Lisa O’Donnell and Bonnie Fishman

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

Lisa O’Donnell of Grape Expectations, the Plymouth wine bar, is not just a wine lover. “I am an ethnic food junkie — in particular Middle Eastern and Asian,” she says. “When I go out to eat, it’s with my husband and two kids [8 and 11] who are pretty adventurous eaters. For Japanese, we go to a local place called Izakaya Sanpei in Canton, but have recently discovered a new place called Tomo in Plymouth Township. I always get something like Nabeyaki Udon. It’s the perfect dish — noodles, broth, veggies, egg, and chicken. For extended family special occasions, and because my husband is Chinese-American, we go to Shangri-La in West Bloomfield. We love their dim sum on Sundays.” The family also likes the sampler platter at La Shish. “The platter for two is enough to feed all of us with leftovers to take home,” O’Donnell says.

Bonnie Fishman teaches cooking, along with producing great entrees, cakes, and cookies at her Bonnie’s Kitchen in Bloomfield Township. “Working in food service all of my life, I never sit down to eat, only grabbing little bites all day,” she says. “So small plates appeal to me, particularly the selection at Vinology in Ann Arbor.” She shows her international side with such favorites as the fried shrimp appetizer at Sy Thai in Birmingham, the aloo paratha at Shalimar in Farmington Hills, the udon noodle bowl at Little Tree in Royal Oak, and the pommes frites at Bastone, also in Royal Oak. When it comes to pastries, however, she says, “If they’re not from my shop, I’ll pass, unless you offer me a chocolate croissant from The Croissanterie in Marigot on St. Martin — the best in the world.”