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The Memorial Day Weekend Hangover

May 31, 2016

Who wants to be back in the regular grind today? I don’t.

It’s hard coming back from vacations and getting back into the swing of everyday life. What makes it even more challenging is that because this is a short week, there is even less time to do all the things that have to be done. Ugh.

Hopefully, at least you enjoyed the long weekend. I enjoyed my day off of blogging and putting my Yelp responsibilities on hold. I really needed a catch-up day on Monday after my weekend in Detroit. I headed out to the Motor City for my old college friend’s wedding. It was great. Never did I think that S would ever settle down, but I’m glad she’s found someone worthy of such a mighty commitment.

My old college friends and I were at the wedding until the bitter end. And then we went out and closed down the bars. I can’t remember the last time that happened. But there was more than binge drinking. I also let my guard down on my diet just a wee little bit.

While I did not get any Detroit style pizza or Slow’s BBQ, I still did pretty well for myself.

These days I rarely fly. Flying is such a pain in the ass. Part of the issue is limited schedules and the risk of delays. Seriously, I was half thinking about making the 9 hour drive to Detroit instead. I’m noticing more and more sensible people opting for ever longer car trips in lieu of air travel. There’s only so much abuse people are willing to take, and it’s good to see people fighting back.

As far as I could tell, my best option was to fly in stupid early on Saturday morning. So there I was in Detroit at 8 o’clock in the morning. My hotel was 30 minutes away in a northern suburb, and I couldn’t check in until 3 pm.

What would you do?

Well, in between the airport and Birmingham is Dearborn. It’s the city with the largest Arab-American population in the United States. And I’m sure you know what that means…great freaking ethnic food.

So I took an Uber to a Middle Eastern bakery, and it was magnificent. I knew nothing about the sweets I was selecting. But I was trying for a variety of textures and flavors. There were so many varieties of nutty, sweet, and aromatic treats, it was mind boggling. I thought I’d get a plate of six small bites. I did pretty well. Perhaps my favorite was the coconut log that seemed to be filled with a rosewater custard.

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It took me two large coffees to make it through most of my tray of sweets, and it killed me to not try more, but there was more eating to do.

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My friend B who had recently flown in from Seattle was waking up and agreed to meet me in Dearborn for lunch. We went to a little place that baked its own pita bread and brought baskets of the stuff hot and fresh from the oven. Oh my. I think I may be ruined for pita bread forever. Scooping up the cool, creamy, garlicky labneh with the hot, slightly smokey pita was a real treat.

I couldn’t help myself. Despite having just eaten a tray of sweets, I was compelled to order two sandwiches, a schwarma and an eggplant. They were each under $4 and it was hard to just order two. My assumption was that for such a meager price, they would be small and insubstantial. But that wasn’t the case at all.

B loved the place too, and agreed we should hit the bakery again on the way back to the hotel. I was thankful to have another mouth, because I was able to try both the bakery’s pistachio ice cream, and cheese crepe sweetened with rosewater syrup and stuffed with more sweetened cheese. Hot damn!

But we had a wedding to go to, friends to see, and drinking to be done.

After the wedding, several of us piled into another Uber and made our way to a nearby bar that sounded promising. The details are sketchy. I remember falling in love with the duck fat fries, thinking the loaded tater tots were nasty, and that the “poutine” was wrongheaded.

I had thought our group was completely obnoxious, but our waiter was delightful. He was a saint, and B made the executive decision to leave the fellow a very generous tip.

And then it was back to the hotel for a couple bottles of wine.

The morning after was rough, because there were only four hours to sleep it off before having to wake up for brunch with the bride and groom. Thank you to J&S who had the wisdom of having the morning-after meal at a diner. And thanks again to Uber for being able to drive a bleary-eyed Profussor to coffee and eggs.

My new favorite diner breakfast is over easy eggs on top of fried potatoes (of any kind). I don’t want any toast, meat, or cheese. A bottle of hot sauce may be nice. I may go into this in a bit more detail some other day.

But this diner also specialized in some kind of flaming cheese appetizer. And that I couldn’t pass up. I have no idea what it was flamed with, but the conflagration was doused with fresh lemon juice, and the caramelized melted cheese was served with pita wedges. Whatever that was, it was certainly delicious.

Before leaving town later that night, I was able to get in one more Middle Eastern lunch and Coney dog. The Coneys are quite similar to our mini hot dogs, except full-sized, and not quite as good. The chili is looser and a bit creamier. It lacks the same assertive chili spices as the stuff up in these parts. But what can you expect from the Midwest?

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Actually, a whole heck of a lot. There is brilliant food everywhere. It’s just a matter of finding it. And it’s likely that you can get better Coneys outside the confines of the airport. I find it rather incredible that anyone might complain about the lack of good food in Detroit, because in less than 36 hours, I barely scratched the surface, and I found some magnificent places.

Now I’m full. And I’m back on the diet. Well, I should be. But I have an event tonight. Sometimes the cure to a hangover is the hair of the dog that bit you. Maybe tonight’s food event will help get me back on the path to the straight and narrow. We’ll see.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Shawn permalink
    May 31, 2016 9:37 am

    There is nowhere in the US to get better middle eastern food than Dearborn, MI.

  2. May 31, 2016 10:42 am

    Must have been a Greek diner; the flaming cheese – Saganaki. Athos makes a pretty good one.

  3. Debra permalink
    May 31, 2016 4:47 pm

    If you get the chance try Teepee Pete’s hotdogs with chili (different flavors offered). Regular size dogs, not minis. Out Route 20 just past Sharon Springs – The big teepee on the left side of the road, can’t miss it.

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