Wednesday, October 31, 2012

[Deadline Detroit] Everything You Need To Know About El Dia De Los Muertos In Detroit

Niagara's sugar skull interpretation for Imperial's Dia de los Muertos art auction.

Lately it seems like El Dia de los Muertos has been infiltrating mainstream culture, bringing in Halloween from the rear for a sort of spookshow double-header.

But where Halloween is all about the scare (and sexy-anythings), El Dia de los Muertos—The Day of the Dead—is meant to be more joyous and fun. Traditionally a Mexican celebration that coincides with the Catholic holidays of All Saints’ Day (November 1) and All Souls’ Day (November 2), Day of the Dead also just so happens to butt up against the pagan-rooted celebration of All Hallows’ Eve—Halloween.

And wonderful cultural melting pot that we are here in metro Detroit, we’re slowly but surely combining the two. (Regulars at Theatre Bizarre can attest that the most oft-donned costume is an interpretation of the sugar skull.)

Read more.

[HOT LIST] Halloween

You guys, Halloween is pretty much my Christmas. As such I'd like to think of this week as sort of a vacation week, a holy (or rather, hallowed) week of observation -- by that I mean, I pretty much just want to phone it in. And so, here are the five best things about Halloween. In pictures and video.

Oh, let's also not forget the thing that makes Halloween that absolute greatest: the season. The leaves change color, the air is crisp, the sky is gloomy but the kind of gloomy that is welcome after 187 consecutive days of glaring sunlight, there's the apple orchards, the pumpkin patches, sweater weather, Fall Beer Fest ... GAH Halloween is just the BEST.

PS, some local trivia: Harry Houdini died in Detroit on Halloween day, 1926.

#1 The Costumes
I'm a fan of the sexy/slutty this-or-that costumes and have been known in the past to don one or two myself (Leeloo from the Fifth Element was probably my favorite, though I did make a damn fine Jessica Rabbit). But some people ... MAN. They just get it. Like this guy:

And her:

(That's Heidi Klum, btw.)

#2 The Parties
There's plenty of parties leading up to the actual day of Halloween, everything from zombie walks to musicals to bands playing other bands to opulent Opera House balls and "one of the greatest Halloween parties in the world." Granted, Theatre Bizarre has already passed. But you can live it vicariously through YouTube videos, including this one of the wonderful one-woman circus show that is Miss Exotic World 2010, Roxi DLite:

Skull by Niagara.
Also, don't miss the Day of the Dead party at Imperial this Friday and the corresponding charity sugar skull auction designed by some of the biggest names in the local arts community. No, Day of the Dead is not the same thing as Halloween. But in purely secular terms, yes it kind of is.

Lorem ipsum Halloween can't really think of anything else to write in this space but want to include the photo of the Niagara skull but can't include the photo of the Niagara skull without jacking up the spacing for the next section and really want to make sure the next section starts on its own line without leaving a huge gap DONE

#3 The Pumpkins
It seems like this year high pumpkin art went "boo"ber-viral. (Was that pun extra lame? PHONING IT IN.)

But if that weren't enough, our very own local boy Tom Nardone of Detroit Mower Gang was featured on Conan O'Brien for his XTREME carving skills.

#4 The Movies (and other media)
There are the classic classics: Nosferatu, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, and all the many monster movies and creature features of the 1930s through the 1960s featuring the likes of Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. Then there are the modern classics: Halloween, The Exorcist, Nightmare on Elm Street. (Which will also help you lose weight! Really!) And the more whimsical favorites, like Nightmare Before Christmas and Beetlejuice. Sleepy Hallow. Sweeney Todd. Okay, really anything Tim Burton. And all of the vampires, werewolves, witches, warlocks, zombies, aliens, chainsaw murderers and Jigsaw wannabes that the human mind in all of its infinite horrors has conceived.

Plus there are also the many TV shows and specials that air around Halloween, from the infamous "Treehouse of Horrors" on the Simpsons (this year marked the 23rd installment of this annual Halloween special, and possibly the last one ever as this *might* be the final season of the Simpsons) to old favorites like "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown."

And let's not forget new favorites like the Walking Dead. Here is a handy infographic from Boing Boing about what every Walking Dead episode is like:

Most importantly, every Halloween episode of Roseanne available in syndication.

Over at Green Brain Comics in Dearborn, today marks the release of several new Halloween-themed comics, including GHOSTS #1, a new spookshow anthology from some of the biggest names in the industry.

#5 The Beer
Obviously. And Michigan has some of the best pumpkin beers on the market, so says this and this and this. As we damn well should, what with being the home of Jolly Pumpkin and all.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The Week We Ate (The EID Week in Review)

There's no crying in baseball.

This is a day of affirmations. Yes Detroit, you're good enough, you're smart enough, and gosh-darnit people like you. Seemingly all of my Facebook friends have manically flip-flopped between angry accusatory statements berating the Detroit Tigers for "sucking" and "ruining" their evening/weekend/Halloween, unrealistic optimism in the face of certain defeat, acute vicarious depression, threats to move to San Francisco, and finally reluctant acceptance with some after-the-fact congratulatory positive thinking and acknowledgement that "we" still made it pretty darn far and there's always next year. I guess now we'll just all go back to being political analysts. Here's what happened this week in restaurants.

Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe announces an official opening date, and then officially opens! On that date! No, it is not God's gift to grocery stores, but it is on the level of a good food co-op with a small but decent selection of both staple and specialty items. No, Whole Foods is not going to bury them immediately upon opening the doors to their organic produce palace. A neighborhood that is at 95+% rental occupancy CAN have two nice grocery stores. [Curbed / EID FB]

The East Jefferson Corridor is on the rise! [Det News Hub]

But that's NOTHING compared to what's going on in the Villages. As predicted and promised, the Villages of Detroit are being A Thing. Michael Geiger and Hugh Yaro are opening Craft Work (ah, but will they play a lot of 1970s German electronica??), The Red Hook is opening a second location, Detroit Vegan Soul (D.V.S) is opening their restaurant, and Tarot + Tea (what it sounds like) is also opening soon, all in West Village. Talk about going from 0 to 60. [Freep]

And here is more on the Supino Pizzeria expansion from MLive Detroit. Which was initially reported in Crain's as not so much an expansion as a totally new restaurant that will be located next door, but now sounds like no in fact it's an expansion. Either way it will have booze. [MLive]

Restaurateur Mindy Lopus is blowing UP. With two restaurants already in Birmingham (and more planned), she is now expanding her empire where a fresh face in fine dining is needed most: Grosse Pointe Park. Tallulah Wine Bar and Bistro will have a sister location, Bona Fide Baking Co. is a great way to show off award-winning pastry chef Tanya Fallon, and consider Red Crown to be Vinsetta Garage East. [GP Patch]

Detroit's Buffalo Wild Wings is on track to open in November in time for the Thanksgiving Day Parade and owners promise this location will be unlike any other. The $4 million renovation of the almost 140-year-old building maintains the integrity of the space with a first-floor restaurant, second-floor banquet room, and covered rooftop patio and bar. [Crain's]

Pontiac, your The Renaissance is next. [Prosper]

The Free Press discovers craft beer. [Freep]

Here are Famous People who ate and drank things in Detroit. [Examiner / Esquire]

Don't know if you know this, but pop-ups are kind of, like, a thing around here. [DetNews]

The physical storefront might not be open yet but the online storefront is. [Detroit Institute of Bagels]

And now, the "Detroit Rises" story en Español. Basically Detroit was dying, Obama helped save the auto industry, now Detroit is on the path to recovery, rah rah Dan Gilbert our White Knight, only except for our government is still fuct, but that isn't stopping young entrepreneurs from coming in or citizens from impacting positive change, hooray Midtown and Sue Mosey and Whole Foods, and also hooray Jordi Carbonell of Cafe Con Leche. [Internacional en EL PAÍS]

You know, with a name like Jolly Pumpkin they damn well SHOULD be making these "best pumpkin beer" lists. Here is some love for La Parcela, La Parcela again, and also Ichabod and Jaw Jacker. [WSJ / Serious Eats: Drinks / DRAFT]

Krazy Jim's in A2 is featured on yet another food/travel TV show. Cuz they're so dang CRAZY! And not because television researchers are lazy. []

Speaking of research, Buddy's is on another "best pizzas in the country" list. [Relish]

I wish I had been keeping track of the latest rash of "we lift Detroit in baseball" stories, but I haven't been. Regardless, here is the latest entrant into the genre from the San Francisco Chronicle. [SFC]

Eat It Elsewhere
~Grand Rapids' infamous beer bar HopCat is expanding: a second location will open in Lansing with 100 taps (making it the largest draft selection in the state) and owners Mark and Michele Sellers of BarFly Ventures (which owns several other GR bars) will also be opening the Lansing Brewing Co. [MLive]

~And in more Mark Sellers news, he has announced the official opening date of the much-anticipated (re)opening of the Grand Rapids Brewing Co.: December 5. [MLive]

~And Grand Rapids finally gets its very own authentic Polish eatery with Polka Pops Cafe. This might make the transition to a clean and functional city a bit easier on Detroiters. Familiarity and all. [GR Now]

Friday, October 26, 2012

[NEWS BITES] O'Toole's gets in the craft beer game, plus new brunches and businesses

Since Facebook is now burying posts unless you pay for them, I want to make sure nothing important gets missed (or also gets buried in the Week We Ate). Here are some of the most important of the important things you need to know, tasty little news bites for your gray matter.

O'Toole's is getting into the craft beer game with the intention of being, and I quote from a third party, "the best craft beer bar in Royal Oak." The O'Toole's in Waterford always did well with their Michigan craft handles and O'Toole's founder Keith Wadle, who still owns the Royal Oak location but has since sold off his share of the Waterford restaurant and bar, has taken a serious interest in bringing that culture to his Royal Oak spot. They're redoing the bar with a new look and a brand-new start-of-the-art tap system. They just added 20 tap handles and will soon be adding 20 more, and if you think it's going to be all Sam Adams and Oberon, think again: they're getting brews like Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA and Odd Side Ales Citra Pale Ale (Imperial Beverage is treating them well and will continue to do so).

After a more than two-year delay, Ye Olde Butcher Shoppe in Midtown will open for business this Saturday with a wide selection of artisan items from local producers.

Tomorrow during the Villages Fall Festival, new permanent businesses will be announced that will be opening soon in the burgeoning neighborhood. Stay tuned.

Brunch! And stuff!
In the past two weeks there has been MUCH brunch activity. (It *is* the most important meal of the week.) To wit:

*Green Dot Stables is now open Sundays noon to 6 p.m. (or whenever whatever game is done but the kitchen is nixed at six) serving items like breakfast sliders and Vermont poutine. What is Vermont poutine, you ask? Hell if I know but I WANT IT.

*Pizzeria Biga in Royal Oak will soon be serving brunch both Saturdays and Sundays.

*Local Kitchen + Bar in Ferndale is now serving brunch both Saturdays and Sundays.

*The Sugar House in Corktown is now open at noon on Saturdays and Sundays and serving a special "Eye Opener" menu that includes bagels from Detroit Institute of Bagels.

*Crispelli's Pizzeria and Bakery in Berkley now serves a daily breakfast and will start serving weekend brunch this weekend (with breakfast pizzas!).

*Tashmoo Biergarten in West Village will host a post-Beer Fest Brewer's Brunch this Sunday featuring  biscuits and gravy from Corridor Sausage and many more brunch-tastic items that make me want to test my own limits and see just how many brunches I can consume this Sunday. This will also be their last day of the season.

*Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Co.'s Midtown coffeehouse and bar is now serving vegan breakfast sandwiches from vegan pop-up and catering company Chartreuse, and will host a full-blown brunch with them on November 10.

Plus in extra Great Lakes Coffee news, they are now open on Mondays until 11 p.m.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

[HOT LIST] Detroit Beer Week 2012 (again)

Once again, I am extremely anal. To wit: when events are not announced and promoted with appropriate lead time and then compiled in one place (if it's a series of coordinating events), I get anxious. And so I'm following up last week's Detroit Beer Week Hot List with yet another one as several more coordinating events have been announced since last Thursday.

Also I've been, like, SUPER busy with other stuff and, you know, I don't get paid for this.

Okay, so everything from last week plus these new announcements and updates.

New Belgium Tap Takeover at One-Eyed Betty's 
Wednesday, 10/24
Yes, this was actually supposed to happen on Monday, but because of an eff-up on the distributor's end it didn't. So it's happening tonight. All your New Belgium favorites like Fat Tire and Shift, plus the extremely rare Lips of Faith Series (and I'm told La Folie alone is worth it -- SOUR POWER!).

Jolly Pumpkin / Leelanau Brewing Happy Hour at Slows Bar BQ
Wednesday, 10/24 4-7 p.m.
DID SOMEONE SAY SOBREHUMANO???? And also Baudelaire Series iO Saison, Leelanau Brewing's Whaleback White and Petoskey Pale Ale, and the jolliest of pumpkins (according to the Wall Street Journal and Serious Eats: Drinks anyway), La Parcela. Try them in flights, or just pound the shit out of some Sobre. Yeah, yeah, it's not the seasonal trend right now, wah wah, but for real once it's gone it's GONE. That is until I convince my friend Ron to brew it again.

Witch's Hat Tap Takeover at Foran's Grand Trunk Pub
Wednesday, 10/24 5-7 p.m.
You know, you have to kind of love a brewery that lends itself so well to the season. You'll love the tap handles even more (pssst...made by the Glass Academy). For this they'll have their Train Hopper IPA (6.9% ABV), Big Doedish DIPA (9.0% ABV), Edward's Portly Brown (5.5% ABV), Royal Rumble Double Red (a double Red Ale brewed on Friday the 13th and with Blood Oranges and heavily hopped with Warrior and Chinook hops), and Ryeizenbock (8+% ABV; a beer brewed specifically for the Brewed In Michigan Beer Festival in Milford, a Weizenbock brewed with rye malt).

Jolly Pumpkin Happy Hour at Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company
Thursday, 10/25 4 p.m.
La Parcela, Weizen Bam and De Viento on tap. Now THESE guys "get" sour power. (De Viento is their partnership brew with JP.)

Founders Tap Takeover at Slows Bar BQ
Thursday, 10/25 4-7 p.m.
Some of the biggies: Breakfast Stout, Pale Ale, Imperial Stout, Devil Dancer, Backstage Series 2011, Backstage Series 2012 -- Frangelic Mountain Brown, and the highly exalted KBS. KBS barrels last for about six seconds when it's released so this is a rare opportunity for this rare beer.

Bell's Tap Takeover at Mercury Burger Bar
Thursday, 10/25 5 p.m.
They'll have This One Goes to 11 Ale, Debs' Red, Hell Hath No Fury, Black Note, Third Coast Old Ale, Best Brown, Sparkling Ale, Oberon, Oarsman, Octoberfest and Kal-Haven Ale. Black Note, This One Goes to 11 and Sparkling Ale being the ones for which that most bricks will be shat.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Week We Ate (The EID Week in Review)

One! One restaurant. Two! Two restaurants.
The "Castle Building" will have not one but TWO new restaurants inside. [Curbed Detroit]

Corktown: one of the 50 most stylish neighborhoods IN THE WORLD. The WORLD. [Complex]

It's Greek Week in metro Detroit! KouZina Street Food opened in Royal Oak, and Santorini Estiatorio in Greektown (the remodeled Mosaic) isn't far behind. [Crain's / EID FB]

Jon Carlson and Greg Lobdell are the BEST. [Freep]

People are the WORST. [Detroit News]

When I first moved to Lafayette Park there was a cafe in the strip mall on Lafayette called Paris Cafe. It was merely okay, but at least convenient. A few months later it closed. Now, 5 years later, FINALLY, someone else is opening a coffee shop (if only temporarily), and YAAAY it's Jordi from Cafe Con Leche! Meet Cafe con Leche de Este, a pop-up coffee shop in the LP opening 11/4. [CCLDE FB]

Is it possible for a business model to be "viral?" If so, such is the concept of a pop-up. The Villages are being a thing and using pop-ups to show it. [Curbed Detroit]

The Caucus Club will serve their last lunch next Wednesday, October 24. Guys, did you "get" my string of Barbra Streisand references in the post that first mentioned their closing? It's really important that you realize how clever that was. [CC FB / EID]

Michigan once again had some big winners at the Great American Beer Festival: Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., Bastone and Redwood Lodge all took home medals. (Kuhnhenn and Bastone both seem to be GABF favorites.) Which is awesome! Except that none of these guys distribute (except Kuhnhenn in VERY limited quantities), so you actually have to go to the brewery. Which is awesome is you live near-ish Warren, Royal Oak or Flint. And not if you don't. [GABF]

And here is the line-up for next weekend's Fall Beer Festival. Start planning. [MBG blog]

Which also means Detroit Beer Week is now upon us. [EID]

And for those "out west," Bill's Beer Garden in Ann Arbor is now open. [BBG FB]

More beer news from the Ace Deuce: World of Beer, a Florida-based craft beer chain, will be opening in Ann Arbor. But don't get too excited: A2 is not without its share of stellar craft beer bars and there's no promising this chain will focus prominently on Michigan crafts, which is what the locals will demand most. (I see a lot of Sam Adams in their future.) Plus, IT'S A SPORTS BAR. *shudder* []

And even more from Ann Arbor: dude behind Mani Osteria still opening a Mexican joint, still doesn't have a name for it. Mario Batali loves it already. [Concentrate]

The Freep does a game day round-up of places that have opened in A2 in the last two years and includes Lena. I also wrote about Lena. So there. [Freep / EID]

Between Lena, as-yet-unnamed Mexican Mani Osteria, and 2012 Hatch Detroit winner La Feria, it would seem the Latin invasion is upon us once again. Here is a pre-preview of La Feria. [Model D]

The Sugar House is now open at noon on Saturdays and Sundays with a special "Eye Opener" menu. [SH FB]

And Local Kitchen + Bar is now serving brunch on Saturdays AND Sundays. [Local FB]

Market Studio Kitchen + Detroit Emergent Future Lab are the latest concepts taking shape in Eastern Market that support and promote our local food system through community engagement and hands-on education for both youth and adults. [HuffPo]

Nationally distributed PBS show "Start-Up" is based here in metro Detroit, produced by Parliament Studios in Clawson, and has already profiled some favorite local start-ups like Astro Coffee and McClure's Pickles. [HuffPo]

City Wings is cleaner than some hospitals. Meet the guy behind it. [UIX]

Welll ... we want to be known as "design-savvy." Soooooooo... [Detroit News]

Why yes, in fact I am incredibly selfless. [Metromode]

Got money? Feel like giving it away? Here are three current Kickstarter campaigns for you to do just that:
~Belle Isle to 8 Mile. An "insider's guide" to Detroit with some 750 listings (a few authored by yours truly!).
~Chartreuse. A raw vegan organic local food business looking to expand.
~The Brinery. Trying to buy and preserve 12,000 pounds of locally-grown cabbage using lacto-fermentation: "40 barrels in 40 nights."

Eat It GR
So there's been a lot happening in Grand Rapids lately which I haven't been posting because some people get sand in their vaginas if I take one out of my 10+ posts per day to discuss something that isn't happening within 15 miles of the Royal Oak epicenter, so here is a collection of news bits from Beer City USA:

~The Grand Rapids Public Museum's "Thank you, BEER!" exhibit opened this weekend and will remain through December 30, exploring the importance of beer throughout human history. Or, as they say, "Celebrating beer, brewing and the meaning of life." [GR Museum]

~During the course of organizing the above exhibit, museum curators (with the help of several Grand Rapids craft breweries and private collectors in the community) combed through their own collections of local brewing history, a history that started 15-20 feet below the current city streets. This is a great article on the city's long brewing history. Also, the historic Grand Rapids Brewing Co. will re-open next month (from the folks behind HopCat). [MLive]

~Here are some coordinating events that go along with the exhibit. [MLive]

~And here is more more about Founders' commemorative "Furniture City Stock Ale" brewed specifically for this exhibit, only available in west Michigan, and with all profits being donated to the Grand Rapids Public Museum. [Founders]

~And here is a video with 16 breweries celebrating Grand Rapids as Beer City USA. [Whiskey Neat]

~For whatever random reason, Trillium Haven was getting a lot of love (at least on Facebook) this week from various persons-about-town. Founders is doing a "Beer and Butchery" five-course dinner there next Sunday and Monday and the GR CVB also made this great video. [Founders / GR CVB]

~UPDATE: In the 20 minutes since I posted this something else happened. This Tuesday the "Grand Pumpkin," a Beer City USA collaboration brew between 11 Grand Rapids breweries, will be released. (Each brewery has their own version, all different recipes with the same base ingredient: pumpkin.) [MLive]