Wayne County

328. Dos Locos Tacos – May 17, 2018 – Hamtramck, MI

May2018DosLocosTacos1 (2)May2018DosLocosTacos2 (2)May2018DosLocosTacos3 (2)This is a post about a Mexican restaurant housed inside of a former hamburger joint in a city known for its Polish and Middle Eastern cuisine. Say hello to Dos Locos Tacos!

The tiny restaurant perched at the corner of Joseph Campau Avenue and Caniff Street in Hamtramck brandishes red-lettered “Hamburgers” signage above its door, but neon lights in the window flaunt its real name, complete with a logo of a taco enveloped by a heart.

That taco enveloped by a heart could be tattooed on my soul, I love Mexican food so much! While I’d initially planned to check out a new-to-me Middle Eastern restaurant while in Hamtramck last week, when I spied the recently-opened Dos Locos Tacos among the Yelp results for the area, I knew I and my similarly-taco-obsessed friend who was meeting me in Hamtramck had to go there.

Thusly, we found ourselves in this tiny hipster-retro diner on a Thursday night, dunking perfectly crunchy chips into enticingly garlicky guacamole and awaiting the corn-tortilla-clad centerpieces of our culinary hearts.

In perusing Dos Locos Tacos’ menu, I noticed that it offers tamales, quesadillas, and burritos (each taco variety offered can be upgraded to a burrito) in addition to its namesake item. I decided pretty quickly that in addition to the aforementioned shared chips and guacamole, I would order two tacos: one beef chorizo and the other carne asada (because red meat is LIIIFE).

Both tacos were tasty, but the carne asada one stole my heart. Wow, was that one rich in flavor with its tender shredded steak, crumbly cotija cheese, and vibrantly fresh cilantro! I could’ve eaten a platterful of those.

Open at 3 p.m. daily and closing late (at midnight Sundays through Wednesdays and 4 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays), Dos Locos Tacos is an on-point option for a late lunch, dinner, or post-bar-crawling grub session (which begs the question: is there ever a time of day when tacos are not an on-point option? I think not.).

10337 Joseph Campau Ave.

Hamtramck, MI 48212

www.doslocostacos.com

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327. Trinosophes – May 10, 2018 – Detroit, MI

May2018Trinosophes1 (2)May2018Trinosophes2 (2)I have a new coffee-shop obsession, people: Trinosophes in the Eastern Market neighborhood of Detroit!

What a gorgeous space this place is: light and airy, with long communal tables, book-crammed shelves, and vibrant greenery. I instantly fell in love with its ambiance.

I also fell in love with the fact that it’s located right off of Gratiot Avenue and has its own parking lot (free, easily accessible parking in Detroit is LIIIIFE!).

This affection for Trinosophes was pretty much predestined, given my long-held infatuation with independent coffee shops. Reveling in the chill, escape-the-world vibes of a good coffee shop while my bloodstream revels in caffeine is one of my favorite pastimes.

While I savored Trinosophes’ soothing, welcoming aura, I also savored two of its brews: a richly flavored cappuccino and a sumptuous cardamom latte. At the end of my two-hour sojourn there, I was vibrating with caffeine-induced energy and contentment.

A portion of that goodwill I felt during my visit to Trinosophes was due to the barista on staff who served me. She was friendly and approachable, as was the 20-something female patron who perched at the other end of the communal table I was working at. We chatted a bit between typing away on our computers.

It felt good to be out in the world on a Thursday morning, connecting with people, feeling part of a little community. I know I simply spent a couple of hours in a coffee shop – I wasn’t forging a friendship circle – but Trinosophes does embody that friendship-fostering spirit that makes you feel that you could meet the next important person in your life there.

Perhaps Trinosophes emits that community-cultivating vibe because it’s more than a coffee shop. It’s also a café, offering enticing breakfast and lunch dishes, including vegan and gluten-free options, plus a performance and exhibition space that regularly hosts music performances, art exhibits, and other creative events. It bills itself as a library, too, boasting the collections of several impactful Detroiters on those book-crammed shelves.

Leaving the coffee shop/café/library/performance space on this May morning, I felt the magic of the almost-summer season in the vivid green grass and budding trees surrounding it – and the elation that comes with discovering a new place I love.

I knew I’d be back to Trinosophes, that it’d been filed away into my local-coffee-shop rotation, further fueling my obsession with quality caffeinated beverages and quiet, creativity-inducing places.

1464 Gratiot Ave.

Detroit, MI 48207

www.trinosophes.com

324. Burrito Mundo – May 3, 2018 – Grosse Pointe Woods, MI

May2018BurritoMundo2 (2)May2018BurritoMundo (3)Mexican food is high up there on my List of Things that Bring me Joy (right there with baseball games at Comerica Park and that BOMB ice cream sandwich I enjoyed a few weeks ago at Holy Moly Donut Shop – yep, still thinking about that). So when I learned that Burrito Mundo in Grosse Pointe Woods was a fast-casual Mexican joint where I could build my own burrito, of course I was psyched to visit it! I love me some autonomy when crafting my Mexican meals.

BTW, if you’re wondering why there’s what looks like an unsupervised child in the above-shown photo of Burrito Mundo, worry not: that kid is the baby of a friend who accompanied me to the restaurant. This was his first foray out with us, and we wanted to photo-document it. We’re introducing him to the joys of restaurant-exploration while he’s young (if Auntie Jackie has anything to do with it, this kid is gonna know every hot brunch spot in the D by the time he’s three! 🙂 ).

Back to Burrito Mundo and the crafting of the Mexican meals: this place is like a mecca for burrito building, my friends. While the restaurant’s menu is populated with a variety of intriguing signature burritos (plus tacos, quesadillas, and entrée salads), I knew I had to try my hand at creating my own. The dizzying array of filling choices made it too fun a prospect to ignore.

To start, Burrito Mundo allows you to choose from various meat (and meat-substitute) fillings for your burrito base: ground beef, steak, chicken, pulled pork, shrimp, mahi mahi, tofu, and vegetables.

Then you get to your filling side-kicks. You see all the ingredients you’d expect: tomato, avocado, onion, rice, sour cream, cilantro, beans, guacamole, tortilla strips, jalapeños (both roasted and pickled varieties), cheese, etc. – plus two that are a bit more surprising: potatoes and zucchini/squash. And there are seven kinds of salsa to choose from at varying heat levels, from mild to wild.

To finish, you can opt to have your burrito doused in queso fundido cheese sauce or its tortilla grilled to crispy perfection – or to nix the tortilla entirely, à la Burrito Mundo’s “Ghost” style. The first two options are an upcharge, as is any ingredient that isn’t your standard meat-filling base (steak, shrimp, and mahi are $1.99 extra, but everything else is standard in that category) or tomatoes, cilantro, sour cream, rice, romaine, or salsa. It’s .79 cents to add a cheese, avocado, or guacamole to your burrito, while the remaining ingredients are .29 cents each. In other words, these build-your-own burritos with their base price of $5.29 can get pricey if you aren’t intentional.

But let’s face it, these burritos aren’t Lamborghini-pricey; they’re a reasonable splurge. My pulled pork burrito with its rice, tomato, cilantro, pinto beans, onion, roasted jalapeños, tortilla strips, queso fundido, and roasted tomatillo chipotle salsa was around $8.00.

And eight dollars turned out to be a reasonable price for the massive burrito I was given, which could easily be made into two meals. It was delicious, with tender pulled pork and fresh, flavorful ingredients.

The only thing I would change for my next round of Burrito Mundo burrito-making would be to ask for more salsa and queso fundido on the side, because once they were mixed in with all of the other ingredients in the large-and-in-charge burrito, they didn’t cover much ground (and I like a LOT of sauce, to boot). I’d also add guacamole, because guacamole is LIFE and well-worth the additional .79-cent upcharge.

I’m going to consider this first run to Burrito Mundo a dress rehearsal. As I’m always looking for an excuse to nosh on Mexican food, I’ll consider the burrito-refining process my rationale for a revisit.

19459 Mack Ave.

Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236

www.burritomundo.com

322. Holy Moly Donut Shop – April 25, 2018 – Detroit, MI

April2018HolyMoly1 (2)April2018HolyMoly2 (2)April2018HolyMoly5 (2)Holy Moly: what an apt name for this donut shop!

After my visit last Wednesday, Holy Moly Donut Shop in Detroit is my latest obsession. Its donuts are out-of-control good; its ultimate pièce de résistance, the donut ice-cream sandwich, BLEW MY MIND with its epic deliciousness.

Sandwiched between a marijuana dispensary (what a convenient location for that!) and a strip club on Eight Mile Road near John R. Street, Holy Moly Donut Shop opened earlier this year. I found out about it a few months ago when a friend of mine stumbled across its brightly colored, bountifully-topped donuts on social media, and I knew I had to go there. From its website I saw that it employed the same concept as Daddy’s Doughnuts in Utica (which I visited back in January), where donuts are topped to order with patrons’ frosting glazes and toppings of choice. Count me in for a repeat of that scenario!

I stepped into the small, clean interior of Holy Moly Donut Shop on the afternoon of my visit, scanned the menu board, and considered my choices. One of those choices was the donut ice cream sandwich, which my friend who’d brought the shop to my attention had mentioned.

I’m admittedly not a huge ice cream person, so I wasn’t set on trying the donut ice cream sandwich. But then I got to Holy Moly and was like, how can I not try this? A donut ice cream sandwich is an intriguing culinary concept, and I dig culinary intrigue. So I ordered one with a glazed bun donut (a plain glazed donut with no hole in the middle) cut in half to make the sandwich’s outer layers and a filling of chocolate ice cream and Nutella sauce.

Next my eyes fixated on the list of available donut toppings. The Better Made Red Hot potato chips grabbed my attention. Spicy chips on a donut? I had to try it. I love spicy, and what better representation of the area was there than a Detroit-made donut decked with crushed Better Made chips? I requested a plain cake donut with a vanilla frosting glaze coated in those spicy crisps.

I wanted to try another of the topped donuts, and I knew I had to go full-on chocolate for that combo, because chocolate is LIFE to me. So I requested a chocolate cake donut with a chocolate frosting glaze and [DRUM ROLL. . . ] chopped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups.

I rounded out my order with a red velvet donut sans toppings, because red velvet is a classic on its own. Then I bid adieu to the two friendly Holy Moly employees who’d assisted me and jaunted out excitedly to my car, where I planned to immediately tuck into that ice cream sandwich.

And I did: I sat in my car in the back parking lot of Holy Moly Donut Shop and devoured that ice cream sandwich. And OH MY WORD, it was much better than I’d imagined it would be. It was, quite simply, PERFECTION.

The glazed-donut bun was wonderfully fresh, melt-in-your-mouth baked goodness. The chocolate ice cream was rich and creamy; the warm, chocolate-hazelnut Nutella was the ultimate in decadence. The three ingredients melded together to form one of the most delightful desserts I can ever recall eating.

It was then that I knew with conviction that Holy Moly is not f’ing around: they are indeed doing the good work when it comes to crafting confections that are next-level, brighten-your-day-with-a-million-unicorn-sparkles happiness-boosters. I had to let them know I appreciated it, so after the consumption of that donut ice cream sandwich, I flew back into the shop to thank the employees for creating it for me.

When I got home later that day, I sampled the other three donuts and verified that they were indeed as addictive as that donut ice cream sandwich.

The vanilla-frosted donut with the coating of Red Hot potato chips was bomb! I was digging the thick layer of vanilla glaze with the spicy potato chips. You might not expect spicy potato chips to work on a sweet donut, but they did here.

How about the chocolate donut with the chocolate frosting and chopped Reese’s? Man, was that rich, chocolatey goodness! Holy Moly was not skimpy with the frosting or the peanut-butter-cup chunks.

And the red velvet donut, while simple, was simply YUM.

While my visit to Holy Moly Donut Shop was a week ago, you know those donuts and that ice cream sandwich are still on my mind! I’m telling friends about this place and plotting my next visit to again procure its delectable wares. These are magical donuts, my friends – give them a try if you haven’t yet and prepare for your taste buds to declare, “Holy Moly!” with every bite.

201 W. 8 Mile Rd.

Detroit, MI 48203

www.holymolydonutshop.com

319. Detroit Public Library – April 7, 2018 – Detroit, MI

April2018DetroitPublicLibrary1 (2)April2018DetroitPublicLibrary2 (2)April2018DetroitPublicLibrary3 (2)April2018DetroitPublicLibrary4 (3)Libraries are some of my very favorite places in the world. So it’s insane to me that I’d never been inside the Detroit Public Library before my visit last Saturday.

At least, I think I’d never been inside the library before then. I’d definitely previously examined the building’s exterior, with the names of famous philosophers and emblem of “Knowledge is power” carved into its white stone, and viewing it again made me wonder, Have I been here before and forgotten? It definitely seems like the kind of place we would’ve toured via a school field trip, such as the downtown architectural tour I took with my high school Humanities class.

Prior to writing this post, I consulted a friend who was in that class and has a memory far superior to mine, and she doesn’t recall touring the Detroit Public Library on that Humanities field trip. Whew. This place is too good not to recount on the blog, so I’m happy to be able to count it as a new-to-me place! And I hope I wouldn’t have forgotten visiting a building with as stunning an interior as this one.

Now, when I’m referring to the Detroit Public Library, I’m referring to the Main branch, the grand old building on Woodward Avenue across from the Detroit Institute of Arts. Did you know there are additional branches of the Detroit Public Library throughout the city – over twenty? I knew there were multiple locations of the DPL before recently perusing its website, but I didn’t realize there were that many!

I count 22 branches of the Detroit Public Library currently on its Locations page of its website; in its About section, it references 23 (perhaps one has closed since that was written). Either way, it’s a heck of a lot of locations, which makes me happy, because in my humble opinion, every neighborhood deserves a library.

Libraries are one of my safe spaces! I find them calm and soothing and peaceful. I’m sure much of why I feel that way has to do with the fact that I’ve adored books since I was a small child. Books are also my happy place; I love, love, love to read. Exploring the world via books is as enjoyable to me as exploring the world in real life is.

Initially, the Detroit Public Library was not looking like it was going to be a safe or happy or enjoyable space at the time of my visit. Approaching it, I heard angry yelling and spied a collection of blue-shirted men clustered near the entrance. I was confused – were the security guards arguing amongst themselves out in public? Turns out, no, the bulk of the yelling was coming from a disgruntled library patron who was being ejected.

Yikes. Libraries are generally safe spaces, but because they are spaces that are free to the public, they are liable to having the occasional tortured soul show up – like that guy, who appeared to be grappling with larger problems than being someone who got kicked out of libraries. The moment energetically threw me off, but it also imbued me with a sense of gratitude for not having bigger issues to deal with in my life than the relatively small ones I wrestle with – and for being someone who doesn’t have to worry about getting kicked out of libraries (since I am OBSESSED with them!). The fracas concluded, my curiosity took over, and I began to explore.

Something I’d assumed about the Detroit Public Library Main branch was that because the building that houses it is large, its collection must be large, as well. I didn’t find that to be the case on my visit. It’s completely possible I missed a huge swath of its collection, but from what I saw, proportionate to the size of the building, the Main Library’s holdings seem to be rather small.

But there is fiction and nonfiction and biographies and graphic novels, a teen’s section of the library, and the Burton Historical Collection, a Detroit-centric historical archive started from the donated private collection of Detroiter Clarence Monroe Burton, which I didn’t see but that sounds impressive from its description on DPL’s website. And let’s not forget that this branch share resources with over twenty other locations across the city, which is kind of mindboggling to contemplate. Over the entire network of libraries, there must be an impressive accumulation of resources.

And the space itself! As is the case with many of the buildings in Detroit, the one that houses the Main branch of the Detroit Public Library is old and elegant. It was built in 1921, in the “Italian Renaissance Style,” according to DPL’s website, and it shares those supremely grand details of that style and era. There are stained glass windows, intricate murals, gold-leaf detailing – beauty that I have neither the architectural aptitude nor vocabulary to describe. It’s stunning – just stunning!

The hall shown in the last photo displayed above was my favorite area of the building. Is that not the most magnificent place to read and work and study? I sat at one of its tables and read for about a half hour, pausing periodically to gaze in wonder at the intricate metalwork of its ceiling and the vibrant murals painted on its walls. That is beauty, my friends – this city is indeed beautiful, in large part because of the many stunning architectural gems, such as this one, that it houses.

5201 Woodward Ave.

Detroit, MI 48202

(Closed on Mondays; with over twenty additional locations with varying business hours)

www.detroitpubliclibrary.org

316. The Bottom Line Coffee House – March 20, 2018 – Detroit, MI

March2018BottomLine2 (2)March2018BottomLine3 (2)Coffee shops are one of my very favorite categories of places in the world. A good coffee shop has a soothing, inviting vibe, a community-fostering spirit, and of course, bomb coffee. Upon visiting The Bottom Line Coffee Shop in the Midtown area of Detroit last week, I was ecstatic to discover that it possesses all three of these qualities. Another wonderful local coffee shop for my collection of go-tos!!!!

After lunch at Motor City Brewing Works with a friend from out-of-state who was passing through Detroit, we took the five-minute walk to the coffee house located on the ground floor of the Beethoven Apartments building. I’d been wanting to visit The Bottom Line for what feels like forever (a.k.a. several years), so I was psyched to finally be there.

I immediately dug the welcoming, unpretentious vibes of the small shop with its wood and brick and white walls, vibrant artwork, and garland of twinkle lights and colorful fake flowers festooning the entryway to the nook designated as the “Book and Record Den,” where one can sit with headphones on and groove to music while perusing the book collection (LOVE it). A tiny outdoor patio area nestled in an alleyway to the right of the shop entrance also caught my eye and had me dreaming of the as-of-yet elusive summer.

I know coffee houses are my particular brand of safe spaces, but really, is there anything better than stealing away to one on a Tuesday afternoon when you should be at work, sipping cappuccinos and chatting about life with an interesting person? I think not – especially when the cappuccinos you are sipping are super smooth and rich and flavorful, as they were at The Bottom Line.

That cappuccino! I’ve been fantasizing about it every day since I drank it, it was that good. I need it back in my life – and I’m hell-bent on achieving that soon while using the $2-off coupon emailed to me after my visit (thanks, The Bottom Line!). I’ll be sure to pass on the love while I’m there via the coffee house’s Suspended Coffee program, which allows patrons to make an advance purchase of a $2 cup of coffee for someone in need who comes into the shop and isn’t able to purchase it on his or her own. How great of a program is that? That’s that community spirit I’m talking about!

That community spirit is also fostered by The Bottom Line in its selling of local artisans’ goods, such as that colorful artwork displayed on its walls. Shirts, sweatshirts, and coffee mugs emblazoned with fun sayings such as “Detroit Grinds” and “Anything can Happen over Coffee in Detroit” (YES!) are also available, as are pastries to go with the ample selection of coffee and tea drinks.

Speaking of the ample selection of coffee and tea drinks: The Bottom Line offers a lavender latte, which enticed me as much as the prospect of sitting in its nestled-away patio area. Hurry up, summer: patios are another one of my happy places!

4474 3rd St., Ste. B2

Detroit, MI 48201

www.thebottomlinecoffeehouse.com

314. Vault of Midnight – March 10, 2018 – Detroit, MI

March2018VaultofMidnight1 (4)March2018VaultofMidnight3 (2)

Comics, graphics novels, and board games: I need more of them in my life, I’m thinking, after visiting Vault of Midnight in downtown Detroit a few weeks ago.

The emporium for the aforementioned items of whimsy and imagination and magic reminded me of how much I love playing board games and how I’m always saying I’m going to host a game night at my house (but have yet to). It peddles an impressive amount of serious board games: intricate, strategic games far from the toy-store game-land of Monopoly, Mall Madness, and Operation that I grew up in.

These serious games are stickered with serious price tags; with many in the $40-to-$80 range, they are not what I’d categorize as an impulse purchase. I assume most people going into Vault of Midnight to procure these board games are doing so intentionally, either because they know exactly what they want or are confident they’ll find something they’ll want enough to buy.

All I know is, I’ve been fortunate enough to play some of these kinds of intricate, strategic games at other people’s houses, and I find them as entertaining as all get-out. Not to trash the $10 ’90s-version of Clue that I grew up with (that game was LIFE to me in the first grade!), but these serious board games are fun to play because they’ve been crafted with care, from their rules to their artwork to the elaborate planning and scheming required of many of them to win.

What I’m saying is that in my experience, these serious board games are worth the serious price tag if you know you’ll be playing them on a regular basis instead of letting them collect a thick film of dust on a shelf in a closet in your basement (cue my copy of Scrabble: Deluxe Edition enduring that very fate). And I think it’s amazing that there’s a place right here in downtown Detroit reminding us of their awesomeness, beckoning us to enjoy some unplugged fun with them for an hour or two.

Of course, the unplugged fun is not only being touted by the serious board games at Vault of Midnight but also by its wide selection of comics and graphic novels.

I’ve never been an aficionado, per say, of either comics or graphic novels, but I did read the Detroit Free Press funnies religiously for years as a kid and fostered a love for Archie comics stemming from the ’60s-era issues saved by my paternal grandparents (and still find myself pondering the latest volume of the Riverdale gang’s shenanigans every time I spy it in a grocery-store check-out line). And I’ve read and enjoyed a few great graphic novels, such as Maus and Ghost World. It’s a genre I’ve long intended to explore more but haven’t. As with the board games in my basement closet, that intention often lies dormant, collecting a thick film of dust in my mind.

I can’t speak to the specific kinds of comics and graphic novels that Vault of Midnight stocks, because I didn’t delve too deeply into them. I looked at a few comics that appeared to be small-batch varieties, possibly even handmade, which intrigued me. I’d like to return and check those out in greater detail.

Maybe it’s time for me to more seriously consider and pursue my interests in board games and graphic novels and comics. Maybe it’s time to actually set a date for game night; maybe it’s time to invite more whimsy and imagination and magic into my life. Certainly, another visit to Vault of Midnight is in order!

1226 Library St.

Detroit, MI 48226

(Locations also in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor)

www.vaultofmidnight.com

313. Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine – March 10, 2018 – Detroit, MI

March2018Vicentes1 (2)March2018Vicentes2 (3)If you visit Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine in downtown Detroit, try the Ropa Vieja – a.k.a. the Old Clothes.

OK, I know what you’re thinking: how good can a dish be that’s named after worn-out apparel?

AMAZINGLY GOOD, it turns out. The shredded beef cooked in a red wine tomato sauce with diced bell peppers and green olives was amazingly tender and flavorful during my visit a few weeks ago.

This is a smile for your stomach! This is comfort food at its finest! I seriously believe I could eat this dish accompanied by rice, black beans, and sweet fried plantains (SO yum in themselves!) every day, and I would be happy.

Of course, I also wouldn’t mind if the mint-studded mojitos I imbibed and the tres leches cake I ordered for dessert made more frequent appearances in my life – maybe not daily, but surely weekly (I am totally a chocolate person, but tres leches cake is LIIIIIFE).

Vicente’s struck me as the perfect special-occasion venue – and not only because of my table’s consensus on the food being of a high caliber of deliciousness. The dining room is sleek and contemporary, ideal for sophisticated soirees, and there is salsa dancing on Friday and Saturday nights from 10:30 p.m. onwards, including free lessons for beginners. Live jazz music is played every Wednesday and Thursday, too.

Of course, I’d also argue that Vicente’s is the perfect place to dine whether it’s a special-occasion day or not a special-occasion day, because I’m a major advocate for everyday life being more magical (here’s to packing as much magic and whimsy and straight-up FUN into adulting as we can!). I know if I continue to frequent Vicente’s, savoring vibrant dishes such as the Ropa Vieja, Cuban Style Paella, and Medallones de Cerdo (pork medallions) to the rhythm of rollicking jazz tunes, I’ll get into the fun-zone of life a little more frequently.

1250 Library St.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.vicentesdetroit.com

312. Anthology Coffee – March 3, 2018 – Detroit, MI

March2018Anthology2 (2)March2018Anthology3 (2)New-coffee-shop time!!!!

I’m always excited to visit an amazing, new-to-me independent coffee shop, because I LOVE independent coffee shops with singular vibes. And Anthology Coffee in Detroit is most certainly a coffee shop with a singular vibe, in the best of ways.

Plus, it has its own parking lot.

As you may know from reading previous posts on this blog, I am, yes, obsessed with establishments in Detroit that have their own parking lots, because the act of formal parallel street parking is essentially a phobia for me – I will park blocks away simply to avoid having to wedge my car within the confines of two painted lines narrowly abutting other cars at the curb of a busy street (not my idea of a good time).

So when I pulled up to Anthology Coffee, this java shop located within the Ponyride building in an industrial-looking part of town that feels isolated and deserted (but that in reality is very close to the Corktown-neighborhood drag of Michigan Avenue) and saw the ample number of parking spaces in the adjacent lot, I was like “Heck yes, Win #1 of the day!” (No victory is too small in my book – baby-stepping through life is my M.O., people.)

The exterior entrance to Anthology was a bit hard to identify on this Ponyride building (which, according to its website, rents out office and coworking spaces to various local businesses – how awesome is that?). I spied a set of unmarked doors sandwiched between two vibrant graffiti-art murals and confirmed with people departing from them that they indeed led into the shop.

Once inside, I was immediately taken with the clean, modern look of Anthology’s space: walls white here, paneling in blonde wood there; the pop of the turquoise coffee counter and the vibrant nature-themed mural painted in one corner; the concrete floors and the sunlight streaming in through the windows.

The friendly barista working behind the counter greeted me and helped me choose which of the various bean varieties I wanted in my iced coffee. When I assented that I preferred a bolder flavor over a fruity one, he suggested a variety from Myanmar.

I found a seat at one of the smaller tables, and he delivered my iced brew in its tall glass to me when it was ready (now there’s a touch I always appreciate at a coffee shop, the barista bringing the coffee to my table so I don’t have to stand at the counter and wait for it). It was delicious: bold, but very drinkable.

I appreciated not only the flavor profile of that coffee but the profile of Anthology’s overall vibe on that afternoon of my visit. It was humming with activity, with other visitors chatting and/or working and even a few kids running around, but it wasn’t overwhelming or distracting; it was pleasant. It radiated a sense of fostered community rather than a sense of being overrun by people. It felt amiable and also low-key, relaxed. The music played at an ideal volume level, enjoyable ambiance rather than a blaring distraction.

As I paid for my drink at the end of my visit, I commented to the barista on how much I’d enjoyed the coffee and the overall experience. I’d found a space I could envision as my own personal coworking space in a future where I worked for myself amongst other local entrepreneurs – where each of us, in our respective caffeine-induced flow states, teased out ideas on how we could best contribute our gifts to this wonderful city.

1401 Vermont St.

Detroit, MI 48216

www.anthologycoffee.com

310. Pupusería y Restaurante Salvadoreño – February 25, 2017 – Detroit, MI

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PUPUSAS!!!! HOW had I gone so long in my life without consuming you, you glorious little pancake-esque tortillas loaded with savory, meaty, cheesy fillings!

My first encounter with pupusas was back in 2014 at El Guanaco in Troy. I was immediately taken by the Salvadorean delights: what was not to like about piping-hot grilled corn tortillas stuffed with meat and cheese? I mean, that is kind of my JAM right there.

Yet somehow I went all this time without consuming another pupusa. I’ve never returned to El Guanaco – certainly not because I don’t want to (I gaze upon it fondly whenever I drive past it) but rather because a consequence of running a blog that’s all about trying new places is that repeat visits are not especially common for me – even when I really, really love a place and intend to go back. And sadly, Salvadorean restaurants are not especially prevalent around Metro Detroit.

But as I discovered a few weeks ago, there is at least one other Salvadorean restaurant in this area:  Pupusería y Restaurante Salvadoreño in Southwest Detroit. Continuing my quest to visit 50 new places in Detroit in Blog Year 5, I set out for the restaurant on Livernois Avenue one Sunday in late February.

Right away, the place won my heart because it had its own parking lot (a category of criteria I especially appreciate in the city), which was packed with other cars for the midday lunch rush. I entered the colorful restaurant bedecked with flags and vibrant artwork and put in a carryout order for one of the combination plates, which contained two pupusas, rice, beans, curtido (a cole slaw-esque, spicy cabbage relish), and a drink. I can’t recall exactly how much the combo cost me, but I believe it was around $8.

The order came out relatively quickly, and I excitedly made the jaunt back home, sucking down the horchata I’d ordered as my drink choice and savoring its creamy, cinnamon-laced goodness. Soon I’d also be savoring those pupusas nestled in my carryout bag!

The glorious moment arrived: I got back home and sat down to devour the pupusas in all of their fresh-grilled, meat-and-cheese-studded glory.

They were of course AMAZING. I’d gotten a ground pork pupusa and a cheese pupusa, and both were wonderfully fresh and flavorful and filling-stuffed. If I had to pick which one I liked better, I’d go with the cheese one (cheesy goodness being pretty hard to beat in its glorious simplicity), but the ground pork one was deliciously savory, too. Paired with the curtido, these bad boys were utterly KILLER. How come more food isn’t accompanied by a spicy cabbage slaw??? That needs to change.

If you have never tried a pupusa and are intrigued, can we agree that that needs to change, too? Give Pupusería y Restaurante Salvadoreño a try – and while you’re at it, try El Guanaco, too! There’s enough love to go around for both of them.

3149 Livernois Ave.

Detroit, MI 48210