Wednesday, January 22, 2014

The Henry Ford Museum - Dearborn

The Henry Ford Museum displays America at its finest.  Not only do they have an impressive array of automobiles, they also have power generation machines from every era, trains, planes, and art.  I love walking through museums like this because there is always so much to look at and learn about.  At the same time, everything seems familiar, and you don't have to think too hard about it.  The Henry Ford includes The Museum, Greenfield Village, and the IMAX theater.

We went during The Maker Faire, which happens yearly, and invites people who "make things" to display the things they make.  This can include anything from robots to fashion.  There were so many displays there, it was almost overwhelming.  They had great interactive demonstrations for kids, some food carts, and some stands where you could even purchase your own science kits.  Admission to the Faire included all of the displays outside, all of the displays inside, as well as the normal museum displays.

The Henry Ford Museum Maker Faire 2013 - DETROIT Industrial Art - My Favorite Display

The Henry Ford Museum - Maker Faire Entrance

The Henry Ford Museum

The main hallway at The Henry Ford with a large DC-3 aircraft
3-D Printers were all over the place at the 2013 Maker Faire!  They had some demos, and showed lots of interesting applications.  It really seems like 3D printers will be a large part of manufacturing in the future.

3-D Printer at 2013 Henry Ford Maker Faire
Finished Products! 3-D Printed vases at the 2013 Henry Ford Maker Faire
Among the Maker Faire displays were the normal displays.  The old power generators are huge, and very interesting to view.

Power Generator at The Henry Ford Museum
I love the American Home section of The Henry Ford.  You can see what a typical American household would look like during different eras.  This particular section has the history of stoves.  Before the auto industry, Michigan was the stove capital of the world.

Stove Display at The Henry Ford Museum
Of course, there is a world-class auto display here at the museum.

Vehicle Display at The Henry Ford Museum

The Henry Ford Museum - 1931 Bugatti Royale (Bugatti Type 41)

The Henry Ford Museum - Teddy Roosevelt's Presidential Horse Drawn Buggy

The Henry Ford Museum - President FDR's "Sunshine Special" Presidential Limo

The Henry Ford Museum - The Presidential Limousine that President John F Kennedy was assassinated in.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Grove - Grand Rapids

Grove was probably the best culinary experience we have had in Michigan. We didn't take any pictures because it was such a special occasion and a nice restaurant. Grove's mission is "Local, Exploration, Classics, and Conscientiousness." We each got the Taste of Grove which is three courses for $35. For the quality of food, this is definitely a great deal. We thought that this was very inexpensive for what we received. Plus the small plates allow you to sample more food.

To start off with, we had a bottle of Malbec wine with a plate of assorted breads and compound butters.

Our appetizers were Beef Tartare and Gnocchi. This was the first time we had ever had Beef Tartare, and it was very good. It had a mustard aioli and some crispy radishes which really complemented the soft beef. It doesn't really taste like raw meat. The gnocchi was spicy and had a lot of flavors going on. Some of the broccolini pieces had a strange taste and texture, but it was a fantastic dish overall.

For the next course, we had a Beet Salad and Smoked Trout dish. The Beet salad was so refreshing and bright. We loved the addition of hazelnuts and cheese. It was perfect. We liked the smoked trout so much, we wished there was more on the plate! They poured a broth over the trout at the table, and it was complimented by diced potatoes.
For our main course, we had Pork Two Ways and Walleye with Pork Belly. We love Pork Belly so much that we try to get it at every restaurant we go to (if they have it!). The Pork Two Ways came with a Pork Tenderloin, Pork Belly, and oats. The highlight of that plate was definitely the pork belly. It melted in your mouth and was so flavorful. Although the tenderloin was tender, there weren't any amazing flavors, and the oats were a little gummy and took over the plate. The Walleye with Pork Belly really complimented each other even though you wouldn't normally combine the two. The pork belly added a nice fattiness and flavor to the fish.

For dessert, we had espresso with dark chocolate ice cream and a salted caramel dark chocolate brioche. We wanted to try the chocolate gelato, but they were all out, so we went with the ice cream. The ice cream was really creamy, nice and refreshing. The Salted Caramel Dark Chocolate Brioche was very rich and had some great contrasting flavors and textures. I loved the crispy grilled brioche and the salty flavors in the desert.

The dining area is pretty small, but we felt comfortable over in a corner without too many people around us. The bar had specialty cocktails that we would love to try on our next visit. Our waitress provided good service, but she seemed a bit sarcastic and wasn't very chatty or knowledgeable about the food. She seemed a bit rushed. When we go to a restaurant that serves such wonderful food, we are used to servers who are passionate and ready to tell you about the restaurant and ingredients they used. We have experienced waiters like this at Zingerman's in Ann Arbor and Chef Michael Symon's Roast in Detroit. I think that a passionate waiter really adds to the experience.

Overall, we had an amazing time at Grove. We can't wait to go back and try something new off their ever-changing menu. We really enjoyed the skill that was used to create our meals as well as the local ingredients. It was truly memorable, and we would recommend it to any foodie. You will really appreciate this food!

For more information and pictures of the food, please go to their website:

Friday, January 10, 2014

Lehto's Pasties - St. Ignace

Pasties are one of Michigan's favorite foods.  It is pronounced PAST-ie, not PASTE-ie.  The latter is something else.  It is especially well known in the Upper Peninsula (or U.P.).  Pasties were brought here from Great Britain by Cornish mine workers.  Pasties were a filling meal that could be taken down into the mines in your pocket.  Everyone makes their pasties a little different, but the basic idea is beef, potatoes, onions, and rutabaga in a pie crust.  

There are lots of great Pastie shops Up North, but my family's favorite is Lehto's in St. Ignace.  When I was 2 years old, my family lived in Duluth Minnesota.  We always made it a point to stop at Lehto's when we came back down to Michigan.  They even sold their recipe in the 80s, which my family bought and still has today!  Lehto's opens in the morning and then closes after they sell all of their pasties, so it is best to call if you are planning on going there in the evening.
Lehto's Pasties in St Ignace Michigan

There's no place to eat inside, you just grab your pasties and go!  I wish they had more Pastie shops in the lower Peninsula.  I'd much rather eat at a place like this instead of fast food.

Interior of Lehto's Pasties
My favorite - Lehto's Pasties

Lehto's has a website which said they have been family owned and operated since 1947.  They even ship their pasties.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Snowmageddon 2014 and The Winter Classic at The Big House

Heavy snowfall began in South East Michigan on New Year's Eve.  It continued snowing on New Year's Day during the NHL Winter Classic, and hasn't really let up since then.  The hockey game took place in Michigan's Football Stadium, The Big House, in Ann Arbor.  It is the largest stadium in the United States, and attendance was around 105,000 people.

2014 Winter Classic

Traffic to and from Ann Arbor was difficult due to the weather and large amount of people headed into the city.  The game-time temperature was 14 degrees, but it felt colder than that!  The game felt very long because they had to shovel the snow off the ice pretty often.  The Zambonis also had to take a few extra passes to get the ice smooth.  Although the Red Wings lost, it was an amazing experience.  Watching hockey outdoors during a snowstorm made us feel like we were watching hockey as it was originally intended.  We could hear other fans around us express how happy they were to be there watching a game like this.  I was surprised and happy to see so many Toronto Maple Leaf fans, and I hope that they had a good time at The Big House.  Here are some great photos from the Winter Classic

We have been able to take some great pictures of deer in our yard during a few snow storms over the past month.  This includes a mostly white (or piebald) deer.

Deer in Rockwood Michigan by Kurt Strauss

Deer in Rockwood Michigan by Kurt Strauss

Deer in Rockwood Michigan by Kurt Strauss

Deer in Rockwood Michigan by Kurt Strauss

Piebald Deer Rockwood Michigan by Kurt Strauss

Yesterday, it snowed pretty much all day.  Here is a picture of the snow and some deer in the distance as the sun went down.  

The snowstorm continued through the night.  After we shoveled, we decided to take a walk around the subdivision.  It was very beautiful.  Many of the neighbors were out chatting and shoveling their driveways.  It is actually very nice during these storms because it gives the neighbors a reason to go outside to catch up with each other, and it feels more like a community.  The grocery stores have been crowded and crazy.  The roads have been dangerous.  Michigan State University cancelled classes today, for only the 6th time in their history.

Our neighbor made a perfect snowman. 

The snow finally let up late this morning.  The sun is out and it looks beautiful!

It is a great day to stay warm with a pot of tea.  This particular pot is Pewabic, which is a type of pottery that has been made in Detroit since 1903.