lost, for a little while


mini road trip: michigan
December 3, 2010, 11:23 pm
Filed under: memories, rant, travel
Slows BBQ

Slows Bar B Q

I’m finding it harder than usual to recap this trip, mostly because my other trips have revolved around events — doing stuff, going places, meeting people. Going home, though, is more about sinking into the comfortable familiarity of the past. It’s all about how enjoyable it can be to do nothing. But even though I did spend some quality time on the couch (I’d forgotten what it’s like to have cable and hundreds of unnecessary channels) and snuggling with my dog, I did get around to doing a couple noteworthy things.

First thing I need to share was this terrifying discovery I made as I whizzed up I-75: the sign welcoming drivers to Michigan has changed. No longer does it boast Great Lakes and Great Times, but instead the more serene, though successful, Pure Michigan. I’m none too pleased with this, folks. Yelling “Pure Michigan!” at the top of your lungs just doesn’t bring about the same joy as the former motto did. A moment of silence, please.

In one of my previous posts, I noted the Franklin Cider Mill as one of the best parts of Michigan, and I’m glad to report that’s still the case. It was blisteringly cold the day Katie and I stopped at the mill, and the hot apple cider and freshly-made donuts were the perfect remedy (I think I gave my order to Barry, himself). Well, that, and sitting in Katie’s warm car. If you have the means, I highly recommend it. (Name that movie.)

Katie insisted I experience Slows Bar-B-Q, so Saturday, we drove into Detroit and had lunch with two other bums we know from high school. Before that lunch, I had only heard of Slows from the surprisingly excellent doc “Detroit Lives,” produced by Palladium Boots and hosted by — of all people — Johnny Knoxville. I got The Reason sandwich and, after tasting all of the half dozen sauces, doused it with some of the Apple. Falling-apart tender and not overwhelmed by sauces or spices, the pulled pork was simple and, in a word, awesome. The cole slaw on top was a nice, crunchy contrast, but I sidelined the pickles — I’m not a pickle person. The sandwich alone left me stuffed until past dinnertime, but I did snag a bite of Katie’s mac ‘n cheese side, and it made me wish I was hungrier. If you go, be prepared to wait (we did 45 minutes), but know that it’s worth it. Grab a beer from the bar and use the time to catch up with old friends.

Aside from serving delicious food (seriously, I haven’t enjoyed barbecue that much since Dinosaur BBQ in Syracuse), Slows serves up a casual, hip atmosphere that’s, frankly, a bit jarring when compared with the surrounding abandoned buildings. The massive wooden front door is nestled into the front of a well-maintained red building on Michigan Avenue, and the inside is comfortable but not overrun by tchotchkes and memorabilia, like so many other bars. For more info, I recommend checking out the piece the New York Times did back in October that goes into further detail about how the restaurant is doing more for the city than just making good food.

My Christmas vacation is but two weeks away, and I intend on tasting some saganaki the next time I’m home (it’s so hard to get a good flaming cheese in Pennsylvania). Expect more Michigan awesomeness in the near future, as I barely skimmed the surface the last time.

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