Friday, June 03, 2005

A more gratifying trip to Dearborn

I took the kids and my mom to Dearborn today to visit Greenfield Village. Despite the fact that I didn't get to gorge on my beloved Sheik Mashi at Cedarland, it was still gratifying because I managed to fulfill two obsessions on one trip (and did not have to do endless train-related stuff). Of course, we did have to go on one trip round the Village by old steam engine, but instead of spending hours in the Roundhouse, we saw some other parts of the village including the beautiful new facilities for the craftworks: printing, pottery, tin punching, glass blowing, wool carding and weaving. It was the last two that I was most interested in, though Ian was really fascinated by the pottery works and had to be pried away from watching the master potter at his wheel.

In the Carding Works, we watched how they took this stinky fleece:

and ran it through this carding machine (they also showed us the old fashioned way to hand card. All I gotta say is those frontier women sure had strong forearms.):

And out came soft fluffy roving that could be spun into yarn like this:

They didn't actually have anyone spinning while I was there though I did spot a number of drop spindles. But I didn't really feel the need to watch spinning since I can go visit Lynne-the-intrepid-spinner any time and she often gives me nice snacks too. I didn't take any impressive photos of the weaving but the interpreter did a great demonstration of the 4 different machines (starting in the late 1600's).

And when we were done visiting the craftworks, I rewarded the kids for surprisingly good behavior by taking them to Shatila bakery for ice cream. Saveur magazine listed Shatila as one of the 12 best places to go for ice cream in the US. Pretty impressive, eh? Here was our line up (from front to back): Pistachio, Apricot and Lemon.

Other than the rather lurid color of the lemon ice cream, I heap praise upon them. The lemon really was extraordinary--sour and creamy at the same time, refreshing, but with a kick of richness. The pistachio was jam-packed with nuts and didn't have the excessive, cloying almond-extract taste that some pistachio ice creams rely upon. The apricot was supremely floral with chunks of dried apricots adding a deeper punch. I can't wait to go back and try the Mango, Rosewater and Cantaloupe flavors. And by the looks of it, Fiona can't wait to go back either:

That's my girl! A dedicated bowl licker!
I also couldn't resist leaving without a little something. Or a lot of somethings...

Left row (from front to back): coconut cake, chocolate mousse cake, cheesecake, and two double chocolate slices. Right row (from front to back): casino cake, strawberry chocolate cake, vanilla pistachio cake and chocolate roll.

Can you believe this whole box of goodies cost $7? That's less that $1 a piece! I don't actually know what the Casino cake is (front row right), but since it looks like a pressed strawberry roll on top of something insanely creamy and some yellow cake, how bad can it be? I've never actually tried their French-style pastries before because I always buy a big tray of baklava and mamoul. They have fabulous mamoul--try the date-filled kind. Wait, no, try the walnut, or the pistachio. Oh hell, try them all. But the cakes I bought today remind me of my sorely missed Swedish Bakery in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood (rather than the wall of middle eastern filo-based treats at Shatila, the Swedish Bakery has an equivalent wall of Scandinavian style cookies and breads). I'll be sure to report back whether they measure up to the Swedish Bakery's high standards of sin.

4 comments:

Mary Jean Babic said...

Shatila looks amazing, and I can't believe how huge the bakery is. You can also order online, nota bene.

The prices remind me of these two Italian bakeries on Bleecker Street in New York. We once bought a box of about 30 assorted cookies for $6.

Kate said...

Yea, Shatila used to be located around the corner in a dumpy little store. They have won the "best bakery in Dearborn" title a few times (not that I have any clue who gives out such titles, but it seems appropriate) and their business was booming so they built their new place on the model of a "Temple of Sin" (at least that's how I think of it). There's lots of granite counters and tables, a waterfall wall behind the Mid-Eastern pastry counter, palm trees strung with fairy lights in the middle of the seating area and a lot of stone columns. Quite over-the-top, but very approprite when you realize the entire place devoted to over-the-top desserts. And the kids love the decor.

Susan W said...

Kate,

You'll get to enjoy Swedish Bakery delights at the wedding - they are doing our Carrot Cake and a sweets table with assorted cookies and petit fours... yum! I'm so glad you and Fiona can come :)

Kate said...

Ooooo! another reason to look forward to your wedding! Can't wait!