Month: April 2016

173. The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company – April 17, 2016 – Detroit, MI

After picking up some gorgeous baked goods at Avalon International Breads, my solo mini Detroit Day in Midtown a few weekends ago continued with a visit to The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company, a short walk from the bakery. This, my friends, is not some standard coffee shop – it’s a coffee shop/bar! Yes, in addition to serving locally roasted, meticulously crafted coffee concoctions, The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company offers booze – craft beer, wine, and cocktails – and is open late most nights (Monday through Thursday until 11; Friday and Saturday until midnight; and Sunday until 8). So whether you are looking to amp up or mellow out, GLCRC’s got ya!

The shop’s interior is quintessentially modern Detroit – lots of brick, wood, and metal – and has ample seating, boasting both a bar rail and plenty of tables. And let me tell you, this joint serves up some excellent coffee. I had the lavender latte, and it was everything you want in a coffee: rich, smooth, and flavorful. What a difference high-caliber coffee beans make!

Prior to visiting GLCRC, I’d seen some complaints on Yelp about the sizes of the coffee drinks it ofers. Some people felt they hadn’t gotten enough bang for their buck. And yes, my lavender latte came in a glass that was smaller than the small coffee I’d get at a corporate-chain house. But this was A-OK with me, because the coffee was so delicious; it cost a fair price to me considering the quality. Also, my caffeine tolerance is about nil. This was the perfect size for me; I got a little buzz, but I wasn’t vibrating-in-my-body-insane feeling (as I was when I made the mistake of getting a large Starbucks iced coffee last summer and literally felt like I was on drugs). Cheers to that!

3965 Woodward Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

(with additional locations in Bloomfield Hills and inside Cobo Hall)

www.greatlakescoffee.com

172. Avalon International Breads – April 17, 2016 – Detroit, MI

20160417_10395920160417_10410420160417_10421320160417_104347Hello, all! Happy Thursday to you! The weekend – and time for more exploring – is within our sights!!!

Two weekends ago, on an incredibly gorgeous Sunday morning (remember that fantastic weekend where temps got into the 70s, my fellow locals, and we could actually turn our heat off for a few days? It was glorious, right?), I decided it was time for another jaunt down to the D. This time it was to visit The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company’s Midtown location and Avalon International Breads. While I was scouting for parking near Great Lakes Coffee (which abuts ol’ construction-tattered Woodward), I stumbled upon Avalon and a plum slot within the small row of free parking spots in front of it. Sweet Lady Luck! I knew the two were super-close in proximity (about a third of a mile), but damn, that worked out perfectly! I made the bakery my first visit.

Stepping across Avalon’s threshold, I got that familiar rush of excitement and local pride I get when I enter a bustling, gorgeously hipster-y Detroit establishment. Look at all these cool people and cool stuff! Locally made jams! Handmade breads and baked goods made with only organic flour! I joined the long line flanking the front counter, which moved surprisingly quickly; the Avalon staff works like a well-oiled machine! A loaf of Farnsworth Family Farm sourdough and a slab of frosted carrot cake made it into my bag, both of which proved to be quite delicious. I especially enjoyed slathering the slices of sourdough with butter and the locally made Gus & Grey Southern Lovin’ Blackberry Bourbon Vanilla Jam I picked up during my visit to Parker Street Market back in February (OBSESSED with that jam – it’s phenomenal – out of it and need to grab more!).

422 W. Willis St.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.avalonbreads.net

171. La Marsa – April 9, 2016 – Troy, MI

20160409_19544120160409_185341A few weeks ago, I had a night on the town with my best homegirl, cheapie style! She had a gift card for Bahama Breeze, where we dreamed of summer whilst sipping tropical cocktails on the enclosed patio; I had a Groupon for La Marsa in Troy, where we dined prior to drinks, stuffing ourselves full of wonderful food, including fabulously free, never-ending refills of pita bread and garlic sauce (essential!).

An elegant dining area, excellent service, and gloriously garlicky lemon-oregano shish tawook makes La Marsa a must-visit if you’re craving high-caliber Mediterranean food. Troy isn’t the establishment’s only location; it also has restaurants in Bloomfield Hills, Brighton, Waterford, West Bloomfield, and two locations in Farmington Hills.

3720 Rochester Rd.

Troy, MI 48083

www.lamarsacuisine.com

170. Half-Baked Bakery – March 27, 2016 – Harrison Twp., MI

20160326_141531Harrison Township represented on the blog! What what!

As revealed in my Year Two Review, my goal for Year Three is to visit at least one place residing in a new-to-the-blog city each month. I didn’t accomplish this for February (wah wah), but I got March covered with a visit to the lovely little Half-Baked Bakery on Jefferson Ave., where I procured one of the best pieces of carrot cake I have ever had in my life. Behold!

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Half-Baked Bakery’s crazy-good carrot cake with cream cheese icing

This cake was pretty glorious – all moist and rich and studded not only with shredded carrot, but also walnuts, pineapple, raisins, and shredded coconut. AMAZING!

The whimsical little shop with a pleasant granny feel to it (owed in large part to the handmade craft items for sale decking its walls) sells not only baked goods such as the carrot cake, lemon bars, cookies, etc., it also offers soups, salads, and a wide variety of sandwiches. Plus it takes custom cake orders, creating some seriously elaborate confections.

Worth mentioning: Half-Baked’s hours of operation are limited; it is closed on Sundays and Mondays and only open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. the rest of the week. But if you can take a chance to steal away and check out some of its goodies, do it. It’s very close to Metro Beach, so you can have your run at Metro and then conveniently jaunt on over to Half-Baked for a bit of a (totally justified) reward!

39667 Jefferson Ave.

Harrison Twp., MI 48045

100 Places in the D’s Top Ten of Year Two

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Two James Spirits (#162)

This list is a few months overdue. Year Two of this little project ranged from February 8, 2015 through February 7 of this year, to be precise. But as a recovering perfectionist with way too many interests and way too little time, in my opinion, to pursue them, I’ve found it best to operate from a “better late than never” philosophy. Much more fun than being rigid and self-punishing! So here, just in time for spring (hopefully! How about that snow this past weekend, my locals?) are my top ten favorite visits from Year Two – listed in no particular order, because ranking them would’ve been way too hard. They are all excellent!

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Brew Detroit (#141)

Brew Detroit (#141, Detroit): I visited some awesome breweries in Year Two, but Brew Detroit was the awesome-est in my book. The fantastic beers (a lavender- and chamomile-infused saison and a blonde flavored with vanilla beans and cacao nibs) I tasted during my visit still pleasingly haunt my memory – especially since I can’t go back and get them! Brew Detroit has a philosophy that once a batch of a particular microbrew it creates is gone, that’s it – they go back to the flavor drawing board and dream up another. Love that spirit of innovation and creativity and that you never know what you’re gonna get when you go there. Also love the chill industrial vibe and the friendly bartenders of its tasting room.

Le Petit Prince (#110, Birmingham): The almond croissant – I can’t. So. F@cking. Good. Le Petit Prince is more than legit; it’s legendary.

CC Plus at the Center (#114, Mount Clemens): Friendly, accessible drop-in fitness center that hosts Zumba, toning/strength-training classes, yoga, boxing, you name it. Affordable prices for a variety of drop-in pass options. Love going there and getting my ass kicked!

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The Meeting House (#122)

The Meeting House (#122, Rochester, MI): Great food, innovative cocktails, and classy environs make this restaurant stand up to it name. The Fat Elvis French toast is very probably the best French toast I will ever have. Brunch is not f@cking around here.

The Nautical Ride (#136, Saint Clair Shores): It was a rocky start: I can’t remember another time I was more terrified on a bike (the loaner I was using was rough!). But once I got into the swing of things, I thoroughly enjoyed this (impressively) organized large-scale group ride around neighborhoods of Saint Clair Shores surrounding the Nautical Mile. Looking forward to heading out on another of its jaunts this summer.

Two James Spirits (#162, Detroit): Nondescript on the outside, gorgeous on the inside, Two James is a lovely, lovely bar and distillery that crafts its cocktails and ambiance with care. The perfect setting for some nice and easy Sunday day-drinking.

The Clean Plate (#104, Shelby Township): Excellent vegetarian/vegan café in an area that is sorely lacking such options. The Clean Plate is doing the good work.

The Heidelburg Project (#129, Detroit): Once I finally made it over to this legendary outdoor art installation on Heidelburg Street in Detroit (my first visit at 30 – how?), I was incredibly moved – by the vastness, the vivacity, the resourcefulness and inventiveness of it. Whether you’re passionate about contemporary/found art as I am – or simply love our great city and this monument to it – I have no doubt that you’ll find witnessing it to be an inspiring, thought-provoking experience.

Luxe Bar and Grill (#160, Birmingham): The standout barbeque burger and craft cocktails make the wait in the cluster of the lobby (beyond tiny!) completely worthwhile.

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Mercury Burger and Bar (#162)

Mercury Burger and Bar (#161, Detroit): Love the cute and cherry vibes of this lovely little Detroit diner/bar. The Southwest Detroit burger – PHENOMENAL. Definitely in my top-ten list of best things I have ever eaten. And poutine tater tots, people!!! How did I ever live without poutine tater tots in my world?