Disclaimer: We were provided accommodations and dinner courtesy of the MotorCity Casino Hotel. All opinions are my own.
Our 24 hour anniversary trip to Detroit, staying at the beautiful MotorCity Casino Hotel. #VisitDetroit
One of the many things I love about Michigan is how different the scenery is from coast to coast. From Grand Rapids to Detroit is just over a 2 hour drive–not bad at all. Since our wedding anniversary was in May, we wanted to have a special overnight trip. We’ve been in Michigan for 5 years now and Ricky has never been to Detroit, aside from a Tigers game. It was time to change that!
Through media, I feel there is quite a misconception of the status of Detroit. You see the Anthony Bourdain special or Vice and think the worst of the city. While there are some dicey areas, it’s truly the comeback city. The food and beverage scene alone is worth a trip–so many tasty places to visit!
Since we were only staying overnight, I didn’t want to jam-pack our schedule with too many activities, but I knew we had to hit up some landmarks like Eastern Market. The Motor City Casino Hotel graciously hosted our stay and provided us with a special anniversary dinner at their hotel restaurant Iridescence. More on that fantastic meal later!
On Fridays, Ricky works summer hours, so we were able to hit the road by the early afternoon. I’ve heard so much buzz about Valentine Distillery in Ferdale, I knew we had to check it out. They have tours from Thursday to Saturday at 4:30 and 6:30 which was perfect for our schedule.
Ferndale is a super cute town with plenty of places to eat outside and it’s a close suburb to Detroit. Arriving a bit early for our tour, we spotted M Brew next door to Valentine’s. It was in the high 80s, so it was a bit toasty to walk around too much. Plus, I can spot a Happy Hour sign from a mile away! 🙂 M Brew is a smaller restaurant with a great Michigan beer selection and a wrap around patio. We grabbed a nice cold beer and enjoyed the sunshine.
Once Valentine Distillery opened, we cozied up to the bar to see what they have to offer. Their bar is unique because they only feature the liquor they make themselves. How cool is that? Even though they are widely known for their (award winning!) vodka, they also have two types of gin and bourbon whiskey. Be sure to ask for samples of the Old Tom gin. It was SO unexpected–it is aged 1 year in a new cask with spices, which gives it a cinnamon flavor. Not your typical “pine cone” tasting gin at all! Ricky ordered the New Old Fashioned and I enjoyed a Bombshell, which was their white blossom vodka, gin and sparkling grapefruit juice.
Their drink menu was very impressive. Valentine’s infuses their vodka with different flavors which sit above the bar to drool at–you can sample any that catch your eye. I had to try the three pepper and it was unexpectedly sweet, not too spicy at all. Aside from their own alcohol served, the juices were fresh squeezed and there were all kinds of herbs to muddle in drinks. Very impressive!
Heather leads the tours–be sure to say hello if you stop by! While nothing is actually distilled at that location anymore (it’s just up the street), tours are available to get a more behind the scenes look at how they make everything. I was so happy to hear that they use Michigan products only.
After the tour, we drove the 10 quick minutes to MotorCity Casino Hotel. You can’t miss the bright lights along the side of the building! There’s complimentary parking attached, so no worries about finding a spot. The parking garage was covered and monitored closely by security. Our dinner reservations were at 7:00 at Iridescence, so we had a moment to freshen up and check out the area. We were on the 15th floor and our room was absolutely beautiful.
The meal we ate at Iridescence might have been the best food I’ve ever eaten. No exaggeration whatsoever. Deciding what to eat alone was such a task–everything looked drool-worthy. I will give you a heads up: this is a special occasion restaurant and not quite kid friendly. The prices are high, but worth every.single.penny. Every ingredient is prepared with special attention from the chef. The crab cake is a MUST–there were huge chunks of melt in your mouth crab. Our waitress was so helpful and made great suggestions for us from wine to the entree. The chef kept sending out special treats for us and we truly felt like royalty. From lobster bisque to scallops with Havarti cheese, we were pleasantly stuffed.
Ricky ordered a rib-eye and I decided on a filet Oscar style (with crab and asparagus) for our entree. As much as we wanted dessert, there was absolutely no room. Even though we had a large meal, I love how the food was staggered at a slow pace. We had plenty of time to enjoy the amazing view and our wine over conversation in-between courses. I will be dreaming about that meal for years. I am hoping to make it an annual event for our anniversary!
Since we were kid-free, we had to live it up a bit. After resting for an hour in our room, we decided to check out the casino. Ricky loves blackjack, I was more interested in checking out the bands playing. I always give myself a $20 limit for the slot machines. Needless to say, we ran out of our money quickly and decided to venture out to Greektown. I’ve been to Detroit quite a few times for different occasions, but Ricky really wanted to check out the night life.
There was a night Tigers game that night and Greektown was nuts–we quickly realized we are too old for that chaos. Since we had the Eastern Market scheduled for the morning, our huge king sized bed was calling our name. As much as we like to feel young, we are in our 30’s now.
If you’re ever in the Detroit area, be sure to check out the MotorCity Casino Hotel. They offer complimentary breakfast and absolutely beautiful rooms.
Stay tuned tomorrow for our Saturday adventure at the Eastern Market!
What are your favorite places to visit in Detroit?
Since I love Yelp, here are the links for the places we went on Day 1. Feel free to save them for your next trip!