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Monday, July 9, 2012

vacation recap - detroit

When I told people in Richmond that I was going on vacation to Michigan they looked at me like I told them that I believe in Santa Claus. “Haven’t you seen those Pure Michigan commercials?” I thought. My friend told me I should just tell people I was going to Canada since that sounded more glamorous. Well glam or not, we had an amazing time up North (as they say).

The first stop on our Michigan tour was Detroit. This underdog city is making a comeback with some great eats, drinks and activities. We got married in the city two years ago and have a soft spot for all things Detroit.

Sugar House
Our first stop after checking in (and a quick drink at the hotel bar) was Sugar House, a craft cocktail bar in the Corktown neighborhood. They make all their mixers and bitters and have bottles of liquor I have never heard of. Oh, and they measure everything in a jigger. We did some damage at this place, ordering the What She’s Having, Mai Tai Redux, Mr. Extraordinary and a couple of Dealer’s Choice which is whatever the bartender feels like making after you tell them what you like. We stumbled out of this place after meeting some fantastic characters including a guy who told me his drink, the Leather Bound Book, was “like where the Indians sleep…in tents”.

After our many beverages, we were in need of some food, so we headed to Roast, Michael Symon’s restaurant in the Westin downtown Detroit. We ordered a half dozen Oysters, Crispy Veal Sweetbreads with apple, celery, bacon, mustard jus, Scallops with saffron risotto, peas, crispy prosciutto, aged balsamic and Rosemary Fries. As far as I can remember, everything was delicious, the scallops being the best of all, but to be perfectly honest the meal was a little blurry.

Wheel House Detroit
There is nothing like late night food to curb your hangover. And thank goodness for that, because the next day we took a 16 mile bike ride through Detroit city. That ride ended up being extended to 20 miles because of a little adventure to White Castle for breakfast and the ride to visit our brick on the Detroit River Walk.

When we were married, our Moms bought us a brick with our wedding date so we would be a part of Detroit forever. This is clearly me before the bike ride. Notice the big building in the background. That is our hotel, the General Motors Renaissance Center.

Astro Coffee
Before we were ready to leave the city, I had to stop Astro Coffee in the Corktown strip. This little coffee shop serves coffee drinks and a small selection of eats made from products locally sourced through Brother Nature, Grown In Detroit and other suppliers. I got a Cubito Guatemala, coffee with apricot and blackberry jam and the Spaghetti with purple pesto, almonds, capers and parmesan. I have no idea was makes this pesto purple or why you would mix coffee with jam, but when you are on vacation, you have to take risks.

After Astro it was on to our next Michigan city. The theme of our vacation, drink, eat, drink, sleep, repeat.


  1. MMM! Mr. Extraordinary cocktail sounds so good!

    1. All those drinks were crazy good! It is amazing that I can remember what we had.

  2. That sounds like such a fun vacation!!! And it looks like the weather was better there than it was in Richmond!

    1. This was just the first two days of our vacation!!! It was a blast. It got up to 100 degrees one day, but other than that, it was much more bearable than the VA weather.