Returning to Detroit

I went to Detroit a few years ago with my friend and really wanted to return to see what has changed.  Detroit declared bankruptcy in 2013 essentially hitting rock bottom.  In the mid 50s there were 1.8m people living there and now there are roughly 650k so there is still room to grow. 
There are a lot of young families and prices are low.  There is a great vibe there too.  A new and old community seems to be coming together.   

We hit up Roses Fine Food straight from the airport.  I like everything about the place.  The food is mostly prepared diner style on the grill with a hipper mix. Sweets and breads are excellent too.  Not a lot of seats so come early or come late. This BLT was so good. Thick warm bread with a smear of spicy mayo, greens, scallions and a juicy tomato. The first bite dripped down to my chin.

We needed another sweet so Sister Pie was calling.  They were down to bare minimums at the end of the day but we managed to nab two slices. Banana Pete and Salted Maple.  Wow. Worth every caloric bite. 

Stopped by the Motown Museum but did not know that you need to make a resy to get in so got one for Sunday morning.  We detoured over to the Detroit Institute of Art.  The Diego Rivera mural is worth the stop alone.  But I really enjoy their permanent exhibit particularly the ever growing acquisitions of black artists.  Portrait of a Collagist, Benny Andrews. If you look closely you can see that the denim in this painting is actual denim.

We went to the hotel to rest and regroup.  We stayed at the Shinola.  They have done a really nice job. The design is a mix of old world Detroit with mid-century.  It feels good.  They have a few bumps to work out on operations but all and all a good spot.  

Before dinner we headed over to the Candy Bar at the Siren Hotel.  I stayed there last time.  The Candy Bar continues with the theme of the roaring 20’s meets 2020.  Small intimate and good cocktails

Dinner was at Flowers of Vietnam.  A long bar on one side of the restaurant and the tables on the other side of the wall separating the bar with an open kitchen behind a glass wall.   Really well done.  This place could easily be in Brooklyn.  It was hopping. Super crispy caramel chicken wings and bbq beef on sticks were two of my faves but the best was the green papaya salad tossed with aged nuoc mam with grilled pork on the side. Perfect.

We went back to the hotel although Emily and Saarim (our traveling companions) went out to the Motor City Wine Bar for a drink and Marble Bar to see some music.  On one hand I would have liked to go but on the other hand hanging out to 2am might have destroyed me for the next days activities 

Comments (Archived):

  1. jason wright

    Is the quality of restaurant food a reliable indicator of the quality of life of the average resident of a city?

    1. Gotham Gal

      Great question. Food and culture is definitely connected to the city and my guess draws people there.

      1. pointsnfigures

        Detroit is complex. Got a lot of friends that live in the areas around there. It was a disaster. In the center part, two developers basically have sunk millions and millions of dollars into redevelopment. I was there a year ago, and it’s basically a very small area of the downtown where you’d want to spend your time. The tech scene is small but growing. MSU and U Michigan are great schools. My friend Neal runs the entrepreneurship program at MSU. A big bright spot is GM/Ford/Chrysler. When you think about driverless transportation, a lot of the development will be there.Living within the city limits of Detroit can be really really hard. The public school system is pretty bad. Certain neighborhoods are revitalizing, but others not so much. Schools in the suburbs are pretty good.One thing that I saw in Chicago when Detroit went down was a flood of people from Michigan streaming into Chicago to live. We might see a lot of those folks go back since Chicago is a city on the brink of financial collapse.

        1. Gotham Gal

          I hear you but I think there is more than the center city of where you would want to spend your time. We spent very little time there.

          1. pointsnfigures

            Agree but most people wouldn’t want to head out! I have been to that Farmer’s Market. It’s huge. Out on the east side not terribly far from downtown. The other thing about Detroit is you have to own a car. Traffic can be pretty tough at certain times of the day. By the way, I’d also look at staying at the University Club in Detroit. It’s an amazing old school place and they have a roof deck that overlooks Comerica Park where the Tigers play.I like what Detroit did, locating three sports arenas in close proximity to give bones to an area that needed it. I am glad the city is revitalizing. It’s sad what happened. Destroyed people’s lives, wealth and property.

    2. AMT Editorial Staff

      We’d say, “no way” — at least if your are talking globally. Maybe that statement has some roots in the US, but not abroad.

  2. creative group

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    1. Gotham Gal

      Will take a look

  3. AMT Editorial Staff

    We’ve been reading about the Shinola. Interesting. Also, just saw today that Detroit’s Airport ranked #1 in the “Mega Airport” category. Surprised you didn’t go for any Mediterranean food…but I recall you hit that last time.