Tuesday, July 30, 2013

[Model D] D MET adds a new facade and continues renovations at 4130 Cass, home of La Feria

In the emerging Cass Corridor Design District shaping up at the corner of Cass Avenue and Canfield, 2012 Hatch Detroit contest winner La Feria has been hard at work renovating their space and getting ready to open. But just last week some exterior improvements were done that have made the tapas restaurant's progress much more visible.

Read more.

[Model D] CityLoft and the Detroit Shoppe come back for a fourth installment of the popular pop-ups

The Somerset Collection's CityLoft and the Detroit Shoppe are back again for round four on Woodward in downtown Detroit.

Somerset is bringing nearly 40 retailers from its Troy collection of luxury and lifestyle brands to 1261 Woodward, along with the popular Detroit Shoppe at 1201 Woodward, which sells items from some of Detroit's most iconic brands and donates all of the proceeds to Detroit charities. Between the permanent Troy location and previous iterations of the downtown pop-up, the Detroit Shoppe has supported over 100 Detroit charities.

Read more.

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Week We Ate (The EID Week in Review)

Totally rocking Pure Detroit duds. I lift Detroit with my boobs.

So I was on the Food Network's "Food Court Wars" and wrote this about winning contestants Chip 'N Wich. And also I was on the Food Network. That's me standing next to Tyler Florence, right there^. He smells nice. [EID]

Detroit is so hot right now. "Chuck's Eat the Street" was in town filming last week and hit La Palma in Dearborn, Hygrade Deli in Southwest, and Mercury Burger Bar in Corktown. Dear Chuck, please note I am available for future sidekickery duties. [Detroit News]

Summer Beer Fest was super fun; let's do it again! Like, for example, on October 25 and 26. Tickets to the Michigan Brewers Guild Fall Beer Festival go on sale August 1. [MBG Official]

Oh, but first MBG Prez Eric Briggeman on what makes Summer Beer Fest so durn special. (Aside from Campus Dark Horse and their 99 beers. True story.) [Freep]

And the best of fest goes to: Griffin Claw Brewing Company for their Berliner Weiss, a sour session beer only 3.5% ABV and the best beer of Summer Beer Fest 2013. Bless you, Dan Roberts. [EID]

Of course, it wouldn't be a Beer Fest if Reactionary Larry didn't make some noise. This time it was about the Guild's support of PAC. Read his explanation here, then read my dialogue and reader commentary here. Then, after making a big stinky-stink about taking his ball and going home, Larry Bell then announced somewhat undramatically that they would be attending after all and not another word was said about it because, really, why? [EID / MLive]

Saying it again just so I can say I was FIRST to say it: as mead becomes the next craft beverage of choice, Michigan is very much leading the way. Three of the top 10 meaderies listed here are from metro Detroit: Kuhnhenn Brewing Co., B. Nektar, and Schramm's Mead. Also, National Mead Day is this Saturday and B. Nektar is celebrating with their Summer Mead Fest and five-year anniversary party, while Motor City Brew Tours will be touring all of the above meaderies and more (more = Dragonmead). [Real Food Kitchens]

Canadian man says "Soorry" about getting drunk and swimming across the Detroit River, becomes local hero. [Gawker]

~Pie-Sci will be opening their very own storefront next to Woodbridge Pub. Not included in this story: the "pizza glory hole" the Pie-Sci guys are working on with Jim Geary. [Model D]
~MotorCity Wine said they'd be relocating in August, and whaddya know, this week is August. Check them out in their new space starting this Friday! [Model D / EID]
~If you're interested in urban farming initiatives and food justice in the city of Detroit, check out The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI), an ambitious undertaking over on the North End. [Model D]

A new food truck called Shimmy Shack is hitting the streets, serving an all-vegan menu of sliders, shakes, and fries (the first all-vegan food truck in Michigan). Also, the truck was designed by Ren and Stimpy animator John Kricfalusi. I kid you not. [Ferndale Patch]

No, what is good for Chicago is NOT good for Detroit. What is good for Chicago is good for Chicago and should stay there. [Detroit News]

Been a lot of these kinds of stories lately, and now here is the Freep's version. So, to recap, local artisan distilling is a thing now. Valentine Distilling Co., Two James Spirits, etc. [Freep]

Rap and Noodles. A new monthly at Green Dot Stables. [GDS FB]

A beautiful and a bit tear-jerky story about Peteet's Famous Cheesecakes. It would seem a bit superficial to endcap this with "Tuesday is National Cheesecake Day and Peteet's is giving away free cheesecake," but so it is. [Crain's / Royal Oak Patch]

Have you checked out the weekday vendors at Campus Martius Park yet? Aside from the usual suspects (El Treat Dreamso), there is also this falafel stand. [Hell Yeah Detroit]

Amanda Brewington of Always Brewing Detroit on the old "why Detroit" question. [Vimeo]

What, did you think a little bankruptcy was going to stop the construction of a new $450 million downtown hockey arena built with bonds? HA HA HA HA HA HA HA [Crain's]

Skidmore Studio decided to make a video about their fave lunch spot Steve's Detroit Deli so that others will know about it and enjoy it too. (It's a bit tongue-in-cheek.) [YouTube]

According to Nerd Travel, Ann Arbor is one of the best destinations for green travel. Also, they have beer there. [Nerd Travel]

Here's a nice story about artisan distilling in the Traverse City area, the history of distilling in the Grand Traverse region and how the existing local industries helped it evolve. [Record Eagle]

Forbes goes deep on the Detroit grocery store controversy, or whatever. Anyhoo, the 8 Mile Meijer opened. [Forbes]

And they, too, got their own special beer from Atwater Brewery. [Market Watch]

Mobile food cart for sale! Only $12 *THOUSAND*. Not hundred, as I originally posted on Facebook when it was 5:30am in Vegas when I scheduled it to post and I was working on about six hours of sleep over a 36-hour period and about to spend the next 15 hours in a car and on planes. Apologies and thanks for understanding! [Craigslist]

Oversized lawn games! Placemaking! Beach Blanket Bingo! Er, no, but a beach bar. Here's a nice roundup of the various things being done by the Riverwalk, Campus Martius, and other parks to, um, get people to go there and hang out, basically. [Crain's]

Restaurants in rest stops would be really, really awesome you guys. [Detroit News]

"Oh hey look guys, this octopus only has 6 tentacles!" "Hahaha WEIRD!" *smash smash smash* [io9]

~I love so many things about this I don't even know where to start. Thank you, First We Feast, for putting this "Headbangers Brew" (!!!) list together. Craft beer is toooootally metal. [FWF]

~"Take the Black Stout" will be the new Game of Thrones beer from Ommegang. [BeerPulse]

Also wine
~Bryan Ulbrich of Left Foot Charley Wine and Lee Lutes of Black Star Farms are among the top 100 most influential winemakers in the U.S. It wasn't until very recently that Michigan wines were easily dismissed by wine connoisseurs and the region simply wasn't taken seriously; Bryan and Lee have both played significant roles in changing that. [Into Wine]

Sunday, July 28, 2013

[EID Feature] Crunch in! Two Detroiters open Chip 'n Wich inside Midland Mall

This post was originally published on May 6, 2013*
Barbecue chicken sandwich from Chip 'n Wich. All photos by Nicole Rupersburg.

Have you ever put potato chips on your sandwich before? Of course you have. Because it's awesome.

Chip 'n Wich is built on the idea that potato chips are even better on sandwiches than just relegated to the side of them. Partners Jonathan Neely and Craig Jones both love to put chips on their sandwiches – and are themselves huge proponents of the art of 'wiching (Joey Tribbiani would approve).

They began developing the concept for Chip 'n Wich about three years ago, working on branding and menus while looking for a space suited for their particular style of sandwiches. Now, this Tuesday, they are celebrating a soft opening of Chip 'n Wich inside the Midland Mall. Which, okay, Midland – it's smack-dab in the middle of Michigan, which is every bit exactly what it sounds like. But an opportunity presented itself that these Detroit boys couldn't pass up, and they couldn't be more thrilled about it. "It's a dream come true," Jonathan says with a huge smile, and I absolutely believe him.

Chip 'n Wich isn't just any old sandwich shop, and not just because they put chips on them. Jonathan and Craig are both professionally-trained chefs with years of industry experience. They are passionate about supporting the local foods movement and local farmers – of which there are plenty out there in the Michiganian Heartland, including a great farmers market open Wednesdays and Saturdays through the end of October right there in downtown Midland.

Each sandwich is paired with its own potato chip flavor (there are five sandwiches for this initial run, with eight planned once they open permanently). The chips are all fried fresh in their kitchen, then tossed in their house-made seasonings. Jonathan and Craig create all of the different potato chip flavors themselves, and plan on offering a whole variety to customers – you can get the chips they selected to pair with their sandwiches, are you can go rogue and mix-and-match your own flavors, which might include peanut butter…or bacon…or peanut butter AND bacon. You'll also find more "traditional" potato chip flavors, like their twist on sour cream and onion, and all of the flavors are made with fresh herbs from local farmers.

Almost everything on the sandwiches at Chip 'n Wich is made in-house, including their own aioli (oh yes, these are the kinds of sandwiches that have aioli – not mayo) and Craig's own signature BBQ sauce, Craig's Jones'en Barbecue. At a test-run held on Sunday, they served barbecue chicken sandwiches dressed in this sauce topped with caramelized onions, bacon, cilantro ranchero chipotle chips, and also bacon, on two thick pieces of Texas toast slathered in butter and grilled up nice and toasty. Along with this, they served Faygo Red Pop floats – the ubiquitous soda with a color for a flavor. It's a Detroit thing, y'all.

See, you can take the boys out of Detroit but you can never take Detroit out of the boys: in addition to offering several different sandwiches, they'll also be offering ice cream floats made with century-old iconic Detroit brands Faygo and Vernor's, and using Ray's Ice Cream, one of metro Detroit's favorite locally-made premium ice creams.

The boys in front of their soon-to-be new home inside the Midland Mall.

This Tuesday, you can either "crunch in" or "crunch out" – meaning you can either opt for the more adventurous chips inside the sandwich, or ease into the concept by getting the chips on the side. No judgment. "At the end of the day, it's just good, fun food," Jonathan says. "It's something you can be interacting with."

After sitting in for their test run and having the chance to talk to Jonathan and Craig about their concept and respective culinary backgrounds, I have to say: I'm all crunched in.

If you're out in Midland on Tuesday, be sure to check these guys out. If not, keep an eye out for them – once a permanent location is secured, it's only a matter of time before Chip 'n Wich becomes one of Michigan's favorite sandwiches and before we start seeing Chip 'n Wich brand potato chips and Craig's Jones'en Barbecue on store shelves McClure's-style.

*So yeah, this was written as part of my appearance on an episode of the Food Network's Food Court Wars which originally aired on Sunday, July 28 at 8:00 p.m. which was a secret. TEE-HEE-HEE, FOOLED YOU!!! Aaaaand that's why I was in Midland a couple of months ago. And, of course, Nikki's Boys won, as should be expected.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

[Model D] Pie-Sci to open own pizzeria next to Woodbridge Pub

You may have already heard that Jim Geary, owner of Woodbridge Pub, is a pretty nice guy. One of the things he has done to help build the Woodbridge community is open the kitchen doors of his pub on Sundays to a couple of guys who are really into pie -- pizza pie, that is.

Jeremy Damaske and AJ Manoulian are the team behind Pie-Sci, the Sunday night pizza residency that has been going strong for two and a half years now (to call it a "pop-up" still after all this time would be disingenuous).

Read more.

[Model D] The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative promotes sustainability and community on the North End

The Michigan Urban Farming Initiative (MUFI) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization founded in 2011. Their goal is to use agriculture as a platform for sustainability, education and community.

MUFI founders purchased 7432 Brush Street on Detroit's North End in late 2011. The building is a vacant three-story, six-unit apartment complex in a state of disrepair, surrounded by vacant land that they use for farming. "We figured we would take a structure that is visually unique and needs work and use it as a community center and, eventually, our headquarters," says Tyson Gersh, co-founder of MUFI.

Read more.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

[Fox News] Top 10 reasons to visit Detroit

Photo by Nicole Rupersburg.

While Detroit has now earned the notorious distinction of being the largest municipality ever to file bankruptcy in U.S. history, over the years its food, arts and cultural scene has been thriving. Business owners and community members have been hard at work trying to push for a rebirth of the Rust Belt town, and as a result has created a city filled with unique cultural and culinary treasures. Here are 10 great reasons to visit Detroit --and not to write it off.

Read more.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Week We Ate (The EID Week in Review)

Of all the Detroit photos run in national news outlets this week...
Here is your official Detroit bankruptcy travel guide, courtesy of me and Fox News. [Fox]

The beer list for the Sweet 16 MBG Summer Beer Festival is out. Hour gave some pro tips and MittenBrew put together this handy guide to the 800+ beers on hand. [MBG / Hour / MittenBrew]

~For the sake of Just Baked and their continued expansion, I really hope this cupcake bubble doesn't burst. Just Baked is one of the likely new tenants of the Woodward Gardens Block Development in Midtown, which will be completed by the end of the year. [Model D]
~Well we ARE a burger town. Check out the new Eastern Market Corporation murals by The Weird, presented by Inner State Gallery and 1xRUN, and read more about them here. [Pure Detroit FB / Model D]
~Okay so I was wondering about the beer on offer at the new Coors Light Sky Deck at the Detroit Opera House. So I asked. Answer: all the MillerCoors products (including Blue Moon and Leinenkugel). They also plan on hosting beer tastings with food pairings. [Model D]
~Mr. Tim of Detroit BBQ Company is one of Nikki's Boys, and this is why. [EID]

Pig + Whiskey: the best event of the summer. Nikki's Boys KILLED IT, btw. [Metro Times]

Are you guys just not familiar with The Bruery? I expected a lot more excitement about this. And am disappointed that it has not received it. THIS IS A HELL OF A LOT FUCKING BETTER THAN OSKAR BLUES, YOU GUYS. [Produce Station FB]

Bon App├ętit Magazine gives some love to Vinsetta Garage, a "hip eatery" in an old gas station among many hip eateries in old gas stations in America. [Bon Appetit]

Have you been to the Wayne State University Farmers Market on Wednesdays yet? This is a project of SEED Wayne, overseen by Kami Pothukuchi. Read more about her work here in Urban Innovation Exchange. [UIX]

In keeping with "nothing keeps Detroit down" (even bankruptcy), after his world-famous coffeeshop closed in Ferndale, AJ O'Neill continued on to launch AJ's Coffee Works in Highland Park. Roasted by the century-old Becharas Brothers Coffee Company, Detroit Bold is very much a Detroit product. [Michipreneur]

Next thing you know Oak Park will allow broads and The Blacks to vote. !!! [Detroit News]

BuzzFeed does something other than run slideshows of Nicolas Cage as your favorite Disney princesses; Detroiters likely would have pitched a petulant fit over this but then the bankruptcy announcement happened and everyone expended all their energy on self-affirming fit-pitching instead. [BuzzFeed]

In a super-scientific and totally reliable study published by HuffPo, Detroit has been ranked the most gluten-free city in America. This is likely because of all of the meat that we eat. [HuffPo]

And that's a wrap now for Chen Chow. Looks like the Dali Group is officially kaput (at least in its Vegas-in-Birmingham capacity). [Crain's]

La Feria Detroit is getting closer to opening and is now hiring all positions. [La Feria]

Gas station food. I'm telling you, you guys. It's going to be a thing. [Royal Oak Patch]

What are some of the local products on offer at Whole Foods Market Detroit? Here's a nice rundown of Detroit producers that can be found on the shelves. [Model D]

His name is actually "Happy." LOL. [WXYZ]

The owner of Beans and Cornbread Soulful Bistro and Bar has opened Southern Nosh, a vegetarian soul food restaurant also in Southfield. Card-carrying meat-eater Nathan Skid of Crain's Detroit Business says it doesn't suck. [Crain's]

Thrillist took a look-see-eat at Bistro Joe's, the buzzy new bistro above Papa Joe's Gourmet Market in B-Ham. [Thrillist]

Wolverine Lake is this teeeeeeeeeeeeny tiny township in the middle of Commerce, Walled Lake, Wixom and West Bloomfield. (Fun bit of EID trivia: one time I threw a party in the park there and got into a fight with the cops around 2am.) Chef Jeff Rose is a well-known chef around town, and his new concept CAYA Smokehouse Grill is probably going to be worth the drive twisting and turning through all of the lakes in the area. Very pretty location, and did I mention there's a pretty cool park on the lake there? (Just don't party there after 2am. They don't like that.) [Freep]

Food Network was in town last week filming an episode of On the Rocks (think Kitchen Nightmares but for bars) at The Oxford Inn of Royal Oak. If you'll recall an announcement earlier this year to re-brand as a country-western bar was met with a lot of eye-rolling, ultimately hurting the business. When this opportunity to be a part of the Food Network's show came up and they took it. Lock and Key, a "speakeasy"-themed bar, is now open to the public, and the episode will air around the end of the year. An insider source tells me the production team and on-air talent was brutal during the flip, which is pretty typical for these kinds of shows, but owner Bob Higgins held it together and didn't pull an Amy's Baking Company. And now you can check it out for yourself. [Royal Oak Patch]

And here is an update on Craftwork in West Village. [Crain's]

Detroit, are you showing Next Food Network Star contestant Rodney Henry of Dangerously Delicious Pies Baked in Detroit Internet love? Vote for him up to 10 times a day on this Food Network poll. [Food Network]

At least the name "Red Sauce" still works. Red Sauce inside Breeze Dining Court at MGM Grand Detroit has ditched the Mexican and gone (back) to Italian. [My Fox Detroit]

Chef Robert of Bastone Brewery, Monk Beer Bar, Vinotecca and Craft is a lovable kind of guy (in a shitwit kind of way) who loves what he does. [Daily Tribune]

John D Bistro has a new chef (one of the The Detroit Three) and a new weekend menu. [Detroit News]

Free popcorn Tuesdays run through August 27 at MJR Digital Cinemas. With popcorn being almost as much as the cost of a movie ticket, seems like a pretty good deal. [MLive]