469. TARDIS Detroit – March 8, 2020 – Detroit, MI

March2020TARDISDetroit1 (2)March2020TARDISDetroit2 (2)March2020TARDISDetroit3 (3)Here’s one establishment that’s able to stay open during the coronavirus crisis: TARDIS Detroit.

The stock in the lending library based in the Woodbridge neighborhood of Detroit is patron-maintained; it runs on the take-a-book, leave-a-book philosophy. The wooden structure has been crafted to look like the TARDIS time machine from the British sci-fi TV show Doctor Who – though rather than its acronym standing for “Time and Relative Dimension in Space,” it means “Totally Awesome Reading Dispensary in Society.” Love it!

TARDIS Detroit is located in a grassy lot in a residential neighborhood at the corner of West Warren Avenue and Vermont Street. Approaching it on a sunny Sunday morning in early March, I felt as giddy as a child. Visiting the TARDIS combined three things I love: art, books, and exploring, and it was so fun to open first the outer doors, then the intricately painted sliding inner doors to reveal the bookshelves within.

Those shelves contained a variety of books, including a copy of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, a cookbook touting fruit-based dishes, and a novel by Hilary Duff. But it was a hardcover copy of Walden and Other Writings by Henry David Thoreau that prompted me to take it with me (and which, in hindsight, feels like an especially apt selection given the state of seclusion I’ve been forced to take up by current world events). In return, I left three books from my personal library that I’d brought with me.

It’s a dark time for Detroit; the coronavirus is ravaging it. I’ve struggled with whether releasing such a post at this time is even appropriate; I’ve went through with it because I’m hoping it serves as a reminder of all that is great about Detroit and that joyful experiences are still available.

It’s a small comfort to know that there are structures out there such as TARDIS Detroit that one can visit to pick up a book (perhaps on one of our sanctioned outdoor recreational jaunts?), without having to encounter another soul. It may not be an actual time machine, but through the tomes it houses, it’s serving as a portal to other dimensions – and escapism through the worlds constructed by books is a much-desired commodity for those of us who are privileged enough to be able to engage in it during this nightmare of a time.

1944 W. Warren Ave.

Detroit, MI 48208

412. Pie-Sci Pizza – June 6, 2019 – Detroit, MI

June2019PieSci1 (3)June2019PieSci2 (3)Pie-Sci Pizza!!! Thank you for making such damn good pizza – and for making my summer that much sweeter to recall!

As I continue to catch up on posting here on 100 Places in the D after an unplanned 5.5-month hiatus (procrastination is an insidious devil), I’ve arrived at my summer-season visits – just as summer has ended.

At first I found this fact depressing, but I soon reframed it: through my blogging for 100 Places in the D, I get to relive a bunch of awesome Summer 2019 momentsĀ  – such as my trip to Pie-Sci!

I visited the pizza shop in the Woodbridge neighborhood of Detroit on a Thursday night in early June. (BTW, Woodbridge has been added to my growing list of Detroit neighborhoods I can see myself living in. Every time I’ve visited that area, I’ve gotten good vibes!)

The restaurant’s interior may be small, but it’s serving up some BIG flavor. Pie-Sci’s signature pizzas incorporate some delectably creative topping combos.

Take the pizza I ordered during my visit: the Pear Necessities, a pie with bacon, spinach, sliced pear, feta, mozzarella, and a honey drizzle. This is not your typical pizza-topping orchestration, but MAN! it was phenomenal! The toppings melded together perfectly to form this well-balanced, richly flavored, totally tasty pie. Pie-Sci’s Pear Necessities pizza was, hands-down, one of the best dishes I consumed all summer.

Alas, the Pear Necessities pizza is not on Pie-Sci’s current menu featured on its website. However, the pizza ordered by my friend who accompanied me on this visit, the BLT, is – and let me tell you, that bad-boy was pretty damn delicious, too (she let me try a piece of it).

A pizza topped with lettuce and mayo would not typically be my scene. But that BLT pizza crafted by Pie-Sci’s hands is topped with mixed greens that are fresh, not wilted, and a mayonnaise that is herb-infused – plus crispy bacon, meaty tomato, palate-pleasing mozzarella, a garlic oil drizzle. . . all manner of YUMness!

Pie-Sci’s current menu boasts a multitude of such YUMified pizzas. It’s separated into sections that play off of the restaurant’s chemistry-related branding. For instance, “Basics” – a.k.a. “Pizza Elementary” – is the area denoted to more classic pie varietals such as the Margherita and Meatlovers, while the “Graduate”/”U of Pizza” section contains such intriguing inventions as the Cashew Rules Everything Around Me pie, which is described on the menu as being a vessel for “vegan cashew cheese, mushroom, balsamic braised leek and citrus marinated kale with a raspberry emulsion drizzle” (a grad-level culinary concoction, indeed!).

Each of Pie-Sci’s signature pies is marked with symbols denoting it “meaty,” vegetarian, or vegan (with many pizzas holding the possibility to be vegetarian or vegan per modifications, if they aren’t inherently); gluten-free crust is available for large-sized selections. Additionally, there’s the option to construct your own pie from an assortment of toppings as well as to opt in on a “drizzle addition” of a sauce such as herb-infused vegan mayo, buttermilk ranch, or Sweet Baby Ray’s barbecue sauce [cue my mouth watering for the umpteenth time during the writing of this post].

The fun on Pie-Sci’s menu doesn’t end there: it also offers artisanal vegan, gluten-free ice-cream sandwiches for dessert, plus pizzas integrating breakfast-inspired toppings on its Sunday brunch menu.

Reliving my visit to Pie-Sci has been almost as dreamy as the actual visit – almost. I mean, I’m leaving the writing of this post with no Pie-Sci pizza in my belly, so . . . it’s certainly not as visceral as the actual experience of gorging on one of its out-of-this-world pies. I guess I’d better get myself down to Woodbridge, stat!

5163 Trumbull Ave.

Detroit, MI 48208


382. Bikes and Coffee – December 16, 2018 – Detroit, MI

december2018bikesandcoffee1 (2)december2018bikesandcoffee2 (2)I’m forever enthused to find a new indie coffee shop. So when the recently opened Bikes and Coffee in the Woodbridge neighborhood of Detroit popped up on my radar, you know I was there!

As its name implies, Bikes and Coffee isn’t simply a coffee house. It’s also a full-service bike repair shop that offers cycling-related gear and builds custom bikes by request.

The small shop artfully melds its two business elements, with counter and sofa seating up front for cozy latte sipping, a barista-station island in the center, and bike frames, tires, and other gear concentrated along the rear peripheral.

I’ve been to Bikes and Coffee twice: once on a gorgeously sunny Sunday in mid-December when I enjoyed a white tea latte while sunning at a window-facing counter seat and again two weeks later, when I sipped a rich cappuccino.

The first time I was there, the owner’s kitten was there, too, running and jumping and playing. What an adorable little guy! He pawed playfully at my legs and hopped up onto one patron’s lap.

Whether you’re a cycling enthusiast or not, Bikes and Coffee is worth a visit. Bring your bike in for a tune-up and sip on some caffeine-fueled goodness, to boot!

1521 Putnam St.

Detroit, MI 48208