Hazel Park

400! Civitas Coffee House – March 19, 2019 – Hazel Park, MI

March2019Civitas1 (2)Visit Number 400 is hitting 100 Places in the D!!! Say hello to Civitas Coffee House of Hazel Park.

I adore indie coffee shops with their funky, cozy vibes, sense of community-fostering, and ability to make me feel as if I’m hiding away from the oft-chaotic world for a moment of blissful respite. So I was excited to visit this new-to-me one for some tranquil journaling time (fueled by a caffeine jolt, naturally).

The interior of Civitas Coffee House has a welcoming ambiance, with warm wood paneling, ample natural lighting, and walls painted a denim blue. During my visit in mid-March, tiny vases holding lime-green carnations graced each table.

I visited Civitas Coffee House for about 45 minutes, sipping a cappuccino whilst writing and enjoying the coffee-shop ambiance. The experience provided me with that special feeling of repose that only coffee houses can evoke, so: mission accomplished, Civitas!

Reflecting upon the milestone of this visit five months after it occurred (better late than never, eh?), I’m amazed by the fact that up to this point – and in just over five years – I’d visited 400 new-to-me, locally-owned places in the Metro-Detroit area. FOUR HUNDRED! Here’s to the magic of starting a project and seeing where it takes you.

906 E. 9 Mile Rd.

Hazel Park, MI 48030

(Closed Sundays)

https://civitas-coffee-house.business.site/

368. Loui’s Pizza – October 6, 2018 – Hazel Park, MI

October2018Louis1 (2)October2018Louis2 (4)October2018Louis3 (3)Loui’s Pizza: I’m OBSESSED!!!!

The last-but-most-certainly-not-least of the five new places I visited on my 34th birthday, the Hazel Park-based pizzeria majorly exceeded my expectations, even dethroning Buddy’s Pizza as my favorite local pizza purveyor, which is a VERY BIG DEAL.

I actually feel sacrilegious saying I like Loui’s Pizza better than Buddy’s, because Buddy’s is a part of the family mythology on my mother’s side. My great-grandma made the sauce at the original, still-open location at Six Mile and Conant in Detroit. Buddy’s Pizza is sort of in our DNA – or at the very least, our go-to main course for family celebrations. But MAN, is Loui’s Pizza good!

The pizzeria was PACKED when my mom, stepdad, and I arrived around 7:30 on that rainy Saturday evening. Its cheery red interior felt homey and welcoming with its ceilings hung with twinkle lights and multitude of empty wine bottles signed by patrons; it vibrated with good energy. Loui’s cozy-retro confines felt like the warmth of a beloved grandparent’s hug: safe and secure and reassuring.

Our server was prompt and friendly. While we waited for our pizza, we shared an individual-sized antipasto salad. I’m generally not one for antipasto salads, but this one impressed me: it was fresh and flavorful, with chunks of ham in addition to the salami and a tasty dressing.

And then, it was the moment of truth: our pizza arrived. I bit into my first slice of sausage-and-onion-topped pie, and O.M.G.

Loui’s pizza may be the best pizza I have ever eaten; it’s certainly the best pizza I can recall eating. The cheese was rich, plentiful, and flavorful. The edges of the crust were crispy, greasy deliciousness. The bottom part of the crust was not super well-done, allowing us to taste its doughiness – which we enjoyed, because it was wonderful tasting. The sauce was not as plentiful as Buddy’s, and also not as strongly flavored, and we liked that.

We all agreed: this iteration of Detroit-style pizza was better than Buddy’s, however awkward that was to admit in the face of our family mythology (sorry, Buddy’s – we still love you!).

The gloriousness of Loui’s pizza continued for me with the two leftover slices I took home along with a portion of cheesy breadsticks my mom had ordered to-go because they’d taunted us from a nearby table. How good those were, too! They were loaded with that rich, flavorful cheese.

Two weeks later, I’m still dreaming of Loui’s and its epic pizza and breadsticks. I want to hole up within its cozy interior and get some of that cheesy, greasy, doughy perfection back into my belly!

Worth noting: Loui’s is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays.

23141 Dequindre Rd.

Hazel Park, MI 48030

175. Mabel Gray – May 4, 2016 – Hazel Park, MI

Hello all! It’s been nearly a month since I’ve written a post here, and I’ve missed it so! May has been a crazy-busy month for me, and June promises to be even more cray-cray – but it’s all cray-cray in an extremely good way. Lots of excellent stuff blossoming – and it’s summer, too! FINALLY! OK, so it’s technically not summer yet for a few weeks, but the weather has felt like it here in the D for the last 10 or so days, as we’ve been graced with some absolutely phenomenal weather. I hope all of you are enjoying the warmth and lushness and expansiveness of the season, wherever you are!

I’m happy to be introducing a new city to the blog today. Mabel Gray is repping Hazel Park on 100 Places in the D!

I’d been wanting to eat at Mabel Gray for months and months and months, ever since I read about it in Hour Detroit (that beloved local publication that planted the seed of this blog in my mind years ago. Holla, Hour Detroit!). I’d hyped the restaurant up pretty good in my mind. Fortunately, it delivered.

See that ribeye in the photo above? That, my friends, is quite probably the best ribeye steak I have ever eaten in my life. It was PHENOMENAL, tender and juicy and with just the right amount of fat marbling, cooked a perfect medium-rare. And check out those gorgeous desserts. Your life will be made complete by Mabel Gray’s desserts. My friend had the lemon tart pictured above and let me try a bite; it was awesome. But the chocolate torte? The chocolate torte was outta control! It was served with Chantilly and this cashew caramel sauce that was absurdly good. I couldn’t stop thinking about that torte and that ribeye for days.

I’m really not surprised that I loved what I ate there. Mabel Gray is all about featuring fresh and local ingredients, and that’s kind of my jam. The menu is a handwritten menu that changes regularly, the fare being influenced by what’s available in the kitchen. There’s the option to participate in a tasting menu if you’d like to sample all that’s available that evening.

Based off of what I tasted, this concept is working for the restaurant. And based off of the crowd gathered in its tiny interior on the Wednesday night that I visited, and the need for reservations to snag a table – even right when the restaurant opened at 5 – others are totally agreeing with me. Take note: you can sit at the bar without reservations – at least, we were able to on the night we went. You can make table reservations at Mabel Gray’s website, given below.

Also worth mentioning is the fact that prices are a bit steep; this is definitely a special-occasion place for moi on my current budget. But the hit to my wallet was more than worth it to me, because I experienced a completely memorable meal.

23825 John R Rd.
Hazel Park, MI 48030

www.mabelgraykitchen.com