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ALVIN: We headed to Hamtramck for the evening to check it out. We started the evening at Detroit Threads, which is totally sweet. You want skinny ties, 70s leisure jackets, cardigans galore, or fine hats for a summer wedding? You can find it at this vintage store. The owner was super friendly and the prices were quite reasonable. I’m excited about the glasses frames I got there this evening and I’m definitely planning on returning soon.

Detroit Threads in Hamtramck

ALLISON: Hamtramck is a “city within a city” (see the mayor’s very adorable, recent dance) a la the Vatican and is only a couple square miles surrounded on all sides by Detroit. (Oddly enough it’s not the only city that Detroit has phagocytocized — there is also Highland Park.)

Hamtramck is known for its Polish, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian heritage, so for dinner, obviously, we had Mexican food. We scored some delicious vegetarian burritos at Maria’s Comida, which you will love! The owner tells us they are launching a new menu next month that will include Asian-Mexican fusion. Sign us up! We are so there!

Mexicasian is hen hao, Senor!

Maria's Comida: currently delicious Mexican; future Mexican-Asian fusion!

ALVIN: We stopped on the way home to wet our whistles at The Belmont, a fine bar offering amongst others great local beer from the Atwater Brewery. I give the Dirty Blond two thumbs up, while Allison enjoyed her Double Down Imperial Amber as much as Paul McCartney’s immortal Bond anthem, “Live and Let Die.” The best money we spent on the jukebox all night! But if we had a dollar left, and if it was open, AAAAAANNNDDDD if we weren’t vegetarian, we would have totally bought some kielbasa from Kowalski’s Sausage Co.

"You know, Vinnie knows sausage."

It's my Polish doppelganger's sausage shop in Hamtramck.

ALLISON: We finished our Hamtramck field trip with a gorgeous night bike ride back downtown. We caught the nearly full moon peaking out from behind the Ren Cen overlooking the people mover. It was a really great moment, and we took a picture so that we could share it with you.

Doo doo doo doo doo...doo doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo doo...

Ren Cen in moonlight


Here’s the play by play!

ALVIN: So we went in search of a place to live. The neighborhoods we concentrated on this trip included Midtown, City Center, and Woodbridge. I really liked the neighborhood feel of Woodbridge, but was surprised by the lack of a business strip to support the needs of the residents there. With some more businesses & restaurants down there, it would have been a slam dunk! Nonetheless mad props to Larry John, who is originally from the area and is renovating big parts of the neighborhood house by house. You’re doing some fine work there, Mr. John – keep it up! Check out more about what he has to offer on his website.

ALLISON: This felt like our “Away We Go” trip (“I can’t believe you told your mother about my tilted uterus”). I was struck by the fantastic neighborhoody feel of Woodbridge, too, and I have a not so secret wish to become a regular at the Woodbridge Pub. We also checked out some sweet lofts including the Lofts at Merchant Row (front window seats for the Thanksgiving Day Parade!) and Riverview Apartments (right on the Riverwalk). I’ve lived car free for 8 years and The Commute was weighing heavy on my mind as we looked at places. It’s true that when it comes to finding a place to live, it is location, location, location. Will I have to buy a car? Is it possible to be car-free in the Motor City?

ALVIN: One the great joys we’ve developed in the last couple of places we’ve lived has been farmer’s markets and community supported agriculture. We’re excited about being closer to the awesome Eastern Market, but we were also surprised at how hard it is to find supermarkets in the downtown area. Downtown peeps gotta eat, too, you know! Maybe it’s time to bring a program like City Fresh here in Cleveland to Detroit, or encourage the establishment of a supermarket dedicated to underserved areas like Cleveland’s Dave’s. Opportunity is a-knocking, Foodies and Locovores of Detroit!

ALLISON: Food schmood. Let’s talk about the monorail. We rode The People Mover and it was standing room only, which is hands down my favorite thing to see on public trans. There was a cheerleading competition in town that weekend and the glitter was positively airborne. We left the People Mover covered in it despite no direct contact like so much sparkly ebola. The People Mover, by the way, is a great way to see the city and is especially cool along the River.

ALVIN: Here’s Allison sharing a sweet fist pound with Joe Lou.


What up, Joe Lou?!

ALLISON: Best Younger Brother Award of the Year goes to not yours, but my brother who took us to Cadieux Cafe for my Xtieth birthday (where X = 30 shhhhh!). Cadieux Cafe is famous for its Soul Jazz Sunday and feather bowling. Soul Jazz Sunday is some tight, tight grooves (so stoked to be moving to an awesome music scene), and feather bowling is a dusty Belgian shuffle board/curling/bocce mishmash with wooden cheese wheels, a remarkably resilient feather, and pomme frites. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise — when it comes to winning at featherbowling I completely kicked everyone’s booty patooties. Dirty thirties indeed.

Here is the Spirit of Detroit posing like Alvin.

The Spirit of Detroit poses like Alvin.

The Spirit of Detroit poses like Alvin.

ALVIN: So we’re still in search for a place to live, but we’re excited about the possibilities. Stay tuned to that same bat blog at the same bat time for more details!

Alvin and I have made the big decision to move to Detroit this summer. Here is our blog chronicling our adventures as we explore our new city. Detroit, you are about to get two new committed, young people. Are you ready? Are you pumped?

I visited Detroit yesterday – just a little driving tour with my parents who live in suburban Detroit. Our aim was to get a feel for some of the neighborhoods, and as a first impression I was absolutely blown away by the vacancy and desolation. I expected it – I’m no newb to The D – but now that I have a different perspective (I am a future resident — not just a visitor anymore), I was struck all over again by what I saw. Nevertheless, I am confident that the smattering of positive things happening in Detroit can be knit together into a full on movement. We want to encourage that movement along. We’re not looking for a life in the suburbs. We’re saying yes to you, Detroit.

And so a little driving tour. A quick run down:

First up: a visit to the Midtown neighborhood. Midtown is pretty sweet — it is the area immediately surrounding the cultural institutions that I grew up visiting: the Detroit Institute of Arts, Orchestra Hall, Wayne State University. Midtown was bumping yesterday despite the chill and the snow. Seems relatively walkable and has a lot of amenities in close proximity. I’m excited about the possibility of living near so much creativity. Could this neighborhood be our new home?

Second: the Corktown neighborhood. Corktown is the area surrounding old Tiger Stadium and the abandoned Michigan Central Station, which has to be one of Detroit’s most striking buildings. It pains me a little bit to be describing a neighborhood by what used to be there, but I acknowledge that Tiger Stadium’s empty field and MCS’s empty shell are an important part of Corktown’s history. These days, Corktown is loaded with fun old houses built close together and some of Detroit’s most famous restaurants and bars (Slow’s BBQ, anyone?). In 2009 I had a chance to experience Corktown both on foot in the Turkey Trot (15,000 people running through the streets of Detroit in costume? you must love this race) and on a bike in the Tour De Troit (a must ride bike tour of Detroit starting and finishing at MCS with lots of delicious local food.)

Third: Boston-Edison. This is a really cool part of town full of gorgeous homes and mansions. Check out Model D’s neighborhood guide for a nice description. I found this driving tour online, so we were able to identify the former homes of pretty much anyone famous who ever lived in Detroit ever. It’s 8 pages of famous people! Take the tour!