Author Archives: ouryearindetroit

About ouryearindetroit

We're H&B! We just moved to Detroit, and we're planning to stay a year before we settle down and buy a house. We have a lot of stuff we want to see and do while we're here, and we wanted to document it so that we can remember it forever. We thought it would be nice for our friends and family to keep up with us this way too, and maybe even for some strangers to find out about all the coolness that Detroit has to offer.

Girls night out

I think it was a Friday.  I was on my way home from work, talking to B on the phone, and we got into a bit of an argument.  I got upset, and told him not to wait up for me, because I was going out!

So I called my friend A and asked her what she was up to that night, and would she want to grab a bite with me.  Luckily, she wasn’t busy, so I met her at her apartment and we walked over to Bdubs.  We ate and chatted; it had been awhile since I had seen her, so we had a lot to catch up on.  As we were getting ready to go, I noticed an older guy at the next table staring at A.  Then, I saw him actually bend down, and with absolutely no shame, look at her under our table!!!!!  This was too much!  I said “Um, excuse me? Yeah, hello” as rudely as I could.  We made eye contact and then he looked away, but I could not believe the blatant pervertedness of this guy doing that!  Thankfully she was wearing leggings under her skirt.  But what a creeper!

After that, we walked over to Grand Trunk.  She had a friend in town that I had met once before, and we were supposed to meet up with him there.  Grand Trunk is a narrow place, and always busy, so we walked in and tried to find him and/or find a seat.   We wandered around a bit, then decided to try the upstairs room at the back of the bar.  I had never been up there before so it was cool to check it out.  We ended up running into two of her other friends, who had a few open seats next to their table.  We sat down and made introductions all around.  One guy Patrick is A’s neighbor, and the other guy was Patrick’s coworker.  We began chatting; I think they said that they did some type of solar power work.  At one point, Patrick’s friend said “Stop pretending like you don’t have the prettiest eyes of anyone here” and I can’t really remember the context of it but it was a nice compliment; provided he actually meant it as a compliment.  It was kind of random so I wasn’t sure if he was joking or not, but I do consider my eyes to be one of my best features so I took it in a nice way ha ha.  He definitely wasn’t giving off any kind of flirtatious vibe so who knows.

I wanted a cider to drink, but I think they said they didn’t have any.  Or maybe it was a Crabbie’s Ginger Beer that I asked for….I keep trying to find Crabbie’s around town and they don’t have it many places.  Anyway, I ended up with a MotorCity GhettoBlaster.  I felt silly saying the name of course, but I knew of the beer and figured why not try it.

Then A’s other friend Kevin finally showed up with one of his buddies.  Kevin is a real character!  He was on a mission to party pretty hard, which is always entertaining.  He recently left his job to take care of his mother, who has health problems.  We had a serious conversation about that, and his life, and his self-esteem, although I don’t think he really knew we were talking about his self-esteem but we were, because he said he felt like people didn’t understand him, and that he felt like he was trying to be someone he wasn’t at his old job, that kind of stuff.  He talked most of us into doing a shot, and he said for me to pick it, so I chose tequila.  I know tequila is kind of serious, but honestly it is the only shot that goes down smooth for me.  I guess he was thinking of a mixed shot, like a Washington Apple or something, but he didn’t specify so we got tequila.  I really try to avoid shots these days, because they always seem like a fun idea and they always end up being a terrible idea, but I figured if I kept it at one shot for the night, I’d be ok.

Around 1am we decided we felt like dancing a little bit, so we said goodbye to Patrick and his group.  A, Kevin, his buddy and I started walking across town to another bar.  On the way, I dropped off my leftovers to a homeless guy that we passed.  We ended up at Firebird, which I had never been to before.  We went upstairs.  It was a cool brick bar with a small dance floor.  It was dark, surprisingly not crowded.  As soon as we got there, Kevin and his buddy started dancing like crazy.  A and I went to the bar for a drink, and I saw 2 guys seeming to have a friendly disagreement about where one of them should put their coat.  It was really funny to me, so I asked them what they were doing, and the four of us struck up a conversation.  One guy was named Anthony, and the other Manoj.  Manoj said he was a pharmacist.  We had a good conversation; he said that as a pharmacist, he thinks that he could do homeless people a lot more good than by just giving them money, he would give them medicine for their health problems.  He was a really nice guy.  After chatting for awhile, he asked for my number.  I told him we could be friends, but had to let him know that I was married, to which he excitedly said “Ohhhhh, that’s great!  I just got engaged to my fiance like a week ago!!!”  We laughed it off, and I was glad that there was no awkwardness.

At one point, I went to the bar and ordered another drink.  The bartender was this really stoned-seeming hippie guy, and he told me disinterestedly that the minimum amount to put on a card was something ridiculous, like $15 or $20.  So I said ok fine, I’ll just take 2 drinks and this girl over here can have the other one, and I pointed to a girl who was sitting at the bar next to where I was standing.  I didn’t really care about the money, I just wanted to be able to buy a drink and I only had my card.  The bartender said he thought it was really nice of me to do that, and he didn’t charge me for the Red Bull—-score!

Finally, it was closing time, so we bundled up and started walking.  Anthony and Manoj asked if they could walk us back to A’s house.  I don’t think either of us really wanted them to, but they seemed like nice guys and I guess we both felt like they were pretty harmless, so we said sure, you can walk with us.  Once we got in front of A’s apartment, a guy walked up to us and started telling us a story about how he had just been in the hospital, and his car got towed, and he was just trying to get to the bus station, did we know where the bus station is, did we know how to get to the Grayhound station, how he was an Army veteran, etc etc.  Manoj was pretty drunk at this point, so he offered him $5 and a hug.   Finally the guy went on his way.  Manoj asked if he could use A’s bathroom, so we went upstairs.

I’m pretty sure Manoj had to go number 2, because he was in the bathroom for a long time.  While he was in there, I asked Anthony if Manoj had recently gotten engaged; he laughed and said no!  So apparently he had just said that to save face earlier, but he said it so naturally, I couldn’t tell the difference.  Pretty empressive to have that line on backup in case you get rejected when you ask for a number lol.  Finally, Manoj came out and after a few minutes of awkward “see you laters”, they left.

A put on “Pitch Perfect”, saying it was a really good movie and that I should at least watch a little of it.  I agreed, but since I had had so much Red Bull at the bar, I was wide awake and watched the whole thing.  Somewhere around 4-5 am, I got my stuff and walked back home in the cold, deserted morning.

Until next time,

H

Holiday shopping!

On November 11, I had a day off from work.  Although I definitely hate working weekends, the tradeoff is having weekdays off sometimes, which is always nice for running errands and checking things off of my to-do list.

B asked if I would like to meet him for lunch, and I jumped at the chance; it’s not often we get to eat that meal together!  Conveniently, Potbelly was having a pre-grand opening special, where you paid a $5 donation that went to the Parade Company, and you got a sandwich, chips and a drink.  Pretty sweet deal!  They were also giving out samples of their soups and milkshakes which were all delicious.  I arrived there before B did, but I didn’t get in line yet because they were taking donations right at the door and he had the cash.  He arrived shortly after, and the line took about 15 minutes.  The girl taking the order was being “trained”, which basically involved telling her what to do and making her stand in a very specific spot on the floor.  We ate at a little table in the corner, and it was delicious!

After that, I went shopping at a few places on Woodward. These were pop-up shops that were just there for the holiday season.  First I went into a shop called The Hand Made Company.  They had some antiques, some Michigan made products and gifts–pretty cool.  Then I went into Rock Paper Scissors, a paper and gift store.  They have other locations in Ann Arbor and Tecumseh.  I love stores like this—stationery, quirky cards, candles, cool knick knacks.  I bought a set of Boston Terrier Christmas cards for my friend Jacquie, and a couple other cards that say “Someone in Detroit Misses You”.  Then I walked back to the apartment, jumped into my car and stopped at Great Lakes Coffee Roasting Company, where I had the Sexy Mexican….seriously, if you have not had this drink, you need to.  So tasty.  And then I went over to City Bird on Canfield, and Nest next door to that.  I found sooooooo much stuff I wanted to buy, but I held off—I hadn’t quite made up my mind who I needed to shop for and what I wanted to buy.   I also spent a ridiculous amount of time just standing in City BIrd looking through texts from my sister and listening to the awful weird French music that was playing, trying to find a list of stuff she had texted me that she wanted for her bday and xmas, but I couldn’t find it.

It was a good day off, and nice to see what the city had to offer for the holiday season.

Until next time,

H

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