A few weeks ago the boyfriend and I got up at the crack of dawn to head to Detroit. Actually, to head back to Detroit, as we had been there the night before to watch the Tigers game. We ate hot dogs and cookies and popcorn. We saw Max Scherzer pitch his 20th something. I know it was a big deal, and I really do try to know what is happening, but I'm afraid sports and I don't quite speak the same language.
The boyfriend, however, is a sports enthusiast. An athletic supporter, one might say. And the reason we went back to the D at 5:30 on a Saturday morning was for him to ride in this, which he completed at warp speed. I debated doing the 30-mile route. I debated it for about one full minute before my driving desire to go to the Eastern Market got the better of me. I dropped him off and headed to Michigan's best, brightest, and most beautiful farmer's market, in the shadow of Ford Field.
I bought everything. I bought beets to roast. Split peas to soup. Cherry tomatoes and figs to shovel into my mouth by the handful. Deep, dark green spinach to blend into green drinks. A pain au chocolat to immediately devour, a head of broccoli to toss with garlic salt and roast into creaminess, and then I came across the food trucks.
Truth be told, I love a sweet breakfast. If presented with eggs or oatmeal, I'm taking the oatmeal (and then I'm running an extra mile.) When my food truck choices were a chorizo burrito or beignets, you know I chose those sweet little French/New Orleanian pastries, which I later described as bigger, pouffier doughnut holes. I ordered four, with a cafe au lait, and made myself a little spread of my spoils on a nearby table.
The best cafe au lait. Hot, sweet beignets. Juicy figs and cherry tomatoes. I sat and watched the shoppers bustling around me and listened to two girls, high-school age, singing for passers-by with a donation case set up. When they started singing the national anthem I saw people hesitate, wondering if they should stop and put their hand over the heart, or continue to pick their produce.
I went across the street to Germack in search of juniper berries. I've been told that 25 pounds of venison are waiting to be devoured before this year's hunting season.
I went to Whole Foods, where I bought and drank this-
And a bakery in Ferndale, where I crunched on this-
When my cycling star was finished we headed to Nemo's to find his favorite Detroit burger. The place is no-frills, and all about character. We both had cheeseburgers and fries.
I love a buttered, lightly grilled bun, and while I'm not much for cheese, I do sometimes need a mess of melted Swiss. This burger delivered. It was medium rare, which I requested and which has proven difficult for so many restaurants nowadays. There are no crazy toppings at Nemo's, no frizzled onions or guacamole or Sriracha mayonnaise- it's just a sturdy, classic burger. Which is just what I expected from my man, whose favorite food is "sandwiches" and who washes his car by hand every week.
Before I met him at the end of the race, in between the macaron and the burger, I made a quick trip to Dearborn. And I was suckered in to tasting a little of this at the Dearborn Meat Market-
I was going to wrap up this chicken kabob and take it home, but I couldn't resist a few tastes. The proprietor, who had a half-finger a la Rahm Emanuel, wanted to know where I live. I told him. He asked me what I was doing in Dearborn. I said eating. He asked me if I've ever eaten raw meat and I said yes, I used to live in France. He asked me if I ate a lot of "chevals" there. He actually said "chevals," in French, which means horses. I said no, not many. He mixed up a little kibbeh, raw ground beef (sometimes lamb) mixed with spices, and told me to eat it. I gobbled it up. I said it was a little grainier than I expected it to be. He said that came from the spices.
He wrapped up my chicken, my hummus, and a salad, which was "on the house, sweetheart." I was ripping off the plastic wrap before I got into the car.
We also ate pizza that night, after we slept through the entire Michigan State/Notre Dame football game. The boyfriend's reason for exhaustion? 62 miles a velo. Mine? Serious eating.
2934 Russell Street
Germack Pistachio Company
2517 Russell Street
115 Mack Avenue
220 West 9 Mile Road
1384 Michigan Avenue
Dearborn Meat Market
7721 Schaefer Road
Want to read more about kibbeh? Check out this article by Lansing native Maureen Abood, who has a beautiful blog.