retail therapy, detroit edition

May 11, 2014

as i’m now officially living in the burbs de detroit,
(think 50s ranch, not 90s ticky tacky subdivision)
i’ve made it a hobby to explore the city a little bit everyday,
seeking out the pockets of fabulosity amongst the more visible deterioration.

[as a side note,
i no longer have any fucks to give
when it comes people’s obsession with discussing detroit’s decay.
it’s almost always people who don’t live anywhere near the city,
and i’m really sick of hearing from you.
your overblown,
uninformed opinion
formed on your 24 hour layover
or decade-expired michigan citizenship
has become overly tiresome.
speak to me only of detroit’s slow revival,
of the cool new restaurant or shop you found.
tell me where to go, not where to avoid.]

part of my interest lies not only in my physical proximity to the city, but an emotional one. i am the first of five generations in my family
to not live in the city since immigrating to the united states.
several branches of my family came here from europe
settling generally on the east side and in corktown.
my ancestral ‘estate’ still stands not far from belle isle,
though it’s apparently owned by some shell corporation
of a sleazy slumlord and,
since its abandonment
roughly two years ago,
has been thoroughly looted/gutted.
a neighbor has seemingly illegally appropriated the lot adjacent,
originally my great great grandmother’s garden,
to use for off-street parking.

but i digress.

today’s excursion took me to two places i’ve been dying to check out: shinola and two james spirits.


i’ve been lusting after a shinola watch ever since they relaunched the brand. i cannot afford a watch currently (or for the foreseeable future) but they’ve expanded to other merchandise (the bikes! i want a bike!)
so i wanted to see what i could see.

i’ve been interested in two james because i like the idea of supporting a michigan/detroit company via drinking. every fucking one is into michigan beers, but i generally hate beer and find most of the michigan beers to be extra assay (as in butt flavored). ironically, i hang out right down the street from two james at astro all the time,
but never knew they were there.
boys. gotta work on your signage.

anyway here’s my report:
DPP_2043though i initially set out for shinola, my trip got off to a false start, as i was distracted by two wee stores kitty corner from shinola: city bird and nest
from which i bought these cards
and this air plant,

when i finally crossed the street,
i found there was little in the shinola showroom i didn’t want
DPP_2049but i settled on this wallet.
my old louis vuitton has served me well for 10 years,
and has begun to show signs of wear. it’s time for a pinch hitter.
shinola’s leather goods are made by horween in ste. genevieve, mo.
let’s see how american manufacturing holds up against french, shall we?
(i’ll get back to you in 2024)

i ended up in the two james tasting room. it was a little muggy in there,
and the number of douche-baggy mid-level business people
made it so i could really only tolerate one cocktail.
however, that cocktail convinced me
to take home these six bottles.
DPP_2045(r to l: old cockney gin, 28 island vodka, grass widow bourbon x2, corktown rye dog, & detroit fig leaf old timey drinking vinegar made exclusively for two james by mcclary bros.)

if you do nothing else,
find a way to try the grass widow bourbon;
it’s for real.

the haul:
DPP_2042not too shabby for an afternoon out.
it makes me wonder if,
since i’m not really knitting these days,
i should start a blog about my detroit adventures.

we shall see.

p.s. the tulips were my gift with purchase from shinola.
nice touch, shinola.

9 Responses to “retail therapy, detroit edition”

  1. Sally at Rivendale Farms Says:

    Native Michigander here, keep the Detroit stories coming! After getting off the late shift we used to take cheap beers to Belle Isle and watch the sun come up.

  2. Anonymous, too Says:

    Wow! Although I usually prefer Scotch, I wouldn’t mind giving that bourbon a try. After all, my dad used to spend many of his childhood summers near the Maker’s Mark distillery!

    Hope the new place works out well for you. Also hope it’s got a nice-sized, fenced yard for Mo to run, play, and relieve himself in! (As well as some windows that get full sun at least part of the day, so he can nap in sunbeams!)

  3. Nicole Says:

    Detroit is quite lovely. This past Friday, I spent a portion of the afternoon wandering around, somewhat lost, looking for the bus that would bring me to the Amtrak station. I’ll be back there this Thursday, going in the opposite direction, to return to my home across the river.
    I do want to check out Two James, despite being primarily a beer drinker.

  4. Gina Says:

    Keep the Detroit stories coming. I will be in Auburn Hills in September. If there is free time, hopefully I can visit some of the places you blog about.

  5. Sheila Says:

    Any decent yarn stores there?

  6. Susie Says:

    Love that wallet! I may get two of them for my sons.

  7. anne byrne Says:

    I went to Wayne State but the only local drink was Vernor’s ginger ale. I drank at a bar called Vern’s right next to the plant. enjoy the city, I did.

    miss you

  8. Linda Says:

    Yes, Detroit. You write it, I will read it.

  9. Oooo, I love the wallet!!! And I really need to get out of Pa.

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