A Day at the DIA


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North America » United States » Michigan » Detroit
September 8th 2021
Published: September 9th 2021
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Up at 6:30 to do some work before we are off for the day. The coffee in the room is pretty decent for hotel coffee, but of course you only get enough to make a cup a piece unless you want decaf, and what is the point of that. Ordered breakfast from the restaurant downstairs, no room service, so just went to pick it up. Decent menu, but very hung up on American cheese. Jerry had yogurt parfait and a stale croissant and I had a Cuban Bagel (ham, pork carnitas, fried egg and gruyere cheese on a bagel). The sandwich was good, but the bagel was not really a bagel, more like a bagel shaped hamburger bun.

I spent a couple of hours getting some work done, then we headed out for the day. In addition to the bus system Detroit also has a Monorail (they call it a People Mover) and a streetcar (the Qline). The people mover is a loop around the financial and downtown area and the Qline runs up the major street Woodward. Many of the sites are on Woodward so the Qline is a great way to get to and from your destination. That
Portrait of Thomas JeffersonPortrait of Thomas JeffersonPortrait of Thomas Jefferson

The black represents the erasure of black culture from American Revolutionary History
is true only if the Qline is running, which it was not, as it appears to still be closed due to Covid. It was running just not allowing any passengers on, empty street cars going up and down the tracks. This put a bit of a damper in our plans for getting around today. Our next bet was the bus, but we didn’t know which one would get us to the art museum, we figured out it was the 4. The tickets were timed entry so we had to be there at 10 and the bus wasn’t coming, we were lucky and managed to flag down a taxi, if you could call it that. It was a beat-up car with a taxi sign on top (it did have a meter) and we barely fit in the back seat because the driver had the front seat all the way back. If we would have been in the cab for much longer, we would have had a contact high from the pot he clearly just smoked before picking us up.

In any event, we got to the Detroit Institute of Art or DIA in one piece. Now, we typically don’t spend
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Self Portrait
more than 3 hours in a museum, but we actually stayed until closing (4pm) here. The DIA is a very well-funded and thought-out museum. There is something for everyone from renascence to impressionism, baroque to modern, Rembrandt, Van Gough and Picasso. There were several special exhibits running as well, one about cars (of course it is Detroit) and black art exhibit and a few others. Whatever your taste in art the DIA has something you will like. It is probably the second-best museum we have visited in the United States, next to the Met in New York.

Jerry was very taken with the decorative arts section, he just recently finished is last class to become a personal property appraiser specializing in furniture and other decorative arts. I, as always, was drawn to the impressionists, Cezanne, Monet, Manet, Renoir and of course my favorite Van Gough.

We had lunch at Kresge Court, which is a court yard inside the museum. At one time it was open air but now there is a nice glass roof, so you still feel as if your outside, but sitting in air conditioning. Mainly soups and sandwiches, but they did have a nice selection of wine. We had chicken salad on a croissant, very good for grab and go. We also had a very nice glass of Pinot Blanc from Alsace.

After lunch we continued with the rest of the museum, until we heard the 15-minute warning announcement. Then it was back out to the street to take the number 4 bus back to the hotel. The first bus passed us by but the second stopped. It was free as the ticket machine was broken.

When we got back to the room, we were hoping that the suitcase had arrived, I got a call later from the delivery driver that he was on his way but had a lot of other deliveries to make. Needless to say, it was not here when we got back. It did finally show up at 5:30, so we at least had clean clothes for dinner. Two full days in the same clothes is not fun or comfortable.

After a bit of work and some wine, it was time for a hot shower and at last clean clothes. Then it was off to dinner. Jerry’s birthday dinner was at Roast, this is a Michael Symon restaurant. The last time we ate at a Symon restaurant was in Cleveland on our final trip back from Portland Oregon, with the remainder of our belongings. The experience was not a positive one. Lola’s which I believe is his first restaurant, was not worth the side trip to Cleveland (and if you’re not a sports fan, there really is no reason to ever go to Cleveland). Long story short the food was below subpar and in fact the entrée was so salty it actually ruined our nice bottle of Chateau-Neuf-de-Pape we had ordered. Even with that experience we opted to give Iron Chef Symon one last chance. The experience was much better.

Roast

We did lower our expectations a bit, not just because of our prior experience at Lola’s, but because of Covid, all restaurants need a bit of a break and understanding, as quality ingredients ad staff are in short supply at the moment. With that said, dinner and the service were quite good. The ambiance is a bit lacking and it is a bit dark inside, but there is an open kitchen and our table was dead center to all of the action. The menu and
Industrial MurialIndustrial MurialIndustrial Murial

Diego Rivera
wine list were limited, again likely because of Covid, but we managed to find items to our liking.

We started with some champagne to toast Jerry’s 56th birthday and reviewed the menu. We had many questions of the server because many of the sauces, such as yia yia or sha sha, we had never heard of before. We started with the charcuterie board, consisting of speck, soppresatta, prosciutto, some toast bread, Manchego and cornichons and lastly stone-ground mustard. It was a nice put together, cheese was not room temp and a bit too cold and the meats were, well, let’s say they didn’t have the “Meats”.

Next course was a Honeycrisp apple salad with candied walnuts, speck and blue cheese for Jerry (again short on speck). I had a Caesar, nothing to write home about here. For entrees we both had steak; Jerry a hanger steak with salsa Verde on top and sha sha sauce as a bed. Sha Sha sauce was described as Hungarian, there was in fact nothing Hungarian about it as there was zero paprika, it also had a very big bite and the two sauce while did work together were a bit much for the dish. I had a dry aged rib eyes with sautéed onions. It was good and seasoned nicely, but just a bit fatty for my liking. The first three bites were in fact nothing but fat.

Now, I know the description sounds like we just thought it was so-so, but overall, it was good and much better than Lola’s. The wine was a Sonoma County Pinot, a very light Pinot and not even as good as a mediocre Oregon Pinot. With our entrees we had two sides, roasted brussels sprouts and creamy polenta. The polenta was literally the best we had ever had, a cross between a really good homemade polenta and an upscale creamed corn. It in fact, was the dish of the day.

Since it was Jerry’s birthday, we did have dessert, a classic cholate cake and a deconstructed lemon meringue pie. The crust was a shortbread crumble and the lemon part was more of what you would find in a lemon chiffon and was very tart. We were the last table to leave as they were cleaning around us.

That wraps up day 2.


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Polenta dish of the day




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