by Crysta Coburn
Downtown Ypsilanti is becoming a vibrant place full of new life and new businesses. There are enough shops, cafes, parks, and restaurants to spend a pleasant day tooling around. One of the newest places to finish your day and enjoy a delicious meal and, if you choose, a beer or well-made cocktail is Dolores, a Mexican restaurant located on Washington Street at Michigan Avenue in the former Elbow Room building.
The interior of Dolores combines a laid back lounge feel with a fresh and stylish atmosphere. The staff is friendly, knowledgeable, and ready to help with whatever you might need. The menu has some of my favorites, quesadillas, tostadas, and flautas, as well as a wide range of tacos with your choice of toppings. The vegetarian offerings are especially impressive; this is the first Mexican restaurant where I’ve seen mushrooms as a taco option. And I am always excited when I see fish tacos on the menu, a traditional variety of taco I had grown to love while living in California.
If you start your meal with house-made chips and salsa, you receive three types of salsa ranging in spice intensity. I don’t usually do well with spicy foods, but I gave all three salsas a try, and I had to admit that each was packed with flavor, even if I did cede the spiciest one to my husband and brother-in-law. I suggest pairing the spice with a mojito or cuba libre on the rocks, two of Delores’ specialty cocktails. The agua de horchata (a traditional rice milk beverage) is an excellent non-alcoholic choice.
I feel I must comment on the more sensible size of Dolores’ entrees - and how much I love them! Unlike at many other restaurants, I wasn’t full of appetizers when the main course arrived, and I didn’t forgo dessert because I was already too stuffed to finish my entree. I successfully devoured my portion of the appetizer, my plate of quesadillas, and dessert without forcing myself or leaving the restaurant with regrets (and half a burrito in a doggy bag). The reasonable prices encourage you to try different things, and the plates are great for sharing.
Speaking of dessert, the desserts at Dolores are divine. First my husband and I tried the freshly made churros (fried-dough pastries sprinkled with sugar) and accompanying Nutella dipping sauce. Then we split an order of sweet, creamy flan, an especially perfect ending if your dinner was on the spicy side.
After our first trip to Dolores, my husband and I have already gone back with family, and we have plans to introduce the restaurant to more out-of-town guests. Dolores is the kind of foodie gem that you want to share!
Dolores is located at 6 South Washington Street in downtown Ypsilanti. Closed Monday and Tuesday, Dolores is open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 P.M. to 10 P.M. Follow Dolores on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Dolores-Ypsilanti-157691938222465/ and Instagram at www.instagram.com/dolores.ypsi/.
We are so lucky to live near a foodie town like Ann Arbor. I never thought I would try Himalayan cuisine outside of the Himalayas, but here we are! Located a stone’s throw from I-94 and Ann Arbor-Saline Road is Everest Sherpa Restaurant.
There are familiar items on the appetizer menu, such as steamed or fried vegetable or chicken momos (dumplings) and dal (lentil) soup, but also vegetable pakora, vegetables and “Himalayan spices mixed in chickpea-flour batter then fried” and “served with homemade tamarind and mint sauce.”
Bread options include naan (regular, garlic, or onion), roti (whole-wheat bread), aloo paratha (spiced potato-stuffed whole wheat bread), and Tibetan bread, which tastes slightly sweet and was delicious.
Entrees on the menu are divided into Sherpa and Tibetan traditions (Sherpa Stew, Lhasa Chow Mein, Base Camp Thukpa) and Nepali and Indian cuisines (curries, tikka masala, biryani rice). Many are gluten and dairy free. I went with the Chicken Tandoori, “chicken marinated in yogurt with fresh herbs and Himalayan spices then roasted in a tandoori oven.” A tandoori or tandoor oven, by the way, is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a cylindrical clay oven in which food is cooked over charcoal”. The Chickedn Tandoori was served with rice and dal soup, so combined with an appetizer and bread, the entree turned into two deliciously satisfying meals for me, spiced, but not spicy. (A tandoori or tandoor oven, by the way, is “a cylindrical clay oven in which food is cooked over charcoal,” according to Merriam-Webster.)
I have been very lucky with finding delicious chai this year, and Everest Sherpa Restaurant authentic Sherpa chai is hands down the best chai I have found in Ann Arbor. The mango lassi is also delightful (and filling), making a wonderful sweet treat for hot days.
Speaking of sweet, you must save room for the Sherpa kheer (rice pudding) or lal mohan, “spongy milk balls soaked in rose scented syrup.” If I had to name an American equivalent, they’re a bit like donut holes, only made with entirely different ingredients and swimming in a thin, sweet, chilled syrup.
With such an array of enticing and flavorful menu options, it was difficult to decide on what to order, so I advise everyone to arrive hungry and ready to try new things! Many of the dishes are easy to share, so bringing along a few friends, with everyone ordering a different entree, isn’t a bad idea either.
I can’t talk about a Himalayan restaurant without mentioning the unique decor. Framed pictures of the Himalayas, prayer flags, busts of the Buddha, banners with peaceful quotations, statues, metal and ceramic vessels, and more will delight your eyes. If you have visited the Himalayan Bazaar in downtown Ann Arbor, it will look familiar to you as both businesses share owners.
Located at 2803 Oak Valley Drive in Ann Arbor, Everest Sherpa Restaurant is open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. For more information visit www.everestsherparestaurant.com or call 734-997-5490.
Oh My Chicken
When your business has a name like Oh My Chicken (OMC), you immediately have my attention. OMC is a new fast casual restaurant located in Canton, Michigan that specializes in Korean fried chicken - a “Chickvolution!” And it is pure joy.
How is Korean-style fried chicken different from American? I’ll let OMC explain. “Korean fried chicken is fried at least twice, which makes it extra crispy…. Korean [restaurants] started to add different flavors to the chicken using diverse seasoning ranging from barbecue and hot-pepper sauce with toppings including spring onions, cheese and garlic.” Oh, the garlic!
Chicken wing options include crispy, soy garlic (sweet), Korean zing (sweet), supreme jumbo (medium spicy), and blazing jumbo (spicy), and are available in 12 piece, 24 piece, and combination orders (four wings plus a salad with ginger dressing, fries, and a drink). I couldn’t decide between soy garlic and Korean zing, so I got both and did not regret my decision.
The beverage options are also unique. With your chicken combo, choose between Pepsi products, grape Fanta, Apple Bubbly, La Croix, bottled water, and Sweet Cinnamon Punch (a Korean rice drink). You can also get bubble tea, which has remained popular while simultaneously growing harder to find since its initial 1990s craze.
Despite the name, OMC does offer more than chicken. Enjoy two kinds of ramen or a “cupbob,” a cup of rice topped with meat, vegetables, noodles, fried dumplings, and a special sauce. Sides go well beyond ginger salad and fries, as well. Pick between chicken salad, fried dumplings, coleslaw, kimchi, cheese curds, and Korean mashed potatoes. If you are in time for the lunch combo, try a cupbob and wings (a match made in Heaven) for a single price.
The seating area for OMC is small (it’s a small operation), but I was comfortable eating in. Take-out is also an option, as is limited outdoor seating for nice days. The staff is small (there was a single person running the dining room while I was there), but friendly and attentive.
This is not cheap food (two out of four dollar signs on Yelp), but it is good food. I could see myself grabbing a couple of 24 piece meals and some sides on the way to Sunday night game night with friends. It’s not as inexpensive as buying buckets of chicken from KFC, however, I think the rich flavors and unique style of Korean fried chicken (so crispy!) make it a worthwhile investment. Especially that soy ginger sauce. I think I could polish off a 24 piece of soy ginger wings all on my own!
OMC is located at 5758 North Canton Center Road in Canton, Michigan, and they are open Monday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Find them online at www.ohmychickens.com. Call 734-737-0200 or email email@example.com for more information.