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  • Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times

    Turns out, our very own Jack Lessenberry knows the Grosse Pointer seeking to ban the MT: Ten years or so ago, a woman named Andrea Lavigne sat in on some media survey classes I was teaching at Wayne State University. She was in her late 30s or early 40s, and seemed to be searching for answers. She wanted to know how the media work, and told me she was a Maoist. This fascinated me, because I thought authentic Maoists were almost as rare as passenger pigeons. Chairman Mao, we now know, starved to death and slaughtered tens of millions of his own citizens, and kept China economically and intellectually backward. Intrigued, I got together one night before class with her and another Maoist, to find out what they were all about. Alas, they spouted a form of primitive, grade-school Marxism. They seemed to have very little historical knowledge of Communism or what it had actually been like. Yes. A Maoist. Read the full story at Michigan Radio here.

    The post Lessenberry on the battle to ban the Metro Times appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’

    A class-action lawsuit has been filed against the owner of Detroit’s municipal solid waste incinerator Monday, accusing the company of nuisance and gross negligence violations According to the complaint filed by Detroit-based Lidle & Dubin P.C., “On occasions too numerous to list, Plaintiffs’ property including Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, residences and yards were physically invaded by noxious odors and contaminants … As a direct and proximate result of the Defendant’s’ negligence in operating and/or maintaining the facility, Plaintiffs’ property has been invaded by noxious odors.” The eight-page complaint charges that local property values have dropped due to the incinerator’s presence, “and has interfered with Plaintiffs’ use and enjoyment of their property.” The lawsuit, filed in Wayne County Circuit Court, seeks a financial award in excess of $25,000 and all costs and attorney fees related to the case. In an email, a spokesperson for the company says, “Detroit Renewable Power is reviewing the complaint filed today,” but declined further comment. The suit follow a Metro Times’ cover story earlier this month on the growing number of odor complaints from nearby residents since Detroit Renewable Power LLC (DRP) took control of the facility in 2010. The story found a spike in citations from the Michigan Department […]

    The post Detroit residents sue incinerator owner over ‘noxious odors and contaminants’ appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup, who did indeed walk home with some well-deserved bragging rights — if anyone knows their marijuana it’s High Times: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

    Yes, it’s true. Forbes says Detroit is one of America’s most creative cities: “We ranked these places based on four metrics: activity per capita on project-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and music sites Bandcamp and ReverbNation. The goal was to capture organic creativity, since many artistic and musical types have “day jobs” outside of creative pursuits.” The Forbes list sandwiches #9 Detroit between #8 Seattle and #10 Oakland, Calif. If you are watching the art and culture explosion happening right now in Detroit, you probably think we should rank higher than #2 Boston and #1 San Francisco, if only for the fact that it’s actually affordable to create here and there is space for everyone to be creative. But hey, those metrics weren’t part of the equation. And there’s always next year.

    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Best of Detroit 2013

Nutritional Value - Staff Picks

Our staff picks for dining in Metro Detroit

Photo: N/A, License: N/A


Best New Indian Buffet

Aahar Indian Cuisine

35564 Grand River Ave., Farmington Hills


Indian food ain’t all curry. The fare of the subcontinent, and its many regional cuisines, offer dals, breads, sambar, tandoori-cooked meats, dosa and a vast array of vegetables. Sound unfamiliar? Now is the time to explore. And there may be no better place to launch your exploration than Aahar Indian Cuisine in Farmington Hills. For less than $10, you can feast on at least a dozen dishes on a lunch buffet that always includes curried goat and tandoori chicken. The staff will explain all of the items. Unlike many other buffets that cater more to non-Indians, Aahar’s spice levels are assertive, but not fiery hot. Namaste.


Best New Small Plates

The Sardine Room

340 S. Main St., Plymouth

734-416-0261 ;

Some interesting combinations, like scallops, pork belly and sweet potato, and curried rabbit, and somewhat venturesome ingredients, like foie gras and roasted bone marrow, make the Sardine Room a fun place to order a table-full of plates for sharing. Choose from a trio of country hams or find out what puréed arugula adds to gnocchi, or taste the storied Mangalista pig with stuffed cabbage. The only thing longer than the menu is the drinks list, with lots of single malts and digestifs. And if one small plate isn’t enough, you can ask for it again.


Best Half-Off Night

Pizzeria Biga

29110 Franklin Rd.,

Southfield; 248-750-2442

711 S. Main St.,

Royal Oak; 248-544-2442


In these less-than-rosy economic times, with restaurants competing for a shrinking pool of diner dollars, many are opting to do a “half-off” night in an attempt to draw customers on a typically slow night of the week. We love a bargain, but these deals often involve warmed-over bar food that’s barely worth the discounted price. Not so at Pizzeria Biga. At both the Southfield and Royal Oak locations, Biga offers half-off delicious wood-fired pizzas with high-quality toppings and homemade pastas on Mondays until 7:30 p.m. If beverage bargains are more your speed, the restaurant offers half-off bottles of wine on Tuesdays. As always, don’t forget to tip your server on the pre-discounted amount.


Best Lunch Downtown

(They Deliver)


1300 Porter St., Detroit


The mania to make everything in-house means fabulous slaws and krauts, and mustards to top the already mile-high sandwiches, which are stuffed with meats smoked outside by the eponymous Greg Mudge. If you don’t want to waddle back to work, best bet is a half-sandwich with thick soup, or half-salad and the same — though the salads, like everything else here, are generously laden, and come with nine Mudgie dressings. Now that Michigan wine, beer and mead [honey wine] have been added, there’s nothing not to like — if your afternoon schedule allows.


Best Restaurant We're Anticipating to Open

La Feria

4130 Cass Ave., Detroit

Participating in the Hatch: Detroit business competition, in which business ideas are promoted via social media and voted for online, Elias Khalil initially didn’t think he had a chance in hell. One of three partners in the Spanish tapas restaurant La Feria (a nod to Seville’s famous yearly fair), Khalil considered himself rather inept at online promotion; in the months before the vote, he pounded the pavement in his Cass Corridor neighborhood handing out fliers and telling people firsthand about his concept. But family and friends in Detroit and Spain rallied ⎯ and thousands of votes later ⎯ La Feria came out on top. The restaurant, located on Cass at Alexandrine, is currently under construction and hopes to open sometime this summer. We’ve had the pleasure of sampling some of the food in Khalil’s home and at a couple local events, and we can’t wait for the full experience. Unlike many of the upscale “small plates” concepts that have been popular in the last decade, La Feria is to offer authentic, inexpensive Spanish tapas, such as tortilla de patatas (a dense potato omelet), mushroom caps with a parsley and garlic sauce, and crunchy, creamy croquettes stuffed with chicken and béchamel.


Best Indoor Street Food

Woodward Imperial

22828 Woodward Ave., Ferndale


The concept of Imperial is simple but genius: Use fresh, local ingredients to create a menu that’s unique, delicious and eminently affordable — in this case, L.A. street-food-style tacos. Serve a wide range of domestic and Mexican beers and some creative cocktails alongside. Design a cool layout that, in nice weather, blurs the boundaries of indoor and outdoor space to enhance the cantina vibe. Play good music. Put it in Ferndale, a city where people love to go out but don’t necessarily have the deep pockets of some other Oakland County burbs. Pat yourself on the back as your restaurant deservedly becomes one of the most popular spots in town.


Best Scientifically Healthy Food

Hut-K Chaats

3022 Packard Rd., Ann Arbor


When an oncologist gets diabetes, he may look for a lifestyle makeover, and if he’s Indian, the result could be vegetarian and vegan street food in which baked replaces fried, sugar is outlawed in favor of dates (high-fiber), and nutrition is the goal of each dish. Skeptics will be amazed. A vegan mango-avocado-soy shake is both sweet and rich. Chaats’ wraps and pizzas create cornucopias of flavors by using dozens of ingredients. Baked flatbread is made with 15 different grains. Scoff at a carrot and red pepper pizza sauce … till you’ve tried it. Hut-K Chaats won the most votes at a competition sponsored by Mark’s Carts — with a vegan dish.


Best Breakfast Pizza

Crispelli’s Bakery & Pizzeria

28939 Woodward, Berkley


We’re seeing fried eggs atop everything these days, and a pizza is as good a place for one as anywhere. At Crispelli’s, they’re baked, actually, super-fast in a 500-degree stone oven, over traditional breakfast ingredients like ham and cheese, or an Italian version: prosciutto and mozzarella. Even better, a reconstructed New York bagel breakfast with smoked salmon, tomato, cream cheese and red onion, all on a very thin crust. Scrambled eggs on top are possible too, and then the choices multiply. If breakfast pizza doesn’t work for you, there are calzones, quiches, waffles, French toast from house-made baguettes, frittatas and pain au chocolat. And prices are a little lower than at most fancy breakfast places.


Best Poutine

Brooklyn Street Local

1266 Michigan Ave., Detroit


Ah, poutine — that decadent mess of golden fries drenched with salty, hot gravy and finished off with cheese curds that add the final textural element to the crunchy and saucy confection. Poutine has been popping up in restaurants all over the metro area as of late, but you won’t find a better version than the one served at Brooklyn Street Local. Perhaps it’s because BSL’s owners hail from Canada, the birthplace of poutine; whatever the reason, they’ve nailed the formula. The only drawback: rather than quelling a post-bar, booze-fueled snack attack (which seems to be poutine’s raison d’être), you’ll have to indulge during daytime hours, as BSL is a breakfast-and-lunch-only joint. A late-night BSL food truck, or at least a poutine-only carryout window, would be a great public service.


Best Burger to Munch to Live Music

PJ’s Lager House

1254 Michigan Ave., Detroit


To be the best, the music would be a wide variety of original local acts, from punk and heavy metal to country, blues and rockabilly; and that burger would be the Black and Blue. It’s grilled with Cajun blackening spices on one side (paprika, oregano, etc.) and blue cheese on the other, so it’s spicy but mellow, with double umami from the dairy and the ground steak. Other burgers come with onions grilled to perfection or they aren’t burgers at all, but house-made falafel.


Best Nontraditional Pizza

Amar Pizza

11608 Conant St., Hamtramck


This little Bangladeshi-American pizzeria serves some of the most unusual — and flavorful — pies in town. Amar makes round, square and deep-dish pies, and it only gets more interesting from there. They can make pies with a spicy naga sauce, which General Manager Khursed Ahmad says is commonly found in Bangladesh and eastern India. Another Bangladeshi ingredient Amar uses to great effect is bhut jolokia, the ghost pepper, once recognized by Guinness World Records as the hottest pepper in the world. The ghost pepper pizza has a pleasant burn for those who like it, although Amar’s menu warns: “Extreme heat — eat at own risk.” Other innovations include a tandoori pizza, a Philly steak pizza, a gyro pizza and a dry fish pizza. It’s all Halal, which means there’s no pork — and even the pepperoni is made from beef.


Best Kosher Pizza

Jerusalem Pizza

26025 Greenfield Rd., Southfield


6600 West Maple Rd., West Bloomfield


JP is the granddaddy of kosher pie palaces in metro Detroit. Of course, keeping kosher need not be the driver for you to check the place out. If you are a veggie who wants the thrill of carni toppings without the guilt, you’ve hit paydirt. With pies like the cheeseburger, bar-b-cue pizza and Thai chicken, it’s as close as you dare get to the real thing. If you don’t see what you want on the menu, chart your own course among the myriad toppings. Owners Brian and Rivka Jacobs, along woth their motley crew, keep the lights on seven days a week (opening after the Sabbath on Saturdays). The Southfield location has a couple of tables but is otherwise a takeout joint. The West Bloomfield location, housed inside the Jewish Commuity Center where Matt Prentice’s Milk and Honey called home, has a much larger dining area, complete with a coffee bar. Jacobs, who can general be found behind the counter in Southfield, let’s his rotund frame testify to the quality of the food.


Best Vegetarian Sandwich in a Bar

The Bronx Bar

4476 Second Ave., Detroit


There’s joy in finding something exceptional where you’d least expect it, and that something is the Veggie Machine. Every dive bar menu worth its salt offers  burger and fries, which range from barely edible to serviceable, to Miller’s-level legendary. The Bronx Bar is no exception, and its burgers are more than sufficient for soaking up a few PBRs and shots of whiskey. But it’s the Veggie Machine sandwich that makes us actually go out of our way to eat there. The grilled focaccia bread is something magical; its crunchy, buttery goodness is the perfect vehicle for the always-fresh baby spinach, cucumbers and tomatoes. Swiss cheese and a special sauce seal the deal. Even die-hard carnivores of our acquaintance are known to sing the praises of this magnificent sandwich specimen.


Best Place to Eat a Fancy Low-Carb Meal

Texas de Brazil

1000 Woodward Ave., Detroit


If you’re on some version of a low-carb diet — paelo, Atkins, South Beach — it can be hard to go out for a fancy dinner without sabotaging your diet. As long as you avoid the mash potatoes and the not-so-good-anyway dinner rolls, feel free to eat pretty much anything else since most things on the menu are sword after sword of simply prepared, perfectly cooked cuts of meat. The salad bar is loaded with delicious low-carb options like Spanish cheeses, lunchmeats, grilled veggies, fish, and bacon. Mmmm … bacon.


Best Kid-Friendly Restaurant

Noodles & Company

Locations throughout the Detroit metro area;

Of course, there’s a cross-section of our readers who would love to try the many eclectic suggestions above, save for one problem: kids in tow. Dining with the family can be an exercise in patience and mediocrity, depending on finnicky palates and varying degrees of table manners. Enter Noodles, the kid-friendly, notch-above fast food restaurant that caters to the Underroos crowd. From ordering to eating, there’s usually not more than five to seven minutes in between. We haven’t met too many kids who don’t like some variation on the noodles theme, whether it’s the creamy mac ’n’ cheese or the guilty-pleasure buttered noodles. However, there are many healthier, more flavorful plates to be found. Our favorites include the slightly spicy Japanese pan noodles with tofu (you may choose from three different proteins to add to any dish) and the creamy, hearty tomato bisque. Food is brought to your table, and the servers do not accept tips. Good food, quick, efficient service, and a carefree attitiude toward child antics makes Noodles our best choice for family dining.




Best Vegetarian Pop-Up Restaurant


We’ve seen a variety of new pop-up restaurants appear over the last year, but several factors put Chartreuse out in front. For one, its run by a certified raw and vegan chef, Corinne Rice. The four-course dinners are vegan, raw, organic, gluten-free, seasonal and made with local produce as much as possible, supporting local farms. What’s more, the creative menus often take classic dishes and deconstruct them, putting the ingredients together in new ways. Plus, the events usually overtake interesting surroundings, such as urban farms or art spaces, often to the accompaniment of live music. Taken together, Chartreuse hits just about every note a pop-up can, and all for just $50 per diner.


Best Nonvegetarian Pop-Up Restaurant


Pop-ups are proliferating faster than fruit flies on a rotten summer tomato these days, but they’re not all created equal. Schnäck, the roving German restaurant brought to you by Porktown Sausage and friends, is the one we look forward to with the most eager anticipation, and try never to miss. The wursts and wieners are the most delectable in town, but that’s not the only draw. In addition to meat products that are stuffed and smoked by hand, expect something pickled on the menu — herring at one dinner, tongue at another. They even ferment their own sauerkraut and make their own mustard for the full German experience. Although the meat is to die for, vegetarians need not miss out; there’s always a creative veggie option, like a celery root “schnitzel” crusted in Better Made potato chips. Best of all, the food is expertly matched with German beer and wine selections.

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