Friday, April 25, 2014

Our First GIVEAWAY! (Completed)

Thanks to everyone who participated in the giveaway!  At this time, it is over.  We will do another one soon.  

Welcome to our first Giveaway!  If this is your first time to the blog, welcome!  You can check out all of our posts by cityactivity, or with our interactive Google Map.  We will continue to build the website with our favorite Michigan things.

It feels like Spring here in Southeast Michigan, and we are looking forward to traveling to other parts of Michigan to write some new guides!   If you are on your way Up North soon, be sure to check out our posts about places to eat on the way there.  Tony's I-75 RestaurantFrederic InnThe Keyhole BarLehto's Pasties, or Manley's Smoked Fish are all great options.  Since we can't go everywhere right away, we are always looking for guest bloggers.  Take pictures and write about your favorite restaurant, activity, museum, and more - just email us at 

Now for the GIVEAWAY package of Michigan Coffee and Tea!  We'd like to feature two great Michigan companies - Paramount Coffees and Light of Day Organics Tea.   I personally purchased these items for the giveaway because I drink and love both of these products, and I wanted to share them with you!  The prize contains individual servings of ground Traverse City Cherry and Mackinac Island Fudge Coffee from Paramount Coffees in Lansing.  I love so many of their blends.  One of my other favorites is Jamaican Me Crazy.  I drink it all the time at work!  Also included in the prize package is Peaceful Peninsulas Green Tea from Light of Day Organics in Traverse City.  This tea is Organic, as is many of the teas that they custom blend in their farm.  You can get multiple entries by following the prompts below.   Thanks for looking, and good luck!  Please feel free to share with friends and family. 

April 2014 Rediscovering Michigan Giveaway Prize

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Guns + Butter - Detroit

We recently had the pleasure to dine with Guns + Butter Detroit.  It was a truly special experience.  You may recognize the name from Anthony Bourdain's Parts Unknown: Detroit.  Living in Michigan, we don't get to experience food like this very often.  When we ate at Grove in Grand Rapids, the flavor combinations and technique were superb.  Much like Grove, the flavor combinations and technique were superb at G+B, but the ingredients were also truly transformed. We are adventurous eaters and cookers, but there were times at G+B where we didn't really recognize what we were eating.  This is a good thing, and something truly different from what we have experienced previously.  They use in-season and local ingredients when possible.

To get on a waiting list with Guns + Butter, you have to email them.  You won't know the time, day, or location, but they will notify you of their next event.  The location, menu, and timing changes.  This will all change once they open their permanent restaurant this summer, so it was important for us to experience the food as a pop-up.

This particular time, the loft space was beautiful.  Very open and bright. The artwork was perfect for the location. 

Guns and Butter Detroit

People were seated in groups of four. We were lucky enough to sit with a nice couple who attended some pop ups in Detroit previously.  They were very knowledgable about food and seemed as excited as we were. 

Guns and Butter Detroit

You do not get to pick your food. You are served a multiple course menu.  This is the exciting part! It forces you to try new things. Our menu is shown below. 

Guns and Butter Detroit Menu

First up is yolk, maple, and potato. I think this may have been my favorite.  It was a deep fried egg yolk in a breading (panko?) in a sauce that was creamy and rich.  I loved this combination, and if I had any idea how to make this at home, I would do it every day. 

Guns and Butter Detroit

Next was beet root with sour cream.  There was a citrus sauce and a crunchy oat topping for texture. There was something special about the sour cream, but again I don't have any clue what they did to it. It tasted fluffier than normal. The flavors were bright and fresh and perfect after the rich first course. 

Guns and Butter Detroit

Next up is elm mushroom and goat cheese soup. I don't know what an elm mushroom is, nor do I like goat cheese, but this was delightful!  It had a smoky flavor with toasted sunflower seeds in the bottom for texture. 

Guns and Butter Detroit

The main course was day aged duck + cabbage + sassafras. The duck was tender and had perfectly crispy skin.  The cabbage roll had some toasted breading and a duck filling.  There was a creamy sauce with a foie gras sauce served table side. I'm not sure where the sassafras came in because I don't know what it tastes like, but it was all so amazing! Maybe this was my favorite plate.  

Guns and Butter Detroit

No, wait. Dessert.  Dessert was my favorite. It is called fudge + marshmallow.  I have no idea how they made the chewy chocolatey cake on top, but I have never had a dessert with that texture.  It was amazing and I wish I knew how to make it, or even what that technique is!

Guns and Butter Detroit

We had a great time at Guns + Butter.  We are so happy that we saved up for this special meal because you will not find anything else like it in Michigan.  Sorry about the bad photography but we didn't want to use flash at such a special occasion!  Bravo to the head chef, Craig Lieckfelt, and the entire staff.  We felt like the intimate setting really added to the meal.  The chefs were cooking a meal especially for us, and we got to watch.  This made us feel very special, and the love that they have for the food and ingredients really shined through.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Snowmageddon 2014 - The Last Chapter

On April 12th and 13th, Michiganders experienced some great weather.  We were outside, along with all of our neighbors, doing lots of yard work.  It felt so great to get outside.  I even saw a few neighbor kids running through a sprinkler in their bathing suits.  Spring!  Finally!  It felt so great!  You'll remember that I wrote about our extremely harsh winter in this post and then this post.   Here is a random picture that I took in our backyard that weekend.  All of the snow was gone, and it was wonderful.  The patio furniture is out.  The fire pit is out.  The dog is happy.

Michigan April 12 2014

But then... on Tuesday April 15th, it happened.  We woke up to a 40 degree temperature drop and a snow storm.   At first I was upset, but then the news reports started coming in.  Metro Detroit received 3.1" of snow.  

Michigan Detroit Metro Record Breaking Snow - April 15 2014

Our total snowfall for the season was now 94.8 inches, surpassing the previous record of 93.6 inches set in the 1880-1881 season.  Although it was a difficult winter, at least we can say that we were part of the snowiest winter on record.  I feel like we accomplished something!

Michigan Detroit Metro Record Breaking Snow - April 15 2014

Next winter, I plan to read The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The story is set in North Dakota during the 1880-1881 Winter, and I would like to see how it compared to life during such a winter now.  I will end my (hopefully) last post about winter with a quote from the book.  

"Laura felt a warmth inside her.  It was very small, but it was strong.  It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up."  - Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Calder Dairy and Farm - Carleton

Calder's Dairy Farm is a great place to hang around with family or friends.  Stop into their little store for Ice Cream made from their own dairy.  Or, grab some of your favorite Calder's Products (Milk, Butter, etc).  They have a larger creamery in Lincoln Park, but this is their farm in Carleton.  They are open 7 days a week, so it is very convenient.  9334 Finzel Rd, Carleton MI, 48117

Calder Dairy in Carleton

In addition to their store and dairy cows, they have lots of other animals to look at.  You can walk around the farm for free!

Calder Dairy in Carleton - Peacock

Goat Feed is $2.50, and it's a great opportunity to teach your kids about animals.  The Goats seem eager to eat!  You can purchase duck/goose food for the same price to feed the ducks in the pond.

Calder Dairy in Carleton - Feeding the Goats

There are lots of chickens walking around (and eggs are for sale inside the store as well!).

Calder Dairy in Carleton - Rooster

Here are some of their dairy cows having a snack.

Calder Dairy in Carleton - Cows

A good view of their barn and silos.  It is a bit muddy right now due to the spring.

Calder Dairy in Carleton - Country Store

The pigs don't mind the mud, though.

Calder Dairy in Carleton - Pig

The goats don't care about much as long as you have food for them.

Calder Dairy in Carleton - Goats

Here's the little store inside!  You can get scooped ice cream or take it home.  I HIGHLY recommend the Butter Pecan or Blue Moo.

Calder Dairy in Carleton - Country Store
Here's my order - Ice Cream, Chocolate Milk, Half and Half, Butter, Eggs, and Natural Creamline Milk.  Their website states that their milk is hormone and rSBT free.  They only use antibiotics when absolutely necessary, and their milk is homogenized at the lowest possible temperature - which keeps the enzymes, good bacteria, and flavor in tact.

Calder Dairy in Carleton - Country Store

Their products are available in many stores in Southeast Michigan.  They also offer old-fashioned home delivery for a small fee.  More information can be found on their website.  

Friday, April 4, 2014

La Gloria Bakery - Detroit

La Gloria Bakery is well known in the Detroit area for their bakery items, warm churros, and tamales.  Very fresh and convenient, La Gloria is also easy to spot since the building is pink!

La Gloria Detroit in Mexicantown

La Gloria is located in Mexicantown and has a convenient parking lot. 

La Gloria Detroit in Mexicantown

When you walk in, you see a station with trays on tongs with a sign that says "Self Serve."  After you are through picking out your favorites, they bag and price the tray for you.  You can smell cinnamon and hear some Mexican music playing in the background.

La Gloria Detroit is Self Serve

There are rows of cases that a jam-packed with all sorts of baked goods.  I was shocked at the variety and amount of cookies they had there.

La Gloria Detroit - Rows of Baked Goods

The staff was nice and patient while I took a look at just about everything, and asked lots of questions.  Since it was my first time, I wanted to try a little of everything.

La Gloria Detroit - Mexican Flag Shortbread Cookies

Here is my tray.  They even had cannolis!

La Gloria Detroit - my tray of baked goods

They had lots of fruit tarts and hand pies in addition to their cookies.

La Gloria Detroit - Hand Pies

These were my favorite - they tasted like churros but they were nice and crispy.

La Gloria Detroit - Cinnamon Sugar Crisps

They even had my favorite Mexican candy!  My friend from Mexico got me hooked on these when I lived in Texas.  It is a watermelon candy with a coating of Chili Powder, Lime, and Salt. It is sweet, spicy, sour, and salty all at the same time.  This is strange but addictive.  We always used to have these in the afternoon instead of coffee - they really wake you up!

Mexican Watermelon Chili Salt Lime Candy - my favorite 

I loved going to La Gloria for the first time.  I can't wait to go back.  I really want to try the Churros and Tamales, which I skipped this time in favor of their baked goods. I also wonder if they ever serve agua fresca - one of my favorite beverages that I miss from Texas. Stop by this cute and friendly bakery next time you are in Detroit!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Frederic Inn - Frederic

Everyone has their favorite places to stop on their way Up North!  Our family loves a little place off I-75 that is between Gaylord and Grayling.  It is in a tiny town called Frederic, and the restaurant is the Frederic Inn.

Frederic Inn Michigan

The Frederic Inn is a little dive that isn't much to look at inside.  They have a pool table and a few tables, along with a full bar.

Inside Frederic Inn Michigan
The TV is on with the News or Sports.  The staff is nice and seems like they have worked there for a while.

Inside Frederic Inn Michigan
Their menu has your typical bar food, but my family's favorite is the Wet Burrito.  It is HUGE.  In my family, it is enough to feed 3 people.  They bring out Jalapenos, Salsa, and Sour Cream on the side so that you can personalize it.  Inside the Burrito is chicken, beans, and cheese.  LOTS of cheese!

Frederic Inn Michigan - Get the Wet Burrito or Chimichanga (seen here)

Seen here is the Chimichanga.  It is the same as the Wet Burrito, except it is fried and crispy on the outside.  It is just a big piece of comfort food.  Check out The Frederic Inn on your next trip up north, and try out this big burrito for yourself!