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Comfort food, local ingredients: Birmingham, MI's The Townhouse

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On a recent super-snowy evening, comfort food made with local ingredients definitely felt like it would fill the bill. Birmingham, Michigan's The Townhouse prides itself in creating comfort food dishes with innovation, using Michigan ingredients and having a great beer selection.

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Hip, modern music plays in the background and they have lots of comfy booths. Water is served in Mason jars.

Here's a simple. Spanish-influenced appetizer that goes into the "Where has this been all my life?!" category: Date with a Pig. It's Medjool dates, Gorgonzola, Marcona almonds, Nueske's bacon and balsamic reduction. The sweetness, richness and saltiness all in one bite is genius.

The Townsend Burger is pretty decadent: 10 oz. proprietary blend of 28 dry aged steak cuts, prepared daily and hand pattied to order on their authentic Plugra butter brioche bun, topped with bourbon glazed onions, aged Cabot white cheddar, served with fries. Plugra, a European style butter with a bit of tang, is a bit expensive but prized by chefs. If you wanna know how I make burgers at my house, this is pretty much it! I like Cabot's tangy aged cheddar, too. The burger is served with a garlic aioli, adding even more richness. I upgraded the fries to truffle fries, but they weren't very truffle-y . . . just stick with the regular fries.

I got myself to The Townhouse by reading an article about the best mac and cheese in the Detroit area in Ambassador magazine. It's touted as "Your liason to the good life!" Smoked chicken mac & cheese is made with hickory smoked Otto's Farm chicken, Strozzapreti pasta with Boursin, Cotswald and Marscapone cheese. This is a very rich dish . . . you can easily share it! The luxurious European cheeses and smoked, local chicken take the dish -- served in a cast-iron pan -- into a whole other level.

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