Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit

OK OK, I’m a little late to the party on an issue that has been dividing the city of Detroit for months now. When it first came up I didn’t want to react out of emotion and say something I would regret. Like our President, I don’t just rush out and make a statement before I have collected all the facts. On hot button topics such as this one, the decision to come out immediately and take a side could divide all twelve of my readers. At this stage in my writing career, I just can not afford to take risks like that.

So after giving it some time and collecting all of the information that is now available I am now ready to make a statement and take a side. I’m also ready to offer you my opinion — And as a bonus, I’ll explain my opinion in ways that you can understand. It involves Kid Rock and it includes an announcement he made recently that could cause people to make a mistake that they will never forget. Ready for this one?

Kid Rock opened a restaurant.

Yes. Kid Rock, self proclaimed Son of Detroit — Or more accurately, Son of Romeo, decided it would be a good idea to open up a restaurant called Made in Detroit serving a variety of Southern and Detroit influenced dishes. The 5,800 sq. ft restaurant and bar sits in the new Little Caesars arena and is open to the public even outside of event dates. The walls are plastered with Kid Rock memorabilia but unfortunately Confederate flags were not allowed as a decoration, despite Rock’s deep ties to the southern states.

Now if you read that last sentence and detected sarcasm then you are doing a great job following along with me. Let’s dive into a history of Kid Rock so we can better understand the roots of his Made in Detroit restaurant because the story is what makes a restaurant great, am I right?

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Bob Ritchie was born in Romeo, MI in 1971 on a six-acre estate with an apple orchard. His father, Bill, owned several car local car dealerships. At the age of 15 he ran away to the mean streets of Mt Clemens to DJ and rap for various parties and at the age of 17 signed a record deal as a hip hop artist with Jive Records. I’ll fast forward through bringing Uncle Kracker to the world, becoming a rap-rock superstar with Fred Durst and starring in a sex tape with the lead singer of Creed and get to the point. I read a lot about Kid Rock in preparation for this article. I learned a lot more about Kid Rock than I ever cared to know. I became confused on one big thing with Kid Rock’s life.

Where did his southern ties come from? After recording his most successful song in 2002 — A duet with Sheryl Crow — his sound completely changed from some of the worst rap/rock in the history of terrible rap/rock to a mix of Southern Rock and Country. His look changed from mesh tank tops and wife beaters to cowboy hats and creative uses of the American flag as clothing. Somehow, Kid Rock went from a terrible rapper to the most patriotic country artist alive, even dubbing him self the King of White Trash. Doesn’t this seem kind of weird? Stop to think, country music fans accepted Hootie as one of their own so is it really that weird that they also accepted Kid Rock?

So I got tired of researching Kid Rock’s love for America, his claim that he loves both the Confederacy and Black people and his deep affection for the South. There wasn’t really anything interesting about it. It was quite obvious that the guy saw an opportunity to transition from a genre of music that was slowly dying to another genre that was on the rise. Creating a character that made music about drinking whiskey, loving America and not giving a fuck was the more lucrative path. So Bob Ritchie created this character and turned into it.

So at the midpoint of this post you’re probably asking yourself when I’m going to actually start talking about food. Well my wonderful reader, here’s where we begin talking about how absolutely stupid Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit restaurant is. Ready? Let’s do it.

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Much like his public persona, Kid Rock’s restaurant is also completely full of shit. We aren’t even going to go into the news that there were $2.9 million in fines for violating contracts requiring a certain percentage of contractors hired to construct the arena to be from the Detroit Area. In fact, 27 perfect of the total hours spent constructing the area housing Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit were actually worked by Detroit and Michigan based companies.

What we will go into is how completely ridiculous attempting to merge Southern and Detroit style cuisines together is. Ask yourself — what is Detroit style cuisine? Is there really such a thing? The only two things Detroit is known for are coney dogs and deep dish pizza. Can you make an entire menu out of these two items? The answer is absolutely not unless your making an entire restaurant specializing in one of them. So did Kid Rock decide that there wasn’t enough Detroit themed food items to fill his menu or did he feel the need to extend his “I’m from Detroit but I really really like the South” act into his restaurant? The answer is absolutely.

So when Kid Rock decided to open a restaurant called Made in Detroit he probably partnered with a Detroit based company to help him, right? That would only make sense seeing as the place is called Made in Detroit. Actually, he called up a large hospitality company called Delaware North out of Buffalo, New York. When it came time to hire a chef to run day to day operations? Kid Rock and Delaware North looked no further than Westland, MI(voted worst food city in the world from 2013-2016) to find their executive chef. No, I didn’t make the Westland connection up.

The menu includes exactly four menu items that have any actual ties to Detroit. There are the Coney Island Buns, Fried McClure’s Pickles, The Hamtramck Burger and a Michigan Cherry Pie. Everything else is a random mix that ranges from Chicken Shawarma Tacos, Nashville Hot Chicken, Fried Oysters and Grits, Beet Salad and to top everything off.. Vegan Bourbon Maple Ice Cream, because Kid Rock cares about vegans. Many menu items contain a bacon that is called out as Nueske’s slab bacon that is shipped in from Wisconsin. There is an American Goulash which is a little confusing, because goulash is a traditional Hungarian dish. The Made in Detroit Burger is topped with lettuce, tomatoes, American cheese and pickles — Leaving me wondering exactly what about this burger makes it Made in Detroit aside from the fact that it was assembled in Detroit.

If the food menu wasn’t confusing enough, the drink menu is even better. One of the great things about the state of Michigan and the city of Detroit over the last decade is the emergence of craft breweries and distilleries. There are thousands of great beers being produced out of the state and hundreds of choices in liquor. So what did Kid Rock choose for his beer menu? In-state choices are American Badass Lager, Ghetto Blaster and Two Hearted IPA. Other choices include Stroh’s, Labatt, Tecate and Black Label. There five liquor options from Michigan based companies but none are included in their cocktail menu. Couldn’t you at least use the liquor that is made in Detroit in the cocktails in a restaurant called Made in Detroit? Is that too much to ask?

I know, I know it’s silly to try use logic when dissecting the backstory and menu of a restaurant owned by a guy who once got into a fight at a Waffle House. It’s just hard for me to look at someone so full of shit open up a restaurant in a Detroit that has such an improving food culture. It’s also hard to look at someone who was once quoted as saying “My shows aren’t about trying to save some place, because I don’t feel that’s the right venue for it. That’s my politics right there: Don’t bring politics to my shows.” now giving political speeches teasing a run for Senate at his shows.

My stance: Don’t go to Kid Rock’s Made in Detroit. Don’t encourage celebrities partnering with large hospitality companies to open terrible restaurants and take away from the local food culture. Don’t go here, don’t go to Wahlburgers — Support local businesses who are actually a part of the city and give it character. Kid Rock somehow became a representative for a city that had hardly anything going for it. Detroit is better than Kid Rock now. I completely understand that celebrity presence brings money and recognition into the city but is Kid Rock really the celebrity we want when people think of Detroit? Maybe a decade ago when people outside of the city thought of it as a dumping ground. Not anymore.

Taco Festival Detroit

Several months ago an advertisement popped up on my Facebook, which normally I would ignore, but this one had something that really got my attention. There was a Taco Festival coming to the riverfront in Detroit. Now either this was a completely random advertisement or Facebook’s algorithms finally picked up on the amount of times I post about tacos. Either way, I immediately logged in and purchased tickets. $12 general admission tickets that promised tacos, live music, Lucha Libre wrestling and alcohol. What could go wrong?

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Now I’m not normally the guy that just dives into something like this. I’ll admit, the promises of unlimited tacos and masked wrestlers dug deep into my emotions and basically took over my credit card. I’m usually the guy that will read who is putting the festival together, what additional costs there will be and other details before I pull the trigger on something like this. After purchasing tickets, I started to read and discovered that Taco Festival is actually a traveling festival that hits one or two locations per month. They recruit local vendors, which they actually did a really good job of – more on that later, who pay a deposit to have a booth and then receive a percentage of the money for the tacos that they sell. I searched everywhere trying to figure out who the owners of the festival were but could not find anything. You’re so mysterious, Taco Festival.

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The festival was very well put together. There were several beverage tents selling beers that ranged in price from $4-$8 depending on regular or tall can, a main stage had live music throughout the day and taco tents stationed the perimeter of the festival grounds. There were close to forty different Michigan vendors offering various tacos and other Mexican specialities. They did a good job finding, or being found by, a number of legit taco trucks and taquerias, but there were a few I wasn’t about — See Qdoba and something called the Crazy Gringo Mexican Cantina. Most vendors were offering several cuts of meat — mostly pork, chicken and steak. There were a few vendors who decided to not offer pork and none of these vendors received any money from me. Selling tacos without pork is like Harold Melvin without the Bluenotes.

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My personal favorite? Loncheria El Parian, a taco truck that sits on Dix ave. It was the only vendor I saw that had their Al Pastor on an actual spit, the way it’s supposed to be served, with a pineapple dripping all over the spinning column of pork. Their place included pickled onions and pickles. Absolutely delicious. I will be checking them out for some of their other goods and services at a later date.

Now here’s where I have to get a little negative on the festival. The cost for the festival was $12. The wife and I went together so our total cost of admission was $24. We like beer so the first thing we did was buy two beers. That was another $6. I’m not a normal human being so I ate eleven tacos. That was another $22. My wife is a normal person so she had three tacos. That was $6. We also paid for parking, which was $10. All together, this festival ran us $62.

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I understand their pricing because they need the up front money from the tickets to rent the venue, pay their employees and set everything up. I swear I’m not trying to be a complainer here but the beauty of tacos is they are cheap. They typically house less expensive cuts of meat and can be bought in bulk at various places for a buck or two. When you organize an entire festival around a food item that is typically very cheap and somehow make it an expensive experience it’s just kind of weird to me. I also believe that visiting a small taqueria offers a different kind of experience that is just as fun. That could be just me though.

I also understand that I’m paying for the experience of having all of these different vendors in one place. The only thing I can think about when I apply that logic is information about the best tacos in Detroit is readily available on the Interwebz and I can go directly to the source and give them 100% of my money. I realize not everyone wants to research everything they eat and this type of festival is great exposure for local businesses.

So in summary, Taco Festival is a great thing for your average eater and the city of Detroit. For me, not so great. They claimed this will be an annual event and if you have some disposable income and are looking for an unconventional experience, this is probably for you. I’m glad to say that I attended a festival completely centered around the taco,but I probably won’t be back next year.

Lobster Week at Mudgie’s – It’s Here!!!

Before I begin, I have to start off with a story. If you are regulator reader of my food writings you should continue to read. If you followed a link simply to hear about and see lobster rolls you can feel free to skip these ramblings.

I do my best to not operate this site as a “food blog”. I know, I know it’s pretty much a food blog but there’s now thousands and maybe millions of people with a cell phone that take pictures of food and write a few paragraphs about it. I try to do things a little differently here. Generally what happens on this site is I eat or cook something really delicious and then immediately write something on my phone and post about it. I try to keep the time between experience and reaction as short as possible. My attention span demands this type of production.

What happened today goes against my typical MoorsFood production schedule. Truth be told, I wrote a really great piece about my visit to Mudgie’s Lobster Week and in between a couple of glasses of Wild Turkey I lost the entire thing. I don’t know what happened between me hitting the publish button and my web host accepting my content but my post went by bye.

So this is a disclaimer. I lost my original content. I then drank more Wild Turkey. Then I drank some Basil Hayden. Then I drank some Woodford Reserve Double Oaked. Then I finished with some EH Taylor Single Barrel. I’m a full twelve hours removed from my experience and under the influence of some really great bourbon. Let’s get on with it.

Actual Mudgie’s Lobster Week post begins here.

I’ve previously documented my love for Mudgie’s and warned of you of their lobster week, which only comes to us one week out of every summer. Mudgie’s is the greatest, and lobster week is their greatest week. Easily translated, lobster week is the greatest week of the year.

A quick summary if you aren’t a fan of clicking links — Every July Mudgie’s has lobsters overnighted from Maine every day for an entire week and serves up lobster rolls downtown. Some might say “But John, I can get lobster rolls at any number of locations in the Metro Detroit Area”. That’s great, but let me tell you why lobster week is a little more special. Maine lobsters are known to be the best and fisherman in the area go to great lengths to ensure this. Small details such as building traps in certain sizes so smaller lobsters are allowed to escape and continue their growth. Female lobsters are labeled and released so they can continue to mate and produce more lobsters. June is the season for soft shell lobsters, which produce more sweet and tender lobster than what you would typically find from a year around lobster. The climate and the temperature of the water are also factors in producing delicious lobster. Getting this type of lobster fresh in Michigan is a big deal.

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So all of these different factors brings us back to lobster week where Mudgie’s has these Maine lobsters shipped in fresh every day. I showed up today at 10AM, a full hour before opening time. I fully expected to hold the “first in line” title but there were already seven or eight people ahead of me. This should be a warning to you — Lobster week has grown in popularity and causes on average of a twenty minute wait, depending on when you get there. They also run out daily, even though they increased production from last year. My advice to you, stop what you’re doing right now and get over there. It’s 9:15 AM. Call off work. Get a babysitter. Hell, steal a car if you need to. Lobster week is worth both unemployment and/or a length prison term.

So this is completely my bad if I missed this last year, but Mudgie’s has now added a lobster bisque to their lobster week menu. I’ve had a few bisques over the years but in no way do I call myself a lobster bisque expert. I can say, however, that this lobster bisque tastes like a lobster bisque people that know a lot about lobster bisques would say is one of the better lobster bisques. This isn’t a bowl of orange colored cream with some lobster flavor. This is a savory, chunky bowl of greatness. It’s easily the best lobster bisque I’ve had. Fully worth the $10 it will cost you for a bowl.

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But the lobster rolls, what can I say about the lobster rolls. They’re delicious and fresh. Not too fishy fasting and unbelievably tender. The bun is a buttery baked New England style roll that contains the generous portion of lobster meat. The only other ingredient, which to me is normally unacceptable, but lettuce on this sandwich adds a needed crunch to each bite. If you’re one of those people that does things the right way, you’ll have a seat at their outdoor Tiki bar, order a cocktail in a Tiki glass and ask for both the roll and the bisque.

Now as I said before this is a hugely popular week where lines form and lobster eventually runs out. There are rumors of a 100lb lobster order in the coming days so hopefully everyone is able to get their share. My advice for you is again, get there early and prepare yourself for a brief wait. Trust me, it’s worth it. If you arrive later on and they are sold out, don’t complain. If you complain about Mudgie’s, you don’t deserve Mudgie’s It’s that simple.

This event runs through the 29th of July and ends with a lobster themed brunch. If you were wondering if I’ll be there on Sunday I can absolutely promise I will be in attendance.

These lobster shenanigans are going down at 1300 Porter in Corktown.

Countdown to Lobster Rolls

For normal people, Summer means warm weather, pools, sunshine, going outside and other activities.  For me, Summer means food.  This shouldn’t be surprising because every season means food for me.  I was having a nostalgic moment that sent me back to Summers in the past and luckily when you search for ‘Food’ in Google Photos it will automatically filter every food picture you’ve ever taken.

More specifically, I am looking forward to lobster rolls at Mudgie’s Deli in Detroit.   Every Summer for one week only, Mudgie’s gets Maine lobsters overnighted in every day for lobster rolls.  This week has begun to gain quite the following.  Years ago you could walk right in and order one but now you need to line up early and hope they don’t run out. Last year they went through 700-pounds of lobster, averaging 75-80 pounds per day.  On the final day of the week, there is a lobster themed brunch that I will be in attendance for this year.  If you have never had a good lobster roll, I’m going to have to require that you spend a day downtown this Summer waiting for one of these.  You don’t be disappointed.

My personal recommendation is the “High Roller Deal” which gives you two rolls and a bottle of Rosé.

Be sure to pick up a charcuterie board while you’re there.  Actually, just get everything. Mudgie’s is the best.

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