Here are my recommendations for where and how you should celebrate your Sweetie in the city we all love based on your love (or your best guy or gal’s love) for our local sports’ teams!
Alright, I know this may not be the most romantic approach to Valentine’s Day, but, hey, I’m not exactly the most romantic person.
And Detroit is a sports town. We’re one of the few cities with teams in all four major league sports—three of them right here, within blocks of each other (and the Downtown Detroit loft I call home!), and one with plans for a possible move Downtown!
Not only that—just like in any sport—going for and getting the win on Valentine’s Day is a team effort! So choosing your Valentine’s Day game plan based on your or your Sweetie’s favorite team makes perfect sense!
Okay. You’ve already got your starting lineup: you and your Valentine. Here’s our picks for you to pitch a perfect game on Valentine’s Day!
If the Detroit Red Wings are your team, then go ‘top-shelf’ and score by taking your Valentine to Standby, where the roster of cocktails outnumber the food menu! Not that the dishes you will be sharing with your Sweetie lack depth. The choices range from Duck Fat Fried Almonds (which you will go nutty for as your first-string) with Candied Black Manhattan Cherries, to Beef Tartare (go ahead out on a limb, or wing, and pronounce it Tatar) with Parmesan, Black Garlic, Egg, Crostini & Butter Lettuce, to Sturgeon (and who doesn’t appreciate our Russian talent on the ice) served with Chicken Skin, Spinach, Pickled Mushrooms, Confit Gizzard, and Tea-Smoked Crème to their Wisconsin Apple Churros with Caramelized Apple, Vanilla Gelato, and Cheddar (so—Cheddar—you can light the lamp with another top-shelf move!).
But you Won’t Stop Believing the thought and attention to detail that goes into the beverage menu and selections available! They’ve separated their Drink Menu into lines: Whiskey, Agave, Rum, Gin, Brandy, Low ABV, Hot Drinks, Bubbles, White, Red, and Beer! Standby themselves might put it best—and quite appropriately for Valentine’s Day!—when they say “rest assured you can feel safe in the arms of all of the old classics you’ve come to love. Our equally dynamic menu will feature locally sourced fare that will complement our bar program. Come for the drinks. Stay for the food.” So, because you want to be strong on the power play and go for the win, get to Standby this weekend…and if you want to score a hat trick, be sure to hit the rink at Campus Martius’ Winter Blast before or afterwards!
If the Detroit Tigers are your team, then we’re serving you up these recommendations for a triple play (my Mom and Dad read this blog, or at least claim to, so I am not going to say anything about going for a Home Run!) when you take your Sweetie ‘out’ for this weekend! Alright, so I am very aware I just switched from defense to offense, but set the table at Vicente’s Cuban Cuisine and steal your Valentine’s Heart by starting off with small plates, of course!
The Tigers celebrate Hispanic Heritage every year at Comerica with their ¡Fiesta Tigres! and you can honor the importance and influence of Cuban, Hispanic, and Latino players with Vicente’s line-up of delish tapas like Tortilla Espanola, a Traditional Spanish Potato and Onion Omelette; Empanadas, their Cuban-Style Turnover, filled with Ground Beef or Ground Chicken and served with Spicy Tomato and Cilantro Dipping Sauce; and Tamal Cubano, Homemade Traditional Savory Cuban Corn Tamales, with bits of Pork Meat, topped with Onions and Garlic Mojo. And who doesn’t love some good mojo—especially when paired with an incredible mojito, a traditional Cuban highball—in their starting lineup? Alright, so baseball is all about spending a leisurely day at the ballpark, so get your fill and your full nine innings by ordering up one of their incredible Paellas. The perfect Paella takes time to prepare (Vicente’s requests you allow 45 minutes) and are also traditionally a meal meant to be shared (and Vicente’s serves theirs in quantities of two or more). You can call the pitch with choices like Cuban Style Paella—Lobster, Shrimp, Calamari, Scallops, Spanish Sausage, Chicken, Clams, Mussels, Vegetables and Spanish Saffron Rice or Paella del Huerto, a Vegetarian Paella made with Assorted Seasonal Vegetables and Spanish Saffron Rice.
And you can get in your Seventh-Inning Stretch with some Salsa Dancing (lessons-provided, talent-not-required!) at Vicente’s before rounding Third Base with a late-night stop at Lafayette Coney Island and American Coney Island where you can end your perfect game with a Double-Header that is a Win-Win!
Alright. So, I’m an alumnus and fan of The House that Bo Built…which means I’m sending you to Townhouse if you and your Valentine are Detroit Lions fans! (Don’t despair: I will also work in some Greens, because I love Sparty when I’m not Hailing the Victors Valiant!)
Why Townhouse? First, they emphasize ‘local’ in their sourcing—just like Detroit Lion’s who fans tailgate locally at Eastern Markets or at the FREE tailgate party, Pride Plaza, that happens pre-game on Brush Street right outside Ford Field! (Okay, we also need to acknowledge that you can’t get much more local than spending any given Sunday camped out on your own couch watching game after game—especially when you can see Ford Field from your loft’s windows!) But you can make sure your Sweetie isn’t [Honolulu] Blue this weekend by kicking off your Valentine’s Day celebrations at Townhouse. Get a first down with their Power Salad No.2, with Mixed Greens (I told you I would work in some greens for all you Spartans!), with Roasted Pepitas, Aged Gouda, Green Apple, Farro , and Avocado Emulsion.
And since a flag would be thrown on any play (or tailgate) that wasn’t complete with Wings, you should also order the Crispy Duck “Wings,” with Gochujang Buffalo Sauce, Toasted Sesame, and Kimchi. And since football is all about the ‘pairings’ (think QBs and WRs), you should flank that with the Mac & Cheese, with Boursin, Mascarpone, White Cheddar, Orecchiette Pasta, and Crunchy Parmigiano Reggiano Crumble or the Pork & Beans with Pork Cheeks, Smoked Kidney Beans, Creamed Beet Greens, and Chow Chow!
So, while it’s not exactly pigskin (but neither are footballs), Townhouse’s Red Bison Leather Beverage Menu will keep you and your Sweetie in the game with craft cocktails like their Eastern Market, with Beefeater Gin, Crème de Cassis, Yellow Chartreuse, Lemon Juice, and Celery Bitters. Or go for a two-point conversion and get their “Eight-Pointer,” with Old Grand Dad 114 Bourbon, Lemon Juice, Ginger Beer, Orange Bitters, and Peach Slices.
I could also give suggestions for the Detroit Pistons (fuel up with Five Guys before hitting the dance floor at Exodos Rooftop!), Detroit City FC (Texas de Brazil seems an excellent way to celebrate your love with a nod to the most recent host of the World Cup!), since, really, when it comes down to it they’re all our favorites…because when you live in Downtown Detroit, we are all part of the same team, and root for one another!
And the truth is, no matter what you do or where you go when you take your Sweetie out this weekend, if you spend Valentine’s Day in Detroit, you’re going to get the WIN!