Detroit’s Best Breweries & Cafes: Drinking My Way Through the Motor City

Life Style

Detroit’s Best Breweries and Cafes: Drinking My Way Through the Motor City

I don’t know if you’ve heard the news, but Detroit is now a food mecca. Earlier this year, National Geographic listed Detroit as one of the world’s “6 Unexpected Cities for the Food Lover,” and media blew up with stories of the city’s food revival. I’ve been singing the praises of Detroit’s best breweries and coffee shops for years, though, so I was not surprised.

Detroit’s economy has recently been doing better, the crime rate has dropped, and new development is popping up all over the city.  After decades of decline, this really is something to celebrate. And how to do I usually celebrate good news? By visiting Detroit’s best breweries and coffee shops to grab a drink of course! There are no shortages of amazing craft breweries and cafes throughout the Detroit Metro for you to explore and fall in love with.

 

Detroit’s Top 4 Craft Breweries

Starting in the Grosse Pointes you’ll find my absolute favorite brewery in the region (and honestly, maybe in the world): Atwater in the Park. I’m working on trying every beer on their rotating list and can so far highly recommend their Whango Mango Wheat and the Nitro Decadent Dark Chocolate Ale. Atwater in the Park is one of Detroit’s best breweries because it has fabulous outdoor seating, trivia nights, and the most sumptuous giant soft pretzels you will ever come across in your life.  Oh and did I mention it’s in a converted church? Doesn’t get more hip than that! 

Up in the hipster, hippy city of Ferndale, Axle Brewing Company’s new Livernois Tap has a to-die for brunch menu. I couldn’t stop exclaiming out loud in joy when chowing down on their French onion eggs rolls which paired well with a Dual Citizen cream ale. Livernois Tap also has great outdoor seating which obviously is a prerequisite for my favorite breweries. 

Another one of Detroit’s best breweries is in the suburb of St. Clair Shores. Whenever I’m passing through, I like to stop at Baffin Brewing Company. Though they don’t serve food in house, there are often food trucks parked right outside for a quick bite. At the Baffin Brewing Company I usually go for a Backcrossing Baffin Brown and sit right at the window for people watching.

Finally, back in Midtown Detroit, my happy place is Motor City Brewing Works. This place has is all: outdoor seating, good views, piping hot brick over pizza, and an ice-cold pitcher of Ghettoblaster, an English style mild ale. Honestly, what’s not to like?

 

Detroit’s Can’t Miss Coffee Shops

Now on to my other favorite brew: coffee. By far and away, Detroit’s hippest coffee shop is Great Lakes Coffee in Midtown. This cafe has amazing lavender lattes and is a good place to study in the day (In the evening, you can also go for wine or a craft beer. Essentially Great Lakes Coffee hits all my favorite things.)

Also in the neighborhood, Fourteen East is a cute cafe to get delicious chai lattes or French press. 

A few blocks away is Avalon International Breads. This popular coffee shop serves famous (and delicious) sea salt chocolate chip cookies that go great with hot coffee. 

Downtown, my favorite place to go is Urban Bean Co. My favorite aspect of this cafe is the lofted seating, which makes a perfect place to people watch, study, and enjoy a cappuccino.

In Indian Village, a beautiful neighborhood on the east side, The Red Hook is where it’s at. Make sure to check out the murals both within the café and across the street.

Further east in the Grosse Pointe suburbs, Cornwall Bakery and Morning Glory Café are my go to hangout spots. Cornwall features Rendezvous with Tea, a local brand sourced from all over the world and has amazing shortbread. Morning Glory Café has beautifully decorated cupcakes along with great outdoor seating.

 

There you have it, Detroit’s best breweries and cafes. If you are not packing your bags for Motown after reading this post, well, you can’t be saved.  Detroit has to be seen to be believed. Follow your heart (and your stomach) to a region that’s finally experiencing their much deserved renaissance and rebirth, where the brews flow freely and the patios are always packed.

-R

by Sep 18, 2017

Brazil Travel Guide: Florianopolis Island

Brazil

 

Brazil Travel Guide: Florianopolis Island

 

I’m not going to lie; I had zero expectations before I went to Brazil. I had only been to Medellin, Colombia in South America for a few days, so I really had no idea what I was getting myself into. However, I received a fellowship to learn Portuguese for seven weeks on the island of Santa Catarina in Southern Brazil, and I wasn’t going to turn it down. The stress of grad school was wearing on me, and I figured I would spend a few weeks bumbling through a language I had no background in with a bunch of undergrads hell bent on partying (and annoying cantankerous old me) every night. I was resigned to my fate.

However, my expectations could not have been more wrong; Florianopolis Island was one of the most magical places I have ever traveled too, and I ended up having one of the most memorable summers of my life.

 

 

Listen: I know when you think of Brazil you probably think of Rio de Janeiro and its parties, beaches, and gorgeous people. Instead, you need to start thinking about Florianopolis.

This island really has it all… over 40 beaches, mountains to climb, lakes perfect for water sports, hiking trails with gorgeous views, spectacular sand dunes, a wild night life and some of the most chill folks you’ll ever have the pleasure of meeting. Bonus: it’s the safest capital of any state in Brazil!

 

 

Where to Stay

I lived in Santa Catarina’s most beautiful region (maybe I’m biased…) near Joaquina Beach. Over my seven weeks here, I was able to see much of Florianopolis Island, so I have a lot to recommend. Though of course I would encourage you to stay as long as possible, if you have just a week you can still get in much of the flavor of Floripa (Are you confused about names yet? Though the island itself is called Santa Catarina, the city and the region are called Florianopolis, or Floripa if you want to be cute).  

The best place to stay on Florianopolis Island is near the lakes/lagoon in the middle of the island. The neighborhoods near Lagoa da Conceição are where all the hippies, hipsters, and otherwise strange and fun folk live and hang out. Here you also have easy access to what I’d argue are the best beaches on the island: Joaquina and Praia Mole. 

 

What to Do

Near Joaquina beach, you can hike on the peaceful sand dunes that roll into a bird-filled scrub land good for long walks (keep your eyes peeled for the enigmatic burrowing owls). One of my absolute favorite things to do on Florianopolis Island was sitting on the dunes at night during a new moon when the stars were positively breath taking.

Outside of downtown, other must sees on Florianopolis Island include hiking around the lake and to the waterfall at Lagoa do Peri Park, getting dinner in the quaint village of Santo Antonio de Lisboa, catching a rowdy Avaí FC football match, and tackling the arduous but oh-so-worth-it Lagoinha do Leste trail for the secluded beach that is only accessible by foot or boat.

 

 

What to Eat & Drink

My friends and I really enjoyed hanging out at Books and Beers (a place for good craft brew), The Black Swan (an ex-pat haven) and of course the infamous ice cream buffet at Buffet Sorvete Doce Pecado.

I also recommend a visit to the downtown “Centro” area on Florianopolis Island, which is a fun place to shop, eat, or watch the sunset. My classes were here so I was able to scope out all the best places for lunch (Calzone Mania), coffee (Ponto do Pao and The Baker Seville), and my absolute favorite treat, acai bowls from Amazon Acai.

Obviously, when in Brazil the drink of choice is the refreshing and terrifically potent caipirinha made with sugar cane rum (Cachaça), lime, and a terrifying amount of sugar. The best place to get one on the island? Colher de Pau in the Public Market makes them strong.

 

 

Essentially, my seven weeks on Florianopolis Island went by way too fast. I made friends (yes, even with those undergrads), learned a surprising amount of Portuguese (Eu sou o mais legal!), pet a dangerous amount of street dogs, and fell in love with Brazil. Next time I return, I’ll have the high expectations that Florianopolis Island, and everything it has to offer, deserves.

-R

by Sep 6, 2017

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