Southwest Detroit: Huron Room

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Atmosphere: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Price: 4 out of 5 bites

Taste/Quality: 3.5 out of 5 bites

The third addition to the Inlaws Hospitality group (Green Dot Stables and Johnny Noodle King) is Detroit’s Huron Room. We are coming up on the 1 year anniversary of the restaurant (doors opened Mother’s Day 2016), so I thought it was a good time to feature the Great Lakes inspired joint. Expect to find a new and improved menu full of creative seafood dishes (crab louie salad, lobster and crab nachos), burgers, and some serious comfort food (Pot Roast, City Chicken, BLT). I love that Huron Room offers Michigan made beer and wine, as well as liquor for their craft cocktails. At one point, their menus were actually printed on pieces of thin wood that smelled amazing.

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Clobster Stadium Nachos: Crab, lobster, cheese sauce, house pepper, chives. A nice combo of huge chunks of rich seafood, spicy peppers, and creamy, salty cheese sauce. The chips came out piping hot, extra thick and crunchy. You could tell they were house made. The perfect tool for scooping the delicious toppings into my mouth. A very nice spin on classic nachos.

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Hush Puppies: pimento cheese, house peppers, chives. I am a sucker for hush puppies so when I found these on the menu I was ecstatic. The crispy cornmeal crust was golden brown and filled with a creamy, spicy filling. The sauce was so delicious that I found myself ladling it in my mouth with my fork. I was sweet, creamy, and added a coolness to the spicy peppers. You can’t beat it for $6!

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Fish Sandwich (special): Cod burger topped with lettuce, red onion, and tomato. The fish was juicy, but this sandwich wasn’t my favorite. It was good, but I would’ve liked a little more seasoning and spice. I did like that this was light and didn’t leave me feeling heavy like most burgers do.

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This Great Lakes space decided to revamp their menu a couple months ago and take a different spin on things. Now you can find more than just seafood as well as lower prices. Service is always good and they offer happy hour and a brunch menu (featuring Corn Beef Hash and a Monte Crisco). If  you haven’t tried Huron Room, stop in and see for yourself.

Huron Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Royal Oak: Qdoba

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Taco Salad: Tequila lime chicken, corn salasa, pico de gallo, guacamole, lettuce, black beans, cojita cheese, spicy queso, and sour cream. This is usually my go to because I can go crazy with all the toppings. Fresh, light, and delicious! Totally satisfying and I didn’t feel bad eating it because of all the veggies. The spicy queso packed the heat and I liked that could taste all the different peppers.

Price: 4.5 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 4 out of 5 bites

Service: 4 out of 5 bites

Qdoba is one of the few chain/fast food spots that I enjoy. I really like that you can load up on a ton of veggies and customize your order. They are constantly offering new and exciting menu items and switching things up. Check it out!

Steak Quesadilla: Loaded with sauteed red onions, green peppers, cheese. The steak was tender and flavorful. Salty, spicy, but not overwhelming. Perfect ratio of cheese, veggies, and protein. The green peppers still had a bite to them, but were slightly sauteed. I hate when veggies have been cooked to death that they are so limp and lifeless.

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Knockout Tacos

Gladiator: Grilled steak, bacon, pico de gallo, lettuce, Mexican caesar dressing, cilantro and cotija cheese. The bacon was salty and paired well with the tender steak. I really liked the Mexican Caesar dressing. It was creamy, tangy, with a little kick.

Two timer: Pulled pork, salsa roja, shredded cheese, lettuce, pico de gallo and cotija cheese in a crispy taco, wrapped in a flour tortilla spread with 3-cheese Queso. The queso acted as glue for the second tortilla. It had a “cheesy gordita crunch” vibe, but only better because it was queso! The pulled pork was juicy and the cojita cheese added a hint of salt. The veggies were fresh and balanced out the whole taco. The only thing I didn’t like was that halfway thru, the tortilla started to fall apart so I ended up fork and knifing it.

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My favorite thing about Qdoba is the selection of queso. At any given time, they offer around 3 different types of queso to choose from. The current promo is beer cheese queso and I can’t wait to try it! Each location offers different seasonal items, so be sure to check with your local Qdoba.

Shout out to Sonya at the Northville location. Thanks for the opportunity to try out so many delicious items!

Qdoba Mexican Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Corktown Detroit:Katoi

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Atmosphere: 4.5 out of 5 bites (colorful lights illuminate exposed brick)

Price: 4 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 4.5 out of 5 bites

Service: 4.5 out of 5 bites (Scored one of the last tables @ 6 PM, Thursday night)

Wow Factor: 4.5 out of 5 bites (seasonal menu)

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Located on Michigan Ave in Detroit’s historic Corktown, Katoi opened its doors in March 2016 and has been the hottest new spot ever since. Currently it is being considered as Best New Restaurant for 2017 James Beard Awards and I am convinced when the winners are announced in March, Katoi will be awarded the honors. Diners expect an “out of this world” experience. The flavors are on a whole other planet and this is what the restaurant is centered around. The mother ship has landed and it brings bold and intense tastes!

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Shared plates, so order a lot and be prepared to chow as each plate is delivered

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Thrice Cooked Sweet Potatoes: Palm sugar, sherry, cilantro, topped with crispy shallots and served on a bed of avocado cream sauce.  Insane! The outside of the potato was crispy, yet the inside was tender and creamy. The potatoes weren’t super sweet, but the sugar caramelized the outer edges of the potatoes. The avocado cream sauce added a creamy freshness that offset the richness.

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Chickpea Tofu: Served with herb salad topped with crispy shallots and a sweet chili garlic dipping sauce. The tofu was soft and tender on the inside and crispy on the outside. I didn’t think I would like this as much as I did, but it was delicious! It was like a soft, fluffy, chickpea pillow. The crispy fried shallots added a subtle onion flavor and texture. The sweet chili garlic sauce was the right amount of sweet and heat to spice up the chickpea tofu.

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Drunken Pastrami: Stir-fried rice noodles with thai bail, tomatoes, chilies, black soy sauce, and gai lan (Chinese broccoli). This was my first choice, but it ended up being super spicy! The pastrami was tender and delicious, but the chilies really took over this dish. I really liked the rice noodles and gai lan. Pair with sticky rice to tone down the heat.

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Phat Mama: Stir-fried ramen, sea urchin, cherry tomatoes, chilies, thai basil, steelhead roe, and galangal (root spice similar to ginger). One of my favorites! I was very intimidated by the sea urchin, but it melted into the dish acting like a creamy sauce. The ramen was perfectly tender and delicious. The chilies added a slight kick and Watch out! I wasn’t looking and accidently swallowed one and it lit my tongue on fire.

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Panaeng Curry: Kabocha squash, tofu, lime leaf, peanuts, roti (Indian flatbread). My favorite dish! Most curry’s are too sweet for my liking, but this was the perfect trio of sweet, spicy, and curry. The curry wasn’t overpowering and the sauce was the perfect velvety consistency. The tofu was slightly crispy and absorbed the delicious sauce like a sponge. The squash was creamy and perfectly cooked. The peanuts added texture and the toasted roti was the ideal tool to scoop up the sauce.

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Scallop Sour Curry: Jasmine rice cake, napa cabbage, long beans, thai basil, cured egg yolk. The rice cake was crispy and paired well with the rich broth sauce. The scallops were tender, light, and perfect with the sour curry.  I like that this dish was served with long beans, they added a nice brightness.

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Tom Yum Hotpot: Hot & sour soup, pork & shrimp dumplings, lemongrass, lime leaf, lime, cilantro. This was unlike any hot & sour soup I have tasted before. The broth had a good flavor, but the hot/sour element was subtle. The pork & shrimp dumplings were slightly sweet and tender.

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Flank Steak & Mushrooms: Wild hedgehog mushrooms, king trumpet mushrooms (high quality longer mushrooms), puya (botanical plant), lemongrass, lime, herbs. I loved the meaty, earthy array of mushrooms. The steak wasn’t as tender as I’d like, but it was sliced thin, cooked medium, and delicious.

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Superman Ice Cream: House made blue moon with almond crumb. The best way to end an amazing meal! You could really taste the homemade quality. Creamy, sweet, with that blue moon fruity flavor that I love. The almond crumb was subtle, but added a sweet, nutty crunch.

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Service was great from the moment we walked in and our server did an excellent job of explaining the menu and suggesting different dishes. Each bite was packed with a punch of flavor yet perfectly balanced. I have never tasted such a wide variety of different spices in one sitting before and it was incredibly pleasing.

It pains me to report that early Friday morning, February 17, 2017, Katoi was victim to a devastating arson fire. This breaks my heart as I was just there the night before and so excited to return. Please support the owners and staff of Katoi and help out in any way that is needed. I am confident that when the mothership lands again, it will come back bigger and better than ever!

Katoi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Downtown Detroit: Maru Sushi

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Atmosphere: 3.5 out of 5  bites

Price: 3 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 4.5 out of 5 bites

Service: 3 out of 5 bites (slower than expected wait time on a Sunday afternoon)

Wow Factor: 3.5 out of 5 bites (menu and décor)

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Maru Sushi Key

Rooster Sauce: A fancy, hipster name for Sriracha.

Soy Paper: AKA Mamenori. Thin wrappers made out of soybean.

Kampyo: Dried gourd shavings.

Burn Sauce: Hot, spicy, condiment

Fantasy Sauce: Red, sweet and spicy sauce

Maru Sushi set up shop in November 2016 and has been a hit ever since. The spot occupies space in the Federal Reserve Building on Fort St in Downtown Detroit. My favorite feature is the wacked out menu. Expect to find creative roll names like Super Mario (featuring marinated shitake mushrooms) and Beach Party (with tuna, crab salad, avocado, cuke). You can also get soups, salads, noodles, and entrees off the hibachi grill. See how they ranked.

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Mahalo Roll: Tempura shrimp, avocado, spicy mayo, topped with yellowtail and pineapple salad (red pepper, cucumber, carrot, and pico de gallo). The crunch of the tempura shrimp added texture to the yellowtail and creamy avocado. The spicy mayo added just enough heat. The pineapple salad was bright, sweet, and a refreshing addition. Very tropical and one of my favorites!

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Crouching Tiger: Panko fried shrimp, cream cheese, crab salad, topped with shrimp, avocado, fantasy sauce, eel sauce, honey wasabi aioli, masago (roe: fish eggs) and scallion. The panko added a light crunch to the cream cheese. I really liked the combo of shrimp, crab salad, and fried shrimp. The spice from the fantasy sauce and the sweetness from the eel sauce and honey wasabi took my taste buds for a ride. First you got spicy, then sweet, then heat from the wasabi. Multiple layers of flavor.

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Sexy Bacon: Cherrywood smoked bacon, cucumber, asparagus, crab stick, tempura crunch, in soy paper, with fantasy sauce, eel sauce, creamy garlic sauce and shredded nori. Did someone say Bacon?! Ahhh! This was amazing. Smoky, sweet, crunchy, salty, creamy all exploding onto your taste buds. The soy paper was a nice change. I could not get enough of the fantasy sauce. Seriously, addicting.

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Honeymoon: crab stick, salmon, albacore, cucumber, kampyo, topped with eel sauce, served with tempura crunch and rooster sauce. The rooster sauce added a nice spicy chili flavor and the sweet eel sauce balanced out the heat. The salmon and tuna went well with the fresh cucumber then at the end you got this nice crunch from the tempura. Well done!

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Check out the happy hour menu and daily specials. I am always game to cut costs when I can so this is great. Maru Sushi gets an A+ in the quality category. They use the finest, local ingredients, featuring organic produce, and wild caught fish when possible. They also offer a healthier option of brown rice ($1 extra) and vegan friendly items. Awesome!

Maru Sushi Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier

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I will be honest, I haven’t heard of Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier until a friend of mine scored a gig as the Regional Sales Manager and asked me to sample the stuff. Who me? Sample tons of delicious chocolate and all I have to do is talk about it? No, sorry, I don’t have time for that…..SYKE!

It’s no surprise that Bissinger’s was originally crafted over 350 years ago for European nobles. It’s silky, luxurious recipe tastes as if its fit for a king and it is. No really, King Louis XIV, granted the Bissinger family the title of “Confiseur Imperial.” Basically, Bissinger’s knows their shit when it comes to chocolate.

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Important perks across the Bissinger’s product line

  • Non GMO
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • Gluten Free
  • Organic
  • Incredibly delicious

Here are my highlights:

Caramelized Blood Orange: Touch of orange with a kiss of rosemary. Orange and chocolate usually isn’t my thing, but the citrus combined with caramel and chocolate was perfect. The cocoa and hazelnut nibs added a nice crunch, without taking away from the orange.

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Honey Pepita Caramel: The toasted pepitas added a nice saltiness that paired well with the sweet honey and dark chocolate. Then, POW! Right at the end you got this subtle heat from the guajillo chili powder. It was a really nice mix.

Quinoa Crunch: Nice sold dark chocolate bar, with a crispy crunch. Reminded me of a smoother more sophisticated Nestle crunch

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My top choices:

Banana Pecan Caramel: I know, I was surprised, too! I am not a huge banana fan, either. Now, I can slam a banana in the morning just like the next person, but as far as banana flavored candy or desserts, I usually pass. This was delicious! The subtle banana mixed with the creamy caramel, crunchy pecans, and hint of Pink Peruvian salt really left me wanting more. It reminded me a little of a banana split without being super sweet. Well done!

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Fig Balsamic Truffle: Dark chocolate, mission figs, with a hint of balsamic. The fig was sweet and balanced the bitterness from the dark chocolate. The hint of balsamic was sweet and subtle with a punch of acidity.

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Dark Chocolate Drenched Bing Cherries: Huge cherries coated with dark chocolate. I LOVE cherries and not that artificial cherry crap, but real, plump, juicy cherries. These were delicious without being super sweet. You could taste the quality by the texture of each giant cherry. Hats off to you, Bissinger’s!

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Pink Grapefruit Gummy Pandas: Made with organic tapoica syrup, cane sugar, and genuine fruit flavors. Fruity, tart, and refreshing! I have a strong dislike for grapefruit, but these were really delicious. How creative calling them pandas instead of bears. Cute!

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From basic milk and dark chocolate bars, to some really unique blends, Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier has really created a mouth watering product. I liked the inventive flavor combos and I also enjoyed the way that Bissinger’s balanced the flavors. They also offer soft caramels, premium fruit and nut mixes (drenched in rich chocolate, of course), chocolate covered wine grapes, gummy pandas, gift boxes, and more!

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You can experience Bissinger’s Hand Crafted Chocolate for yourself at the Strolling Wine and Chocolate Tasting in the Dotte February 24th, 6-9 P.M @ P.R.C.U.A Banquet Hall, 1430 Oak St, Wyandotte, MI 48192. Stop by and say Hi to Jake Bolton, the Regional Sales Manager.

If you are ever in the St Louis, MO area, visit Bissinger’s and take a tour of the historic chocolate factory!

Want to score some Bissinger’s for yourself? Contact Jake Bolton @ Jbolton@bissingers.com

Thanks, Jake for the opportunity to experience Bissinger’s Handcrafted Chocolatier.

 

 

Gringo Bandito Hot Sauce

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Gringo Bandito hot sauce was first started in 2004, by the Offspring front man, Dexter Holland as more of a hobby than a business. Dexter thought it would be cool to have a hot sauce and gifted the first batch as Christmas presents to his friends and family. He didn’t expect the response to be so overwhelming and soon after he made the decision to put it on the shelves. It was first sold in California where Dexter is from, but now is distributed globally. Check it out!

Some awesome facts

  • Contains 70% less salt than other major brands
  • No preservatives
  • Gluten Free
  • All natural
  • Paleo friendly

Original (released in 2004): Habanero, Jalapeno, and red Japanese chili peppers bring nice heat and flavor. Nothing is worse than a hot sauce that just burns without having anything else to it. Delicious!

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Super Hot (released on Cinco de Mayo, 2015): Burn it up! Scorpion chili and ghost peppers are the main ingredient in this concoction. It burns, but still has that delicious vinegar base with layers of heat.

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Green (released in 2013): My favorite! Nice flavor with mild heat. Made with habanero and serrano peppers, this green sauce raises temps and still has a tangy, sour vinegar taste.

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To be honest, I didn’t know what to expect. What did the lead singer of the Offspring know about hot sauce? Turns out, I was really impressed! It has a really good flavor and a nice level of heat. Each sauce is different and you can really taste the difference between the original hot, super hot, and green. These hot sauces are the perfect condiment to spice up a boring dish or take an already flavorful meal to the next level. They add the perfect kick of spice without taking away from the food. I dressed up some tacos and also added them to my morning eggs and both were delicious!

I really liked the consistency, it wasn’t thin or watered down. You could taste every pepper that was blended, pureed, and bottled to make each sauce. It wasn’t thick and was exactly how a hot sauce should be: spicy, vibrant, and the perfect consistency.

Be out on patrol for a new taco seasoning expected to be released anytime (early 2017)  and the release of the annual private reserve hot sauce expected in late November which features unique packaging and a flavor profile that changes each year.

Gringo Bandito can be found at Kroger, Whole Foods, Albertsons/Safeway and is served at Chronic Tacos and Wahoo’s restaurants. Gringo Bandito is also rated among the top 10 hot sauces on Amazon.com.

Great job, Dexter! Thanks for sharing your hot sauce with me. I’ll be waiting for the release of the taco seasoning and the private reserve hot sauce.

Detroit: Union Street

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Located on Woodward Ave in Detroit’s Midtown, Union Street has been serving guests since the 1970’s. You can find a heavily Southern influenced menu with unique twists on comfort food like Jumbo Lump Crab Au Gratin and Lobster Grilled Cheese. Expect Louisiana favorites as well as the classics like appetizers, sandwiches, and burgers. Aside from a killer menu, Union Street is packing a mean Bloody Mary Bar fully equipped with a plethora of hot sauce, pickles, olives, seasonings, garlic, horseradish, cheese, salami, you name it. What better way to start the new year?! Don’t forget about the star of the show, the spicy honey bacon! Incredible! See how they ranked.

Atmosphere: 3 out 0f 5 bites

Price: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Quality/Taste: 3.5 out of 5 bites

Service: 3 out of 5 bites

Wow Factor: 3 out of 5 bites

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Bloody Mary: With all the fixins. Like a meal in a glass with a spicy kick. The spicy honey bacon was thick, tacky, and sweet with some heat. Delicious!

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BBQ Brisket Egg Rolls: Four smoked beef brisket rolls filled with sharp Cheddar and shredded cabbage. It’s a no brainer that tender brisket goes well with melty Cheddar, but then you throw in a crispy eggroll and cabbage and it changes the whole game. Brilliant! The homemade BBQ sauce was sweet, but had a nice acidity from the vinegar.

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Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich: Pickled Mustard Seed Drizzle, Bread and Butter Pickle, Creamy Slaw on a Soft Potato Roll. The pickled mustard seed was more on the sweet side, but it went well with the crispy fried chicken. I really liked that it was a thin chicken breast, lightly breaded and perfectly golden. The slaw was delicious! It was lightly dressed and not oozy with heavy mayo (ugh, the worst). It was crunchy and added texture. And the pickles, you can’t go wrong with pickles! Highly recommend this sandwich!

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Jambalaya: Chicken breast, andouille sausage, bell peppers, Cajun shrimp & rice. The shrimp was huge, perfectly seasoned with spices, and succulent. I really liked the rich, sauce with huge chunks of juicy chicken breast, andouille sausage, and bell peppers.

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Service was a little slow at first, but our server Ray did a great job at recommending some delicious menu items. The atmosphere is pretty relaxed at Union Street. There are a lot of regulars and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves and having a good time. The food is what I like to call grown up comfort food. Think childhood favorites like mac and cheese, but add Lobster.Next time, I am checking out the brunch menu!

Union Street Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato