Tag Archives: hamtramck

Hamtramck: How Sweet !

25 Mar

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Have you heard there’s a new French pastry shop in Hamtramck ? What about the new reclaimed woodworking store or vegan restaurant ? Let’s go check ’em out. le detroit macaron resides on Evaline in a narrow brick building formerly occupied by bon bon bon. The black and white striped awning is new, the sandwich board on the sidewalk signals us the shop is open. I step inside to the pastel-colored world of macarons. The shop is adorable; turquoise paint, black and white tiled floor, tin ceiling and a glass chandelier. The main attraction is the display case filled with the authentic French pastry known as the macaron; made in the traditional method, these little bundles of meringue have a firm outer shell and soft insides–they are extraordinary. The shop makes 10 signature flavors and a couple of seasonal options. I order a cup of coffee as Kris and I mull over our choices, this is not an easy task! We choose chocolate malt, fruity pebbles and Bailey’s, they are absolutely delicious, the texture is perfect, chewy but not gooey; the chocolate malt is my favorite.

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Woodward Throwbacks inhabits the old Garrity Dodge building (circa 1939) on Joseph Campau. Detroit residents Bo Shepherd and Kyle Dubay  learned that abandoned buildings are full of usable materials and relics. Through their salvage efforts they have filled this building with reclaimed wood, materials and vintage finds that have been repurposed into attractive, useful items. In the showroom I find really cool pieces like the tool box end table, a coffee table made from a slice of tree trunk, vintage mid-century chairs, wood bottle openers, signs and Michigan-shaped magnets. Wire bins and metal drawers hold hinges, knobs, hairpin legs, hooks and hardware to build your own piece. A fun mural covers one wall; artwork pays homage to Detroit, Hamtramck, Dodge and Garrity, a 1954 green Dodge truck is parked by the large front windows, reminding us of the buildings days as a Dodge dealership. 

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Through an open doorway we find a bounty of reclaimed wood, antiques and great finds. Canning jars, tin signs, table bases and doors compete with tin ceiling tiles, tin molding, manufacturing molds, coolers and church pews for our attention. Reclaimed lumber leans against the far wall, tree trunks have been cut into lengthwise slices, I like the live edge. The scoreboard and locker room benches came from Mae C Jemission Academy in Detroit.

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Around the corner are more remnants of the old dealership, the 5-star Chrysler Dealer sign was probably from the Deeby Dodge years. Curiosity leads Kris to a ramp leading to the second floor, what a cool feature, walking the ramp you really get a feel of the age of the structure. This level is home to the workshop part of the business, an old Powermatic planer shares floor space with a ban saw, work tables, and handmade goods-in-progress. The original paint booth is still being used in some capacity. The whole place is a fun, tasteful, thoughtful mix of old and new. There’s something different each time we come.

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Out on the sidewalk, I hear something, I stop to listen and realize it’s chocolate and it’s calling my name… bon bon bon relocated their shop from Evaline to a much larger space on Joseph Campau at Caniff; their manufactory. The signature orange and pink bon bon bon covers the front door and back wall.  Inside the ‘babes’ are hard at work making chocolates using classic French technique. Behind the glass wall a chocolate fountain flows, blending 7 different chocolates to create bon’s secret recipe.  I watch as chocolates are being made and packed. When you’re here you have to get the ‘Hot Mess’; a chocolate shell filled with warm liquid chocolate, we always get dark chocolate. This one has to go right in your mouth, the whole thing at once, let it sit there, close your eyes, revel in the warm chocolatey goodness, yum. You can’t get just one so Kris chooses the End of the Rainbow, Harp lager caramel, 4-leaf clover ganache in a dark shell. I pick the Irish Car Bon, stout chocolate cake and Bailey’s ganache in a dark shell, it’s so good!

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Over on Yemans the folks who operate the Nosh Pit Detroit food truck have opened a restaurant, after all of our treats a nice, healthy meal is in order. The low brick building sits across the street from Polish Village, glass block front windows give no clue to the cozy interior that awaits diners. One large room holds several community tables, the one on the left is huge. The floor is made of wide wood planks, a star-shaped light and a couple of wrought iron fixtures light up the space, funky art decorates the walls. The dining room immediately feels welcoming, like I’m attending a big family dinner. We’re the first ones in the door when they open so we have our choice of seats, we’re instantly greeted, given menus and water. The Nosh Pit food truck has been roaming the streets of Detroit and the Metro area for almost two years, serving tasty vegetarian and vegan food to hungry patrons. We’re happy they’ve opened a brick and mortar space. We start with the Amanda, a layered salad of lentils, hummus, collards, pickled carrots, roasted red peppers and roasted beets, it looks pretty and tastes delicious! Next up is the Mac Un’Cheese, their house made vegan mac and cheese, the macaroni is cooked perfectly, the dish has a nice taste even though I was expecting something creamier. The Kaz is a house made veggie patty topped with Granny Smith apple slices vegan cheeze and  garlic aioli on a bun; very nice. The patty itself has a nice texture, not too mushy, and nice flavors. It comes with a side salad that was great too. From the moment we sat down Kris has been eyeing the desserts; cookies, cupcakes and brownies sit on pretty serving plates tempting customers. After much debate we decide to split the vegan brownie with sweet potato caramel; super moist and sweet, a nice ending to a nutritious, pleasurable meal.

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Hamtramck: History And Holidays

25 Nov

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Today we’re in Hamtramck for the Polish Art Center open house; the shop is an emporium for all things Polish. The front windows face Joseph Campau, decorated for the holidays they feature beautiful city scenes. On the right are four entries for the Szopki contest, the winner will be announced today. Inside we enter a winter wonderland, small white cones strung together dangle from the decorative tin ceiling creating an indoor snowfall; the mood is festive. Everybody seems to know each other, greetings come in the form of smiles and hugs. A line of customers extends from the register to the back of the store, their arms overflow with merchandise.

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I hear someone playing a harp, we negotiate our way to the other side of the shop, a man sits in the center of the room, the most beautiful music fills the air as his fingers pluck strings effortlessly. We are surrounded by attractive Boleslawiec Polish Stoneware; bowls, cups, tureens, goblets and more all hand-painted in pretty patterns. T-shirts and hats have cute Polish sayings and designs, colorful Polish Folk aprons hang above. The crowd has gathered around the food table, a variety of dishes such as roast pork with winter vegetables, meatballs, bruschetta, smoked salmon with all the toppings, fruit and cheeses are offered to open-house guests; everything is delicious!

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We browse past pretty-painted wooden boxes, serving pieces, figurines, greeting cards, napkins while sipping on champagne and eating homemade truffles. Back in the first room coloring book author Catherine Macaro is busy coloring and signing books. The Christmas ornaments are lovely; snowmen, dolls, snow-covered houses and trees to name a few. Here we have a large selection of Polish cd’s, soup mixes, jams, dried mushrooms, hard candies and my favorite, chocolate. While we wait for the check-out line to die down we check out the Amber jewelry, they have a huge variety from necklaces to rings, the antique wooden display cases are almost as pretty as the jewelry.

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We have made our purchase, earlier I noticed the Hamtramck Historical Museum is open today, that’s where we’re going now. The museum is being renovated in stages so each time we come it’s different; it’s gotten much bigger since our last visit. The building was actually the first department store in the city in the 19-teens, many remember the space as the old barber college, its last incarnation before the museum was a dollar store. All aspects of the city’s history are represented, they have thousands of items ranging from documents, photos and memorabilia to films, medical records and household items. Shelves hold vintage packaging from the Holbrook Ice Cream Company, Swan soap, needles and threader, I like the name of the home permanent: Bu-Tee-Wave, kinda catchy don’t you think?

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Kris automatically gravitates to the Dodge Main display. When the Dodge brothers opened their assembly plant in 1910 immigrants from Poland flooded the area. Dodge Main occupied 67 acres, it was made up of 35 separate  buildings, it included a medical facility, test track and fire department.  Some of the cars built here include Charger, Coronet, Polara, Lancer and Monaco. Display cases are filled with photos, emblems, name badges, key chains, articles, patches, mementos and an actual brick from the factory building. By the mid-20’s factory workers made up 85% of the heads of households in Hamtramck—whoa.

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I wander past photos of the old Village Hall, concert posters, record albums, sheet music, wedding and communion photos, commemorative plates. Business advertisements are found on matchbooks, ashtrays and trinkets. I check out the antique stove, next to it a Westinghouse Electric Roaster, this was a staple in every Polish household back in the day! A cheerleader uniform from St Lads (hey, my dad went to school there), bowling pins and Hamtramck Beer are reminders of the good ol’ days.

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After reading letters, placards and newspaper articles I realize Hamtramck has always welcomed immigrants; from the early days when Detroit Stove Works and the Dodge brothers attracted men from Poland, Syria, and Lebanon continuing to this day.This 2-square-mile city is Michigan’s most internationally diverse. Families from Poland, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Yugoslavia, Bosnia, Ukraine, Albania, live side by side in peace. 27 native languages are spoken by school children. Polish Catholics, Ukranian Orthodox, Iraqi Chaldean Christians, Muslims, practice their religions in the same neighborhood. Hamtramck has hosted Presidents, the Pope, movies, famous people, the Food Network; it’s home to Kowalski, GM, Detroit City FC and, of course, Paczki. 

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Hunger has gotten the best of us, today we’re eating at Polonia Restaurant on Yemans. This charming restaurant has been around for over 40 years. The decor features art by Polish artists, artifacts, hand painted mural, old-fashioned tin ceiling and indirect lighting, giving it a homey feel.The menu is filled with traditional Polish and Eastern European specialties. Our food arrives on large white plates, the Polish plate is a combo of pierogi, golabki, kielbasa, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes and gravy; all of it quite tasty. The mushroom nalesniki are outstanding; paper-thin crepes stuffed with flavorful mushrooms smothered in creamy gravy and a drizzle of sour cream–wow! It’s been a wonderful day and a great way to kick off the holiday season. na zdrowie!

DETROIT: Mt. Olivet Cemetery

10 Nov

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Today we are taking a walk through Detroit’s largest cemetery, Mt. Olivet; opened in 1888 it’s part of the Mt. Elliot family of cemeteries. Located on Van Dyke, straddling Outer Drive, 300 acres of lawns and gardens are the final resting place for both notable and ordinary citizens. The names of cultural, political and business leaders are carved into headstones, mausoleums and monuments; Polish, Italians, Germans and Belgians are grouped together. Military burials date from the Civil War to Vietnam. 

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The sheer beauty of an old cemetery in Autumn makes it an extremely appealing place to take a walk. Massive Maples and Oaks are dressed in their finest colors giving us a grand finale before Winter takes hold. It’s like wandering through a park filled with stories, art and tranquility. The grass is deep green, relishing the recent rain and cooler temperatures, fallen leaves litter the ground, deep red begonias are still hanging on. Near the entrance a towering statue of Jesus on the cross overlooks the grounds, this was originally a Catholic cemetery. We traverse the uneven ground going from one private mausoleum to another; here’s a name we recognize, Albert Fisher, pioneer of the auto industry and uncle to the 7 Fisher brothers who founded Fisher Body. The simple structure has lovely ornate doors, look straight through, there’s a beautiful stained glass window with an angel.

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Most of the mausoleums are fitted with lavish doors or grates, many with unique stained glass in back, some have simple Doric columns, others look as if they’re constructed of rough rock, a few look Egyptian. Live plants still occupy urns, burning bushes are just starting to turn, squirrels run about like this is their playground. There are large family plots with one big headstone bearing the family name, blooming roses embellish the Healy family plot. The Thomas Grant obelisk is unusual in that it is rounded; time, weather and probably pollution have created an attractive shadow to the carved areas. Long, flat gravestones look like concrete doors into the Earth. There are numerous statues throughout, more so than most cemeteries I think. In many cases, it’s a group of statues, like an entire family is mourning the deceased. It’s sad to see missing hands, fingers, heads.

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We get back in the Jeep taking the narrow private road through the tunnel under Outer Drive, we’re now on the opposite side. We are greeted by the Garden Of The Rosary surrounded by finely manicured shrubs. Again we walk. We take our time, look at every detail; the ornate patterns carved into the stone, stained glass windows set into glossy white marble walls, expressions on the faces of statues, stone robes that seem to flow over the pedestal their mounted on, the way the lavish wrought iron has taken on a certain patina through the decades. There is a peacefulness here, I feel like I can just keep walking.

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Some of the more well-known people laid to rest here include Major League Baseball players Jimmy Barrett, Joe Lafata, Cass Michaels and Maurice Van Robays. Pianist Joe Hunter, 3-time Grammy winner with the Funk Brothers and actor Tom Tyler who played ‘Captain Marvel’ in the 1941 movie with the same name can also be found here. Politicians include congressmen Robert Clancy and senator Patrick McNamara. Race car driver William “Shorty” Cantlon was killed during the running of the 1947 Indy 500. I found this especially interesting, Rose M Gacioch, a player in the All American Girls Professional Baseball  League is here. She pitched for the Rockford IL Peaches, Rosie O’Donnell played her in the film A League Of Their Own. There is also a number of notorious crime figures here, including members of the Detroit Mob; really fascinating stuff.

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We have reached the Garden Mausoleum, the field-stone structure was constructed some time in the 1950’s. Concrete pathways lead us through the courtyards, annuals are still blooming, shrubs a perfectly shaped, this section has a statue of St Matthew. We peek into the chapel, hallways are lit by skylights, they lead us past stained glass windows, crypts and colorful mosaics. We pass from one area to the next; St Peter, St Anne, St Catherine, St Thomas and on it goes. Here and there on the walkways antique-looking jars hold lit candles, fresh flowers lay nearby; a tribute to those gone but not forgotten.

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The Polish Army Veterans Monument is situated between trees, the inscription is in Polish. We find names of other Poles in the immediate area. Meandering further we see mausoleums constructed of thickly veined marble with Art Nouveau accents–gorgeous. I see a gravestone in the distance I must get a closer look at, the large stone face is intricately carved with an entire scene; a woman prays at a grave site surrounded by towering trees, it’s amazing. These days cemeteries are much more open to the idea of people coming to enjoy the peacefulness, going for a walk, taking in the beauty. Mt Olivet even hosts the annual Sunrise Run and Pancake Breakfast fundraiser. Speaking of pancakes, it’s time to eat.

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It’s just a hop and a skip to Hamtramck, Polish food sounds good, our favorite Polish restaurant is Polish Village Cafe. It’s between lunch and dinner so getting a table is easy. No need for a menu, we know it by heart. We start with bottles of Zywiec Porter, so smooth, so good. Next we eat cups of dill pickle soup, I like to dip pieces of sourdough bread in mine. We divvy up the Polish Plate and Potato Pancakes eating under white lights wrapped in leaf garland draped from beam to beam, the decor changes with the season. What never changes is the deliciousness of the food, the warmth and hospitality of the staff. It always feels like home. 

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HAMTRAMCK: Pierogi And Fancycakes With A Side Of Theatre …

8 Mar

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It’s the weekend, time to play. During the winter months we do more indoor things; today we are having lunch and seeing a show, the pleasant 64 degree day is quite unexpected. We are just north of the Hamtramck border on Jos Campau, we are going to the “other” Polish restaurant, Krakus Restaurant & Bar, serving authentic homemade Polish food. The yellow brick building resides at the corner of Jos Campau and Meade, we park on the side in the designated lot. The interior looks as if time has stood still–a good thing in this case. 4-top tables wear tablecloths, framed paintings hang on the wall, paneling covers the lower half of walls. Our attentive, friendly waitress greets us with glasses of water and menus, we quickly place our order.

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Two cups of soup arrive, Kris has the mushroom, a creamy, velvety concoction of mushrooms and noodles, it’s out of this world. I’m having the dill pickle soup, the broth resembles chowder, there’s enough tasty shredded pickle for every spoonful. Just as we finish the Polish plate and potato pancakes are set on the table with two empty plates, we’re eating family style. The golden brown potato pancakes are crispy outside, tender and moist inside, we like ours with sour cream. The Polish plate comes with stuffed cabbage, sauerkraut, sausage, mashed potato and two dumplings (all for $9.75 including the soup and bread basket). Each Polish restaurant in Hamtramck has its own family recipes, every dish has its own distinct flavor and personality. Here the stuffed cabbage is served in a gravy style sauce instead of tomato sauce, potato pancakes are deep-fried, the sauerkraut is mild. It reminds me of  when I was growing up, we have many Polish relatives and each cook has their own way of doing things, all of them delicious.

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We drive over to Planet Ant Theatre on Caniff. The faded purple-painted building with the ant face painted on the side began as Planet Ant coffee house, it became a theatre in 1996. In time they created original theatrical and comedy works, formed the Improv Colony and opened a training center focused on teaching long-form improv comedy and comedy writing. Most importantly, the place is super cool! The performance space is small, I mean nano small; the first row of seats is just feet from the stage. A doorway with a curtain separates the lobby from the stage, the restroom door is barely off stage… that kind of small. We are seeing an original drama called The Aliens, the mood is serious, the emotion intense. The audience is drawn to the characters, we are caught up in the story unfolding before our eyes, it’s almost as if we’re eavesdropping. Planet Ant offers a very personal theatre experience, you should definitely check it out. If you are into comedy, check out Improv Mondays, it takes place each Monday at 8 pm for more than 15 years now.

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Every excursion deserves a sweet ending, New Palace Bakery on Jos Campau is just the place. A parking space is open right in front, the large window is filled with pastries, the aroma of bread, cookies, butter and sugar hangs in the air. In addition to the main front window, glass cases hold shelf after shelf of delightful pastries. I ask for a chunk of the poppyseed roll, it’s the best I’ve ever had, as the young lady is doing that I join Kris as he stares at rows of Maryann’s, shortcakes, snowballs and chocolate castles. The variety of treats runs the gamut from butter cookies to custard filled french fingers and marshmallow horns to cheesecake, donuts and the infamous chrusciki (angel wings). We leave the shop, smiles on our faces, with our poppyseed roll and caramel Maryann, life is sweet indeed.


DETROIT: Breaking Down Borders

21 May

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There are places, pockets, that exist outside the mainstream, under the radar, that go completely unnoticed until some event, a happening, comes along inviting us to take a closer look. Today we’ll attend two such gatherings and find some surprises along the way.

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 The Porous Borders Festival takes place (mostly) along Carpenter Street, the border between Detroit and Hamtramck; the usual offerings are there: art, music, food, t-shirts, but in a completely different way. The Jeep is parked on Gallagher, we walk the short distance to Carpenter, looking around we wonder where all the activity is. I grab a map from the information hub in the parking lot, my attention is diverted by the sound of cheering voices, a ball being hit and laughter; we cross the street to watch a group of young men learning to play Cricket. Heading westward we intercept a car cruise; earlier in the day participants created their own wire vehicle in a workshop led by the Wire Car Auto Workers Association of Detroit (WAWAD), suddenly musicians from both sides of Carpenter raise their instruments and begin to play as they chase the tiny cars down the street. Looking closely at the map and schedule I realize it is merely an idea of what you may see, many of the activities are random, unexpected, participant driven.

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Walking past long forgotten businesses, empty homes and buildings, the cities are mirror images of one another; a make-shift tank is parked on broken concrete, weeds grow between the cracks, a boat sits on a trailer in a patch of grass. The door to Turtle & Inky’s, a local bar is open, it’s quiet inside, there’s a break in the action; a large figure of a man, beer in hand, sits way up high on the chimney. We duck into Record Graveyard, the air conditioning a welcome respite from the mid-May heat wave. The new location sports the same green walls as the old building, continuity, I like that. Oren Goldenberg’s installation, The Portal, fills the front window; the scene is of water, a pink geometric shape and a giraffe, anybody walking down the sidewalk becomes part of the scene, you can attempt to swim or splash around entertaining shoppers inside. Further down a residential garage-turned-music studio invites us to stop in and make some noise. Hand-held instruments, drums, and a microphone dare to bring out the rock star in us.

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On the Detroit side a seesaw sits in a beautiful field of green, wildflowers (or possibly weeds) are blooming as the sun blazes overhead. A pair of girls glide up and then down, a sign nearby reads “take a seat, make a friend”, looks like it worked. We arrive at the WAWAD workshop, wire cars are parked in the street, each one is different, some look vintage, there’s a truck, a police car and a dragster complete with headers. Somebody has built diminutive versions of abandoned houses in the area. Around the corner we wander into Popps Packing, a cool art gallery. The pieces on display are modern, the former slaughterhouse has been re-imagined into a great space, Kris likes the multicolored windows. Deeper into the neighborhood a backyard has been transformed into a vineyard; I wonder what kind of wine they’ll make.

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Time for a snack. In 2012 Lisa Ludwinski’s Sister Pie began as a Cottage Food business; hard work, lots of dancing and winning the 2014 Hatch contest culminated into the opening of a quaint storefront at the corner of Kercheval and Parker just a few weeks ago. The building is from the 1920’s, large windows look out onto the streetscape where positive changes are taking place. Inside we are greeted by the aroma of buttery goodies baking in the open, professional grade kitchen.

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Directly in front of us, under glass domes, are the stars of the place—the pies! Today the selection includes Honey Lemon Meringue, Chocolate Coconut and the signature Salted Maple…….enough said. Kris orders his Salted Maple heaped with fresh whipped cream, I take the Chocolate Coconut as is. Sitting at the large community table we dig in, the salted maple has the consistency (and look) of pumpkin pie, the crust, made from high fat French butter, is tender and flaky, the filling is full of maple goodness balanced out perfectly by a little saltiness, you’ve got to try it! The Chocolate Coconut is delicious, soft chocolate filling is chewy at the edges, long shreds of coconut throughout give it a nice flavor and texture, yum! Pies are available whole or by the slice, savory items are available as well, eat in or carry out, you’ll be glad you did.

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Blocks away, we park in front of a gray-painted building on Bellevue that was originally a pickle factory. The Atlanta-based non-profit Dashboard Co-op has turned the building into a temporary art gallery. Dashboard sent folks out to Detroit in search of vacant property to use as exhibition space. They zeroed in on the Pickle Factory, invited several Detroit artists to create works that ‘respond or enhance the uniqueness of the city’ , threw in  a few national artists asking them to create a piece depicting their initial impression of Detroit, put it all together into a contemporary collaboration called Detroit Boom City.  

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Approaching the entrance we stop for a look at After Aris a lined mural by Mitch Cope on the side of the building. Inside we are as interested in the building as we are the art; the space was last used by an automotive surplus company as storage. All of the artwork was created from items found in the building or the surrounding area; much of that being automotive, the Detroit connection is obvious and immediate. In front of us is a miniature parking lot, we recognize the wire vehicles, the artist Chido Johnson, is the creator of WAWAD. The space is cool, windowless, items such as the time clock remain; it still works! Wandering from piece to piece, we can identify many of the items used: fenders, oil filters, hoses, bumpers, very cool. Narcissus Inc by Scott Hocking is the most ambitious of the bunch, the office-like area looks like it could still be in use today. Huge swordfish and bookshelves cover the back wall, paintings, clocks, wheel covers and record albums are incorporated into the setting. Chrome pieces are stacked high creating sculptures on each side of the room. Popps’ Mobile Sauna, a 1989, yellow and orange striped van turned mobile sauna is parked in the courtyard, it even works. The gallery is open Saturday and Sunday from 1 pm to 7 pm until June 12.

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HAMTRAMCK: Hidden Secrets

22 Oct

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Hamtramck, at just 2.1 square miles, urban life flourishes here. Perhaps it’s the mix of cultures, customs, religions and ethnicities; immigrants from all over the world have settled here for centuries. Maybe it’s the result of the blue-collar work ethic Detroit is so famous for or the authentic everydayness of life in this enclave. Whatever it is, let’s face it, Hamtramck is cool! Today is the 2014 Neighborhood Arts Festival, it’s not like any other ‘festival’ we’ve ever been to. Activities are taking place from one end of the city to another in storefronts, lofts, galleries and homes; from music to dancing, painting to printing, there’s something for everyone.

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Being an afternoon event, we arrive on Jos Campau just in time for lunch; the longstanding Campau Tower has just re-opened.  Serving burgers, hot dogs and milk shakes, it’s sure to be a hit with the locals. The diner is teeny-tiny, we grab the last empty stools, leaving standing room only, the menu hangs above the grill, one of those old-fashioned numbers with the white letters that press into a black felt background, there’s a lot to read. Besides a good scrubbing and some freshening up the restaurant looks the same as it always has. Now, white cafe lights criss-cross the ceiling, a flat screen TV mounted on the wall shows an old episode of Twin Peaks, stained glass lamps dangle by chain from the ceiling. People stop in placing carry-out orders, it’s a busy day at the Tower. Our food finally appears, the Brotherly Love hot dog, which looks amazing, brisket Bao Bun and fries. Unlike the service, the food was really good; the hot dog is split then covered with caramelized onions, peppers and cheese sauce…yum. The apricot brisket bun, tiny and tasty. The menu selection runs from the expected to the adventurous.  Now let’s check out the festival!

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Atomic Cafe Art Gallery is right across the street; the space is long and narrow, black paint covers the walls in the first gallery, a ping-pong table takes residence near the back, a couple is playing as we look at the art. Paintings are bright and colorful, some cartoon-like, near the back, toilet seats are covered in colorful Marvel Comics and shellacked to a high shine, another grouping depicts Detroit scenes: Scarab Club, Belle Isle fountain, the infamous Kowalski hot dog sign. Through an open doorway we enter the next gallery; Kris and I both walk towards the same piece, 12 boards are covered in a highly textured coating, each piece is a different, brilliant color, it’s hard not to touch. A number of artists are represented, the variety of styles and pieces is welcome, cool, old items have been upcycled into lights, there’s a little bit of everything. A few steps away we drop in at Lo & Behold, the shop has an ever-changing inventory of neat things. Kris spots a gorgeous 1940’s microphone, I follow his lead to have a look, it’s a beauty. The shop is fully stocked with vintage 45’s and record albums today, they also offer cassettes of artists who perform here. I make a note reminding us to come for the live music this winter.

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Tekla Vintage is one of those funky vintage stores that offers everything from home goods to handbags, it’s owned by Hamtramck Mayor Majewski. The store is brimming with wild fashions from the 60’s and 70’s, there’s no shortage of polyester here; one look at a pair of platform shoes makes me laugh out loud, literally….   Glass and mirrored shelves hold lovely Polish items such as dolls, plates and vases. Styrofoam heads wear fashionable hats, guys, you can find a great bow tie here. Some of the fixtures and display cases look original to the store, I’m crazy about the glass front doors with the lucite handles. Continuing on Jos Campau there’s an open studio up on the second floor of a building, Carl Wilson and Mariuca Rofick have their work on display. Light pours in from large front windows, art covers the walls, we love getting a peek into these great spaces. At the 9338 Campau Gallery Abigail Alwin plays her cello, visitors are gathered around in the large open room. She plays her instrument and works a series of pedals which allow her to record, then play back a piece of music, looping it so she can add to it, creating a piece with many different parts.

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 Over on Caniff, Public Pool has an exhibit titled “The Last Record Shop”, we have been looking forward to seeing it. Fashioned to look like a record shop, quotes from musicians are painted on the wall, album covers rest on shelves and tables. You must take your time to look at the cover art, satirical and clever, they are great fun. Next we make our way into the neighborhood. A large brick building on Klinger is home to artists studios and Silva Perum Bookstore. When we arrive, adults are guiding children in a number of activities, one man teaches how to ride a skateboard, in the yard kids are drawing and making Halloween masks. Inside we traverse the halls, popping into individual studios, so much amazing stuff goes on here. Time is fleeting and there are still so many things to see; we make our way to Sobieski St.

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A simple, white, 2-story house sits non-nonchalantly, a closer look reveals a series of paintings surrounding the front door. We are welcomed inside by the homeowner who tells us this is her hobby house, a place where she can create, display her art and entertain. She shares the space with another artist, the house is cozy, quaint and a great way to share their talents with the public. Down a ways, we enter the second story home/studio of artist Emily Wood. The hall going up is lined with her framed art, her studio is jammed packed with her work in every medium from paint to pottery to sewing. Kris and I are both in awe of her talent, her painted streetscapes are so life-like. The front room is cluttered with bottles of paint, brushes and works-in-progress, a panel of material sits on a table, the print is her very own drawings of houses in Hamtramck, sweet! 

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We make our way to a quirky little neighborhood in the North end of Hamtramck, a graffiti covered van sits curbside outside the studio of Will C Bevan, a Memphis native who spent the last year in New York before moving to Detroit. His work on display is a series of abstract patterns, very appealing to the eye. It blows our mind to think of what an artistic hub Hamtramck has become, who would’a thought? Filter Detroit is an artist residence owned by a woman who resides in Germany…  For 4 months a year, an artist lives rent free in the back portion of the house, in exchange they must make/leave some sort of contribution, print a book, write a poem, do a painting; in the front room of the house is such a piece, one of the traveling artists created a mural depicting Detroit. An empty lot has become a tree farm of sorts as saplings sprout from the center of old tires.The house next door is called Play House, and for good reason; the house has been completely gutted of interior dividing walls and floors and has become a performance space. We enter from the backyard and find ourselves in a lovely hardwood floor room, a Classical Bengali music concert has just ended, the folks who own the house own several properties on the street, they have big plans for all of them!

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Walking to the end of Moran we see Treasure House, an old 1920’s home, somewhat of a living collage; steps are multi-colored, art pieces, random objects and found items cover the surface, lean against the porch and take up space on the lawn. Across the street an ordinary house has become a monster house; eyes, fangs and large hands  make one wonder what’s inside. The structure is colorful, and oh so interesting with painted globs of slime dripping down the front. Even the fences are tied into the overall artistic statement of the neighborhood, painted up in bright hues, they are aglow in the late afternoon sun. Written words remind us to Keep Singing, Keep Learning, Keep Loving, loose windows and building materials are strewn about. Another house has this awesome life-like painting of a man, it looks as though he is working on repairing the house right this minute, windows are boarded up, random patterns are drawn on the wood. Power House is another public art project, the goal here is to have the house completely functional off the grid. It currently creates its own electricity from wind and solar energy. With so much positive going on in and around Detroit it always makes me wonder why it’s such a secret. Thankfully, events such as the Hamtramck Neighborhood Arts Festival allow us to find the amazing behind the perception.

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HAMTRAMCK: Food Week Fun !

6 Nov

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 From goods and services to the food we eat, these days we are all being encouraged to “Buy Local”.  Cities big and small are making it easier to do just that! Hamtramck recently hosted their very own Food Week, home to many affordable and diverse restaurants, the food scene in Hamtramck is flourishing. Nikita Santches of Rock City Pies, has just opened a full service restaurant on Joseph Campau called, what else, Rock City Eatery. Not to worry, in addition to lunch and dinner, he is still making his incredible selection of outstanding pies. The eatery has taken over the old Maria’s Comida space, completely redone, we hardly recognized the interior; dark floor, particle board wall, silver ceiling, crystal chandelier and a poster of Iggy Pop, the place has a casual, hip vibe. Serving plates are vintage and mismatched, as are the tables and chairs.  Our waiter arrives with mason jars, a bottle of water and menus, reading over the selections, it’s hard to decide–everything sounds appealing. I was surprised to learn they also have a liquor licence, we ordered a cocktail to go with our sandwich. Before we know it our Un-Kosher Brisket sandwich arrives; tender braised brisket, apricot schmear, melted Gruyère and Manischewitz onions, so tasty and delicious, served with a side of yummy potato salad, it really hit the spot. It is impossible to resist a piece of Rock City’s Butterscotch Bourbon Pecan Pie, so just give in and enjoy, it’s wonderful!

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With time before our tour of Hamtown Farms, we stop in at the Hamtramck Historical Museum down Joseph Campau a little way. In its early stages, exhibits currently fill the front area only. Photos, memorabilia, antiques and more reveal Hamtramck’s rich history. Located next to the Polish Art Center, the 8,000 sq ft space was formerly the city’s first department store. Maps date back to 1874, a clock from Max’s Jewelry Co. hangs on a wall, if you’ve never seen a real prohibition-era ‘still’, here’s your chance. Large pieces such as a 1925 hand crank phonograph, a wringer and antique stove take us back in time. Dodge Main drew thousands to the area, changing the face of the city. Trunks, trophies and uniforms add a personal touch, new displays are being added all the time. Open Saturday and Sunday, admission is free, come check it out.

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In its second year, volunteer run Hamtown Farms resides on nine vacant parcels of land on Lumpkin near Holbrook. Here we find a small orchard and working farm; raised beds are brimming with vegetable plants, young Paw Paw, Cherry and Pear trees have yet to bear fruit. A large group of people have gathered for the short tour and history of the farm. Our guide, Michael explains how after years of picking up trash, disposing of old tires and mowing the vacant land the community came together to create this welcome green space. Walking through the grassy area Michael points out a Paw Paw Tree, the fruit of the tree is said to taste like a mix of mango and banana, they are looking towards the future when the Paw Paws on site will provide fruit for the community. Raised beds line a gravel area, some are private, belonging to residents, others are for community picking; plants are heavy with ripe, red tomatoes, Swiss chard is tall  and colorful, cornstalks have a few remaining ears. A long row of sunflowers is eye-catching, petals range from pale to deep yellow to copper, all with fuzzy looking brown centers. Hamtown Farms is currently in negotiations with Hamtramck’s Emergency Financial Manager to permanently acquire the parcels, looks like it may be a tough fight. I encourage you to go to their website and read more about it. 

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Back on Jos Campau the pop-up Biergarten is just getting underway in the empty lot next to Lo & Behold. We drop into the shop to see what’s new, owner Richie Wohlfeil has assembled an eclectic array of items for sale. A section of the left wall is covered with old 45’s, next to that, milk crates stacked 5 high hold more items, cardboard cut-outs of Space Invaders hang from the ceiling, handmade shelves support rows of vintage books. You’ll find mid-century furniture, sheet music, art work, movie posters and cool old clothes, but mostly you’ll find old records; Johnny Cash, Sarah Vaughn, The Kingsmen, oldies, rock-n-roll and of course Jazz. It’s a great shop to come wander through or catch a live performance of a local band.

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We exit the store and find the Biergarten up and running, patrons hold plastic cups filled with beer from local breweries. Tables are large wooden spools turned on their sides, votive candles are at the ready when darkness comes. We order at the make-shift bar, the bartender tells us she is a Hamtramck resident and gushes with fondness for the city. More and more folks in their 20’s and 30’s are making the city their home. With such a diverse food culture, more restaurants and a new coffee shop on the way, affordable housing and a renewed energy, I can see why!

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Hamtramck: Saint Florian Strawberry Festival

4 Jun


There are certain things you can count on in life: Spring follows Winter, night follows day, cake on your birthday, fireworks on the 4th of July and the St Florian Strawberry Festival every May. This year we met up with a couple of our friends who had not yet been to the church or the festival. The four of us packed ourselves into our 2-door Wrangler, we arrive at St Florian, surrounding streets have been declared Strawberry Festival Blvd for the weekend. The imposing brick and stone building can’t help but attract your attention with its handsome wood doors, stained glass windows, finely carved stone a spire that rises 200 feet into the sky. People and activity are everywhere; from a large tent we hear music as Polish dance ensembles perform traditional dances, the air carries the distinct aroma of Polish food. There is a buffet of items such as perogi and meatball dinners, Polish beer and chrusciki (angel wings). Next we head to social hall where the festivities continue.

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The party continues downstairs, the space reminds me of the days when big family gatherings were held in basements. Fold-out paper strawberries hang from the drop ceiling, round tables are covered in pastel colored cloths, a large bar hugs one side of the wall, and then there’s the food! Volunteers have spent countless hours preparing city chicken and stuffed cabbage, Polish Village supplies the sauerkraut, Kielbasa comes from Bozek, New Palace Bakery makes the cheesecake, cookies and everybody’s favorite, paczki; it is a true neighborhood affair. At a nearby table parishoners are hard at work pouring homemade batter into a waffle iron, I gaze dreamily as the baked waffle is topped with fresh strawberries in their own syrup, a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a dollop of fresh whipped cream, I immediately take my place in line. Each of us gets something different; we take a seat at one of the tables and dig in. The warmth of the waffle melts the ice cream ever so slightly, Kris and I take large bites being sure to get a bit of everything on the fork; strawberries are sweet, the waffle tender, simple and delicious! The Dyna Dukes are onstage, they begin to play a polka, suddenly the dance floor is crowded with couples wearing smiles of delight. Upstairs, tours of the church are being offered, we make our way there and wait for it to begin.

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I love to see the look on people’s faces when they enter the church for the first time; a mixture of wonder and amazement. Designed by Ralph Adams Cram in the Gothic style, the church opened in 1928. It is visually stunning; the nave is made up of six bays topped with a rib vault ceiling painted a deep blue, ribs are accentuated with gold paint. The main aisle is flanked by 2 smaller aisles, stained glass windows made by Kase Company in New York line the walls. The altar is magnificent; a series of five windows depict polish saints, the altar piece a work of art from Florence Italy. The organ loft is illuminated by a large, jewel-like, rose stained glass window, the organ itself, a 1928 Austin Electric Opus # 1528, completely renovated in 2008. Walls look like stone, stenciled designs decorate every surface, light fixtures dangle from long chains, large round ones are made of wood, smaller elongated fixtures are glass, all are exceptional. We walk around in awe, Kris, busy as usual, taking photos until the tour begins.

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We take our seats in the first few rows of pews, a local man, knowledgeable in the history of both St Florian and Hamtramck will be our guide. He tells us about the early days, about 1901, when Hamtramck was still a village filled with farms. Soon afterward automobile manufacturers began setting up shop; Dodge, Packard and Ford. Eastern European immigrants began to settle in the area, there were many jobs to fill. In 1910 the population in Hamtramck was 3559, in 1920 it was 48,615 and in 1930 it rose to 56,000 people; imagine it, all those people living in a city of only 2 square miles! St Florian parish began in 1908, before long they had outgrown their church, with a plan for a new building, working class parishoners sacrificed what they could to build the new church at a cost of $500,000.00 The current building opened in 1928, American Architecture Magazine named it the best new church in America in 1929. They say at one time there were 23 factories and 43 grocery stores in Hamtramck, then as now there was no shortage of bars. At one time Dodge Main employed 45,000 people, sadly the factory closed in 1979. The good news is GM built a new factory on the land where they proudly build the Chevrolet Impala and Volt. Today’s Hamtramck is a mix of people from Eastern Europe to the Middle East, there are Mosks, and churches of Catholic, Baptist and Evangelical faiths. St Florian still offers mass in both Polish and English and looks as good as ever.

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Coming from St Florian and being in Poletown we have lunch exactly where you’d expect….a Bosnian restaurant! Located on Caniff across the street from the post office Restaurant Palma is located inside what looks to be a family home. The inside is quaint; a stained wood wainscoting lines the walls, tiny white lights shine from behind it. Tables are round and covered with linen table cloths, a single rose decorates each table, walls are pale green and yellow and hanging plants add an airiness to the space. Our young waitress arrives with menus in hand, we order diet cokes and look them over, yikes….it’s written in Bosnian! When she brings our drinks we ask for assistance in ordering, nice as can be she tells us about different dishes, we place our order and wait for the food to arrive. The dishes come out together, we have a small cabbage salad: finely shredded cabbage with a mild vinegar type dressing. The Cevapi is a Bosnian main-stay; tiny skinless sausages of ground meat served on a huge roll called Lepinja. The bread or Lepinja is fantastic, soft, fluffy and delicate there is nothing I can compare it to, slightly sweet, it has soaked up some of the juice from the Cevapi, delicious! The Cevapi itself is very tasty, it reminds me a bit of a Croation dish I have had. Served with sour cream for dipping, sliced raw onion and seasoned french fries, it is a hearty meal. We picked the stir fry for a bit of variety, tender chicken chunks and a large variety of veggies it is well seasoned and flavorful, yum! It has been wonderful day filled with beautiful architecture, interesting stories from the past and delectable food, giving us an even greater appreciation for all that surrounds us.

DETROIT: Tudors Galore !

2 Oct

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I find myself running out of adjectives to describe the beautiful and architecturally significant neighborhoods in Detroit, there are just too many… You have probably heard of Indian Village, Palmer Woods and Boston Edison, one you may not be so familiar with is the University District. Deriving its name from its close proximity to UDM, the district is located west of Woodward between 6 and 7 Mile Rd; this community of roughly 1,400 homes was  built mostly between the 1920’s and 30’s, often referred to as the “Golden Age of Housing”. Most residences range in size from 2,000 to 4,000 square feet and feature amazing workmanship from hand-pegged hardwood floors to highly detailed plaster work. Often 3-stories tall they also have finished basements and several fireplaces; a bit more unusual is the number of bathrooms; it is not uncommon for these homes to have 3 full bathrooms along with a half bath. Neighborhood streets are tree-lined, exteriors of houses are stone and brick, windows are made of leaded and stained glass, lush gardens create eye-catching landscapes. Architectural styles  include French Provincial and American Colonial but the English Tudor is king. Every other year the district holds a spectacular home and garden tour that we’d like to share with you today.

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We begin by picking up our tour booklets on Oak Dr just north of Mc Nichols; volunteers with smiling faces hand out booklets and answer questions of eager tourists; today we will be visiting 6 homes and Gesu Church. As Kris drives into the neighborhood to park in a central location, I flip through the pages of the book getting a sneak peek of the homes. We find a spot on Wildmere that suits us and head out on foot. English Tudors are the featured home on this years tour, there is no shortage of them; the neighborhood is like a jewel box, each home a jewel. We arrive at one of the homes, built in 1928 it is 3,000 sq feet; wrought iron railings, stained glass windows and a vaulted ceiling in the dining room make the place exquisite. This is not our first tour of this district and yet we are still surprised by the beauty and charm encased in the walls, the remarkable way in which the area has survived decades of economic ups and downs nearly unscathed. With our map in hand we stroll up and down Muirland, Birchcrest, Fairfield, Pickford and Parkside. We see turrets, slate floors, doors carved of Gum wood,  fireplaces galore, barrel ceilings, crystal chandeliers and Pewabic tile. There are French doors, original wall sconces, spiral staircases, walnut pocket doors and intercoms to page the servants. Each address has its own distinct character with plenty to oooohhhh and aaaahhhh over.

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Attending as many home tours as we do, we have encountered a type of floor tile on occasion that we knew was not Pewabic, but quite lovely just the same. Today we finally learned what it is: Flint Faience. Made by the Champion Spark Plug Company the tile business came about as a fluke. Kilns were used to fire the porcelain caps used on spark plugs, the repeated heating and cooling cycles were damaging to the kilns, to keep the kilns hot they began firing colorful tiles when not producing spark plugs, thus the Flint Faience and Tile Company was created in 1921. The tiles popularity grew far and wide through the years and more designs were added. Due to the high demand of automobiles, GM unfortunately ceased production of the tile in 1933 so the kilns could be used to produce  spark plugs full time. Another contribution by the automobile industry to the Detroit area and beyond! We continue to walk through the area; Kris takes picture after picture, I wonder how we will ever choose which ones to post. The original owners of these houses were businessmen, doctors and lawyers; residents included Stanley Winkleman (remember Winklemans?), Mayor Jerome Cavanagh, the Cobo family and even Gilda Radner. These dwellings were built by the finest craftsman using only the best materials, qualities usually found in much larger homes.

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After we had seen each home we drove back over to Gesu Church on Oak; built in 1934 you may find the configuration a bit unusual, that’s because it was originally built by the University of Detroit to be used as an auditorium. We stepped inside to find a largely open space; the altar takes up one wall, pews are angled to face the front of the church. The ceiling is striking, done in the Moorish style its designs are elegant and colorful. Light fixtures are suspended from long chains, glass pieces are oblong in shape. Light filters in through richly colored stained glass windows and a centrally located skylight; it is sunny today so we can see every detail. Most of the decorative features are found on the walls and ceiling; elegant sconces are made of wrought iron that twists and turns around red glass, the walls surrounding the altar are painted in lavish designs inspired by Moorish Romanesque churches architect George Diehl had seen in Spain. Entry doors are made of wood and feature a peg design. Deeply carved figures and objects representing Jesuits are focal points in the exterior columns, be sure and have a look. This year the Gesu church is celebrating its 90th anniversary, they have many activities planned for this occasion. 

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It was well past lunchtime; we were looking for a hearty meal and outdoor dining, Polish Village Cafe immediately came to mind. We made the short drive to Hamtramck. When we arrived we were happy to see tables available on the patio. Kris chose a table, I ran downstairs to let them know we were there. When I was offered menus I declined and asked if I could just order, as we already knew what we wanted; that done I joined my husband outside and relaxed while waiting for our meal to arrive. The restaurant opened their patio last year; they did a marvelous job with the space. Black wrought iron tables and chairs are surrounded by pretty gardens and assorted flower pots. The day had turned hazy so there was no need to put the umbrella up; flats of Pansies sat nearby waiting to be planted, their perfume recognizable. Large Hibiscus are still showing off their blooms, they have weathered the dry, hot summer well. First to arrive is the dill pickle soup and the bread basket, this is my favorite soup. That finished off quickly, our entrees arrived shortly after. The Hungarian pancake is a huge potato pancake topped off with a meaty Hungarian style stew, chunks of pork fall apart with the touch of a fork, vegetables join the meat in a rich red sauce that has a bit of a kick. The mixed plate of perogi is always delicious; today it included potato, cheese and kraut, yum! Did I mention the sour cream? It doesn’t get much better than this! 

Vintage Hamtramck

27 Nov

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Located within the city of Detroit, is the city of Hamtramck, only 2.1 sq. miles  in size, it is Michigan’s most internationally diverse city. Known mostly for it’s Polish heritage, Hamtramck has many facets. Our plan for today was to check out the vintage shops in town. We parked in the centrally located parking lot behind the shops on the east side Joseph Campau, the mild temperature made it a nice day for walking. 

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There was a great deal of activity down one of the side streets; trucks, cables, and huge lights, a now familiar sight around the Detroit area, which means they are filming. Rumor has it GM is making a commercial for the Volt, which is built at the assembly plant right in Hamtramck. Using the city as a backdrop and featuring local residents, the commercial is supposed to air on Superbowl Sunday. Our first stop was the Record Graveyard on Caniff, dealing exclusively in vintage vinyl records, this is a vinyl collectors nirvana. I know nothing about vintage records, yet I find this place fascinating. The album covers immediately grab your attention, with just one look you can usually identify the decade the the album was released. The records are organized by genre; the male vocal selection is dominated by Frank Sinatra, Gene Autry, Country Western section, if you like Jazz, you’ve come to the right place. As I walk around and see names like Glady’s Knight and the Pips songs start playing in my head.(Are you humming Midnight Train to Georgia now?) I recognize the names of artists from my parents generation; Steve and Eydie, Frankie and Annette, Boots Randolph,I even saw Pat Boone. Movie soundtracks are always fun to look through, I find myself saying “Oh yeah, I remember that movie”. Lining the top portion of the walls is a collection of the more risque covers featuring scantily clad women in seductive poses.Back in the day it seems that the cover art was as important as the record inside and is now recognized as such. This is a great place to come and browse, you may even find a piece of your past that you want to take home. The building Record Graveyard now occupies is currently for sale, but the owners are committed to staying in Hamtramck, therefore it is a good idea to call before you make the trip! 313-870-9647.

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Detroit Threads specializes in vintage items and new clothing by local merchants, along with records, CD’s and DVD’s. Every inch of the store is packed with merchandise, aisles are narrow and items are displayed floor to ceiling. I like to take my time, there is so much to see I usually have to walk through twice. New t-shirts and hoodies in all sizes and colors feature both Detroit and Hamtramck. The quantity of used clothing is vast; snazzy sport coats for men in tweed, shark skin and metallic  lame, dressy coats for women in leopard print, wool and even fur.They have great accessories for both men and women including hats, shoes, purses and neck ties. When film crews are in town they often stop in when looking for vintage items.  If you look carefully you can find cool items from Detroit icons like Vernor’s , Stroh’s and Kowalski.  Detroit Threads is also well known for their extensive collection of LP’s, they have it all from local techno to disco and import records, local DJ’s are regular shoppers. They have a little bit of everything and each time you go there’s something new to see. 

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A couple of doors down at 10022 Jos. Campau is a shop called Lo and Behold. Only open for a few months now, the selection is quite random; old furniture, records, posters,knick-knacks, books, clothing, kitchen items, even an old saxophone; the plan is to transition more into records and books. It’s always fun to shop in a store like this because you never know what you’ll find. I always like it when there are several resale type shops grouped together, I can park once and browse for hours.

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Keeping the vintage theme going, we had lunch at Polonia Polish Restaurant on Yemans. Serving up some of Hamtramck’s best Polish and Eastern European food for over 40 years, it has a loyal following. The inside is quaint, a mural depicting life in old Poland covers the back wall, tables and booths line the dining space, authentic Polish dishware is displayed on shelves, Polish music plays in the background. The front of the menu is a Polish Short Dictionary, it includes: Good Day, Please and Thank You, and of course, Kiss Me and I Love You. The phrase is first written in English with the Polish next to it, now if I only knew how to pronounce it……. The combination plate gives you a bit of everything; pierogi, kilebasa, sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, and golabki, it’s so good! My mouth waters just thinking about it. We love potato pancakes so we ordered those too. Fried to a crispy brown outside, tender and moist inside, slathered with sour cream of course, delicious. Back in 2009 Anthony Bourdain filmed a segment here for the Travel Channel and introduced a whole new audience to the restaurant.

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On our way back home we made one last stop at Bozeks Market on Caniff, not that we needed anything, it’s just fun to look around. The store specializes in central and eastern European foods, especially Polish. The selection of chocolates and sweets is huge; the packaging is pretty, pictures on labels aid in determining what each item is, I’d like to try one of each. Fresh produce, meats and breads are all reasonably priced, everything looks good. Many of the shoppers speak their native language to store employees, the language sounds soft and kind. Besides food you can find cosmetics, magazines and newspapers written in Polish along with liquor packaged in attractive bottles. Before leaving we revisited the candy aisle and indiscriminately chose a candy bar to share, I’m not sure exactly what it was, but it sure was good!

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