Unmistakably Detroit

The places and people that make Detroit unique

January 3, 2016
by Liz Carson
Comments Off on Detroit Doesn’t Need You. But You Need Detroit.

Detroit Doesn’t Need You. But You Need Detroit.

Sylvia and I

Sylvia and I

I started this blog with my friend Sylvia to promote Detroit. To help bring the City back. To showcase all the great things that are happening and inspire others to believe in it too.

I still want all those things, but I’ve realized something else. Detroit doesn’t need my blog. My words are not going to change the City. My positivity isn’t going to convince someone who is afraid to cross 8 mile to suddenly venture into Detroit for something other than a ball game.  My intentions were good, but they kinda missed the point.

It’s not Detroit that needs me. It’s me that needs Detroit.

Detroit Skyline

I need its art. I need its spirit. I need its amazing food. I need the architecture that I can’t find anywhere else. I need its festivals and music. I need its culture. I need its grit and energy. I need it to be the thing that inspires me.  I want it to be the thing that inspires me. The motivation to be creative. To immerse myself in new things and to put myself out there.

I want to go to the church my Dad went to as a kid and share that history with my kids. To imagine the past when sitting on the wooden pew staring up at the beautiful stained glass windows.  To admire the people that built it and think about the Polish immigrants that sat in those very same pews.

DIAI want to go to the DIA, gaze at the Diego Rivera mural, and think of how lucky we are to have this piece of art in our City. And then walk down the hall and see a Picasso and a Van Gogh.

I want to drive onto Belle Isle, visit the aquarium and admire the green ceiling tiles that make me feel like I am underwater. To feel pride when I notice that there are so many more tanks filled with fish compared to the last time I visited.

I want to dress up for an anniversary dinner at the London Chop House, walk down the steps into the restaurant and pretend we are auto barons from the 1930’s out for a night on the town.

And I want to write about it. Because in writing about it I get to experience it again. I get to be creative. And I get to be a part of Detroit. Because the people that are doing great things for Detroit are putting their heart out there. They are all in. They have showed up. I want to show up too. And maybe in the process, I will inspire someone else.

Detroit doesn’t need me, but I sure need Detroit.

Comerica Park

March 16, 2014
by Liz Carson
Comments Off on Liz’s Pop Quiz – Tigers Trivia Time!

Liz’s Pop Quiz – Tigers Trivia Time!

Liz's Pop Quiz - Tigers Trivia

Test your knowledge of all things Detroit Tigers!
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March 6, 2014
by Liz Carson
Comments Off on 6 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues in Detroit

6 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues in Detroit

We know you are sick of this weather. We are too. The piles of snow, the cold, the roads filled with potholes…Enough already! We want spring!! But since that darn groundhog was right and it doesn’t look like spring is coming any time soon, here’s a few ways to beat the winter blues. In Detroit, of course!


1. Detroit Institute of Arts

Liz the Thinker

Liz the Thinker

The DIA is a great place to be in any weather, but especially nice in the winter. Escape into a Van Gogh, enjoy a coffee in the recently renovated Prentis Court, or even pretend you’re a Samuri.  Samuri? Yep, from March 9th through June 1st, the DIA hosts the special exhibit – Samuri: Beyond the Sword.

2. The Peacock Room

If we can’t have spring weather, we can at least have pretty spring clothes (and jewelry, handbags, scarves….)! Conveniently located across the street from the DIA, The Peacock Room has something for everyone.  One trip to The Peacock Room, and you will realize why shopping there is infinitely better than shopping at a large department store. Two words – customer service. The owner (Rachel) and her staff has helped me pick out presents, choose the perfect necklace for an outfit (without even seeing the outfit), and even once told me that a shirt I REALLY wanted was too tight. Now THAT is customer service!  If you need some spring fashion inspiration, check out their facebook page for pictures of some ridiculously cute spring dresses! And as The Peacock Room says, “Winter, you’re SO last season.”

Two James

Two James

3. Two James Spirits

Whiskey, bourbin, gin, and vodka. Do I need to say more? Located in Corktown, Two James Spirits is Detroit’s first licensed distillery since Prohibition.  The Tasting Room is open Tuesday through Sunday and distillery tours are available on Friday and Saturday.

4. Michigan Science Center

Its easy to imagine spring when you walk into the Wish Upon A Butterfly exhibit at MiSci. Walk among, and even feed, live butterflies in this special exhibit (now through June 15th). After visiting the butterflies be sure to check out MiSci’s permanent exhibits, shows and IMAX.

 5. Belle Isle

Beautiful green tiled ceilings inside the Aquarium

Beautiful green tiled ceilings inside the Aquarium

I know we usually associate Belle Isle with summertime fun, but hear me out on this one. There is plenty to do on the island in the winter, and it won’t involve being cold.  In fact, it is always warm in the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory so head inside, relax under a palm tree and dream of the warmer days ahead. More indoor fun awaits at the Aquarium, Dossin Great Lakes Museum, and Nature Zoo. And if you happen to be the one person that is not sick of winter, you could even try a winter hike out to the Lighthouse.

6. The Old Shillelagh

The Old Shillelagh is a great time anytime of year, but March is kinda their sweet spot. Join in on the St Patrick’s Day (I mean weekend) fun and you will definitely forget all about your winter blues.

The Old Shillelagh bus!

The Old Shillelagh bus!

 

 

 

 

January 16, 2014
by Sylvia Fronczak
Comments Off on El Barzon Provides the Best of Two Worlds

El Barzon Provides the Best of Two Worlds

Mexican is absolutely my favorite type of food. From the guacamole to the amazing salsas all put into, on or next to something in a tortilla… Oh, it’s amazing. I’m fortunate enough to live fairly close to Mexican town but unfortunately married to someone who works near there and inexplicably gets tired of eating there. If anyone wants to meet up to eat, let me know. But I digress…

You may recall that I featured El Barzon in Sly’s Top 5 Date Nights and for good reason. Not only do they have amazing Mexican food, but they also through in an added dash of awesome by serving Italian food, too!

The owners of El Barzon have taken their Mexican heritage and combined it with chef Norberto Garita’s experience in Italian fine dining and combined it into a restaurant full of awesome possibilities. Where else can you get an amazing lasagna while your dinner date enjoys some tamales? The veggie burrito is also amazing and one of my favorite things on the menu. Silvia and Norberto do an amazing job of making sure your taste buds are satisfied. They take your favorite Mexican and Italian foods and make them extraordinary.

Next time you are in Mexican Town, stop by and check out El Barzon!

January 1, 2014
by Sylvia Fronczak
Comments Off on Review of 2013 in Detroit

Review of 2013 in Detroit

It was a year ago today that Liz and I sat down and decided to create Unmistakably Detroit. We didn’t have a clear vision, detailed plan of action or even the same name we do today, but the goal of bringing more focus on the good of Detroit was at the heart of our dreams. In this first year we hit 250 followers on Facebook and 600 followers on Twitter. Our blog page views are not as high as we had hoped, but we did this through nothing more than some word of mouth and sharing stories that shined a positive light on the people and places in Detroit.

Overall the year had some highs and some lows for the city of Detroit. Without taking advantage of the highs and learning from the lows, we cannot move on. So let’s take a look at our year in review for 2013 — the good, the bad, and some things you may have missed.

January

  • Although we were full of hope and promise, Detroit was a bit down after news that we had experienced our deadliest year in recent history hit the mainstream media.
  • The city had further upset when a 30 car pile up on I-75 made national news and resulted in suffering and loss of lives.
  • Fortunately we did have a few good things happen, too. GM announced that they were working on bringing more jobs to Michigan
  • Rob Mentov releases his short video Nothing Stops Detroit, showcasing much of the city through a skateboarder’s point of view
  • And the North American International Auto Show boasted the highest number of attendees in close to 10 years.
  • To top it all off, we write our first post. I know, I know, this is the best part.

February

March

December 27, 2013
by Liz Carson
Comments Off on Detroit: A Poem

Detroit: A Poem

My son (in 3rd grade) is always writing poems for school, so I was inspired to write one of my own. My topic? Detroit, of course!

Detroit

Down but not out

Empowered by its people

Tough as nails

Rising again

Opportunity is now

Imagine Detroit

Triumphant once more

 detroit skyline

 

December 23, 2013
by Liz Carson
Comments Off on Favorite Detroit Memories – Fast Cars, Baseball, and Dreams

Favorite Detroit Memories – Fast Cars, Baseball, and Dreams

Me and my Dad - circa 2000

Me and my Dad – circa 2000

I think it was the summer of 2000. I had recently graduated from Michigan Tech and was spending some time at home in Warren before moving to Milwaukee for my first real job. My Dad and I decided to go to the Grand Prix for “Free Prix” day. I don’t remember much about the Grand Prix itself, but I know it was a beautiful sunny day and we had a good time walking around Belle Isle and watching some of the racing action. What I remember most was our drive home. My dad took me around downtown, showing me the newly built Comerica Park. I had been up in Houghton for the last 4 years, so this was all new to me. I remember thinking how cool Comerica Park looked with the Tiger statue outside and it being right in the heart of  downtown.  I also remember taking an interest in the building where Cheli’s Chili is now and saying ,”We should buy that Dad.” I saw the hope for downtown and wanted my Dad and I to be in on the action. At age 21, everything seems possible – especially if you have your Dad’s help.

Of course, neither my Dad nor I had the means to buy a building, but it was fun to dream. We talked for awhile about the “old days” when my Dad grew up in Detroit and our hopes for the City to turn around.  There was just something special about that day. When Cheli’s Chili eventually opened in 2006, I thought “Man – I KNEW we should have bought that building!”, but I never said anything to my Dad.  Over the years, details of the day have gotten a little fuzzy, but it has remained a favorite memory of mine.

Fast forward to 2013. It is my Dad’s 70th birthday and the whole family (kids and grandkids) went to Comerica Park for the last Tigers home game of the season. After the grandkids ran the bases and we took pictures in front of the Tiger statue, we were slowly making our way back to our cars. It was well past the game ending time, so the streets were pretty empty as we walked south down Witherell St towards Cheli’s Chili. All of  a sudden my Dad turns around and says to me, “Hey Elizabeth, remember when you said we should buy that building?”

I never knew till that moment that our day out together in 2000 was a special memory for my Dad too.

Dad's 70th Birthday at Comerica Park

Dad’s 70th Birthday at Comerica Park

November 23, 2013
by Sylvia Fronczak
Comments Off on Thank You, Markowycz’s European Sausage

Thank You, Markowycz’s European Sausage

Markowycz's European Style Sausage on Michigan Ave

Markowycz’s European Style Sausage on Michigan Ave

Today Markowycz’s European Style Sausages closes their doors after 60 years of serving their loyal patrons. Sadly I did not even know they were there until last night. This morning I woke Mike from his slumber and we headed down to say hello and goodbye to this Detroit staple.

They opened in 1954 when Ted Markowycz moved to the US from Europe. Specializing in smoked and fresh Polish sausage, they also had various European non-perishables. Their deli included pierogis, blood sausage and stuffed cabbage. Their meats are home made and they prided themselves on using no preservatives, hormones or additives.

This morning there was still sausage and bacon left, plus some export goods on the shelf. I was sad to see they were out of pierogis, but we did manage to take home a few links of sausage and some of their home made bacon. I also took home a few packets of some barszcz soup mix that they said tasted pretty good. I’m hoping it will remind me of the barszcz that my mom used to make. If not, I will one day have to learn how to make it from scratch.

Thank you, Markowycz family, for being a part of Detroit history. Enjoy your retirement.

October 31, 2013
by Sylvia Fronczak
Comments Off on Ottava Via – Mamma Mia!

Ottava Via – Mamma Mia!

Last Saturday Mike and I decided to try somewhere new for dinner. Since he is in the know when it comes to South West Detroit dining, he suggested Ottava Via in Corktown. The owners of this fairly new restaurant are owners of Nemo’s and the Mercury Burger Bar, also in corktown, so they’re familiar with the area and we trust their judgement in providing great food.

Pulling in to the parking lot we saw that it was definitely a happening place. The lot was full and there was a trickle of people heading into the restaurant. The line of people waiting for a shuttle at Nemo’s accross the street added to the festive atmosphere.
I’m a bit sad that it was cold out–they have a beautiful patio in the back near a brick fireplace. It looks like a great place to spend some time on a clear evening.

The crowd was very mixed. On the way to the front door I happened to peek inside a window and saw two long tables full of young adults (around high school age) out for dinner in the back room. Once inside I saw that the age span was vast, ranging from the high schoolers in the back to those well into retirement. Although the Wings were in town that night, there was only one jersey to be seen in the restaurant. The majority of the patrons were business casual or better, as if possibly heading to a show after dinner.

The place was packed but the friendly hostess informed us the wait was only about 30 minutes. We put in our names but ended up sitting at the bar and eating there. The bartender was cheerful and attentive. His welcoming demeanor helped make the night a success. The menu had great variety and was very affordably priced. We will definitely have to come back to try the pizza soon.

Appetizers/Small Plates:
Bruschetta Three Way – I still love the “classic” bruschetta style the most, though the Mortadella & Pistachios as well as the Chef’s Choice (we never asked what it was) were a welcome change to the dish.
Sweet Italian Sausage & Peppers – My favorite part was the mashed potato bed. Yum! The dish was spicy but not overpowering.

Ragu alla Bollognese from the Ottava Via Facebook Page


Ragu alla Bollognese from the Ottava Via Facebook Page

Dinner:

Penne alla Arrabbiata – I love a good arrabbiata sauce, and luckily found it here. There’s nothing like adding a little spice to a classic Italian dish.
Ragu alla Bollognese – Mike really enjoyed this dish of veal, pork and pappardelle noodles. It might have been a bit small of a serving, but after the appetizers he was happy and full when done.

Overall the food and service was great. We’ll be back to help keep the corktown community thriving! We would have stayed for dessert, but it was time to head over to Two James to try the local spirits…

July 15, 2013
by Liz Carson
Comments Off on Soccer in the City

Soccer in the City

Have you heard about Detroit’s soccer team yet? (Yes, we have a soccer team!) Established in 2012, Detroit City Football Club (FC) is a minor league soccer team in the National Premier Soccer League and plays its home games at Cass Tech High School. According to the Detroit City FC website,  DCFC “has established itself as one of the most talked about soccer teams in North America and the grassroots embodiment of a resurgent city.” Don’t believe the website? Well, I did a little recon last weekend and attended the Great Lakes Division tournament semi-final game between Detroit City FC and AFC Cleveland to check it out for myself.

View of the Supporters' Section

View of the Supporters’ Section

You know you are at a different type of sporting event as soon as you start to hear the chants. Other sports teams have fans, but Detroit City FC has Supporters. And they make their presence known. Drums, chants, smoke bombs, songs, dancing, and waving giant flags – the Supporters’ Section is serious about supporting their team. I later learned that the Supporters even march to the game together (parade style) from Harry’s Bar. Then during the game, the Supporters “sit” (though they never actually sit down) on the west side of the field, while the more family friendly section is on the east side. I have to admit – I was a little jealous of the Supporter section as I sat with my family on the east side. I’ve never heard so many chants or seen such high energy from fans – I felt like I was at a European game (well, at least how I imagine a European soccer game to be!). If you want to join the Supporter section, I recommend reading the “warning sign” (see picture below). And while the warnings about smoke bombs are helpful, my favorite part of the sign is at the bottom – “Don’t be an idiot”. Pretty much sums it up (for soccer and for life).

 

Rules for the Supporters' Section

Rules for the Supporters’ Section

During Saturday’s game, the Supporters (and us regular fans in the family section), had plenty to cheer about as Detroit City FC won the game 3-1, earning themselves a spot in the finals (played on Sunday). (Unfortunately Detroit City FC lost on Sunday.) The game was fun for my whole family and was very affordable. $10 tickets (there were 2 semi-final games that day, usually a single game is $5), free parking on a nearby side street,  and $1 Icee’s at the concession stand. We even splurged and bought some City gear. (We had to look like real fans!)  Next year I am planning on bringing Sylvia and sitting in the Supporters’ Section. We will have to study the chants before we go.

Don’t want to wait till next year to check out Detroit City FC? There is one last game to catch the excitement this season – Wednesday July 17th at 7:30pm at Cass Tech.

 

Celebrating the win!

Celebrating the win!

Side note: Some of the “mature language” from the Supporters Section can be heard in the family section. My kids were pretty oblivious to it. This wouldn’t be something that deters me from bringing the kids again, but something for families to consider.