Vortex Pins: Basement Burger Bar

Whenever I see a local TV station or newspaper naming their “Best Burger in Detroit”, I’m a little skeptical. Those are bought and paid for, says the skeptic inside me. Hey. That’s fine. And I’m not saying I haven’t visited a few of those places and that the burgers weren’t tasty – but I always come back to Basement Burger Bar.

Located in downtown Farmington, and in a basement, no less, this always feels like “my place.” As if I’m one of only handful of people who even know the Basement Burger Bar exists. The owner sees me and says, “hey, Don …the usual?”

I nod approval. I sit at the bar and an icy cold beer slides across the surface into my outstretched hand. A cute, but not too cute, waitress who’s worked there for going on 16 years walks up behind me and says, “hiya, doll. We don’t serve your kind, here.”

I turn. We laugh. It’s an old joke I’ve heard a hundred times. It’s like coming home for Thanksgiving.

OK. So it’s not that quaint. Maybe it was at one point, but not in 2014.

Note 1: The waitresses are both “cute” and a few are “too cute.”

Note 2: Nobody knows me there because I’m anti-social (hence I have a blog)

What you get is a magnificent burger. It’s the kinda place you take someone who’s visiting and staying with you from out of town. It’s where you go to have a burger and watch the first half of a Saturday night football game in the fall. Or where you take your kids special when they brought home great report cards. Or let’s say you go to church on Saturday …ya gotta do dinner after, right? How about a burger? Yum.

Basement Burger Bar’s claim to fame is “craft burgers” and “craft beers.” Some call it “craft” …I call them a work of art.

One more great thing …it’s located right next to the Farmington Civic Theater (my favorite theater on Earth) and if you bring in your ticket stub (maybe you skipped church, who am I to judge), they’ll give you a discount.

See? Quaint.

Out late? It’s also a great place simply to grab a drink, with 40+ craft beers on hand.

Let’s eat.



Vortex Pins: Sunflour Bakery

I discovered this place on Fat Tuesday and trust me when I say, though their Pazckis are the best I’ve had in years, that’s only a small part of what makes this place special.

Do yourself a favor. Stop into Sunflour Bakehaus on your way home from work on a Friday and grab a coffee cake for Saturday morning. Trust me. Your whole family is going to have a better weekend when it gets started with these fresh baked delights.

Or pick up a loaf of bread and have them cut it thick for the best French Toast you’ve ever had. Or, heck, just toast the bread (and maybe sprinkle on some cinnamon).

For 70 years, Sunflour has been treating Farmington to, well, treats. But don’t let “70 years” scare you, they’er completely on board with gluten free, whole grains and whole wheats, and carb free …um, OK. It’s bread. Scratch that “carb free” thing.

It’s a perfect blend of a modern bakery mixed in with traditional favorites. It’s charming. And they’re stuff is fresh – like, baked this morning. You can taste the difference. You can smell the difference. When’s the last time you walked into a large grocery chain and smelled something baking and salivated? Happens here, daily.

What’s that they say …think global, buy local? I have another saying I’m fond of …if you’re going to eat, put great food in your mouth.

Ahem, I’m working on it. That wouldn’t sell T-shirts. But we’re not talking about T-shirts, we’re talking about cakes, bread, and baked goodies and Sunflour’s got it.


Vortex Pins: Farmington Civic

Ever notice how taking your kids to the movies gets more expensive with every new blockbuster and the popcorn sucks? Well not at Farmington’s Civic Theater located in charming downtown Farmington.

This is everything you remember and your parents remember about going to the movies, and while some things have definitely changed, some things have stayed the same. The tickets are sold at a ticket window. The popcorn is popped fresh – you can see it, hear it, and smell it. And you won’t be able to resist it.

There are two screens showing movies, and while the tall seat backs in the main theater bring back a rush of memories (of sitting up in the front row at a movie theater when that actually meant something, and the tall seats could keep you hidden from your parents sitting a few rows back), the modern movie visuals have not been sacrificed.

As I tell people, this theater is run by movie buffs who remember when “going to the movies” was an event, but they aren’t about to scrimp on sound and screen quality.

Or popcorn quality. Did I mention the popcorn is great?

Will you be able to check-out the Captain America sequel this weekend? No. But give it a few weeks, and if your schedule and your 9-year-old’s schedule didn’t let you make it opening weekend to the 148 screen mega movie plex, or maybe you just didn’t want to shell out $12 for each ticket, take a deep breath (without going deep into your pockets and bank account), and hit up the Farmington Civic.

Enjoy the show.



There’s No Place Like Home (for the holidays?). Win a $100 EyeToons Card.

Note: This is NOT a real blog entry and NOT a real company. This is just a pretend blog entry written for someone else – written for one of my writing clients. I’m NOT giving away a $100 of anything.

Have you noticed there are fewer and fewer days remaining in November? It won’t stop. It’s inevitable. December will be here before you know it and cold weather will come along with it.

The only good thing about cold weather is that it gives us a great reason to light a fire, flick on the gas longs, put on a robe, have a cup of cocoa, and don the fuzzy bunny slippers. You have fuzzy bunny slippers, right? Well …slippers are slippers and warming your feet in front of the fire is one of the great things about winter.

At Zenith Homes, cozy fireplaces come standard.

So, let’s see your cozy fireplace and your cozy slippers. Send us your best cozy fireplace shot featuring your cozy slippers and  you’ll be entered to win a $100 EyeTunes card from Zenith Homes. Bonus points if you work a cup of cocoa into the shot. Have fun. Stay warm.


Why We Build the Homes we Build

As the holidays approach, we all give thanks for the things we have. Here at Zenith Homes, we are thankful for all our wonderful employees, the many talented contractors and skilled trades people that help make our homes so wonderful, and especially for our customers.

We recently came across a print of Norman Rockwell’s classic Saturday Evening Post painting, “Freedom from Want”. This picture is what we all want our holidays to look, smell, and feel like. In a way, it’s the inspiration behind what we do and what we build at Zenith Homes. Our designs start with a cozy kitchen in mind, or a roaring fire in the fireplace, or a lively and welcoming family meal. Then we build around that idea and make a home fitting of a Normal Rockwell painting.

May you and yours have a great Thanksgiving and holiday season.