Sunday, March 21, 2010

Detroit Kind of Blows

I'm sorry, it just does. Maybe I didn't do enough research. Maybe I can't control myself in a casino. Either way, while there's definitely an eerie beauty in the vacant old buildings (in a pretty cool post-apocalyptic kind of way), I'm finding it to be a tough place to stay busy for a weekend.

But there has been a highlight or two. First, Hamido in Dearborn. It reminds me of a good taqueria, except a Middle Eastern version. There's a brightly lit sit down area and it seems geared for brisk takeout. They served the best baba ghanoush I ever had. Hummus about on par with Nate's. Really nice sauces and a great value. If I lived by a place like this there's no way I'd eat there less than weekly. Solid for a meateater and at least as good for a vegetarian. Dearborn appears to be a paradise of Middle Eastern cuisine.

Also quite decent, we stumbled across a German place downtown. Jacoby's. I figured we made it out of a Middle Eastern restaurant with just a few hard stares, so maybe it was time we gave the German's a fare shake. Plus L. is at least 1/4 German, so she knew the secret handshake. There was a more than serviceable beer list, meh sausage and cheese platter (more meh on the cheeses, the sausage was good), better than decent schnitzel (pork), and great cabbage and potato pancakes. All in all, a solid Motor City lunch.

And this moment . . . I'm typing at a coffeeshop, 1515 Broadway, that's just really nice. Nice people, fairly priced well made drinks (not quite third wave, but I'm feeling my latte), with pleasant, well volumed music. Quite the little oasis that will hopefully keep me out of MGM or Greektown tomorrow. It's also pretty cool with the People Mover passing by overhead every few minutes.

Also, I had a coney at Lafayette's for breakfast. It was a good dog and unlike anything I've had in the CLE. Really good chili. Will try American tomorrow.

One last addition. The people here seem really nice. A lady stopped me from feeding a parking meter because, according to her, Detroit doesn't require meter feeding on Saturdays. The signs lie. And a nice gentleman just reached between my legs to unplug his computer's power cord and didn't even ask me to buy him a drink.

Edited to add: please see next post. This isn't to get more page hits. It's because I'm an idiot.


DianeS said...

Yes, it kind of does.

Try living in the burbs of Detroit for three years. No wait, don't. I wouldn't wish that on you.

When my husband suggests that I need to be more open to compromise on any given subject we may be discussing I remind him that I lived with him in Dteroit for three years :)

There is one food thing in the Detroit area that is a shouldn't miss imo, Pain D'Or. It is a syrian bakery at 17 and Dequinder. They are probably closed for today but they may be open on Sunday.

The phone number is 586) 795-1670

If you are able to make it there try the cheese flat bread with parsley, the zatar, the meat flat bread, the cheese stick with sesame and the eggplant rolls.

Choose a few to eat on the spot and ask the baker to warm them for you. The cheese and parsly flat bread and zatar are especially nice right from the brick oven.

Stuart said...

GQ had a best-pizza-in-the-country article a while ago. Three were in Detroit. Also Polish Village looked promising. I can vouch for the pierogi.

There seems to be a lot of industrial archeology stuff. And endless urban decay. See

Those restaurants and some of the "attractions" are on my map:

And the original GQ article is here:

steve said...

Sorry Tomato,
But being from a different suburb than where Dianne lived I would have to disagree with her. We love the hummus from New Yasmeen Bakery, and the desserts from Shatila and if you are still in Detroit you really should try the Que from Slows, great pulled pork. Unfortunately downtown, a lot of what Detroit once was is gone. One thing that you can get there that Cleveland does not have is a good deep dish pizza, from Buddy's or Shield's. Stuart also mentioned The Polish Village Cafe which I think is great.

The CFT said...

Thanks guys. We'll try to get to Pain D'Or. Re pizza, the deep dish scene seems promising but really--eating pizza with a fork and knife? In America? I can't bring myself to it.

We want to get to Polish Village but it may not happen this trip. I'll have an extended visit to the area for work in a few weeks and will try to get to more of the ethnic stuff.

Slows looks great. Don't know how it didn't come up on the radar.

Live to Cook at Home said...

As much as I hate Michigan U, the best thing about the state of Michigan is the city of Ann Arbor. Tons of great restaurants & shops. It's worth a drive when you are in the Detroit area.

sned said...

Layfayette better than American - American has a snappier weiner but it's messy and doesn't have the same vibe. Chili is indistinguishable (in my humble opinion). I used to mail order Layfayette so I'm a little biased....I know you didn't go to Detroit to go to a Michael Symon restaurant but the cracklin at Roast is amazing....Have fun - Gretchen

The CFT said...

Gretch . . . er, Sned, totally agree on Lafayette's and snappier dog @ American. Couldn't have described things better. I enjoyed Lafayette's more also.

Dave, love A2. We almost did the dine there thing and I stop there on work trips pretty regularly. But at Seve's rec we went Slow's. It may have been life changing. Maybe the best brisket I've ever had.