Month: January 2018

301. Little Caesars Arena – January 5, 2018 – Detroit, MI

20180131_14555120180105_202630.jpgHi, all! I’m expecially excited about today’s post because it highlights my first-ever visit to the beautiful, brand-spanking new Little Caesars Arena, home to the Detroit Pistons and my beloved Red Wings.

I am a die-hard Wings fan, through better or worse. As you’ll know if you follow them, too, right now we’re in more of a for-worse season than a for-better one. No matter – I’m IN this thing! And while I’ve watched the Wings seemingly invent new ways to lose many a time this season, I was fortunate enough that my first time seeing them play live at LCA was a thrilling 4-2 win against the Florida Panthers.

The first photo you see above of Little Caesars Arena, the exterior shot, is one I actually took in mid-October, when I ate at the Sports & Social restaurant connected to the area (you can visit it without having tickets for an event at the arena, though fun fact: you still have to go through a metal detector as you would if you were going directly into the arena).

I had hoped to cover that visit for the the blog, but after doing some research online, I learned that Sports & Social appears to be a national chain, with another location in a Georgia-based venue. Since I only cover locally-owned, non-national chain restaurants here in the Metro-Detroit area on 100 Places in the D, Sports & Social didn’t end up fitting the blog criteria. But it was awesome to be so up close to the arena then, anyway.

Fast-forward a few months later to a frigid night in early January: I’m inside LCA for my first game! Man, was it fun. The arena is so beautiful, such an upgrade from Joe Louis Arena (though I will forever love that ol’ place!).

I honestly didn’t explore the concourse much because where my friends and I sat in the Labatt Blue Club area, we had our own concessions and bathrooms, which was really convenient. We also got a $10 concessions voucher with our ticket, which was nice.

The Labatt Blue Club area is in the upper bowl, behind one of the goals; you can either sit in your assigned in-arena seat or find a seat along some ice-facing countertops in the club area. I took in the game from my assigned seat and cheered my heart out to a Red Wing victory!

I’m looking forward to checking out Pistons games and concerts at Little Caesars Arena – and of course, more Wings games. I’ve got to explore the concourse more when I’m back. It’s so exciting to have this fantastic new arena downtown right along Woodward Ave.!

2645 Woodward Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.olympiaentertainment.com/venue/little-caesars-arena-2

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300! The Corner – December 27, 2017 – Ferndale, MI

December2017Corner3 (2)December2017Corner1 (2)Visit Number 300 is coming to 100 Places in the D today! Ya-hoo!

It was a goal of mine to achieve Visit Number 300 before the end of Blog Year 4 (which ends on February 7), so I was psyched to hit it with plenty of time before my deadline. Interestingly enough, the place I visited, recently opened Ferndale bar The Corner, inhabits the site of a previously featured establishment, Local Kitchen and Bar (#35). (RIP, Local Kitchen and Bar!)

For my fellow Metro-Detroiters reading this: remember how frickin’ frigid it was around here for that week and a half after Christmas – those highs in the teens and the single-digit lows? It was cold! Going outside to retrieve my garbage can from the curb felt like a major accomplishment, so leaving my house at nightfall to drive to Ferndale really felt like I was crushing it. #Goals, for real!

I mean, to park and pay for parking at the little kiosk and have to take off my gloves to punch in the numbers and then to wait at the curb for the “Walk” sign to flash on so I could scurry across the street to the restaurant – that took less than five minutes, but even in that short time span and with being all bundled up, that was cussing-aloud cold! How can your skin start to ache in such a short amount of time?

In all seriousness, me having to spend five minutes outside and take my gloves off for a minute to pay for parking for the car that I own – these are truly privileged problems. I cannot imagine being homeless and not having somewhere to go to during such incredibly cold times; it is unfathomable, and my heart goes out to anyone living that experience. Good guys like COTS and other local homeless shelters welcoming those with nowhere else to go: you guys are true superheroes! Consider donating to COTS Detroit, guys; they are doing the good work.

Back to me and my silly little life: I rolled up to The Corner and its packed, low-lit interior and its . . . WALL OF GAMES.

Can I say how much I love that this bar has a big ol’ wall full of board games? Shelves crammed ceiling-to-floor with board games available for the playing equal a BIG plus-mark in my book. Playing board games is one of those things I love to do but don’t do nearly enough. (Note to self for 2018: resolve to play more board games. Perhaps start a reoccurring game night and have its introductory meeting at The Corner?).

If you decide to do a game night at The Corner, you’ve got to post in the comments and let me know! And while you’re at it, if you’re looking to eat and do some drinking of the adult beverages, may I recommend the Asian Ribeye and Ramen salad and the Yahtzee drink?

The salad was absolutely delicious, the perfect combo of healthful and flavorful with its chunks of tender ribeye steak on a bed of chopped cabbage plus greens, ramen noodles, avocado, tomatoes, peanuts, and cilantro, all tossed in a Thai chile dressing.

And the Yahtzee! That sour gin drink with the moniker of that O.G. game was delightful – as was its price tag of $6. Signature cocktails are generally crazy-expensive these days; it’s getting hard to find one under $10. But The Corner’s are all currently between six and eight dollars – cha-ching!

One thing worth mentioning about my visit: I make it a point to highlight the positive in my recountings on the blog, because 100 Places in the D is all about bragging up the Metro-D and the wonderful locally-owned establishments within it! But sometimes less-than-positive aspects of my visits stand out enough that I feel I would be remiss not to mention them to you guys. And in terms of The Corner: during our time there, my friend Amy and I sat at the bar, and the service was . . . not great.

Despite three bartenders being on duty and at least two of them consistently being behind the bar at the same time, and despite us sitting smack-dab in the middle of the bar rail, it was challenging to get their attention, and they checked on us infrequently. It was a drag. Given the thumbs-ups elicited by the food, the drink, the attractive ambiance, and that enticing wall o’ games, I’d still recommend checking out The Corner – especially since it might’ve simply been an off night or a service situation that is now remedied. Maybe just don’t sit at the bar if you can help it!

Also worth noting: on the second level of The Corner is Detroit Axe, where you can throw axes at targets and participate in axe-throwing tournaments! I didn’t go up there during my visit, but I must say I’m intrigued – though I’m not sure how long I would last in an environment where axes are whizzing through the air (they are sharp and stuff).

Lastly, it’d be helpful to point out that The Corner/Detroit Axe is closed on Tuesdays, and it opens at 5 p.m. on all other days. There – now you’re all ready for your visit!

344 W. Nine Mile Rd.

Ferndale, MI 48020

www.thecornerferndale.com

299. Spa in the Woods – December 24, 2017 – Grosse Pointe Woods, MI

December2017SpaWoods2 (2)Oh my goodness – happy 2018, guys! I took another one of my unexpected hiatuses from the blog – one of those black holes of writing inertia cropped up unexpectedly around the holidays for me, and I pretty much forced myself to get on and write this post to avoid extending the thing any longer. It’s crazy how quickly time flies and how a few days of putting off posting can turn into a month!

But hey, as much as we can all beat ourselves up about our lapses, the most important part to focus on is the fact that we started again, am I right? That’s the tack I’m choosing to take here. And I’m very excited to have a bunch of adventures built up over the last month to recount to you – including Visit Number 300!!!! [Cue multi-hued confetti!] But today, it’s all about my becoming acquainted with the very lovely Spa in the Woods in Grosse Pointe Woods – on Christmas Eve, of all days.

One of my dearest friends got me a gift certificate to Spa in the Woods for my birthday in October after I’d revealed to her that the last time I’d gotten a professional pedicure was when President Obama was still in the thick of his second term (Yeah . . . it had been a minute).

I originally scheduled the pedicure on the first Saturday in December, then cancelled the morning of when I realized that I’d neglected to plan my day around the fact that I would be unable to wear proper shoes for several hours after my visit (pairing my parka with flip flops in my planned subsequent jaunts about town wasn’t an especially appealing prospect). So I postponed the appointment until Christmas Eve – because even though it was a Sunday and Spa in the Woods is generally closed on Sundays, it was open on Christmas Eve for the employees who wanted to work. I figured that a relaxing a.m. pedicure would be perfect before the (potentially ungrounding) interactions with family members later that evening.

And it was! It was such a delight to sit there in the cozy, quiet salon (only one other appointment showed up while I was there) chit-chatting with Maria, the lovely purple-haired nail technician, while she whipped my feet and toenails into a civilized state.

I opted for the Signature Spa in the Woods Pedicure, which is the fancy spa-level pedicure (as opposed to the more standard Express Pedicure that is also offered): in addition to being the recipient of the requisite heel-scraping and nail clipping, I had an awesome-smelling coffee exfoliating scrub rubbed on my legs and feet, followed by a luxe lotion and hot towels. The nails on my toesies were painted immaculately in a berry hue, and I was relaxed and ready to go for the holiday shenanigans with the fam.

I can’t emphasize enough what a treat it was to get this pedicure. I have always loved salon pedicures and used to get them more frequently; this was a reminder to treat myself to them more. Granted, at $55 before tip, the Signature Spa in the Woods Pedicure may have to be more of an annual occurrence for me than a regular splurge within the parameters of my current budget. But if you feel moved to treat yourself to a spa experience, I would highly recommend trying out this place; my aforementioned friend has treated herself on her last couple of birthdays to its spa packages and has loved the included massage, facial, sauna steam shower, and nail treatment.

21023 Mack Ave.

Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236

www.spainthewoodsmi.com