Road Trips

Road Trips: Royal Oak

Its clear that we love Ann Arbor and all it has to offer:) Even so, there are times when we feel like going for a drive, admiring new routes and experiencing something just a little different. Our itchy feet take on various forms – I mean sometimes we’d like to pack a bag and not be back home that night…or the next, and sometimes we just want to throw on old jeans and find someplace to have lunch. Yeah, we may still need to brave the I94 (gulp) but finding different flavors is fun.

Our most recent day trip was Royal Oak, Michigan.

There were some similarities with Ann Arbor, still it had a unique feel. Lots of restaurants, hang outs, breweries and wine lovers haunts, not to mention a wide range of shopping venues from hip, shabby chic to vintage and downright um… alternative(??).

Our first stop was Lilly’s Seafood for their happy hour – good beer and cheap snacks, and really nice atmosphere.  We chose not to have dinner here although it was tempting. Bastone, not too far away  had a really inetersting menu and we just needed to fill the gap until dinner time. Besides there were all these stores we just had to visit.

I am not much of a shopper but the vintage stores were so interesting from a historical point of view. It was fun trying on stuff from them days and yes I bought a few! Two stores that I’d go back to are Lost and Found Vintage and Paris. Now, be warned, while Paris hosts items for young and old, you may find lots of stuff you can’t tear yourself away from without breaking the bank! A few items were more reasonably priced. Lost and Found Vintage can be more affordable.

Incognito was recommended to us by a local and carried a wide range of mod footwear,costume jewelry, and clothing for men and women including Detroit centered merchandise.

Rise was not as large a store as Incognito, but had a great selection too. So did Fierce Fashions, however a little on the funky side.

Even further on the funky side, walking into Noir Leather was like entering some sort of alternate universe. At first glance, a leather store? Not quite… a “a fetish fashion boutique specializing in club wear and bondage accessories,” we leave it up to your imagination.

Bastone calls itself a french brewery and features both an excellent selection of beers brewed in-house, as well as an eclectic menu. This is a popular spot – we arrived after 9:00 pm on a Friday and had to wait for a table. Conveniently there’s a bar on the lower level, so the wait was somewhat entertaining. Be sure you have your ID though, or you won’t get in! We found their “Leuven Waffle” (chicken, leeks and bell peppers in a sour cream and white wine sauce over herbed belgian waffle) to be quite tasty. We also tried their “Seafood Waterzooi” which includes scallops, lobster, crab, shrimp and potatoes in a cream sauce to be quite tasty. The filet offered with various sauce options (including “Diane” – mushroom and cognac) seems to be popular, since they ran out. To finish your meal, Bastone also offers “two bite desserts” – inexpensive small portions that won’t break the bank or your diet!

Tom’s Oyster Bar has great bar staff and we found a few unique draft beer options like DRIPA (Double Rice IPA) and Tom’s Oyster Stout, both from Kuhnhenn’s brewery in Warren. The hot appetizer sampler with Oysters Rockefeller, crab cakes, ginger shrimp served on sauteed spinach, calamari and spinach artichoke dip both smells and tastes delicious! It’s a great platter for two to share, or even dinner for one. We enjoyed the entire platter, but I have to say I don’t think I’ve had better spinach and spinach artichoke dip elsewhere.

Being veterans of the Ann Arbor parking wars, we found parking in Royal Oak to be plentiful and easy to find – both on street and in various lots and structures.

There’s lots more to entertain you in Royal Oak – stay tuned and we’ll fill you in!