Restaurant Roundup: Detroit Edition

Tasty treats at Astoria in Detroit's Greektown neighborhood.

Tasty treats at Astoria in Detroit’s Greektown neighborhood.

Ah, vacation season — the time of the year when diets and calorie counting are replaced by gorging and a steady stream of desserts. After all, one of the great perks of visiting other places is indulging in the local cuisine, right?

Such was the case when we headed north to Detroit and southeastern Michigan to visit family and friends. Yes, the visits with both groups were nice and long awaited, but you’re here to find out about where all the tasty treats are, aren’t you?

A favorite from my high school days.

A favorite from my high school days.

Bellacino’s

I don’t know how long there have been Bellacino’s locations in central Indiana, but I can remember one in my hometown dating back to early high school (so, a good 17 years ago). The grinders, in particular, were my favorite: That crispy, cheesy bread with all the fixins always left me full, especially if I got the 9-inch “half” (for the love of God, don’t get the “full,” unless you have the stomach of a T-Rex or are sharing).

The pizza’s good, too. They only use fresh mushrooms (+1 from Caitlyn) and there’s a nice proportion of cheese-to-sauce. Fearful that I wouldn’t like this place anymore, having not been there in probably 14 or more years, Bellacino’s did not disappoint.

Gus’s Carryout

A small group of carryout joints in suburban Livingston County, Gus’s has the best Greek salad dressing on earth. Period. How’s that for a statement of fact?

Seriously, though, the Greek salad and breadsticks are to die for. If you think you’re going to be OK with getting just a half bag of breadsticks, think again. You want, nay, NEED a full bag of those addictive carb rods.

Back in my meat-eating days, I would load up on the ribs, too, which had meat that fell right off the bone. The perfect tanginess and flavor, albeit a little messy. Now that I’m vegetarian, though, I’m required to tell you not to get them (or something).

Yes, those are sinks and a bathtub outside.

Yes, those are sinks and a bathtub outside.

Traffic Jam and Snug

Definitely the coolest place we ate at during our time in the “D,” Traffic Jam and Snug is in the quickly evolving (or devolving, depending on to whom you talk) Midtown part of the city.

Kickin’ it since 1965, TJ&S is a surprisingly large restaurant and with an equally surprisingly large veg-friendly and carnivore-friendly menu.

Caitlyn got the Ethiopian plate, which came spicy split baby red peas, yellow lentils, and sauteed collard greens served with traditional injera bread. I opted for the Tex-Mex lentil burger, while one of the carnivores across the table from us dined on smelt and chicken and basil egg rolls.

Definitely a hipster haven (heck, all of Midtown is now), TJ&S was a nice surprise during our quick journey into the city.

Dessert time!!!

Dessert time!!!

Astoria Pastry Shop

Can’t end this review without a little dessert!

My favorite bakery in downtown Detroit, Astoria’s been whipping up delicious and indulgent treats since 1971 in the happening Greektown neighborhood (there’s also a location in Royal Oak for those of you too afraid to trek downtown … wusses).

My go-to is simple, but still something I’ve yet to find of equal quality anywhere else: A half dipped in chocolate Rice Krispie treat. Caitlyn got the decadent chocolate mousse cup and we shared a flaky chocolate meringue. The shop also has éclairs the size of your liver, cookies, cupcakes, chocolates and more.

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