after week eight

Things I’ve Learned (Or Cantankerous Opinions Gained):

1) If no town in Michigan earned the right to be called “The Windy City”, then I’m dreading what Chicago has in store for me. Because, holy hell, the wind is crazy here. Crazy, I say!!  In every week that I’ve been here, there have been at least two days that have found me in a battle with the wind.  This battle has consistently been a losing effort on my side, leaving my nose runny, my cheeks aching, and my bangs destroyed.

2) Michigan between Ann Arbor and Benton Harbor is really damn boring.  I barely posted anything here this week because there was nothing worth posting.   In four days of creeping along I-94, I took one picture with my phone and none with my regular camera.  Step up your game, Kalamazoo!

Oh, and Michigan State Police were all over the damn road the whole time.  For the previous seven weeks of this adventure, my car was in serious need of a balance and alignment – I could barely get the car over 60mph without it beginning to shake violently.  As such, I was often the slowest car on the interstate, which meant I had zero worries about getting pulled over for speeding.  This past Monday, though, I got my car fixed, and now it zooms effortlessly past 60mph and beyond, which would be nice if it hadn’t coincided with the Michigan State Police and their derpy cars popping up every couple miles on the interstate all week.  I never got pulled over, but had at least two early close calls, which kept me in check for the rest of the week.  *Sigh* All I wanna do is drive recklessly again.  Life is hard.

3) The University Of Michigan Class Of 2012 can go fuck itself. I’m back in Ann Arbor this weekend.  Actually, I’m not – I’m in Belleville, 20 minutes away.  It’s graduation weekend at the University Of Michigan, so all the hotels in town are either all booked up or have jacked up their prices to ridiculous levels (for example: the nearby Red Roof is normally around $65 – the sole room they had available on Friday was $202), as relatives gather to watch their young family member get his/her diploma that will only prove to [redacted due to an ongoing effort to tone down the bitterness brought forth from getting a totally worthless degree].  Along with the crowded hotels, the city is even more crowded than usual as well, which has found me looking in the other direction, towards Detroit, for my weekend activities.  Damn you graduates for forcing me to leave Ann Arbor and instead spend the weekend in a city I’ve rapidly fallen in love with!

4) Holy crap, the Heidelberg Project.  Which I would not have stumbled upon if I had been spending my Saturday in Ann Arbor as originally intended.  It’s in Detroit, the information is here, and it’s wonderful.  The picture at the top of this post is from there – a lot more will be posted in the next couple days.  Once more, with feeling:  I love Detroit.

The Week In Hotels:

The Travelodge in Battle Creek had a coffee maker in the room which I was looking forward to using for my late-afternoon caffeination. But I opened up the thingy in the back where you pour the water, looked inside, and was stopped in my tracks by the vileness that I found.  To put it mildly, it looked like the thing had never been cleaned.  It quickly became the most disgusting coffee maker I had encountered on this trip.

Until the next day, at the Super 8 in Kalamazoo, where I spent two nights.  Here’s the Exxon Valdez that greeted me after I made a pot:

I did not attempt to give it a taste.  Also at that Super 8 – a bunch of crap (beer cans, plastic utensils) in the wide space behind the mini-fridge, and no remote.  The internet was really fast, though, which was nice.

As already mentioned, the weekend’s being spent in Belleville, at a Red Roof Inn that I’ve yet to find fault in, beyond that fact that it’s in Belleville.

Restaurant Reviews:

1) Grizzly Peak – Ann Arbor
The default fruits of a long afternoon spent trying and failing to find a place to eat on a busy Sunday in Detroit and Ann Arbor.  Good calimari, awful pork medallions, okay sweet potatoes – that’s all I remember.

2) The ice cream place/dairy on the corner of Ashley and Madison in Ann Arbor.
Caramel pretzel orgazmo crunch on a waffle cone. Mmmm. And yes, the cross streets combine to form the name of a relatively well-known adult web site. Bonus!

3) Slows To Go – Detroit
That Sunday afternoon trying to get something to eat started with a return visit to Slows, where we were greeted with an hour-and-a-half long wait time.  That was also the case on Monday.  Thankfully, they have a second location in town that focuses solely on carry-out and is nowhere near as busy as the regular location.  Part of the reason for returning was because – after I went there the first time – I discovered that I should have ordered a different sandwich.  Granted, the brisket sandwich I got at the time was divine, but it was also woefully pork-free.  Here’s what I got on Monday to atone for my mistake:

It’s called the Triple Threat and it comes with pork shoulder, bacon, and ham.  Care to guess if it was any good?  Because it was terrific, and it kept getting better the more I ate it.  Once again, it came with a side of mac n’ cheese, which – though it contained no pork – was still great.

4) Old Country Buffet – Kalamazoo
This is what happens when I refrain from solid food until the evening – my hunger overtakes me and I end up at the first place with ‘buffet’ in their name.  It wasn’t very good at all.  And Helga, my server, told me that she had a cold and that all the workers at Old Country Buffet were currently nursing the same cold. I didn’t need to know that, Helga.

5) Hibachi Sushi Buffet – Kalamazoo
See above for reasoning.  This one was actually really good, though.  Of the chicken-y staples at a Chinese buffet (honey chicken, black pepper chicken, General Tso’s, sweet and sour, etc), this place had the best ones I’ve had in a long time.

6) La Marsa – Ann Arbor
A Mediterranean place where we ordered way too much food (and whose leftovers I’m still eating two days later). Grape leaves were great. The white hummusy stuff that came with the pita bread had such a strong, garlicy aftertaste that lingered in my mouth for almost an entire day, even after brushing twice.  That’s not a bad thing.

7) One-Eyed Betty’s – Ferndale
Best meal of the whole trip.  The picture below is of our appatizer, which was called Bacon With A Side Of Bacon:

That’s bacon in the foreground, a fried poached egg in the middle, and crispy pork belly in the back.  My vocabulary is incapable of finding the appropriate words to describe how incredible that plate was.  I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since.  My entree was a spectacular pulled pork sandwich that led to several more foodgasms.  Dessert was maple donuts sprinkled with bacon.

I like pork.

Booze:

1) Cocktails somewhere in downtown Ann Arbor
When I go to a cocktail bar and see the descriptions of their drinks, I usually have no idea what any of the ingredients are beyond the fruits involved.  The one I had at this place had pineapple and – I assume – alcohol.  It likely had other things in there, too.  It was tasty.

2) Trunk Wine – Kalamazoo
Because there was fuck-all else to do in Kalamazoo.

3) Bell’s Third Coast Old Ale - Ferndale
That’s the beer pictured next to the bacon wonderland. It was also the first beer I had since April 2, when I had a Bell’s IPA at Slows. This one was much better than the IPA – malty, hoppy, a bit bitter at first, but smooth the rest of the way. Alas, it did not contain any pork.

Up Next:
Grand Rapids, Holland, and the sad conclusion to my travels in Michigan.

 

More pictures can be found at my Flickr page (though it’ll take a little while before the ones from the Heidelberg Project pop up, so pass the time by looking at all my other pictures).

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