Friday, July 29, 2011

[EID Feature] Las Brisas: "Breeze" on Down Vernor for the Place That Has Everything

(All photos by Nicole Rupersburg.)

Southwest Detroit has been receiving a lot of attention lately. Sure, they have food trucks (LONG before it was "cool"), but the Southwest neighborhood has also been hailed by the Freep as one of two "thriving" neighborhoods in Detroit (the technicality of that point could be argued but whatevs, at least they still have concentrated street retail and foot traffic) and adventuresome types looking for an "authentic" experience have lately been taking up the mantle of SW urban explorers.

The fact is, Southwest Detroit offers something that no other neighborhood in the city can offer: a highly concentrated ethnic population that has made Southwest Detroit synonymous with "Mexicantown" (one small corner of the area at Bagley and 24th) and even reminiscent of the cultural diversity of the American Southwest.

There are a lot of popular go-to spots for urban explorers: Mexicantown Restaurant, Los Galanes, Xochimilco, Mexicantown Bakery, Armando's, Cafe con Leche, those newly-appreciated taco carts. But if you drive just a little bit farther down Vernor - outside of the population density, which tends to get damn-near claustrophobic on weekends (SW gets pretty bumpin'), a ways past Clark Park to just west of Springwells - you'll find a little-known gem called Las Brisas.

Las Brisas has been here about 25 years, but in 2005 the original owners sought to retire and sold the business to Ricardo Lopez, whose family owns the Aranda's Tire chain (which had a store right across the street from Las Brisas).

And then, the economy ... well, you know all about that. The Lopez family owned another restaurant which they had to shut down, but through it all continued to operate Las Brisas. But things are looking up now: most recently the restaurant went through a massive remodel which moved the bar, raised the ceiling, increased the space and updated the look. Outside it looks like a regular, unremarkable building on Vernor, but inside it is a warm and spacious restaurant with lots of natural light and one of the largest nightclubs in the area with live music and dancing every weekend.

By day, it is a restaurant serving popular Mexican-American food. They've got all the favorites - tacos, enchiladas, burritos - and everything they do, they do very well. Mexican-American cuisine gets a bad rep - some people want to gripe over a lack of "authenticity" (ironically these people are almost never Mexican), while others have the impression that the food is just plain bad, an impression well-earned by lackluster Mexi-merican joints with sub-par fare. At Las Brisas, you get the very best of both worlds: traditional Mexican items catered to American palates (i.e., lots of cheese, lots of deep-frying) and all of it done exceptionally well.

The kitchen team gets in early every single morning to make all the dishes for the day, so everything you eat is homemade fresh daily. During the week you can stop in for their lunch buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, for only $6.50 you get all-you-can-eat buffet items which include build-your-own tacos, deep-fried beef tacos (all the awesomeness of deep-fried mini tacos only homemade and fresh, not frozen), chicken flautas in crisp fried shells, chorizo-and-cheese burritos (drained of all that excess grease), creamy fresh-made guacamole and a variety of other items. Off the regular menu, their Mexican sandwich and tortas are their most popular signature items; you can also order extra-large family-style combo plates of tacos, burritos and enchiladas with beans and rice for dine-in or carry-out. They have different daily specials for carry-out, dine-in and the bar in addition to their lunch buffet.

The food may be simple and not treading any new territory, but when simple dishes are done well they far surpass their bland counterparts. Las Brisas may be a bit off the beaten path from the high-traffic stretch of Vernor, but the food here is 100x better than what you get at some of the better-known, more popular places that make up Mexicantown. As an added bonus, they have their own private parking lot that's guarded by security during all hours of operation, assuaging any concerns over safety for visitors.

On weekends, the place becomes a full-blown nightclub, bringing in popular singers, bands and DJs from all over the different states of Mexico (as well as mariachi bands earlier in the evening). It gets packed at night, bringing in crowds of 250+ people who will line up around the building to get in. Cover is only $5 for DJs (bands and singers will cost a little more), and the party goes all night. Afterwards, you can even stick around for your post-party late-night fried food feasting until 4 a.m., ending your evening in the same place you started it with dinner so many hours ago. (This is why they call themselves "the place that has everything.")

If you're having a party, they can cater, deliver, or you can even hold it at the restaurant starting at only $7.50 per person with all the food and service included, for anything from business meetings to birthday parties to weddings.

While the well-known hotspots of Southwest and Mexicantown certainly have their own unique appeal, try broadening your horizons a bit with a place with great food and top-notch international talent. Las Brisas ("the breeze") is well worth the journey off the beaten path.

Want to see more? Check out the Flickr set here.

Las Brisas on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 28, 2011

[Real Detroit Weekly] Berkley Front

(Photo by Nicole Rupersburg)
"The year was 1994. Through the fog of flannel-shirted grunge there was still a glimmer of raw punk ethos and rockabilly pompadours in the likes of Social Distortion and Detroit's own Suicide Machines. It was also the year that the Berkley Front opened. One has nothing to do with the other, but the Front certainly looks like the kind of place Mike Ness and Jason Navarro could be spotted grabbing a beer together, with its stamped tin ceiling and old school jukebox filled with the Morrissey, Wilco, etc.

'For 17 years running, this place has been a beer bar. It has always been a beer bar, and it will always be a beer bar. They were here before being a beer bar was cool. It's pretty much the protopunk of metro Detroit beer bars..."

Read the rest of the story here.

Want to see more? Check out the Flickr set here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

[Real Detroit Weekly] Burger Bonanza

Attack! Slows' Special Purpose. (Photo by Nicole Rupersburg)

Eat It Detroit's own Nicole Rupersburg along with the Hungry Dudes' Joe Hakim ingested a grand total of 13 burgers in two days for Real Detroit Weekly. This not even a month after we went Coo-Coo for Cupcakes.  We would like our next feature to be about salad.

[From RDW]
There are few things more 'merican than hamburgers. And what do we, as Americans, do better than anything else? Make things bigger and better! Mount Rushmore, the Statue of Liberty, John Goodman and Super Bowl commercials. You get the drift. Well, we did a small-scale burger tour of metro Detroit, and here's a few unique (and some mammoth) burgers that we sought out. Sit back, loosen your belt and feast your eyes on the following. (It was a pun, just roll with it.)

Read the rest of the story here.

Want to see more? Check out the Flickr set here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

[HOT LIST] Beer bars

Berkley Front (Photo by Nicole Rupersburg)

How much does Michigan love beer? Enough that our local brewers guild throws not one, but four annual festivals – the bare minimum, really, to accurately showcase the state's best suds. Perhaps you made it to Beer Fest in Ypsi this past weekend; maybe you're holding out for the fall event in Detroit (October 22, mark your calendars). Then again, who needs a festival to celebrate beer? Metro Detroit is filled with bars that show off the good stuff every day of the year. Here are five spots to sample.

#1 Roast Detroit
Downtown Detroit's best restaurant is known widely for top-notch cooking and cocktails, but it also happens to be one of the best places around town to drink beer, thanks to the expertise of Joseph Allerton, the restaurant's sommelier, He is prone to packing the very serious list with plenty of Jolly Pumpkin, which means we get to take all the gas money we used to spend driving over to the brewpub in Ann Arbor and spend it on beer, right here at home.

#2 Grand Trunk Pub Detroit
We'll always know it as Foran's, but they can call it whatever they want, really, as long as they keep more than a dozen awesome Michigan beers on tap at this perennially popular little bar that occupies an old railway station at the bottom of Woodward Avenue.

#3 Slows Detroit
One of the city's best-loved restaurants also doubles as a great beer bar, thanks to an incredible selection of taps that focuses on Michigan but doesn't mind wandering off the reservation to all sorts of places where good beer is made. At off-peak times, it almost feels like a friendly neighborhood hangout.

#4 Cadieux Cafe Detroit
The rumpus room of Detroit's Belgian community for decades, this old shoe-comfortable East Side spot is always a good time, whether you stop in for a bottle of Duvel on a rainy afternoon or drop by Tuesdays and Thursdays to watch the very serious league night action on the featherbowling lanes. Bonus: $8 pitchers after 10pm, Monday-Thursday.

#5 Berkley Front Berkley
There are places that have a lot of taps and a wide range of choices, and then there is The Front, a downtown Berkley staple known for having dozens of selections -- sometimes up to fifty -- on draft, plus a cask or two, if you're lucky. Local they've got, sure, but this is best treated as a place to come when you're in the mood to drink your way around the world from the comfort of your barstool. (The bottle selection is pretty ridiculous.)

BUBBLING UNDER Ye Olde Tap Room (Detroit), Woodbridge Pub (Detroit), Oak Cafe (Wyandotte), Sidetrack (Ypsi), Ashley's (Ann Arbor)

Grand Trunk Pub on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 22, 2011

[EID Feature] Mootown Creamery: Making History at Historic Eastern Market

(All photos by Nicole Rupersburg)

Eastern Market, the largest historic public market district in the country, has been in its current location for 120 years. And in 120 years, it has never has an ice cream shop.

Jaw>>>>floor. Sounds absurd, right?

That was, of course, until Mootown Creamery opened on May 13, 2011.

Located in a primo spot on the same little strip as the über-popular Supino Pizzeria and Russell St. Deli, Mootown Creamery is a perfect post-pizza destination for a summertime snack (and baby, it’s hot outside).

Mootown Creamery is a family-owned and -operated business. Sisters and first-time partners Chris Kelley and Leslie Hayden opened the place, and Chris’s daughter Brittney Mabry is the smiling face you’ll usually find behind the counter. Even Grandma’s involved – in the back you’ll find a selection of her pretty hand-made greeting cards, T-shirts, flip-flops, and other gifts. If they don’t have your size in stock, she’ll make it for you.

If I didn’t already know that it was a group of females behind the place, I’d assume it: the inside looks like every young girl’s fantasy dollhouse. Pastel greens, purples, wrought iron café tables painted white, candy-colored plaster ice cream displays (even the logo features a “sexy” cartoon cow) – the look is definitively “girly” and cheerily charming, giving it that old-fashioned soda shoppe appeal. The staff is also unflappably friendly, which makes this simply a nice place to go to put a smile on your face.

And ice cream in your belly, no doubt. Mootown Creamery carries Michigan-made Hudsonville Ice Cream, which is trying to expand more into the Detroit market: this is one of the only places in the area that you’ll find them. They make such Michigan-themed flavors as Sleeping Bear Dunes Bear Hug (chocolate ice cream with chocolate-covered cashews swirled with thick caramel), Michigan Deer Trax (peanut butter cups and thick chocolate fudge with vanilla ice cream), and, of course, Mackinaw Island Fudge. (And also classic flavors like strawberry, chocolate and butter pecan too, natch.) You can get your ice cream on a cake cone, sugar cone or waffle cone; in kiddie scoops all the way to triple scoops. They’ll make you extra-thick milkshakes, ice cream floats, gooey sundaes and loaded banana splits, or you can also try their Moo…Zerts (their version of a Blizzard).

They want to keep things local inside Mootown, so you’ll also find Better Made chips, Vernors, Faygo pop (POP!), even Ice Mountain bottled water (which is bottled in Michigan).

Originally the sisters were planning on opening a garden supply store, but after walking around the market and seeing that there was no ice cream there they decided to open an ice cream shop. And so it is that the 120-year ice cream embargo in Eastern Market has been lifted, and those 40,000+ people who descend upon the market every Saturday can now enjoy a cold, creamy treat on a blistering hot day. July…National Ice Cream Month…record-high temperatures….coincidence? Well, no, it’s always hot as Hades in July, which just means no time like the present to go check out Mootown Creamery! (They have air conditioning and lots of seating, too.)

Note from the Powers That Be: Our Eastern Market tours will be starting soon and we'll be hitting Mootown during the summer months; stay tuned!

Want to see more? Check out the Flickr set here.

Mootown Creamery & More on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

[Real Detroit Weekly] Cooking With Beer

Beer. Wonderful, nourishing, health-sustaining BEER. (Seriously, its health benefits have been studied and proven, it’s even better for you than red wine, look it up.) We all love to drink it, but did you know you can also cook with it? Everything from citrusy wheat beers to robust stouts can be used to add a flavorful depth to a variety of dishes. Here’s some of our favorite beer-based recipes.

Beer cheese soup at Detroit Beer Company, Detroit. Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

Beer Cheese Soup (8 servings)

• 1 1/2 cups diced carrots
• 1 1/2 cups diced onion
• 1 1/2 cups diced celery
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
• 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
• 3 cups chicken broth
• 2 cups beer – we suggest using an IPA for its sharp, bitter flavor, like Short’s Huma Lupa Licious
• 1/3 cup butter
• 1/3 cup flour
• 4 cups milk or half and half
• 6 cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
• 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
• 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
• 1 teaspoon dry mustard
• Salted butter popcorn

1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, simmer carrots, onion, celery, and garlic in butter until soft. Stir in hot pepper sauce, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Pour in chicken broth and beer; simmer until vegetables are tender, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat.
2. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large soup pot over medium-high heat. Stir in flour with a wire whisk; cook, stirring until the flour is light brown, about 3 or 4 minutes. Gradually stir in milk, whisking to prevent scorching, until thickened. Remove from heat, and gradually stir in cheese. Keep warm.
3. Stir beer mixture into cheese mixture. Stir in Dijon mustard, Worcestershire sauce, and dry mustard. Adjust for hot pepper sauce. Bring to a simmer, and cook 10 minutes. Garnish with popcorn.
Double your beer food delight by serving with a generous chunk of rye beer bread.

Monday, July 18, 2011

[HOT LIST] Ice cream

(Photo by Nicole Rupersburg)

Did you know that the popular American locution "I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream" originated from a 1927 jazz song of the same title? So next time you see that as the lede in a story about ice cream, go ahead and say "1927 called and it wants its peculiar expression back."

We'll cut to the chase: it's July, it's as hot as Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis as FWBs, and it's also National Ice Cream Month. In metro Detroit you can get your licks of homemade gelato and custard, hand-packed ice cream made from local dairy cows, and quirky flavors with multi-culti twists. Here's five of our faves and a few more for good measure.

#1 Shatila Bakery Dearborn
This place is one of the many reasons you should make yourself more familiar with Dearborn. Just 15 minutes from downtown Detroit and you're in the epicenter of the largest population of people of Arab descent outside of the Middle East. AND their food. Shatila Bakery serves sweet and savory Middle Eastern pastries, from fried kibbie to endless variations on baklava, but they are known best for their super-premium ice creams: rich butterfat ice creams in traditional flavors like chocolate and unique flavors like kashta (a Lebanese dessert similar to a super-rich vanilla). Whole fruit is combined with cream for intensely-flavored apricot and mango, but the pistachio might actually change your life. Try it once and you won't bat an eye at $9 for a quart - it's that good (and they deliver worldwide!).

#2 Nevería La Michoacana
Let's stop talking taco carts for a second: over on Vernor, this place is the real deal for summertime treats. Yes, they have ice cream. They also have a wide array of Mexican popsicles in flavors like cajeta, or caramel, which is more like a caramel-flavored fudgesicle; and frozen fruit bars made with REAL fruit in flavors like guava and pineapple. Get a chocolate-covered frozen banana, or have one of the several flavors of homemade horchata - a Mexican dessert drink made from rice milk and nuts. One of their house flavors is bright pink with chunks of strawberries, mangoes and pineapple and tastes like a strawberry milkshake. Oh, also, it's a buck for a fruit bar and two bucks for a very LARGE small horchata. Even the prices are authentically Mexican.

#3 World's Finest Frozen Custard and Family Fun Center
Lots of places claim to be "world's finest" this-or-that; World's Finest Custard might actually be that. Their handmade custard (available in standard flavors like chocolate and vanilla as well as rotating special flavors) is thick, creamy, rich, decadent, smooth, velvety, wonderful. You will NOT find a finer custard in all of metro Detroit - this place seriously makes a roadtrip to Chesterfield worthwhile. For hard-packed ice cream purists, they also carry Michigan's own Ashby's Sterling Ice Cream. The mini-golf course at the "Family Fun Center" is cheesy even by mini-golf standards, but full-grown adults can still enjoy sitting on the swings with some of the best old-fashioned frozen custard in the ... well, world.

#4 Treat Dreams Ferndale
They're still pretty new but have already made a name for themselves as one of the most unique ice cream parlors in metro Detroit. Why unique? Some of the flavors they've had include honey lavender, hot jalapeno, purple yam, and Sunday breakfast (maple syrup ice cream with bacon). They also serve extra-huge scoops, so come hungry and not just snacky. (You're an adult; you can eat ice cream as a meal.) Salted caramel ice cream is their specialty, and they also carry a variety of baked goods including cake pops.

#5 Calder Dairy and Farm Lincoln Park
If you want the best ice cream possible, get it from the source. Milk for Calder Dairy's New England-style hand-packed ice cream comes from their very own dairy cows at their farm in Carleton, Michigan. Stop by the Dairy in Lincoln Park to try one of their 34 homemade flavors (which include a few seasonal, as well as their new soft serve) on one of their homemade waffle cones, or drop by the farm and take a tour while enjoying your dairy treat.

Bubbling under
Ray's Ice Cream (Royal Oak), The Chocolate Bar/Alinosi's (Grosse Pointe), Guernsey Farms (Northville), Zingerman's Creamery (Ann Arbor), Wally's Frozen Custard (Harper Woods), Dairy Twist Cafe (Wolverine Lake), Sweet Earth (Birmingham), Mootown Creamery (Detroit)

Shatila Bakery on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 15, 2011

[EID Feature] Frita Batidos: Street Food Meets Street Art

(All photos by Nicole Rupersburg)

When Eve Aronoff first emailed me to let me know about the vintage Coca-Cola cooler featuring work by Detroit street artist SinTex that she introduced into her dining room at Frita Batidos in Ann Arbor, I thought it sounded like a cute story or a fun factoid. It also recalled some work done by Antotnio “Shades” Agee last summer at Ann Arbor’s Grizzly Peak Brewing Company, a huge mural on the side of their building unveiled at a fundraiser to benefit the Ann Arbor Art Center.

Then just this past May vitaminwater introduced VitaminWater Uncapped LIVE at 1500 Woodward. When they took over the space from Vain Nightclub they completely redesigned the interior, bringing in well-known, renowned urban artists like Shades, SinTex, Tony Roko, Mike Han and Cedric Tai. The space-defining art became the highlight of this temporary venue – which, much like street art in its original form, was designed to be fleeting. The uniqueness of the space and the utilization of street art in this more “corporate” setting (it may be a nightclub but VitaminWater is owned by the Coca-Cola Corporation) became a hot topic of conversation.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

[Concentrate] What Food Carts Say About Ann Arbor

"Mobile vending (food trucks and the like) in metro Detroit has  become a popular topic of conversation in the local media as of late. While the city of Detroit has come under heavy scrutiny about its barriers to entry, in Ann Arbor, Mark's Carts, the new food truck courtyard located on a private parcel of land on East Washington Street, has attracted the attention of mobile vending advocates, foodies, journalists and bloggers -- even Congressman John Dingell (whose visit in June was well-publicized).

'What differentiates Mark's Carts from other attempts at food truck operations is the fact that the trucks themselves are stationary and are located on private property owned by Mark Hodesh, who also owns the adjacent Downtown Home and Garden garden supply and kitchenware store.

''We had a small lot where we were just parking cars and an empty building that [for various reasons] we couldn't rent out,' explains Hodesh, who first became interested in food trucks after visiting his daughter in Brooklyn and witnessing the diverse offerings possible with mobile vending. The idea came to him to turn this lot and building into a food truck courtyard and kitchen.

''First, I have to say hats off to the Ann Arbor City Planning Division,' Hodesh says. 'My basic approach was, "Here's what I want to do; what do I need to do?" and they told me.' Because it is privately-owned property, Hodesh says there were no specific zoning ordinances he had to contend with.  The city doesn't really have a say in food sales on private property (just the Health Department). He also had a full commercial kitchen installed in the on-site building where the vendors prepare their food (as opposed to preparing the food inside the trucks themselves). Because of this highly unique (not to mention serendipitous) situation, Mark's Carts was rather easily made into a reality.

'The real question is: how do we create more places like Mark's Carts? ..."

Read the rest of the article here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

[HOT LIST] Farmers Markets

Michigan peppers at Eastern Market (Photo by David Landsel)

You already know all about Michigan's number one industry, correct? Quickly now-- what's in the number two spot? Did you guess agriculture? Correct. Take away the factories, and we're freaking Vermont or Oregon with our farms and our jam and cheese and pickles and what have you. While Detroiters tend to think the entire universe revolves around Eastern Market, it's really just the beginning of the extensive market scene in Southeast Michigan. Here, five of our current favorites, plus a few others we've got our eye on. 

#1 Eastern Market It's not just a farmers market -- its a neighborhood, it's a slice of (very tasty) history, it's one of the few things in the city of Detroit even the most suburban suburbanite loves to love. And now (well, through the fall, anyway) it'll be running Tuesdays, as well as Saturdays. 

#2 Ann Arbor Farmers Market Strict as hell (producers only) and obsessed with quality, those seriously into sourcing / eating locally and such should make tracks for this Kerrytown happening, held Saturdays year-round and Wednesdays through December. A recently added summer evening market (Wednesdays from 4:30 through Sept. 28) is a must. 

#3 Royal Oak Farmers Market Rain or shine, this historic enclosed market -- a sort of Eastern Market in miniature -- has been at it for more than 80 years. Best of all, they operate year-round (Saturdays), adding Fridays from May through Christmas.

#4 West Park Farmers Market Just steps across Alter Road from a comatose section of Detroit and you're in a slice of small town Americana so perfect, it ought to have its own Norman Rockwell painting. Find 20+ vendors at this Grosse Pointe Park affair, held on Saturdays through September.

#5 Birmingham Farmers Market This Sunday Downtown do (May 1-October 23, 9a-2p) is more like an excuse for everyone in Birmingham to come out and socialize -- this is easily the most snappily dressed group of market goers you'll find anywhere in the region, which makes for nice people watching. There's live music, kids area and stuff to eat; in the summer, it always seems like there's something else going on downtown at the same time.

Bubbling under: Farmington Farmers & Artisans Market, Northwest Detroit Farmers Market, Dearborn Farmers & Artisans Market, Mount Clemens Farmers Market, Plymouth Farmers Market, Oakland County Farmers Market (Waterford), Depot Town Farmers Market (Ypsi) 

Friday, July 8, 2011

[Real Detroit Weekly] Tom's Oyster Bar

(All photos by Nicole Rupersburg)

"So, who is Tom? Well, Tom is a recent retiree enjoying his golden years in Charlevoix, Michigan. But his legacy continues on at his namesake Tom's Oyster Bar in Royal Oak.

'Tom's has been a Royal Oak staple for as long as anyone can seem to remember – back when you could still smoke in coffeehouses, anyway. Back before there was a Starbucks there, even. While this city offers no shortage of lively nightlife, it is the old-school style of service at Tom's that makes this place one of the favorites amongst the locals.

RDW: 'So why is this such a popular spot for the locals?'

Customer at bar, overhearing the question: 'Because we love the bartenders!'"...

Read the rest of the story here.

Want to see more? View the Flickr gallery here.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

[EID Feature] Schuler's Wins in Downtown Marshall

(All photos by Nicole Rupersburg)

The idea started when I picked up a tub of "Pub Cheese" from Trader Joe's, imagining the sharp, slightly tangy flavor of the famous Win Schuler's spreadable cheese (the Original Cheddar, of course). Alas, the Trader Joe's version paled in comparison to what I had envisioned in my head (as is the case with every single one of their cheeses I have tried; what is up with that?) - nothing beats the old brown, orange and blue when it comes to spreadable cheddar.

So when I found myself about to pass by the original Schuler's Restaurant & Pub in Marshall, MI - the place where the recipe for that wonderful cheese originated - en route to Chicago, it just felt like serendipity.

The history of Schuler's Restaurant & Pub goes back to 1909, when Albert Schuler Sr. opened a cigar store on Main Street in downtown Marshall. He soon added a bakery and a lunch counter, which became known for its 25-cent blue plate dinner special. In 1924 Albert bought the Royal Hotel and Restaurant and renamed it Schuler's. As decades passed, Schuler's became a prominent family business. They expanded to increase their restaurant space and added Winston's Pub, named after Albert's son Winston. Schuler's is now in its fourth generation of family ownership. To really put that in perspective, consider this: according to the Family Firm Institute (FFI), nearly 70% of family-owned businesses fail before reaching the second generation, 88% fail by the third, and only about 3% survive to the fourth.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

[HOT LIST] Corned beef sandwiches

Hygrade Deli, Detroit (via Facebook)
Detroit is corned beef country. From Sy Ginsberg to Wigley's to Grobbel's, from the Dinty Moore to the Reuben, you want corned beef – the brined brisket of the gods – you got it, kid. There are many places to buy it and plenty of ways to eat it; let's start off with five great places for a sandwich, right now.

#1 Hygrade Detroit
Kick it way old school at this V-is-for-very-and-vintage Michigan Avenue coffee shop, located just around the way from the United plant, home of the Sy Ginsberg label. (Sy Ginsberg corned beef is, of course, served.) Get the "meal" sandwich – corned beef, swiss, coleslaw and dressing -- on an onion roll. The pickles come from Detroit's own Topor's, also in the 'hood. Tell Stuart hey (3640 Michigan Ave.).

#2 Louie's Ham and Corned Beef Detroit
Where do you get corned beef in Eastern Market, home to Wigley's and Grobbel's? You get it everydamnwhere. Or so it seems. And while we're inclined to be creatures of habit and run straight for Russell Street Deli, lately it's Louie's, out on the topside of the 'hood, that's calling our names (3570 Riopelle @ Mack).

#3 Stage Deli West Bloomfield
A legacy that began in Oak Park fifty or so years ago lives on in this OaCo staple, where you can order wines by the glass with your big ass platters and sandwiches. This place feels like like those famous New York delis, complete with luck-of-the-draw service, but much cleaner. Also, fewer European tourists (6873 Orchard Lake Road). (Read more about the Stage in a Metromode article Nicole wrote back in 2009.)

#4 Mudgie's Detroit
It's almost all sandwiches, almost all the time at Greg Mudge's chill spot on a sleepy Corktown corner. Dig the Barrett sandwich – meat (Sy Ginsberg in the hizzouse), house made coleslaw, swiss and thousand island on an onion roll, served warm. A Downtown expansion is in the works (1300 Porter St.).

#5 Star Deli Southfield
One of Detroit's more illustrious contributions to American cuisine has been the Dinty Moore sandwich, a layer cake-style stack job of meat, cheese, coleslaw, lettuce, tomato and dressing with some bread in there, somewhere. At this firm Southfield fave, it comes triple deckered, on white toast (24555 West 12 Mile). 

Bubbling under Jimmy Dee's (Clinton Twp.), Russell Street Deli (Detroit), Avalon Bakery (Detroit), Onion Roll (Royal Oak), Lou's (Detroit / Southfield), Steve's (Bloomfield Hills), Bread Basket (Livonia), Zingerman's (Ann Arbor)

How the list works Each week, Eat it Detroit chooses a different category (if you can eat it or drink it, it's in the mix) and conducts a search for the best in class, beginning at our Downtown Detroit HQ and working our way outward until we're happy (and / or full). Got a suggestion for a future hot list? Shoot a note to info (at) eatitdetroit (dot) com

[944 Detroit] A Tale of Two Peninsulas

Photo by Nicole Rupersburg

"The rolling hills of Tuscany. The long stretches of scenic two-lane roads winding through Napa Valley. The idea of vacationing in wine country certainly has its appeal — the magnificent natural beauty, the slower pace of life, the wine (let’s not forget the wine). But a leisurely weekend in wine country doesn’t have to mean an expensive plane ticket. A brief four-hour drive north will take travelers right into the heart of Traverse City, an area once known only for its cherries, but now developing a national reputation for its commitment to historic preservation, sustainability, development of the arts and world-class winemaking.

'Situated in the middle of Grand Traverse Bay are the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas. At the center of the base of both peninsulas lies Traverse City. Touring Traverse City wine country is as simple as driving 45 minutes from one peninsula to the other, directly through Traverse City. Here oenophiles will find more than 25 tasting rooms where they can sample some of Michigan’s nationally-ranked, award-winning wines, as well as sample farm-to-table cuisine from celebrated chefs. While maneuvering the sharply curving roads, the panoramic views of lush green hills covered in vineyards surrounded by vast, sparkling waters will truly take one’s breath away. Tuscany … Napa Valley … Traverse City? Yes, Michigan..."

Read the rest of the article here. View the four-page spread in PDF form here.

For more photos (taken by Nicole on a separate trip, not for this piece), check out the Flickr set here.

Friday, July 1, 2011

More Eastern Market means more bagels

(Photo by Nicole Rupersburg)
Comes word from the Corktown command center of the Detroit Institute of Bagels. The short of it? The hard-working brothers Newman will be pushing their product at the new Eastern Market Tuesdays, which are a thing starting July 12 that we are very excited for.

In summary: more Eastern Market + excellent bagels now more easily available to the public = Detroit has been fixed, THE END.

[Real Detroit Weekly] The Emerald Theatre

(Photo by Nicole Rupersburg)

"Different bars all have their own unique music vibe. If you want indie prog-rock, you go to the Majestic. If you want techno, you go to Bleu, Oslo or the Works. But if you want ROCK – we're talking true Eastside, devil horn-flashing, head-banging, mosh-pitting, "SLAYER!!!"-screaming ROCK – you go to the Emerald Theatre.

'The Emerald is a live concert venue and nightclub that's been offering the best live entertainment in Macomb County for 10 years now. On Fridays they host "Orion," a top 40 club night with DJ Paul Martindale where they've got a LED wall with changing patterns and videos on display and a variety of eccentric performers every week – think fire dancers and fire eaters. Wednesdays in their Rock Room are Whip Cream Wednesdays, an 18+ top 40 club night with go-go dancers, whip cream drink specials and body shots.

'But let's get back to the ROCK.."

Read the rest of the article here.

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