About Me

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Lansing, Michigan, United States
I am a Lansing townie, lawyer, and restaurant reviewer for the City Pulse. I love traveling, reading, yoga, and baking, but my favorite hobby is stuffing my face.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Hamburgers in Royal Oak, Fish Tacos in Ann Arbor, and a week of transition

This week has been busy in a different way. Every day of the past 5 days has found me having lunch and dinner with friends who have been neglected of late. I've been getting into the gym and the yoga studio, watching things that have been trapped on my DVR for months, and reading a book about Northern Ireland.

Last week I quit my job in Royal Oak and will start a new job on Monday, a real lawyer job, at a firm in White Lake. That's north of Brighton. I hear there are good things to eat.

My last week in Oakland County found me doing some traveling and eating at some very popular area restaurants. One day I had to go take care of some business in Ann Arbor, so I stuck around for lunch and headed to Lena, which was one of the Detroit Free Press' top 10 restaurants of 2012. The hostess makes a girl feel welcome. "How are you, my beautiful lady? Would you like to get cozy by the fireplace?"

I did indeed sit by the indoor fireplace and ordered pineapple aqua fresca.

Oh I loved it. So sweet and refreshing.

For lunch I had fish tacos. The waitress suggested I have the fish battered and fried instead of grilled, which might have been a mistake. There were three tacos on my plate, flour tortillas topped with rice, beans, cilantro, fish, a chimichurri, and crema.

The tortillas were tasteless. A salty, grainy little corn tortilla would have been better. Every ingredient was fresh and flavorful, but there was nothing to lend any heat to the taco. No salt and pepper on the table, either. It was a satisfying lunch, but there wasn't anything for me to write home about.

The next day my birthday boy coworker and I headed north on Woodward and had lunch at Redcoat Tavern, the longtime standard-bearer of metro Detroit's best hamburgers. The place looks like a barn, and when you step inside your eyes have to adjust to the dim red light. We knew we wanted burgers, and I ordered mine with provolone cheese and caramelized onions. I accepted the tomato and lettuce that come standard but had to nix the tomato because I couldn't taste the meat.

And this meat begged to be tasted. It was juicy and tasted like a true burger, not like the plasticy, artificial garbage meat that's so prevalent in fast-food restaurants today. The bun was a cushion. The onion rings, which my coworker raved about, were too greasy for me.
I still ate a few, of course, in the name of research. A few days later I returned to Vinsetta Garage, where I'd destroyed a 3am burger a few weeks prior. It was the best burger I'd ever had. The Sriracha mayo absolutely knocked me out. I didn't even care that my hands smelled like meat for the rest of the day- it was worth it. On my return visit I tried the Vinsetta Burger, which didn't hold a candle to the 3am.
The burger sauce is reminiscent of a barbecue sauce, and was a little sweet for my taste. I wanted the kick of the Sriracha mayo. Matter of fact, I'd eat that mayo on just about anything. Maybe I will spend the last day of my spring break concocting a little of my own mayo.

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