Sunday, March 17, 2013

Multi Restaurant Review! Three in One!

Lucky Pho, Scotty's Fish and Chips and Crispelli's

I have made a conscious effort in the last few weeks to eat more dinners at home. Not all of them are blog worthy but we are trying to cook more at home and be a bit frugal. That being said, that is during the week. Weekends tend to be more about eating out and celebrating that the workweek is over. 

This week we had a true adventure, traveling to Redford and western Detroit to try carry out at two new places. My husband is really loves good fish and chips and had heard that locally Scotty's Fish and Chips in Detroit was some of the best. There was also an article in a recent Hour Detroit magazine about a new Redford Vietnamese place called Lucky Pho. The article was really sweet and worth reading, about how this restaurant is really dedicated to two loved family members who passed away and seen as a legacy. These two destinations were pretty close together on the Google Map so we decided to make this our Friday night journey for carry out.

Scotty's Fish and Chips

My husband had heard about Scotty's Fish and Chips in Detroit as being some of the best. It was quite a drive (about a 1/2 hour) but the food was good. It's a landmark in the Detroit area and when you go in, you are definitely stepping back in time. It probably looks exactly the same as it did in 1950 when they opened. If you are on that side of town, it would definitely be worth your while to try this stuff and it might be fun to dine in. For a local place, this is really good and we can recommend it.

However, if you live in a place like we do, with a lot of local establishments, you can find similar fish and chips closer by. Chicken Shack makes some really good "English Style" fish and chips that might rival these. We have one very close by (we could be there in 3 minutes without speeding) and there are several in the Detroit area to choose from. There is also the Red Fox English Pub in Downtown Royal Oak that serves traditional fish and chips. For a little more adventurous diners not interested in having the traditional far, Sweet Lorraine's makes a great fish and chips with a little bit of kick that my husband seems to like the best out of all the offerings.

So to summarize, if you are local definitely try Scotty's Fish and Chips. If you are nearby, and passing through the Detroit area, you should give Scotty's a try. If you live in a fish and chips mecca like we do, I wouldn't necessarily drive out of my way.

Lucky Pho

For those of you who may have been reading my blog, Pho is becoming a new culinary obsession for me, along with Vietnamese cuisine in general. Since I really like Thai food (okay I live for Thai food), it's not much of a stretch but for years I was apprehensive of the Vietnamese menus because it would be learning a whole new language and I wasn't sure what to try. Recently Hour Detroit Magazine has a whole article dedicated to Pho (pronounced Fu) that is a mainstay of Vietnamese restaurants and locally a treasure in our particular area.

Pho is a noodle soup with many offerings to choose from so it's easy to customize. I personally HATE bean sprouts and with Pho I don't have to let anyone know. The broth is provided separately, and you add the other ingredients yourself. When you go the a restaurant they put all the other items on the plate, including the meat you choose, the rice noodles, onions/scallions, lemongrass, sprouts, sauce, herbs, etc. When you order carry out they put all of the items in a carry out box and I can customize myself.

From the left hand upper corner, going clockwise, we have raw round steak, a container of sauce that is both spicy and sweet, some herbs (basil?), bean sprouts (ugh!), and rice noodles. What you don't see was my latest adventure in this quest. . . under the sauce and herbs was another wrapped section of tendon. Tendon and tripe are often featured in Pho and based on what I have been reading, I really wanted to try tendon. Tendon is the connective stuff between the muscle and bone and it's kind of a gelatin texture when it cooks in the broth. I read somewhere that it was the "new pork belly" so I had to try it!

After picking up the fish, we headed over to Lucky Pho and because I couldn't get a person on the phone (she couldn't hear me when I tried to order) I walked in. The staff there was so nice and the young lady that helped me gave me a brief history of Pho while I waited for my food. She herself was Mung and told me that her family's food is similar and encouraged me to try tripe in my Pho next time (maybe next time, trying tendon was enough for one day) as it would be more authentic and delicious. She also told me that Thai restaurants that are more traditional often have fried pork belly on the menu and I needed to try that. Fried pork belly?!!! I have been going to Thai restaurants for years and have never seen that! Apparently I have some research to do!

Because there was raw meat, it was important to heat the soup back up when I got it home. I put the broth in a pot and warmed it up to a quick boil. Then I placed the broth in a bowl and started to add my choice ingredients. Because the round steak was sliced so thinly it cooked very quickly and was ready to eat instantly. The broth has a really interesting flavor that varies depending on where you get it. This one was really good - not overpowering - just a really nice flavor from the spices.

Final verdict to summarize: LOVED this Pho! I enjoyed the tendon and have to agree it's kind of like pork belly in texture and quite delicious. So far, in my three experiences, the broth in this Pho truly was the best so far. Of course I have a lot of places locally to still try but if I'm back on that side of town I'm stopping there again. Oh, and next time, I'm saying it here, I'm going to try it with the addition of tripe!


Crispelli's is a relatively new pizza place in town. What makes it special is the wood burning oven and the wonderful choices with pizza toppings, salads, pastas and bakery items they have to offer. They always have top quality meats and cheeses and the set up is a little unusual. You pick a table and then "shop" at the different stations to get your order together. I had done something similar in Toronto and I really like the feel. The environment is homey and comfortable and the food is reasonable.

Recently Crispelli's added breakfast and it's really good. Now, I'm the foodie in this house, and typically my husband pokes fun at me because I plan out meals. . .  where I'm eating next, what I will pick next time from a menu, what we should plan on next weekend, etc. etc. Breakfast here is so good that my husband announced (with the disclaimer that he knew he was acting like me) that he wanted to eat at Crispelli's this weekend. . . on Wednesday night. These kind of requests don't happen often so of course we went.

The desired dish that he was interested in was the French Toast. Let me say that I make French Toast at home and it's pretty damn good. I have even blogged my own recipe and everyone loves it. However, mine does not come close to the delicious offering at Crispelli's. The baguettes are soaked in a custard and then deep fried. Absolutely rich and delicious! The outer surface is crunchy and then the inner part is creamy, dense and sweet. I will say that two order of this stuff, due to the decadence, will satisfy more than two people.Try four people!

Crispelli's also makes some pretty darn good pizza with a thin crust that is still dense enough to hold the toppings. For breakfast they have breakfast pizzas with either scrambled eggs or fried eggs. I tried one with scrambled eggs, bacon, potatoes, caramelized onions and a little grueyere cheese. It was pretty darn good and I highly recommend it. I personally cannot due a sweet breakfast without the balance of a savory dish so this was the perfect compliment to our French Toast we had. This would comfortably feed at least three people for a main dish to share  and I had leftovers for today which is always a bonus!

My son always likes his own thing (my daughter enjoys the French Toast with her father), so he typically gets a croissant and asks them to put in a little bit of fresh mozzarella that they then warm up in the oven. The croissant is good all by itself bu you add that cheese and wow! While we were there yesterday they were indeed providing samples for new breakfast sandwiches that may debut on the menu in the next few weeks, including one with an omelet and bacon that was superb! I hear there may be a croissant variety showing up as well with ham and cheese!

To summarize Crispelli's is a welcome addition for brunch on the weekend! Great comfortable atmosphere and lots of choices. Great bread to take home from the bakery too (we will be having grilled cheese sandwiches tomorrow for dinner with this stuff).

So it's Sunday and now it's back to normal eating at home. Tonight I will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day with our own spin - thinks some sweet and sour additions that I will post later. I have the whole week planned with menu's so there will be a lot of eating at home! Stay tuned for next weekend's adventures!

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