Monthly Archives: December 2013

Grocery stores?

A lot of people say there’s a lack of grocery stores in the city, and I agree, but then again, I don’t.  There’s Whole Foods, which is amazing, but expensive, and doesn’t necessarily cater to the general population of grocery shoppers.  Then there’s Ye Olde Butcher Shop, which looks amazing but I haven’t been yet; if I had to guess, I’d say it probably doesn’t cater to the masses either.  So where are people going to buy giant packages of toilet paper, gallons of milk on sale and bargain brand canned goods?  Well, they need a grocery store like Kroger or Meijer, and that is something there is a shortage of in the city.

Where I used to live, which, granted, was in the suburbs, there were five Kroger’s and a Meijer within a 10-15 minute drive from my house.  Living downtown, there is the new Meijer that was built at 8 Mile near I-75.  Now, I knew of this Meijer, but a few different people had told me not to go there, one of which had patronized the store and one of which had not.  The one who hadn’t been there probably based the recommendation on the fact that it’s not in the greatest area.  It’s fairly close to Ferndale, but technically still located in a rundown area of the city. 

On a day off of work, I decided to venture there and see what it was about.  As I pulled into the parking lot, I was pleased to see that the Meijer was located in a nice new strip mall with other new stores, like a Payless shoe store and a PetCo.  The parking lot was huge, flat and easy to navigate.  I walked into Meijer and was really excited with what I saw, because the store still looked brand spanking new.  All of the aisles and shelves looked virtually untouched.  The store was busy, but not crowded or noisy.  It was clean, and everyone there was just doing their normal grocery shopping and going about their business.  The store was fully staffed, with security on duty.  And this is a small detail, and I don’t know why it even matters, but I love when grocery stores have that brown cement floor, reminiscent of a warehouse.  It just feels comfortable to me. 

The cashier was very nice, and helpfully explained to me the details of their rewards program.  I made conversation with the gentleman in line behind me, him joking that I was going to buy his groceries.  All in all, it was a very pleasant trip to the grocery store, and I’m glad that I went for myself to form my own opinion.  I’ll definitely be back.

Until next time,

H

Third Eye Blind at the Fillmore

I have liked Third Eye Blind since….7th or 8th grade I think.  I met two of my best friends in middle school, and TEB reminds me of all the fun times we had together.  Kristy, Kristen and I… summer at Kristen’s grandma’s house, swimming in the pool, riding in the golf cart through the woods, talking about boys…really good memories.

Oddly enough, I have never seen them live.  When I first started listening to them, I wasn’t really into going to concerts, and when I did start going to concerts, I was listening to different music and set Third Eye Blind off to the side.  But now that I’m an adult, I just like what I like, old or new.  So when I heard they were coming to town, I knew I had to get tickets.  They had come to Detroit last year (I think) and I remember seeing my friend’s pictures on Instagram and being super jealous.  I invited my two girlfriends that I mentioned earlier, but only Kristy was able to go, plus our guys.  We agreed to buy tickets for main floor, but like the procrastinator I am, I waited too long and had to buy the more expensive mezzanine seats.  We hoped that we would be able to “stub down” as we have in the past–ok, ok, I know it’s not the most honest thing to do, but there it is, sometimes we do it.

Kristy hadn’t seen our new apartment yet, so I gave her directions and we agreed to meet there so that she could see it.  I forgot to tell her how to get out of the parking structure via elevator; she found out, as I did the first time I parked there, that the stairs don’t lead into the apartment building, but out onto a side street.  Kind of alarming the first time it happens.  I met her and her boyfriend at the elevator, and asked if they would ride down with me to the floor where the laundry was.  I needed to get my clothes from the dryer but figured I could show them a little bit more of the building while we were at it.  Then we went up to the apartment and showed them around.  We went out onto the balcony, and they had the same reaction that most of our friends have had; slight anxiety at the height and standing too close to the cement guardwall.  But they enjoyed the view, which I have to admit is the best part.

We got our coats on and headed over to Centaur Bar for a pre-show drink.  I ordered a Toasted Almond Martini and B got a beer.  We also ordered a couple small plates, blackened shrimp and blackened chicken rolls.  I liked the martini but I should have known I wouldn’t want to drink the whole thing.  It was strong (for me) and I’m not very good at sipping drinks, which is probably why I prefer beer.  The food was really good, especially the sriracha ranch.  We had good conversation and decided to head over to the Fillmore.  Fortunately, Kristy and her boyfriend were really understanding and let us use their tickets to get into the mainfloor with them.

The show was really good; they played a lot of the songs I was hoping to hear and they sounded good live.  Whenever the frontman talks to the crowd about how great they are, I love it—but at the same time I always think, “you probably say that to every city you visit.”  Even though I know that it’s probably not 100% original or even sincere, I still like it.  Especially since we’re Detroit, and I think Detroit probably is pretty special and unique compared to a lot of other places around the country.

We had a few drinks and I got some good QT in with my friend.  B and Kristy’s boyfriend probably didn’t have the best time they’ve ever had, but they were good sports and stayed positive.

After that we walked back to the apartment (ah, the benefits of living downtown), said our goodbyes and parted ways for the night.

Until next time,

H

Tigers Game

I meant to write about this sooner but I guess I sort of forgot.  I had decided, probably as early as last year, that if the Tigers went to the World Series in 2013, we were going to get tickets to a game.  No matter the cost!  It’s something that’s on my bucket list and felt like it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.  You just never really know with sports teams!

The Tigers were in the AL Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox.  They weren’t quite in the World Series yet but it looked like they might be on their way, so we decided to get tickets to a game in this series as well.  It was Thursday, Oct 17, game 5.  I was glad because it wasn’t an elimination game; it would have been so disappointing to go to the game and have the season end that night!

Fortunately I was still working 9-6 at my job, so I was able to get home and change to be ready for the game.  B normally wouldn’t get out of work in time but he was able to get off a bit early.  We thought we might have time to grab a bite to eat before, but we ended up having to go directly there.  There was a line to get in, and it was COLD.  And WINDY!  But we were dressed as warmly as we thought we needed.  I had long johns under my jeans, and my ugly pink moon boots that are soooo cozy.  And my non-leather coat that I found out after purchasing was filled with down feather, so not actually vegan 😦  B had his coat and hat, but ended up being pretty cold so I let him wear my gloves…they barely fit but I insisted.  I also ended up having to put this plastic poncho over my legs because the wind went right through my two layers of pants.

We got nachos and a couple of beers right when we got there.  We went up to our seats, which were at the very top row against a fence—extra windy!  We had to move seats a couple times; lately it seems every time I go to a sports game, there are people in the wrong seats.  It doesn’t really bother me because, if the seats aren’t taken, no sense in them going to waste.  But it’s just always a big to-do to make them move and everyone’s gathering up their belongings and checking their tickets and squeezing past each other in the small aisles.

It was a slow start for the Tigers, but then they rallied and it looked like they might have a chance.  But there were a couple errors, and we ended up losing the game.  Pretty disappointing, but as I mentioned earlier, we weren’t out of the series yet, so all hope wasn’t lost.  This was the first time we had gone to a game downtown, and we got to experience how awesome it is being able to walk home in about 7 minutes.  AMAZING.  No worrying about parking or driving or being tired.

Until next time,

H

Foxtown

On Saturday November 9th we had a really lazy day around the house.  Eventually, we got up and ready enough to go out for dinner and we decided to go to Da Edoardo Foxtown Grille.  We had eaten there once in the past, when B was in the habit of purchasing restaurant.com gift card deals.  We laughed remembering how we didn’t realize that when using the gift card, you were supposed to pay cash, and we didn’t have any cash on us; thankfully the manager bent the rules and let us pay with a card.  The food had been okay, but we’re on an unofficial mission to eat at just about every Detroit restaurant while we live down here, so we figured we might as well stop Foxtown and try it again.

B teased me about what I was wearing, saying something like my navy linen dress pants didn’t look much different than pajama pants.  Then, as we were walking up to the restaurant, I noticed a girl sitting inside by the window staring me up and down.  Now, I can think of a million reasons why she might have been staring at me and most of them have nothing to do with me or how I look, but for some reason, I always get slightly offended and definitely annoyed when I catch people, especially other girls, looking me up and down.  My first reaction is “What the hell are you looking at??”  We got sat and I caught her eye again, this time prompting a silly discussion between B and I about different things I could say to her or gestures that I could make to give her the hint.

The waitress came to take our drink order; I got a Pepsi, and B got a glass of wine.  Just as she was walking away, I looked over and saw a chalkboard sign advertising drink specials, including Crabbie’s Ginger Beer.  I had Crabbie’s a couple times in New York, and I really like non-alcoholic ginger beer, so I have been wanting to find it in Michigan for awhile now.  I almost changed my order but I saw she was already pouring the Pepsi, so I decided I’d just have to have it another time. 

The server took our orders, recommending the house Italian dressing for our salads.  Normally, I would have asked if ranch was available, as I’m somewhat picky about Italian dressings.  But she spoke very highly of it, so I went with the flow.  The salads came and the vinaigrette was good, a little sweet for my taste, but went nicely with the mild blue cheese on top.  Even B liked the blue cheese, and blue is one of the few cheeses he normally doesn’t like. 

The entrees came:  I got Cannelloni alla Fiorentina, which was cannelloni stuffed with spinach and ricotta, and a tomato cream sauce.  B got Tortellini “Marcella Hazan”, which was chicken and veal stuffed tortellini with peas and prosciutto in a cream sauce.  The pastas were very good, and although the servings looked small when they arrived, they ended up being enough to fill both of us up.  We had a nice talk during dinner, and I felt good about how well our relationship has been going and how much we’ve both grown as people and as husband and wife.

The service was not that great here; the server was nice, but just wasn’t around very much.  Our table seemed to be on the complete other side of the restaurant as her other tables, and she didn’t come to check on us the entire time we ate, until it was time for the bill. 

As we were getting up, B swung his scarf around his neck and knocked down a glittery Christmas snowflake that had been hanging from the ceiling, which really made us laugh.  We bundled up and went out into the night.

As we were walking down the sidewalk, I noticed a concert ticket face down on the ground.  Not giving it much thought, I picked it up, expecting to see info about a long past show or event.  But it wasn’t long past, it was for the City & Colour concert that was going on next door at the Filmore at that very moment!  I flipped it over and it had AK handwritten on the back.  Man, what a bummer; there was a person out there, just like us at any other show we’d gone to, who lost their ticket and it was probably ruining their night.  We stood for a second, and B asked if we should try selling it.  I said no, that seemed pretty shady, and also unlikely, as there are at least 10 scruffy men standing outside of any Detroit event trying to hawk tickets as it is.  We kept walking towards the Filmore, and decided we would just give the ticket to someone that was in line about to purchase them.  I picked out a guy in a blue shirt and approached him, saying “Here…we found this, you can have it.”  As I was finishing my sentence, he interrupted with “ARE YOU SERIOUS?  ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?”  I thought that he was just in disbelief about his good luck, but then the girl in front of him turned around and yelled, “YOU FOUND MY TICKET???!!!???”  I thought, “No, crazy ass, we didn’t find your ticket, we found a ticket, what are the odds that it would be yours and why would you even think that???”  But then B chimed in and said, “What are your initials?” and she said “A-K!!!!” and we all started exclaiming because we knew it actually was her ticket.  She came around and gave us both hugs, thanking us.  She said she had driven all the way back home (wherever that was) to get her license, presumably so she could try to prove that she had purchased tickets and gain entry into the show.  As we walked away, we both couldn’t get over how strange of a coincidence the whole thing was.  It was a VERY windy day, so the fact that the ticket was even there on the ground is quite strange.  And honestly, if there are 2 people out there who you want to find your lost ticket, it’s B and I, because we both really like music and going to shows, and we know how big of a deal it would be to lose a ticket.  And then the fact that that girl happened to be standing in front of the box office right as we were walking by with her ticket…the odds are just against all of those things working out so serendipitously.  But it’s times like those that make you feel like we’re all connected in ways we don’t understand, and that there is a reason to do good things for other people.

After that, B wanted to walk by Campus Martius to see the ice skating rink being set up. Then we walked home and ended a good-vibes sort of night.

Until next time,

H

I need a drink

One day I had a really rough time at work.  I just started a new job, and it was an especially tough day for constructive criticism.  So I texted B and said, “I need a drink.  Let’s try a new place!”

He suggested 24 Grille, which is a classy bar and restaurant located inside the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel.  The nice thing about downtown is that most things we want to do are only a short walk away.  We both recently agreed that it really is a nice change walking places instead of driving; it feels brisk and refreshing.  B even said it makes him feel more alive.

I was still in my work clothes, which are business casual, but I felt a little under-dressed at this place nonetheless.  This was probably just more of my own insecurity than it was a vibe that I got from the place itself.  We took two seats at the bar and looked over a drink menu.  There were a lot of tempting choices, and I almost went with something bold and new (something I’m trying to embrace while we’re down here), but then B ordered a vodka martini, and I just decided to do the same.  We like our martinis extra dry (little to no vermouth) and extra dirty (lots of olive juice so the drink looks cloudy).  I ordered mine with blue cheese stuffed olives, which are delicious.  The bartender did a great job; a lot of times, we ask for them extra dirty and they just don’t use enough olive juice. 

Nothing much eventful happened…except that some guy in a business suit crop dusted us as he walked by.  We finished our drink and walked home.  On the way, there was a long line of male and female valets waiting outside of the hotel, in the cold wind.  It looked as if they were preparing for a huge influx of guests, but hardly anyone appeared to be arriving or departing, so we weren’t really sure what they were all doing. 

Until next time,

H

Monday night special

One Monday after I got off of work, we decided to go to Bookies for dinner.  Our apartment complex has an arrangement set up with them so that on Monday nights, residents get 50% off their food and drink bill. 

So far, it’s been surprising to me where bars and restaurants are located.  It’s not always in places where you’d expect to find them, or maybe just not the types of places I’m used to seeing them.  Green Dot Stables was located in what appeared to be an abandoned industrial complex….Comet Bar surrounded by empty gravel lots and broken down buildings….and Bookies appeared to be in a deserted area as well.  But Bookies is actually a really nice brick building, very clean inside with a high ceiling, music playing and a chill vibe.  We sat at a table not far from the door and ordered a couple Angry Orchards.  The waiter seemed a bit socially awkward but was nice.  It was pretty empty inside, just a couple girls at the bar, besides us.  For some reason, I decided to order a turkey sandwich.  Now, this doesn’t seem particularly strange in and of itself, but, it was out of character for me.  I’ve really gotten picky about lunch meat over the past few years, and I’ve never been a huge sandwich person; I like sandwiches but I don’t love them, and they’re not my first pick when eating out.  For some reason, the sandwich sounded good when I ordered it, but I immediately began questioning it.  Would it be thin, salty, cheap lunch meat?  Or thick, fibrous white turkey meat, like leftover Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches?  I could only hope it would be the latter.  B ordered a swordfish sandwich; he had swordfish for the first time when we were on our mini-moon in Mackinac Island so he wanted to try it again.  He has also developed an interest in eating non-traditional animals haha.  Just as I feared, the turkey sandwich was just regular old lunchmeat, and I could barely eat it.  It came with fries, which of course I wanted to eat, but I had had fries earlier that day already and just felt like a fat-ass eating them again.  B said his sandwich was good, but tasted fishier than before.  He had a 2nd cider and then we headed back home, agreeing to come back again to take advantage of the Monday night special.

Until next time,

H

Bdubs

On October 27th, we decided to go to the Detroit Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Lions game.  We had heard that it was one of the biggest (if not the biggest) in the country and we’re obviously huge fans of hot wings because we love to eat.  We also found out that they have a buffet, and yes, we love to eat, so we like buffets even if they’re kind of disgusting.

The Detroit B-dubs is 3 stories with exposed brick walls and tons of televisions.  We went upstairs to the 2nd level where they have a buffet.  You get a wristband like you’re 21+ at a bar, so they know you’re legit and allowed to be eating from the buffet.  The hostess told us that a coke was included in the price, which was $12.99 (I think).  The buffet was good, but not great.  It’s hard to keep wings hot, which is the best way to eat them.  And I happen to like a lot of sauce on mine, and these were a little low on sauce.  Finally, I guess I was hoping that a buffet would have every single flavor available, but that was probably a bit grandiose of me.  Anyway, that’s an awful lot of thought that I put into the bdubs buffet and obviously it doesn’t matter much if it was good or great.  It was a good time regardless. The service wasn’t that great; or I should say, the service wasn’t bad when we had it, but we just didn’t have much of it.  When we went to pay our tab, we noticed that we were charged for 2 cokes.  We had an awkward conversation about it with the waitress, who said that the hostess had been incorrect, but if that’s what we were told, then she’d have the manager honor it.  We weren’t arguing or complaining at all, but she was sort of defensive and it seemed like she felt like we were complaining.

The other people eating were pretty into the game, which is always fun.  They had a giant projection screen, and next to it a few smaller TVs.  Unfortunately the smaller ones were a few seconds faster than the big one, and B kept looking at the smaller ones and seeing what was about to happen before I and everyone else really did.  I told him to stop but I guess it was hard to block the view of it.  The Lions were up and down throughout the game, and towards the very end, even the announcers had pretty much written us off.  Disappointing.  I don’t know much about football because just this season I started getting more into it, but even I know that the Lions have had a rough go of it for basically my entire life.  They’re finally starting to get a bit better and all the fans are pretty hopeful. 

We left, walked home, and were still able to catch the very end of the game, and this is how B describes it:  “The Lions drove down the field with one minute left, no time outs, and made a 30 yard pass where the wide receiver was tackled near the 2 yard line.  With only seconds left, Stafford was motioning to spike the ball to stop the clock, but he fooled everyone by jumping over a pile of guys for the touchdown.  It was amazing!  Basically, very un-Lions like.” Ha ha.  But it was very exciting!

Until next time,

H