Author: Jackie F.

Exploring is a major theme in both of my blogs, 100 Places in the D (where I chronicle my quest to visit new-to-me restaurants, bars, shops, parks, etc. in the Metro-Detroit area) and A Cookable Feast (a food blog focused on whole-foods-based cooking, located at www.acookablefeast.com). I love to try new things and exercise my creativity. I believe that life should be full of adventures - even if the adventures we seek aren't of the crazy mountain-climbing, skydiving variety. Everyday adventures can be pretty darn awesome, too!

350. Andrews on the Corner – July 27, 2018 – Detroit, MI

July2018AndrewsOnTheCorner2 (3)On a recent guided tour of Detroit’s oldest bars, I frolicked at the Two-Way Inn, Abick’s, and Nancy Whiskey. The Two-Way Inn and Abick’s were new-to-me visits – and hence, they were new to 100 Places in the D (YAY!), while Nancy Whiskey was a revisit, as I first made the 116-year-old bar’s acquaintance during the 2017 Corktown 5K/parade shenanigans (though I was thrilled to experience the Irish pub’s patio during warm weather this time around!).

Then there was Andrews on the Corner, our final stop on the tour – and another new place for both me and the blog (YES!).

I was immediately intrigued by this riverfront-adjacent downtown bar when our tour guide mentioned that it’s historically been a hangout for Detroit Red Wings players and coaches. Our guide explained that both Scotty Bowman and Mike Babcock are said to have had beers at Andrews before coaching Stanley Cup finals matches, while a bartender on duty told me that Steve Yzerman (my childhood love!) once offered to buy the joint. Whether these tidbits are fact or fabricated lore, I loved learning them because I’m a big Wings fan – and how cool is it imagining championship teams holding court at Andrews?

At any rate, the family-run bar that’s currently in its centennial year (Happy 100th, Andrews!) is laden with framed photos of Wings players. It also features a food menu loaded with delectable-sounding sandwich and appetizer options, including poutine (YUM) and the compelling Hot and Spicy Mac n’ Cheese Bites (which feel like they leapt straight from my brain and onto that menu – I mean, cheese AND spice AND fried??? Yes, please!). And of course, Andrews offers a full bar, replete with local craft brews.

The visit to Andrews on the Corner concluded the guided tour of four of Detroit’s oldest bars – but I’m still mentally reveling in the experience and can’t wait to tour more of the ancient taverns currently in operation. If you’re a local or planning a visit to Detroit, I highly encourage you to check out all four of the enchanting, history-laden bars I hung out in during this tour – and any others that are calling to you. The city is definitely chock-full of charming watering holes, be they old or new!

201 Jos. Campau Ave.

Detroit, MI 48207

www.andrewsonthecorner.com

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349. Abick’s – July 27, 2018 – Detroit, MI

July2018Abicks1 (2)July2018Abicks3 (2)July2018Abicks2 (2)Abick’s is represented on 100 Places in the D!!!

All four of the oldest-of-the-old Detroit bars that I recently toured were AMAZING; Abick’s – the oldest family-run bar in continuous operation in Detroit – stands out as my favorite.

Located in a residential neighborhood of Southwest Detroit, the bar has long been a fixture of the community, having opened in 1907.

Step inside, and you’ll see why it’s lasted so long: the welcoming staff, homey, down-to-earth environs, and cheap drink prices are the perfect components of a classic neighborhood hangout – and let me not forget the solemn-eyed Mastiff hunkered down near the bar and compelling artifacts on display that highlight the establishment’s rich history.

Speaking of Abick’s lengthy and lasting life span, here’s an important component of it: according to the guide whose tour brought me to the bar, it has historically been a hangout for police officers and firefighters. This is highlighted by the existence of call boxes inside the bar – old-fashioned telephone boxes that back in the day enabled police and firefighter patrons to be in communication with their offices while they were frequenting Abick’s (how’s that for catering to one’s market?). Nowadays, the call boxes are locked (and, according to our guide, are storage lockers for high-end liquor).

The call box shown in the photo above is housed in a small room toward the back of Abick’s designated as a cigar lounge. Glass cases displaying a multitude of medals bestowed on the bar by police and firefighter clientele also adorn the walls of this room.

Further highlighting Abick’s rich history is a slideshow display in the main area of the bar recounting significant moments in its timeline and that of the Abick family. Tracing the evolution of both via the information presented there, it was wonderful to realize that Abick’s and the family who own and operate it have been supporting the community in various ways (offering free food to patrons during the Great Depression, for instance) for over 110 years! What better place to encapsulate the enduring spirit of Detroit than this one?

A final tidbit worth noting: Abick’s is a cash-only establishment (consider it another aspect that adds to its old-school appeal).

3500 Gilbert St.

Detroit, MI 48210

348. Two-Way Inn – July 27, 2018 – Detroit, MI

July20182-WayInn1 (2)July20182-WayInn2 (3)July20182-WayInn3 (4)The Friday before last, I toured some of Detroit’s oldest bars, and it was AWESOME.

When I say old bars, I mean OLD! Like, pre-Prohibition old! Detroit being one of the oldest cities in the country, it’s got a rich history, and that rich history includes grand ol’ watering holes, some of which have been in operation for a hundred years or more.

I’ve been dying to tour all of the oldest-of-the-old Detroit bars since I read an article highlighting them in Hour Detroit several years ago. I wanted to design a tour of those I hadn’t hit yet and attempted to one night in June. Plotting them on a map, I noticed the bars that interested me were scattered around the city and realized the endeavor would be logistically complex. So I did an internet search for guided tours of Detroit’s oldest bars, found one, and recruited friends along for the (bus) ride. Operation Antique Saloon Shenanigans was underway!

The experience they crafted being an absolute delight, I planned to give a glowing shout-out to the tour provider in this post – until I remembered that they prefer to keep the identities of the four bars visited on the tour a secret. Since I want to cover the bars that were new-to-me places here on 100 Places in the D but don’t want to overtly ruin the surprise of the tour, I’m going to keep the company’s identity anonymous. Just know that it’s great and that if you search “oldest bars in Detroit tour” online, you can pretty easily figure out its name and that of this entertaining, enlightening, downright fun tour.

On to today’s featured bar: the Two-Way Inn! It was our first stop on the tour and currently holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously running bar in Detroit, with an inauguration date of 1876.

1876! That’s a mere 11 years after the Civil War ended!

Guys, this place is LIIIIFFFEE. It’s got this gorgeous dark wooden bar that was paid for by Stroh’s in exchange for the promise to peddle its beer. It’s got a pool table and colored twinkle lights festooning the bar and an antique cigarette machine advertising a cost of five cents. The walls are studded with old photographs and deer antlers and an epic velvet painting of John Wayne. Basically, it’s got coziness and character for days and is saturated with history.

Speaking of history, here’s an interesting tidbit: according to our tour guide, the Two-Way Inn got its name from its two entrances and the habit its male patrons had of entering through the front door and exiting out the back. He explained that many wives of the patrons were angry that their husbands squandered their paychecks at the bar. When a wife suspected her husband was drinking at the Two-Way Inn, she’d show up at its front door looking for him. A lookout would identify the wife and alert her husband of her presence, and he’d roll out the back door before she saw him. Sneaky rascals! In present-day time, the front door is the sole door through which patrons can enter.

Another fun detail about the Two-Way Inn is that there’s a bell hanging above the bar that you should take care not to ring – unless you’re prepared to purchase a round of drinks for the house! We joked that the tallest guy in our tour should stand near the bell, increasing the odds of him inadvertently knocking it with his head and being forced to buy all of our beverages.

About 45 minutes were spent by our group at this glorious establishment (and at each of the other three bars we visited on the tour). We were the tavern’s sole patrons during that time – though a Pabst rep did pop in with hats, free PBR, and other swag, to the delight of the group. I sipped a Short’s Soft Parade, chatted with my friends, the tour guide, and others in our group of approximately 15, and crushed hard on this bar with 142 years of operation under its belt and counting. Two-Way Inn, I’m delighted to have made your acquaintance!

17897 Mt. Elliott St.

Detroit, MI 48212

www.2wayinn.com

347. M.C. ‘Wiches – July 27, 2018 – Ferndale, MI

July2018MCWiches1 (4)July2018MCWiches2 (2)The Friday before last, I was in downtown Ferndale, and I needed sustenance – hearty sustenance. Bread-and-cheese-and-meat-level sustenance. I scanned the downtown stretches of Woodward and Nine Mile, seeking somewhere to satisfy this requirement, and stumbled upon M.C. ‘Wiches sandwich shop.

After scanning its menu, I knew M.C. ‘Wiches was a place where I could stuff my face with a substantial, satisfying sandwich: specifically the seven-inch Cuban B ‘Wich. I got it on toasted wheat bread, opting to keep it simple when choosing from the various bread options, which included the intriguing Jalapeño Cheddar and a gluten-free variety. My sandwich was prepared promptly by the friendly young woman working the counter, and I settled in at one of ‘Wiches’ tables to devour it.

That Cuban B was a hefty sandwich indeed! Loaded with ham and pulled pork, pickle chunks and Swiss cheese, mustard and the signature ‘Wich Sauce (a garlic aioli), it most definitely satisfied my hunger – and was delicious while doing it.

While I found the seven-inch ‘Wich to be the perfect portion, I like that M.C. ‘Wiches offers two other sandwich sizes: the 3.5-inch Lil ‘Wich and the 14-inch Double ‘Wich. Its menu also includes two combo options that add a drink and a pickle to your ‘Wich as well as a side: depending on which one you go for, you can choose from chips, coleslaw, soup, mac-and-cheese, and baked goodies (including gluten-free varieties).

Bomb bread-and-cheese-and-meat-level sustenance offered by a friendly staff in a clean, pleasant environs: M.C. ‘Wiches is doing fast-casual right!

172 W. Nine Mile Rd.

Ferndale, MI 48220

(With an additional location in Oxford)

www.mcwiches.com

346. New Order Coffee – July 21, 2018 – Detroit, MI

July2018NewOrderCoffee3 (2)July2018NewOrderCoffee1 (2)July2018NewOrderCoffee2 (3)As I’ve exclaimed in many a post, I ADORE coffee shops – especially locally-owned ones, naturally. So I was thrilled to finally visit New Order Coffee on Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit, which recently celebrated its one-year anniversary (hence the birthday balloons in the above photos).

What a lovely space this is! I didn’t expect to spend over two hours at New Order Coffee that Saturday afternoon, but I found my experience in the bright, airy shop so pleasant that I didn’t want to leave after one drink – so I consumed another.

That first drink? It was a Crunch Berry Cereal Milk Latte, as pictured above in all its whipped-cream-and-sprinkles-bedecked glory. The barista who served me recommended both it and the regular Cereal Milk Latte when I remarked that it was my first time at New Order; I chose the Crunch Berry one because he told me it was his favorite. He said both lattes are made with milk imbued with sugary cereal – I believe frosted cornflakes are used for each of them, and then the Crunch Berry latte has the addition of the Cap’n Crunch Crunch Berries Cereal in its infusion.

Does that not sound like a formula for deliciousness? Indeed, this Crunch Berry Cereal Milk Latte was creamy deliciousness, sweet without being overly so. I sucked it down and transitioned to sipping my second beverage, an Earl Grey tea latte topped with frothy milk – a fine representation of the cozy classic.

Those delectable drinks weren’t the only reason I had a hard time leaving New Order. All of the baristas I encountered were polite, friendly, and professional, fostering an awesome ordering experience, and in general, the place just had good vibes. It felt relaxing, restful – an ideal place to momentarily slip away from the oft-chaotic everyday.

I enjoyed my spot perched at the window-facing counter looking out along Woodward Avenue, watching passersby. Additional seating options exist toward the back of the shop, as well as in a separate section across from the barista’s station. I didn’t realize until I left and was walking by it from the outside that the latter area has a patio-esque element, with windows that open to the outdoors.

Every seating area was pretty well populated during the Saturday afternoon I was there. I got the impression that New Order is a hub for academic study; “Are you a student?” was a commonly asked question by the baristas, making me wonder if college attendees qualified for a discount (worth asking about if you’re in school!).

Whether you’re a student or simply a coffee-shop devotee like me, I would highly recommend stepping into this shop for a cereal-milk-fueled sojourn from the outside world the next time you need one.

3100 Woodward Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.newordercoffee.com

345. Emerald Theatre – July 15, 2018 – Mount Clemens, MI

July2018EmeraldTheatre2 (2)July2018EmeraldTheatre1 (2)While I was volunteering at the Femmes of Rock concert at the Emerald Theatre a few weeks ago, it hit me that it was my first time visiting the venue.

Could that be possible? I asked myself. I’d grown up in relative proximity to the Emerald; it seemed crazy to me that I’d never before witnessed a concert or other live event at the popular venue located in the heart of downtown Mount Clemens. But I’ve since racked my brain, and unless I visited the place as a kiddo and have totally forgotten it, it indeed appears that this was my first time in the space. So . . . new-place time!

The gorgeous, nearly 100-year-old (built in 1921) theater is small and intimate, as you can see from the above photo of its interior; it seats approximately 1,600. According to its website, it’s been revamped in some respects since its inception; that mural on the face of its exterior obviously isn’t circa 1921, for instance (but man, is it striking!). There’s a bar in the theater area, and upstairs there’s a sleek bar space called the Rock Room open on Friday and Saturday nights that features live performances.

While I was at the Emerald in a volunteer capacity, I was able to watch the show performed that night – which was AWESOME. The performers, Bella Electric Strings – a quartet of female violinists backed by a three-piece rock band – KILLED it! The ensemble brought mad energy and skill to the classic-rock tunes they played; I highly recommend you check them out if you’re interested: www.femmesofrock.com. And of course, check out the Emerald for a live performance!

31 N. Walnut St.

Mt. Clemens, MI 48043

www.theemeraldtheatre.com

344. For the Love of Sugar – July 15, 2018 – Detroit, MI

July2018FortheLoveofSugar1 (3)July2018FortheLoveofSugar2 (3)July2018FortheLoveofSugar4 (2)A new Detroit visit graces 100 Places in the D!!!

After enduring a 2.5-week stretch between visits to new places and nearly a month-long hiatus from Detroit, I was dying to get down to the D. So I fit in a jaunt to downtown-based bakery For the Love of Sugar, because how could I not make time for an afternoon caffeine-and-sugar-fueled sojourn?

I stepped inside the chic bakery off Woodward Avenue with its crystal chandeliers and turquoise-and-white color scheme on a mission to snag some of its macarons, which I’d heard were excellent. I was pleased to discover an assortment were available and chose four: one each of the Nutella, Birthday Cake, Lavender and Honey, and Ashta varieties. I also got an iced coffee.

Sitting at an umbrella-covered table on For the Love of Sugar’s street-facing patio, I sipped my coffee and tried two of the macarons.

The blue Birthday Cake variety with its colored sprinkles was yummy; the Nutella one blew me away. WOW, was that chocolatey-rich, fresh, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness! I could’ve eaten a platterful of those Nutella macarons.

I enjoyed the other two macarons later and appreciated the sweetness of the honey and the distinct yet not overpowering floral notes in the Lavender and Honey. The Ashta with its pistachios, orange, and ricotta filling was also quite good.

While For the Love of Sugar is known for its signature cakes and macarons, it’s also worth visiting for its coffee – because let me tell you, the iced coffee I had there was FANTASTIC!

What deliciously nuanced flavor this coffee had! I liked it so much that I asked one of the staff members who supplied it, and she said it was developed especially for the bakery by a coffee company based in Plymouth. The identity of that place unbeknownst to me, I’ll simply have to frequent For the Love of Sugar for my caffeine (and sugar) fix!

100 Erskine St.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.fortheloveofsugar.com

343. The Pita Peddler – June 27, 2018 – Chesterfield, MI

June2018PitaPeddler1 (2)Visiting a friend’s new home one evening in late June also meant new-place-time for the blog (YES!), as I stopped en route for carryout at The Pita Peddler, a Mediterranean restaurant in Chesterfield.

The Pita Peddler has dine-in seating, but it was all about carryout orders the Wednesday evening I was there. Carryout business was KICKING on that night! I sat and waited for our order at the counter of the sleek, fully-stocked bar, which according to my friend is a more recent addition.

After perusing The Pita Peddler’s extensive menu loaded with traditional Mediterranean appetizers and entrees as well as a variety of non-Mediterranean salads, pita melts, and pita wraps,  I’d opted for a Fattoush side salad and Chicken Shawarma pita wrap.

The Fattoush salad was amazing, fresh and zesty and festooned with those crunchy fried pita chips that I love. Topped with grilled chicken, it would be a meal in itself. The hefty Chicken Shawarma wrap contained several ingredients in addition to the grilled chicken, pickles, and garlic sauce I’m used to: lettuce, tomatoes, and pickled banana peppers.

The banana peppers surprised me! But really, they are in the same vein as pickles with their sour vinegar pop of flavor, so why not?

I perused recipes online while writing this post to see if banana peppers in chicken shawarma dishes is a more widely embraced thing beyond The Pita Peddler’s kitchen, and apparently it is. At any rate, it’s a new concept to me. So thanks, The Pita Peddler, for expanding my horizons!

46610 N. Gratiot Ave.

Chesterfield, MI 48051

www.thepitapeddler.com

342. Baffin Brewing Company – July 23, 2018 – Saint Clair Shores, MI

June2018Baffin1 (2)June2018Baffin3 (2)It’s time to recount leg two of my recent Saint Clair Shores-based brewery tour! Readers of 100 Places in the D, welcome Baffin Brewing Company to the blog!

This brewery tour was admittedly more of a jaunt: a friend and I visited Jamex Brewing Company for the first time and then continued with Baffin Brewing Company on Jefferson Avenue north of 10 Mile Road. But it’s summer, the season for grand adventures, so why not envision a two-brewery-tour as an epic production? When visiting such delightful brewhouses as these two, it’s not hard to do!

Baffin came onto my radar after frequently passing it during my travels around Saint Clair Shores. I’d assumed it had opened within the last year because that’s when I started to notice it and was surprised to recently discover that it opened in early 2015 (Wow, how did I miss that???).

It was obvious that the general Metro-Detroit population had been hip to Baffin for longer than I had: the place was PACKED during the Saturday evening of my visit. It was standing-room-only for us initially.

We approached the bar, preparing to wait for one of the bartenders to notice us, and were pleasantly surprised when a staff member roaming the floor approached us to collect our drink orders. The promptness of being greeted and the convenience of not having to vie for the busy bartenders’ attention made an instant positive impression on me. Well played, Baffin!

I wanted to order a flight so I could sample four of Baffin’s brews, but I was worried about having to juggle the flight paddle whilst standing sans tabletop. The bartender convinced me that I simply had to hold the wooden paddle with the glasses hanging off of it level with one hand so I could select and sample with the other. Sold!

I scanned Baffin’s bar-side menu chalked with its current offerings and decided to try the Mango Unchained IPA, Citra Unchained IPA, Porter De Rosey (a porter infused with rose hips) and James Van Der Kriek (a Belgian brewed with cherry and honey). Then I balanced that flight paddle as carefully as I could and started sampling.

As the sipping and savoring of the brews ensued, I quickly discovered that I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED all of them! All four incorporated fruit and were incredibly drinkable. The Porter De Rosey, that rich, smooth brew infused with the floral flavor of the rose hips, was especially compelling to me.

(BTW, I’m loving Baffin’s beer titles that play off of celebrity names – here’s looking at you, Porter De Rosey, James Van Der Kriek, and Barley Rae Jepsen!)

Eventually, my friend and I no longer had to stand and juggle our beers, because some kind souls who were perched around a barrel fashioned as a table got up to leave and encouraged us to grab it. We sat down, and it was then that we fixated on another one of Baffin’s selling points: the free popcorn.

FREE POPCORN!!! If I wasn’t already in love with Baffin at this point, I most certainly was after discovering the cart of complimentary kernels from which you can serve yourself basketfuls (popcorn is kind of LIFE to me).

Summing up this visit, I can confidently declare: Baffin Brewing Company, leg two of my Saint Clair Shores-based brewery tour, you are AWESOMENESS with your friendly service and your flavorful brews and that sweet, sweet free popcorn. I can’t wait to revisit you!

25113 Jefferson Ave.

St. Clair Shores, MI 48081

www.baffinbrewing.com

341. Jamex Brewing Company – June 23, 2018 – Saint Clair Shores, MI

June2018Jamex2 (2)June2018Jamex1 (2)East Side brewery tour! That’s what one Saturday in late June was for me and my pal Jaclyn after a spontaneous drop-in to Josef’s European Pastry Shop of Grosse Pointe Woods.

I should clarify: this East Side brewery tour was specifically a Saint Clair Shores-based brewery tour. Jamex Brewing Company on Harper Avenue south of Nine Mile Road was our starting point.

The place was hopping with a late-afternoon crowd, including several canines (because Jamex allows dogs!). I immediately dug its welcoming vibe and décor (industrial-chic, with a most stunning turquoise-and-copper-mottled bar counter. Can I get that counter installed in my kitchen, please???).

The female bartender who served us was friendly and conversational, explaining the brewery’s background (it was opened last year by a husband-and-wife entrepreneurial duo who love beer), how often new brews are developed and rotated in (fairly regularly; new recipes are constantly in the works), and how public reception has been (overwhelmingly positive).

As we sat and chatted with her, I tried flight-sized sampler glasses of three of Jamex’s wares: the Joe Blonde (described on the chalkboard menu posted above the bar as a “blonde coffee cream ale”), Bubbalicious IPA, and Harvey Milk dark beer. I enjoyed all of them, especially the Bubbalicious with its fruity flavor and the Harvey Milk with its creamy, stout-esque consistency and hint of sweetness.

My conclusion from leg one of the Saint Clair Shores brewery tour: Jamex is definitely worth a revisit! In perusing its website today, I got excited to see all three beers I tried last month advertised as still on tap. I’d love to go back and savor those or the Lemon Drop brew (intriguing!) currently labeled as “on deck.”

21721 Harper Ave.

St. Clair Shores, MI 48080

www.jamexbrewing.com