It’s no secret I love showing off the city. My favorite way to start the introduction is by taking people to Eastern Market, it’s impossible to do anything but love it and it’s the quickest way to defeat stereotypes. Since Melissa knows my tour loving ways, she asked me to take her for a market day. As always, I was excited for the trip and decided to share my typical tour via blog.
Fortunately, Eastern Market has plenty of free parking options available to visitors – it’s one of the main reasons it’s tops my favorite lists. However, with thousands of visitors, parking can sometimes be a challenge to come by [Note: This is ESPECIALLY true for Flower Day. It’s a sight to behold but probably not the best rookie visit – unless you love crowds]. The lot at Riopelle and Wilkins has been under construction for two years it seems but it is still the best place to park. There’s always a spot and it’s easy to get in and out.
Since it’s back lot I always travel the market in reverse – which is just as well because I usually pick up perishables at DeVries. Shed 6 is the gardening section. In the spring and summer you can find just about anything, later in the season there is less but still a nice variety.
Shed 5 was recently renovated and includes a test kitchen for demonstrations. We didn’t stick around for this presentation on healthy eating but as you can tell there wasn’t a seat to be had.
We also didn’t stick around because the number 1 stop on my market day ventures is almost always the Beignets truck. This is especially true when I’m taking someone for the first time. These deep fried dough balls melt in your mouth and are one of my absolute favorite treats. On occasion I order them with the raspberry drizzle but they are so delicious plain with powder sugar I almost always order the traditional.
Once I’ve loaded up on sugar, I can focus on matters at hand and look for produce. I’ll be honest and say I am no shopping expert. I never come prepared and generally just pick up things at random. My one criteria is that it is local – ideally from Michigan but there are some Ohio and Canada vendors too. Although all the tables are set up in the same way, some people sell the same food you can buy at Kroger. It’s always important to look up and read the signs – if they are a local farmer they will have a sign that says so.
Prices at the market are hard to beat but don’t forget to bring cash. Some booths take credit but I don’t know that I’ve been to a produce stand that does.
You simply can’t ignore a Shinola clock. It’s the ‘Where’s Waldo’ of Detroit these days.
My other market must is Chloe’s booth. I rave about her lava cakes so often people always want to try them and I often give them as gifts too. I haven’t had any salted caramel minis lately and am glad our anniversary isn’t too far off…
I’m all for tried and true but new is also good. Melissa picked up some shortbread for her parents and I’m glad she did. These cookies were great and at $1.50 it was an unbeatable price. I will definitely start frequenting this booth more often.
After I check out the sheds, I hit the shops. DeVries’, Rocky’s and the Merchantile Company – among others – are typical stomping grounds but this time I only needed to visit the meat market. Gratiot has all the meat you need at unbeatable prices. I almost always go there when we are hosting a large group of people because it is a cost savings. Even if I hadn’t needed chicken (for that delicious recipe shared last week), I still would have taken Melissa over the pedestrian bridge that crosses 75. The freeways have left their mark on Detroit’s downtown area and not in a good way. Historic neighborhoods have been destroyed and isolated pockets left in their wake. Eastern Market is doing a great job bridging the gap and bringing Gratiot Avenue into the fold. Due to the heat, my health and perishable food items, we couldn’t do more than walk along Gratiot to get back to Russell Street; however, if you aren’t at the Market I highly recommend popping into the art gallery or other shops along the avenue.
There you have it, a fabulous Saturday morning in Detroit. At least a few highlights – believe me there are is far more than I mentioned and even more exciting projects in the works.