Melt

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Located on Cass Ave, in Detroit’s Midtown, this espresso and gelato shop battles your taste buds with rich, hot coffee, and cool and creamy Italian ice cream. With their opening in November of 2013, Melt is already a comfortable neighbor in the community. During my visit, I drank my latte and observed as person after person walked in to converse with the shops owner, Aaron and indulge in the daily treats.

See how they rated: 

Atmosphere:  4 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Price: 5 out of 5 bites

Service: 4 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 3 out of 5 bites

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Caramel Latte: Espresso and milk with a touch of caramel. I was afraid that this would be too sweet, but it was perfect

Mocha Latte: Perfect balance of chocolate, milk, and espresso. Delicious!

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Macaroons: Tiffany loves macaroons and really wanted to check em out. They weren’t the best, but they were OK. When you’re a macaroon snob like Tiffany it’s hard to find homemade macaroons that taste like Paris.

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Gelato: Around 10 unique flavors to tempt your palette, including French Toast & White Chocolate Raspberry. I tried a sample of the Pistachio and it was subtle and creamy. I will definitely be back to try more flavors. The green tea gelato cone caught my eye as well.

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Tip: Try a Signature Drink; gelato blended with coffee for a rich, tasty, treat.

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This adorable, quaint shop is kind of place you’d want to go back to. Aaaron was very catering and knowledgeable, answering the 20 questions we had for him. After placing our order, he served it to our table, which was a more personable approach to writing your name on a coffee mug and yelling it out for pick up. The best part, the February promo is $2 lattes, any size! So stop in and get your fix!

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Shangri-La

Wednesday, I met Nastassia @ Shangri-La, located on Cass in Midtown. Moderately priced with a trendy, hip feel, this restaurant is not your typical red-carpeted, dragon decorated Chinese place. Known for the best dim sum in Detroit, we decided to see what all the hype was about.

Atmosphere: 4 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Price: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Service: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 4 out of bites bites (unique and extensive menu)

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We started with Spicy Softshell Crab appetizer with a recommendation for our server: Lightly battered and fried softshell crab served with a mix of onions and peppers. The batter was airy and delicious. I got more heat from the onion than I did the peppers, but the fresh veggie salad paired well with the rich crab.

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Dim Sum: noun. a Chinese dish of small steamed or fried savory dumplings containing various fillings, served as a snack or main course.

Shark Fin: Tender steamed dumpling filled with shark fin. The shark had a subtle seafood flavor, with a little chew.

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Eggplant: Shrimp stuffed eggplant. The eggplant was tender and the fried shrimp was huge!

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Garlic & Chive Pan Cake: With ginger. As soon as you took a bite, you tasted the ginger and garlic. The dumpling was the perfect combination of crispy and tender.

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Pan Fried Corn Cake with Shrimp Paste: Delicious! This didn’t taste like authentic Asian at all, but I’m not complaining. It was the perfect fried corn fritter. The outside of the corn cake was crispy and filled with tender shrimp and fresh corn.

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Sushi

Incredible Hulk (on left): Cucumber, asparagus, and avocado topped with seaweed salad. Tempura roll. This roll was huge and pretty good for a veggie roll. The crunchy veggies and creamy avocado balanced out the fried tempura.

Tony Montana (on right): Inside: White tuna and cucumber. Outside: White tuna, bonito flakes, scallions, and ponzu sauce. The bonito flakes sparked our curiosity, but curiosity killed the cat. I wasn’t a fan of this roll. The bonito flakes were smokey, fishy, airy flakes which I didn’t care for. The whole roll didn’t really have much flavor and the scallions and ponzu sauce were non existent. It would’ve been nice to have something to balance out the white tuna and bonito flakes.

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Overall, our experience was a success; I got to try dim sum for the first time. Although I wasn’t fond of everything we ordered, Shangri-La definitely gets points for making some of the most unique and different dim sum in the area. Service was good, but our server forgot to put in one of our orders of dim sum which was removed from our check. If you’re looking for a popular place to try dim sum or even just to enjoy Chinese favorites, try Shangri-La next time you’re out.

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Motor City Brewing Works

Located on Canfield in Midtown, Motor City Brewing Works features locally brewed beers and unique brick oven pizzas. What I liked best about this brewery is the circular bar right when you first walk in. Read on to see how my recent visit went.

Atmosphere: 4

Price: 4

Service: 4

Quality/Taste: 3

Wow Factor: 3

Hard Cider: Lightly fruity with a kick. A refreshing change from beer. Sometimes, you just want hard cider.

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Roasted Pear & Fig PizzaOlive oil, gorgonzola, oven roasted pears and figs, red onions, topped with spices. Surprisingly, this pizza was slightly sweet with a bite of gorgonzola. The crust was soft, chewy and made this pizza even more like a dessert. Very different.

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This tap room is smaller than most, but that’s what makes it so cozy and welcoming. The only thing that sucks is the parking. The staff does a great job at communicating this and there are signs all over that the parking lot belongs to Traffic Jam & Snug and you run the risk of getting towed. So find a spot in the few designated spots or in the street and grab a cold one.

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