Nevermore! Just Kidding, I Love This Place!

This place has been the stuff of legend to me for many years- I had heard rumors that somewhere there lurked a coffee shop decorated with thousands of books and named after Edgar Allen Poe’s most famous poem, but I’d never actually hunted it down.

Well! Thank heavens I have a fellow English major for a sister, for we hunted it down and reveled in it properly!

The Raven Café in Port Huron, MI, is, simply put, everything that an English major dreams of- the walls are covered in bookshelves filled with books on pretty much every possible topic. The café tables depict famous authors and musicians (Charlotte Bronte table? I think I will!)

Like seriously. Lots of books.

Like seriously. Lots of books.

We came on a weeknight and had no trouble getting a table, but the place was buzzing with activity- the hip, literati crowd seems to camp out here for long stretches, which just kind of adds to the atmosphere, and the live indie/folk music doesn’t hurt either.

See? Atmosphere!

See? Atmosphere!

The café itself is kind of the best of all possible worlds- there’s a drink menu with beer, wine and cocktails, which afforded me a yummy Michigan beer and my sister a rather delicious (I stole a sip) Mudslide.

Once that’s done, one can move on to the food menu- they have really really really delicious sandwiches, which are even more delicious because many of them are named after Poe works (I’ll have an “Imp of the Perverse” Hot Turkey Pastrami, please).

Not kidding. Best menu ever.

Not kidding. Best menu ever.

And after all this tasty snackage, one may wish for a coffee, and they have a whole menu for that too!! Note to self, and also to everybody else- peanut butter mocha. Do it.

Now all that remains is to go back, and bring our other sister too- maybe this time I’ll try the “Loss of Breath” Grilled Cheese?

Granite City is Not a Countertop Store

Selfie with bright tanks. Whatever.

Selfie with bright tanks. Whatever.

In our never-ending quest to visit any and all Michigan breweries, M and I decided to hit Granite City recently. I knew absolutely nothing about Granite City before we visited, so I was surprised once we got there that, aside from the visible bright tanks, there was really nothing brewery-like about the atmosphere. It really kind of felt like any other sports bar, not that I object to sports bars, but I like my breweries to feel like breweries, thank-you-very-much.

See? Sports bar-y.

See? Sports bar-y.

Once we settled in and looked at the menu a little, I realized that Granite City is actually a nationwide chain- each location does brew its own beer onsite, but there are at least a dozen of them! This struck me as odd, but I do have to give GC points for an original concept- the chain brewery is an interesting idea, at least!

However, it would have been a more interesting idea if the beer was a little more novel- it was good, mind you, but it lacked a bit of the spark that I expect to find in a brewery. However, the staff was really nice, and I was able to do a sampler first, which always makes me happy.

Sampler thingy that tells you what you're drinking, in case you forgot.

Sampler thingy that tells you what you’re drinking, in case you forgot.

What the beer perhaps lacked, however, was more than made up for by the food. The menu is fairly standard bar fare- sandwiches, burgers, salads, some entrees- and it’s not gourmet, but the food was REALLY GOOD. It’s delicious and saucy and comfort food-y and yeah. So we’ll be going back- for the burgers.

OK, and we will have beer too.

OK, and we will have beer too.

To Market, To Market

 

Pumpkins are seasonal.

Pumpkins are seasonal.

There is nothing more quintessentially autumn-y like going to the farmers’ market, unless it’s going to the cider mill (stay tuned, I wouldn’t miss that for the world either!) M and I ventured out one damp-ish morning to the Mount Clemens Farmers’ Market, which is fairly small and set up in a parking-lot type space.  It really is lovely, though, and kind of makes me want to be a farmer, although in reality I would only enjoy this if it were not real farming, but Disney World-style farming: no dirt, no funky smells, and no baling hay, just me with a mint julep on my extensive porch, surveying the fields around me and talking to my horse.

Thank heavens for the real farmers, though- they brought all sorts of yummy-looking vegetables!!  M bought Romanesco, which is a fascinating veggie. It is vaguely pyramidal, and made out of light green stalks- it looks like a broccoli and a cauliflower had a baby and named it Romanesco. Which I’m glad they did, because it is delicious and also tastes like a combination between a broccoli and a cauliflower!

I discovered Spider Balls, on the advice of a few friends- I had never heard of such a thing! But now I have, and what they actually are are Osage oranges, which are green and hairy and look like brains. They’re also totally inedible, but that’s OK because they scare away SPIDERS. Who I hate. A lot. I’m told they work well, so that’s what’s going on a little dish under our couch!

Dill is yummy.

Dill is yummy.

And the beer tour of Michigan continues!!

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Thusly.

At Lily’s in Royal Oak!  Which one would never actually know was a brewery unless so informed by the almighty Google.

But it is! And a cool one too.

Example of coolness: fishtank in your booth

Example of coolness: fish tank in your booth

The atmosphere is very seafood-y, which is appropriate for a seafood restaurant. Also, although we didn’t eat there, it smelled AMAZING.

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Fishnets on the ceiling! (Not the stocking kind.)

And the beer is deliciousness.

Here it is!

Here it is!

So needless to say, we’ll be back, and we’ll be there for food next time too!!

 

Wine Bars, Yay!

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This is it.

I really enjoyed that wine bar in Grand Rapids, so I was pretty excited when Cellar 59 decided to move in closer to my neck of the woods! M and I checked it out almost immediately, and we’ll definitely be back.

Reasons why:

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Also, you could go broke in here without trying hard at all.

They have many wines. Many, many wines. And the ones that we tried when we were there were quite delicious.

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See the rolling ladder in the back? So need that in our house one day.

The staff was very helpful. We tend to make grandiose requests like, “Bring us your driest red! Dryer than the desert!”, and they obliged and didn’t give us too many crazy looks.

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The bar stools are pretty jazzy.

The ambiance is lovely- you can sit at the bar, at a wooden high-top, at a smaller table for two, or in the cool-looking leather chairs that I’ve been eying at Restoration Hardware for a while.

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People watching. Best sport ever.

The front can open up completely to the outside when the weather is nice, so you can literally sit on a bar stool and lean out the window. Even if you don’t, the breeze is still lovely!

Also, bonus reason: their beer selection is fairly quirky, and I know we’ll come back just for that!

Since When Did London Get So Close?

I love London. It is unequivocally the best city in the world, and if I could live there, I would do it in a heartbeat. One of its many charms is the London pub, a casual, comfortable bar with tasty beer and a chilled out vibe. I was more than delighted, then, to come across a very London-y pub right here in Detroit!

The Town Pump Tavern is unassuming and unpretentious, but has plenty of character in the form of tall wooden pub hightops, bookcases, and high-backed leather chairs. I could probably live there.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get very good photos inside, so I shall just add this one and implore you to go see it for yourself!

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Sigh…