Posted February 2016 by
KALAMAZOO, MI — As many of you know, I’m on the road right now — searching for Michigan’s Best Dessert.
Yesterday I was in Howell, and today I’m in Kalamazoo and Plainwell, visiting restaurants for desserts nominated and voted on my you, the readers of MLive.
Overall, I am stopping at 19 restaurants throughout the state and sampling each one’s signature dish, as well as a few extras along the way. We took our 11 poll winners, and then we added a few extras along the way to come up with our group of finalists.
I made my first stop on Friday, Feb. 12, 2016 at Diamonds Steak & Seafood, located at 209 E Grand River Ave., in Howell.
It was here I met owner/chef Adam Merkel and his mom, Nancy Mazaris, who is the pastry chef.
They are known for their famous Carrot Cake, which is made fresh each day and served warm. In fact, Nancy even puts the house-made icing on each individual slice as it goes out the kitchen.
It was so good!
Each slice is about 3×4 inches and almost 2 inches thick! It will feed two people easily.
“But you better order two, especially if you’re at a table of 4,” Merkel said. “I have seen people fight over it.”
In addition to the famous carrot cake, which is sold to about 75 percent of the tables each day, Diamonds is known for chef Nancy’s specialty cheesecakes.
On the day we visited she brought out a New York-style cherry cheesecake and a Baileys chocolate chip cheesecake. Both of them were out of this world good; light and creamy. She even makes her own crust.
It was a great first visit because of their passion for locally sourced and farm fresh products.
Oh, and if you’re having dinner at Diamonds, I recommend the Filet Mignon tips with sweet Cajun sauce. It’s another signature dish, Merkel said. It was popular long before he purchased the restaurant 5 years ago.
Paired with the carrot cake, these two menu items account for 40 percent of sales at Diamonds, he added.
Of course I had to try Filet Mignon tips, along with fresh seared scallops, which are drizzled with a house-made Champagne butter sauce and crispy brussels sprouts, which are made with fresh lime, organic agave and siaracha for a sweet and spicy twist. Loved it all. Kudos to chef Adam.