Vinsetta Garage

Located on Woodward, in Berkley, this garage turned restaurant prides itself on being the oldest car shop this side of the Mississippi River. I describe it as retro repair shop meets old school diner with a hipster feel. The menu consists of burgers, pies, pasta and some unique treats. The bad thing: Long wait times. The good thing: Once we did get a table, our service was great. Some things are just worth waiting for.

Here’s how they scored:

Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites

Price: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Service: 3 out of 5 bites (wait time)

Wow Factor: 4 out of 5 bites

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Josh went with a “Build Your Own” pasta bowl.

Coal fired chicken penne pasta with bacon pecorino cream sauce, house-smoked cheddar cheese, caramelized onions, roasted red pepper, and spicy fried onions. The spicy fried onions were my favorite; they reminded of chopped fried onion straws with some heat. I honestly think any pasta bowl you ordered would be delicious, but we couldn’t stop eating this one. Creamy, cheesy, light, yet rich.

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I chose the Loaded Potato Pie

Redskin potatoes, house-smoked cheddar, cheese blend, garlic butter, shiitake bacon, chives, sour cream side. The crust was crispy and chewy and the pie was that perfect combo of potato and cheese. I just wish the potatoes were a little bit crispier because they were just barely done. The coolness of the sour cream was nice, but I don’t know about you, but with pizza, I prefer ranch dressing. You could imagine my disappointment when our server informed me that they didn’t have ranch. The pizza was a little on the dry side without any sauce so I just added Cholula Hot Sauce.

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The Wow Factor: Shitake Bacon. I ordered this on the side, since Josh doesn’t like mushrooms. If you don’t either, don’t worry. This topping tasted more like Rainbow Better Made Chips (ya know, the delicious burnt chips that are like gold). They were a little on the salty side, though.

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Faygo Rock & Rye Milkshake with Pop Rocks: Whaaaaaat?! Yes, I said it. It was amazing, delicious, and local. There’s something nostalgic about your favorite soda made into a milkshake. Who doesn’t like Pop Rocks exploding with each sip as well? I forgot how fun they were.

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When you leave a restaurant feeling like a kid again, that’s a good sign. Vinsetta Garage is serving some great grub with their unique brand stamped all over it. Parking is a little tricky, but they do have valet available. I’ve only tried to get a seat during dinner hours, so try lunch and see if the wait is any better. Get there soon and experience Vinsetta Garage.

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Hop Sheing Noodle House

Ma and I finally made it in to Hop Sheing Noodle House. Located on Fort St. in Lincoln Park, MI, this new local addition opened about a week ago. With nothing like this restaurant in the area, the noodle house has a competitive advantage.

Atmosphere: 3 out of 5 bites

Price: 3 out of 5 bites

Service/Quality: 4 out of 5 bites

Taste: 3 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 2 out of 5 bites

 

How the order sheet works:

1. You choose your style of noodles

2. You choose your meat

3. You choose your veggies

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Since I never had bubble tea, that’s what I started with

Green Tea Bubble Tea: also known as “pearl milk tea” is a drink invented in tea shops in Taiwan in the 1980’s. The creamy green tea flavor was nice. The tapioca pearls in the tea were like flavorless gummy balls. I honestly don’t see what all the craze is about. I personally don’t want to drink gummy balls when having tea. Kudos for something different though.

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After we ordered, our server brought those delicious crunchy soup noodles sprinkled with sugar. They were delicious!

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Udon: Classic Japanese style wheat noodles with clear broth, meat, and veggies. The chicken was tender and the veggies were fresh. The broth didn’t have much flavor and the bowl reminded me of a hearty chicken noodle soup.

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Hong Kong: Egg noodles quick fried with a red pepper oil. I got mine with Chicken. This dish took me back to my high school days of spicy veggie Low Mein @ Cathay House also in Lincoln Park. Good flavor with some heat. Lots of veggies and big chunks of chicken breast.

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I liked that the decor was fresh and there wasn’t an overwhelming red hue that normally floods Oriental or Asian restaurants. Our server did a good job explaining the menu and checked on us frequently. The owner cashed us out, was very friendly and even checked on us during our meal. The only thing I was missing was fortune cookies delivered along with the bill. I always look forward to these and was disappointed they didn’t come. Wink, Wink. I’m looking forward to seeing how Hop Sheing Noodle House does in 2014. Stop in and show them some love!

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Hop Sheing Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Hot Chocolate

I had a bad case of the Monday’s today and wanted to wind down with a nice cup of Swiss Miss Hot Chocolate. Good thing my awesome significant other got me a lovely hot chocolate set for the holidays. 

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All the flavors are delicious, but my favorite is the Caramel Cream. The Dark Chocolate comes up in 2nd place. There’s something about hot chocolate that just takes me back to my childhood. It’s the best. 

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Rice Bowl Asian Kitchen

If you work in Downtown Detroit like I do, you will happy to know that you can get Asian food delivered for lunch. Rice Bowl offers Thai favorites, Chinese dishes, and whole grain brown rice to eat it with. I attempted to satisfy my craving for General Tso’s Chicken, but was unsuccessful.

General Tso’s Chicken: The sauce was spot on, tangy and spicy, but the fried rice was very plain. Again, where was the egg? The green onions? Then, I bit into what I thought was a piece of breaded chicken breast, but it was a deep fried nugget of batter. Normally, I would welcome a treat like this, but the batter was dry and tasted awful. I’m not sure if this was an accident or intentional, but either way it was unfortunate. I like to share because the serving size is enough for two, but there’s a minimum for all deliveries, so you’re better off getting your own entree. For $9.50 plus a delivery charge, it was not worth it. I do recommend trying Rice Bowl though, maybe just avoid delivery. I  have had Schezwan Chicken here in the past and it was pretty good, so maybe something that isn’t battered is a better way to go.

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I am still on the search for authentic, delicious General Tso’s Chicken. Stay tuned for more write ups as I continue on this hunt.

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Grilled Cheese

Who doesn’t love a good grilled cheese?

Classic Grilled Ham & Cheese featuring Vlasic Sandwich Stackers Dill Pickles

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Grilled Ham & American Cheese with Dice Red Pepper and Onion. It looks burnt, but I swear it wasn’t. Sure it was a little on the done side, but it wasn’t time to get out the butter knife and scrape off the burnt layer. The onion and red pepper was a nice touch. 

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Chicken Noodle Soup

I wanted to share with everyone my easy chicken noodle soup recipe. It’s great comfort food if you’re sick, cold, or just want a quick serving of vegetables. I made a pot today for Ma since she was feeling under the weather.

Ingredients

1 small white onion

5-10 green onions (I like a lot)

1-2 chicken leg quarters

1 large carrot

1 stalk of celery (with leafy tops)

3 tablespoons of fresh (or dry) parsley

2-3 cans of chicken broth

1 chicken bouillon cube (if desired)

8-16 ounces of water

Salt & pepper to taste

2-3 handfuls of noodles of choice (egg noodles are my favorite)

Steps

In a large pot add broth and water and turn on medium heat. While waiting for liquid to boil, dice ingredients and add to pot.  Add chicken (chicken with a bone in adds more flavor), and a pinch of salt and pepper. Keep on a low boil until chicken is fork tender and cooked through (at least 20 min if chicken is thawed). If you boil too hard, it will boil out some of the liquid. Once chicken is cooked, remove from pot and let cool. Remove chicken from bone and add back to pot. I shred with a fork and dice up large pieces. Add noodles and cook for another 5 min or until noodles are tender. Keep in mind the noodles will absorb a lot of the liquid, so if you like more broth, add less noodles or a little more water/broth. For every two cans of broth I add, I will match a can of water. You should fill up a pot 3/4 way with all the ingredients in. Taste and add salt/pepper if needed.

Tip: Throwing in a bouillon cube adds more flavor. The longer you let the ingredients come together, the better it will taste.

Substitution: Add any other vegetables you like or rice.

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I really love soups because all you have to do is toss all the ingredients in and let it whirl! The hardest part is chopping and in this case, removing the chicken from the bone.

Enjoy!

Please share your favorite homemade recipe.

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