Tag Archives: detroit

listening to this now… detroit playlist

9 May

who am i kidding?

i’ve been listening to these songs for the past two months straight, not just now. they aren’t for everyone.  which is just how i like it.  i do believe i’ve worn ROF down playing them as much as i do.  i see some head nodding and wavy hand motions if he thinks i’m not looking.

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the music i love the most is stuff that could be the background music for my life.  just press play when i get up.

this particular mix is called detroit because i commute so much up there and stay at my cousins house out in rochester hills.  i get up super early and head out on 75 to make my way downtown.  after getting my flat white at starbucks, i press play and tear off for the motor city at 6:30am.  this is what i listened to in my headphones headed north.  i love this mix. especially spells by cannon.  <sigh.>

what is going through my head while listening to this is that i’m not actually driving down beat-up 75 at 6:30 in the morning.  i’m lounging by an infinity pool in mexico or i’ve got my feet in the sand in belize.  this is playing over the speakers.  it’s breezy and cool.

but now that i’m back in dallas for a week, i play it by our pool and think of detroit and 75 and early morning flat whites.

where to eat this week: detroit

27 Apr

IMG_6437the dime store, located in one of detroit’s oldest buildings  – the dime building, now the chrysler house – is definitely a place to check out while in detroit.  i’ve only eaten there for lunch and both times, it has been excellent.  deb and i shared a huge grilled cheese and truffle fries and each got some butternut squash soup.

i’ve only done two reviews so far in this “series” – this one and this one and i can already tell you i stink at it.  here is my review:  just go there.  i’m not one of those people that can wax poetic about the right crisp around the edges of the cheese that is grilled and the silky, smooth butternut soup that has a kiss of nutmeg at the finish.  wait.  maybe i can?

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get here early at lunchtime or else you’ll be waiting in a long line.  the service is kind of like “we’re cool, so you’ll wait while i handle 10 tables” friendly.

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the menu is different and i like that.  this is just a snapshot above.  and these fries with the truffle mayo were so scrumptious!  so not on my diet but we split them.  and after it was said and done, we each only paid $10 for one awesome lunch.

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check it out:

the dime store

719 griswold street

detroit

travel: detroit’s corktown

22 Feb

detroit’s had a bad rap for a while.  if you didn’t know better, you’d think it was just one giant wasteland.  you’d be surprised to know that detroit has loads of little nooks + crannies of streets and neighborhoods with many great restaurants, shops, breweries and coffee houses.  one of those areas is called corktown.

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here are some key places to go in corktown.

1. eat: gold cash gold

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a pawn store turned restaurant  has a small but delicious menu.  what they did to the 132 year-old space is incredible and i noticed all the details.  stop here for lunch, dinner or soon – brunch.

 

2. coffee:  astro coffee

i don’t think hipsters refer to places as a “hipster place” (that was me calling me a hipster…. ha) but this place is pretty damn cool.  funky music + vegan food offerings, this place has great coffee made by cute guys with unusual facial hair.

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3. eat: mercury grill

i took some girls on my team here for lunch last year and we had a blast.  just a good ole grill with awesome food (look at that dog!).

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4.  see:central michigan train station

i don’t know where to start with this building.  built in 1913 after detroit’s original train station burned down, this abandoned train station is one of the most beautiful building i’ve ever seen.  even abandoned and destroyed with graffiti it’s unbelievable.  in fact, it has been said that it is a premier example of ruins photography or ruin porn.  i first fell in love with it when i saw it for the first time during a lunch break at work.  here was my first sighting of this building.  i think my mouth fell wide open.

IMG_9427now, i don’t recommend that you go in this building, but if you were, this is what you’d see:

 

5. eat: slow’s bbq

arguably better bbq than anything i’ve had in texas!  (them are fighting words down here!) but this place is so good!   it’s always crowded but eat at the bar if you can – it’s more fun.  and buy a long sleeve tee like we did.

slowsbbq

flooding in detroit + my story

14 Aug

when you catch the nightly news and you’re watching a weather disaster, thoughts of horror probably come over you.  

they are matched with sadness and many other emotions.  but you’re still sipping your coffee and then maybe you flip off the TV and go to work.  after all, what can you do but pray and think about the atrocity.  been there, done that.  i get it.  

on monday night i was one of those people you may have seen on the nightly news. on second thought, maybe not. after all i was completely shocked how little this tragedy made headlines.  i don’t think the world cares about detroit.  this is another atrocity.  i don’t get it.   simply the scariest night of my entire life.

so i wake up on a typical monday morning, get in my brand new 2014 chevy impala which is totally bad ass and head to work.  normal so far.  i like my music loud, so it’s pumping, my coffee is steaming in the cup holder next to me.  i park in the garage at one detroit center, jump into “work mode” and do my thing.  we’re on the 19th floor of an incredible building and have the best view of the river and detroit.  normal so far.

flash flood, i mean, forward to heading home.  had to leave a little earlier than normal but i had gotten in nice and early so i didn’t feel bad about it.  it was raining out but no big deal.  normal so far.

got in the car and headed out on interstate 75 pointed north.  it was coming down pretty hard but nothing at all unusual.  however, two hours later when I’ve only moved about 10 miles out of the city – not so normal.  while waiting in the horrible traffic, i go on to Facebook and look to see where my work buds are and one of them posts “do not go on the freeway, massive flooding, cars being routed off”.  not normal.  what?  i was smushed in between three semi’s and to my right, i see cars going THE OPPOSITE WAY on the shoulder.  i flip a couple of posts past the first and see another shot of water up to the windows of a car, people getting out of their cars to which the post reads “horrible flooding – this has what has held us up in traffic for 4 hours!”  now i realize all this was happening right in front of me.

APTOPIX Flooding Michigan

i’m a stranger to flooding.  honestly, it has been the least scariest natural disaster to me.  this is out of complete ignorance.  tornados – i’m all over them.  i know where to hide.  earthquakes, been in them.  scary, yet.  flooding – who can’t deal with a little extra water?!  i can swim!  so this is my mindset up until this point.  this is where i’m coming from.

right now, my pulse is raised but only at the horrendous thought of exiting the freeway at an unknown point.  this is detroit after all.  second only to flint having the most murders per capita.    some of you reading this have absolutely no clue what bad is- and that’s good.  but this isn’t a couple of blocks of nasty houses.  we’re talking miles and miles of blown out houses turned into drug havens.  i’m not going to belabor this because i believe in the good of detroit rather than the bad.  but let’s just say i never – ever – wanted to -ever- get off interstate 75 early.  not here.   i start to see the underpass and the cars under water and i reluctantly motion to the semi next to me to please let me and my little car over… i need to get off the interstate.

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it was so amazing how little communication was going on.  the news sucks here.  sorry.  it does.  robert was watching it for me and there was very little warning out there on what was going on.  he said to me “be careful – i’m real worried about you getting off the highway.”  i told him i was going to call on star and will talk to him soon.

i was in a shitty area.  it was now about 8:30pm and getting darker.  i was exiting 75 and had on star on the car system with me.  i love them.  one lady stayed on the phone with me two hours past her shift had finished.  she tried really hard to get me home.  but there was absolutely no way.  i was on low gas and every way i turned in this god forbidden area was flooded.

i’m not going to lie.  i was absolutely terrified.   i thought that i was headed in a good direction on a side road to 75 when suddenly there was a barricade and i had to turn around.  i weaved through some awful neighborhoods until i got to a main street… 8 mile.

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8 mile at 75 is two lanes exiting and then three lanes merging from the bridge that went over 75.  all 5 lanes came together in water that came up to the top of my tires.  when it was my turn to follow the car in front of me, i had to weave up on the sidewalk between a burnt out brothel and a dead street light.  my heart was pounding through my chest.  my hands were sweaty and i started to pray out loud.  i don’t pray because it’s the in thing to do – i pray because i believe in God and He can make stuff happen.  fyi.  research that. 

i was on with my on star rep who was seriously ready to get home and get her drink on.  as i merged into the flood, I now knew why i should fear floods.  if i were to stall out, i would be stuck with no police, no husband, no one to help me.  all night.  i put my credit cards and license in my bra and hid a credit card in the back pocket of the car.  smart, right?  as i go through the water, car after car is stalling out but not me.  i got through the water and made it to the other side.  that is where i breathed a huge sigh of relief.  even if i was on 8 mile in the #2 murder capital of the world.  just head west to woodward, i said to myself out loud.  i live off woodward.  Lord, get me there!  it’s only a mile down 8 mile.  so i excitedly go down 8 mile and right into a road block.  woodward is closed.  75 is closed.  i’m trapped on 8 mile and it’s now 10:30 at night.

<commercial break.  get a glass of wine.  take a sip.  I am. >

i go to a gas station and get gas (thank you God!) and introduce myself to another scared-to-death girl in her 20’s.  we were all over the place!  wide-eyed, mascara smudged faces looking around with our eyebrows raised and don’t-mess-with-me pretend faces.   i asked her if she was stranded and she said that she was trying to get to lavonia.  i didn’t even know where that was.  she tells me that the nice man in front of her is showing her the way out of 8 mile and pointed in the right direction.  i was afraid to be alone so i asked if i can follow (mistake #1) and she said sure.  so we all headed out on 8 mile and turned right on a street called john r (mistake #2).   i thought 8 mile was bad.  after all eminem sang about 8 mile and produced a movie on how bad it was. but john r was worse!  now, i was on a side street that was unlit, a bunch of warehouses and a ton of stranded cars strewn all over the street.  there were scary crackheads hanging out on corners too.  it was a long wait and by this point, i’ve clued in that typically means there is a flood area up ahead.  AM I IN HELL?   ROF was on the phone with me and he told me to stop driving around that i was going to get stuck and that would be the worse thing that could happen to me.  so I turned around, left my friends, and headed back the same way to 8 mile.  my home base.

however…

when i got to 8 mile, i could now only go right which meant –  i had to go the wrong way down 8 mile, go over 75, turn around and go through THE HUGE ASS FLOODED AREA AGAIN!  excuse my french. 

i’ll spare you the commentary.  it was now 11:30pm.  but i’ll just throw out some words/thoughts:

“ you ain’t gonna make it across, you gotta cross the median.  you ain’t gonna do that with your impala.  oh now wait, you got 20’s – give it a shot”

ok.

“amy, go park somewhere, you are going to get stuck.”

i made it through the huge flood area now – water up to the middle of my drivers side door.  i don’t know how, but i made it.  i drove straight to my favorite citgo gas stations sandwiched in between a strip bar and a cool restaurant called SOUL FOOD.  thank god, i never got kicked out of the citgo parking lot because i stayed there for 2 more hours.  i met a really nice indian woman and her friend she had picked up from the airport.  she had come in from india. WELCOME TO DETROIT!  she was going to 12 mile and woodward – near me – and she said “we are scared to death, can we follow you?”  i said sure.  after all, i do have all the answers.

i’ve been in the car for over 7 hours at this point.  no bathroom, no water, no food, no wine (mistake #3, always carry emergency wine)  ROF urged me to go to the strip club and have a drink but he was just joking.  i think.  my friend from india- gina – and i just parked close to each other and hung out while thug after thug got gas.  we even watched one tinkle between the two cars.  real nice.  i had my foot on the break, my hand on the shift and my mirrors positioned to see any funny business.  it was now 1:45 in the morning. rollin’ with my homies.

this was my breaking point.  i had called 911 because we were stranded and they said some words i’m sure they didn’t mean but were stressed out.  this whole time i had only seen 2 cops.  but i looked on google maps and saw i could take a side street to 9 mile, turn left and hit woodward and then go 110 mph home.  so i called on star because they are my very best friends at this point.  i did think it was cute that they would say “i will call the authorities if anything happens to you” it was reassuring but this is detroit, honey, ain’t nobody got time for that!

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so i rolled down my window and told gina and her friend to follow me, we were going home.  she said OK.  i told her to KEEP UP.  she said OK.  we headed down a side street which was obviously flooded out earlier because cars were strewn all over and on top of each other.  we made it to 9 mile but it looked like a war zone!  semi trucks were pulled over one by one along the side and cars were all over the place -stranded.  gina wasn’t keeping up and i thought for a split second to blow her off but couldn’t.  it was 2am.  i was shaking at the anticipation of getting home.

i pulled into a gas station and let gina catch up.  i rolled down the window and asked her to please step on it.  she said OK.  so we weaved down 9 mile together until we got to a sign that made me cry:  WOODWARD AVE!

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gina wanted to turn the wrong way, so i waved her down and together we headed down the now open woodward together.  as she turned off at 12 mile, she called me.  we had exchanged numbers.  “ i just want to tell you that i would have never gotten through tonight without you.”  sure you would have!  “no really, i wouldn’t have.  i would be asleep at the citgo on 8 mile!”  we both laughed.   i told her she was a comfort to me too and we said goodbye.  i thanked God for putting an angel with me for the night.

i have this night on my mind a lot.  i think i will for a while.  i’ve written in previous posts how much i like to be jolted out of my comfort zone.  this was a good jolt.  after all, the day started off so normal!  but what should i learn from this?  what is normal??  you never, ever know what can happen in a matter of minutes let alone hours.

appreciate everything you have now.  cuz tomorrow may not be the same.

xxoo

going home to texas

3 Aug

my whole life, i’ve connected moving from city to city and moving forward in life.  that’s how i was raised.  because we moved around so much, my mom helped us think of it as an adventure.  new house, new friends, new schools – everything new!  moving was never a sad thing.  sure, maybe there were some tears saying goodbye to friends + family but then the open road is ahead of you.

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the other thing my parents did growing up, was teach us that our new city became “the city” to be in.  whether it really was (Chicago) or not (Flint), my parents always took pride in where they were.  after all, it’s where we were – so it had to be great, right?  when guests came to visit us, my parents knew the best route to our house (not past any bad areas, just the nice parts), the best restaurants, the neatest shops and we were always happy to be there.  i’m glad that is how i was raised rather than a bah-humbug sort of mover.  and it’s how i looked at where we live now, in Birmingham, michigan.

as much as i’ve “moved forward” from Cincinnati to Dayton to Cleveland to Boston to Grand Blanc to Brookfield to Naperville to Chicago to Dallas then to Birmingham... i’ve never moved back.  i’ve always moved on.

until now.

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and it’s such an awesome feeling.

as i grow older, thoughts start to creep in that maybe we weren’t moving forward but just moving around.  nah, i push that thought out of my head.  after all, i wouldn’t have this outgoing personality if i wasn’t forced to put myself out there growing up – going to three high schools in three cities- in the land of judgement (you know, junior high angst and high school peer pressure) and that’s the truth.  but when you’re over that middle age hump (read: 40) you start to think – wait…i want people that know me around me and i want to have a history with them.

so back to texas we go.  obviously for more reasons than these but we’re so thrilled.  we missed you texas, with your crazy storms, wide open spaces, friendly people and most of all we miss all the people that missed us and stayed in such good touch over the past two years. we’re hoping to pick up right where we left off.

oh, and i get to decorate another house.  yay!

until tomorrow…

things to love today

3 Mar

there are so many little things to love, here are a few things i’m loving right now…
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1. portlandia.

this show tickles me.  carrie & fred are my new best friends after flying around the country with them on my ipad.  it pokes fun at portland in a lovable, hysterical way.  they love the city, love working with each other and i’m so happy i stumbled upon them!  this humor isn’t for everyone.  you are either the kind that won’t get this at all, won’t think it is funny or smile constantly throughout the whole episode like i do.  like check out the opening song here. 

2. one kings lane

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there are a crazy ton of shopping sites out there and quite honestly, i’m a huge amazon fan.  nothing like buying something you don’t need without leaving your bed. and getting it the next day.  there is joss & main and  the foundry and rue la la.  but one kings lane, in my estimation is the best.  kinda addicted.  this site has been around for a while – so nothing new here – but i have ordered several awesome things from this site with great success.  it is reminiscent to going to searching through a flea market but on-line and everything is great – not crap.

ok.  so nothing like a flea market.

3. detroit

to say i love detroit would not be doing my feelings justice.  after hearing for years and years about the “dreaded” transfer to detroit or just people wrinkling up their nose when you mention it’s name – i really didn’t expect to be so taken.  the most notable thing about detroit and the areas surrounding detroit is that the people here love it here.  not just like it.  love it.  we have people at my office who live downtown or in midtown (same thing to me) who absolutely glow with pride talking about the places to eat and things to do.  i love that.

what’s even more important to note is that detroit isn’t just something to be surprised by but i’m even ashamedly in awe of some of the despair – spray painted buildings because they are somehow beautiful.  it’s not enough to stop there because the point that i’m at – that moves me to HELP detroit is that after watching this documentary – detropia – is that detroit is not detroit’s problem – it’s our entire country’s problem.  just like the country rallies around new orleans post-katrina and new york post-sandy – the country needs to rally around detroit.  everything exciting, big and great started from this city otherwise know as motown and the motor city.  it was built to hold the millions that lived here but now it’s only 700,000 spread out all over the city.  we need help and i want to be a part of the upswing of this wonderful city!

i think anthony bourdain said it best:

Anthony Bourdain’s blog, July 27: Detroit. Where just about everything cool originated. As angry as one gets looking at block after block of abandoned row houses in Baltimore and wondering how the hell that happened, it’s mind boggling to see how far Detroit has been allowed to fall. But what a truly magnificent breed of crazy-ass hardcase characters have dug in there. Of all three cities we visited, Detroit, oddly enough, even while looking the jaws of death straight in the face, remains closest to being a true culinary wonderland. This is due entirely to the successive waves of migration and immigration from all over the world, when people came to MAKE things in America — each group bringing their own food and traditions. Detroit IS the story of America, for better — and worse, and I think we’ve missed that, allowed ourselves to look away. Detroit, after all, made us who we are. Literally. A country of cars, highways, car culture, upward mobility, rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and what were once, unlimited dreams. Whatever happens next, Motown, Eminem and the Stooges’ “Fun House”, at least, shall surely outlast the automobile.

of course, those from detroit are thinking – yeah – well said from your toasty home in birmingham.  well just you wait.

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the long abandoned beautiful train station

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that’s it for now.  have a great week!

hello detroit

4 Dec

i’ll admit this.  

wherever i live is cool.  that is not to say that because i am somewhere that is why that place is cool.  it’s just i can’t possibly live somewhere that isn’t alive.

full disclosure, i love chicago.  that will always be my city and only my city. i embraced it with everything i was when i was in my teens and 20’s.  i grew up there and i drank that city in every morning and celebrated it every night.  i never, ever took it for granted.

then the move to dallas.  at first, i hated it.  i didn’t know her and for that matter, didn’t know anyone else.  luckily i had a job i loved and met my husband whom i love more.  dallas is to rof just as i am to chicago.  his passion for dallas transfered to me and we’ll always have the warm friendships we’ve made and we’ll always be texans.

but now we’re all about a new place.

this is a place that people have no problem feeling free to scrinch up their nose and say “EWWWW good luck to you” based on absolutely nothing.  they’ve never been here.  a place that does have it’s issues but more than that has a tenacity, passion and extraordinary beauty.  

take  a look at these pictures.  know where we are now?

IMG_8664 IMG_8665 IMG_8666 IMG_8667 IMG_8668if you were to say detroit, you’d be right.  i snapped these pictures from the top of a parking garage on my way from a client meeting downtown.  it gets so much better.  i can’t wait to share with you.

around the country//delray beach//eats

30 May

i’m starting a new regular post called “eats”.  the original design of the posts were for me to highlight places i go all over the country like fargo, new york, new mexico and other exciting places like that.  but then i thought to myself – why do all the work?!?  not when i have friends all over the country who eat out all the time and can send me their favorite places. if you want to participate, please leave me a message below or send me an email

today, i want to highlight (and appreciate) barb sciarrino’s favorite restaurant in florida.  and her stellar photography!  she just got back from there with her family and although i’m in dallas and she is in the detroit office of our agency, i know (via Facebook) just how tan this girl is.  plus, barb – your pictures of the food MADE ME DROOL – and i’m not even hungry. thanks barb.  check out this restaurant, if you’re in town…

from the desk of barb:

Tramonti is one of our favorite restaurants in Delray Beach, FL. 
We vacation there every year, and this is the one place we never miss.  It’s a great Italian restaurant on Atlantic Avenue in downtown Delray Beach.  It is owned by the same owners of Angelo’s of Mulberry Street in New York’s Little Italy, a famous NY tourist attraction!
My lunch choice was eggplant parmesan which was fabulous!
My husband Sam’s choice was Calamari in Casseruola, which is squid in a spicy tomato sauce over angel hair pasta.
Dessert was (of course) a cannoli made of ricotta/cream filling, chocolate chips, and a scoop of whip cream on the side.  Accompanied by an espresso!
A taste of Little Italy right in south Florida.   The waiters even all speak Italian!

detroit runs deep

8 Mar

i’ve really missed all of you, big time. i miss writing and all that creative stuff.

today, i want to reflect on the past 2 weeks i’ve spent in the great city of detroit. it actually was just 6 days but who’s counting? i don’t know if it is the new airport (first impressions…) urban raw-ness mixed with international flavor. being the global headquarters for great american automobiles does add a certain important scent to the air. or maybe it’s the coneys. i don’t know what it is but i’m starting to dig it.

ok, so if you’ve never been to the General Motor Renaissance Center – World Headquarters, you’re in for a treat. every time i walk in there i’m amazed. first of all, you need to read about it (it’s interesting, i promise)

Renaissance Center (also known as the GM Renaissance Center and nicknamed the RenCen) is a group of seven interconnected skyscrapers in Downtown Detroit, Michigan, United States. Located on the International Riverfront, the Renaissance Center complex is owned by General Motors as its world headquarters. The central tower, the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, is the tallest all-hotel skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, and features the largest rooftop restaurant, Coach Insignia.[7] It has been the tallest building in Michigan since its erection in 1977.

John Portman was the principal architect for the original design. The first phase constructed a five tower rosette rising from a common base. Four 39-story office towers surround the 73-story hotel rising from a square-shaped podium which includes a shopping center, restaurants, brokerage firms, banks, a four-screen movie theatre and private clubs.[8][9] The first phase officially opened in March 1977. Portman’s design renewed attention to city architecture,[9] constructing the world’s tallest hotel at the time.[7] Two additional 21-story office towers (known as Tower 500 and Tower 600) opened in 1981. This type of complex has been termed a city within a city.

so let me take you on a tour of little bits of the inside… if you’re into M.C Escher, you’d love this huge building. i spend most of my time in tower 100.

so i stayed on the 59th floor of the marriott and took these pretty incredible pics outside my window. that is canada on the other side of the river:

obviously, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding GM but i can honestly say, from an insider’s point of view that the vehicles they are putting out are top-of-the-line awesome. personally, i think it is a lot cooler to drive a quality American car or truck than to drive a status symbol. and we all know how cool i am. lol

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