Grandmont Rosedale

357. Pages Bookshop – August 31, 2018 – Detroit, MI

August2018Pages1 (2)August2018Pages2 (2)After enjoying a delicious cold-brew iced coffee during a visit to Always Brewing Detroit, I continued my recent afternoon in the Grandmont Rosedale neighborhood of Detroit with a visit to Pages Bookshop.

This jaunt was SUPER exciting for me as a lifelong lover of books (shout-out to my fellow bookworms!). Independently-owned bookshops hold a special charm for me, especially in this day and age of online conglomerates and digital over paper. They are doing the good work, keeping physical bookstores and the curated, personal book-buying experience alive!

When I buy from indie bookshops, it feels like a total win-win: I am financially supporting a business whose mission I value, AND I have an excuse to buy new books. How great is that?

And Pages Bookshop, specifically, is a FANTASTIC indie bookstore. Its one-room shop is relatively small, but it’s loaded with thoughtfully chosen fiction and nonfiction offerings – including books by local authors – as well as cute Michigan-centric goods and other items that make great gifts, such as cards and journals.

On the day I visited, Pages was helmed by the owner, Susan, and the shop cat, Pip. Susan was a delight to share my enthusiasm around books with, and Pip melted my heart with her adorably plump frame and sprawling request to be petted (Feline Friends 4L!).

I browsed in Pages for about a half hour and found loads of books I was interested in. Like most indie bookshops, Pages affixes handwritten notecards touting staff recommendations to its shelves (I’m a sucker for those!).

Limiting myself to three purchases, I decided on two novels (The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman and The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin) and one nonfiction tome (Small Victories by Anne Lamott). My fix to the conundrum of being interested in more books than I’ll allow myself to buy, BTW: I text myself the titles and authors of the ones I don’t get so I have a record of them (bookworm hack!).

I left Pages with my purchases in a complimentary canvas tote and the warm feeling that being around books infuses in me.

Once home, I scanned the list of upcoming events that Susan had given me and plotted my next visit. Pages regularly hosts author visits, sometimes several a week; a schedule is available via the Events calendar on its website.

Whether for the purpose of attending an event there or not, a visit to Pages Bookshop is most definitely worthwhile, especially if you love books as much as I do. How fortunate we are to have this indie bookstore in Detroit!

19560 Grand River Ave.

Detroit, MI 48223

www.pagesbkshop.com

 

356. Always Brewing Detroit – August 31, 2018 – Detroit, MI

August2018AlwaysBrewing1 (2)August2018AlwaysBrewing3 (2)Independent coffee shops are my JAM, so you know I was down to visit Always Brewing Detroit last weekend!

A Detroit jaunt was the obvious choice for me last Friday after an early work dismissal in honor of Labor Day weekend. With Grandmont Rosedale fresh in my memory after a recent visit to Detroit Vegan Soul, I opted for a return to the Northwest Detroit-area neighborhood and the chance to become acquainted with another local coffee shop.

Upon stepping into Always Brewing Detroit, I immediately liked it. The shop had a cozy, welcoming vibe with its glinting copper ceiling tiles, vintage-looking furniture, strands of exposed-bulb lighting, bookshelf available for browsing, and floor-length rose-colored curtains pulled aside to let in the sun. A chalkboard above the service counter advertised now-past events open to the community: an open mic, a game night.

I had a hankering for an iced coffee and ordered a medium-sized one from the laid-back, friendly barista. It was awesome, rich in flavor and not at all tasting diluted by the ice. I confirmed with the barista that it was a cold brew; he said that’s the only way they’ll do iced coffees there. Obviously, they take the craft of coffee brewing seriously, which I appreciate!

Hanging out at Always Brewing was a chill experience, a wind-down from my workday and an excellent start to the holiday weekend. This is definitely another indie coffee shop that I’ll be adding to my rotation!

19180 Grand River Ave.

Detroit, MI 48223

www.alwaysbrewingdetroit.com

354. Detroit Vegan Soul – August 23, 2018 – Detroit, MI

August2018DetroitVeganSoul1 (2)August2018DetroitVeganSoul2 (2)August2018DetroitVeganSoul3 (4)Detroit Vegan Soul = my latest culinary crush!

If you’ve been following 100 Places in the D for any amount of time, you’ll know I’m not vegan (I praised a delectably beefy cheeseburger in my last post). But I eat a mostly processed-free, heavy-on-the-plants diet when I eat at home and enjoy trying out vegan and vegetarian restaurants due to my love of produce and clean eats.

Thusly, Detroit Vegan Soul was on my to-visit list; it had been for years. I decided this summer HAD to be the one I finally got over there and tried the Coconut “BLT” Wrap, for which I’d heard high praise.

After spontaneously asking a friend if she’d like to accompany me to the restaurant last Thursday, the Grandmont Rosedale-based location was the one we decided open (there’s another location – the original one – in the West Village neighborhood of Detroit). FINALLY, it was time for me to order up a dish of Detroit Vegan Soul!

When we arrived at the Northwest Detroit-area neighborhood with its grand old houses where Detroit Vegan Soul – West resides, I got excited. I’m an East-Side suburbanite and don’t venture much beyond the East-Side Detroit neighborhoods – unless I’m going to Southwest Detroit (so.much.culinary.goodness there!). Northwest Detroit is new territory for me – territory that I can’t wait to explore further.

This West-Side location of Detroit Vegan Soul is on Grand River Avenue, down the way from Pages Bookshop (an independent bookstore that has long been on my radar) and across the street from another soul food restaurant – of the meat variety – called Auntie Betty’s Café (which, with its constant stream of carryout customers and invitation to “Get Hooked” emblazoned on its windows, intrigued me).

But this post is not about those other places – this post is about Detroit Vegan Soul, which fully deserves the spotlight. From the ambiance to the service to the food, the experience it proffered was excellent.

The restaurant’s interior is fairly small but offers various seating options. It’s clean and pleasant, all dark wood, lime-green walls, and exposed-bulb lighting. Fronting the restaurant is a patio table that carryout guests can dine at (our server explained that Detroit Vegan Soul is in the process of getting this patio area adherent to zoning laws that will allow them to serve guests there).

Our server was great: polite, friendly, and attentive. He put in my friend’s order of the Soul Platter and mine of the Coconut “BLT” Wrap, and our meals came out promptly.

I was impressed by the amount of food that came with my order. This BLT wrap was hefty, loaded with coconut bacon, creamy avocado, juicy tomato, crisp lettuce, and Vegenaise (which is – you guessed it – a mayonnaise substitute). I got it with a whole-wheat wrap; a raw collard leaf was also a wrap option.

With my first bite into this Coconut “BLT” Wrap, I was blown away by how much the coconut bacon tasted like actual bacon! I didn’t notice the inherent coconut flavor at all at first – all I noticed was the smoky bacon-y goodness. Eventually, I did become aware of the coconut’s original flavor profile – but it didn’t matter, because the sandwich was so delicious. The coconut bacon was cut in little chips – like bacon bits – rather than in thick slices as I’d expected.

A fresh spinach salad with a zesty dressing was a lovely accompaniment to the wrap – as were the yam fries. They were cut into coin shapes like chips but soft on the inside like a typical fry; the seasoning on them was AMAZING.

I ate heartily of this meal and had enough remaining on my plate to take leftovers home. I found the amount of food included with the Coconut “BLT” Wrap a great value for the $9.69 price tag, especially considering that vegan/vegetarian/clean-eating establishments can be pricey.

BTW, my friend loved the Soul Platter, which consisted of dairy-free mac-and-cheese, collard greens, black-eyed peas and rice, glazed yams (her favorite part), and a cornbread muffin.

It was obvious during the course of our visit that it wasn’t just us who had fallen in love with Detroit Vegan Soul. While the place was mostly empty when my friend and I walked in around 6:30 p.m., we watched it fill up over the next hour with dine-in patrons and carryout guests. By the end of our visit, the line of people waiting to reach the counter ended near the front door. Look at you, Detroit Vegan Soul, garnering culinary crushes left and right!

19614 Grand River Ave.

Detroit, MI 48223

(with another location on Agnes Street in the West Village neighborhood of Detroit; check website for each location’s specific hours and days of operation)

www.detroitvegansoul.com