Year Five Review

100 Places in the D’s Top 10 Places Visited in Blog Year 5!

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Detroit Vintage (Visit #359)

I’ve got some best-of-the-best magic for ya today!

At the end of every blogging year for 100 Places in the D, I pen a post highlighting my ten absolute-favorite new-to-me places I visited that year.

Blog Year Five ended wayyyy back on February 7, but in the spirit of better-late-than-never, here are the ten locally-owned establishments (listed in no particular order) I visited that year that I’m still swooning over.

Detroit Vintage (#359, Detroit): Stepping into this hidden gem of a coffee shop (located in the most unlikely of locations: between a liquor store and a marijuana dispensary on Eight Mile) is like stepping into another world – a vibrant, cozy, supremely pleasant one where I want to reside forever. Pure MAGIC.

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El Barzon (Visit #335)

El Barzon (#335, Detroit): Speaking of magic, can we talk about El Barzon? This WONDERFUL restaurant in an unassuming part of Southwest Detroit is serving up the fairy dust something fierce with its exceptional food, drinks, service, and ambiance – plus one of the prettiest patios on which I have ever eaten.

Detroit Riverwalk/Cullen Plaza (#367, Detroit): I had no idea how gorgeous the Detroit Riverwalk and Cullen Plaza were until I traversed them on my birthday last fall. What beauties – and both are free to visit, to boot!

Lady of the House (#308, Detroit): The meal I consumed at Lady of the House in February 2018 is STILL one of the best restaurant meals I’ve ever experienced. Those perfectly prepared chamomile-glazed donut holes! That Parisian ham with its sumptuous house-made butter! [Cue drooling Homer Simpson-style.]

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Pages Bookshop (Visit #357)

Pages Bookshop (#357, Detroit): The bookworm in me rejoiced when I finally visited this indie bookstore in Grandmont Rosedale. Sooooo much literary goodness is packed into this joint!

Loui’s (#368, Hazel Park): The pizza place that dethroned Buddy’s as my favorite purveyor of the Italian pie – which is a VERY big deal because Buddy’s is a beloved part of my family history. What can I say except that Loui’s is INCREDIBLE times infinity in terms of the saucy, cheesy goodness!

Sfumato/Castalia (#371, Detroit): The dual identity of this place alone is enough to land it on a top-ten list: it’s a perfumery by day, cocktail bar by night. Add to that the fact that its perfumes made with natural ingredients are totally beguiling olfactory bouquets, while its craft cocktails, uniquely delicious concoctions in themselves, are inspired by its fragrances and come with scent-spritzed napkins.

Ottava Via (#358, Detroit): That gorgeous patio! That Ragout Alla Bolognese with its veal- and pork-loaded sauce and house-made noodles! OBSESSED.

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Holy Moly Donut Shop’s donut ice-cream sandwich (Visit #322)

Baker’s Keyboard Lounge (#331, Detroit): Enchanting live music paired with PHENOMENAL ribs made for a night at this legendary jazz club (deemed a historic site by the state of Michigan) that can only be described as spellbinding.

Holy Moly Donut Shop (#322, Detroit): I still do a gleeful internal happy-dance every time I think about the donut ice-cream sandwich Holy Moly made for me the spring before last, which was hands-down one of the very best things I have ever eaten. That melt-in-your-mouth glazed donut bun slathered with rich chocolate ice cream and warm Nutella . . . YES, YES, YES! I recently got a sour-cream donut slathered in chocolate frosting from its West-Grand-Boulevard-based location, and let me tell you: they still got it!

100 Places in the D’s Year Five Review!

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#358, Ottava Via of Detroit, a Blog Year Five visit

You guys! I am FINALLY doing a review post for Blog Year Five of 100 Places in the D, which ran from February 8, 2018 through February 7, 2019.

To say I got behind on the blog this year is an understatement; what is more accurate to say is that I took an unplanned five-and-a-half-month break. To be honest, I was feeling pretty burnt out on blogging last year, and after going on a two-week vacation this past January, I found the prospect of delving back into it challenging, especially with all of the other to-dos I had swirling around in my brain. So I just . . . didn’t.

Days of inactivity turned into weeks turned into months – until I finally tired of feeling plagued by the bigger and bigger backlog of posts and impulsively logged on one afternoon last month to pen the piece on this past December’s Pewabic Pottery visit.

So I’m back in the blogging saddle again, refreshed by my unplanned break and working, slowly but surely, to catch 100 Places in the D up to the present-day, however long it takes me! Because despite not posting on the blog for over half a year, I was still out there making visits to awesome locally-owned, new-to-me establishments in the tri-country Metro-Detroit area (an obsession that I never see myself burning out on!).

At the end of every blogging year in 100 Places in the D’s history, I’ve done a year-in-review post, to state whether I’ve achieved the goal(s) I set for myself for the year, to declare my goal(s) for the next blogging year, and to share some stats I find fun.

I only had one goal for Blog Year Five, but it was a big one: to visit 50 new-to-me, locally-owned establishments in the city of Detroit alone. And I did it!!!!!!

I’m super proud of this accomplishment because while I LOVE going down to the city, I often feel resistance around the driving-down-there-and-parking part. Having this 50-visits-in-Detroit goal to keep me accountable helped make visits less of a daydream and more of a planned-out reality. And you know I loved trying those oodles of new-to-me places in the D!

The goal I’ve set for Blog Year Six (which is already almost halfway over!) is the same: to again visit 50 new-to-me places in the city of Detroit alone. I’ve currently got some catching up to do on this goal to be on pace with achieving it by early February of next year; I’ve only done 14 visits in the city so far when I should have done around 22. But I’m optimistic that by being majorly intentional for the rest of the year, I can do it – and I look forward to having an excuse to spend ample time in the D this summer, fall, and winter!

I’ll close out this post with some stats about the visits I made to new-to-me, locally-owned establishments during Blog Year Five – in case any readers enjoy nerding out on such numbers as much as I do. 🙂

Number of places visited in Blog Year Five: 86

Number of cities visited: 21

Breakdown by county: Macomb: 14; Oakland: 17; Wayne: 55

Breakdown by city:

Detroit: 50

Sterling Heights: 5

Ferndale: 4

Clinton Township: 3

Saint Clair Shores: 3

Grosse Pointe Woods: 2

Hamtramck: 2

Mount Clemens: 2

Troy: 2

Waterford: 2

Berkley: 1

Birmingham: 1

Bloomfield: 1

Bloomfield Hills: 1

Chesterfield: 1

Dearborn: 1

Hazel Park: 1

Rochester: 1

Rochester Hills: 1

Royal Oak: 1

West Bloomfield: 1

My next post will showcase my top-ten favorite places that I visited during Blog Year Five, so look out for that to appear soon!