Monday, 28 November 2011

Thanksgiving Break 2011, Part I: Detroit

Just when I thought I was all caught up with my blog posts, a string of foodie opportunities seems to good to pass up. Alas, with the holiday season officially now underway following Thanksgiving, I find myself in need of having to get everything in line before December and the cooking month approaches. I begin, then, with my foodie experiences, relegated in large part to the eating (definitely nothing wrong with that!), in Detroit.


On Wednesday morning, I headed to my high school in Detroit to say hello to my colleagues in the Development Department, one of few that were still open and running during the holiday. For lunch, my seasonal supervisor took me out to lunch in the next door city of Ferndale; the location: Anita's Kitchen, apparently a department favourite. Specialising in Lebanese cuisine, the executive contemporary style of the restaurant played off very well in not only ambiance but in the whimsy of the dining experience. Each of us ordered from the lunch special menu a chicken/beef shawarma combo, and what arrived was a colourful plate that resulted in a mini build-your-own pita bar. Beautifully seasoned--though not necessarily consistently moist--the proteins were in need of the accompanying sauce, but worked very well with the richness of the hommus and fresh taste of the tabbouleh. Of the entire plate, however, I found the rice pilaf to be my single favourite component of the plate; and as a side note: the chicken is not as dry as the beef, though the beef has a tastier flavour.

Following the visit, I headed back home to gather my things and meet up with the rest of my family; later that afternoon, we drove to downtown Detroit, the site of America's Thanksgiving Parade. The following day, we would be attending the parade for our first time, a parade which we had only before watched on television. Apparently there was a hotel/bleacher ticket package available and so the plan was to spend the night in a nearby hotel and walk to the reserved seating site early in the morning. In addition, the hotel we were staying at offered a cookie decorating session the evening of our arrival which we naturally just had to be a part of. Decked out with royal icing and paint brushes, cups of sprinkles and nonpareils, and colourful sanding sugars, the tables offered much room for creativity in decorating the basic sugar cookies provided  to us.

After our creations were finished, we entered the cool, fall weather and walked around downtown Detroit in search of the bleachers we would be at in the morning, as well as a restaurant to go to for dinner. Along the way, I noticed Detroit lit up with lights and people all seemingly proud and excited to be a part of this atmosphere. Still full of Midwest charm, this revitalised Detroit in the context of that evening felt just as grand as any other major city.

Eventually, we settled on Tom's Oyster Bar which I found as recently as this blog post is a local, Southeastern Michigan restaurant. I did cautiously approach this Detroit location, as my previous dining experience at the Royal Oak location was far from memorable; I am very happy to report a positive experience here. I began my particular meal with one of their specials for the evening, "hot" hot chocolate: Godiva liqueur, espresso liqueur, cocoa, and a pinch (though one might as well have said "punch") of cayenne. Incredibly warming while extremely spicy, this hot chocolate will definitely wake up your palate. If you are fortunate to visit Tom's this holiday season and you get this drink, be sure to ask for whipped cream to muddle the heat index just a touch.

For my main course, I ordered the small portion of the Maple-Glazed North Atlantic Salmon. Wonderfully cooked with a caramelised sear, the salmon was flaky and delicious and worked well with the rice pilaf that accompanied it. My one qualm was with the vegetables which tasted halfway between blanched and al dente. Nevertheless, at least it seemed to convey the sense of freshness of the dish. Also receiving positive reviews were the seafood chowder, the bistro steak sandwich, the housemade salmon burger, and the seafood sampler; view the Detroit menu here.

The next day, thermoses (provided by our hotel) on hand, we walked in chilly weather to our reserved location. Again, the pride of Detroit was evident throughout the parade, as well as the annual Turkey Trot which began prior to the start of the parade. Speaking of "start," while the parade was undoubtedly an experience to behold live, I would have preferred it to have been a bit warmer given the long delay in getting the parade moving. To check out the entire Detroit album, including photos from the Thanksgiving parade, click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment