Detroit

452. Lucky Coffee – December 15, 2019 – Detroit, MI

December2019LuckyDetroitCoffee2 (2)On a Sunday afternoon back in mid-December, I visited (without consciously planning it) two establishments with the word “lucky” in their monikers: Pho Lucky and Lucky Coffee.

Probably I should have bought a lottery ticket that day, with all that coincidental emphasis on the word lucky hailing from the Universe. Well, I missed that opportunity, but I still feel like I hit the jackpot that day, because I discovered how lovely Lucky Coffee is!

The Corktown-based coffee shop is on the second floor of Detroit Barber Co. To get to Lucky Coffee, you enter the barber shop and go up a flight of stairs near the front door, then navigate through a suite of barber chairs on the second floor. The coffee house is beyond them, in its own room.

Once there, you feel like you are in another world, a cozy, bygone world. Lucky Coffee has an antique-saloon feel to it – except that coffee, tea, and espresso drinks are being slung instead of vodka, scotch, and whiskey. (Baked goodies are available, too.)

Speaking of booze, Lucky Coffee does offer a vanilla bourbon latte, which I ordered during my visit. It was rich and sweet, a delight to savor; it reminded me of toasted marshmallows. According to the barista on duty when I remarked on that to him, I was the only one to have theretofore made that flavor-profile comparison (I hope he knows I meant it as a compliment; it was tasty!). If you visit Lucky Coffee and get that vanilla bourbon latte, you’ll have to share in the comments section below whether you agree with my assessment!

Because I enjoyed hanging out so much at Lucky Coffee, soaking in its brick walls and plank floors and grand wood-fronted counter and crystal chandeliers and strings of bare lightbulbs and old-timey memorabilia (a mounted moose head; a striped barber’s pole; a rusted tin sign advertising prescriptions) and the sunshine streaming in from the window I perched near, I opted for another drink after I finished that vanilla bourbon latte. Consulting with the barista over tea lattes, I ordered the Earl Grey latte that he recommended; he said he’d concocted the syrup himself.

What beautifully nuanced flavor that latte had! I love Earl Grey tea, but I’ve noticed how the flavor profile varies from brand to brand; the bergamot flavor isn’t consistent, and sometimes I find it to be too weak. This latte had the perfect amount of bergamot flavor, in my opinion, as well as a nice sweetness.

My visit to Lucky Coffee left me buoyed by caffeine and contentment – and certainly feeling fortunate that I’d discovered another awesome indie coffee shop in the area (no lottery win required for those good vibes!).

2000 Michigan Ave., 2nd Fl.

Detroit, MI 48216

www.luckydetroit.com

451. Pho Lucky – December 15, 2019 – Detroit, MI

December2019PhoLucky1 (2)December2019PhoLucky3 (2)December2019PhoLucky2 (2)A gloomy, chilly winter’s day is SO the ideal time to enjoy a steaming bowl of pho. Let Pho Lucky be the facilitator of that experience for you!

I visited Pho Lucky’s Detroit location on a Sunday afternoon in mid-December. I was excited to learn that the restaurant located on Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit has it own free parking area; it’s behind the restaurant, noted by signs. HOORAY to this rarity of free parking downtown!

Once sat at a table inside the restaurant, I appreciated Pho Lucky’s long, window-lined dining room offering up views of the cityscape outside and what natural light was to be had at the moment. I scoped out the menu and was tempted by photos of Pho Lucky’s vermicelli bowls, laden as they were with plentiful portions of meat and noodles topped with lettuce, herbs, bean sprouts, peanuts, and green onion.

But I had come for Pho Lucky’s signature dish, the pho, and I knew I’d be disappointed if I left without trying it. So I turned my attention away from the vermicelli bowls and rice plates and onto its namesake dish.

Pho Lucky offers twelve different varieties of pho at its Detroit location. It defines the popular Vietnamese dish on its menu as “served in a bowl of clear beef broth, with thinly sliced rare eye round steak, cooked beef, meat balls, tendon and beef tripes; alongside húng quế (Asian basil), cilantro, lime, bean sprouts, hoisin sauce and siracha.” Yum, yum, and yum!

I didn’t opt for the pho variety that contains all of those aforementioned meats, the House Special – mostly because I haven’t yet been able to convince myself to try tripe (game to make this a 2020 culinary goal, Self?). Instead, I ordered the P4, the Phở Tái, Chín, Bò Viên. This pho contained the rare eye round steak, cooked beef, and beef meat balls.

The meal came out quickly, a bountiful, steaming bowl of broth loaded with meat and noodles and accompanied by a plate piled with bean sprouts, Asian basil, fresh sliced jalapeño, and a lime wedge.

I squeezed some lime juice into the pho, generously topped it with add-ons, and took my first bite. It was delicious! With its warm broth, hearty meats, ample rice noodles (long and ideal for slurping!), and fresh veggie toppings, I was all about Pho Lucky’s pho. For good measure, I added in hearty amounts of sriracha (because no dish can ever be too spicy in my book!).

Facing the chill outdoors was more bearable as I left Pho Lucky with a full stomach, ample leftovers, and a warmed spirit (successful new-place visits always bring on the warm-and-fuzzies for me!). Regardless of time of year, this Vietnamese restaurant is worth a visit – but oh, how satisfying its namesake dish is during these gray-skied winter days!

3111 Woodward Ave.

Detroit, MI 48201

(with additional locations in Novi, Redford, and Southfield)

www.pholucky.net

450. Detroit Sip – December 7, 2019 – Detroit, MI

December2019DetroitSip1 (3)December2019DetroitSip2 (2)I love the spirit of Detroit Sip, exemplified by the motto emblazoned on a wall of its interior: “Uniting the community one sip at a time.”

When I visited the Detroit-based, independently-owned coffee shop near the University of Detroit Mercy campus earlier this month, I definitely felt welcomed into community by the owner, who was working the counter that day. She was lovely, chatting with me about the shop and her background and asking me questions about myself as she made my cappuccino, while a man who was visiting with her joined in on the conversation.

I spent about an hour at Detroit Sip during that visit, settled into a comfy armchair near the windows. Soaking up the warm sunlight streaming in, the delicious, caffeine-infused richness of the cappuccino, and the overall cheery vibes of the place made configuring my monthly budget MUCH more enjoyable (here’s to making tedious tasks pleasant with a change in scenery!).

While I loved this prime window perch, I appreciated Detroit Sip’s other, ample seating options, including at brightly-painted tables splashed with uplifting sayings. Festive holiday decorations festooned the walls during my visit, while a Christmas tree graced one corner.

Besides offering tasty coffee and tea drinks, Detroit Sip serves fresh-baked goodies and snacks from beloved local vendors, such as Germack and Faygo. Handmade jewelry for sale is also on display.

In today’s world, community can feel difficult to find – but as I was reminded of by my visit to Detroit Sip, a sense of community is really not hard to foster. Simply visiting somewhere new and engaging in conversation with the people you find there can make the world a much more friendly, connected place. Thanks, Detroit Sip, for reminding me of that!

7420 W. McNichols Rd.

Detroit, MI 48221

(Open Thursdays through Sundays)

www.detroitsip.com

449. Mongers’ Provisions – November 29, 2019 – Detroit, MI

November2019Mongers'Provisions1 (3)I was drawn into Mongers’ Provisions by the prospect of cheese but blown away by another of its offerings: its chocolate collection.

I love cheese, but chocolate, that resides in a place smack-dab at the center of my heart. And WOW, does Mongers’ Provisions proffer a LOT of chocolate! Artisan chocolate bars, from all parts of the world and infused with all kinds of flavorings, fill shelves along one wall of the shop based in the Midtown/Cass Corridor neighborhood of Detroit. Study those shelves, and you’ll see varietals as wide-ranging as chili-infused dark chocolate and white chocolate melded with duck egg, curry, and cereal (!).

Both of those varietals listed above, by the way, were ones I got to sample during my visit to Mongers’. The employee assisting me insisted that I sample any chocolate I was interested in, an offer that I found to be extremely generous, as the bars offered at Mongers’ are not cheap. It showcases artisan chocolates, with many – if not all – focused on using cacao procured via fair-trade means. These are distinctive chocolate bars, crafted with superior ingredients. I can’t recall exactly how much that white chocolate/duck egg/curry/cereal bar cost, but I believe it was in the $12-to-$14 range. And it was phenomenal, I might add. Who knew such seemingly discordant ingredients could meld into such creamy, flavorful deliciousness?

The chili-infused dark chocolate variety I sampled at Mongers’ was quite good, as well. But it was the third bar I tasted, the Raaka Raspberry Mint, in which I decided to invest. I love the rich, almost jammy raspberry flavor and subtle hint of mint in this creamy, 65-percent dark chocolate bar, which uses unroasted cacao beans sourced from the Dominican Republic. And at $8, the price of this bar was admittedly more in line with my current budget than some of Mongers’ other chocolate offerings.

Since my visit, I’ve definitely been keeping this shop and its fantastic chocolate collection in mind. Not only do I hope to delve into it more in the future, but I also think the singular bars that comprise it would make excellent gifts, different as they are from the generic (and oft subpar) chocolates commonly found at chain grocers.

Similarly, the cheeses offered at Mongers’ are a far cry from the waxy, hyper-processed, is-there-even-dairy-in-here? stuff that often passes as cheese. They are specially curated varieties, with some – such as the Bayley Hazen Blue featured on its website – priced at over $30 a pound. These are cheeses that are meant to be savored, perhaps alongside a nice glass of wine or squares of that artisan chocolate.

Mongers’ Provisions offers more than thoughtfully compiled chocolates and cheeses. Keeping to the provisions part of its name, it also sells beer, wine, drink mixers, cured meats, and dry goods that would pair well with cheeses and chocolates, such as aged balsamic vinegar and one of my favorite locally-made products EVER, Gus & Grey jams. It also offers epic cheese and charcuterie boards; check out its website for oh-so-pretty (and mouth-watering) images of them.

I’m happy to have become acquainted with this shop that brings such care and attention to detail to its offerings and to its customer service. Thanks, Mongers’ Provisions, for being such a top-notch provider of charcuterie, cheese, and that element most near and dear to my heart: chocolate!

4240 Cass Ave., Ste. 111

Detroit, MI 48201

(with an additional location in Ferndale)

www.mongersprovisions.com

446. Ochre Bakery – November 10, 2019 – Detroit, MI

November2019OchreBakery1 (2)November2019OchreBakery3 (2)November2019OchreBakery2 (3)Here’s Ochre Bakery, combining two of my favorite things: coffee houses and baked goods! I had a wonderful time there during my visit a month ago.

Ochre Bakery bills itself as a bakery and café, serving up tea, coffee, and espresso drinks; fresh-baked breads, croissants, cakes, and pastries; and smoothies, sandwiches, salads, breakfast foods, and other goodies.

The café is in a nondescript area of the Woodbridge neighborhood of Detroit, on Grand River Avenue. On Yelp, I’d read reviews recommending using a cluster of nearby shipping containers to help identify its location, which did aid me in spotting its white-brick façade dappled with navy-blue dots and the cute courtyard area fronting it.

Inside, I learned that half of the tables at Ochre Bakery are reserved for patrons who desire the restaurant experience – to be waited on by servers – while the other half are available for those who’d like to order from the counter and seat themselves. Coming from a meal at Coop Caribbean Fusion via Detroit Shipping Company, I opted for the less formal experience of ordering at the counter.

I’d been so full from that meal at Detroit Shipping Company that I’d skipped dessert there. Here I was a scant half hour later, spying Ochre Bakery’s house-made chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream frosting and suddenly sensing an appetite inside me (I always have room for chocolate cake). I ordered a slice of it and a cappuccino, which were delivered to my table when they were ready.

The chocolate cake tasted as delicious as it looked; it was pure decadence! I savored its layers of rich, moist cake and creamy, sugary frosting. It paired well with the flavorful cappuccino.

I also savored Ochre Bakery’s excellent vibes. Every staff member I encountered there was lovely, and the café’s interior emanated cheerful tranquility with its earth tones and potted plants, its counter of veined white marble and blond wood and tile painted with designs done in blue and its namesake color. I loved sitting inside there, reading and writing and sipping and savoring and soaking it all in. Ochre Bakery is the kind of place I yearn to return to.

4884 Grand River Ave., Ste. 1B

Detroit, MI 48208

http://www.ochrebakery.com

445. Detroit Shipping Company / Coop Caribbean Fusion – November 10, 2019 – Detroit, MI

November2019DetroitShippingCo.1 (2)November2019DetroitShippingCo.3 (2)November2019DetroitShippingCo.5 (2)November2019DetroitShippingCo.4 (2)The Detroit Shipping Company is a container for a lot of things: art galleries, live music, event space, bars, a food hall. There’s a place that sells coffee and ice cream (-320º Coffee and Creamery), a space that holds pop-up shops, a podcast studio, and plenty of outdoor seating (ah, patio weather!), including on a rooftop deck.

The 10,000-square-foot complex located at 474 Peterboro Street gets its name from the fact that it’s been constructed from metal shipping containers, which have been painted a striking metallic blue hue.

I visited Detroit Shipping Company on a Sunday afternoon in November. I went solo, a status I admittedly regretted upon walking into the food hall on the first floor of the building.

The place had the kind of atmosphere that begged to be shared with someone: lively, convivial, celebratory. Groups of family and friends clustered at the long wooden tables in the food hall, eating, drinking, and having a ball. I wanted to be there eating, drinking, and having a ball with my friends! But I decided to make the best of my solo time on that day, reminding myself that I could always do a revisit with pals.

Detroit Shipping Company’s food hall reminded me of a mall food court – except much hipper and with much more compelling offerings. Communal tables presided in the center, and a full bar and stalls staffed by local restauranteurs ringed the perimeter. A guitarist serenaded patrons from a second-floor balcony.

When checking out the foodstuffs offered at Detroit Shipping Company prior to my visit, I was immediately intrigued by the choices. There was a taco joint (Brujo Tacos and Tapas), a place that offered Thai cuisine (Bangkok 96 Street Food), a stand serving Nepalese dumplings (Momo Cha). And there was the stall from which I decided to eat: Coop Caribbean Fusion.

I was attracted to the restaurant’s flavorful-sounding food, specifically the Motor City Chicken Sandwich and Caribbean Fries. Those become my lunch!

After ordering that sandwich and fries at the Coop counter, I was given a buzzer that lit up and vibrated when my meal was ready.

Greeted by the sight of the open-face fried chicken sandwich nestled on a bed of Texas toast and slathered in barbecue sauce, bacon, cilantro, coleslaw, and aioli and French fries loaded with queso fresco cheese, Caribbean seasonings, cilantro, and cilantro-infused aioli, I was excited to dig in.

The meal was a flavor explosion! The barbecue sauce on Coop’s Motor City Chicken Sandwich was rich and flavorful, as was the coleslaw; its crispy chicken was juicy and tasty. And with their creamy queso fresco and zesty seasonings, the Caribbean Fries were the show-stealer of the meal for me, fried to an ideal crispness and loaded as they were with those luxurious toppings. Mmm mmm and MMM!

I’d planned to end my visit to Detroit Shipping Company with some ice cream from -320º Coffee and Creamery, but I was so stuffed from that decadent lunch from Coop that I opted to forego it. A return to this receptacle for ample food, drink, creativity, and community is in order, anyway; Detroit Shipping Company is the kind of place that entreats one to visit again and again – whether solo or with friends.

474 Peterboro St.

Detroit, MI 48201

www.detroitshippingcompany.com

www.coopdetroit.com

442. Go! Sy Thai – October 27, 2019 – Detroit, MI

October2019Go!SyThai1 (2)October2019Go!SyThai2 (3)Go! Sy Thai was bustling during my Sunday evening visit a few weeks ago – and for good reason. The Cass Corridor-based, fast-casual iteration of local restaurant chain Sy Thai proffers tasty food in plentiful portions.

Take the Curry Noodle dish that I ordered: it yielded two full meals for me – and then some (and I’m – by most people in my life’s considerations – an eater; I don’t mess around!).

This Curry Noodle dish was not only abundant in size, it was also supremely delicious with its richly flavored red coconut curry sauce slathering weighty rice noodles, fresh green onion and bean sprouts, crushed peanut, and the tender chunks of beef I opted for as my protein (I also chose to get the dish sans the egg it usually comes with).

At Go! Sy Thai, you order at the counter and wait for your food to be called out when it’s ready. The overhead menu showcases an ample list of offerings: classic Thai soups, small plates, and rice and noodle dishes.

For entrée dishes, you select the protein you’d like to be included (beef, chicken, shrimp, or tofu – or a vegetable mix in place of protein) and your desired spice level (Mild, Medium, Hot, X Hot, or Top of the Line).

For the spice level for my Curry Noodle with beef, I selected X Hot and was pleased with it: it was definitely hot in the way that I love, but it wasn’t so spicy that it was rendered inedible (a nearly nonexistent occurrence for me, the person who literally dumps cayenne pepper all over her popcorn – but STILL, props to Go! Sy Thai for rating their spice levels accurately! I know that when it comes down to it, spice level is subjective, but some places get it SO obviously wrong).

Another fun fact about this location of Go! Sy Thai: it’s neighbor to another local goodie, Tou & Mai; the establishments are connected by a short corridor. Tasty, plentifully-portioned Thai food and boba tea mere steps from one another is a set-up I can certainly get behind!

4240 Cass Ave., Ste. 103

Detroit, MI 48201

(with an additional Detroit location on Griswold St.)

www.gosythai.com

440. On the Rise Bakery Café – October 19, 2019 – Detroit, MI

October2019OntheRiseBakery1 (2)October2019OntheRiseBakery2 (2)I love win-win scenarios (who doesn’t love double the wins?). And visiting On the Rise Bakery Café in Detroit was a definite win-win: I got to support a good cause and tote home a loaf of gloriously tasty sourdough bread, to boot.

On the Rise Bakery Café is an entity of the Capuchin Soup Kitchen, a Detroit-based nonprofit that provides community support via such initiatives as its substance abuse support group, youth enrichment program, and eponymous soup kitchen.

On the Rise, specifically, lends that community support by employing men and women who have recently completed a drug treatment program or been incarcerated. Proceeds from bakery sales support its employees and services offered by the Capuchin Soup Kitchen.

As the bakery’s mission is described on the Capuchin Soup Kitchen website: “With each purchase of our baked goods, you are helping make possible the provision of supportive housing, training, counseling services, educational opportunities, and self help programs. On the Rise Bakery Café is a program where each man is responsible to reach back and support the newest member.”

I love the community support and mentoring aspects of that mission! On the Rise is helping people who have recently been through challenging circumstances better their lives – so that they, in turn, can help others to grow stronger. What an empowering model.

Entering On the Rise’s tidy storefront on the Saturday afternoon of my visit, I was greeted by several employees. The bakery’s wares were currently limited, they informed me, because baking doesn’t occur on Saturdays and because Saturday mornings are a popular time for purchases. But, as luck would have it, one quantity of exactly what I was looking for was still available: a loaf of sourdough bread. It was affordably priced at $4.

I’ve been enjoying that sourdough bread (I froze what I didn’t eat initially) as toast; its delectably chewy texture has made it an ideal accompaniment to both mashed avocado and spinach artichoke dip. Mmmm – just thinking about that sourdough toast makes me want to whip up some right now – perhaps as the bookends to a grilled cheese sandwich?

Besides offering various baked goods such as breads, rolls, cookies, coffee cakes, cheesecakes, pies, turnovers, and muffins, On the Rise also sells house-made soups and sandwiches, chili, ice cream, and beverages such as pop, coffee, and juice (hence the café aspect of its name). Seating inside the storefront allows patrons to sit and enjoy meals.

On the Rise Bakery Café is doing the good work, providing delectable wares plus a difference-making mission – and that is a definite win times two!

8900 Gratiot Ave.

Detroit, MI 48213

(Closed Sundays and Mondays)

www.cskdetroit.org/bakery

439. Taqueria Mi Pueblo – October 6, 2019 – Detroit, MI

October2019MiPueblo1 (2)October2019MiPueblo2 (5)October2019MiPueblo3 (2)October 6 was a monumental day for me. Not only was it my birthday, it was also the day that I finally consumed some of Taqueria Mi Pueblo’s sweet, sweet cuisine.

I’d learned of Mi Pueblo, a Mexican restaurant in Detroit, years prior from an uncle who lives in the city and raved that it was, hands-down, his favorite Mexican restaurant. I’d dreamed of visiting it and attempted a few times to schedule dinners there, to no avail.

Mi Pueblo was starting to become my white whale: looming tantalizingly and ever elusively in my mind – which made it an ideal spot for a birthday lunch with my mom and stepdad. The visit was finally happening!!!

It was after 1 when we arrived at Mi Pueblo on this warm and sunny Sunday afternoon. It was kicking; we waited about 15 minutes for a table. I took the time to peruse Mi Pueblo’s menus and soak up its ambiance.

The place was bringing some good vibes. Mi Pueblo’s exterior is striking, with its neat brown-brick façade, vibrant yellow signage, and bright flowers. Its interior is even more cheerful with its color-splashed walls, strung garlands of bunting, art-bedecked tabletops, and profusion of potted plants.

When we got a table and sat down to it, we joined lively groups of patrons – many of whom appeared to be families – enjoying meals and camaraderie on that Sunday afternoon. I again scanned Mi Pueblo’s extensive food and drink menus.

The beverage menu is loaded with various margarita varietals, fruity cocktails, and fun frozen drinks. Mi Pueblo boasts a full bar and has an extensive tequila collection; in addition to liquor, it offers wine and draft and bottled beer. A virgin cocktail section is available for those who opt to go sans alcohol, as are fresh juices, milkshakes, bottles of Mexican pop, and traditional drinks such as horchata.

And Mi Pueblo’s food menu! It’s loaded with the most delectable-sounding of Mexican dishes: burritos, tacos, enchiladas, a whole section of tostadas, tortas, quesadillas, fajitas, and more. A dessert section caps off the menu, proffering goodies such as tres leches cake, flan, and Tamales de Dulce (sweet tamales). Yum!

After careful deliberation, I chose the Enchiladas Dinner with its three enchiladas (I opted for one chicken, one cheese, and one ground beef) slathered in red sauce, plus a lime margarita on the rocks with salt.

I sipped the tasty (and massive) margarita and munched on the complimentary chips and salsa while waiting for our food to come out.

We didn’t have to wait long. My Enchiladas Dinner arrived in all of its gorgeous cheese- and sauce-slathered glory, I took a bite, and my palate exclaimed WOW!

Mi Pueblo’s enchiladas were bursting with flavor. The red sauce was superior to most other enchilada sauces I’ve tasted: more spice-infused, and more nuanced. The meat was hearty; the cheese was fresh-tasting; the rice and refried beans were solid accompaniments. All melded together to form supreme deliciousness that made my heart and my stomach very happy.

I left Taqueria Mi Pueblo that afternoon feeling full and content, the good birthday vibes sustained. I’d finally become acquainted with the restaurant I’d wanted to visit most over the last several years, and it was a beautiful thing – and a beautiful way to start a new year of life (ushering in a new phase by exploring new places? You can’t go wrong with that!).

7278 Dix St.

Detroit, MI 48209

www.mipueblorestaurant.com

438. Lumen Detroit – October 5, 2019 – Detroit, MI

October2019Lumen1 (3)October2019Lumen2 (2)Because I’m one of those people who unabashedly adores my birthday, I’m always looking for special ways to celebrate it. With its beautiful ambiance, welcoming service, on-point cocktails, and tasty dishes, Lumen Detroit helped create some of that specialness during my most recent birthday weekend.

The restaurant in downtown Detroit is both elegant and contemporary in ambiance with its clean white tiling, glossy wood paneling, and clusters of bronze orb lighting. The glass-walled dining room offers panoramic views of the cityscape outside and patrons dining on Lumen’s patio (who were present on the night of my visit, despite it being rather chilly).

Lumen’s menu proffers a variety of delicious-sounding dishes. As I was canvassing for spots to hold this dinner earlier in the week and perusing said menu, I specifically had a hankering for ribeye steak, which Lumen’s menu didn’t offer. But it did have a New York strip steak served with bernaise butter, aioli, and fries flavored with herbs and truffles.

And its menu held an item that definitively caught my attention – surprisingly, considering my hankering for red meat: the Power Salad, a concoction of arugula and kale and spinach and asparagus and grains and mango and avocado and crispy chickpeas and a Green Goddess dressing that had my palate exclaiming “WOW!”

Other compelling items on Lumen’s menu: appetizers such as a crab cake served with sriracha aioli and Asian slaw and the especially intriguing to me Everything Bagel Wings; soups and other entrée salads besides the Power salad; and dishes such as the Lumen Burger, Vegetarian Bolognese, and Pei Mussels prepared with white wine and chorizo sausage or green curry.

I went into my dinner at Lumen expecting to order that Power Salad, or maybe the New York strip. What was funny – and perhaps a synchronistic gift from the birthday gods – is that when our server came to greet us and tell us the night’s specials, a ribeye steak was one of them! It was like, WHAAATTT? Of course, I HAVE to get that!

So I did. I ordered the ribeye steak with broccoli rabe as the accompanying vegetable. And for my pre-dinner drink, I selected the most phenomenal signature cocktail, which was lavender-hued, potent, and so wonderfully flavored . . . and whose name I (yet again) forgot to take down. But I’m going to cut myself some slack here for this lapse in memory, because I was in the moment that night, enjoying time with the five friends who had gathered to celebrate with me. So, just know that it’s my personal experience that Lumen’s drinks are delectable little liquid bombs of tastiness and tipsiness.

Once our food came out, I dug into my ribeye. It was overcooked considering the temperature request I’d given of medium-rare (it was medium, bordering on medium-well), but the flavor was still phenomenal. And the broccoli rabe accompanying it paired well with it.

And an overcooked steak wasn’t about to kill the birthday magic for me. Overall, the experience at Lumen was great. It was a facilitator of good food, lovely ambiance, and wonderful connection and conversation. I left that night feeling that I’d had the ideal birthday celebration before my actual birthday had occurred. If my birthday somehow got cancelled the next day, I’d still feel like I was ushering in my 35th year on a high note, and Lumen Detroit was definitely a part of making that high note happen.

1903 Grand River Ave.

Detroit, MI 48226

(Closed Mondays)

www.lumendetroit.com