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  • Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval

    In this week’s Metro Times we took a look at the state legislature’s role in Detroit’s ongoing bankruptcy — in particular, how it must approve a $350 million pledge for the so-called “grand bargain” to remain intact. And, with last night’s announcement of a significant deal between the city and Detroit’s pension boards and retiree groups, the ball is Lansing’s court now. The new deal, first reported by the Freep, would cut general employees monthly pension checks by 4.5 percent and eliminate their cost-of-living increases. Police and fire retirees would see no cuts to monthly checks, while their cost-of-living increases would be reduced from 2.25 percent to 1 percent. Under the original offer, police and fire retirees cuts were as high as 14 percent, with general retirees as high as 34 percent, that is, if the groups rejected the “grand bargain,” an $816 million proposal funded by foundations, the state, and the DIA to shore up pensions. The sweeter deal for pensions, though, it must be noted, entirely relies on the state legislature approving $350 million for Detroit’s bankruptcy.  And while this broke after Metro Times went to press, that was the focal point of this week’s News Hits column — so, it’s worth repeating: The […]

    The post Detroit’s grand bargain still needs Lansing’s approval appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday

    This Saturday, April 19, is Record Store Day, and there is plenty going on in metro Detroit and Michigan. Of special interest to us is Chiodos’ 7” single “R2ME2/Let Me Get You A Towel,” Mayer Hawthorne & Shintaro Skamoto’s 7” “Wine Glass Woman/In a Phantom,” Chuck Inglish & Action Bronson’s 7” “Game Time,” Chuck Inglish & Chance the Rapper’s 7” “Glam,” Chuck Inglish & Chromeo’s 7” “Legs,” Chuck Inglish, Mac Miller & Ab-Soul’s 7” “Easily,” James Williamson’s 7” “Open Up and Bleed/Gimme Some Skin,” Black Milk’s 12” “Glitches in the Break,” Mayer Hawthorne’s 10” “Jaded Inc.,” Wayne Kramer & the Lexington Arts Ensemble’s 12” “Lexington,” and best of all, Ray Parker Jr.’s 10” “Ghostbusters.” We wrote about James Williamson’s release this week. Go shop. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Local releases for Record Store Day on Saturday appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May

    Margaret Doll Rod will celebrate the release of her new EP, Margaret, with a show at PJ’s Lager House on Saturday, May 10. A statement reads, “The EP contains 3 new original songs and one Chrome Cranks cover with Italian actress Asia Argento singing background vocals. Margaret moved to Italy after the end of the Demolition Doll Rods where she still lives touring and performing festivals in Europe. The Dollrods were a Garage Rock force for over 20 years, opening for Iggy, Jon Spencer, The Scientist, The Monks and The Cramps. Margaret was the front person and principal songwriter for The Dollrods. Her chief musical foil was Danny Kroha, who joined the Demolition Doll Rods after the now legendary Gories called it quits. Margaret’s sister, Christine, on drums, rounded out the legendary trio. Margaret will do a special performance in the round that night with a 360 degree revolving stage and special guest DJ Adam Stanfel.” The bill will also feature the Stomp Rockets and the Volcanos. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: Margaret Doll Rod to play EP release show in May appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: Music review roundup

    Send CDs, vinyl, cassettes, demos and 8-tracks to Brett Callwood, Metro Times, 1200 Woodward Heights, Ferndale MI 48220. Email MP3s and streaming links to bcallwood@metrotimes.com. Ricky Rat’s Tokyo Pop/Glitter People (New Fortune) 7” single highlights all that’s great about the Trash Brats guitarist, but also his limitations. The man can write a bubblegum rock ’n’ roll song to match anyone in the city and most beyond. He’s also a killer guitarist, ripping out one throwaway riff after another with reckless abandon. He’s a machine. On his own though, without Trash Brats frontman Brian McCarty, his voice doesn’t have enough strength to do the songs justice. Not that you need to have the greatest voice in the world to sing this stuff – you don’t need to be able to perform vocal gymnastics – but you do have to be able to wail the tunes out. Both of the songs on this single are great, but you can’t help but wonder how much better they would sound with McCarty or somebody similar talking the mic. Still, as they are the songs are great fun. We’re just being picky. The Paper Sound’s Trajectories is a dense, atypically dark Americana-tinged album, unrelenting and […]

    The post City Slang: Music review roundup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes

    “Neighbors wanted.” That’s the message on the homepage of buildingdetroit.org, a new website launched by the City of Detroit today to auction off city-owned homes to prospective buyers who pledge to fix them up and move in. “We are moving aggressively to take these abandoned homes and get families living in them again,” Mayor Mike Duggan said in a statement today. “There are a lot of people who would love to move into many of our neighborhoods. Knowing that other people are going to be buying and fixing up the other vacant homes at the same time will make it a lot easier for them to make that commitment.” The website to facilitate the auctions went live this afternoon. The first auction is scheduled to take place Monday, May 5. Officials said in a news release that one home will be auctioned per day, Monday through Friday. Fifteen homes are available for sale on the site, a dozen of which are in the East English Village neighborhood. Any Michigan resident, company, or organization that can do business in the state can bid, according to the website. Properties will be for sale for only one day, with bidding taking place from 8 […]

    The post Detroit launches website to auction city-owned homes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes

    In case you haven’t heard, two of the biggest names in film, Steven Spielberg and John Williams, are collaborating to put on a benefit concert for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra this summer. In case you wanted to go- well, you’re too damn late. The DSO says tickets to the June 14 concert were snapped up in a record-breaking 15 minutes after they went on sale at 9 a.m. today. The DSO has since released this statement to fans who didn’t snag seats: Our apologies to everyone who was unable to buy tickets this morning for our historic benefit concert featuring John Williams and Steven Spielberg. Despite increasing our phone and internet system capacity for the day, a surge of hundreds of ticket buyers purchased tickets in a matter of minutes, filling the phone lines and temporarily maxing out our web servers. After a one-hour pre-sale made available to donors and subscribers at 8am, we released additional seats at 9am to the general public, including seats available for as low as $30. All seats sold out immediately. The concert program seems nothing short of top notch: Williams will conduct the orchestra as it performs some of his most iconic tunes, such […]

    The post Tickets for Steven Spielberg, John Williams summer concert sell out in 15 minutes appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

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Best of Detroit 2013

Nutritional Value - Reader's Choice

Reader's choice for dining in Metro Detroit

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


Best New Restaurant (open less than 2 years)

Best Restaurant for Desserts

Vinsetta Garage

27799 Woodward Ave., Berkley

248-548-7711; vinsettagarage.com

No question about it: Vinsetta Garage was the runaway success of the last year. Not only did it open to universally positive reviews, it was so mobbed for months that diners sometimes faced a two-hour wait on a weekday night. What was the winning formula? Co-owner Curt Catallo brought to Vinsetta’s kitchen the same attention to quality as at his famed Union Woodshop and Clarkston Union. The repurposed building, quirky interior and extensive beer selection borrowed a page from Detroit’s ferociously successful Slows Bar-B-Q. The menu creatively takes classic fare and gussies it up (think hot dogs with bacon jam and sriracha mayo, or a “duck burger” with cherry compote), all while being sensitive to dietary restrictions (especially vegan and gluten-free options). The inventive desserts include a whimsical “s’more trio” and Faygo-flavored ice cream. Taken together, it’s no wonder our readers chose Vinsetta Garage as the best new place to park and fill up.

 

Best Romantic Restaurant in Wayne County

Best Wine Selection in a Restaurant

Best Casino Restaurant

Brizola

Greektown Casino

555 E. Lafayette St., Detroit

313-309-2499

greektowncasino.com/brizola.html

Detroit’s casino restaurants are known for lacquering on the decadence, and the newest entry, Greektown Casino’s Brizola, is no exception. Everything gets kicked up a notch: Mac ‘n’ cheese becomes lobster mac ‘n’ cheese, mashed potatoes become roasted garlic mashed potatoes, a baked potato becomes a sea-salt-roasted baked potato or, grander still, a twice-baked potato loaded and wrapped with bacon. The menu’s focus, though, is surf and turf, including a lobster ceviche appetizer, Colorado double lamb chops, orange honey barbecued wild salmon, as well as cuts of beef ranging from chipotle-dry-rubbed 10-ounce filet mignon to a 24-ounce T-bone steak. The restaurant also boasts a stylish interior that affords city views, an extensive wine list comprising Old World and New World pours, and an atmospheric bar area. Brizola pulls out all the stops — yes, with prices to match — but who’s counting when you’ve hit the jackpot?

 

Best Romantic Restaurant in Oakland County

Best Italian Cuisine in Oakland County

Maria’s Front Room

215 W. Nine Mile Rd., Ferndale

248-542-7379

mariasfrontroom.com

It’s interesting that in affluent Oakland County, which brims with Italian restaurants of solid acclaim, year after year our readers award romantic honors to Maria’s Front Room, a cozy trattoria less than a mile from the Detroit city line. Discounting a brief closing five years ago that saw the joint bounce back with a bright redesign, Maria’s has been a stalwart presence in the Ferndale dining scene since the mid-1990s. Though it’s not the candle-in-a-bottle place it once was, the kitchen churns out earthy, hearty, comforting Italian fare that doesn’t pretend to any Batali-like grandeur. Instead, expect the classics — pizza, pasta, chicken, fish and veal — to taste as good as grandma ever made them.

 

Best Romantic Restaurant in Macomb County

Best Steak in Macomb County

Mr. Paul’s Chophouse

29850 Groesbeck Hwy., Roseville

586-777-7770; mrpaulschophouse.com

More than 40 years old, Mr. Paul’s is a charmed place lost in time somewhere back in the early postwar era. Here you can have one of the area’s best Caesar salads, prepared with a theatrical flair tableside, often by the owner himself. The chateaubriand steak for two and the cherries jubilee for dessert also involve a tableside show. Liveried waitstaff and an impressive French red-dominated wine list complete the picture.

 

Best Romantic Restaurant in Washtenaw County

TIE

The Earle

121 W. Washington, Ann Arbor

734-994-0211; theearle.com

 

The Melting Pot

309 S. Main St., Ann Arbor;

734-622-0055

26425 Novi Rd., Novi; 248-347-6358

888 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy;

248-362-2221

meltingpot.com

Our readers split on romance. On one hand is the ambience of the Earle, which makes it a perfect spot for a candlelit dinner for two. On the weekends, expect live jazz to accompany a meal that can include such French- and Italian-inspired entrées as escargot vol-au-vent, salmon paté with cognac, baked goat cheese and duck, complemented by an extensive, award-winning wine list. On the other hand, what’s more sensual than easing morsels into each others’ mouths? At the Melting Pot, you can fulfill all of your fondue fantasies. After all, dipping an assortment of breads, vegetables and fruits in your choice of cheese or chocolate fondue can be suggestive indeed.

 

Best Restaurant to Spend Less Than $15 in Wayne County

Green Dot Stables

2200 W. Lafayette Blvd., Detroit

313-962-5588; greendotstables.com

Here’s something hopeful: A taste for quality over quantity among our readers? Instead of choosing a restaurant that will bring you a plate piled high with food-service fare for less than $15, our readers chose Green Dot Stables, where you can get small but tasty “sliders” whose flavors dance all over the map. One could order shoestring fries and four of the joint’s exotic sandwich creations — ranging from corned beef to catfish to a Korean-inspired peanut butter-and-kimchi burger — for $15 plus tax. But with the full bar and the hip and attractive crowd, chances are you’ll have a drink or two and end up busting that budget.

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