An Architecture Tour of Palmer Park’s Historic Apartment District, Detroit

300 Whitmore. Notice the door, how it widens at the bottom.  This is due to the "Egypt craze" that occurred after King Tut's tomb was discovered.  On second look, it does appear similar to the entryway of the tombs of Egypt, no?

300 Whitmore. Notice the door, how it widens at the bottom. This is due to the “Egypt craze” that occurred after King Tut’s tomb was discovered. On second look, it does appear similar to the entryway of the tombs of Egypt, no?

Travel back in time to the 1920s.  The place to be?  Detroit.  This was the era  that the automotive industry got its wheels turning.  The Detroit skyline began to take shape as the iconic Cadillac Place (General Motors Building), Guardian, Penobscot, and Fisher buildings were erected.  People flooded the city for work… and they needed a place to live.

Just north up Woodward is Palmer Park – an apartment district that was created for the slew of workers in the city.  Just a block from this district was the streetcar stop that delivered residents to and from their automotive jobs.  As the decades went on, Palmer Park evolved into a gay friendly neighborhood with lots of restaurants and clubs.  Even Madonna got her dance on at the clubs around Palmer Park.  The original Menjo’s & Cliff Bells were in this area.  But violence drove out the gay population to adjacent cities (Ferndale, Royal Oak) and much of Palmer Park and the apartment district fell to blight, crime, and drugs.  Continue reading


Fine Dining at Brizola in Detroit’s Greektown Casino


Detroit Restaurant Week (DRW) brings the finest of Detroit dining to us who carry a budget-conscious wallet.

Now I’m no chef nor food critic, but I do have taste buds, a love for excellent food, and an over-exuberant excitement to share my dining experiences with anyone.  So don’t expect a technical French-accented, cultivated-palate description straight from culinary school.

Brizola is located in the thriving Greektown Casino.  I chose Brizola because it was the first time I’d seen this name on the DRW restaurant list. I knew I’d be getting a great value for the DRW prices as the least expensive entrée is just shy of the $30 DRW pricetag.  Ironically, as we drove into downtown Detroit, a “Brizola: Voted Best Casino Restaurant in Detroit” billboard boasted that we had clearly made a smart decision (although I’m wondering where this ‘vote’ happened – I couldn’t find anything online… and ya know… if it ain’t on the internet…).  Continue reading

Bears & Beers: The Detroit Zoo Brew

Detroit-Zoo-Sign Typically when I think of the zoo, I imagine wild little children running around with their sippy cups eager to see the giraffes.  But the Zoo Brew?  Imagine equally as wild “big” kids running around with craft beers equally as eager to see the giraffes.  Because we’re all big kids at heart, the zoo never really loses its charm.  And this event captures adult allure with the promise of local craft breweries to keep things buzzing.  Continue reading

Welcoming Summer at the Detroit Beer Fest

Hello Detroit!

Hello Detroit!

If we want to get scientific about summer, we can talk about the tilting of our planet’s axis and other cosmic-speak buzzwords, like orbit and hemisphere, OR we can talk about summer in terms of warm weather, good company, and beer. Yes, beer.
If there’s one way to spend the longest day of the year, it’s in Detroit at the Sumer Beer Fest. Sweet libations! Did the beer pour on June 21 in the heart of downtown Detroit. It was an offering to honor the summer solstice – here is my liver, give me the sun (and I think we got Mother Nature a little too drunk on craft beer, because the weather’s been rainy ever since)!

Testing local brews is a unique tool to learn more about a place – whether in your neighborhood or across the pond. Let’s say you meandered into Detroit Beer Co., ordered up a Red Dwarf (after all, the name captured your intrigue), became chummy with the bartender and conversed about the tale behind the label. You’d learn about some Detroit folklore that you may never have discovered otherwise.

Here’s why I loved welcoming my summer at Detroit Summer Beer Fest (DSBF):

Love the beer handles. "Hoptical Illusion"? So punny.

Love the beer handles.

The Beer. Over 200 beers – local, craft, seasonal, amazing. My favorite of the evening? Zombie Killer from B. Nektar Meadery. I even used two tickets for this brew. I’m a slight beer pansy, preferring fruity to IPA and smooth to bitter bite. And a beer pansy like me was neither dissatisfied nor thirsty throughout the event. I even tried ginger beer for the first time… that was my surprise taste of the night. My guest prefers the dark, bold, “manly” flavors and he was equally as happy. What I’m trying to say is that there was something for everyone. In fact, there was too much for everyone.

Yes, I know, you want this BBQ burger topped with coleslaw from Rub BBQ Pub.

Yes, I know, you want this BBQ burger topped with coleslaw from Rub BBQ Pub.

The Food. It’s a sin to go to any summer celebration amid alcohol without getting a fill of the food vendors. The typical carnival trucks parked at the perimeter (elephant ears, pretzels, etc.), but there was a fair share of local food establishments. We were instantly attracted to the smoky sent of barbeque wafting from Rub BBQ Pub’s outdoor grill. Rib tips from a local Detroit restaurant will trump a carnival hot day any day.



The Fun. Hammerschlagen. No, I did not type that word after 3 hard ciders from Motor City Brewing Works. I was introduced to this game at DSBF. Each participant has a nail. The first person to successfully hammer this nail into the tree stump wins. Men can use one hand, women, two. You only take one swing at a time per turn. Sounds stupidly simple, but it’s a bit more challenging at a Beer Fest. Hammers, nails, and beers… absolutely the safest and smartest drinking game ever. Oh the irony of getting hammered.

A manageable, friendly crowd at a Beer Fest.

A manageable, friendly crowd at a Beer Fest.

The Crowds. A huge round of applause to the event planners for strategically placing the beer vendors throughout Campus Martius Park. This avoided congestion of the guests and minimized wait times at the tents. No attendees were overly rowdy or out of control, making this event mature and enjoyable.

The start of the evening. The end looked rather comparable with the amount of orange left over.

The start of the evening. The end looked rather comparable with the amount of orange left over.

The Tickets. Okay. What were they thinking? 25 tickets worth approx. 5 ounces of craft beer? Each?! It’s a steal of a deal for a $45 entry fee, but had I honored each orange slip, I’d have been dragged to Detroit Receiving from serious liver damage. Kudos to the troopers who utilized each ticket. Every 30 minutes I’d stare in awe at how much orange remained in my purse, so taunting, so abundant.

When the first day of summer approaches next year, you can expect to find me at this festival again. There are a TON more brews I plan to try that I didn’t get around to in 2013. There’ll be more beer fests on my radar to carry me through the rest of the summer… any suggestions?

Although I won these tickets from Detroit Metromix, I was not asked to write a post about my experience. Nor did the influence of alcohol encourage me to write a positive review. All thoughts are truly my own. Cheers!

When the Concrete Beneath my Feet Moved to the Beat

DEMF wristbands

Never have I ever felt the solid concrete beneath my feet move to the pulsating bass of music. That is, until I attended Movement Electronic Music Festival in Detroit (or as I’ll call it in this post, DEMF). Although I love music, my concert résumé is skeletal and until that weekend, the list below my “Music Festival” heading was blank. That’s why the sheer power of the music moved me. Maybe that’s why they call it Movement?

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Today is the thirteenth of March (3-13)… Happy Detroit Day! Or shall I say Double Detroit Day? As this year’s date is a palindrome (3-13-13), there’s twice the reason to celebrate the three-one-three .

Let’s ignore the city’s financial distress, be shiny optimists, and focus on the good. If I had a weekend to give a tourist a Detroit adventure, this is what I would recommend*:

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Great Lakes Coffee

Discovered this gem as I was jogging down Woodward one evening. I’m no coffee connoisseur but I always judge my coffee on my ability to drink it with no sugar and limited creamer along with my level of productivity post-coffee consumption. Like I said, there is no science to my judgement.

I was fortunate to go on an early morning coffee date to Great Lakes Coffee and all I have to say is GO THERE! Happy tastebuds and an industrious day followed this breakfast treat.

The location is convenient right on the corner of Woodward near the medical centers and Wayne State University. The atmosphere is edgy, the shop is huge, the coffee and baked goods are of high quality deliciousness – sheesh, when I ordered my breakfast bread it was still warm from the oven! There’s even a lovely outdoor seating area… however, we are in Detroit so the aesthetics are slightly lacking but the people watching is always entertaining.

Moral of the story, it is always positive to see more businesses opening their doors in Detroit. I will always support and promote businesses in this city as long as they do good in their product and customer treatment. Not only will I return in the future for some early morning energy, I will probably drop in one evening for an nice glass of wine. Did I say wine??! Yes – not only is this a coffee bar, they also serve wine, beer and cocktails. Best ‘coffee’ shop ever!

Check out their website, then check out their storefront. Enjoy!