Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Search for Al Pastor Ends in Detroit's Mexicantown

When people ask me what I miss most about Chicago after moving back to Michigan last year, my immediate response is all of the great taquerias around town. I’m not talking about the places open until 4am in Lincoln Park that serve up gigantic burritos, or even the upscale taco joints in places like Wicker Park. I’m talking about the taco counters in the back of the Mexican grocery stores, places that use paddles the size of canoe oars to stir a huge pot of carnitas simmering in lard, places where your order is quantified not by number of tacos, but by pounds of meat. And every once in a while, you’d stumble across the holy grail of Mexican grilled meats – al pastor cooked on the spit. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Unraveling the Mystery of Coney Sauce for a Detroit/Chicago Dog Throwdown

When my brother and his friends, evenly split between Detroit and Chicago residents, decided to come to cottage for the weekend, the stage was set for a hot dog throwdown pitting the Chicago Dog against the Detroit Coney. There was only one problem: while the components of the Chicago Dog are fairly straightforward, getting our hands on some real Detroit Coney sauce turned problematic – picking up some generic grocery store chili would not be acceptable and you aren’t going to find coney sauce in grocery stores outside of the metro Detroit area.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Crayfish Wars: The Neighbors Strike Back

My previous attempt at catching crayfish at the lake at our cottage earlier this summer did not go well. Apparently unimpressed with my trapping efforts, the neighbor kids – and “meat candy” fans – decided to take matters literally into their own hands. I arrived late on a Friday night and saw a couple flashlights down near the docks – the kids were in the water pulling crayfish out of the rocks by hand. I guess it’s like the kids say – YOLO. By the following morning, they had captured 13 of the mud bugs. I was surprised at how big some of them were.

As I started boiling up a pot of water with a heavy dose of Tony Chachere’s creole seasoning, I had several skeptical relatives and neighbors waiting nearby, snickering at the thought of eating these guys.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Snapshots from Mark's Carts in Ann Arbor

I am a fan of the food truck movement and am glad we have some semblance of a food truck scene in Ann Arbor with Mark’s Carts. Somewhat controversial, food trucks give aspiring chefs - who otherwise could not afford to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant - the chance to show off their craft. It increases food diversity in the area and more often than not, will lead to new businesses from the successful trucks opening up permanent locations.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

An Extended Look at All Square: A History of Detroit-Style Pizza

Buddy's "Detroiter" Pizza
As an addendum to my post on Detroit-style pizza featured on the Pure Michigan blog, this post will provide an all-encompassing source for everything you need to know about Detroit-style pizza. Free from word-count restrictions, I can now lay out some additional critical information for both Michiganders in search of pizza in the D and help Michigan transplants find some square pie.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

[Up North]: Gone Fishin' (and Drinkin') in Ludington

Our Up North series highlights good eats to seek out on your weekend roadtrips as you head Up North – that ambiguous, nebulous region in Michigan where everyone has, or has a friend that has, a cottage on a lake somewhere.

After the success of the fish boil we did earlier this year, I decided that I needed to go fishing on the big lake and cross another thing off the bucket list. My cousin, a former camp counselor at Mystic Lake YMCA Camp, had chartered boats for groups of campers in years past and arranged a charter for six members of our family. Being the novice angler that I am, I did not realize I'd be facing a 3am wake-up call to make it to Ludington in time for our pre-sunrise departure. All was not lost as I managed to snap the pic above, not too often do you get to see the sun come up over Lake Michigan.

Friday, August 3, 2012

[Friday Night Bites] The Other Side of the Tracks: Wurst Bar & Sidetrack in Ypsi

Looking for something to do this weekend? Friday Night Bites has you covered.

It doesn't feel like that long ago that I was heading to Ypsi to go to BW3 for quarter wings, $2 tall boys and karaoke before heading back to Ann Arbor to close out the night at Rick's. I got a hangover just from typing that sentence. In the 8 or 9 years since I've done that, B-dubs is long gone (replaced by Korey's Krispy Krunchy Chicken) and a solid Friday night now consists of a good meal and a couple craft brews. With that in mind, we headed to Wurst Bar for some elevated sausages and then to Sidetrack for one of the best MI beer lists around.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Great Lakes, Better Food is Pure Michigan!

A couple weeks ago, the good people behind the Pure Michigan campaign asked me if I'd like to write a guest blogger entry for the Pure Michigan blog. After thinking about it for about two seconds, I decided I would do it. I just submitted my write-up and it should be posted to their blog sometime this week. If you've been monitoring my Twitter feed, you should have a good idea of what it's going to be about!