A foodie's day in Detroit
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Detroit has fast become a destination for foodies looking to sample the endless bar and restaurant opportunities around the city, both old and new. Here are a few suggestions for making the most out of your time in Detroit – a culinary exploration, if you will, with a little shopping and fun in between:
Start your morning at Dilla’s Delights (242 John R St.) to get your morning caffeine, donut and music fix. Grab one of the 15 varieties of Dilla’s freshly made donuts while your coffee percolates to the music on the turntable. If you are lucky enough to run into Herman Hayes – owner and operator at Dilla’s – strike up a conversation with him and learn about the legacy behind the shop – his late nephew, famous hip hop producer, J Dilla.
Next take a short walk to Townhouse Detroit (500 Woodward Ave.) and enjoy brunch al fresco on their stunning open-air, atrium-style patio. Engage in some prime people-watching while you sip on a Beermosa or one of their fresh pressed juices. Now indulge in the Sourdough French Toast which features chocolate hazelnut spread, strawberries, bananas, maple syrup and powdered sugar. If you’re in the mood for something that will really stick to your bones, go for their award-winning burger topped with bourbon-glazed onions and aged white cheddar on a brioche bun. Just make sure to leave room for the Townhouse Truffle Fries (seriously).
Give your food a chance to settle by grabbing the northbound QLine at Congress and Woodward and travel up to the Grand Circus stop. Hop off and walk one block south before being surrounded by clothiers like John Varvatos (1500 Woodward Ave.), Detroit is the New Black (1426 Woodward Ave.), Bonobos (1417 Woodward Ave.), Moosejaw (1275 Woodward Ave.) and Nike (1261 Woodward Ave.). Enjoy a little shopping therapy before you move on for an afternoon cocktail and some fun.
Drinks and Games
Head two blocks east to Punchbowl Social (1331 Broadway St.) for libations and bit of friendly competition. Feel like a kid again in their arcade, bowl a few frames in their bowling alley, or enjoy their table games including pool, shuffle board and ping pong.
Travel back toward Woodward to hit small plates and cocktail restaurant Wright & Co. (1500 Woodward Ave., Floor 2), for your happy hour fix. Pony up to the bar and ask bartender Mark Cooney to mix up the Last Word – a sophisticated yet simple cocktail consisting of gin, green chartreuse, maraschino liqueur and fresh lime juice. Revel in a boozy delight while considering the subject matter of the massive painting behind the bar that captures old wooden ships being tossed in an angry sea. Now balance that classy feeling of old-style cocktails and art with a plate of their Fresh Potato Chips, which are gloriously bathed in cheddar cheese, bacon, scallions and tomato relish.*
*Wine Bonus: Kitty-corner to Wright & Co. is House of Pure Vin (1433 Woodward Ave.). Drop in to peruse their vast wine and champagne selection, curated by Claudia Tyagi, Master Sommelier. Grab something that sparkles; you’ll want it later for your hotel stay (read on).
Just a few blocks from Wright & Co. is The Belt alley which, in conjunction with its adjacent parking garage, The Z Deck, is considered one of the largest compilations of street art in the world. Nestled directly within the walls of this captivating space is a set of reclaimed metal doors with a sleepy gas-lit lamp overhead: the entrance to Standby (225 Gratiot Ave). Standby’s drinks and dishes are as impressive as the art collection within. While you wait for your table, have a cocktail at the bar and ask for Joe Robinson, co-owner and bartender extraordinaire, to craft up his Snake in the Grass – a compilation of Citadelle Gin, lime, simple, celery bitters and nitro-muddled mustard greens – yes, mustard greens. For dinner, dive into the Indian-inspired menu by ordering an assortment for your table to share. Try savory dishes like the Tunisian Fried Cauliflower, Delhi Chicken, Cheeseburger and Curry-Braised Lamb – all curated by former “Top Chef” contestant and Executive Chef Rebecca LaMalfa.
Finish the night at one of Detroit’s quintessential bars – Cafe D'Mongo's Speakeasy (1439 Griswold St.) where owner Larry Mongo can be found jovially conversing with patrons over drinks like the Detroit Brown – a seriously delicious mix of Crown Royal, Vernors Ginger Ale and a splash of bitters. The ambiance, live band and eclectic crowd makes this spot the perfect ending to your adventure around town.
Spend the night in the historic and modern mix of the Foundation Hotel (250 W Larned St.), located within the site of the former Detroit Fire Department Headquarters. Draw the blackout shades, pop one final glass of bubbly and hang that "Do Not Disturb" sign on your door. You’re going to want to sleep in for this one.
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