Year Six Review

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

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The exterior of Post (Visit #416)

It’s time to relive the magic of Blog Year Six of 100 Places in the D, via a [DRUM ROLL]: Top 10 List!

After every blogging year on 100 Places in the D, I review all of the places I visited during that timeframe and tally up my ten absolute faves. So here they are, in no particular order: the ten places that most enchanted me in Blog Year Six. I hope, if you decide to visit them, that they enthrall you as much as they did me!

Mint 29 (#443, Dearborn): Inarguably the fanciest meal I had all year was the exquisite 16-Ounce Bone-In Ribeye I dined on at this West Downtown Dearborn-based restaurant. Its swanky-yet-down-to-earth ambiance beckoned me to make it my Cheers bar.

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The 16-Ounce Bone-In Ribeye at Mint 29 (Visit #443)

POST (#416, Detroit): Ah, POST, I had such a blast taking a woodworking workshop at you in June! You are an excellent facilitator of creative classes – and a supplier and champion of beautiful and interesting artisan-crafted goods, to boot!

Chili Mustard Onions (#392, Detroit): Of course Detroit has a vegan Coney Island restaurant – and it’s really frickin’ good. Those Chili Cheeze Fries! That Beetball Sub! That Snickers cake! [Cue Homer Simpson-esque drooling.]

Vast Kitchen and Bar (#457, Shelby Township): My heart still swoons at the memory of that meatloaf I ate during my January visit to Vast – so exquisite! Stellar drinks, service, and ambiance rounded out my experience at this cozy East Side establishment that is so worth visiting.

El Taco Veloz (#429, Detroit): I declared at the time of writing my post on the Southwest Detroit-based purveyor of Mexican cuisine (which works out of food-truck-based kitchens) that its Al Pastor tacos were the best food I’d eaten the whole blogging year. In hindsight, that statement stands true; those tacos were SO, SO, SO, SO GOOD!!!!

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Lost River (Visit #459)

Lost River (#459, Detroit): Stepping into this tiki bar is like stepping into another dimension, one where beachfront vibes and utter whimsicality rule the day – and that feels really, really hard to leave.

Unburger Grill (#435, Dearborn): I STILL fantasize on the regular about the Mac Style burger with its Spicy Chickpea and Zucchini patty I enjoyed at this vegan fast-casual restaurant. It feels blasphemous to say this as a lover of red meat, but it’s true: I found Unburger’s plant-based burger to be better than the real thing!

La Noria Bistro (#417, Detroit): Two of my favorite cuisines (Italian and Mexican) under the same roof (and it’s a pretty roof, at that!) + fantastic taste and service = the gateway to my heart and stomach.

The Fifth Wall Escape Rooms (#437, Ferndale): My friends and I had a blast working to solve the brainteasers at this indie escape-room establishment where the staff is super cool, the room themes have local components, and the puzzles are elaborate enough to make the game feel like a real challenge.

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The patio at El Club (Visit #432)

El Club (#432, Detroit): I had so much fun seeing a show at this intimate Southwest Detroit-based music venue that I vowed I would become A Person Who Goes to Shows All.The.Time. That did not happen, but I still hope to pretend to be that person by attending more shows at El Club and enjoying its beautiful patio space, delicious pizza, and rocking good vibes.

100 Places in the D’s Year Six Review!

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The interior of American Coney Island (#423), a Blog Year Six visit.

Year Six of 100 Places in the D is complete!

It’s wild to me that this blog I started in February 2014 as a way to motivate myself to get out and visit awesome-sounding establishments I was seeing highlighted in local media is still going strong. To date, I’ve visited over 460 locally-owned, wholly-new-to-me establishments in the Metro-Detroit area. I must say, it feels like a pretty cool accomplishment! 🙂

Every year of the blog’s existence, I’ve set at least one goal. My goal for Year One is hinted at in the blog’s title: to visit 100 new-to-me, locally-owned places – restaurants, bars, shops, parks, etc. – in the tri-county Metro-Detroit area (Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties) within a one-year span. I achieved that goal – and my obsession with new-place exploring was born.

In subsequent blogging years, I achieved mixed results with the goals I set; I hit some but not others. I’ve appreciated having them to use as guideposts, even when I didn’t end up accomplishing them. Working toward goals such as the Blog Year Six goal, to visit at least 50 new-to-me places in the city of Detroit, has enriched my life in indescribable ways. The thrill of an introduction to a restaurant, coffee shop, or bar that I end up loving . . . nothing quite compares to it!

Blog Year Six of 100 Places in the D ran from February 8, 2019 through February 7, 2020. I had that one goal for it: to visit 50 new-to-me places in the city of Detroit itself.

This was the exact same goal I set – and achieved – for Blog Year Five. Did I achieve it in Blog Year Six? Nope – I fell short, at 43 places visited in the city of Detroit.

I didn’t exactly set myself up for success with this goal. I took an unplanned, 5.5-month break from writing on 100 Places in the D in the first half of 2019 (the result of untended-to feelings of blogging burnout and the snowballing effect of prolonged procrastination) and didn’t do a Blog Year Five review post until July. While I’d still been visiting new places during my blogging hiatus, the months of unintentionality didn’t aid my pursuit.

Then, once I tried to ramp up Detroit visits in the fall and winter, I felt myself at times plagued with a sense of the visits feeling forced – which is definitely not how I want one of my favorite activities in the world to feel!

Finally, as I approached the conclusion of Blog Year Six and attempted to rally myself for a mega-visiting spree (like, seven places within a span of three days), I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Not only was it incongruous to the winter-hibernation vibes I was feeling to jaunt all about town on work nights, but from a financial perspective, it felt irresponsible.

The great thing about this type of exploring is that if you’re creative, it can be affordable (a visit to a bakery or coffee shop can run under $5, for example) or even free (yay to parks, admissions-free museums, and window-shopping!), but for the places I was looking to go in that last Blog Year Six run, I was going to be spending money, and it just wasn’t aligning with the state of my pocketbook (which, frankly, also needed to go into winter-hibernation mode). So I let the goal go.

Still, I feel grateful to that 50-mark goal, because it pushed me to visit 43 new-to-me places in Detroit, which is still pretty cool!

Looking forward to Blog Year Seven: continuing to blog consistently throughout the year and hitting the milestone of Visit #500 (which should happen before the end of summer!) are my main objectives; simply achieving those would make me happy. I’m also aiming to visit at least 36 new-to-me places in the city of Detroit itself (which feels much more feasible than 50 – even if it’s only about an average of one less visit a month!).

And here’s one that intrigues me: to visit at least 20 of the places that have been lingering on my to-do list for years. Some establishments have been on that list essentially since the blog’s inception; I want to more intentionally seek out those long unchecked-off places.

That’s a solid amount of goal-setting; Blog Year Seven is turning out to be more ambitious than I’d expected. Here’s to another year of exploring!

I hope that wherever you live, whether it’s in the Metro-D or elsewhere, that you’re getting a chance to check out those places in your neighborhood that intrigue you. Once you start exploring, you may find – like me – that you just can’t stop!

To conclude this post, here are some stats around Blog Year Six (because I love to nerd out on this stuff):

Number of places visited in Blog Year Six: 73

Number of cities visited: 19

Breakdown by county: Macomb: 8; Oakland: 17; Wayne: 48

Breakdown by city:

Detroit: 43

Ferndale: 6

Clawson: 3

Troy: 3

Clinton Township: 2

Dearborn: 2

Saint Clair Shores: 2

Auburn Hills: 1

Berkley: 1

Grosse Pointe: 1

Grosse Pointe Park: 1

Hamtramck: 1

Hazel Park: 1

Lake Orion: 1

Richmond: 1

Romeo: 1

Royal Oak: 1

Shelby Township: 1

Sterling Heights: 1