Bittersweet at the Detroit Institute of Art

This weekend I was invited to a meet up at the Detroit Institute of Arts (you may remember it from this post) to view the Bittersweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate exhibit.

Can you think of anything more appealing?

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The exhibit is full of the most intricate and detailed tea and coffee pots and cups you’ve ever seen. Honestly, can you imagine having tea at a friends and she pull this out to pour you a strong cuppa?

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“From social revolutions that changed the way we drink our morning blends, to design revolutions that changed the objects that we drink from, step back in time to when gathering over a cup of your favorite hot beverage caused a stir that upended the world.

Bittersweet: Coffee, Tea & Chocolate is the first exhibition at the Detroit Institute of Arts to engage all five sense. In addition to seeing art, you can touch, hear, smell and even taste coffee- and tea-related beverages.”

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The worst part of the exhibit of realizing that it’s considered rude to drink spilled tea. Who knew?

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We were heard that this was a sensory exhibit, where you got to sample different coffee and tea but were a little disappointed when we made our way through the exhibit, looking at coffee pot after coffee pot and at the end were offered just 2 shots of coffee.

One an Aztec recipe and one a French – both had a number of spices in them which gave it a strong kick, sure to jumpstart your day.

 

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The exhibit was beautiful and while a little disappointing on the tasting end, it is worth a visit for this gem alone:

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No wonder she’s close mouth smiling (I use that term loosely).

While there, it’s a perfect excuse to wander around the museum.

It’s one of my favorite in the world. Every time I visit I notice something different and revisiting my favorites is like seeing an old friend.

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This is the first time I visited the courtyard since watching Frida and I may have geeked out a little.

No matter how you feel about Diego Rivera, there’s no denying how incredible his work is.

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Right now, there’s an incredible installation by New York street artist Caledonia Curry, known as Swoon.

It’s a 400 lb, 20 ft tall installation titled Thalassa located in the museum lobby.

It’s beautiful and haunting. You could stand there and stare at it for hours. The colors are vibrant and even when you look away, you find your gaze turning right back.

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I can’t think of a better way to spend a chilly Sunday than wandering around a museum.

A great way to remind yourself of all the beauty in the world.

The Music of the Night, Detroit

When I was a kid, my favorite story was one my mom told me of a ballerina at the opera house in Paris, a masked man with a disfigured face who fell in love with her and a terrific scene of a chandelier crashing down in the middle of the theater.

It wasn’t until college when I found out there was a movie of this story and then a few years later that I saw the play for the first time.

I realized she left a few important details out of the story (kidnapping, murder and deception, to name a few) but when I hear the first DUUUUUUN of that organ, I turn into a complete sobbing mess (like Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman only more red faced and snotty). It’s my favorite story and I never miss a chance to experience it.

Especially if you can experience it in an Opera House.

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If you’ve never seen Phantom, you must at some point in your life.

The casts are always incredibly talented, the sets are beyond elaborate, every emotion on the spectrum is explored and a giant chandelier does actually drop, stopping just feet above the heads of those in the audience.

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It is my absolute favorite show and I never fail to leave the theater with tears in my eyes, entering the crowds on the street singing Music of the Night to myself.

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If you’ve never seen it and it’s not touring by you, take my advice and skip the theatrical movie (I’m totally with you that one should never pass up an opportunity to stare at Gerard Butler but trust me on this) and watch the live recording of the 25th anniversary production. You won’t be sorry.

Isn’t there something just so magical about a night at the theater. Tell me, what’s your favorite show? I’m always looking for new  ones to go to!

 

 

The Nutcracker, Detroit Opera House

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving! That long weekend was much needed but it just makes Mondays even more brutal when they finally roll around!

I have plenty of photos from the holiday but I couldn’t wait to share my favorite part of the weekend. After 3 days of decorating and cooking in pajamas, yesterday, I threw on some real pants and heels, grabbed my ‘mini me’ and went to the Nutcracker.

I haven’t seen the Nutcracker or been to the Detroit Opera House since I was a little girl. So, when I saw that the Nutcracker would be at the Opera House for a few days after Thanksgiving, I feverishly jumped on the website and bought tickets.

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What was even more exciting, was the VIPs outside the theater.

I tried to play it cool. Casual. Like this happens every day.

It didn’t work. I was utterly starstruck.

At least I tried, right?

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I only have a few little iPhone pictures of the theater, I’ll be going back a few more times this year and will give you a tour then but I just had to show you the decorations.

No detail was left out. Garland encircling every balcony. A choir singing carols to welcome you. Massive Christmas trees throughout. Nutcrackers of all colors and sizes stationed throughout – from resting on the fireplace mantle to life sized for kids to take photos with.

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Baubles, ribbons and red velvet everywhere you look.

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Even the main chandelier had red and green lights.

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The show was unbelievable. The dancers make everything look so effortless and lead you through a complete story without saying a word.

The most incredible part is how half the cast is made up of children. They are absolutely bursting with talent!

If you’ve never seen the Nutcracker, the ballet tells to story of a young girl and her Nutcracker who turns into a prince on Christmas Eve and they travel together to his Land of Sweets.

The ballet based off the 1816 story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by ETA Hoffman and is set to a score composed by Tchaikovsky. The ballet premiered in 1892 and was not well received. It wasn’t until the New York City Ballet’s new production in 1954 that it became the success it is today.

If you have the chance to see the Nutcracker, you absolutely must. I can think of no better way to start the holiday season.

I’ll be sure to bring a camera to give you a proper tour of the Opera House when I return in a few months to listen to the Music of the Night . . .

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Wednesday Walk

The worst thing about summer is working. An obvious statement right?

Sitting under fluorescent lights, in a room where it’s permanently too hot or too cold, without a window in sight but knowing that just beyond that wall, the sun is shining bright and warm.

I’ve mentioned before that I think all cities look the best in the rain but, let’s be honest, they don’t look too shabby in the sun either.

Most summer days, the call of the sun is too tempting for me and I have to get out, even for a little bit. So today, I thought I’d take you with me today for a little walk (plus, you know I can never pass up an opportunity to take you around Detroit).

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Recognize this building?

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Isn’t it funny how a little sun can recharge you to tackle the rest of the day. Go for a walk, grab some coffee, put on Beyonce and then watch out world!

Let’s Play Ball!

Here’s the thing, I’m not really a sports person.

If we’re friends and you try to talk football or basketball or, I don’t know, professional spulunking (is that considered a sport) I will most likely stare at you, smile a bit and nod while on the inside, I’m debating whether I want to get pizza or chips and guac when this conversation ends.

If we’re not friends and you try to talk sports to me, I’ll most likely give you a dead-inside stare and order a drink just to get through the next few minutes(no, I’m not socially awkward at ALL. What gave you that idea?).

However, I do have one exception: my Detroit Tigers.

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If you’re from Detroit, visited Detroit or even passed through, you will know how seriously sports are taken here. It’s not one of those, I’m going to buy a t-shirt so I look cute and like I care when we all go to the bar, kind of towns.

It’s a live and breathe every single team, kind of town.

I will admit, I’m not the kind of person who will turn the game on, on a Tuesday night and stay up watching it. I’m more of a stay up to date on Twitter kind of girl (typical blogger, am-I-right)?

I will maintain however, that there is nothing in the world like going to a baseball game on a beautiful day.

Especially at Comerica Park.

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Nothing says “hello spring” quite like a sunny day watching baseball.

First stop however, the Elwood.

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Nestled right in-between Ford Field (football) and Comerica Park (baseball – for you out of towners), one of the top go-to places to grab a bloody mary and burger before the game or to cheer on your team with a beer in hand if you weren’t lucky enough to get tickets.

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Now, it’s time for some baseball!

We have a little time before the game starts though, so come on, I’ll give you the tour.

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If you’re reading this and live in Michigan, well you better get your butt downtown for a game. Baseball only lasts so many months and we have to take advantage of it!

If you don’t, then be sure to try and snag some tickets when you visit!

Whether you’re a Tigers fan or even a baseball fan, I’ve never been around fans as friendly and welcoming as those at Comerica – so don’t worry, you’ll fit right in!

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Just make sure you carb up. Trust me.

Besides, calories don’t count at a baseball game. Right?

Grand Trunk Pub

If you’re moving a little slow this morning due to a night of trying to get over the Tigers latest losing slump, I have two options for you: 1) you can roll out of bed and straight into your nearest coffee shop (I recommend here, here or here) 2) You can continue partying and if that’s the case, I have the perfect spot for you.

I follow quite a few Detroit foodies on Instagram and Twitter and it seems like a day doesn’t go by without someone posting about Grand Trunk Pub.

Known for their pints and pub food, I’ve been a little slow checking them out (neither of those are my favorites) but being downtown last week, the sun was shining on the front so perfectly, I just had to pop in.

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Does this picture surprise you too?

Not quite the typical interior of a greasy food pub.

One of my absolute favorite things about Detroit is the history in every building you enter. The skyline is dotted with old, hauntingly beautiful architecture.

Even as the city works to revamp itself, instead of building new, modern highrises, businesses establish themselves in the old, original buildings.

Grand Trunk Pub, for example, is located in the old Grand Trunk Railway Station (no idea where they got the name for the bar, in all honesty).

You can sit at the bar and enjoy a pint under 25 foot vaulted ceilings, brass chandeliers and surrounded by the exposed brick walls. It’s the epitome of gorgeous early 1900s architecture.

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If it’s sunny and beautiful out (since spring is finally here . . . no I didn’t squeal a little writing that *ahem*), you can sit outside and people watch.

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If you’re in Detroit, I would highly recommend stopping by GTP. If you’re like me and greasy food and a pint aren’t your thing, grab a drink – I promise just being there is well worth it!

You can find them at 612 Woodward Ave – right by Campus Martius.

 

 

Detroit At Its Best

There is absolutely nothing like the first day of real spring.

The sun is shining and we can finally peel our jackets off and bring the sunglasses out.

People are a million times friendlier as they enjoy an iced coffee break, lounging in the sun.

Colors seem brighter and everything is bathed in natural light and looks beautiful.

It seems like any time you hear anything about Detroit, the media shows it at it’s worst. Well, I figured it was high time someone showed you it at it’s best and when better is that than the first warm day of spring?

Come on, follow me.

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Shirt – Ann Taylor (Similar)               Pants – Loft (Similar)              Sunnies – Ray Ban (Here) Clutch – Coach

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Let’s just hope the sun is here to stay for good.

Don’t you just love spring?

Central, Detroit

If you’re from Detroit, you’re no stranger to Central.

In fact, if you live here and haven’t heard of Central, I’m assuming you probably are living under a rock or don’t go on the internet frequently which is pretty much the same thing.

I’ve been hearing nothing but rave reviews for months now and have been absolutely dying to visit but every time plans were made, life seemed to get in the way.

Finally though, finally I was able to get myself over there and I can’t remember being as excited since I was a kid on Christmas.

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If you know anything about me, you’ll know the only thing that tops my love of twinkle lights is elephants and coffee.

Walking through the front door, that’s the first thing you see at Central and I practically (totally) squealed and ran to the bar, settling myself down with a prime view of the lights and a cocktail in hand.


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Don’t be fooled here – I may look calm and collected but between having stared at all the glorious twinkle lights for some time and knowing my food was about to come out of the kitchen, I was like a kid at Christmas.

Having topped off most of my cocktail didn’t help my composure much either.

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First off, a grilled caesar salad.

I love grilled salads. If I could grill all of my salads, I would. Especially caesar ones.

The lettuce is crunchy, crispy and smoky with a tangy, light vinaigrette. Strips of fresh parmesan and perfectly grilled croutons.

Even non-salad eaters will love this.

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Now, I will tell you my next course is probably one of the best meals I have ever had and is absolutely the best tacos I’ve ever had.

Waiting for my food, it seemed like at least one person from every table in the restaurant ordered tacos which, honestly, just made me all the more excited for mine to come out (you know something’s good when everyone gets it) and exceedingly disappointed when the waiter passed by my table.

There are four types of tacos at Central: fish, pork, steak and vegetarian.

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I ordered vegetarian (meat lovers, I promise it’s worth the gamble, just give them a try).

Normally vegetarian tacos are stuffed with beans and avocado. They’re good but it get’s boring.

Central’s tacos are filled with roasted cauliflower, peppers, avocado, slaw and queso cotija and then are put on the grille to make them perfectly smokey and flavorful.

*Groan*

Just look at these beauties:

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You can find Central right off Campus Marius (in the same building as The Roasting Plant).

I cannot recommend it enough, just promise me you’ll get the tacos and be sure to tweet me a picture so I can be insanely jealous.

Then again, we just may run into each other there because I’m sure to be back there quite often to take care of my taco cravings!

All Things Detroit

I have been waiting for this past weekend for weeks!

Eastern Market hosted an event called “All Things Detroit” where their sheds were packed full of local artists, authors, cooks and local businesses.

Nestled downtown, surrounded by bright murals and the Detroit skyline, Eastern Market is one of the top places to visit in Detroit.

A huge market that carries fresh fruits, vegetables flowers and art – there couldn’t be a better spot to host a local business showcase.

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The sheds were packed wall-to-wall with people “oohing” and “aahing”over homecooked baked goods, glassware, clothing and artwork.

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 photo Shinola Eastern Market_zpsormpnqc1.jpgMy favorite part? The food trucks lined up outside!

I absolutely love food trucks. My favorite tradition in Chicago was waking up on Saturday mornings and taking Lupin for a walk to the park to grab a coffee and donut from the Donut Vault food truck.

There’s something about getting your meal freshly cooked from a truck that makes it taste like nothing else in the world!

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But you know what’s the best food to get from a truck?

Pizza!

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The look of pure love.

I don’t know what’s in your secret sauce Rollin Stone but it’s Heaven. Pure Heaven.

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Then, because eating a whole pizza isn’t enough, I had to check out one more truck.

Just eating from one wouldn’t be fair to you.

Blogger problems, am I right?

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I was drawn to Shimmy Shack because I loved how retro the truck was. Flowers and curtains behind the window and 50’s cartoons on the side.

How could you just walk past?

Turns out it’s a completely vegan menu.

Whether you’re vegan or not, I can report that every single thing smelled and looked amazing.

Who doesn’t love a menu full of guac, hummus and spices?

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Having eaten a whole pizza, I just grabbed some half/half fries. Half regular, half sweet potato with the most amazing (secret) seasoning.

Salty, spicy and utterly groan worthy.

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I have never had better fries in my entire life. Big statement, I know, but I stand by it.

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All Things Detroit was even better than I could have hoped. If you’re in Detroit for it next year, you must go!

I love events where you get to see how many unbelievably creative and talented people live around you. It really makes you appreciate your city in a new light.

 

Joe Muer Seafood, Detroit (Updated)

You may remember a few months ago, I wrote a post about Joe Muer Seafood.

My family and I went to celebrate my Mom’s birthday and had a disappointing visit. We weren’t served a course, our server was unprofessional and the general air of the entire evening was uncomfortable and awkward.

I sent out a tweet that night saying that we were disappointed and Joe Muer reached out apologizing and kindly invited me back to try and change my mind.

Joe Muer Enterance

Joe Muer Logo

This past weekend, I grabbed the belated birthday girl, threw on a party dress and headed down for a girls night out.

Joe Muer Waiting Area

Joe Muer Tables

We rushed passed the white clothed tables and settled ourselves in at the bar, ready for the long haul.

Our view on one side: the sushi chefs (which utterly grabbed our attention and entranced us all night. Honestly, making sushi and doing it well is a true art form in my opinion).

Joe Muer Sushi Bar

Joe Muer Bar

Our view on the other side: the dining area and the bright, shining lights of Canada.

Joe Muer Dining Area

Joe Muer Dining Room

Joe Muer Seafood, Detroit

One thing I mentioned in my last post was how amazing the cocktail menu is at JM.

Each drink looks more savory and mouth-watering than the last.

Our first trip there I ordered the Fleur De Gin.

This time I choice the Black Orchid – partly for the name doesn’t it sound so mysterious but mostly for the flower.

Joe Muer Black Orchid

Joe Muer Black Orchid Cocktail

Like all the best vices in life it was dangerous and delicious.

I loved it.  As our bartender put it “It’s like wives: 1 isn’t enough and 3 is way too many”.

Joe Muer Seafood, Detroit

Another round of drinks and many stories and giggles later, it was time for some food.

We both started with a salad (so we could use the excuse of “moderation” for what we had next).

The Wedge – served with French-Roquefort dressing, toms, hard cooked egg and bacon.

Wedge Salad

Joe Muer Wedge Salad

Parmesan-White Truffle Pomme Frites.

Joe Muer Truffle Fries

Black Truffle Macaroni & Cheese (have you learned yet that I love anything with truffle in the title).

I’m going to be totally honest with you about this dish. I can’t even think of the right words to describe it.

Let’s just say I put Meg Ryan in the diner scene from How Harry Met Sally to shame.

Joe Muer Seafood, Detroit

Joe Muer Mac and Cheese

Our night ended the way all good nights should end – with a (few) glasses of bubbles.

Champagne

I can’t thank Joe Muer enough for reaching out and inviting us back.

Everything was outstanding – the bar was intimate but lively, every single person working there was so friendly and the food was eye-rollingly good.

Don’t bother looking for my previous post, I’ve since taken it down as I’m a complete Joe Muer convert. I cannot recommend a visit enough. I know we’ll most definitely be back.

Pro Tip: If you go and sit at the bar, ask for Peter. He’s the best bartender I’ve ever met – incredibly kind, helpful, charming and funny. We owe so much of our great night to our chats with him.

Joe Muer Champagne

When you go check them out, say hi to Peter and have a glass of champagne for me!

Cheers!