Life of the Party


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Starting around Thanksgiving and into the new year, it’s traditionally a time for friends and family to get together. 

In that spirit, we decided to throw a dinner party. 

But we didn’t want to leave anything to chance — or make it memorable for the wrong reasons (like the time a bat flew through the dining room during a housewarming party I was hosting). So we developed a carefully curated guest list: interesting individuals who are experts at their own craft. 

We had invitations made by event planners; owners of an upcoming restaurant supplied food; a popular chocolatier brought dessert; a floral designer helped with décor — you get the idea. See what we came up with and read some of their tips for your party.

Speaking of partying, we first ran into Mickey Lyons on a “Scofflaws and Speakeasies” Detroit Bus Company tour featured in our July 2014 issue. When I learned she was researching a book about Prohibition-era speakeasies and also pouring drinks at iconic bars from the era, I wanted to hear more — over a beer, of course. 

We met at The Painted Lady in Hamtramck. I hadn’t been there since it was a “punk band” hangout called Lili’s 21. Some things don’t change. Inside, it looks a lot like Lili’s. And the patrons are still some of the nicest people on earth. 

After mulling it over — and over a few Stroh’s and a shot of Jezynowka (Polish blackberry brandy) for old time’s sake — we decided to follow Lyons on some of her exploits.

Christopher Cook’s review of Craft Work brought back memories, too. My wife and I were excited when Hubert Yaro decided to reopen in the gem of a West Village space. For a long time, it was The Harlequin Café — our go-to for special events. 

Here’s a bit more food nostalgia: Some of the vintage menus contributor George Bulanda unearthed at an estate sale tugged a few heartstrings. I especially enjoyed recalling the German fare (and prices) of a long-gone favorite, The Little Café, on Gratiot Avenue near Houston-Whittier Street. 

As for the rest of the issue, as the owner of a 1920s home in North Rosedale Park, I know what it’s like to deal with a bit of remodeling. But it pales in comparison to the job “serial remodeler” Zerrin Karaca has done on an 1850-era farmhouse. She graciously let us roam around, showing us everything from a cool “man cave” to a backyard stone smokehouse with potential. I’m almost inspired to start remodeling again.

Looking at some of our other features, let’s just say I’m not inspired to start a wrestling career. But freelance writer Scott Atkinson discovered some fascinating tales from “Truth Martini” and his students

Rounding out this issue, we listen in on the making of an “ode to Detroit” symphony that makes its debut this month. And we also try on a few cocktail rings — including some that wouldn’t look out of place in a Prohibition-era bar.

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