The most common food question that I am asked is actually about coffee. People want to know where my favorite places are and why I love them. I like different places for very different reasons, depending on my specific needs of the day, but here is the short list:
5) Great Lakes Coffee (Detroit) – GLC is the best bean to take home and brew. Meaning, its hard for the average consumer to mess it up. You can make it even in an old-school peculator and it would still come out rather consistent and delicious. After that, it’s simply a matter of preference on which blend suits your palette.
Tip: If you go into their Midtown location, try the waffle. http://www.greatlakescoffee.com/
4) Chazzano Coffee Roasters (Ferndale) – This place is a hard-core tasting room. They roast their own beans on location. No food is served, as it also a certified kosher facility. However, that is not what makes this place unique. That fact that there isn’t a shortage in the ways they can brew your coffee is a great selling point. Coffee Syphon (Vacuum Pot), French Press, Aeropress, and Espresso are just a few of their brewing options. However, the mother of all brews is the Cold Brew. It is literally the best that I’ve ever had and it really showcases the superior quality of their beans. Cream or sugar is highly frowned upon and the coffee bean selection is almost staggering to wade through but there is no reason to be intimidated as their staff is very knowledgeable, patient, and not snobby in any way. If sugar or cream is your thing (cream is mine) just ask for it!
Tip: Ask them about “Drinking the Cycle.” http://www.chazzanocoffee.com/
3) The Red Hook (Ferndale) – Stumptown Coffee Roasters is their featured coffee. Hair Bender is the best blend. It is often voted as a favorite by coffee snobs around the country but I like that it is a really consistent everyday brew. It’s a coffee that pleases a wide array of palettes. That is not an insult but a compliment. To find a blend of coffee that can appease the average coffee drinker AND the pretentious snob is a stroke of genius. The atmosphere is the best, bar none. It is a real community hub with a warm, friendly staff.
Tip:They share a space with Pinwheel Bakery. The cinnamon donut is angry good! http://www.theredhookdetroit.com
2) Commonwealth (Birmingham) – Also roasted on-site, Commonwealth has a good cup of coffee and a great espresso! Their beans are of good quality and the extraction process is great as well. I often drink the latte and it almost tastes sweet.
Tip:It’s downtown Birmingham so parking sucks. Pack your patience and some quarters. http://www.gocommonwealth.com
1) Astro Coffee (Detroit) – This, for me, is the mother of all coffee joints. Their beans are brought in from several different roasters around country but the consistency of the extraction is impeccable. Again, my favorite is the latte and it is richly complex.
Tip: Try the food. The egg sandwich is infused with garlic aioli, herbs, and comes on a brioche type roll. I promise myself that I will wait until I get home to eat it but its so irresistible that I end up eating it on the drive. In turn my hand gets covered with aioli and shame. http://www.astrodetroit.com
Honorable Mention(s): Cafe Con Leche, and Le Petite Zinc.