Month: August 2015

134. Toast – August 2, 2015 – Ferndale, MI

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Toast Ferndale 2

Sunrise Drink Toast Ferndale

Toast! I’d been wanting to visit either this Ferndale location or the Birmingham one for the longest. I found the Ferndale spot – a small, vibrant, bustling modern-day diner that serves breakfast and lunch – very charming. I brunched with a friend, and over an awesome waffle-and-fried-chicken-sandwich and the requisite pretty-hued brunch drink (the Sunrise, a tequila sunrise and mimosa mash-up, shown above), we caught up and enjoyed the lively ambiance. Waits for seating at this popular Ferndale fixture are known to be long; I believe ours was about 25 minutes, which I honestly didn’t think was terrible for late-morning on a busy Sunday. It didn’t hurt that it was gorgeous outside, making the wait out there amidst the blue skies and sunshine a pleasant experience (I heart you, Michigan summers!).

23144 Woodward Ave.
Ferndale, MI 48220

www.eatattoast.com

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133. Rochester Municipal Park – August 1, 2015 – Rochester, MI

Rochester Municipal Park

Yesterday, I ran in a 5K race at AdvoKate, a charitable event held in remembrance of Kate Hrischuk, a local six-year-old girl who died of brain cancer in 2007. Her family started this inspiring annual event to honor her as well as to benefit St. Jude and its research on pediatric brain tumors. So you couldn’t help but feel good running in this race! Not to mention, it was a gorgeous, clear-skied, sunny summer morning, and the Rochester Municipal Park – the race headquarters – is a beautiful facility. It contains a lovely pond, play areas for kids, and paths that are great for running, biking, and dog-walking. The race trail wound through the park, downtown Rochester, and surrounding residential areas. As you would expect if you’re familiar with Rochester’s topography, it was quite hilly – and okay, going up the hills really sucked at times. But the ease of the downslopes made those uphill battles totally worth it!

You can learn more about AdvoKate at http://www.advokaterun.org.

608 Seventh St.

Rochester, MI 48307

http://www.ci.rochester.mi.us/196/Municipal-Park

132. Batch Brewing Company – July 12, 2015 – Detroit, MI

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On a lovely Sunday afternoon earlier this month, I and some friends went to check out Batch Brewing Company and an event called Stop Drop and Detroit: Boards and Beers Edition put on by Citizen’s Yoga, Brooklyn Outdoor, and j’adore Detroit, an amazing Detroit-centric WordPress blog that I follow and that made me hip to this super-fun event. It was an afternoon of delish micro-brews and silly hijinks (we played Uno Dare! – imagine that coupled with alcohol). There were various boards game strewn across the bar tables, and it was great to see the place full of people having fun and interacting with each other. And to eat homemade pretzels! You’ve gotta try the fresh homemade soft pretzels with beer-cheese fondue and beer-infused mustard – yuummmmmm.

After a few hours of drinking and gaming, we went to Green Dot Stables and gobbled a couple of sliders there. That place, like Batch, was crowded. It warmed my little heart to see Detroit full of life on a Sunday that wasn’t a game day (the Tigers were out of town that weekend). I think the ghost-town days that used to characterize so many weekends when a major event wasn’t scheduled down there are, thankfully, a thing of the past. 🙂

1400 Porter St.

Detroit, MI 48216

http://www.batchbrewingcompany.com

131. Forgotten Harvest – July 11, 2015 – Oak Park, MI

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Photo courtesy of Yvonne

Photo courtesy of Yvonne

Photo courtesy of Yvonne

Guys, I have been horrible at maintaining the blog this past month! In part, I blame summer and all of this gorgeous, lovely phenomenal weather we’ve been having the past two weeks (Finally! I’m loving it!). And getting a new day job and all of the hustle and bustle that comes with that (22 miles closer to home – yay!). Excuses, excuses – but I’ve holed myself up in a coffee shop on this lovely Sunday afternoon (after a phenomenal brunch at Toast in Ferndale – a post will be coming on that soon!) to try to catch up. I really do hate being behind on stuff – and I’ve done some cool stuff this month that I want to share!

I really wanted to go into my experience volunteering at Forgotten Harvest three weeks ago, not only because working in its beautiful Oak Park facility was new to me, but because it is an incredibly impressive charitable organization that does lifesaving work. Living in the Metro-Detroit area my whole life, I’ve been aware of Forgotten Harvest’s presence and the fact that it provides food for those in need, but I had no idea of the magnitude of its scope (it delivers food to 280 area organizations that help the hungry, according to its website) or the fact that it rescues so much food from going into landfills (48.8 million pounds last year alone!). It does this by means such as procuring food from local groceries chains – Kroger being one – that has been deemed unsellable but that is still perfectly good. The Saturday I was there for the morning volunteer session, our job was to pack yellow squash and then zucchini into plastic Kroger bags – in bunches of 1-3, depending on size. The bags would then be distributed in packages that would go to local families. We had to examine the vegetables to make sure there were no soft spots/other signs of them going bad and discard the ones that were, but most of them were perfectly good. Some were a little nicked up, and a few looked a bit unconventional (I came across at least one pair of yellow squash that were joined together lengthwise but perfectly fine to use), but overall they were totally fine. It was a reminder of how stringent American-consumer expectations are when it comes to produce (It has to look perfect! It has to be as big as your face!) – often, in this era of pesticides, GMOs, and factory farming, to our detriment. But that’s a whole other topic; I won’t get on my soapbox about that here!

Long story short, in just a few hours, me and the other volunteers (I think there were about 20 of us total -12 from the Meet-Up group I volunteered through and then some other volunteers with other affiliations) packed about 9,500 pounds of zucchini and yellow squash! We definitely couldn’t have done it without the help of the full-time Forgotten Harvest workers, who were there to count and weigh the bags we packed and to bring in additional pallets of vegetables as we burned through them. They were an amazing crew! Apparently they were short-staffed the day I was there, but the ones there operated like frickin’ bosses. I can’t say enough about how hard they worked, or about how clean and professionally maintained the warehouse was. If you are looking for a meaningful volunteer opportunity in the area, you should definitely check this place out! The Meet-Up group I volunteered through, Good Karma, has a standing monthly volunteer opportunity scheduled with Forgotten Harvest; they take groups over there every second Saturday for 8:45 a.m. to 12 p.m. shifts. The pictures above were taken by group member Yvonne. Thanks, Yvonne!

21800 Greenfield Rd.

Oak Park, MI 48237

http://www.forgottenharvest.org