> “When I get the opportunity to sneak out,” says Angelina Italian Bistro sommelier ERICIA BARTELS, better known around the downtown restaurant as Wine Gal Detroit, “I love to head over to Cliff Bell’s. The atmosphere is amazing.” She appreciates seeing how some of the diners and service staff “get all glitzed up,” in keeping with the Art Deco setting. “This has to be my favorite spot of late,” she says. Another fave is “Motor City Brewing Works, perfect pizza every time, and the Nut Brown [brew] is my favorite. Pizza with pears or figs — to die for. You should never attempt to go for just one beer, though. You will surely run into many old friends and end up closing the joint. Also, I love [Salvatore] Scallopini on Mack. The Pasta Fresca with grilled salmon is so wonderful that I usually try to save some for the next day. They recently added a martini list and expanded their wine selection. ”
> CHEF JOE OLSON of Cinco Lagos in Milford says he loves to go to “chef-driven restaurants that are not too far from home and offer delicious food. I consider myself a connoisseur of restaurants that have great side dishes and appetizers,” he says. “Charcuterie platters, prepared cheeses, fries and aioli, and pork anything is always on my table if it’s offered on the menu.” Favorite destinations include The Root Restaurant in White Lake Township, Toasted Oak in Novi, Union Woodshop in Clarkston, and Steve & Rocky’s in Novi. “These places always offer exceptional food and a great dining experience,” he says. And, of course, he and his wife return often to Forest Grill in Birmingham, where he worked before being named Cinco Lagos chef.