Cravings: January 2015

Their stylish menus are enticing enough to attract a loyal clientele of discriminating diners, but no matter how expert they are, restaurant people like to take a break from their own kitchens for a taste of someone else’s cooking.

Adam Galloway, executive chef at both The Bird & the Bread in Birmingham and Vinology in Ann Arbor, recalls going to Loui’s in Hazel Park when he was a little boy. “The deep-dish pizza transports me back to my childhood. The menu has been pretty much the same since then, too,” he says. “I’m also a fan of great cold cuts and crusty bread, and Ventimiglia’s in Sterling Heights combines these two items perfectly. Freshly cut while you wait mortadella, capicola, and prosciutto sandwiched between crusty bread with a side of hot peppers is one of my favorite things to eat. I usually end up filling up a couple quart containers with olives or buying some fresh pasta or other Italian imports.” Another favorite is Vietnamese pho. “I stumbled upon pho when I was living in Chicago and was hooked,” he says. “Flavorful broth with tendon, tripe, and beef brisket topped off with sprouts, jalapeno, cilantro, basil, and lots of sriracha.”A favorite pho spot is Blue Star Restaurant in Clinton Township. “My all-time favorite spot to grab a drink is the Heidelberg in Ann Arbor. They have a great beer list by bottle and draft. The thing that keeps me going back is the staff … Al in the kitchen always comes out to talk. And Slimmers is hands-down the best bartender and friend to talk to. No matter how long it’s been, by the time I have a seat she has a pint of Spaten Optimator waiting for me.”


Mary Ann Gualtieri, co-proprietor of Motor City Meatball Kitchen in Warren, is married to musician Toty Viola. “He is always working on my only day off, Sunday, therefore to have a little family time, our daughter, Bella, and I like to visit him at La Dolce Vita for Sunday brunch. She loves the mascarpone French toast and I have my usual eggs Benedict,” she says. “If I can get out early enough on a Saturday evening, I’ll head out to hear him at Huerto Tequila Bar in West Bloomfield. I sit at the bar and pair my Michigan cherry margarita with their to-die-for flautas appetizer. Mondays are my husband’s day off, so you can usually find our family at Bar Louie in Rochester sharing the chopped salad (the same salad that inspired the one on our menu) and an order of salmon sliders.”