Friday, November 29, 2013

[EID Feature] Young Guns: Nick Janutol, Forest Grill

In anticipation of the first-ever Young Guns dinner at the Root - which sold out in less than 48 hours - Eat It Detroit will run a new profile every week leading up to the event featuring each of the six participating chefs. This week, it's Nick Janutol, Chef de Cuisine of Forest Grill.

Chef Nick's background: After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, Chef Nick Janutol moved to New York City where he worked under Daniel Humm and was part of the team that elevated Eleven Madison Park to three Michelin stars. Looking to move closer to home, Chef Janutol moved to Chicago. In Chicago he worked under his friend and mentor Chef Matthew Kirkley. Under Chef Kirkley’s leadership, Chef Nick opened the two Michelin star RIA in the Elysian hotel. The pair then left and moved to L2O, where they took the restaurant to a two Michelin star rating. Chef Janutol finally made the move back to Michigan where he has been able to take his experience in fine dining to create an exceptional spin on the causal and comfortable atmosphere he has always enjoyed in restaurants.

EID: What is your culinary ethos? As in, as a chef, what do you BELIEVE in? What is important to you as a chef in your cooking and, in a bigger picture, what do you think the most important values are for a chef to have?

NJ: This feels a little like a loaded question. I could talk for days about the values and beliefs behind why I do what I do. The words that best describe my philosophy are quality, consistency, integrity, and hospitality. If one starts by truly believing that every guest is equally important and works as hard as they can to make them happy, then you have done your job.

How/where do you see Detroit's/Michigan's culinary scene fitting in on a national level? Thinking in terms not of where it is (which is still far behind most other major cities/states) but where it COULD be, how can Michigan chefs/restaurants evolve and where do you see them going?

I think you are right in saying Detroit is behind major cities like New York, Chicago and the San Francisco area, and it is unreasonable to say we are not. That being said I don’t think we are as far behind as far as you think. Having lived in both New York City and Chicago for a number of years, I have had the chance to see once empty neighborhoods explode with incredible restaurants. When I look at Corktown or Ferndale it feels like the West Loop or Brooklyn five years ago, you can feel this energy. It really feels like we are one or two great restaurant away from creating the competitive playground needed to propel this city.

What advantages does a chef have in Michigan over other states? 

Michigan chefs have a blank canvas and a public that wants to see it colored in; we have a clientele who wants to see more. All in all Detroit is an entrepreneurs dream.

You recently moved back to Michigan after working at some high-profile restaurants in Chicago. What really prompted you to make that decision, to leave such a high-profile market for one that is markedly less so?

Michigan especially the Detroit area is home, and there is a great future for her food scene here. Maybe I am niave in thinking that Detroit will rebound, but I will see it through. I am committed to this area and want to be a part of this great upswing that I feel is inevitable. With that said, the goal of entrepreneurship is one of the biggest reasons I moved back.

What is your favorite cuisine and/or what are your favorite or signature dishes to make? What do you geek out over?

I guess the pc answer is “seasonal products from the farmers market,” but that should be a standard in any restaurant you go to. With that said, I love French fare, not the typical American French bistro, but true French food that is produced by great chefs like Charles Barrier, Alain Ducasse, Joel Robuchon, Olivier Roellinger, and Yannick Alleno to name a few. For me it is truly inspiring to see what is possible with food. I strive to create dishes that are not spur of the moment, but well thought out and executed consistently.

Who have you worked with who has most influenced you, and who most inspires you as a chef?

I have learned from so many people in this industry. There are so many great chefs out there, each with their own philosophy and ideology. However, Matt Kirkley, the chef of L2O, has been one of the most influential chefs for myself as well as a great friend that I have worked for. He inspired me to have a hunger for knowledge, a drive for quality as well as reinforcing the need for integrity.

When James approached you about being a part of this Young Guns dinner, what was your reaction? Did you consider yourself one of "Michigan's most dangerous chefs" prior to this? What do you think of your fellow Young Guns?

The whole young guns name is a bit contrived, but I love the idea that we as chefs are getting the opportunity to cook together. This will be a great event, where we can share ideas and techniques with each other. That is something that is huge in Chicago and New York, the idea of meeting up after work and swapping stories and ideas. This event will only help Detroit grow as a restaurant scene.

As a chef, what do you hope to achieve in your career? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years? And how do you hope to help strengthen and bolster Michigan's culinary scene?

Over the next 20 years, I hope that I continue to grow as a chef and businessman in the Detroit area.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

[EID EVENTS] Thanksgivukkah Eve and beyond


Thanksgiving Eve Kuhnhenn-style, Warren, November 27
Ring in the holiday with the K-team and plenty of beer, mead, and meat from Detroit BBQ Co.

Thanksgiving Eve at Atwater Brewery, Downtown, November 27
Don't you love it when places are all, "Oh hey, update to this event that we never actually announced prior to this update!" Oh, Atwater. So anyway their "update" (and first-ever announcement) was that their Thanksgiving Eve party will be at the original brewery on Joseph Campau on the Riverfront from 7 p.m. to midnight tonight, and there will be food and such.

Tanksgiving at St. Cece's, Corktown, November 27
Typo? Perhaps. Or perhaps the most accurate description of National Amateur Night possible. St. Cece's is having a songwriter hootenanny tonight and will have the fireplace roaring. Sounds perfectly civilized.

Thanksgiving at the Whitney, DetroitNovember 28
The Whitney is starting the day with Thanksgiving brunch and VIP parade seating ($59 adults, $39 kids), followed by Thanksgiving dinner from noon to 6 p.m. ($49 adults, $29 kids).

America's Thanksgiving Day Parade, DetroitNovember 28
Now with an expanded route and nine brand-new floats!

The Turkey Trot, the ice rink at Campus Martius opening, handegg, and more.


Winter Fest Wine Show, Windsor, November 30
Sample wines from the wineries of Windsor-Essex in an igloo. The show is 1-7 p.m. and entrance is free (wine samples are not).

Champagne and Potato Chip Tasting at the Whitney, Midtown, December 1
What? It totally works. Try it, you'll see.


The Empowerment Plans First Annual Fundraiser at the Madison Building, DowntownDecember 5
Food from Slows, drinks, and an auction of jackets designed by Detroit artists, followed by everyone at this event heading straight to the Sugar House afterwards (one assumes, and probably correctly).

Repeal Day 2013 at the Sugar House, Corktown, December 5
Celebrate the 80th anniversary of Repeal Day at the Sugar House with live music, door prizes, and dranks.

The Speakeasy Project Party at Tommy's Detroit Bar, DetroitDecember 5
Also coincident with the 80th anniversary of Repeal Day, Preservation Detroit is unveiling the results of their research and archeological dig on the historic building at 624 Third Street - now Tommy's Bar - built in the mid-1800s and serving as a number of different businesses over the years, including a speakeasy.

Breakout the Hooch with Detroit Pleasure Society at Cliff Bell's, Downtown, December 5
Another Repeal Day party. Period cocktails, swing music, and dinner specials. Period attire encouraged.

Drinks of Walkerville, Walkerville (Windsor), December 7
Walking in a winter Walkerville. This is a booze tour of historic Walkerville, which includes a visit to the Canadian Club "Heritage Centre." (Spelled "-re,"  because Canadians!)

Noel Night, Midtown, December 7
There are just so many things. 

Detroit Detour, Downtown, December 7
A booze bus thing. This bus is a little less Motor City Brew Tours and a little more drunk co-eds on a party bus, methinks. (I mean, Neptix. C'mon.) Advance tickets are sold out but you can get same day tickets for $40. 

Oyster Club at Forest Grill, Birmingham, December 8

Motown Macdown at the Royal Oak Music Theatre, Royal Oak, December 12
It's a benefit for Justin's Vision. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

[EID Preview] A Boy and His Bagel Shop: Detroit Institute of Bagels

All photos by Nicole Rupersburg.

It's two days before Detroit Institute of Bagels officially opens to the public. Owner and chief bagel-maker Ben Newman looks tired. Scratch that: he's straight-up exhausted, wearing the expression of a man who has spent countless hours and sleepless days working on getting his business ready to open and now is finally ready to do it. It's a face I've seen before.

Ben has spent nearly three years and $500,000 to make his bagel dream into a bagel reality, and on Thanksgiving Day, Detroit Institute of Bagels will welcome its first official customers. Why Thanksgiving Day? Because there's plenty going on around downtown, like the Thanksgiving Day Parade – that's over a quarter of a million people right there. There's also the Lions game. But more than anything, after nearly three years of planning, nearly two years after acquiring the building at 1236 Michigan Avenue, and nearly a year since full-on construction started (they were delayed while waiting on Rehabilitation Tax Credits), Ben just needs to get the shop open. It's a story I've heard before.

It's been about two and a half years since Ben and I first sat down inside his Corktown flat and chatted about Detroit's emerging food start-up scene. Back then, Ben was a starry-eyed bagel maker, figuring things out as he went along but excited about the prospect of bringing fresh homemade bagels to Detroit's bagel desert. But it wasn't just that – bagels are and always were a means to and end, never the end in themselves. Ben is an urban planner by trade; his goal was always to take a vacant property and make it an active space, a place that would employ people in a city where jobs are still desperately needed. "Once there was traction behind bagels I knew they could be a vehicle to do those things I was passionate about," Ben says. "Now my thing is for [my employees] to be successful, and the bagels are their avenue to be successful."

In the time since Ben and I first talked, Detroit Institute of Bagels has gained a tremendous local following. Their clever branding endeared them to Detroiters, with wink-wink jokes of Detroit as a "bagel desert" and artwork that played up their name as an homage to the Detroit Institute of Arts (which Senator Carl Levin also winked at yesterday). They successfully funded a $10,000 Kickstarter campaign. They were a semifinalist in the first-ever Hatch Detroit competition, and lost as gracefully as anyone could possibly lose. Now, as of yesterday, DIB was officially announced as a recipient of a $50,000 grant from the Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy – a grant 18 months in the making, and a sort of coming full circle from their early days as a Hatch semifinalist. It seems that everyone in Detroit is rooting for their success.

But timing is everything. A lot has changed in these last two and a half years. Detroit has changed, and dramatically so. Which isn't to say that every new business that opens isn't still greeted with a whole lot of fanfare – they still are – but the time will inevitably come that every new restaurant that opens in the city of Detroit isn't treated as the second coming of Slows. It's not a bad thing; when we eventually get to a point where there are so many people and so much activity that the singular hive-minded enthusiasm for each and every new place peters out and a new business opening is just business as usual, well, Detroit will really feel like a REAL city, Geppetto. That being said, Ben is relieved he started this when he did. "Everything happened at a fortunate time," he says. "I'm glad we started this project two years ago because so much has changed since then. It just happened at the right time to get the support we needed."

Now the Michigan Avenue commercial stretch in Corktown has not only the Slows/Sugar House/Astro Coffee corner, but there's a whole lot more going on – Two James Spirits (another Old Tiger Stadium Conservancy grant recipient), Brooklyn Street Local, MotorCity Wine, Ottava Via, Bucharest Grill, Rubbed, and Batch Brewery have all opened recently or are opening soon. If Ben tried to buy this vacant building now, the asking price might have been a lot higher, perhaps prohibitively so.

But things have worked out for Ben and DIB so far, and just getting to the point of opening is a pretty big deal. The historic building, which sat vacant for about 40 years prior to Ben purchasing it, was completely gutted. Original brick walls, archways, and wooden ceiling beams were exposed and preserved, now a design highlight of this, the "best-designed bagel shop in the world" (a comment Ben once made in jest and then sort of became a thing). Windows were knocked out to let in natural light. A second building was added for bagel production. Wood that once covered the ceiling was repurposed for the interior. The floors were re-done with reclaimed wood from an old gymnasium. Bars and tables were made with reclaimed wood from old bleachers. Industrial restaurant equipment was reclaimed from restaurant supply stores throughout the city, which stock used equipment from restaurants that have gone out of business or upgraded their equipment. The entire space is a testament to sustainability and reclaimed urban environments, truly the very heart of Ben's personal ethos and a shining reflection of Detroit's culture of revival, of reclaiming what is old and forgotten and making something new and thoughtful out of it. Out of the ashes, and all of that.

There is also a pocket park out front, with windows that look into the kitchen at specific points in the bagel-making process. Again, from an urban planning perspective, the park was an important addition for Ben. "Taking the context of Campus Martius downtown and Roosevelt Park across from Slows, both less than a mile away [in opposite directions], there aren't really any good points in between where a pedestrian can relax," says Ben. "A three-quarter-mile walk elsewhere, no one would think twice about that, but here [you have to walk over a freeway]." He plans on programming the space in the warmer months with movie nights and other activities.

As a brand-new business owner, Ben is still figuring things out as he goes along. As any home brewer-turned-professional brewer will tell you, transitioning from home equipment to high-volume commercial equipment isn't as easy as doubling the recipe. Things like payroll, insurance, point of sales and credit cards, inventory expenses, finding distributors for every food item, and dozens of other details are all part of business pre-planning – things you don't necessarily consider when first starting out as a start-up – and more things pop up every day. Now Ben has people – about 25 altogether – depending on him for a paycheck; another of his urban investment goals that he can now make good on. After the New Year, Ben plans on making bagels for wholesale, which will undoubtedly be a huge boon for his business. But for now, Ben just needs to get open – and a good night's sleep, but that's probably a few weeks off still.

Detroit Institute of Bagels will be open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day thereafter, seven days a week. They'll have seven standard daily bagel flavors as well as rotating "small batch" bagel flavors and over a dozen house-made cream cheeses and spreads. They have a full menu of breakfast and lunch bagel sandwiches – including a lox sandwich – and soup made fresh daily. There's free WiFi available with purchase for those who want to grab a bagel and coffee and hunker down to get some work done. The window behind the main counter is an operable service window that can potentially be used for late-night service and special events in the future. And Detroit's days as a bagel desert are finally over.

Want to see more? View the Flickr set here.

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Week We Ate (The EID Week in Review)

~LET THERE BE BAGELS! Detroit Institute of Bagels opens on Thanksgiving Day! [EID]

~All of the Young Guns have given terrific interviews for EID's Young Guns profile series, but Detroit's favorite young(-ish…his words!) Gun Andy Hollyday of the soon-to-open Selden Standard might just be my favorite yet. [EID]

~Thanksgiving is one week away! Whether you want to buy a locally-raised turkey to make at home, buy a pre-cooked turkey (or the whole damn meal) to serve, or want to skip that whole mess and just go out to eat, here are some local places that will facilitate all of your needs. [EID]

~Another week, another Green Grocer profile, this time on the lower East Side. Not to be partial or anything, but Food Town Super Market is super-nice, and how cute is Chandler Park? [Model D]

~Another previous pop-up is making the transition to permanent. Coffee and (_______) will now be a permanent fixture in the developing Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood. [Model D]

~Tuesdays market season at Eastern Market Corporation may be over, but they're having one last hurrah next Tuesday for their Thanksgiving Market, where they'll have everything you'll need for your holiday table as well as food trucks, Christmas tree farmers, the launch of the Wheelhouse Detroit Bike Shop + Detroit Bikes retail residency, and the newest release from Arcadia Publishing, 'Detroit's Historic Eastern Market' - co-written by EM businesses development VP and owner of Detroit Spice Co. Spices and Hot Sauces, Randall Fogelman. [Model D]

~Local chef Brian Beland won a culinary thing in Dubai. [EID]

~It's the most wonderful time for EVENTS! [EID]

Detroit in L.A.: Guns + Butter is popping up on the west coast at the super-trendy Hollywood Roosevelt - a Thompson Hotel. With the recent G+B endorsement from Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown at one of the trendiest hipster/scenester hotspots in Hollywood, this dinner is going to be a big deal. [LA Times]

A new restaurant is now open in Midtown. It is called The Grille Midtown. You can take a look at the menu online…looks like pretty standard "grille with an e" offerings; definitely trying to be a bit more upscale. [The Grille Official]

Give thanks for ready-made Thanksgiving meals from places like Zingerman's Roadhouse, The Produce Station, Eat Catering And Carry-Out, and more. [MLive]

What are the best pizzas in the state of Michigan? According to, MANI Osteria and Bar is #1, Buddy's Pizza is #2, and Supino Pizzeria is # N/A because they're not even in the top 10. Which just goes to show you that other people's opinions are exactly that. [MLive]

And in a separate link (MOAR CLIKZ), the rest of the list. (Supino Pizzeria is on this one but alas, no Bigalora.) [MLive]

Looks like Toronto has some Detroit envy… great story on Detroit's Dr. Sushi here from our northern neighbors. [Toronto Standard]

As far as travel stories go, this one is…brief. (But does manage to squeeze in "Bourdain" despite that.) And according to this, La Feria Detroit is the new restaurant of note. [AOL]

The Royal Oak Barnes and Noble stays for now. Commence bitching about BLAH BLAH BLAH CORPORATE BLAH. [Royal Oak Patch]

Peet's Coffee and Tea has set up shop in metro Detroit in a major kind of way. Here are all of the many grand openings happening. [Royal Oak Patch]

~The times, they are a-changin'! Several bills that significantly loosen the restrictions on breweries and brewpubs are making their way through state legislature, as are bills allowing temporary licenses for new bars and restaurants going through the licensing process and "economic development" liquor licenses available in any and all municipalities. [MLive]

~They…they understand why this is totally f-ed up, right? Don't they? [The Daily Meal]

~Celeb chef and part-time Michigander Mario Batali took to the Twitters to raise money for a cause he personally believes in, and in true form, the mouth-breathers of Twitter voiced their opposition with the usual derpaderpaderpaDER. His responses are quite humorous. [The Raw Story]

~Hate Wal-Mart? So does Ashton Kutcher. Here is another celeb Twitterer taking a social media stand. (For whatever that's worth.) [Salon]

~And then Jon Stewart totally pussed out. [Salon]

[NEWS BITES] Detroit Institute of Bagels opens this Thursday! (YES, Thanksgiving Day!)

We have waited. Oh, how we have waited. We have waited ever so patiently. We have waited since the building at 1236 Michigan Avenue looked like this:

And have watched it slowly but surely transform to this:

And now, after all that waiting, the time has come: Detroit, LET THERE BE BAGELS!

What are your plans this Thanksgiving Day? Are you going to head over to Woodward and watch the newly extended and expanded America's Thanksgiving Day Parade? Are you going to head over to Ford Field for the Lions game? Well, here is yet another reason to give thanks this Thursday: now you can start your day with a some hot toasted bagel action thanks to Detroit Institute of Bagels, which will be officially opening their doors to the public on Thanksgiving Day!

We have watched this for nearly three years now ("we" including both you, dear readers, and the royal we, as in EID personally) as DIB has evolved from just another spirited startup in a home kitchen in Corktown to a full-fledged bagel bakery and cafe located right on Corktown's main business drag on the fast-growing eastern end where Brooklyn Street Local opened last year, MotorCity Wine opened earlier this year, Rubbed will open soon, as well as a second Bucharest Grill location. We have watched them compete in the first-ever Hatch Detroit contest, and lose more gracefully than anyone has ever lost. We watched them raise a modest $10,000 via crowdfunding and move forward with their plans to open the best-designed bagel shop in the world. We have eagerly watched their progress on TwitGramstaBook, and now, after all that time - and a lot of blood, sweat, and tears out of owner Ben Newman, no doubt, while we've all just been all like, "WHY AREN'T YOU OPEN YET ALREADY NOW OPEN OPEN OPEN" - Detroit shall be a bagel desert no more!

That needs more exclamation points.

Detroit shall be a bagel desert no more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reading back on my first interview with owner and bagel maker Ben is almost like traveling back in time. It was spring 2011 - in those moments just as Detroit: The Renaissance was really starting to hit - and my, things were very, very different then, even just a short two and a half years ago. I mean, I wrote, "Not only are the greater downtown districts of Detroit sorely lacking in decent coffee shops…" AND IT WAS TRUE! It was so, so true back then. Now you can't swing a hipster without hitting a cafe of high design and varying levels of coffee quality. The whole idea of the local artisan food producer was still so new (so new!), and pop-ups were barely a glimmer in anyone's eye (except for Hugh's). 

A lot of people open restaurants. (And bakeries and cafes and whatnot.) Not a lot of people fight this hard for this long to make it happen. Ben's bagel dreams are finally becoming reality, and Detroit will never be bagel-less again. AS GOD IS HIS WITNESS, WE'LL NEVER BE HUNGRY FOR BAGELS AGAIN! 

Friday, November 22, 2013

[NEWS BITES] Local Detroit Area Chef Represents The United States In Inaugural World Hospitality Championship and Returns Home With a Gold Medal

And here is the press release:

The American Culinary Federation’s (ACF) Michigan Chefs De Cuisine Association (MCCA) is pleased to announce its President, Brian Beland, CMC®, and executive chef/director of food and beverage at the Country Club of Detroit was part of the ACF Team U.S.A. that was awarded a gold medal and came in second place at the inaugural Dubai World Hospitality Championship, Nov. 16–18, 2013 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Beland was one of seven chefs selected to be part of the ACF team in this prestigious competition that featured culinary masters from around the world who are well recognized on the international circuit and regularly compete in some of the world’s best known culinary competitions. The ACF team, representing the United States, competed against 11 other countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Russia, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Wales. Singapore placed first, the United States came in second and Australia placed third.

The ACF team spent the last two months planning and preparing for this competition. Each team was required to present a cold food buffet including six tapas items, three plated appetizers, four salads, four protein platters, four centerpieces a hot-main course and a dessert buffet in six hours for 50 people and four judges. Teams were judged on mise en place, workstation and uniform cleanliness, culinary techniques, food safety, presentation of dishes, taste and food texture.
 “This was such an incredible experience representing the United States and the flavors of American cuisine on a international stage,” said Brian Beland, CMC®, executive chef/director of food & beverage, Country Club of Detroit, Gross Pointe Farms, Mich.; President, ACF Michigan Chefs de Cuisine. “It’s truly an honor to be part of the ACF team and I’m so proud of our tremendous accomplishment of placing among the top three teams in this world-renowned competition.”

The Dubai World Hospitality Championship, under the directive of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, was organized by Zabeel Palace Hospitality in cooperation with World Association of Chefs Societies and The Emirates Culinary Guild. To learn more about the Dubai Hospitality Championship, visit

About The Michigan Chefs de Cuisine:
The Michigan Chefs de Cuisine (MCCA) is the Southeast Michigan Chapter of the American Culinary Federation. It was founded in 1970 by Certified Master Chef Milos Cihelka, whose vision it was to create one of the most prestigious chef’s associations in the nation. Today, the Chapter consists of over 480 members. Chef Milos, now semi-retired but still teaching, was the chef/co-owner and proprietor of the renowned Golden Mushroom Restaurant in Southfield, Michigan. MCCA helps to provide opportunities for culinary education, professional growth, certification, competition and networking while supporting charitable organizations in the community. For more information, or to become a member, please visit or call Executive Director, Brian Lorge at 734.320.8738 or

The American Culinary Federation, Inc. (ACF), established in 1929, is the premier professional organization for culinarians in North America. With more than 20,000 members spanning 200 chapters nationwide, ACF is the culinary leader in offering educational resources, training, apprenticeship and programmatic accreditation. In addition, ACF operates the most comprehensive certification program for chefs in the United States, with the Certified Executive Chef®, Certified Sous Chef® and Certified Executive Pastry Chef® designations the only culinary credentials accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. ACF is home to ACF Culinary Team USA, the official representative for the United States in major international culinary competitions, and to the Chef & Child Foundation, founded in 1989 to promote proper nutrition in children and to combat childhood obesity. For more information, visit Find ACF on Facebook at and on Twitter @ACFChefs.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

[EID EVENTS] November 21-December 5



The American Cheese Plate, Zingerman's Creamery, November 21

New Holland Beer and Whiskey Dinner at Toast, BirminghamNovember 21
Celebrating Toast's fifth anniversary featuring six dishes ending with their beer barrel bourbon. 

An Evening with MillKing It Productions at Thomas Magee's, Eastern Market, November 21
A special tapping of RAY fresh/wet hop ale made with a whole farm's worth of Michigan hops, plus AXL on tap and tallboys of BRIK and SNO, at the brand-new Thomas Magee's Sporting House and Whiskey Bar.

Third Thursdays at Eastern Market, Eastern MarketNovember 21
Part of the new Third Thursdays evening market series, this month's event features a soup and chili cook-off competition between four Eastern Market vendors. 

Detroit Gypsy Kitchen at SocraTea, Midtown, November 21
SocraTea is expanding their hours and food options, and tonight are highlighting new teas and a fall menu from Detroit Gypsy Kitchen.


Craft Beer and Grilled Cheese Tastings at Star Lanes, Royal Oak, November 22
Admission includes 15 beer samples plus all the grilled cheese and chili samples your little heart desires. $25 advance/$35 day of.

Tree Lighting and Christmas Wonderfest, DowntownNovember 22-December 22
The annual tree lighting is this Friday as is the opening of Christmas Wonderfest, a European-style Christmas market that really needs to get a new website. I almost didn't include this as a passive aggressive punishment for shitty web design. But there's a beer garden. So I included it.

One-Eyed Betty's FestivALE, FerndaleNovember 23
Everything you need to know about this very beerie holiday party is here.


Thanksgiving Market at Eastern Market, DetroitNovember 26
Prepare for the big day with a very special Thanksgiving Market at Eastern Market, featuring a wide variety of local growers and producers all set up inside the heated Shed 5. This one-time offshoot special event will also be the final Tuesday market of the year.

Kung Food + Detroit Gypsy Kitchen at St. Cece's Pub, Corktown, November 26

Thanksgiving at the Whitney, DetroitNovember 28
The Whitney is starting the day with Thanksgiving brunch and VIP parade seating ($59 adults, $39 kids), followed by Thanksgiving dinner from noon to 6 p.m. ($49 adults, $29 kids).

America's Thanksgiving Day Parade, DetroitNovember 28
Now with an expanded route and nine brand-new floats!

The Turkey Trot, the ice rink at Campus Martius opening, handegg, and more.

Champagne and Potato Chip Tasting at the Whitney, Midtown, December 1
What? It totally works. Try it, you'll see.

The Empowerment Plans First Annual Fundraiser at the Madison Building, Downtown, December 5
Food from Slows, drinks, and an auction of jackets designed by Detroit artists, followed by everyone at this event heading straight to the Sugar House afterwards (one assumes, and probably correctly).

Repeal Day 2013 at the Sugar House, Corktown, December 5
Celebrate the 80th anniversary of Repeal Day at the Sugar House with live music, door prizes, and dranks.

The Speakeasy Project Party at Tommy's Detroit Bar, Detroit, December 5
Also coincident with the 80th anniversary of Repeal Day, Preservation Detroit is unveiling the results of their research and archeological dig on the historic building at 624 Third Street - now Tommy's Bar - built in the mid-1800s and serving as a number of different businesses over the years, including a speakeasy.

[HOT LIST] Thanksgiving dinner

Thanksgiving is one week from today, and whether you're the type who loves nothing more than to spend hours in the kitchen cooking the holiday meal or the type who loves nothing more than to spend hours on the couch watching movies and waiting to eat the holiday meal, there are plenty of local options for everyone. Stay at home and cook a locally-raised turkey yourself, have someone else do it for you but reap all the compliments all the same, or just ditch the whole dinner at home thing altogether and have your Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant. No matter what you fancy, here are some great local options.

See also: this great round-up from MLive for those of you out Ann Arbor way (including the Produce Station, Zingerman's Roadhouse, Eat Catering and Carry-out, Weber's Inn, and more). 

Thanksgiving Dinner Package from Capuchin Soup Kitchen, Detroit
For $79.99 you get a whole turkey (feeds 8-10 people) plus stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, orange and cranberry relish, a dozen rolls from On the Rise Bakery, two pies, and real whipped cream. Free range turkey is also available for an additional charge. But hurry, the deadline for orders is noon today!

Butcher Boy Food Products, Warren
Order a whole wild turkey from Butcher Boy Food Products in Warren, a meat processing facility and retail store that specializes in wild game.

Eastern Market Thanksgiving Market, Detroit
Get everything you need for your Thanksgiving dinner at the brand-new Thanksgiving Market next Tuesday, an extension of their popular Tuesday markets. From turkeys to local artisan food products to Christmas trees and gifts, they'll have everything you could want or need for the holidays.

C.A.Y.A. Smokehouse Grill, Wolverine Lake
Order your entire Thanksgiving meal to go from C.A.Y.A. Smokehouse, the new concept from accomplished Executive Chef Jeff Rose, with options for 8-10, 12-15, or 18-20 people. Includes everything you need for your Thanksgiving meal including turkey, sides, and pies for dessert.

Thanksgiving dinner at the Whitney, Midtown
From noon to 6 p.m. $49 adults, $29 for kids. You could do all the cooking yourself, or you can just let them do it for you.

Detroit BBQ Co., Detroit
Going to the Lions game on Thanksgiving Day? Stop by to visit Detroit BBQ Company at Pride Plaza beforehand. Though they're not taking Thanksgiving orders this year, they will have pulled turkey for you to enjoy while you tailgate.

Rock City Eatery, Hamtramck
He may have opened his own restaurant earlier this fall, but to many loyal fans Nikita Santches is and always will be the Pie Guy. Stop by Rock City for your Thanksgiving pie this year. Pick-up is on a first-come, first-serve basis next Tuesday and Wednesday from noon until close. Available flavors are:
-Chocolate Pumpkin
-Cranberry+White Chocolate+Pistachio
-Salted Caramel+Apple
-Sweet Potato+Whiskey

Whole Foods Market, various locations
Order your turkey, pies, even your whole meal (including wine) online and pick up at your nearest Whole Foods Market location.

Wolfgang Puck Steak, MGM Grand, Detroit
They'll serve their regular menu as well as a special Thanksgiving menu with the following items:
-Roasted Turkey with Cornbread Stuffing
-Potato Puree and Giblet Gravy
-Pumpkin Spiced Cheesecake with Cranberry Coulis. The restaurant is open 5-10 p.m.

TAP, MGM Grand, Detroit
Special $22 menu served 11 a.m. to close.
-Roasted Fall vegetable salad with mixed greens, beets, parsnips, citrus vinaigrette
-Roasted turkey, white and dark meat with sage-onion gravy
-Housemade cornbread stuffing
-Creamy garlic mashed potatoes
-Roasted Acorn Squash, brown sugar, butter
-Cranberry – orange sauce
-Parker house roll
-Pumpkin cheesecake

Palette Dining Studio, MGM Grand, Detroit 
Served 11 a.m. to 11 pm. $22 for lunch and $28 for dinner. The weekly Prime Rib and Shrimp Night will start at 4 p.m. for $32.
Corn Chowder
Beet and Mandarin Orange Salad
Arugula and Pear Salad
Roasted Turkey Breast with Giblet Gravy
Turkey Thigh Meat
Seafood Fusilli Pasta with Vodka Cream Sauce
Candied Yams
Loaded Scalloped Potatoes
Grilled Asparagus
Praline Pecan Cream Tarts
Pumpkin Rum Raisin Bread Pudding w/ Vanilla Anglaise

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

[EID Feature] Young Guns: Andy Hollyday, Selden Standard

In anticipation of the first-ever Young Guns dinner at the Root - which sold out in less than 48 hours - Eat It Detroit will run a new profile every week leading up to the event featuring each of the six participating chefs. This week, it's Chef Andy Hollyday formerly of roast and partner in the soon-to-open Selden Standard in Midtown. 

Chef Andy's background: Andy Hollyday started cooking in a small family run restaurant in his hometown of Toledo. He pursued training at the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y., and has since cooked from coast to coast in the United States and also spent a summer cooking in France. He recently left his position as executive chef at Michael Symon’s Roast and will be chef/owner of Selden Standard, a new American restaurant opening in Midtown Detroit in mid-2014.

EID: What is your culinary ethos? As in, as a chef, what do you BELIEVE in? What is important to you as a chef in your cooking and, in a bigger picture, what do you think the most important values are for a chef to have?

AH: I believe in keeping things simple. I believe if you have some beautiful vegetables you don't need to do much to them to make them delicious. Sometimes as a chef you need to get out of the way and not complicate matters. All of us want to chef it up and get super creative, but the older – and hopefully wiser – I get the more I understand the adage, “less is more.” Food can and should speak for itself. That said, it's not always an easy thing to do. That’s why one of the most important values for me is to support farmers who are doing things right. Supporting their integrity on a local level will hopefully change farming and culinary practices in this country. If we don't, it will all be hormone pumped, pesticide poisoned, taste-like-nothing bullshit. And of course, if I’m trying to respect my farmer pals, I also have to be a chef who gives respect to my crew. They bust their asses for me and for our customers, and I want to teach them and mold them into not only good chefs but help them be the best people and the best colleagues they can be.

How/where do you see Detroit's/Michigan's culinary scene fitting in on a national level? Thinking in terms not of where it is (which is still far behind most other major cities/states) but where it COULD be, how can Michigan chefs/restaurants evolve and where do you see them going?

Clearly, the Detroit food scene is currently lagging a bit behind other cities. We do have a lot of gems, but everything is so spread out so it feels like we have less than we actually do. But we are in a unique position to highlight what Michigan has to offer. We’re a state that’s rich with a big network of farms, orchards, forests, and waters surrounding us. It’s the inherent quality of those things combined with Detroit’s history and personality that will make us distinct. We’ve always had a wealth of great ethnic food, but what's exciting, especially as a chef, is all the energy that's coming from these new restaurants, pop-ups, distilleries, breweries, and urban farmers. We’re contributing to a culture that's putting a demand on local resources, and utilizing them to define our local cuisine. There’s a lot of momentum building.

What advantages does a chef have in Michigan over other states? 

First and foremost, the people here make the city and that is why I'm here – to feed them! I came to Michigan 10 years ago, and have been working in the city of Detroit for over 5 years. And I definitely don’t have any plans to leave. I’m inspired by all the hardworking, ballsy risk takers that I've met and become friends with. Opening a restaurant anywhere is risky, but it seems as though the rewards – and I mean that in terms of relationships and a sense of contributing to something more than financial – in the city are much bigger. What really excites me is being able to be a part of a neighborhood. Take our block, for example: Alley Wine is going to open nearby, apartments are getting cleaned up, the El Moore project that the Green Garage guys are doing. It’s fun to be part of what is almost a collaborative vision, even though we’re all doing our own, different projects. I also think that people often come to the city with low expectations. And to be honest, it feels good to exceed those with a stellar dining experience that will help change their overall outlook of Detroit.

What is your favorite cuisine and/or what are your favorite or signature dishes to make? What do you geek out over?

I hate this question, but I love pasta. And in terms of cuisine, I really like anything simple, rustic, and Mediterranean. Something as simple as grilled bread or grilled onions can be outstanding.

I truly "geek out" when vegetables are at the peak of their season. When you eat that perfect peach off the tree or carrot straight from the dirt. When food is alive is when it tastes the best. I love a fresh caught fish fried after a day of fishing in the lake. Ramps and morels are always exciting but taste better when you pull them from the woods yourself. Since I left Roast, I’ve had the chance to visit a few farms in Michigan and across the Midwest, and it’s been so interesting, so much fun. When Selden Standard opens, I’m just excited to be able to work more closely with some of them.

Tell me a little about your new restaurant - what is the concept? How will it fit within the existing Detroit restaurant scene, and how will it be different than what's already out there? What is your "in a perfect world" timeline for opening?

We wanted to open a place that was the kind of restaurant that we like to eat at. So that’s what Selden Standard will be: very sociable, seasonally driven, shared plates. There are a lot of great meals to be had in fine dining. A lot of them can be found here in Michigan, and believe me, I’ve ate at all of those places. But I don’t want white linens and an eighteen page wine list every single time I go out to eat. More than anything, I love great food and hanging out with my girlfriend and our friends. So we’ll be a much more casual, neighborhood place with outstanding food and drink. A place where you can feel comfortable eating with your hands and still hopefully leave saying, “Wow, that was a special meal.”

Detroit already has a lot to offer: I eat at Supino and La Feria and New Center Eatery and Roast and all those places all the time. But there are so many variations in what a good restaurant can be, and right now, there aren’t a lot of places where the menu is changing every 3, 4, 5 weeks; there aren’t a lot of places that have the capacity and culinary scope of a bigger, formal restaurant that are aiming to do more casual; and so on. So hopefully we will give people something new. I know other chefs and restaurateurs in town are looking to do more seasonal cuisine, more sociable dining room experiences, and I’m excited for that too. Greater downtown is growing, and speaking as someone who loves to eat, we need as many perspectives on interesting food as we can get. I’m just glad that we’ll be a part of that.

In terms of opening, our perfect world scenario is sometime in May, but we’re saying “mid 2014” because there are still so many variables. Ask me again in a couple months.

When James approached your about being a part of this Young Guns dinner, what was your reaction? Did you consider yourself one of "Michigan's most dangerous chefs" prior to this? What do you think of your fellow Young Guns?

I was stoked that James asked me. I don't really consider myself DANGEROUS and definitely not that YOUNG anymore either. I mean, I got into the industry 20 or so years ago, and I graduated from the CIA more than ten years ago now. So it’s hard to think of myself as young. But when James gets all amped up and starts talking about a community of chefs, how can you say no? His energy is contagious, and we do need to all support each other. Some sense of competition (for lack of a better word) should be there, but it should always respectful and friendly. All the chefs are very talented and great guys. I love all their restaurants. So something like this is fun to do.

As a chef, what do you hope to achieve in your career? Where do you see yourself in 5, 10, 20 years? And how do you hope to help strengthen and bolster Michigan's culinary scene?

Well, first, I want people to come into our restaurant and have a great time with great food. That’s why you get into this business and stay in it, you know? But in terms of the bigger picture, I hope to positively impact Detroit's dining scene and along the way, help build a better connection with the farmer not only at restaurants but for the general public. I want to cook good food and help change the way people look at the city of Detroit. I love working with new cooks and hope to have mentored the future Young Guns of this town. In 5 years, I hope to have kids and be married. In 10 years I would love to own a farm that would be solely dedicated to sourcing my restaurant(s). At some point, in a dream scenario, I would love to open another business, but first thing's first. Finally within 20 years, I hope I’ve had some role in inspiring and teaching younger chefs to stay here and continue the craft so I can go eat at their places with my family and friends.

Read last week's interview with Chef Brennan Calnin of Imperial in Ferndale here.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

[Model D] Prepare for the holidays with Eastern Market's Thanksgiving Market next Tuesday

The Tuesday markets season in Eastern Market may be over, but next Tuesday will see one last round for the year, just in time for Thanksgiving.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. next Tuesday, Nov. 26, shoppers can visit Eastern Market farms and artisan food vendors to pick up everything they need for their Thanksgiving dinners. "The idea of a Thanksgiving market came to us last year when the Tuesday before Thanksgiving people were calling us and asking if we were open," says Fiona Ruddy, Alternative Food Program Coordinator for Eastern Market.

Read more.

[Model D] Coffee and (___) goes from pop-up to permanent in Jefferson Chalmers

We sure do love our pop-ups in Detroit. And beyond just the novelty of having an experience in a space that you wouldn't otherwise be able to have (a Guns + Butter dinner at Shinola perhaps, or an independent toy store on Woodward just in time for the holidays), pop-ups serve an important purpose: they vet new businesses for long-term sustainability, allow aspiring entrepreneurs to test out different neighborhoods, and activate spaces that would otherwise remain vacant. And sometimes – more and more often now – they lead to permanent businesses opening.

[Model D] Green Grocer: Fresh food shopping on Detroit's Lower East Side

Food Town Super Market. 

The Detroit Economic Growth Corporation's Green Grocer program exists to strengthen the over 80 independently-owned full-service grocery stores in the city of Detroit. Each week for the next several weeks, Model D will profile a selection of these stores in neighborhoods throughout the city.

This week we're focusing on the Lower East Side.

Read more.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Week We Ate (The EID Week in Review)

Coming in April! 

~This week's Young Gun is Brennan Calnin of Imperial. He has worked for Takashi and loves butter, liver, champagne, and pirates. Read his thoughts on Michigan's culinary scene and his lifelong call to the kitchen here. [EID]
~This week's Green Grocer series for Model D took me to Detroit's west side, where supermarkets are going through extensive remodels and adding energy-efficient equipment along with fresh food and low prices. [Model D]
~Here's your November news from the outer 'burbs: Great Lakes Culinary Center is now open, Buddy's Pizza has opened its first new location in 15 years in the Novi of the northeast, Troy is getting another "places for area office workers to go for a fast take-out lunch" place, and Smoke Street looks like it will be…serviceable. [EID]
~Did you miss the full episode of America's Best Bites on the Cooking Channel earlier this year when they featured Chef James Rigato of The Root Restaurant and Bar in White Lake? Fret not; the whole thing is now available to watch in four segments on YouTube and here they are. [EID]
~Speaking of James Rigato on TV, did you catch last night's episode of On the Rocks on the Food Network featuring Chef James of The Root? In this episode the team hit up The Oxford Inn of Royal Oak and re-vamped their back bar and private dining room into Lock + Key, a "speakeasy"-style bar with classic cocktails, all Kuhnhenn Brewing Co. beers on draft, and a small plates menu that Rigato helped design. The space has comfortable leather seating, its own patio for the warm months, and a cozy fireplace. Here's some photos I took there a few months ago; take a look! [EID Flickr]
~The Pursuit of Pappy: updated. [EID]
~Update: Bagger Dave's in Greektown is now open. [EID]

Are these the best (erp, "coolest") restaurants in (metro) Detroit? Well? (EID's answer: if this list was from 2010, yes.) [Thrillist]

Metro Times Detroit has been running this great series of old-school Detroit restaurant recipes, a "treasure trove" found in a Hamtramck attic (one must wonder just how many Hamtramck attics hold such treasure troves...probably most of them). Very cool stuff here from Schweizer’s Restaurant, the original Joe Muer Seafood, and the recently shuttered Caucus Club. [Metro Times]

One Starbucks closes and another opens...just a few years ago one street-level downtown Starbucks closed, only for a new location to open just blocks away. The coffee-consuming market has changed drastically since 2009, with a whole lot more independent coffee houses all throughout the city and a whole lot more people (in the CBD especially) to spend money at them. Here's a great look at how the market has evolved in that time (though it should also be noted that there is another Starbucks that just opened downtown inside the Crowne Plaza, which realistically will really only ever serve hotel guests, but still. It's there.) [Detroit News]

New bar in Eastern Market-ish area, Thomas Magee's Sporting House Whiskey Bar. [TMSHWB FB]

The Atlantic Cities caught wind of the fight to save Hamtown Farms. Also read more about Hamtown Farms founder Michael Davis here. [Atlantic Cities / UIX]

The Great Lakes Culinary Center in Southfield officially opened. It is a 20,000 square foot culinary center with a huge commercial test kitchen and indoor/outdoor event space that can be rented out for events as well as for aspiring food entrepreneurs that need access to a commercial kitchen in order to make and sell their products. It will also be used for cooking classes and demonstrations. Here's more details. [D Business / FB 101]

More on the 8,000-square-foot Mega Buddy's in the Mega 'Burbs. [Freep]

Royal Oak could potentially lose a bookstore in favor of gaining another bar. Which just speaks volumes. [Royal Oak Patch]

Wicked Donuts has officially launched inside Treat Dreams. [TD FB]

In the ongoing Matt Prentice Restaurant Group saga (once upon a time he owned a bunch of restaurants and was one of the area's top restaurant groups), a huge lawsuit was awarded against him by his former business partner. And that appears to be the end of that, as they say. [Crain's]

Crain's Detroit Business looks at La Feria Detroit by the numbers with a bit of musing on the growing culinary competition in the city. "At one point in time, not too long ago, it was good enough just to be open in Detroit." I feel like we're not *quite* past that point yet, but eventually there will come a point when we're not all Detroit-obligated to like everything that opens. (That's not to say anything bad of La Feria, just my own musing.) Also, h/t to Ben at Detroit Institute of Bagels for introducing me to the phrase "Detroit-obligated," which I am going to use excessively from now on. [Crain's]

The Root Restaurant and Bar will no longer be moving forward with plans to open a second location in Howell. This isn't a reflection on their business or lack of desire to expand; owner Ed Mamou has recently had some significant growth opportunities with his recycling business and is focusing his time and energy on that. Chef James Rigato, in the meantime, will continue to make the Root his focus with more Young Guns and other theme dinners, cooking classes, and work with nonprofits. [Livingston Daily]

Bigalora Ann Arbor opens today! For those keeping score, this is Ann Arbor's bajillionth pizzeria, but one of very few in this elevated Neapolitan style (MANI Osteria + Bar being the only real comparison). [Freep]

The Oakland gets a shout-out from for their selection of rare spirits. []

What's it like for someone from LA to move to Detroit? Shinola's Daniel Caudill shares some of this favorite spots in his new home city with Sight Unseen. Eastern Market Corporation, art, architecture, the whole nine. [Sight Unseen]

After a fire shut down the popular JBaldwins Restaurant-Catering in Clinton Twp. earlier this year, renovation work is moving along steadily and the restaurant will be even better than it was before once it's all done. Check out some renderings here. [J Baldwins Official]

Detroit SOUP's efforts at expanding into neighborhoods gets some coverage in the Detroit News. [Detroit News]

And Ann Arbor SOUP is now also a thing. [A2 SOUP], a local tech startup developed at Grand Circus in downtown Detroit, will help restaurants train and test their staff more efficiently. [Model D]

The Daily Meal reminds us that Traverse City is awesome. [The Daily Meal]

U MAD, CHICAGO? [The Daily Show]

Interesting look at not just foods but also food processes that are banned in the United States. One must also wonder why Massachusetts, New York, and New Mexico choose to specifically single out Flamin' Hot Cheetos and not their nuclear orange sibling, regular Cheetos. RAYCESS. [Thrillist]

~Why is branded glassware in bars such a big deal? Crain's Detroit Business has the full report (and, as is the case regarding any kind of alcohol legislation in the state of Michigan, it's...complicated). [Crain's]

~First look: Bell's Brewery, Inc. (Official) Oberon and Two Hearted can designs - coming in April. Best Brown, Winter White, and Smitten to follow. [Bell's Official]

~Drink beer? There's an app for that! [Apppicker]