Harvest - Traverse City, MI
Harvest reminds me of the 2014 movie Chefs with Jon Favreau. You know? The movie where Favreau goes a little crazy, gets himself a food truck, makes delicious food and lives happily ever after. I don't know if Simon went a little crazy, but I'm sure hoping that they have a happily ever after because their food is awesome. These guys are changing up what eating is and how you see food AND more importantly they are having a lot of fun doing it.
El Guanaco - Troy, Michigan
Rojo - Birmingham, Michigan
I don’t know what to say, except…. Not worth it. I went on Taco Tuesday, which I had seen exhaustedly hailed on Facebook by coworkers and other FB friends. “Checked in at TacoTuesday!” I saw it so many times I wanted to go myself. Cheap, delicious tacos? SOLD!!!! Well, tacos on Tuesday ARE cheap. But all of their food is bland. I enjoyed their tableside guacamole because fresh avocado is always amazing, but it still lacked pizazz and flavor. I was dying for hot sauce and other seasonings, but I made it through my dinner with coworkers and decided never to come back. The saddest moment was the fish taco. I love good fish tacos! And I’m not too picky. But these were fishy tasting with some mayo glopped onto cabbage. After forcing myself to eat the first, my friend asked the waitress if she could swap my second because the tacos weren’t good. She looked at my plate and gave a sneer- “well, it was good enough to eat the first one.” I have a comeback for her, too late to deliver- their restaurant was definitely NOT good enough to return… Birmingham prices and atmosphere with downright shitty tacos messed with my good nature.
Imperial - Ferndale, Michigan
Isalita - Ann Arbor, Michigan
Isalita is the sister Mexican restaurant to its neighbor, Mani Osteria. So it was on my “MUST VISIT” list, because I had to see if it would do for Mexican what Mani did for Italian. The answer is, noooot quite. It’s gotten some great reviews and I had some delicious flavors, but there were a few issues. I know I repeat the “happy hour” instruction often, but I find that it’s a MUST in Isalita. They have happy hour specials of the day that include discounted guacamole and cheap tacos on other days. If I go back, it will be on cheap taco day. Because these little guys are way too rich for my blood. And I DO mean little. I ordered a fried fish taco, and it was a tiny finger-sized fish stick on a tortilla with some quite delicious pickled add-ons, but a fish stick all the same. The Al Pastor was a phenomenal, sticky, seared piece of pork belly (but still small). It was a standout on an otherwise “alright” meal. Their truffled guacamole was a win! But it was $10. We also ordered a margarita and a craft pop. Our small but filling meal would have come to around $45 if the waiter hadn’t accidentally served my gluten-free friend a very gluten-filled flour tortilla, claiming it was corn. She ate some before she realized, and the restaurant bent over backwards to apologize. Our waiter told us he’d pay for the meal. That’s right, the whole meal. Only in Ann Arbor, where gluten allergies are had (or claimed) by at least 50% of the population. We weren’t mad, but we were happy about not overpaying for a tasty but too small Mexican meal. Expect loud noise, cramped seating and a terrible date atmosphere. Not a lot of charm here- it feels like a college frat party in an expensive location. Try it out- but read their specials on the website before planning!
Giving you a taste of what I taste. From gourmet to everyday. No pretentious bull - just good food.