Detroit Day

261. The Hudson Café – July 16, 2017 – Detroit, MI

20170716_11431320170716_120209One of my favorite versions of Heaven is taking in a ballgame at Comerica Park during a perfect-weather day (my other versions are: 1) shopping in a gourmet Italian produce market and 2) browsing in a multi-leveled independent bookshop. Yes, I am kind of a nerd). And when I venture downtown for a day game, I like to make a day of it – to have a meal and/or drinks beforehand. So in anticipation of my mom and I going down to the D back in July for what seems to be becoming our annual mother-daughter ballgame, I of course was like, “Can we go somewhere for brunch beforehand – preferably somewhere that is new to both of us?” Because yeah, trying new places is my pinnacle obsession these days (and happily, one that my loved ones indulge).

My mom suggested The Hudson Café, a breakfast/lunch restaurant that she’d heard good things about. She’d attempted to eat there during Memorial Day weekend, but her and my stepdad decided not to endure the long wait for a table at the time they were there, so they went to the Woodward location of Avalon International Breads instead (excellent alternate choice – LOVE those guys!).

Armed with this knowledge of how busy the joint could be, we settled in for a long wait at The Hudson Café – and got a table after about an hour, which wasn’t all that bad because we could jaunt up and down Woodward in the interim (and shop at lovely nearby Avalon, procuring a loaf of its insanely delish Farnsworth Family Farm sourdough and some Gus and Grey Floozie peach bourbon jam – oh yeahhh. Can’t help fan-girling over that place!).

Once triumphantly seated inside The Hudson Café after our lengthy wait, I enjoyed the bustling atmosphere and brightly colored murals of breakfast foods interspersed with Detroit landmarks. My mom ordered the banana pancakes, and I decided on the Chicken Pesto sandwich.

Let me say one thing about The Hudson Café: its portions are GENEROUS! The banana pancakes were huge – like, bigger-than-your-face huge. The Chicken Pesto sandwich, with its hefty grilled chicken breast, slabs of tomato, and smotherings of mozzarella, spinach, and pesto on weighty ciabatta bread, did not come to play. It and the double-serving of sweet potato fries that accompanied it meant gastronomical business! Hungry tummies are turning into happy, full (possibly overstuffed-and-in-need-of-a-nap) tummies after a visit here!

Besides offering the usual breakfast-centric fare (a generous variety of pancakes, waffles, French toast, sweet/savory crepes, omelettes, Eggs Benedict dishes, and other egg-centric fare), The Hudson Café’s menu boasts numerous entrée-salad and sandwich choices such as the Chicken Pesto.

1241 Woodward Ave.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.hudson-cafe.com

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245. Mudgie’s Deli – April 29, 2017 – Detroit, MI

20170429_152143 (2)20170429_152307 (2)20170429_155110 (3)Hi, guys! I am sitting and writing these words in a never-before-visited and very awesome coffee shop – so look out for the post on that soon. But right now I’m here to talk about my visit to Mudgie’s Deli in Detroit two weekends ago.

After having a round of beers at Tommy’s Detroit Bar & Grill and receiving free tickets to that afternoon’s Tigers game from kindly strangers, my friend Jaclyn and I enjoyed five innings at Comerica Park before the frigid temperatures forced us out in search of the warm indoors. It was time for sandwiches at the deli I’d been dying to visit since the Corktown 5K (I had hoped to coax my friends into having lunch there after the race).

OK, this is just another reason for me to declare Corktown as my favorite neighborhood in Detroit. Not only is it easily navigable, has ample free parking, and is home to Slow’s, Detroit Institute of Bagels, Le Petit Zinc, Mercury Burger and Bar, and a jillion other beloved-by-me local establishments, it’s also home to Mudgie’s Deli and its extensive menu of intriguing sandwich choices.

Seriously, this restaurant’s menu is LOADED. There are so many sandwich choices that they are grouped by category; you’ve got a Poultry, Fish, Vegetarian & Vegan, Beef, Multi-Meat, and Salami section to choose from.

Nearly every sandwich description had me drooling. Here are a few to give you an idea of how boss these sandwiches are:

-The Brooklyn: “Beef brisket, Neuske’s nitrate free cherrywood smoked bacon, beer cheese[!], and caramelized maple onions on a kaiser roll.”

-The Hippie Dippie Sh*t Man (best sandwich name EVER): “Avocado, baby spinach, local sunflower sprouts, walnuts, dried cranberries, diced apples, shredded carrots and cucumber with raspberry vinaigrette rolled in whole wheat flat bread.”

-The Madill: “Roasted turkey breast, Neuske’s nitrate free cherrywood smoked bacon, avocado, tomato, romaine lettuce, garlic mayo and melted pepper Jack cheese on an 8″ hoagie bun served warm.”

That last one, The Madill, is the one I ordered after much deliberation (reading that it contained bacon AND avocado AND garlic mayo hooked me!). And man, did it turn out to be delicious! It was also huge; two people could easily share it. I thought I was going to take half home, but it was so good that I ended up polishing off all of it.

Mudgie’s is not just a deli with delicious sandwiches: it has a full bar! I had the most delicious Spanish coffee (perfect at warding the chill of the blustery day from my bones) with my Madill. It also has a little wine-shop area where you first walk in with bottles for sale. AND it offers Sunday brunch, featuring popular breakfast dishes such as Eggs Benedict, French toast, and biscuits and gravy plus a select variety of its delectable sandwiches. Worth noting: hours are 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sundays; Mudgie’s is open 11 to 9 Mondays through Wednesdays and 11 to 11 (with the bar open until 12) the rest of the week.

So the verdict from this gal is that Mudgie’s is most definitely awesome. I need to go back and try more sandwiches – especially after being entranced by the slideshow of tantalizing sandwich photos on its website in the midst of writing this post!

1413 Brooklyn St.

Detroit, MI 48226

www.mudgiesdeli.com

244. Tommy’s Detroit Bar & Grill – April 29, 2017 – Detroit, MI

20170429_120602 (2)20170429_124856 (2)Last Saturday was a Detroit Day for me – yayyyy!

“Detroit Day” is what my friend Jaclyn and I call it when we go and spend a couple of hours in the city, generally to lunch and day-drink at restaurants and bars we’ve never been to. It’s one of my favorite things to do EVER (no surprise there, considering this blog!).

We knew we wanted to eat lunch at Mudgie’s (a coveted visit for months for me) on this Detroit Day but decided to get a drink before that. Scrolling through Yelp and seeing which bars were open by the noon hour, we found Tommy’s Detroit Bar & Grill. It turned out to be our best spontaneous find since Two James Spirits – not only because we were approached by kindly strangers there who gifted us lower-level Tigers tickets for that afternoon’s game (YES!), but also because it’s a generally awesome bar.

Tommy’s Detroit Bar & Grill, you have settled within my heart as one of my Beloved Detroit Bars (right there with The Old Miami and Tom’s Tavern)! I love your down-to-earth, friendly vibes. I enjoy that you are within sight’s distance of my beloved Red Wings’ now-former home, Joe Louis Arena (obviously I’m learning about your value as a JLA pre-game pit-stop wayyy too late). I appreciate that you offer free shuttles to Lions, Tigers, and Red Wings games, and that from what I understand, you have a deal worked out with the adjacent parking lot to offer free parking on game days. And I love that you, akin to many businesses in the city, are housed in a building with a rich history – a building that, in its over 175 years of existence, has been everything from a stop on the Underground Railroad to a Prohibition-era speakeasy with a secret underground casino thought to have affiliations with the notorious Purple Gang, according to your owner.

Yes, the building Tommy’s is housed in has a wild backstory! The eponymous owner, Tommy, took the time to show us a display in the back room of the bar explaining the history. Wayne State actually did an archaeological dig project involving the building back in 2013 to investigate its history. Pretty cool!

Why else to love Tommy’s? It has an extensive happy hour period (from 4 to 8 p.m.) Mondays through Fridays (excluding game days and big event days), with three-dollar wine and well drinks and one dollar off domestic draft and bottled beers.

624 3rd St.
Detroit, MI 48226

www.tommysdetroit.com

173. The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company – April 17, 2016 – Detroit, MI

After picking up some gorgeous baked goods at Avalon International Breads, my solo mini Detroit Day in Midtown a few weekends ago continued with a visit to The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company, a short walk from the bakery. This, my friends, is not some standard coffee shop – it’s a coffee shop/bar! Yes, in addition to serving locally roasted, meticulously crafted coffee concoctions, The Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company offers booze – craft beer, wine, and cocktails – and is open late most nights (Monday through Thursday until 11; Friday and Saturday until midnight; and Sunday until 8). So whether you are looking to amp up or mellow out, GLCRC’s got ya!

The shop’s interior is quintessentially modern Detroit – lots of brick, wood, and metal – and has ample seating, boasting both a bar rail and plenty of tables. And let me tell you, this joint serves up some excellent coffee. I had the lavender latte, and it was everything you want in a coffee: rich, smooth, and flavorful. What a difference high-caliber coffee beans make!

Prior to visiting GLCRC, I’d seen some complaints on Yelp about the sizes of the coffee drinks it ofers. Some people felt they hadn’t gotten enough bang for their buck. And yes, my lavender latte came in a glass that was smaller than the small coffee I’d get at a corporate-chain house. But this was A-OK with me, because the coffee was so delicious; it cost a fair price to me considering the quality. Also, my caffeine tolerance is about nil. This was the perfect size for me; I got a little buzz, but I wasn’t vibrating-in-my-body-insane feeling (as I was when I made the mistake of getting a large Starbucks iced coffee last summer and literally felt like I was on drugs). Cheers to that!

3965 Woodward Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

(with additional locations in Bloomfield Hills and inside Cobo Hall)

www.greatlakescoffee.com

162. Two James Spirits – January 24, 2016 – Detroit, MI

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In my next lifetime, I am going to come back as one of those pretty, tattooed female bartenders you see everywhere around Detroit, and I am going to tend bar at an establishment just like Two James. A bright, beautiful bar, the perfect mix of gritty (set in an obviously former industrial building) and elegant (featuring vivid floral-themed artwork and metallic orb light fixtures with delicate cutout design work floating around the bar). Small and intimate. And crafting with care a deliciously stiff drink. Damn, was the drink I had there amazing! It was a White Russian, and I think it had a name other than White Russian on the menu – but of course, I can’t recall that name (I need to start taking notes in my travels – this is critical info!).

While I was prompted by the menu description to order this, I’ve heretofore never been much of a White Russian girl – and it’s probably because, I am realizing now, I never had one that was made properly! Two James’ is perfection – due in large part, I am sure, to the fact that it contains its own distilled vodka. The distillery also produces various whiskies, two kinds of gin, a bourbon, a mezcal, and absinthe. So yes! It is the perfect establishment for some chill Sunday afternoon spirits-imbibing.

The day I visited Two James and also Mercury Burger and Bar, January 24, also happened to be the one-year anniversary of me hitting the landmark of 100 local places visited since starting this blog (with my visit to Grand Trunk Pub in Detroit on January 24, 2015)! That I had planned this visit to Detroit on this day was a happy accident – but one that I was pleased to discover.

2445 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI 48216

www.twojames.com

161. Mercury Burger and Bar – January 24, 2016 – Detroit, MI

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Glorious Southwest Detroit burger with chorizo, avocado, jalapenos, pickled carrots . . . out-of-control good! 

I’m OBSESSED!!! Ok, I say that about a lot of places I visit lately, but I truly am experiencing feelings of obsession around Corktown’s Mercury Burger and Bar and the AMAZING Southwest Detroit burger I had there about a month ago. Seriously, it was glorious. It was PERFECT. It had to be one of the very best burgers I’ve ever had.

That weekend was the weekend of burgers for me, apparently. I’d visited another peddler of excellent burgers, Luxe Bar and Grill, just two days prior. The trip to Mercury was part of a Detroit Day – one of my very favorite days in the world! – on which a good friend and I spend an afternoon jaunting about Detroit, exploring establishments we’ve never been.

Not only was the burger I had amazing, but so were the poutine tater tots (poutine tots!!!). Another plus: the interior of the diner is so bright and cheerily Detroit-centric, with a friendly, welcoming bar staff if you decide to perch along its rail and enjoy a local craft ale with your meal as we did. All in all, it is almost impossible not to fall in love with this place.

2163 Michigan Ave.
Detroit, MI 48216

www.mercuryburgerbar.com

142. Detroit City Distillery – September 26, 2015 – Detroit, MI

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The last stop on my most recent Detroit Day (my simple term for a day where I spend a glorious chunk of time exploring new-to-me locales around the city) was another Eastern Market anchor, Detroit City Distillery. If you are a liquor drinker to any degree, you’ll pretty much swoon over its menu of craft cocktails featuring what it refers to on its website as “small batch artisanal whiskey, gin and vodka.”

The service was great, and the drinks were amazing. I am pretty much worthless for drink recommendations because I can’t remember the names of any of the drinks that we got at this point, and the menu on the website is different than the one featured when we were there. I had a rye whiskey cocktail with fig preserves in it; another friend got one containing pureed watermelon and vodka that was quite good, and my absolute favorite was some sort of concoction with chai tea or something along those lines in it. . . yeah. But check out the drink menu on its website to get an idea of the unique cocktail creations and to be entertained by the names alone (Drunk Yoga! Carpal Tinder Syndrome!).

2462 Riopelle St.

Detroit, MI 48207

detroitcitydistillery.com

141. Brew Detroit – September 26, 2015 – Detroit, MI

Brew Detroit Beer

Photo courtesy of J. Otto

I loved Brew Detroit! The tasting room is a cavernous space with an industrial vibe – spare bulb lighting and furniture made out of packing crates. It was slow the Saturday afternoon we were there; there were just a few of us huddled around the center bar area. The bartender was very cool; he explained to us that while the tasting room is relatively new, Brew Detroit is actually the third largest brewer in Michigan. In addition to brewing its own small-batch creations served in its tasting room, other businesses contract it to make some of their recipes (Atwater Brewery and Kid Rock’s Badass Beer are two of its notable clients).

Brew Detroit chalkboard

One interesting fact about Brew Detroit’s beers; not only are they brewed in small batches, but if I understood correctly, none of the beers served there are ever made again beyond the first batch (about five kegs’ worth, the bartender told us) that is created. That makes for a lot of variety! The bummer: if you like a beer, you’re not likely to see it the next time you’re back, so grab a growler and take that sucker home! The above photo is of the chalkboard above the bar showing the beers on tap during my visit.. I tried a pint each of Experimental Batch #2 (a saison flavored with lavender and chamomile) and Tootsie (a blonde infused with vanilla beans and cacao nibs – phenomenal!).

1401 Abbott St.

Detroit, MI 48216

www.brewdetroit.com

140. Detroit vs. Everybody – September 26, 2015 – Detroit, MI

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Because a huge part of our love affair with Detroit is embracing its underdog mentality – in every color-combo of T-shirt options imaginable!

This is the new Eastern Market store. Check out the graffiti art gracing the entrance stairwell – amazing.

2501 Russell St.

Detroit, MI 48207 (also a Greektown location)

http://detroitvseverybody.com

139. Supino Pizzeria – September 26, 2015 – Detroit, MI

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Detroit Day – woo hoo! Yes, me and my pals had what we like to call a Detroit Day – an extensive jaunt around the city – two weekends ago. On an absolutely gorgeous Saturday afternoon (we’ve had quite a lovely string of weather this fall, haven’t we?), we jaunted down to the Eastern Market area, which was kickin’. Supino Pizzeria sits in a strip of businesses that hugs the perimeter of Eastern Market. I’d heard great things about the place; it was on my to-try list for quite a while. But I didn’t expect it to be quite so in-demand! There was a line out the door to wait just to place an order. Granted, the place is tiny – a tightly-packed little shoebox of hipster eclecticism plus old-school Italian charm (there’s not too much more to the place than what you are seeing in the photo of the interior above – just a few rows of tables), so it’s not hard to form a line that extends out the entrance. But still, we probably waited about a half hour just to place our order. I’ve chalked it up as part of the experience. Because after all of the waiting, we were happy to discover that the pizza was legit! I had Margherita pizza, and it was all cheesy, olive-oily, fresh-basil-and-tomatoesy goodness.

2457 Russell St.

Detroit, MI 48207

http://supinopizzeria.com