Tag Archives: Eastern Market

DETROIT: In Living Color

14 Jan

Eastern Mkt 016 (1)

For the third consecutive year the Murals In The Market festival landed in Detroit’s Eastern Market in September 2017. Inner State Gallery along with 1xRUN have curated and produced over 100 murals in Eastern Market alone. World-class local and international artists converge in Detroit, taking over the market district armed with scissor lifts, a rainbow assortment of paint, superior talent and an endless imagination. The result is an exceptional array of stunning art covering buildings both in use and long forgotten. In turn Eastern Market has become one giant public art gallery, expanding the walkable footprint of the district, making it a must-see destination for locals and visitors alike. We’re here on an exceptionally warm November day, let’s see what’s new…

capitol park 001 (1)

capitol park 016 (1)

capitol park 020 (1)

Russell St. is the market’s main drag, we park near new murals by Fel3000ft and Malt. The first is a powerful image of a fox, its face in color as his fur becomes a flowing mane in black, white and grey, gears turn in the background. Tucked beside it is Malt’s flock of blue birds flying into an autumn breeze. Further down Russell Denial has created another comic-like series of images in bold colors; a tiger, peace sign, woman’s face and the words ‘never say never’, I like this style. From here we just wander the streets looking for new murals, it’s a Friday, trucks come and go down narrow streets, men unload meat, produce and other goods. On the backside of Bert’s Warehouse Jose Felix Perez and Michael Vasquez have painted a group of rappers, Eminem is front and center. Picnic tables remain on the patio hoping for one more warm day. Around the corner is another tribute to musicians; first a scene by Shade anchored by and old-fashioned microphone intermixed with a female singer, musical notes and instruments. Beside it we find black and white images of Jazz greats; singers, drummers, bass players, clarinet players–you get the idea. Over a fence is Sheefy’s creation of red, pink, blue, yellow and green body parts. Hitsville USA, Berry and Esther Gordy are portrayed further down on the same wall.

capitol park 023 (1)

capitol park 030 (1)

capitol park 036 (1)

capitol park 032 (1)

Camilo Pardo has an incredible rendering of a 1967 Fastback Mustang over on Alfred St. A girl relaxes against the front fender, the smoke from her cigarette rises and dissipates. The car is super cool in green and gold; Kris and I really like his style. Tatiana Suarez’s goddess is enchanting against a blue background. We walk some more, ending up near the Dequindre Cut, a host of vacant building are either being restored or waiting for renovation, it’s really quiet over here, we wander around traversing broken concrete and uneven ground. On the Cut we are welcomed by more art, look at the image of the bicyclist and his shadow, the wall of bubbles in blues and purples. On street level Anthony Lee’s fire-breathing robot-dragon shoots laser beams from his eyes as repairmen make adjustments, the detail is amazing. HoxxoH and Brian Lacey’s scene reminds me of the sea or an aquarium; green leaves, blue reeds and coral-like images. A prism-colored skeleton resides on a funky pink wall, his medieval flail wraps around the building connecting with another skeleton on the other side.

capitol park 086 (1)

capitol park 058 (1)

capitol park 072 (1)

capitol park 082 (1)

A pheasant and an old car occupy two squares of earth hovering above water in Johnny Alexander’s contribution, Paul Johnson’s piece makes me think of life on some other planet where Palm trees grow like upside-down pineapples and stars are huge in the night sky; Chris Saunder’s eagle takes up the adjacent wall. Street after street, building after building, at every turn another mural comes into view,  Lauren Y’s moth-girl is beautiful, the tunnel created in greens and yellows by 1010 makes me want to climb up and look inside. HoxxoH’s piece on Mack reminds me of a giant Spirograph, love it! Hey, did you know they still make Spirograph? If you like astronomy check out Mary Iversons constellation piece near St. Aubin.

capitol park 095 (1)

capitol park 068 (1)

capitol park 065 (1)

capitol park 102 (1)

We’ve walked enough, let’s grab some lunch. Beau Bien Fine Foods shop and cafe opened a few months ago on Riopelle. They have been making  jams, mustards and chutneys for years, we have seen their products at maker fairs and local markets; the Peach Bourbon Vanilla Preserves won us over immediately. The shop is a mere 400 sq. ft, it’s adorable; a crystal chandelier hangs from the black ceiling, the black and white tiled floor looks vintage.  Walls are lined with jarred preserves, chutneys and vinegars all made with Michigan fruit. We order at the register and have a seat at the counter at the far end of the space. First to arrive is a bowl of steaming Tomato soup, delicious. The tortilla de patatas is next, it’s wonderful, the kick of the chorizo-spiced mayo is perfect, a mixed green salad is served alongside. You can sample anything they sell for free; Kris really likes the Plum Honey preserves, I’m torn between the Michigan Apple and the Cranberry Mustard, Cranberry wins, I’m quite satisfied with my decision.

Eastern Mkt 055 (1)

Eastern Mkt 023 (1)

Eastern Mkt 029 (1)

Back out on Riopelle we find ourselves standing in front of Eastern Market Brewing Company; the building has undergone a complete rehab and is now a fully functioning brewery and tasting room. Eastern Market has been home to dozens of breweries over the past century, EMBC continues the tradition. The brewers use ingredients from market vendors and local businesses whenever possible. The interior is a large, open, airy space, front windows roll up when the weather allows, the garden wall is really pretty with live plants and wrought iron accents. Community tables rest on concrete floors, the EMBC elephant is painted on the wall behind the bar. The menu changes seasonally, so many choices, the only thing to do is try several. Our sampler includes Cherry Porter, Apple Jacked, Coffee Stout and Nitro Honey. Being a dark beer girl I am surprised that the Apple Jacked is my favorite, Kris’s favorite is the Nitro Honey, no surprise there. 

Eastern Mkt 051 (1)

Eastern Mkt 036 (1)

Eastern Mkt 044 (1)

We meander the maze of market streets back to our car, we park in a lot so we can view the murals along Gratiot.  A multi-color tiger looks fierce, he’s so big he takes up the entire side of the building. The wall of cartoon-critters makes me smile, another mural welcomes us to Eastern Market Fresh, Lunch Money’s piece reminds us ‘there is no beauty without strangeness’. Our final stop is Pat Perry’s piece, I love his work and this piece is exceptional. The entire side of the building is his canvas, just look at the detail; the woman, the man, the house, the wildflowers and the placement of the lantern. The mural looks completely at home, it belongs in just that spot. It catches me completely off-guard, I draw a breath in and stare, it’s perfect.

Eastern Mkt 006 (1)

Eastern Mkt 010 (1)

capitol park 118 (1)

capitol park 109 (1)

DETROIT: Eastern Market Holiday Style

1 Dec

easternmarket 075 (1)

With Thanksgiving behind us it’s time to start thinking all things Christmas; what better place to begin than the Sunday Holiday Market at Eastern Market. My favorite thing about coming to this type of market is the quality and variety of merchandise, food and drink assembled under one roof; the artistry and talent is amazing. We begin in Shed 3, vendors have set up tables along the perimeter of the room, items are attractively arranged, samples are plentiful. Shoppers seem to be out in clusters; families of multiple-generations, girlfriends out for the day, couples; everyone seems to be in the holiday spirit.

easternmarket 061 (1)

easternmarket 009 (1)easternmarket 006 (1)

easternmarket 003 (1)

We traverse wide aisles filled with people looking for the perfect gift, we shift from table to table like some strange choreographed dance, one group leaves another steps up. I have a soft spot for hand-made things, the crocheted baby items are adorable; tiny little hats, blankets and cocoons. Displays are beautiful; gold and silver wrapped packages and tiny white lights are festive, T-shirts featuring Michigan and Detroit themes are extremely popular. Bottles and Beach Glass have been re-purposed into art, The Mc Clary Bros. table has a big selection of drinking vinegars, would you like a taste? One of the vendors is selling cranberries, fresh, sugar dusted, mixed with butter; it all looks appealing. The Eclair Tout De Sweet table stops me cold, these are not your ordinary eclairs, flavors include chocolate peppermint, gingerbread, nutella; buy one and eat it here or order a dozen for your holiday gathering. 

easternmarket 005 (1)

easternmarket 050 (1)easternmarket 063 (1)

easternmarket 011 (1)

Moving onward I check out gorgeous handmade jewelry, coasters and drinking glasses featuring the Mitten state or the Old English D. Vintage clothing hangs on portable racks, sweatshirts and hoodies are plentiful. I’m delighted by the Happy Heads Doll Collection from Detroit-born Marvalisa, her work is colorful, whimsical and well, happy… Artwork, earrings, Poinsettia in every color share space with a DJ, a cooking class is taking place in the community kitchen. The cutest little girl is wearing purple eye glasses and holding a sign for hand-made greeting cards. In another area an artist is hard at work painting a canvas, her completed pieces featuring Frida Kahlo are for sale. Bright colors and whimsical flowers decorate glass pieces at the Glass Garden.

easternmarket 057 (1)

easternmarket 070 (1)

easternmarket 068 (1)

Outside the last shed has been transformed into a Christmas Tree farm. Families wander up and down the long rows of trees looking for the perfect one. It smells wonderful, a mix of fresh-cut wood and pine, it’s divine. Greens have been made into garlands and wreaths, trees stand tall in make-shift stands, the sound of a chainsaw is common. I like to watch as families narrow down their choices, when the final decision is made the tree is placed in a chute that bundles it for the ride home. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas….

easternmarket 052 (1)

easternmarket 043 (2)

easternmarket 049 (1)

We cross Russell Street to get lunch at Beyond Juicery + Eatery, recently opened, it’s a great place to grab a fast, healthy lunch. I order at the counter, Kris takes a seat at the front window; good people-watching today. I hear my name and pick up my Total Energy smoothie at the counter. Strawberry, banana, honey and vanilla, it’s sweet and delicious. The food is up next, with a handful of napkins and plastic forks we busy ourselves eating the Cilantro Chicken Wrap: chicken, tomato, romaine, cheddar, avocado and a spicy cilantro sauce wrapped in a whole wheat tortilla and grilled to a golden brown—yum! The Jalapeno + Lime bowl is a combination of quinoa, romaine, jalapenos, cheddar, roasted tomatoes, red onion served with lime vinaigrette; tasty. Ingredients are fresh and flavorful, service is friendly and fast.

easternmarket 112 (1)

easternmarket 121 (1)

easternmarket 117 (1)

Holiday hours at DeVries & Company 1887 include Sunday’s from 10 am-3 pm, we haven’t been here in a while so today’s our chance. This specialty food shop started by Rudolph DeVries over 125 years ago is an Eastern Market staple. What began as specialty shop selling the highest quality butter, eggs and cheese now covers three floors and includes merchandise, locally made products, coffee, tea and chocolate. They are still best known for their extensive cheese selection with over 200 domestic and imported varieties to choose from; did I mention they have samples?

easternmarket 110 (1)

easternmarket 104 (1)

easternmarket 097 (1)
We climb into the hand-operated elevator and take it to the third floor. To the right hand-painted windows glow in direct sunlight casting colorful shadows on walls and the floor. There’s a huge collection of Michigan and Detroit themed goods; glasses, books, cookie cutters, oven mitts. You can buy a 6-pack of Faygo pop and purchase a Faygo candle to go with it, how do you think Red Pop would smell? Maybe Rock and Rye? Wooden shelves hold glass pieces in a rainbow of colors. The second floor is home to seasonal decorations and hand-made jewelry and accessories. With so many pretty, unique necklaces to choose from, it’s hard for a girl to make up her mind, but I do…

easternmarket 090 (1)

easternmarket 093 (1)

Back on the first floor I sample cheeses, make mental notes of the tea selection and wish there was a way I could taste everything! One rack holds holiday favorites such as fruit-filled hard candies, peppermint bark and that old-fashioned ribbon candy we all liked as kids. They have oils, vinegars, jams and jellies. I’ve never seen Fentimans soda before, they have been making botanically brewed beverages in Great Britain since 1905, did I mention they sell Vernor’s in glass bottles. Packaged cookies and crackers are stacked high on tables, pasta, rice and grains each have their place; it’s a food wonderland. You still have a few weekends left so c’mon down and check it out.

easternmarket 092 (1)

easternmarket 083 (1)

Eastern Market: Still, More to Come….

4 Oct

marketing 089 (1)

We’re in the Eastern Market District on a Thursday evening; shops, galleries, cafes and soon-to-open businesses are open late. People fill the sidewalks and streets; special events are taking place as artists from Detroit to Paris put the finishing touches on murals throughout the district. We’re on the Fisher Fwy service drive, Cheap Charlies wears Cey Adams’ mural Mighty Love, next to that we admire the artwork of Shades. Eastern Market has become a focal point for art; walk around any street on any given day and you’ll see what I mean. 

marketing 090 (1)

marketing 103 (1)marketing 105 (1)

marketing 097 (1)

Down a ways Detroit Wick is packed with people checking out art and scented goods. We squeeze inside; a DJ provides music, there’s a line for cocktails, people mill about looking at items encapsulated in lucite. Cleaning products turned art fill a table, plastic trash bags are making a statement. Over at the Scent Bar (yep, Scent Bar) I check out candles and room sprays, I like all of them; buy one of theirs or create your own. Outside the temperature is still in the 80’s, in front of Shed 2, people have gathered to listen to the Detroit Afriken Music Institution’s “Mothership Landing”, a UFO glows in LED light as Funk music entertains the crowd. We follow a group of illuminated bicycles and watch as bikes decked out in lights, baskets and all sorts of bling promenade down a runway; the audience claps, shouts and whistles for their favorites.

marketing 114 (1)

marketing 119 (1)

marketing 123 (1)

marketing 131 (1)

Weaving through market streets we find a street party on Riopelle, food trucks feed hungry festival goers, a DJ supplies the music and Detroit City Distillery is hard at working making craft cocktails. Tonight Eastern Market Brewing Company is giving a preview of their space set to open in March of 2017. We step inside the 1929 building that until a couple of years ago was home to S&D Packing, a meat-packing plant; today the raw space is cluttered with half a dozen beer kettles, curious patrons, folding chairs, and a table selling EMBC merch. I see a table serving up beer and popcorn, to my surprise it’s free! Kris and I stand and listen to the live band while we eat and drink, they’re playing American Pie, the whole audience joins in at the chorus, the song ends and we’re back on the streets.

marketing 154 (1)marketing 140 (1)

marketing 152 (1)

marketing 157 (1)

We wander past murals from 2015 and 2016, the art encourages visitors to investigate the entire footprint of the district. Zak Meers is putting the finishing touches on his farm mural, a wall of silhouettes is taking shape; the creative spirit is alive and well in Detroit. Sydney James piece featuring an African-American woman addresses a timely topic, another mural is a blend of colors creating colorful background for mountains, clouds, planets and boulders that bounce across the wall. A lovely young American Indian girl is the centerpiece on the wall of Greenbriar Foods, Greg Mike’s lion head is intimidating, cartoon characters on each side, less so. It’s kind of a strange-but-good feeling to be out here at night, this area is just beginning to come back, long-empty buildings have been gutted and stabilized, they await their new purpose. 

marketing 167 (1)

marketing 162 (1)marketing 170 (1)

marketing 180 (1)

Pat Perry’s marching band is uniquely Detroit; band members play an exhaust pipe with muffler instead of a horn, the drummer uses a tire, another member wears a truck body and uses brake rotors for cymbals, I love it! The evening light almost portrays them as ghosts, leftovers from Detroit’s manufacturing glory days. A lighted staircase leads us down to the new section of the Dequindre Cut, freshly planted grass has taken root, trees and attractive landscaping has been put in. This is a part of the city I had never seen until the pathway was put it, vacant buildings wait for redevelopment, there’s a new bridge on Wilkins, plaza areas offer pedestrians and cyclists a place to relax. The Dequindre Cut now runs all the way from the Detroit River to Mack. Over on Wilkins Dabls mural is a work-in-progress, a multi-color wall is host to black designs and irregular-shaped mirror pieces, I can’t wait to see it when it’s done. A crowd has gathered around Clifton Perry’s mural, a spotlight draws us over to check out the many characters in the scene. 

marketing 189 (1)

marketing 185 (1)

marketing 223 (1)

The Jeep is parked where we started, on the far end of the activities, right near the Detroit City Distillery Factory. Located at 1000 Maple just off Gratiot, the 20,000 sq. ft. building has an interesting history. It was built in the 1930’s by Goebel as their brewing facility, it was directly across the street from Stroh’s Brewery, the two were fierce competitors. Stroh’s acquired Goebel in the 1960’s and converted the space to make Stroh’s Ice Cream. Detroit City Distillery purchased the building and is now making their craft Bourbon and Rye right here. The parking lot is filled with cars, a vendor is cooking up sliders on an open grill, they smell delicious. Inside, the building is awash in funky lighting, make-shift bars are serving up cocktails and three varieties of punch, oversize paintings decorate the space. We climb in the hand-operated elevator and are taken to the second floor, portable screens show old music videos. Stills and barrels fill the production area ,windows look out over the city, we are free to wander. We poke around different floors, I see no remnants of either ice cream or beer, some old signs remain. It’s exciting to get a look behind-the-scenes, to see things as they take shape. 

marketing 209 (1)

marketing 206 (1)

marketing 220 (1)

Eastern Market: More to Come…

28 Sep

marketing 075 (1)

 It’s 85 degrees on a Thursday evening, artists from Detroit, the nation and around the world hit the streets September 15, armed with brushes, rollers, spray cans and gallons; their visions will transform building walls around the Eastern Market District. Their goal: to expand Detroit’s legacy of public art by adding 35 new murals by 50 artists in 9 days! Events throughout the year in Detroit focus on the city’s art, culture, designers and new business. Murals in the Market and Detroit Design Festival overlap in mid-September, Eastern Market After Dark gives us a chance to see the best of both events and affords us a sneak peek of to come in the Market. We start on Gratiot, New York artist Kevin Lyons is perched high in the bucket of a lift putting the finishing touches on his mural.  Round-eyed, goofy creatures in shades of turquoise and coral smile at us revealing names of Detroit Jazz giants in their teeth, Aretha Franklin, Dilla, T3, and Ron Carter are just a few represented. A block down Dalek has created a study in perspective using shades of red, black and blue; a pair of hands reach out from around the corner of the building.

marketing 011 (1)

marketing 008 (1)

marketing 017 (1)

marketing 025 (1)

Further down Gratiot we park near the Maple Substation, Hueman has finished her piece; a mix of warm colors on the right, cool on the left, joined by a face, a hand seems to be brushing away a tear, images are layered one upon another. Nearby, a character rides his bike carrying water to those in need; it’s a magnificent scene. Around the corner a trio of artists are in the process of completing the word “Detroit” on an old Honey Bee Hardware warehouse. Black and white letters are splashed across the brick wall, pastel colors take over on the roll-up door. A few yards over NNII works his roller into gray paint blocking in large sections of his design. Everywhere I look something is happening, murals seem to be growing among the weeds and vines that have claimed the long-vacated area. Pixel Pancho’s old-fashioned portrait high upon a corner looks like it could have been here a century ago.

marketing 019 (1)

marketing 031 (2)marketing 027 (1)

marketing 041 (1)

We walk down alleys and streets not wanting to miss a thing. Two women sit on the ground filling in the final section on a wall that puts me in the mind of a kaleidoscope; blue, yellow, green and purple designs cover one area; red, pink, yellow, orange and lilac fill the other. We stop and talk, Kristin Farr is based in CA, her fellow artist formerly from Toronto lives here now. So far we’ve chatted with artists from NY, CA, NC and Canada; everybody is having a good time.

marketing 080 (1)

marketing 078 (1)

marketing 076 (1)

An attractive group of Art Deco style buildings on the east side of Gratiot are slowly being restored; Inner State Gallery, a sponsor of Murals in the Market, has been one of the anchors as other businesses slowly open. The gallery is buzzing with activity tonight, the current exhibition features the art of the muralists working in the district. Outside, white lights are strung under an awning, Cyberoptix is hosting a soft opening of their retail space set to open in November. Inside, the tie lab displays original designs on neck ties, bow ties and scarves; Well Done Goods is also selling jewelry in the space, their retail space in the same building is currently in the works.

marketing 045 (1)

marketing 050 (1)marketing 047 (1)

SMPLFD, a Detroit-themed apparel manufacturer is the most recent shop to open. Selling unique designs focused on Detroit sports teams and cultural icons, items include t-shirts, tank tops and super-soft sweatshirts; everything I looked at was Made In The USA. They also sell headwear, sunglasses and tote bags. The building is beautiful, the space is beautiful, clothing is high quality, attractive and clever; a great addition to the neighborhood.

marketing 055 (1)

marketing 056 (1)marketing 058 (1)

marketing 059 (1)

We drop in at People’s Records, this is one of those shops that’s always fun to have a peek; I love the old black and white portraits that fill the wall, boxes and crates are maxed out with old vinyl. The next building is a fabulous example of Art Nouveau, the former TransLove Energies space is now Detroit Life; same owner, same great art, music and design. We traverse the building from top to bottom taking in photos by famed Detroit photographer Leni Sinclair, posters by Gary Grimshaw, both share an interesting history with the space. The second floor has a fantastic view of Gratiot, the city and the market district; darkness has fallen, traffic lights and headlights fill the lanes, buildings are dresses up in special lighting, storefronts are awash in light; I think to myself, this is so cool… The venue is constantly hosting live music and art exhibitions, we’ll be back.

marketing 073 (1)

marketing 072 (1)

marketing 065 (1)

marketing 066 (1)

We cross Gratiot, it’s got to be 80 degrees still, the night is humid. Murals from 2015 cover several walls, tonight a gorgeous piece with 2 Native Americans is being finished, the artist working by spotlight up on a lift. We watch in amazement as he works. Walking on gravel between buildings we think we’ve covered everything new in this area. Now it’s time to head into the belly of the beast, events are going on all over the main market area; I’ll tell you all about it in the next post.

marketing 081 (1)

DETROIT: Indoor Outdoor ??

9 Feb

dnr 073 (1)

There is so much going on in Detroit these days, it’s hard to keep up; restaurants, shops, galleries, an Outdoor Adventure Center on the waterfront. For years, one of Detroit’s greatest assets, the river, was sorely under-appreciated and underused. Cement silos and vacant industrial buildings were painful reminders of what Detroit once was: a thriving industrial city. Today, thanks to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and the State of Michigan we have  a series of riverfront parks, a State park and the Dequindre Cut Greenway giving residents and visitors access and opportunity to fully enjoy the Detroit River. We are driving down Atwater, construction crews are busy building Orleans Landing, sunlight sparkles on the river as if someone has sprinkled it with glitter, joggers from the Dequindre Cut wear determined faces. We park in the designated lot for the Outdoor Adventure Center, from this side we recognize the building as the historic Globe Building. This is the only remaining building of an industrial complex that began life in the 1860’s as the Dry Dock Engine Works. Later the company was absorbed by the Detroit Shipbuilding Company, after that it was used by a stove manufacturer then Detroit Edison Co and finally the Globe Trading Company, a wholesale machinery firm. 

dnr 090 (1)

dnr 003 (1)dnr 040 (1)

dnr 004 (1)

Inside, the former wide-open engine building facility has been recreated into an Up North play land; pine trees, wildlife, campsites, even a waterfall invite guests to explore all that Michigan has to offer. The DNR brings the outdoors indoors in this 3-story, 40,000 sq. ft. building complete with hands-on activities and simulators. We pay our admission, hang our jackets in one of the free lockers and begin to wander. We are greeted by Michigan’s majestic elk, surrounding placards explain where the elk live, what they like to eat. Exhibits are beautiful, interesting and informative. At the Fire Circle, Aspen trees surround a small campsite, a campfire looks inviting, a small tent and empty Adirondack chair wait for activity. Moving on, a large display chronicles the history of the Globe building and Detroit’s importance as a shipping center. I learn that Henry Ford worked in the building from 1879-1882, this is where he first became familiar with internal combustion engines. Detroit Dry Docks had 3 slips across from this building, notable ships built or worked on here include the Ste. Clair, the SS Columbia, the Greater Detroit and the Greater Buffalo.

dnr 006 (1)

dnr 012 (1)

dnr 021 (1)

A large aquarium holds a variety of fish, we identify Sturgeon, Bass and Perch by the pictures nearby. We feel as if we are underwater; blue lighting, suspended fish and motorboat overhead. The waters of the mitten state are home to 154 different species of fish. Michigan parks offer a variety of overnight options, we enter a yurt complete with bunk beds, add your own camping story to one of the guest journals. Looks like we are back on the water, an empty fishing boat is ready to take us on an adventure; take a seat, press a button and the video begins, grab on tight to one of the available fishing poles, these fish don’t give up easy. Across the way I climb into a kayak simulator and paddle down one of our scenic rivers, this whole area gives us the illusion of being out on the water. We have reached the waterfall, walk behind it, look out and see the turtles resting on a rock, ducks gathered to the side. Under the waterfall we learn about Michigan’s geology and mining. There’s a duck blind, tower blind and a cool beaver lodge you can go into.

dnr 013 (1)

dnr 076 (1)

dnr 063 (1)

We take the stairs to the next level, we look out over the railing at the waterfall, above it is a scene from the woods; rocky terrain, trees, deer, black bear, even a cute little fawn. The space is so wide open and has so many windows we can see the sky, sunlight drenches us, I swear I smell Pine, it’s almost like being outdoors. There are miles and miles of trails in Michigan, simulators take us for a ride through the woods on an orv, the snow on a snowmobile and trails on a mountain bike, all fun. We reach the suspension bridge and cross to the other side, enclosed by netting it feels like we’re up in the treetops. A 35′ tall bur oak tree allows us to climb through the trunk and then slide out the bottom. I climb back up and find Kris hunting squirrel at the laser shot simulator. A walkway leads us to bright red airplane from the DNR, the third floor takes us up to the treetop, again we have a great overall view. The adventure center is open Wednesday through Sunday, come check it out!

dnr 027 (1)dnr 038 (1)

dnr 083 (1)

We pop over to Eastern Market, a new deli called Stache International opened recently, we’ve been looking forward to trying it. Located on the Fisher Fwy service drive it sits next to Thomas Magee’s Sporting House, look for EAT above the front windows. The building is said to be about 125 years old, this particular section has been empty for years….. After a full rehab and renovation the decor has a carnival vibe, I like the large electric Eat ‘Em Up sign that hangs on the left wall. All of the meats are smoked in house, sausages are housemade too. Beverages include Faygo, Vernors and Germack coffee. The sandwich menu has something for everyone–meat-eater or vegetarian. We are sitting at a 4-top table, our server brings us water right away, after a few questions we place our order. In no time our salad arrives–served in a cardboard tray it is piled high with spring mix, sweet corn, shallots, fried okra, tomato and Better Made pork rinds, a housemade Maple Bourbon Vinaigrette is served alongside. The okra is really good, cooked just right it’s got a nice crunch and a hint of spice, the dressing is maple-delicious; a very nice salad. The Turkey Mondulo sandwich is (oh so tender and juicy) marinated pulled turkey, avocado, red cabbage slaw and rosemary garlic aioli on grilled sourdough; next to it are warm, crispy homemade chips, yum!

dnr 110 (1)

dnr 106 (1)

dnr 099 (1)

We walk a little way down to Gratiot Central Market, a sign for Red Truck Fresh Produce has caught our eye. We stop in the small retail space, so colorful with cases of Towne Club pop, a rainbow of fresh apples and crates of bananas. The shop is super attractive; the namesake, a 1941 red Ford truck is parked in the center of the space, a refrigerated case is the back of a white box truck–notice the reflectors at the top, brake lights at the bottom. The produce market is part of a workforce development program, a rotating workforce of 7 veterans work in the store for 13 weeks of on-the-job-training. The eventual goal is to convert the store to a worker-owned cooperative. In addition to fresh produce and smoothies the market sells locally prepared foods from FoodLab Detroit and Detroit Kitchen Connect. Don’t forget to stop in next time you’re in Eastern Market.

dnr 122 (1)

dnr 118 (1)

dnr 113 (1)

DETROIT: Art Attack !!??

14 Oct

graffffffiti 030 (1)

These days much of the news coming out of Detroit is positive; new businesses are opening, people are moving into the city, a new hockey arena is being built, neighborhoods are being revitalized, urban farming is a real thing. Midtown and Corktown are often the center of attention. To me Eastern Market is the heart of Detroit, it’s the place people gather to buy their food, pumpkins, their Christmas tree. Folks meet up for breakfast, lunch or dinner, eat at communal tables, have a coffee, a cocktail, view amazing art; it’s the place everyone feels welcome. Recently Eastern Market Corporation, 1xRun and Inner State Gallery invited 45 local and international artists to create large-scale murals all over the district for a 9 day event called Murals In The Market.

graffffffiti 013 (1)

graffffffiti 040 (1)graffffffiti 009 (1)

graffffffiti 037 (1)

The artists have arrived in Detroit, painting has begun; spectators are welcome. Designated walls are a blank canvas of black or white. Electric scissor lifts have taken over the streets as artists drive them to their specified locations. Walking from one block to the next we see the beginnings of murals taking shape, details are sketched in black spray painted lines, artists are perched precariously on ladders. Curious onlookers include local workers, amateur photographers, and random passersby. At Orleans and Adelaide Patch Whisky and Ghost Beard are nearly finished with their mural, Whisky’s signature character is chasing Beard’s monster on a multi-hued wall. Dozens of aerosol paint cans represent every color of the rainbow–and then some, gallon cans, rollers and paint trays lay on the ground. It’s just the beginning.

artmarket 005 (2)

artmarket 018 (1)artmarket 133 (1)

artmarket 020 (1)

Six days later we’re back in the market, this time for Eastern Market After Dark, part of the 4th Annual Detroit Design Festival. A night of open houses at creative venues in the district, it’s one of our favorite events of the year. In addition to the festivities, we’re checking out the murals. We start the evening with a Chili Mexican from Germack, just outside, at the corner of Russell and Adelaide Hebru Brantley has finished his mural, a super-cool flamed and lowered Caddy is parked in front. Images of a youthful super hero in goggles cover the wall; soon models sidle up to the wall as a photographer shoots photos. In Shed 2 we pass through the Jeep display and couches wearing extravagant paint jobs on our way back to the streets, the sun is already lower in the sky.

artmarket 028 (1)

artmarket 029 (1)

artmarket 041 (1)

artmarket 035 (2)

Naturel has finished a piece titled “Teach A Man To Fish”, a colorful ‘fly’ hovers on a textured wall, Denial’s comic-book-style art fills an entire wall with bold colors. “Nothing Stops Detroit” literally stops Kris in his tracks–he recognizes the vehicle in the painting as a Dodge Deora, he points out the fact the actual vehicle was customized by Detroit’s own Alexander Brothers back in the day, I like the way the letters resemble neon, oh and the car too… Ouizi has turned a building on Orleans into a flower garden, I love it! Further on a pair of faces are still in progress, artists have gone home for the day.

artmarket 037 (1)

artmarket 060 (1)artmarket 121 (1)

artmarket 048 (1)

We have wandered as far as the new section of the Dequindre Cut; pavement has been laid, light posts illuminate freshly planted trees. Bridges crossing the Cut are newly paved and open to traffic. Construction equipment is quiet for the night, water towers and old industrial buildings complete the landscape. The mural project has expanded the footprint of the market, drawing people further into the district; good things are happening here. Up the street a huge Great White shark emerges from a sea of red, mouth agape, rows of teeth are frightening; this is Los Angeles artist Shark Toof’s second shark mural in the market. Around the corner the scene is more mellow, colorful shapes and designs somehow remind me of biology. The sun has set, the crowds grow thicker, Ren Cen glows in the distance. Artists continue their work aided by flood lights.

artmarket 002 (1)

artmarket 004 (1)artmarket 053 (1)

artmarket 074 (1)

A week has gone by, we’re back in the market to see the completed murals. A two-story house in blue stands alone in an open field, pretty patterns cover the exterior walls, around the corner, an unexpected image of a Victorian home, a man’s profile, lovely. We take in scene after scene, people with cameras are everywhere, another photo shoot is taking place, this time in front of Ouizi’s flower wall. There are shapes, portraits, landscapes and designs, characters like the striking image of the woman in the black-fringed hat. Murals reflect Detroit, Eastern Market–check out the corner of Riopelle and Winder. A Panda DJ gets our attention, further down the alley Ron Zakrin has created a scene in which children play on swings hanging from an abandoned tank, a peace sign painted prominently on the side, a field of flowers grows nearby, the caption: “Maybe one day”. Street by street we view the murals; we stand in awe, get lost in our thoughts, smile, laugh and become mesmerized by the beauty, creativity and thoughtfulness of the pieces. Art stirs emotions.  Back on Russell Street. Fel3000ft has completed his angel of Detroit, she gently mends the heart of the city, indeed, we are a city on the mend.

artmarket 067 (1)

artmarket 084 (1)

artmarket 063 (1)

artmarket 091 (1)

 Just a little bit of ground left to cover over on Gratiot. Jeff Soto and Maxx242 have filled a wall with surreal roses surrounding skulls, a spray can in the center, resting on a beast–I recognize the eye from the first day we were here, it was the only section completed. A pair of canines are split by a waterfall, industrious bees build a honeycomb; you have to work a little harder here to see everything, but it’s worth the walk. Detroit is quickly becoming an exciting, vibrant center for street art, attracting artists and visitors alike from near and far. Come see it for yourself!

artmarket 131 (1)

artmarket 136 (1)artmarket 119 (1)

artmarket 124 (1)


DETROIT: Eastern Market: Always Growing…

15 Jul

market 053 (1)

It’s Saturday, the two of us will be joining the estimated 45,000 people who head to Detroit’s Eastern Market on any given Saturday in the summer; the nation’s largest historic public market has been at this location since 1891.There have been many changes to the 4.5 acre district over the last 100-plus years; long-standing businesses have been handed down through generations–new businesses have popped up on Russell, Division, Riopelle and other streets in the district, sheds have been upgraded with roll-up doors and heat. More and more people continue to discover the charm, vitality and community feeling that is Eastern Market; it’s Detroit’s history and its future.

market 082 (1)

market 011 (1)market 076 (1)

market 042 (1)

market 004 (1)

Russell Street is a beehive of activity; ribs are cooking over an open fire in front of Bert’s, cars roll slowly in search of parking, shoppers are loaded down with flats of strawberries and hanging flower baskets as they sip on a cold beverage and munch on tasty free samples. We begin our visit at Shed 5, after much work and great anticipation the shed officially re-opened in May. There’s a new fully licensed, rentable community kitchen; people considering opening a food-based business can use the space to try out their idea before committing to a brick and mortar shop. The kitchen also hosts cooking classes and demonstrations. The Kid Rock Commons is a 2,000 sq ft indoor gathering space next to the community kitchen that can be rented out for private meetings, events and parties. Roll up doors have been installed on both sides, today a lovely cross breeze keeps us cool, heated cement floors are sure to make those January visits more comfortable. I linger at a booth selling Hydrangeas; fragrant ball-shaped clusters cover the leafy shrubs.

market 032 (1)market 069 (1)

market 071 (2)

market 080 (1)market 052 (1)

market 050 (1)

Outside we follow the covered walkway taking in flats of annuals that have long outgrown  the tray, herbs are tall and ready for harvest, Asiatic lilies create a sea of yellow; bargains are everywhere. Kelsey Rose is tap dancing on a sheet of plywood in an open area, a talented young lady accompanies her on the violin, dollar bills are tossed into a jar. As we proceed through the market we encounter more buskers; a xylophone player serenades us with Tiki-inspired tunes, a guitar player sings and plays the harmonica, music fills the air at every turn. Fresh Michigan greens are bountiful today, radishes are huge, we sample goat cheese, beef jerky and Ingrams Fine Candies, I think I need to buy one of those hanging terrariums…. 

market 067 (1)

market 057 (1)

Next we arrive at Motorless City Bicycle Co. on the East Fisher Freeway service drive; new to the market district they seem to be doing quite well. Bicycles line one side of the showroom wall, brands include Fuji, Civia, State, Surly and Detroit Bikes–don’t see something that suits you? They have their own fabrication facility on-site. This is a full service bicycle shop; they offer repair service, parts and accessories. Bicycles are becoming more than a form of recreation in the city, they are transportation; bicycle racks are a common sight in front of restaurants and shops. Have you heard of Detroit Bike Polo?

market 129 (1)

market 119 (2)

market 111 (1)

Over on Gratiot a cluster of brick buildings have recently found new life; restaurants and galleries have given folks reason to explore this part of the market district. We’re here to have brunch at Trinosophes, a coffee shop/performance/event space contained in a quaint red-brick building with large Gratiot-facing windows. The interior is huge! An assortment of tables sits atop terazzo floors; there’s a coffee bar, lending library and cozy seating areas. We take a seat and get right to business ordering, my iced americano arrives in record speed, a splash of cream sweetens it ever so slightly–don’t you love the way it looks as the cream makes its way through the espresso to the bottom of the glass? Oh how I love coffee… We choose one sweet and one savory dish from the menu to split, Kris goes straight for the sweet: 3 corn cakes rest atop thick puddles of lemon curd, a fresh blueberry compote is spooned over top, buttermilk whipped cream crests the plate, a sprinkle of praline adds just the right amount of crunch. It’s important to get a little bit of everything on your fork, a bite of heaven! The breakfast sandwich is the perfect mix of savory ingredients; a homemade biscuit is split and filled with a fried egg, peppery bacon, house made dill pickle slices and leaf lettuce, yum. Watermelon slices are a nice touch. You can stop in for brunch Saturday and Sunday from 10 am to 3 pm, selections change weekly. Check out the website for all the action taking place at Trinosophes.

market 099 (1)market 087 (1)

market 091 (2)

market 097 (1)

market 089 (1)market 090 (1)

Our stomachs are full our appetites satisfied. We pop into the adjoin space where People’s Records maintains the Michigan Audio Heritage Society Museum. The sunny space is a record lovers paradise; walls are speckled with old black and white photos, vintage album covers and newspaper clippings, 45’s, LP’s and 78’s fill crates and cubbies. Lyman Woodard is the featured artist today; a bulletin board displays hand-written checks signed by Woodard, a handbill, t-shirt and items of recognition. A Detroit-based Jazz organist you might now him from his 1975 mega-hit Saturday Night Special. Woodard also did a number of recordings with drummer Melvin Davis and guitarist Dennis Coffey. It’s a pretty cool little place to check out, be sure to stop and look at the front window display of old record players turned planters. At the end of the block, multicolored bricks fill the space below front windows, an open door and a sandwich board invite us to visit Riopelle Collective. Shared by 5 artists, it is a collective of local artists and designers who work, collaborate and teach in the studio. Both finished pieces and works in progress are on display, the letterpress section is open and interesting to see; the studio is open to the public on Saturday from 9 am to 4:30 pm.

market 141 (1)market 137 (1)

market 135 (1)

market 134 (1)market 132 (1)

It’s late afternoon, we decide to end the day with a cocktail from Detroit City Distillery back in the market area. They are celebrating Summer of Gin, who doesn’t like a celebration (or Gin)? Open for less than a year, the tasting room hides in a nonchalant building on Riopelle; a couple of half barrels are used as planters out front, a full barrel is mounted sideways to the building. Inside walls are exposed brick, the antique bar is softly illuminated by pendant lights, cabinets behind the bar are beautiful and old–mirrors on top, ice boxes on the bottom. Bottles of Detroit City Distillery Gin, Whiskey, Bourbon and Vodka glow on shelves behind the bar. Scanning the menu we each pick a cocktail, Drunk Yoga for Kris, Carpal Tinder Syndrome for myself. Both made with Gin we find them refreshing and delightful. DCD was founded by eight childhood friends that joined forces to create small-batch, artisanal spirits, they offer original cocktails along with classics like the Manhattan, Old Fashioned, Gimlet and Moscow Mule. 

market 162 (1)market 151 (1)

market 148 (1)

market 155 (1)

DETROIT: This Is How We Roll

21 Jul

derbymart 067 (1)

In 2005 a group of high-spirited, hard-working, competitive women joined forces to form The Detroit Derby Girls, a women’s flat-track roller derby league based in Detroit. Through the years the league has grown to include more than 120 skaters, 5 home teams and 3 travel teams that compete inter-league. This is not the old-fashioned banked-track derby of the 1970’s where hair-pulling, tripping, punching and chair-throwing was the norm. Today skaters have backgrounds in speed skating, hockey, even figure skating; they are very athletic. These women pay-to-play; they spend their hard-earned dollars buying equipment, practice time, massage therapy, band-aids and ice packs. They practice several times a week, pay for their own travel expenses and manage the league. Players come in all shapes and sizes; during the day they work as doctors, teachers, lawyers, mothers and shop-keepers. 2009 was an amazing year; Drew Barrymore arrived in Detroit to film “Whip It“, many of our local skaters took part in the film, how cool is that? That same year the DDG were ranked #2 in the North Central Division and made a trip to the Nationals. Home bouts are played at the magnificent Masonic Temple; ticket cost is minimal, bouts offer everything: hard-hitting action, speed, competitiveness, live music and lots of fun. The girls still use great names such as Black Eyed Skeez, Ghetto Barbie, Cool Whip, Fatal Femme, Racer McChaseHer and Zooma Thurman, keeping the kitsch part of derby alive. It’s a blast!

derbymart 001

derbymart 034

derbymart 012 (1)

derbymart 038

Today the DDG is having a FREE bout outdoors at Eastern Market, using the parking lot behind Shed 3. It’s one of those days when the weather changes every five minutes; we are flip-flopping between pouring rain and sunshine. When we arrive it’s pouring, spectators and skaters are gathered inside the shed waiting for the rain to stop. Today a mix of skaters from all home teams will make up the Motown Wreckers vs the Motor City Dis-assembly Line; dressed in blue and yellow jerseys they are ready to roll. The sun comes out, refs and skaters alike make short work of sweeping the puddles off the asphalt; the temperature hovers in the 80’s so it dries quickly. The track area is laid out with spray paint lines, rocks and debris are cleared and the pack lines up. One blow of the whistle and the jam begins; blockers, pivots and jammers whirl around the track, to say it’s a little tricky skating in a parking lot is an understatement, but the teams rise to the challenge. Spectators who planned ahead are sitting comfortably in lawn chairs, the crowd grows with passers-by checking out the action. Kris makes his way to the top of the parking structure to get a great overall view and take pictures, others are there just to watch. Rows of white folding chairs make up the team benches, the skyline of the city peeks out above the roof of Shed 2, the sky cannot make up it’s mind if it will rain again. It’s inevitable that skaters will fall, one good hip-check or shoulder is all it takes,  the parking lot surface is unforgiving; instead of sliding the surface grabs hold of both clothing and skin…ouch! Taking it in stride the two teams battle it out, the crowd loves it! Keep an eye on their Facebook page for upcoming bouts and events, the regular season usually begins in November.

derbymart 027

derbymart 055 (1)

derbymart 053

derbymart 074 (1)

We are having lunch at Topsoil, a vegetarian/vegan restaurant located inside MOCAD on Woodward.  We enter the museum and hang a right down a short hallway to the restaurant/performance space; rectangular tables are pulled together creating long community tables, sunlight pours in through the glass roll-up door in an otherwise dim space. I walk to the counter to check out the menu and place our order. It’s really hot outside so we’re looking for something cold, something light; the cold sesame udon, blk seed, sea salt, carrot salad  and the kale, Farro, lemon and evoo salad fit the bill. Everybody who eats here tells us we have to try the hot dogs, well, Tofu dogs, so I ask the gent behind the counter which one he likes best, ‘Zombie’ is his reply, Zombie it is. I join Kris at the table while our food is being prepared in the open kitchen, before I know it a tray is placed on the counter and my name is called. I am sure to grab silverware and plenty of napkins, we’re sharing everything. The first thing we dive into, of course, is the Zombie, a tofu dog tucked into a bun topped with house-made peanut butter and house-made vegan kimchi………..it is soooo good! The dog tastes like a regular hot dog, no funny texture or anything like that, the combination of flavors is excellent! Both salads are generous portions and quite tasty; when all the food is gone, Kris says, we should have gotten 2 hot dogs!

wpc 064 (1)

wpc 055 (2)

wpc 056

The museum is still open, so we have a look around. MOCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit) is a non-collecting institution, its purpose is to explore emerging ideas in the contemporary arts. The 22,000 sq. ft. building is a former auto dealership; the huge open spaces are perfect for art exhibitions. In addition MOCAD hosts lectures, musical performances, films, literary readings and educational activities for children in the historic space. Today the main exhibit is a show called La Bella Crisis by Jose Lerma, a Puerto Rican artist. The gallery is transformed into an art fair; Lerma created a ‘booth’ a day for 30 days, now complete, the floor is covered in a silver tarp, canvasses hang at different levels, each space is unique. Detroit Native Steve Locke has an exhibit in one of the smaller galleries; “There is no one left to blame” is a series of male portraits on canvas. Midwestern Voices and Visions showcases the work of highly talented artists of color in Midwestern residency programs. Along the back wall is Dana Friedman’s video installation “Projecting”. We like that the museum is ever-changing, there’s always something new to see anytime we pop in. If you’d like to check it out you don’t have much time, the museum and restaurant will be closed from July 28 through September 11 for renovations, so get there soon!

wpc 069

wpc 070wpc 071

wpc 068

DETROIT: Eastern Market….Sunday

30 Jun

sunmart 052 (1)

Sunday’s were made for relaxing, taking it slow, easy. It’s a day to sleep in, enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee, go shopping  just for fun. If that sounds good to you, we have just the place for you to spend a Sunday: Eastern Market. That’s right, since the beginning of June, sheds 2 and 3 are home to the new Sunday Street Market; let’s have a look. 

sunmart 001 (1)

sunmart 004 (1)sunmart 030 (1)

sunmart 033 (1)

Parking is a cinch compared to your average Saturday; we are in front of Germack Coffee, perfect, we grab a cup to go, cross Russell Street and begin to browse the market. Shed 2 is open-air; a cute vintage trailer with pink and green stripes is parked just inside the entrance, a swimsuit hangs from the open door, scarves hang from a line on the side. A table in front holds old hats, suitcases and other funky items, the set-up is great, like an outdoor vintage store. Across the way an artisan has set up shop, Two Stix 5 Stones sells handmade knits and accessories; her shawls are gorgeous. We take our time strolling past various booths, there’s a nice mix of antiques, handmades and vintage; a mannequin wears a cool old STP jacket, photographs of iconic Detroit buildings are transferred onto pieces of wood, a large jewelry case holds rows of antique rings. Rehash By Amy has taken ordinary light fixtures, given them a whimsical paint job and converted them to solar power, what a great idea! They would look fabulous hanging above a porch or deck. Across the way we spot a grouping of antique signs; Coke, beer and old street signs are all for sale along with a parking meter, you never know what you may find.

sunmart 007 (1)

sunmart 034 (1)sunmart 018

sunmart 038 (1)

There are a few different T-shirt makers, another booth has a wide selection of items from automotive pieces to the old aprons the newsboys used to wear. On my right I notice an old delivery truck that has been converted into a boutique; step up into the make-shift store, clothing hangs from a rack on the right, accessories are on the left, very clever! Making our way to Shed 3 we pass The Detroit Pop Shop, flavors include chocolate peanut butter banana, blueberry lemonade and cucumber lime basil;  by the number of people eating them, I’d say they’re pretty popular. Shed 3 is completely enclosed, a large Shinola clock hangs from a post, food trucks are serving up lunch, there’s even a gelato truck. A few vendors are selling fresh fruits and veggies, another is selling flowers; dahlias are eye-catching in peachy-pink, scarlet and lavender, zinnias are blooming in bold red, yellow and orange. Live music is being played in the distance, sounds like a xylophone, buskers perform throughout the market. Looks like the Sunday Street Market is a hit!

sunmart 022

sunmart 040 (1)sunmart 041 (1)

sunmart 014 (1)

The Eastern Market area is also known for its vast array of graffiti, it’s fun to drive up and down the streets looking for new pieces. Right on Russell St a huge mural covers the front and side of Wholesale Produce Distributors; done in shades of turquoise and purple on a tan background, a slew of characters from a guy in a hat, to a shark, are in action. Take the time to really absorb it, the detail and expressions are fabulous! I still favor the grazing cow on the side of Eastern Market Cold Storage, it’s like he’s watching over everybody while he eats—-we are his entertainment. There’s another cool one over on Division, the Greenbriar Foods and Corridor Sausage building; it’s a great scene with a cool cast of characters. Throughout the area you can find wild colors, groovy settings and hip creatures on anything from a building to a dumpster or a roll-up door. We did stop to check the progress on the expansion of the Dequindre Cut, currently running from the riverfront to Gratiot, when the next phase is completed it will continue all the way to Mack; look for it to be completed sometime after Labor Day. 

sunmart 073 (1)

sunmart 054 (1)sunmart 075 (1)

sunmart 058 (1)

sunmart 066 (1)

It’s such a lovely day we are having lunch on the patio at Mercury Burger Bar on Michigan Ave. The space is really charming; picnic tables are right at home on the brick patio, gardens surround the fence line, nearest to us a goat made from a recycled Quaker State sign appears to be eating the flowers. A graffiti mural covers one wall, strings of lights criss-cross over head, I bet it’s a sweet place to hang out in the evening. While we wait for our food to arrive I notice many Boston Coolers and shakes being delivered to surrounding tables, mmmmm, they look good…… Before long our meal is set in front of us; the French Onion Burger is wonderful, the meat is tender and juicy, topped with crisp bacon, carmelized onion, Gruyère cheese and onion straws, makes you hungry doesn’t it? The Chicago Dog is done up right; mustard, relish, tomatoes, sport peppers, onions, pickle and celery salt packed into a poppy-seed bun. No meal would be complete without an order of Mercury’s hand-cut fries, the sea salt and black pepper are our favorite; the perfect amount of seasoning on incredibly fresh, just from the deep fryer fries…..yum!

sunmart 076


sunmart 085 (1)

DETROIT: Eastern Market After Dark

31 Oct

emnight 045

When you think of Eastern Market, you probably picture fresh produce, rows of flowers, vendors selling baked goods, cheese, pickles and salsa. There is another side to the market you might not be so familiar with; artist studios, galleries, boutiques, hacker spaces, eateries and creative spaces. At night the market takes on a completely different personality, it feels mysterious, like some secret underground world……. Tonight we will explore all of this and more, it is Eastern Market After Dark. It is a warmer than usual Thursday evening, people have flocked to the market for a series of events including Third Thursday’s, Detroit Design Festival and a AIA Membership party, with so much to see and do we better get going…..

emnight 021

emnight 024


We begin the evening on Gratiot Ave, there has been a bevy of activity in recent months, buildings have been renovated, new businesses have moved in, with more on the way. Inner State Gallery is our first stop, the first floor has been transformed into a wonderful gallery space; walls are white, bold, framed pieces cover the length of the furthest wall. We meander through smaller sections, each featuring a different artist and style, a tiny section gleaming in light from funky fixtures made of plain old cardboard. Exhibits rotate frequently inviting visitors to stop in often. Service Street runs narrowly behind this section of buildings, tonight it has come alive with pedestrians, balloons and activity. Jesse Knott is hard at work preparing tasty dishes on an oversized grill, it smells delicious! We walk over to the folding table that serves as a display for menu items and place our order. Within minutes we are handed three cardboard baskets filled with tasty items; the Inca dog is a veggie dog topped with quinoa chili, cheddar, mustard and shallot, you’ll never miss the meat. The Roast Pork Quesadilla is outstanding; moist, tender pork, green chili sauce, cilantro and muenster cheese grilled to perfection. The BBQ Lentil Slider is a lentil patty, lava sauce, mayo, cheddar and romaine on toast, excellent. 

emnight 008


emnight 101

emnight 102

Strolling further down Service Street we notice a door is ajar, a sign summons us up to the second floor of an old furniture warehouse, here we find Cyberoptix Tie Lab. Their tag line is “Ties that don’t suck”, they don’t! Beautiful, creative designs are available in a rainbow of colors and designs. Bethany Shorb and her team hand-print and heat set every single tie and scarf they sell; printed on silk or microfiber, designs include Detroit themes, botanicals, peacock feathers, circuit boards etc. etc. Tall windows overlook Gratiot, we are free to roam through the work area, ties and scarves are arranged throughout the studio on tables, draped over luggage and in baskets. With the holidays approaching, keep this place in mind for unique gift giving. Adjoining Cyberoptix is the NNII International Gallery, the artwork is diverse, colorful, interesting. The studio is sectioned off with cool pieces of furniture and sitting areas, we really liked the automotive themed pieces. Back outside, heading towards the end of the block, we stumble upon a great courtyard, walls are covered in murals, a black circular fireplace rests near the center, picnic tables and a grill are ready to entertain. We round the corner and are back on Gratiot, the door is open to a building we’ve always admired. For years we have driven by this slender Art Nouveau beauty with the smoked glass windows wondering what it is like inside, tonight we found out. The main floor has been re-worked over the years, the second floor still retains much of its nouveau charm, it is used as a creative and meeting space by Trans-Love Energies. Dark has fallen, the lights of the city gleam in the distance, across the street the top two stories of a historic building has come alive with colors as images are projected onto it. In front of us a giant American flag shrouds a storefront and  billows in the night breeze.

emnight 034emnight 026

emnight 027

emnight 062

emnight 053

Back in the market area Omni Corp Detroit has opened its doors to the public. Deemed a space for hackers and makers, at any given time you can find designers, artists, engineers and musicians hard at work on both floors of the building. Inside we are greeted by 2-wheeled modes of transportation; bicycles, mopeds and mini-bikes are parked for the evening. Two varieties of kilns are tucked into a corner along with an air compressor, random tools lay about. Upstairs colorful lanterns create a party-like atmosphere, work tables and machines are still, shelving is stacked with unfinished projects. A sizable window provides us with a vast view of the market area, there isn’t a parking space to be found in the area, the Detroit skyline glows in the distance-what a sight. Thursday nights are Open Hacknights, sign up to learn how to hollow a book, create metal weavings, use a laser cutter, type set or get the skinny on tax auctions. Around the corner we pop into Red Bull House of Art, with just a couple of weeks left in this artist cycle, we wanted to check it out. As usual the art is fresh and intriguing, tonight the gallery is crowded with visitors. 

emnight 068

emnight 067

emnight 071

emnight 072

Riopelle Street is home to a new pet shop called 3 Dogs, 1 Cat, the front of the shop is absolutely charming; french doors open onto the sidewalk, pots of Mums in full bloom are clustered on bales of hay and along the sidewalk, a table of puppy-sized Lions jersey’s and Halloween costumes rests near the door. The shop stocks a large variety of leashes, collars, toys and other goodies your four-legged friends would love to have. Tonight even the canines are enjoying themselves, pet lovers browse the store, leashes in hand, I can’t resist petting a few of the pups myself. Near the cash register an adorable black dog dressed up in bat wings greets shoppers as they pass, too cute! Salt & Cedar is one of two letterpress studios in Eastern Market, the shop is quaint, tonight the place is packed; on display is a series of posters and other items produced over the last year. Someone is doing a demonstration on a press, a crowd is gathering in the back of the building, I see wine glasses and a lovely table set for guests. Across the street is the newest business to call Riopelle home ARIA Urban Artifacts. Still in its early stages, the building is filled with two levels of old stuff; furniture, signs, luggage, some of it rusty, some of it re-purposed, it’s a fun place to look around.

emnight 084emnight 082

emnight 080

emnight 040

Walking through the shed area a group of food trucks has gathered, pedestrians are enjoying Mac and Cheese, Beignets and other goodies, The AIA is holding their membership party in Shed 3, blue LED lights radiate through the windows.  Collision Works First Container project is open, a shipping container has been re-purposed into a small hotel room space, the plan is to build a full 36-room boutique hotel in the near future. At Germack Coffee back on Russell a band performs street-side, we grab a couple of iced coffees and go back outside to enjoy the music. 

emnight 096

emnight 044

emnight 090


We decide to extend the night with a visit to the Fountain Bistro at Campus Martius. Taking a table on the patio, our view is spectacular; surrounding skyscrapers light up the night sky, directly in front of us the fountain shoots streams of water high into the air, the Soldiers and Sailors monument stands guard. We order the charcuterie plate from the bar menu and a couple of cocktails. We nibble on fancy crackers, thinly sliced hams, salami and tapenade, folks wander about, trying to get that perfectly timed photo of the fountain, all of us enjoying the amazing things Detroit has to offer.

emnight 126

emnight 114