“Where to Next?” the phrase lends itself to so much possibility. Since this is my first blog post in over a year, I believe it is aptly titled. There is much that I have lined up for the blog, as I re-enter into the blogosphere. But for my first post back, it is nothing but pure fun.
Most people know that Detroit has a fabulous art museum. And I myself have blogged about that great institution. So when planning a day in Detroit with one of my best girls, the logical starting point would be the DIA, right? Logical, yes, funnest, no! I know that Detroit has way more to offer than one museum filled with masterpieces, so I decided that we would go do some discovering for ourselves. Unbeknownst to my counterpart, I made up a game and she was just going to have to play along whether she liked it or not. She gets to pick the first stop and from there everyone else decides where we should go. Are you ready? First stop: Shinola Flagship. Shinola is a high end, hand crafted watch and bicycle manufacturer located right n the heart of Detroit. The watches are beautiful and you watch them being crafted before your eyes at the flagship store. The bicycles are almost too pretty to ride and the sweet smell of leather encompasses your senses.
If you are interested in hearing more about Shinola, you can check them out right here: http://www.shinola.com/our-story
After we finished oogling all the goodies and picking out our favorites, we had to begin the game. The clerk at the store clearly had it going on so we asked her the pertinent question, “Where to Next”? As it was close to lunchtime, she sent us down the road to the Selden Standard. The Selden is a small plate, local farm to table restaurant whose core is made up of locals. (And yes, I consider Toledo local) Check them out here: http://www.seldenstandard.com/about-us/
We had a simple lunch of crushed lentil soup which was heavenly and then shared a broccoli and artichoke flatbread pizza. The pizza was not nearly as good as the soup, but I could completely appreciate that each ingredient came straight from the farm and was crafted in the peak of its season. And really the pizza looked delicious-does that count?
After lunch, we let our waitress decide where we were going to next. Disclaimer: You must be willing to let people make choices for you in this game. A level of grace must be given to strangers who have no idea what your interests are. JUST GO WITH IT!
So our waitress sent us to little gallery on Library Street. That happened to be closed. (see above disclaimer) You cannot let these sorts of things dissuade you. Next to the gallery was an entrance to a galleria of shops with a strategically placed security guard. He was very forthcoming and sent us to one of the coolest places I have been to and it was just around the corner.
The Punch Bowl Social. What is that you say? More like, what isn’t it? Its a restaurant, a lounge, an 80’s style arcade, private karaoke rooms, billiard hall, ping pong palace and a bowling alley! Yes, all of that.
So we decide to bowl a game and have a beer. Now I probably should mention that our adventure occurred on a Thursday. It is commonly known to those that go to the Social that one should not bother on a weekend as you can’t move. With that said, we had no problem on a rainy Thursday. The bowling alley is old school, with the pins tied on ropes to reset. Game prices included shoe rental and it was a bit more than your average bowling alley, but with so much to do, you wouldn’t bowl the whole time.
No comments n the size of feet. Bowling shoes make anyone’s feet look like toddler feet.
One thing stumped us though, why is it called the Punch Bowl Social? Where did the name come from? Fortunately a group of kids (all of legal drinking age) came over to bowl next to us and they explained it. You see if we had actually read the menu, we would have seen the drink choice of an actual punch bowl. Seriously. They bring you a punch bowl of some mixed drink concoction along with a ladle and matching cups. Kid you not. See more here: http://punchbowlsocial.com/detroit/
Its probably for the best that we did not see it on the menu, it was only 2 pm. The manager of the joint then sent us to “some pottery place by my house” and then “head to Belle Isle”. Some pottery place…..had to giggle as we both knew he was talking about Pewabic Pottery. And according to the rules we had to go where he said.
Pewabic has been in Detroit since 1877. It is a true treasure with a variable amount of treasures inside. Here are a couple of samples.
You know those ceramic tiles that have the state on them, or say “Made in Detroit”? Yep, this is where they make them and where you can buy them. Here is a link to their history: http://www.pewabic.org/about-pewabic/our-history/
We picked out a few more items to throw on our wish list next to the Shinola goods and headed to Belle Isle. I have been to the Isle multiple times but not since the aquarium has re-opened. And we will have to wait to see the aquarium because apparently its not open on a Thursday. In fact the only people we saw, were city workers setting up for the Grand Prix. Hmmmm…….race course….no one there……I met have gone over the seed limit a smidge……
Since we had no one to ask, “Where to Next?” we took matters into our own hands, which is scary. We decided to head to the Guardian building to have a look around. We knew we wouldn’t get a tour, because it was not the weekend, but we still wanted to have a look. So we found a parking spot and hopped out. Then were told we were parked illegaly, and I locked my keys in my car, downtown Detroit, at rush hour. Thank God for roadside service and Alan the dude that came to our rescue. We of course missed the Guardian building, but Alan said we should head to Corktown. So we did.
There are a few places you can go for food and libations in Corktown, Slow’s BBQ is probably the most well known, but we were not hungry. Just when we thought that Corktown was a bust we found Two James Spirits. Two James is a distillery right on Michigan Ave. It hosts tours as well as some great art and atmosphere.
I ordered a Moscow Mule which had a spicy kick to it, while my counter part opted for Rosemary’s Baby.
Both were great! They also happen to brew absinthe. Yes, the magical, mind altering, monk derived liquor. We had ourselves a small sample of the young version (clear) and the aged (green). Don’t bother with the young, it was like drinking Old Crow-and they warn you. However, the aged….well, I understand why people went a little crazy drinking that stuff. t was very smooth, and why I limited myself to just a sip!
You can check out more about Two James here: http://twojames.com/?age-verified=eb4a487e1f
The friendly bartender gave us a couple of options of where to go next for some dinner and we decided to head to an old VFW bar that apparently does not serve any food beyond Better Made Chips. The friendly bartender (bartenders in Detroit are friendly-no argument) offered up more options and we decided to head out to the popular Hopcat. This place has 140 different beers on tap. ON TAP!!! How does that happen? Well, we weren’t too interested in the beer, just the food and it was worth it. I had the best grilled cheese sandwich and tasty pepper fries. But seriously, 140 different beers?
That is just one side of the beer menu. Don’t believe me? Check it out for yourself: http://hopcat.com/about-hopcat
We wrapped our adventure up at the Hopcat and parted ways. Will we do this again? Absolutely! And we are not going to limit ourselves to just Detroit! Maybe you can tell us “Where to Next?”
Here are a few more shots from our day in Detroit!