Sunday: Indulgence & Enlightenment (not necessarily in that order)

This past Sunday we found more treasures in tiny downtown Clawson. I had been wanting to find a meditation group — I had gone to one for a short time in San Diego and liked it. So we were delighted to find a center called ZenshoAn right in our little downtown area. (They’re not affiliated with the Black Lotus Brewing Company, at least as far as I can tell.) After the meditation period, we were regaled with stories of how the meditation teacher visits Japan once or twice a year and meditates for 16 hours a day while he’s there, but thankfully we only did about 40 minutes, with a short walking break in the middle. You don’t know how hard it is to just sit still and be quiet until you try to do it!

After our little dose of enlightenment, it was time for some good old-fashioned materialism. (You get dizzy if you get too enlightened all at once, so we needed to balance it out!) A few days earlier while walking around the neighborhood, I had discovered a furniture and home decorating store called Leon & Lulu, and I really wanted to bring McDoc along to see it. The building used to be a roller rink, and the store owners left plenty of traces of that heritage, from the shiny wood floor to the skates hanging on the walls, the “skate at your own risk” signs, and the old pictures of champion skating duos in the entryway. They left the little soda fountain area intact, and the owner offered us a cup of coffee as soon as we walked in. They have very nice furniture, which you can order in just about any configuration and fabric you want. McDoc and I took our time testing out the sofas til we found one we liked — note to selves for future purchase, though we have other, more urgent priorities (like arranging what we already have when the movers FINALLY arrive — grrr!). Turns out the owner, Sue Ellen, used to live in Encinitas, CA, near where we just came from!

They have cute little knickknacks, in addition to the furniture. We bought two of their nice, heavy coffee mugs, which feature silhouettes of the namesake kitty, Leon, and doggie, Lulu. And we needed some fridge magnets, so we got Jung and Gandhi. We also got a book that every woman should own.

We asked the nice folks at Leon and Lulu if there was a brunch-type place nearby, and the recommended Frittata, just down the street. it was the second time we’d heard the place mentioned, so we made a beeline for it. It turned out to be an adorable little place — very classy but reasonably priced. As the name implies, frittatas are the mainstay of their breakfast menu, and they also have salads and sandwiches. McDoc had the Apple Walnut Pancakes, which were divine, and I decided to try the Scrambled Eggs with Roasted Nopales. I’d never had nopales before, even after living in Southern California for 10 years. The menu description also included ranchero sauce, cilantro salad, and créme fraiche. It was an amazing dish — the eggs were fluffy and the diced nopales were crunchy on the outside and soft yet substantial on the inside, like a cross between a bell pepper and a green bean. The ranchero sauce was smoky — I think it had chipotles in it. There was a drizzling of créme fraiche, just the right amount, and the whoele thing was topped with salad greens with lots of cilantro, as promised, tossed in vinaigrette. All this for 7 bucks! I was in heaven. McDoc and I shared our respective side dishes — I had red potatoes, which came encrusted with yummy spices, and McDoc had one of the most beautiful fruit plates I’ve ever seen — raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, bananas and actual ripe fresh apricots.

Not bad for a Sunday afternoon in Detroit Metro!


Where to hoist a pint in Clawson

The particular Detroit suburb we live in is rather tiny — about 2 square miles. So its “downtown” area is small as well, but contains some delightful little treasures. On our second day here we discovered the Black Lotus Brewing Company. As the name suggests, they brew their own beer, and also serve espresso drinks, teas and food. The menu was small when we were there, but we were told it would be expanding come July 1. We got there just before 2 pm, in time for their lunch special, which is a burger and a pint for $5. Since McDoc and I don’t eat animals, we were glad to see that they have veggie burgers too. But we weren’t terribly hungry (it was too hot and humid to eat much), so we shared an order of nachos. McDoc had a pint, and I had some freshly brewed black cherry tea over ice.

We chatted with the server, who was very friendly. (She told us that they have live music at least one evening a week, and an open mic night on Mondays. McDoc thinks I should learn to play jazz piano or something, and try out to play there. I’d love to, but it’s no small undertaking.) I wouldn’t have guessed from her appearance — dyed-black long hair, tattoos — that she really likes living in this little town. At one point a small pack of Harleys rounded the corner just beyond the big picture windows, and she looked after them wistfully. I asked her if the noise bothered her, and she said no, there was a big rally today and she had wanted to go, but couldn’t get her shift covered.

Detroit: Cultural Paradise?

We’ve found plenty to do since we landed here. Our first weekend coincided with the Royal Oak Clay & Glass Art Show. We saw a glass-blowing demonstration and lots of artisan booths. The The Detroit Institute of Arts had a booth where you could paint your own postcard, which we did, and we joined the Institute at a discount rate as well.

My postcard was abstract:
abstract postcard

McDoc’s was more helpful:

map postcard

Our furniture hasn’t arrived yet, so we have no TV or radio, but we do have our computer, and we’ve been listening to local public radio stations online (our apartment building has free wireless — woo hoo!). We heard about a classical music festival called 8 Days in June, and immediately looked into it. On Saturday, there was a concert at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit given by a group called New Music Detroit. We were stunned when we found out about this, because a couple of months ago when we found out we were moving here, we googled “Detroit new music” and “contemporary music Detroit” and got nuthin’. In fact, Saturday’s concert was the group’s premiere. The concert was incredible, and I talked to the players afterward. They were very enthusiastic about the idea of me writing something for them. So this is a most auspicious beginning to our time here!

We’re Here!

Here we are in our new home in suburban Detroit! We got here about a week ago, after a whirlwind road trip from Southern California! We’ll be posting stories of our Detroit adventures on this blog, so stay tuned!

Our current header photo was not taken in Detroit — it’s Piccolo kitty looking out at a gas station somewhere in Kansas. Notice the motorcycle in the background. Still, I thought it was appropriate to our travelogue-type theme.


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