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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

TAQUERIA MI PUEBLO

For a satisfying taco, look no further than Mi Pueblo Taqueria in Southwest Detroit. While Mi Pubelo Taqueria is in Southwest Detroit, it isn't in "Mexican Village", which should be part of the allure if you usually don't venture past West Grand Boulevard on Bagley or Vernor.

Although Mi Pueblo might seem off of your usual path, the restaurant is anything but a hole in the wall. Instead, it's a large stand alone structure that looks more like a chain restaurant than a Mexican restaurant started by a brother and sister in a neighborhood home and bordered by a rail yard. Don't be fooled though, while additions have been made to the original structure over the years, the restaurant is still mighty tasty and in my completely non-Mexican Jewish American opinion, as authentic as any other Mexican restaurant around.

Meanwhile, the place is packed at peak times and while it seats up to 150, a line forms in the waiting area, especially during Sunday brunch. The restaurant opens with the waiting area to the right and a counter to the left where patrons can purchase Mi Pueblo t-shirts and other paraphernalia. One of the dining rooms is through the door to the left, while a gazebo style bar and another dining room are straight ahead. The clientele at lunch time consists of business men and women from downtown on their lunch breaks, while Spanish speaking locals consistently frequent the restaurant no matter the time of day.

Before the meal you are greeted with two different kinds of salsa, which are both great. I've heard that they taste like some bizarre spicy variation of spaghetti sauce, but if that's the case, I don't taste it. Even if they do, I'm not conceding the fact that the salsas are top notch.

Mi Pueblo Taqueria has any Mexican dish you can think of. Items include burritos, gringas, quesadiallas, torta, tosdadas, meats "a la parilla" aka on the grill, seafood, traditional Mexican soup, chiles rellenas, milanesa, tamales and Mexican breakfast including huevos (eggs) and chorizo, potatoes and ranchera sauce. Everything is cheap, except for the drinks. Even ordering Coca Cola can add up in price, as soda comes in individual cans ie no refills.

Although all of the food is very good, the main reason for choosing to eat at Mi Pueblo Taqueria over Mexican Village staples such as Los Galanes or Xochimilco are the tacos. Mi Pueblo calls itself a taqueria and it lives up to its name. Not every Mexican place on the Southwest side has cheap, good tacos, but there is no doubt that Mi Pueblo does. A place in Chicago called La Pasadita makes the best tacos that I've ever had. Although the tacos at Mi Pueblo can't live up to the legend that is Pasadita, the tacos at Mi Pueblo definitely hit the spot and are well worth the trip.

Taco choices include ham (jamon), beef steak (suadero), Mexican sausage (chorizo), chicken (pollo), deep fried pork (carnitas), shredded pork loin (lomo deshebrado), beef tongue (lengua), marinated pork (al pastor), pig stomach (buche), beef head (cabeza), spicy chicken breast (tinga de pollo), marinated chicken breast (pastor de pollo), and marinated beef (birria).

Not only are the taco filling choices inclusive, but you can get a three corn taco dinner which includes rice and beans for only $5.20, or $6.05 with cheese. You can get flour tacos for a more expensive price, but in general I would never recommend flour over corn, nor would I recommend getting anything else on the tacos besides onions and cilantro.

The meats are moist and tasty, although I'm not necessarily sure that I can tell the difference between the spicy chicken and the marinated. The chorizo is top notch, as is the al pastor. Interestingly enough though, Mi Pueblo Taqueria does not have carne asada as a choice for taco filling. Instead, they have marinated beef (Birria) and beef steak (Suadero), in addition to beef head (cabeza), which at this point, I'm not willing to try.

Mi Pueblo Taqueria is a very good restaurant, and it is worth leaving the confines of "Mexican Village" to indulge in a few tasty tacos. With gas prices so high, it's hard to recommend going out of your way to visit any restaurant, especially if you have a long trip. Yet, with very few Mexicans in the metro area in general, and a dearth of good Mexican restaurants, I'm going to go ahead and tell you to go anyway. The food is good, the tacos are satisfying, the clientele is real, and everything is cheap. It's hard to argue with a combination like that.

Taqueria Mi Pueblo
7278 Dix Rd, Detroit, MI 48209
E-mail contact@mipueblorestaurant.com
Phone: (313) 841-3315
Taqueria Mi Pueblo

MI Pueblo Taqueria

Dining Room

Chillen

Tasty Tacos
Including
One chorizo, one marinated chicken, one spicy chicken

Bar Area and Second Dining Room

For the complete Flickr set click here Taqueria Mi Pueblo Flickr Set
Detroit Army

Friday, May 16, 2008

GM PRESENTS-ROCKIN' ON THE RIVERFRONT

An event like GM's "Rockin' on the Riverfront" is a prime way to exemplify how great the Detroit riverfront can be and the range of possibilities for its use. Rockin' on the Riverfront is a concert series sponsored by General Motors and in partnership with 94.7 WCSX-FM, which will be held for 8 Fridays in a row from June 27th through August 22. The concept is to show off GM's line up of vehicles while providing concertgoers with entertainment including food, refreshments, great scenery, and classic rock.

The lineup, being classic rock themed, begins with headliner Pat Benatar on June 27th. The rest of the line-up is listed as follows,

* Mark Farner and Mitch Ryder – July 11
* Starship, starring Mickey Thomas – July 18
* Rick Derringer and Classic Rock All Stars– July 25
* The Guess Who – August 1
* Kansas – August 8
* Blue Oyster Cult – August 15
* Foreigner – August 22

In my view, the "quality" of the line up for Rockin' on the Riverfront shouldn't really be much of a concern. More importantly, it's great to see a company like GM taking advantage of our newly constructed riverfront area. I actually think the acts are somewhat secondary to the potential this event has to bring people from all over Metro Detroit down to the riverfront.

The Renaissance Center's website states:

"Refreshments and a variety of food concessions will be available at several locations on the plaza. Outside food, beverages or coolers will not be permitted. Additionally, pre-concert dinner options are available at the GM Renaissance Center’s delectable full service restaurants – Coach Insignia, Andiamo Riverfront, Seldom Blues, River Café, Sweet Lorraine’s and Asian Village. Special promotions will be announced soon.

Convenient parking is available for $5 per vehicle at the GM surface lot at the intersection of St. Antoine and Atwater, adjacent to the GM Renaissance Center
RenCen News

The only downside regarding Rockin' on the Riverfront is that "Outside food, beverages or coolers will not be permitted." I'd say that most people like to bring a cooler to an outdoor concert. The main reason is usually to bring alcohol, and while some people can get out of control, its unfortunate that patrons won't be able to spread out and share a couple beers of or a few glasses of wine among friends while enjoying everything this event has to offer.

Nevertheless, when free entertainment is held outdoors, on the water, and in a city, whether it be Detroit or somewhere else, the end result is usually good times.

For more information, call (313) 568-5600 or visit gmrencen.com
Detroit Army

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

MOVEMENT-DETROIT'S ELECTRONIC MUSIC FESTIVAL '08

Movement, Detroit's Electronic Music Festival, or DEMF, is back in 2008 for another go around. Taking place from May 24-26 in Detroit's Hart Plaza, I've been told that DEMF 2008 has scheduled one of the most exciting line ups the event has ever seen.

Before we get into this year's event, a small history lesson is in order. When over 1.5 million people showed up at the festival each year, from its beginning in 2000 through 2002, it looked as if DEMF has an incredible future as an annual event in downtown Detroit. Subsequently though, as controversy regarding the festival ensued, and the event's organization changed hands, the future of the festival was in doubt.

The Electronica music scene has been a part of Detroit's history for almost 30 years. Legend has it that Detroit Techno was started in the 1980's by the "Belleville Three," which included members Juan Atkins, Kevin Saunderson, and Derrick May. The three men were black males from the Detroit suburb, although I say that term loosely, of Belleville, Michigan. As fate would have it, all three men bonded over music as they found themselves outcasts in an extremely white town.

After visiting Chicago and hearing the sounds of house music, the three guys decided to take house music's dance style sound from Chicago, and add mechanical sounds by using analog synthesizers and drum machines to form what is now known as Techno. By 1988-89, the European rave scene embraced the sound coming from Detroit and Techno became its own music genre.

While Techno, house music, and Electronica never took off as mainstream in the U.S., to this day, the music is extremely popular abroad, and especially in Europe. Each member of the "Belleville Three" still tours the globe and continues to create new music. European Electronica music has shown its appreciate for what Detroit has done for the genre by honoring it in many songs, including just recently the worldwide hit, "Put Your Hands Up for Detroit" by Ferde Le Grande.

In response to Detroit's great electronic history, the first Detroit Electronic Music Festival was created in 2000 by Carol Marvin, founder of Pop Culture Media, and former sponsorship organizer of the Detroit Jazz Festival and the Michigan State Fair. Carl Craig, influential Techno producer in the Detroit scene, was hired as "artistic director" for the event. The inaugural festival was deemed a huge success as it unexpectedly saw over 1 million people attend. Subsequent festivals in 2001 and 2002 drew even larger crowds, topping off at about 1.7 million.

But controversy soon ensued, as Carl Craig was fired for not fulfilling the terms of his contract. Subsequently, in 2003 and 2004 the event was placed in the hands of "Belleville Three" member Derrick May, who changed the event name to "Movement." Yet, the event's luster was just not there, and in February 2005, May resigned from his post after losing thousands of dollars.

From there, another "Belleville Three" member, Kevin Saunderson, took control of the event, and re-named it "Fuse-In." Unfortunately, like fellow friend Derrick May, Saunderson was not able to create a profit from the event, and by 2006, the event changed hands again, this time given to Ferndale based Paxahau, a electronic record label and booking agency. Paxahau again changed the name of the event to, "Movement, Detroit's Electronic Music Festival." While Paxahau claims that Saunderson, May, and Craig support the festival under Paxahau's management, only May has confirmed this, although I am told Carl Craig will perform at the 2008 event.

Since Paxahau took over organization of the event, all reports have been that DEMF is back on top and continually growing. The fact that the 2008 event is even taking place is a testament to that.

Organizers of the 2008 DEMF festival hope to continually upgrade the quality of the event in order to support its growth. An article on Remix Magazine's website states:

"The festival will feature four distinct stages - each with its own unique personality. The Vitaminwater Stage, the Beatport Stage, the Real Detroit Stage and the Red Bull Stage. This is the first year the Red Bull Music Academy is presenting a stage at any US festival."
(Remix Forums)

The article explains that, "The Red Bull Stage and the Beatport Stage represent two of the most significant improvements to this year’s festival. Both stages feature new structure designs to provide the audience with an optimal listening and dancing experience. The stages include new vinyl roofs and metal structures, ensuring a foundation strong enough to hold the sound and lighting systems. Plus, the stages provide more space, better sightlines and protection against inclement weather conditions. In addition to these new stages, the festival will feature drastically enhanced sound systems to provide attendees with outstanding sound quality."
(Remix Forums)

Like I always say, we don't pretend to be too hip at DetroitArmy, so I won't comment on the lineup, but as stated before, DEMF's 2008 lineup is apparently considered a doozy. With all this in mind, May 24-26 is a perfect time to come downtown, enjoy great weather, and have an incredible time at one of this country's best electronic music festivals. Expect to see technoheads, electronica junkies, ravers, urbanites, suburbanites, and people just trying to have a good time. Electronic music doesn't have to be your cup of tea to enjoy this event, and everyone should take advantage of this exciting festival right in our backyard.

With the expected large turnout and our support, the 2008 event should keep Detroit in the Electronica spotlight, while reminding outsiders of Detroit's status as one of the most influential cities that electronic music has ever seen.

Discounted pre-sale admission tickets to the festival are $40 for a weekend pass or $175 for VIP tickets. The festival’s hours are 12 Noon to Midnight.

For more information on Movement 08 - Detroit’s Electronic Music Festival or to order tickets, visit DEMF or Paxahau.com
Detroit Army

Thursday, May 1, 2008

BIKES FOR RENT, NEW CAFES HOPE TO DRAW MORE PEOPLE TO THE RIVERFRONT

After the initial success of the Detroit Riverwalk last summer, the Riverfront Conservatory is continuing to make upgrades in hopes of drawing even more people to the river.

This year's upgrades include two new cafes and a bike rental shop. The Riverwalk Cafe will open at Rivard Plaza at Rivard st. and the riverfront, and at a second location in Richard Gabriel Park just east of the MacArthur Bridge heading to Belle Isle.

The cafe at Rivard Plaza should do well as the plaza has proven to be a popular spot along the riverfront. On the other hand, we haven't seen that many people make their way all the way down to Richard Gabriel Park. Maybe it's because it's further from downtown, or the fact that the Riverwalk is still under construction in some areas which presently do not allow for a fluid stroll, but nevertheless, we think a cafe would be hard pressed to succeed in that area. There was however a qualification made about the Riverwalk cafe east of Belle Isle. It might only be open on weekends and/or special occasions, and this is a good idea considering the present circumstances.

With regards to the cafe at Rivard Plaza, John Gallagher of the Detroit Free Press writes:

"The larger of the two will open at Rivard Plaza at Rivard and the riverfront. To be run by Diamond Hospitality of Detroit, the café will operate daily and feature specialty sandwiches linked to cuisine famous in Detroit, in Michigan at large and in Windsor.

Among the offerings: petite pasties, Hamtramck pierogi, Mexicantown quesadillas, Greektown spinach pie and chicken gyro, and Michigan dried cherry salads."
(John Gallagher, Detroit Free Press)

Adding amenities such as cafes and bike rentals will only add to the riverfront's allure. We hope that the Riverwalk continues to succeed as it is a great addition to downtown Detroit.
Detroit Army