Detroit History


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North America » United States » Michigan » Detroit
September 9th 2021
Published: September 12th 2021
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Another early start to the day, up at 6:30 to do some work and have a staff meeting via Teams. No breakfast this morning as we were still pretty full from the beef from last night. Coffee and a strong one was in order. The coffee bar downstairs, while they use Starbucks, still make a good strong latte. The baristas are also very friendly. Today’s itinerary consists of 2 museums’, the Ford Piquette Plant and the Detroit Historical Museum.

If the Qline would have been running it would take us to both places, but the number 4 bus does as well. The bus system here is horrible, no social distancing (but they require masks) and they just do not keep to any kind of real schedule. We have waited up to 20 to 30 minutes for a bus, when three were have supposed to have stopped. Many times, we just end up flagging down a cab. The morning seems to be the better time to get a bus and have it be close to on time. The Ford Plant was about 3 long blocks from the stop, but the morning was crips and low humidity (fall is in the air).

Original Model T Factory

The museum is in-fact where Henry Ford invented the Model T and where the first 1500 or so were produced. This is not where the automated assembly line was invented, that was at the Highland Park factory. You can take a guided or self-guided tour. I highly recommend the guided, you will get more information than you probably want, but it is very informative, I think our guide as older than a Model T. Most of the cars on display are actually owned by other people and they let them be on display so they can store their cars for free.

There are over 65 cars on display, pretty much every model up to the T ever made by Ford, the A, B C, F N, R S and of course the T. There are also other makes on display such a Cadillac (interesting fact, the first Cadillac was actually built by Ford).

The history behind the Ford Motor Company and the cars built by Henry Ford, was very interesting. I will say by the end of our just over 2-hour tour, I knew more about Ford that I needed.

After
Fired ArtichokesFired ArtichokesFired Artichokes

Tied Dish of the Day
the tour we headed back to the bus to our next stop, this bus was actually on schedule, so we didn’t have to worry about time issues for our next visit. Before we went to the History Museum, we had lunch. We were going to Wasabi, a Korean/Japanese place, but they were only doing take out so instead we went a couple of doors down to Babo. This is a very hipster breakfast/brunch place. And I mean very hipster. It appeared to be women owned and operated and most of the customers were women. The menu was diverse but what we had was very good. We started with Fried Artichokes (this can never be bad,) Unlike in Italy, these were battered like calamari and very good and crispy but not overpowering as the flavor of the artichoke still came through.

Jerry had a brunch dish, the Diego Skillet (yes named aver Diego Rivera), they also had a Frida Skilled (you got it Frida Kahlo). It was a very good skillet with chorizo, home fries (which were very crispy), onions, peppers and two eggs over easy. I had the Detroiter, a twist on the classic Ruben, using coleslaw instead of
Detroiter Detroiter Detroiter

Tied Dish of the Day
sauerkraut. It was messy but good, and the corn beef was very thin sliced and crispy. We also side of, fries, very crispy.

After lunch we were off to the History Museum across the street.

Detroit Historical Museum

For a historical museum it is a pretty big building takes up about half a block and has four floors of exhibits. Naturally, it is all about the history of Detroit, including some of the not so pretty parts of its past such as the 1967 riots. There was of course a section on the auto industry and a small section on Motown. I think it was small because there is an entire museum dedicated to Motown, but it is currently closed as a result of flood damage, so we did not get to visit.

There was also a special exhibit on the 1920’s which focused on the 20’s from the black point of view. It was very interesting. The most interesting section of the museum was the section devoted to the Underground Railway. I wish it would have been bigger, but it was a good history lesson in the underground railway outside of Harriett Tubman.

We spent just over an hour in the museum, you could have got lost in the section about the 1967 riots or rebellion, but it was pretty overwhelming, so we had to limit our time in that section.

After that, it was back to the hotel, another work meeting, then wine thirty.

Dinner

We had originally made reservations at Cuisine a French restaurant, however, since our tradition is to have our last dinner of a trip in the nicest, oldest, or most unique place in the city, we changed to The Whitney. We kept going by this place on the bus, it was an old mansion built by al lumber baron. The house was huge. It also had a standard four course dinner.

We were tired of fighting with busses, so we took a cab as it was a bit to far to walk. The place is pretty amazing. The interior has been restored to the actual period, right down to original Tiffany-Stained Class Windows. Every room is either a dinning room or a kitchen. We were sat in what was originally the music room. There was a nice baby grand in the foyer and the piano player reminded us of one that use to play at Hobo’s back in Portland.

Each floor has a kitchen, the main kitchen being on the first floor. There are then two more floors of dinning rooms scattered throughout, some private some with several tables. The Ghost Bar is on the third floor. Oh yes, the place is supposedly haunted, but I didn’t’ feel the presence of any spirits, other than the gin in my Martini.

The menu as I said is four courses, and they have several appealing items, many of my favorites, however I was unable to try the Lobster Bisque as the base was clam stock in stead of fish stock. Not sure what clam adds to a good Lobster Bisque, but I didn’t want to die so Jerry and I both went with the Vegan Black Bean Soup (which wasn’t vegan as it was served with a cilantro sour cream, a very small dallop, less than a teaspoon.) But I am ahead of myself.

We first went with Martini’s instead of champagne (mainly a cost thing) they were ok, but Detroit just doesn’t seem to be able to make a decent Martini. The first course consisted of a trio of small Appetizer’s: Shrimp cocktail (two) been tenderloin crostini with horseradish (beef was nicely sliced could use more of the horseradish sauce, and finally an heirloom tomato & caper bruschetta (not bruschetta as served on a sliced cucumber), they were all pretty decent for a first course.

The second course as described above was the Black Bean Soup. We both had the same entrée, Beef Wellington, this is one of my signature dishes to make. Their take was a bit different as in addition to the traditional onions and mushroom stuffing they also added a creamed boursin cheese. It was an interesting twist. It was considerably less rich than mine, as I make mine according to the receipt form Julia Child, so the stuffing also includes foie gras or pate, which I typically make myself. The sides were unremarkable, basic potatoes and roasted vegetables. The sauce (which is really what separates a good Wellington from an ok Wellington) was what they called a cognac bearnaise. Bearnaise it was not, they just should have called it a cognac cream sauce. I prefer the sauce I serve which is a classic demi-glaze that takes all day to make. With our entrée we had a very nice bottle of Chateau Neuf-de-Pape. Probably the best bottle of wine on the trip.

I forgot to write down what we had for dessert, but it was chocolate something and pretty unexceptional.

What made the dinner was really the house it was in. After we finished our meal, we walked around all three floors, it is truly a beautiful house. They just need to hire chefs that can elevate the food to be worthy of the house. In addition to dinner, they also have a daily tea service and Brunch on Sunday.

We were both glad we made the reservation change, the food was good, but it could have been better. I am sure once Covid is in the distant pass everything will improve greatly. It is really a must dinning experience, just set your foodie desires a bit lower.

We attempted to take a bus home, but that didn’t go well, so yet another cab. We spent more on cabs this trip than any other trip we have ever taken.

When we got back to the room, we were exhausted and went straight to bed, no blog no nightcap. In fact, I am writing this on Sunday, and we got back home on Friday.

Detroit is not really a food town, at least we didn’t’ find any exceptional food. This has made the dish of the day particularly hard to pick each day. But for today it really has to go to the Detroiter sandwich that I had for lunch and the Fried Artichokes.


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