Artisan Items

234. Bon Bon Bon – March 5, 2017 – Detroit, MI

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I hope you had an excellent weekend and were able to get some exploring in. Mine entailed some intense decluttering Saturday (getting rid of unnecessary crap is the best!) and running in the Corktown 5K in those frigid temps (windburn city!). The race went better than I expected in the bitter cold, and afterward I was able to hit a new bar during the St. Patrick’s Day shenanigans (post forthcoming!), so you know I’m happy. But today I’m here to recount a visit I made the weekend before this last one, to the downtown storefront of Bon Bon Bon.

Bon Bon Bon! I’d been wanting to taste their wares since I’d read about them in Hour Detroit a year or so back. Because come on, artisan bon-bons! Chocolate is one of my Top Five Favorite Things in Life, so I knew the Bons, as the candies are called, would be right up my alley.

I had aspired to visit the Hamtramck location, which is the facility where the chocolates are made and the storefront is open to the public on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. But the Universe was like, “Real talk: this meeting of you and the Bons is taking wayyyy too long for you to orchestrate, so I’m going to orchestrate it for you.”

And so it came to pass that while waiting to get seated at a very popular brunch restaurant (to be revealed in my next post!) inside the Chrysler Building downtown the Sunday before last, I stumbled across Bon Bon Bon’s Detroit storefront, also within that building. It’s small and pleasant, with bright orange walls and display cases featuring the glorious individually-boxed and numbered bons.

If you have to kill time during an absurdly long wait for a table, buying artisan chocolates has to be the very best use of that time EVER.

Given the wide selection of novel chocolate gems – including a whole section featuring Paczki-inspired Bons containing cake-and-jelly-flavored filling (my friend got a strawberry one and said it was amazing), Bons sprinkled with Earl Gray tea, and one topped with crushed Better Made Chips (yes!) – picking only a few to take home was a challenge. After much deliberation, I chose three (the parenthetical descriptions of each are quoted from Bon Bon Bon’s website): a Number 24, Strawberry and Balsamic (“balsamic reduction, strawberry jam, dark chocolate olive oil ganache”); Number 40, Arabic Coffee (“Great Lakes Coffee espresso ganache, cardamom royal icing, coffee bean”) and Number 41, Whisky Lullabye (“whisky caramel, chamomile dark chocolate ganache, candied chamomile”).

Once I made my selections, the woman behind the counter encased them in the cardboard packaging shown above, stamping its interior with the name of each Bon before sealing it up with red tape and a rubber Bon Bon Bon band. The whole experience felt special, the antithesis of purchasing a factory-manufactured candy bar from a vending machine. At $3 apiece, the Bons were treats that I knew I must truly savor and enjoy.

And savor them I did. Each tiny handmade work of art packed a massive flavor punch, making them well-worth their price tags. It’s a toss-up between the Strawberry and Balsamic (that balsamic reduction was wonderful!) and the Whisky Lullabye (a most decadent caramel!) on which one is my favorite.

So thank you, Universe, for guiding me to this shop by accident so I could finally make this much-anticipated visit! I can’t wait to see where in the city you take me next.

719 Griswold St., Ste. 100

Detroit, MI 48226

www.bonbonbon.com

192. Ashe Supply Co. – September 29, 2016 – Detroit, MI

 

Hello, all! Happy Sunday! I hope you are keeping dry this weekend! Here in the D, it’s been raining buckets the last few days. I also hope none of you Metro-Detroiters were affected by all of the flooding shenanigans that occurred Thursday. Obvi, we need better storm drains in our freeway system here!

Funny thing about Thursday: my team at work had planned that day to go to an afternoon Tigers game. Yes, the soggiest possible home game of the season to attend – with that particular date having been my suggestion (Whoops!). What it translated to was a long lunch at beloved Detroit Beer Company (Black and White Bean Dip, holla!) plus strolling the Comerica Park concourses and streets of Detroit in the rain.

One of my coworkers is originally from up north and had only visited downtown a few times before, so she wanted to wander and explore. Bundled in my fairly rain-resistant sweatshirt and knit hat, I did not object. But slogging around in the rain is only charming for so long. When our little group decided to stop in to the little coffee shop we’d stumbled upon earlier on Broadway to take a respite from the dampness, I was thrilled. Warmth, and dryness, and a new place for 100 Places!

Ashe Supply Co. is exactly the coffee shop I wish existed in my neighborhood. If it did, I’d be working there all of the time. It’s clean and cozy and hipster-ish. There are various seating areas, including a small bar rail along the barista counter. And the music is at the perfect decibel level to ensure concentration.

In addition to its several varieties of coffee, Ashe sells wares from other area vendors, including baked goods from Sister Pie, who I could totally see as being the creators of the pumpkin whoopie pie with cream cheese icing that one of my coworkers ordered. I got a taste of that icing, and it was extraordinary! The company also peddles artwork from local creatives, Detroit-themed clothing, and coffee- and tea-related accessories.

And what did I order during my visit to Ashe? I decided on a mint tea, which was the perfect antidote to an hour of rain walking / a belly full of bean and cheese dip and too many scavenged French fries. While the game was inevitably called off, hey, at least I got to bond with coworkers and avoid my office cubicle for a half day. In life, it’s all about the tiny victories, right?

1555 Broadway St.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.ashesupplyco.com

166. Parker Street Market – February 27, 2016 – Detroit, MI

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My purchase from Parker Street Market.

I’d been craving a visit to Detroit all week, which is how I ended up at the corner of Parker and Kercheval earlier this afternoon. A jaunt into our lovely city is the perfect antidote to the residual effects of a week of soul-sucking corporate office drudgery (someday I will get out!). And Parker Street Market is the antidote to soul-sucking, disconnected corporate grocers and convenience stores. There it rests, at the helm of a quiet residential area, a beacon of organic and artisan goods. Doing the good work! That’s the phase that ran through my head after my visit.

I’d read about Parker Street Market in Hour Detroit and added it to my long and ever-expanding list of places I want to visit in the city. I liked the sound of it, how the owner (who I believe was the friendly guy helming the front counter when I was there) curated the items of this tiny store with care, how he featured locally-made items such as the lovely-looking Gus and Grey handcrafted Blackberry Bourban Vanilla Jam I purchased. (I’d read about Gus and Grey’s exquisite-sounding jams when the founder was featured in an issue of Hour, as well. So excited to try this stuff!)

Besides locally-made food items, Parker Street Market sells a range of other items, such as healthy packaged snacks, environmentally-friendly cleaning products, craft beer, and wine. And according to its website, it will deliver your grocery order to anywhere within the city of Detroit for only $5 – a pretty sweet deal!

1814 Parker St.

Detroit, MI 48214

www.parkerstreetmarket.com