Monday, July 11, 2011


Alas, the promised Detroit post (a week or so late). If your a regular reader of Munching in the Mitten, you know I spent some time in Detroit this spring. Two months to be exact. I was doing a program through the University of Michigan that gives students the opportunity to live, learn, work and engage in the city for a semester. I was part of the first ever spring semester of the program, so I spent two months there as opposed to the regular four months. During my two months I took a class on the history of Detroit in the 20th Century, completed an internship with an environmental action organization, ate lots of good food and was overall able to experience and learn a lot. Oh, and became a lifetime Detroit lover.

Below is a quick guide of places to eat, places to shop and things to do in Detroit based on my two months in the city. This is by no means a be-all-end-all list, I know there is so much more to do.

Place to Eat:
+ Cass Cafe: I loved the lentil burger, but they also have some pretty tasty daily specials.
+ Motor City Brewing Works: Pretty good pizzas. I split four pizzas with three friends and was able to try the Margherita, Roasted Pear & Fig, Danimal, and the Godfather. I loved the classic Margherita. Pretty decent Root Beer too.
+ Bronx Bar: Three Words. . .Plate of Bacon.
+ Traffic Jam & Snug: I only tried their homemade ice cream, chocolate with fresh raspberries. I've heard mixed reviews on their food.
+ Harmonie Garden: My program ordered Harmonie Garden during one of our orientation days, needless to say I liked everything I tried.
+ Good Girls Go to Paris: A unique treat near the Detroit Institute of Arts, I tried the Savory Pascalle, very goat cheesy, and the White Kristy with lemon, butter and sugar. Bonus, bottomless cups of coffee if you eat in.
+ Slow's & Slow's To Go: I almost always got The Reason Sandwich - pork butt, pickles, slaw and your choice of one of five barbecue sauces. Don't be afraid to make a meal out of sides though - the mac n' cheese, sweet potato mash and baked beans were all favorites of mine.
+ Avalon Bakery: I lived way to close too Avalon and was a frequent customer. The Sea Salt Chocolate Chip cookie is a must if you go but I also loved their granola bars, almond spice and trail mix cookies.
+ Hygrade Deli: My friend Jeneen found this restaurant and we went one Thursday morning for breakfast. We were the only people their by 10AM and enjoyed chatting with the owner, and listening to the waitresses talk about how their front door hasn't worked the same since Detroit 1-8-7 filmed there.
+ Neighborhood Noodle: One of the pop-up restaurants working to establish more permanent status as a food truck/cart/restaurant. I was able to attend their last Noodle Nights at Supino Pizzeria. Hopefully they will be up and running with their Noodle Mobile soon; they, along with many other vendors in the city are working with the city to establish ordinances for mobile food vendors. You can read about my experience at Noodle Night here.

+ Supino Pizzeria: The best pizza I have had in the Mitten, hands down. The crust, the crust, the crust. I was a fan of the Supino and San Gennaro. Supino is located in the Eastern Market District.
+ Russell Street Deli: Located next to Supino in the Eastern Market District, Russell Street serves up delicious, fresh food for both breakfast and lunch. Tons of vegetarian and vegan options to choose from.

Places To Shop for Groceries and More:
+ University Foods: A great grocery for students at Wayne State and nearby neighborhoods. The store is small but offers a wide variety of products, including organic food.
+ Kim's Produce: A small grocer along Woodward that offers fresh produce and popular health food brands. Most importantly they sell Calder Dairy Chocolate Milk.
+ Goodwell's Natural Foods: Another small grocer near Wayne State, Goodwells offers many unique health foods as well as some delicious prepared foods. The Famous Pocket Sandwich is a personal favorite.
+ Honeybee Market: Located in Mexicantown, Honeybee has a wide selection of Latin specialty foods in addition to the staples of your regular grocer.
Eastern Market: A gem in Detroit for over 100 years. The Saturday market is an experience you must have if you come Detroit, there are a wide variety of food vendors across several market sheds. I'm partial Shed 2 where you can find many specialty foods. Starting this Tuesday, you can enjoy the market from 11AM-7PM.

+ City Bird: Once you fall in love with Detroit, go to to City Bird for all of your Detroit loving needs. The also have great greeting cards and gifts. Bonus, the store was opened by some University of Michigan grads.

Places to Go:
+ Dequindre Cut and Detroit Riverwalk: Bike, walk or run on this rails to trails path. Read about my experience here.
+ Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History: I took the most impressive museum tour I have ever been on here. Go here.
+ The Heidelberg Project: A community art project on Detroit's east side that is transforming the way people view the conditions of community.

+ Detroit Institute of Art: I never actually went, but I should of and I will. Among other things, the museum is known for it's Diego Rivera mural.
+ Green Garage and the Green Alley: The green garage is basically the mecca of green technology and the re purposing of materials. The building is being rehabbed in a cooperative manner by teams of professionals, skilled tradesmen and volunteers. The group also created Detroit's first Green Alley, planted with native Michigan plants.

This is just a sampling of what Detroit has to offer. If your interested in a structured tour of the city, I wrote a history tour and community visions tour for my History of Detroit class that I would be happy to share.

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