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Confession time: I love true crime. I would say that 80% of the time I am working I have Discovery ID on in the background. The other 20% is 15% murdery movies & documentaries and 5% <something funny> because after awhile a laugh is needed. I just can’t get enough of it and I’ve loved mystery & suspense since I was a little, little girl. And one of my guilty pleasures is the podcast My Favorite Murder with hosts Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark. The Atlantic sums it up better than I can:
My Favorite Murder is, on the surface, a podcast for true-crime fans. The hosts, comedy writer Kilgariff and Cooking Channel personality Georgia Hardstark, take turns retelling and editorializing about history’s most gruesome killings—and the occasional near-killing— while the other reacts with shock, outrage, and witty deadpan commentary. They also talk openly about their own struggles with anxiety, depression, alcoholism, and drug use.
What’s not to love, right? If you are a sarcastic true crime fan who tends to be on the wrong side of anxiety you will probably feel like you’re listening to girlfriends chat about cases you’ve never heard of.
What’s my point? Well, my husband called me a couple months ago and said “if I can get tickets to My Favorite Murder in Detroit would you want to go?” Umm, YES. It turns out the live show tour was coming to Detroit in February and when my husband suggested this would be a great gift for my daughter’s 25th birthday I didn’t disagree! And that is how our “very quick trip to Detroit” was born.
20ish Hours in Detroit
Our trip started in suburban Chicago, about 4 hours from Detroit, on a Friday afternoon. While I did tell my daughter to take the day off from work so this could be a surprise, she of course figured it out almost immediately so there went the surprise!
At 11am, we hit the road very excited to start our weekend road trip and get to Detroit to see the live MFM show!
Lunch: NONLA, Mattawan, MI
The first stop on our Detroit road trip was for lunch at NONLA in little Mattawan, MI. You wouldn’t expect Vietnamese street food in a town of less than 2000 people in the middle of Michigan, but that is exactly what NONLA is.
For two foodies on the road, this was an incredible find! You would think one of us would have snapped a picture of the amazing lunch we had, but I guess we were too “how in the world did these people decide to open a Vietnamese restaurant here” to think about photos. If you find yourself anywhere near Mattawan, MI you owe it to yourself to stop here for food. It is essentially right off the expressway and 42,000 times better than any fast food options you’ll have in the area. You can see a million photos of there amazing food here. You’ll just have to take my word for it that the shrimp bao tacos and eggplant banh mi are phenomenal!
Ho Hum Hotel
So, ugh. I made a critical error when choosing our hotel.
Recently, my husband & I went to Vegas. (You can read about our Two Days in Vegas here.) It was our first time to Vegas and therefore our first stay at a casino hotel, and it was fantastic. I’d been avoiding Vegas for years because I had it in my mind that it would be like Wisconsin Dells, which there’s nothing wrong with the Dells, it’s just that it’s crowded and loud and while the kids had a blast when they were little, it’s a bit underwhelming for adults.
So what was my error? Well, my husband & I had a blast in Vegas. So much so that while looking for a hotel in Detroit I thought, “oooh! A casino hotel! That would be fun…I bet Alex has never really gambled before…and it’s a casino, so it should be nice…10,000 four star reviews on Google can’t be wrong…it’s close to the venue…yeah…this will be fun!”
Yeah, Detroit casino hotel is not better than or equal to a five star resort hotel in Vegas. Not even close. The property itself was nice enough as we parked, the lobby was nice, the staff was great, check in was easy…all of that was “so far, so good.” But the room was ick- could have been cleaner, could have had better mattresses and linens…could have been just a *tad* better and it wouldn’t have been borderline awful. While I am admittedly a hotel snob I have stayed at my fair share of “softball tournament in the middle of nowhere” hotels before that were lackluster at best, but they were $89 a night lackluster, not $225 a night “should be totally fine” lackluster.
Just to get the hotel part of this story over with, we ended the night by stopping at the casino before going to our room. And this, my friends, is where what I thought Vegas would be like happened. It was jam packed with a gazillion people trying to navigate through areas overly crowded with machines & table games in a cloud of cigarette smoke. It was *exactly* what I’d feared Vegas would be for the 15+ years I’d been avoiding it, and exactly what Vegas was not once I actually got there.
I’m not going to lie- I gave Alex $100, had $100 for myself and if you know anything about novice gamblers it is that they can burn through $100 in less than 30 minutes. About 15 minutes in we both had $60 left, looked at each other & she said, “I’m done…I’d rather spend this money at the farmer’s market tomorrow” and went to our room, lol! <fail>
Dinner: Maru Sushi
When we started our adventure we didn’t plan on having an “All Asian All the Time” dining experience, but really, you can’t go wrong with Asian food. From eastern Asian food like Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Japanese and Mongolian to western Asian food like Indian, Pakistani and Afghan…it’s just all good. Different country to country, but sooo good.
My daughter is a lifelong vegetarian, so we almost always find ourselves eating Asian or Italian when we go out to dinner. Once I saw the menu for Maru I knew she would be up for it. The atmosphere was lively, the staff was amazing, and the food & cocktails were unbelievable.
The Super Mario roll: marinated shiitake mushroom, radish sprouts, avocado, cucumber, asparagus, red pepper, tempura crunch, served with mushroom, pickled radish and a chef’s salad.
The Crouching Tiger roll: panko fried shrimp, cream cheese, crab salad, topped with shrimp, avocado, fantasy sauce, eel sauce, honey wasabi aioli, masago and scallion.
Jugaku Juice: Tito’s, blackberry & citrus
Oh. My. Goodness. Everything was SO GOOD! Maru Sushi is definitely on our short list of restaurants if we ever make it back to Detroit!
MFM Live Show: The Fox Theater
The reason for our trip: Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark’s live performance of My Favorite Murder! <yay!!!> We were absolutely GIDDY.
The Fox Theater is in downtown Detroit and is so beautiful it has to be the crown jewel of Detroit. The ornateness of every little detail inside rivals the nicest theaters in Chicago and I was truly impressed by the beauty of the art deco style.
That is the ceiling in the lobby. I told you it is ornate! Absolutely stunning. I always like to see who performed at these theaters in the past & it’s always something to think, as I did at the Fox Theater, “wow- Sammy Davis Junior AND Frank Sinatra were both here at one point!” How incredible!
The Fox Theater seems to always have performances scheduled – you can check the calendar here. Overall, Detroit was great and if a performer on your “bucket list” is touring in Detroit it’s worth the trip- especially if it’s at the Fox Theater!
Day 2: Eastern Market
Our last place to see on our quick trip to Detroit was the Eastern Market. I’d been there years ago as a side trip after a softball tournament in Novi, MI with my youngest daughter. Since my oldest daughter & I LOVE farmer’s markets I knew she would find this particular market outstanding, and I was right!
The Eastern Market is a non-profit public market that is open year round on Saturdays and is <almost> entirely indoors, so no matter what the weather is doing the market is always hopping. From June through September it is open on Sundays and Tuesdays, and also the third Thursday evening of every month, too. There are 5 “sheds,” which are really like enormous outbuildings, numbered Shed 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6. Where is shed 1? I have no idea, but if it exists it’s not on the map. There is produce, food, flowers, awesome Jar Head Salsa, textiles…just hundreds of vendors! You could spend hours there, but if you’re short on time it’s still worth a stop.
Exterior of Shed 2 at the Detroit Eastern Market- all of the “sheds” are huge, as you can see!
Interior of a shed at the Eastern Market in Detroit- tons of produce!
My daughter loves mushrooms so much we were stalking the Give & Grow Mushrooms booth until he was stocked & opened for business! They had an amazing variety to choose from and she went to town.
Those are heirloom mushrooms. In February. In eastern Michigan. YAY!
I wish we’d had more time to spend at the market and hope to make it back in the summer sometime when all of the sheds are open.
Detroit was great! I thought there were plenty of culinary choices, the area the theater was in was walkable & my daughter and I felt completely safe. There are tons of things to do that we didn’t have time for this trip, but would make going back worthwhile. (Particularly the conservatory and art museum that Oh My Omaha shows us in her Detroit Bucket List post.) I would definitely go back just to have more time at the Eastern Market in the summer. It’s a close enough drive from Chicago, Toronto, Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus and even Indianapolis to make it worthy of a weekend trip- especially if you’re interested in attending a concert, sporting event or show. It’s not nearly as “depressed” as you would think and there seems to be a lot to explore!
Would I go back?
You may also enjoy these related travel posts:
Toronto Time: A Weekend in the City
5 Amazing Waterfalls You Won’t Believe are in Michigan
Nashville: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of the Eclipse of 2017
A Quick Trip to Indy: What To Do With 24 Hours in Indianapolis
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