Month: January 2017

224. Espresso Elevado – December 27, 2016 – Plymouth, MI

espressoelevado1espressoelevado2Coffee shops are some of my favorite places to hang out – especially independent ones. The well-known corporate chain shops just don’t exude the same character that the small, locally-owned ones do (while I do admittedly have a fondness for Tim Hortons –  their peppermint tea is stellar! – the ambiance is, well . . . that of an interior of a Tim Hortons). My friend who recently met me in downtown Plymouth loves coffee shops, as well, so we thought enjoying a hot beverage at Espresso Elevado before hitting the road would be a fitting way to cap off our visit.

The interior of this coffee shop is tiny; there are only a few tables to sit at, plus a pair of plush armchairs. But it’s cute and cozy and makes a mean cappuccino.

Espresso Elevado offers a variety of specialty coffee drinks and yummy-looking baked goods (including gluten-free ones). In studying its website, the emphasis on coffee brewing as a craft is apparent, as is the value given to fostering a workplace where all are recognized for their respective roles and talents (there are profiles on everyone from the founder to the creative director to the baristas). I like that about it. The place may be small, but it’s got big heart!

606 S. Main St.

Plymouth, MI 48170

223. Bohemian Home – December 27, 2016 – Plymouth, MI

bohemianhome1bohemianhome2bohemianhome3Bohemian Home is yet another cute shop that I visited while in downtown Plymouth last December. Its wares included: a number of Michigan-themed items, artisan candles, and the fun coin purses shown above.

Seriously, Plymouth, you are on point! If you haven’t visited its downtown, you need to. Its plethora of arty shops and restaurants and Gilmore Girls-eque town square will charm you.

427 Forest Ave.

Plymouth, MI 48170

222. Sideways – December 27, 2016 – Plymouth, MI

sideways1sideways2sideways3sideways4-2Sideways is one of the shops that sticks out for me on my recent visit to downtown Plymouth, because it touts such unique items. I would characterize it as half home goods, half quirky-awesome gift items. There are elegant flatware, glassware, and fancy packaged foods inside the expansive storefront, but there are also coffee mugs and canvas bags with silly sayings on them (see above). There is Poo~Pourri! and goofy notepads. There are fancy coffees and teas and candles and loads of other stuff you’ll get lost in looking at.

505 Forest Ave.

Plymouth, MI 48170

221. Birch Wood – December 27, 2016 – Plymouth, MI

birchwood1Guys, I’m so behind on this blog! I’ve been posting more regularly on my food blog, A Cookable Feast, which is happy, but it’s taken away from my blogging time here. So it’s time to go hard, for real-for real! I want to catch up and tell you about some of the things I’ve been doing in January – and Year 3 of the blog closes on February 7, a mere two weeks from today! So expect me to be on here more in the next few weeks. I haven’t been exploring nearly enough places this month, and I am happy to have the motivation to get out there more – especially since we’ve been so fortunate to have warmer weather (for January) here in the D.

Birch Wood is another one of the cute shops I visited in downtown Plymouth at the end of December. It offers stylish women’s clothing – and it also touts itself as a home décor and furniture shop on its website. I don’t recall seeing home décor and furniture in the shop on my visit there – but honestly, it’s been a while, and it was probably so artfully woven in among the clothing displays that I didn’t notice it. I do remember a variety of essential oils and a diffuser being on display – that could count as home goods, right?

525 Forest Ave.

Plymouth, MI 48170



219. Earth Lore – December 27, 2016 – Plymouth MI

earthlore3-2earthlore1earthlore2-2Another store I visited during my recent visit to downtown Plymouth was Earth Lore, a spiritual/new-age store similar to recently highlighted Crystal Treasures in Pontiac, but bigger.

I couldn’t pass up the temptation to add more tumbled stones to my collection. Regardless of whether those crystals really have magic in them, they are beautiful! They bring out a child-like admiration in me that I’m all about honoring. (I find that unless I’m intentional about cultivating wonder, the daily grind of adulting won’t ignite sparks of it in me nearly enough – hence, this blog and the deliberate explorations!)

Besides selling pretty polished stones, Earth Lore offers all of the things you would expect a new-age bookstore to sell: metaphysical books, candles, essential oils, herbs, incense. Go in there for the smell of the incense alone. You know when you go into a store selling incense and the aroma of patchouli clings to you for a few minutes after leaving? I love that!

895 Wing St.

Plymouth, MI 48170

218. Opendohr – December 27, 2016 – Plymouth, MI

20161227_14130920161227_141225Hi guys! Happy Tuesday! I’ve been lax about recounting my visit to downtown Plymouth the last week of December, so it’s time to catch up. Here’s another shop I visited: Opendohr. The store offers – as its front door proclaims – a mix of vintage, antique, and new finds. The eclectic items displayed there appear to be carefully chosen and are incredibly fun to take in – check out the gorgeous tower bejeweled with a variety of colorful plastic items shown in the photo above.

470 Forest Ave.

Plymouth, MI 48170

217. Bella Mia – December 27, 2016 – Plymouth, MI

20161227_14094020161227_140852Last week, during the holiday break, I met a friend for lunch and shopping in downtown Plymouth. We had an excellent afternoon. I was reminded of how much I love that city and how worth it the approximately 45-mile jaunt from my neck of the woods is to get out there!

After lunch at the repeat-visit-worthy Compari’s on the Park and a visit to the aptly named TranquiliTea for batches of organic peppermint tea and a papaya-laced black and green tea blend, my friend and I hit a variety of very cute shops. Admittedly, I think I probably visited some of these during my last visit to Plymouth in January 2015, but I wasn’t disciplined enough to snap photos of most of the shops I went in then. So they are getting covered now. I figure hey, if the initial visit was during the lifetime of this blog, then it’s fair game to post on here. These shops have obviously been curated with care; they deserve to be highlighted!

Take Bella Mia, for instance. It’s a purveyor of stylish women’s clothing and accessories. I loved the boho styles it touted and these really cute knit hats with poms-poms they had. I need to come back once I recover from the holiday expenditures and can more seriously shop!

448 Forest Ave.

Plymouth, MI 48170

216. Alfoccino – December 21, 2016 – Auburn Hills, MI

20161221_12440920161221_120730-2Before our holiday break at work, one of my very kind coworkers took me and another coworker out for lunch. When she suggested Italian restaurant Alfoccino in Auburn Hills, I was ecstatic. A new place to visit! The neighborhood around my workplace is scattered with all kinds of corporate-chain restaurants, so I didn’t expect to go to a locally-owned establishment that I’d never been to – let alone a high-caliber Italian restaurant.

I am an Italian restaurant snob. I am of Italian heritage on my mother’s side – only about a quarter of my make-up, but I embrace that quarter wholeheartedly. So I am always excited to be eating quality Italian food. And I am here to attest that Alfoccino is legit! Its eggplant parmesan was the best I’ve ever had. Seriously, it was mastery. I mean, even if you don’t like eggplant in everyday life, try not to like it when it is coated in breadcrumbs, fried until crispy, smothered in rich m0zzarella cheese and tomato sauce, topped with caramelized onions, and served with a side of spaghetti. Heaven!

2225 N. Opdyke Rd.

Auburn Hills, MI 48326

(Additional location in Farmington Hills)

215. Parker’s Hilltop Brewery – December 17, 2016 – Clarkston, MI

20161217_205118Hello, all! HAPPY 2017!!!!

The new year is here, bursting with potential. Novel experiences and explorations await!

I cannot wait to hit the city this January. I’ll be down in the D at least a couple of times in the next few weeks, seeing Beautiful: A Carole King Musical at the Fisher Theatre next weekend and watching my beloved Red Wings play during my possibly last visit to The Joe a few weeks after that. But before all of that transpires, I have loads of December visits to recount. Expect posts on some awesome shops in Plymouth and an Italian restaurant in Auburn Hills that served the best eggplant parmesan I’ve ever had. But today, it’s all about Parker’s Hilltop Brewery in Clarkston.

OK, I’ve gotta admit, I’m a little short on opinions around this brewery, since I didn’t eat any of its food or drink any of its craft beers during my visit (red wine was calling me!). But my beer-aficionado friend has been here several times and enjoys Parker’s Hilltop’s brews. A variety are offered, many with fun names such as Mr. Hockey Irish Red and Cowabunga Dude! Double IPA. All I can really confidently state is that I enjoyed the industrial ambiance and locally-inspired artwork on the walls, including portraits of lauded Detroit musicians (Jack White, Aretha Franklin, Eminem). And ambiance is a good chunk of what makes for a great bar experience, right?

If any of you visit or have visited Parker’s Hilltop Brewery, feel free to post your feedback on it in the comments field below to elaborate on this vague post. I’d be curious to see what you thought of it!

6110 Dixie Hwy.

Clarkston, MI 48346