DETROIT: Model T’s, BBQ & Beer

28 Oct

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Detroit has an impressive industrial history; from building ships and trains to stoves and of course, the automobile. The Ford Piquette Avenue Plant  built in 1904, is a City, State and Federal Historic Site and a National Historic Landmark. It is significant for several reasons; Here the Model T was designed and the first 12,000 plus produced, Ford Motor Company set the world production record by assembling 101 Model N’s, R’s and S’s in 1908 in a ten hour day, and this building is where the methods and ideas came about that would become the moving assembly line.The museum points out the importance of the building and the magnitude of what went on here and how it shaped history. The structure itself is over 67,000 square feet, there are three floors and 362 of the original 395 original windows are still in place. Ford did everything here from the drafting to the assembly.

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Start your tour on the second floor at the admissions desk; Guided tours are available or you you can grab a self-tour guide from the desk. View the video to put you in the mindset of Detroit 1904-1910. If you do the self guided tour be sure and read the information packet provided to fully understand the building and what went on here. I really like coming here, I think it’s so cool to be standing on the same floor as the likes of Henry Ford, James Couzens, John and Horace Dodge, William Durant and so many others once did. There are beautifully restored cars on display, they are all on loan, so you’re never sure what you will see that day. Check out the 2004 Ford GT, this is the actual car that set the world’s speed record that year. The museum makes changes through the season with different exhibits, they had just taken down the Fashion and the Automobile exhibit, we were disappointed we missed it. There is always something new in the works currently volunteers are reconstructing the Experimental Room exhibit, and a new Ford dealership exhibit will be installed soon. Two floors are open for you to wander through, it’s really fascinating and it’s the only early automotive factory in Detroit that is well preserved and open to the public. The museum closes for the winter, but you have until November 20th to visit.

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The sun was out and the temperature was pleasant enough to eat outdoors, so we drove over to Slows-to-go on Cass Ave for lunch. With the popularity of their Michigan Ave location and subsequent crowds this gives us hungry diners another option. With their recently installed outdoor wooden tables and benches you can eat right there if you wish. The menu is the same, as is the unbelievably delicious food.I highly recommend the Reason; tender and moist pulled pork piled high on Texas toast, topped with cole slaw and dill pickle strips, yum! The Mac & Cheese is always a good choice for a side, creamy sauce with a hint of heat, we ordered a side of potato salad too, good stuff!  I know it sounds crazy, but every time I eat here I am amazed at how delectable everything is. It was great to be sitting outside in October enjoying a scrumptious meal.

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For the last 5 Sunday’s the West Village neighborhood has opened a “Pop-Up” Biergarten called Tashmoo. Located on Van Dyke and occupying 2 empty lots it has been wildly successful. We finally had the opportunity to check it out, I’m so glad we did. As we drove down the residential area of Van Dyke, we knew we were getting close when we started seeing all of the cars parked alongside the street. What a perfect setting on a glorious Fall day; Mature trees line the street, beautiful homes grace the neighborhood, and a slight chill in the air. As you approach the fenced in lots the name Tashmoo is called out in bright red letters across the front, a series if patio stones lead you to the entrance where you must show your ID and receive one of those paper bracelets if you are going to drink beer.

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It was well organized, after you put on your bracelet proceed to the ticket table, tickets are $2 each, you trade them in to the bartender for a glass of your choice of several Michigan beers, easy. It was late afternoon and the Lions were playing at home, we made the right decision by going before the game let out. Tables and benches are made of 2×4’s, tables are topped with discarded doors, as is the bar itself. People were everywhere, communal tables were filled to capacity, dozens of folks were playing the Corn-Hole games, groups of friends were gathered together having a beer and catching up. We had our tickets in hand and made our way to the bar, thankfully the lines moved quickly. We tried the Founders Porter, and both found it enjoyable. What’s a Biergarten without food? No problem, there were two food booths; People’s Pierogi Collective was there serving up bite sized pierogi with your choice of Kraut, Potato or Sour Cherry filling, 3 for $5. We tried one of each, though all were delicious, I  was especially fond of the sour cherry. Corridor Sausage had their booth right next door and seemed to be very popular, offering a variety of sausages with unique toppings and meat and cheese plates that paired perfectly with your favorite beer. 

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This was my first Biergarten experience so I wasn’t sure what to expect, it was absolutely wonderful. The crowd was mellow, the name Tashmoo means “meeting place” and that’s exactly what it is; a place for friends to gather and a place where strangers sit down side by side and make new friends. Every age group was represented; toddlers sat on blankets atop the lush green grass, school age children tried their hand at Corn-Hole, and grown-ups played board games in the afternoon sun. This was the last Sunday for the season, I am already looking forward to next year.


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