Get to Green Dot

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Green Dot Stables is one of my favorite burger restaurants in the area. They offer a really unique selection of sliders and keep things fun by offering a mystery meat and drink. You can ask your server what the mystery is, or simply take a chance and order. My last mystery meat slider was rabbit wrapped in bacon. Seriously, a rabbit slider? This place is special.

An island among a concrete wasteland, Green Dot is right in the middle of nothing. Located in a mostly industrial part of northern Corktown, the restaurant is on West Lafayette and 14th Street, a block from West Fort Street. A first timer not familiar with the area may be wary to give this place a try, but there is ample parking, and each time I go, I see an increasing number of young families and baby boomers — it’s a welcoming environment for everyone.

Green Dot is not a large restaurant, but it can accommodate larger groups by pushing tables together. There always seems to be a line, and your whole party must be there to even get on the wait list, whether there are two of you or ten. So, arrive with the rest of your group, because the clock doesn’t start ticking until you all get there. However, if you must wait, there is usually room at the bar, and there is a waiting area in the back.

The theme of the restaurant is, well, stables. There is jockey and horse racing memorabilia throughout. The dim lighting, exposed brick interior and shingled overhang above the bar give it a retro VFW hall vibe, but the place is definitely trendy and made for foodies.

Now the food. We usually order in rounds. I would say start off with three burgers, allow some time for that to settle, and then see what else you still have room for. Some of my favorites are the tempeh (marinated tempeh with wasabi mayo and wakame salad), the black bean (tomato slice, avocado and sour cream) and the bacon cheeseburger, the last probably being my favorite. Never underestimate a regular old cheeseburger. My husband Brandon’s favorites are the BBQ bacon (beef patty, sweet potato and homemade BBQ sauce), the fried chicken (panko and sage maple syrup) and the PB&J (peanut butter with chipotle raspberry jam) ordered with bacon. We always try the mystery meat and have yet to be disappointed. Green Dot also has lamb, corned beef, quinoa, catfish and a lot more.

I recommend truffle & herb or Cajun fries to share with the table. They have bottled beer and a few Michigan brews on draft, and the classic cocktails should not be overlooked. Brandon is a big fan of the Zug Island iced tea (scotch, triple sec, raspberry tea, lemonade and bay leaf) and Moscow mule (ginger beer, lime and vodka). Each item you order is only two or three dollars, but you might be surprised how quickly it adds up, so be forewarned.

If you are looking for a laid back environment, cheap beer and high-quality specialty sliders, then I would recommend you get to Green Dot.

 

logo-greendot1

2200 West Lafayette, Detroit, MI 48216 (313) 962-5588

Green Dot Stables menu

Hours
Monday – Wednesday 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Thursday – Saturday 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Sunday 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Champagne Chocolates: A decadent delight

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Before you find yourself in the drug store on your lunch break on Feb. 14 frantically searching for your Valentine’s Day gifts (we’ve all been there), do yourself and your loved ones a favor and make a stop at Champagne Chocolates in Mount Clemens.

Champagne Chocolates has everything you need for Valentine’s Day: boxed chocolates, toffees, barks and turtles – and they are all hand-crafted on-site daily.

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These candies are made with the freshest ingredients – and I’m not just saying that. While most chain stores started stocking Valentine’s Day candy right after Christmas, Champagne Chocolates has just begun to make theirs. The candy is preservative-free, ensuring freshness and optimal quality.

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Thursdays are Raspberry Delight Day, which means Owner Debbie Heuchert goes out in the morning to buy fresh raspberries that will sit atop chocolate cups filled with dark chocolate ganache. Debbie also regularly heads to the Peanut Peddler to handpick hazelnuts for the candies.

“We take pride in our ingredients,” said Debbie. “When you start with good ingredients, you end up with good products.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA lot has changed since Debbie started making candies in her basement 25 years ago, but she still uses her own original recipes. Her husband John also plays a valuable part in the business, building machinery to improve consistency, accommodate larger molds and increase productivity.

Ten years ago, she opened up shop in downtown Mount Clemens. This past July, she moved to a new location at 65 Macomb Place, suite E (around the corner from Max & Ollie’s Vintage Boutique and across from Bath City Bistro). Still in Mount Clemens, the new building is larger, allowing for more efficient manufacturing. The more prominent location has also lead to increased sales.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA“We love being in the heart of Macomb County,” explained Debbie. “The downtown area has a big town feel, but you know everybody. The businesses here support each other.” She also appreciates all of the hard work done by the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). The recent Mount Clemens Ice Carving Show the DDA hosted brought a lot of fun – and new customers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADebbie loves to indulge in the creative side of the business, especially when it comes to developing chocolate recipes. Champagne Chocolates carries a few items you might not expect, like chocolate-dipped bacon and Rustic Bars made partially with organic ingredients.

They also offer chocolate parties where you and a group of friends can make your own truffles and learn some interesting facts about chocolate – did you know all of their chocolate nibs come from the same farm in Ecuador? If you bring along a bottle of wine, staff will also help you pair it with the perfect chocolate.

Be kind to your valentine, and treat them to a box of chocolates or toffees from a great local business. You won’t regret it!

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65 Macomb Place, suite E, Mount Clemens, MI 48043 (586) 468-1170

Truffles with a Twist and Chocolate Party information

Hours
Monday – Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Closed Sunday

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Feb. 6, 2015.

Stuff your stocking with specialty coffee

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Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer this holiday season? Coffee Break in Eastpointe sells one-pound packages of small-batch roasted coffee beans from countries around the world.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhole bean selections come from Brazil, Costa Rica, Columbia, Mexico, Honduras, Peru, Congo, Indonesia, Sumatra, Ethiopia and Kenya – and the list continues to grow. Priced at just $11.99 a bag, compared to $14.95 at Starbucks, not only are you acquiring a unique gift, but a great deal too.

Coffee Break is a cozy and chic coffee house that offers big-chain quality with small business appeal. Dim pendant lights, custom-laid floor tiles, charming bistro tables and free Wi-Fi create a comfortable environment for any coffee lover. The rear alcove also features a sleek leather couch facing a flat screen TV mounted above a blazing fireplace.

While you’re there, take a break from your Christmas shopping and relax with a hot cup of coffee, latte, cappuccino or espresso – my favorite is the marshmallow latte. They also serve a wide variety of bag and loose-leaf tea with festive flavors including hot cinnamon spice, ginger and licorice, cranberry autumn, spiced plum, chocolate mint and organic peppermint. Coffee Break also has a limited menu consisting of sandwiches, baklava, handmade shortbread, pastries and more.

Conveniently located on 10 Mile between Kelly Road and I-94 (just a mile from where I-696 meets I-94), Coffee Break has been operating in Eastpointe for four years. Just a stone’s throw away from Sugarbush Tavern, a prominent sidewalk promotes walkability among other neighboring businesses including Mario’s Meats, Little Italy Pizzeria and Fairway Drugs.

Vastly versatile, Coffee Break can accommodate any coffee enthusiast’s whim, whether you are looking for a meeting spot to catch up with old friends, to explore a new taste from across the world or to simply obtain your caffeine fix. Coffee Break coffee is sure to delight whoever receives it this holiday season!

Coffee Break photo

19156 E. 10 Mile Road, Eastpointe 48021 (586) 362-8683

 Hours
Monday – Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Dec. 22, 2014.

Find made-in-Michigan and vintage gifts at Iron Ivy

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen looking for holiday gifts this year, Iron Ivy is the perfect place to shop. This local business is full of antique and vintage items ranging from feathered hats and sequined purses, dinnerware and china, toolboxes and crates with classic logos to furniture and lamps. They also carry a great selection of made-in-Michigan products handcrafted by 20 metro Detroit artists.

The owners of Iron Ivy are Jim and Donna Jalosky. Married for 39 years, they have always collected antiques. Jim knew how to weld from working in a collision shop, and when he taught Donna, these skills soon translated into art.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom bugs a few inches tall to giant 6-foot birds, Jim and Donna produce sculptures made from upcycled metal. This means that they turn anything and everything into art. Shovel heads are crafted into faces, dogs are constructed from tool boxes and watering cans and ostrich-type birds have buckets for bodies. Each is a one-of-a-kind, whimsical piece.

As a hobby, Jim and Donna started welding out of their garage in 1998. When they outgrew their space, they moved into a workshop on 9 Mile. In 2011, they landed in their present location on Gratiot near 10 Mile in Eastpointe. They live in Warren and really enjoy working close to home. They would like to see the area grow into a strip of specialty shops, making it an artistic destination on the eastside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThey worked for three years to renovate the current facility, adding artistic touches wherever possible. A tile mosaic stream cuts a serpentine path along a portion of the floor. It incorporates tumbling stones found in a decaying rural building and features fish comprised of broken pottery from a vendor at Eastern Market. They also added large windows facing Gratiot.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIron Ivy artwork is sprinkled throughout Eastpointe. The public art can be found in the median in front of the store (Gratiot and 10 Mile), in the garden in front of Andary’s Family Grill and adorning the walls inside (Gratiot and Semrau Avenue), at the entrance of the Urban Seed Community Garden (9 Mile and Pleasant Avenue) and in the city manager’s office in city hall (Gratiot and Aurora Avenue).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn addition to Jim and Donna’s metal creations, also interspersed throughout the store are handmade items by other local artists including jewelry, fused-glass pieces, photography and pottery from two local potters with 30 years of experience. There are items made out of license plates, framed word art made from photographs and collages.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOne artist recovers discarded bricks from Detroit onto which he transposes photographs. Another artist sews pieces of fabric from old jackets into purses and transforms the comfort and warmth of sweaters into stylish gloves.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIron Ivy offers a wide array of trinkets, accessories, home goods and art. Just in time for the holiday, they are also stocking their shelves with vintage Christmas items, including ornaments. Shop local this year and walk away with some truly special gifts.

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24935 Gratiot Avenue, Eastpointe, MI 48021 (586) 381-2119

Hours
Tuesday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Monday and Friday

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Dec. 12, 2014.

A cut above the rest

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Mr. Paul’s Chophouse is a place you want to know. It oozes old-school charm. Tucked away in a primarily industrial area in Roseville, it might be easy to miss. However, when you walk through the door, the dim lighting draws you into the elegant, intimate world that is Mr. Paul’s Chophouse, set apart from the rush hour traffic whizzing down Groesbeck.

With a rich background in the food industry, brothers Paul and Peter Gogo founded Mr. Paul’s Chophouse in 1968. It is now run by three of Paul’s sons, Paul Jr., Chris and Peter. I had the opportunity to go on a tour (where I even ended up in the walk-in refrigerator!) and speak with Paul Jr. about the family business.

Paul Jr. has been with the restaurant from the very beginning, learning every aspect of the business.  He always knew he would follow in his father’s footsteps, and the part he enjoys most about his job is his guests, many of whom he knows by name.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen you first enter the restaurant, you pass through a small waiting room where the ambiance is set by a trickling fountain.  There are two dining areas, one with an inviting bar with mirrored panels and glistening bottles and glasses lining the shelves, the other with an elegant baby grand piano. There are cozy booths, chic tables layered in linens and exposed brick walls adorned by paintings.

In the kitchen, I saw carts stocked with all the ingredients needed to make fresh Caesar salads (even the dressing is made from scratch) ready to be rolled out to the awaiting diners and prepared on the spot. A chief was chopping romaine lettuce and lemons and another was preparing the famous Chateaubriand. This romantic meal for two is served on one platter within a flaming ring.

Don’t get me wrong, the food is excellent, but the special touches and unique presentation make dining in an experience to remember. “It really is a lost art, the tableside cooking,” co-owner Peter Gogo told the Macomb Daily in 2002. “It allows us to be acquainted with the customer on a more personal level.”

I celebrated my five-year anniversary here. My husband and I got dolled up for the evening and were seated at a cozy booth near the piano where the player took requests. I enjoyed a glass of merlot; steamed mussels with white wine, garlic and lemon; the classic Caesar salad made tableside; and charbroiled filet mignon – and savored every bite.

Mr. Paul’s Chophouse is the definition of fine dining in Macomb County and has played an integral part in the community for years as a destination for family celebrations, business meetings and special occasions. Many engagements have occurred here throughout the years, cementing it as a memorable place in many couples’ hearts.

But it is also a place full of “the regulars.” You don’t need to be celebrating a birthday or on your first date in order to enjoy a nice pork chop or their popular sautéed lake perch. Whether you want to get on a first name basis with the bartender or treat yourself to an item on the surprisingly affordable lunch menu, there’s a spot waiting for you.

While many things have changed since 1968, Mr. Paul’s Chophouse continues to offer the staples that it was founded upon, fresh food and excellent service. By staying true to its form throughout the years, Mr. Paul’s Chophouse has somehow managed to stay as relevant and innovative as ever – a true original.

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29850 Groesbeck Highway, Roseville 48066 (586) 777-7770

 Mr. Paul’s Chophouse Dinner Menu

Hours
Monday – Thursday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Friday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Saturday 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Dec. 10, 2014.

Get weird in Mount Clemens this weekend

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We have a lot to look forward to over the next few days: spending time with the family on Thanksgiving, getting the latest special releases on Record Store Day Black Friday and buying gifts with local flair on Small Business Saturday.

It’s an especially big weekend for record store and small business Weirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Books in Mount Clemens as they promise to offer great deals and exciting new releases ranging from classics like the Doors and Miles Davis to heavy metal and punk rock like Metallica and the Dead Milkmen and even, oddly enough, “Guardians of the Galaxy” cassettes – which have been making a comeback in the last couple of years.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWeirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Books opened in May 2011. They are two stores under one roof run by husband and wife Dave and Lisa Taylor. Customers can find new and used records, record players, action figures, “oddball” items, used books and new books by local authors.

With giant bookstore chains going out of business and record stores shuttering their doors, what made Dave and Lisa think opening their own shop would be a good idea? There are a slew of reasons ranging from the idealist –they both love music and have been collecting records all their lives, to the sentimental – Dave and Lisa’s first date was at a record store, to the logical – Lisa knows books.

After losing her job of 17 years at Borders, Lisa and Dave thought it was the perfect time to branch out on their own. “We said we would try and see what happens,” Lisa said. They originally carried books and oddities and eventually expanded into records, where they have certainly found their niche, winning Best Independent Record Store in Macomb County from Metro Times in 2013 and 2014.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAcknowledging it might be naïveté, Dave said, “I’d like to think that other record shops didn’t close because they weren’t doing well, but because the owners had been doing it for a long time and were ready to move on to do different things.” No matter the reason, as record stores were closing, the market continued to grow as the next generation discovered vinyl records. Most Weirdsville customers are between 14 and 30 years old.

Founded on New Street, the store recently moved a block over to a new spot on Macomb Place. The move doubled their size, and they enjoy being on a more prominent street. The couple lives in Mount Clemens and values its historical legacy, so they jumped at the chance to remain in their community and obtain a larger space.

Weirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Books offer several community events including B movies (not all bad, but definitely all B) and book signings. They recently had Tom Daldin from Under the Radar Michigan, which featured their shop on the show and mentions them in his book “Under the Radar Michigan: The First 50.” On Friday, Dec. 12, singer, song writer and poet Emily Rose will perform and sign her poetry book “Cemetery Tea Party.”

A member of the local music scene in his own right as a member of the band The Amino Acids, Dave is looking forward to once again offering local band listening parties. Recently on hiatus, look for those to start up again on the last Tuesday of every month. It’s a great opportunity to introduce new fans to local music. Next spring, they also intend to offer board games and magnetic poetry nights.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADon’t miss out on the great deals that are waiting for you all weekend long. The shop will be offering 20 percent off used items storewide. They have lengthened their hours, opening from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday and will offer hot coffee to customers to combat the chilly weather. The first five customers through the door on Friday will receive $5 in Weir-dough to be used on anything in the store after next weekend – great to use for Christmas gifts or to treat yourself!

Whether you are looking for the perfect quirky gift, a good read or something you never knew you couldn’t live without, Weirdsville Records and Paperback Writer Books are definitely worth stopping by.

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61 Macomb Place, Mount Clemens, MI 48043 (586) 468-2665

http://www.weirdsvilledetroit.com/
http://www.usedonnewbooks.com/

Hours
Monday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Tuesday – Wednesday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Thursday – Friday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Saturday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday Noon to 4 p.m.

This article was also posted at MakeMacombYourHome.com on Nov. 26, 2014.

Great Fresh Foods new product ready to hit shelves

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Gourmet stuffed chicken patties, fire-roasted chicken breast, Jamaican-style chicken, stuffed meatballs, stuffed beef patties, stuffed chicken meatballs—is your stomach growling yet? This is the product line for the emerging company Great Fresh Foods. If you have not heard of them yet, you will.

Empty plateGreat Fresh Foods is the brand-new sister company of the well-established Garden Fresh Gourmet—the salsa sensation out of Ferndale that has taken the industry by storm. In a few short years, Garden Fresh Gourmet has grown from its humble beginnings to become the largest fresh salsa company in North America. It carries several gourmet lines including hummus, tortilla chips, guacamole, dips and salad dressings.

Co-founders Jack and Annette Aronson have expanded into new territory with their line of gourmet stuffed burgers and meatballs. Having already mastered a state-of-the-art, high-pressure process that enables them to provide fresh products that are preservative-free, they have applied the process to their new company’s products as well. The result is a delicious, never-frozen entrée that is ready to eat after one minute in the microwave.

Empty plate“We are about to launch a new company that offers a breakthrough in the fresh burger and meatball category: chicken and beef burgers that are truly stuffed, not mixed, with premium fillings that both in terms of visuals and flavor profile are unlike anything else on the market,” said Vice Chairman of Garden Fresh Gourmet Dave Zilko.

Zilko added, “To be featured under our new Jack’s Special Grilled brand, the initial line will feature four varieties of fully cooked, all natural, gluten-free stuffed chicken burgers: Spinach & 3 Cheese, Applewood Smoked Bacon & Cheddar, Roasted Red Pepper & Mozzarella, and PepperJack.”

In April of 2014, Great Fresh Foods acquired a 12,000-square-foot facility located at 44696 Morley Drive in Clinton Township. Choosing to locate Great Fresh Foods within Macomb County put the up-and-coming company on the Department of Planning and Economic Development’s (MCPED) radar. Senior Economic Development Specialists Camille Silda and Jack Johns reached out to the company to offer assistance.

GreatFreshCamille and Jack were able to refer valuable resources to the business and put them in touch with development partners at Michigan Works and Macomb Community College. MCPED also worked as a liaison between Great Fresh Foods and Consumers Energy to get the Clinton Township facility up and running. Preparing an Industrial Facilities Exemption tax abatement was another service MCPED provided.

So where can you find these delicious new products? Look for Jack’s Special Grilled brand in the meat department at Meijer.

A version of this article was also published in eMacomb Spring 2014.