfield Township. Rather than limiting themselves to sandwiches named for classic shows and actors, The Stage has modernized itself by throwing in such shows as Mama Mia and even movies like Casino Royale.
While in Michigan, one restaurant I had to visit was Olga’s Kitchen in West Bloomfield. The local chain has been around forever and has never attempted to veer away from the core factor that makes the restaurant a success. This core factor is Olga Bread and it is no ordinary bread. The closest thing it can be compared to is Greek pita, but to simply call it Greek pita would be an injustice. It is buttery and crispy and multiple levels of delicious. Olga’s uses it to make their sandwiches and as a side for their salads, but by far the best use of Olga Bread is in Olga’s Snackers.
Of all the great delis in Metro Detroit, Deli Unique in West Bloomfield has always been the deli of choice for my family. This is due, in no small part, to their delicious corned beef. They have a pretty big menu, but it’s the corned beef that keeps us coming back.
As always, I made sure to get a corned beef sandwich with simply beef and rye bread. Rather than get regular corned beef, though, I like to get it lean at Deli Unique. I’m not sure what they do there that is different from everywhere else, but when you get lean corned beef at Deli Unique, there is no loss of taste or increase in dryness that usual results from a loss of fat. Because of this, I really have no need for condiments on this sandwich. I also have no need for vegetables, which would ruin the experience entirely.