DETROIT: Film Fun

7 Apr

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The list of things to see, places to eat and activities to do continues to grow in Detroit. Tonight we are dining at the recently opened Grille Midtown on Woodward in Midtown. With a little bit of luck we score a parking space in front of the restaurant, Friday evening diners are beginning to filter in. The interior is quite attractive; brick walls are painted in a silvery grey, artist renderings of vintage GM concept cars are framed and hang on the walls. We follow the hostess to our seats passing vintage automotive grills mounted to the wall; nearest our table one from a Ford Econoline and another from a Lincoln Continental, both circa 1960’s. Cool car stuff is found throughout the space.

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We start with a Caprese Salad; tomatoes, prosciutto, basil and mozzarella drizzled with olive oil and a balsamic reduction, very tasty. The Smokehouse burger is a thick prime ground beef patty served on a housemade brioche bun, topped with crispy applewood smoked bacon, house bbq sauce, melted cheddar and onion strings, yum! The burger comes with gourmet fries and a McClure’s pickle. Adjacent to the Grille is the Garden Theater, designed as a movie house by C Howard Crane, it opened in 1912 and showed films until 1949. Having sat empty and unused for the last 20 years the theater has been brought back to life. We poked our heads in to have a look…….we have got to see a show here.

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Tonight Cinema Detroit is showing The Grand Budapest Hotel. Starting out as the Burton International High School, the building is nearly 100 years old, the original auditorium had all of the seats and a projection booth (built in 1924) when the Burton Theatre took over the building. Previously known as Cass City Cinema, Paula and Tim Guthat now operate Cinema Detroit at The Burton. Movie enthusiasts themselves, both Paula and Tom blog about movies. Showing contemporary, indie, cult and classic movies, the screen in theater 1 is equipped with a cinema server and NEC digital camera DCI compliant projector to enable the showing of the latest movies from Hollywood and independent producers. Tonight there is an added attraction, Angela Foster, local pastry chef and proprietor of Coffee and (_____) is preparing Courtesans au chocolat just like the ones in the movie. 

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We arrive about a half hour before the movie is scheduled to begin, parking is easy because they have their own (monitored) lot. Everything about this place is unique, we walk toward the building, a small flashing LED sign reads ‘theater’, we follow a walkway on the side of the building, then follow the next flashing sign to the entry door. Inside a pair of lines have formed, one to purchase tickets and snacks, the other to purchase the courtesans au chocolat. I take my place in line to purchase tickets, it looks like the show may be sold out, I want to make sure we get our seats. Once our coats have been placed to secure our seats we join the pastry line. Silver trays of courtesans sit atop a small table, the pastries are beautiful; made from profiterole batter they are filled with chocolate custard, held together with colorful glazes and topped with a chocolate covered coffee bean, they’re as delicious as they look! Before the movie begins Angela has sold out. If you’d like to try some of her wonderful baked goods contact her by email; watch for the re-opening of her shop on Jefferson and Chalmers June 1st.

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With a little time left before we need to take our seats, we check out some of the building, antique projectors and film equipment are cool to look at. A second theater is located on the lower level, patrons have begun to arrive for the show. Back up the stairs we settle in to watch the movie, the auditorium is quaint and comfortable, there isn’t a single open seat. The film is visually stunning, the story charming, funny, sweet.  The Grand Budapest Hotel runs through Thursday April 10th, click on the link above for details.

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We end our evening with a stop at 3rd Street Bar for a nightcap. Not too noisy or too crowded we take a table near the bar, Kris orders a Canadian Club and Diet Coke, it’s a Founders Porter for me. This place always has a cozy feel, we sip on our drinks and talk about the evening, we have checked another new place off our list, there are still so many more to try……………

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