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Sep 8 / Natalie Frakes

Summer Review

Hello, Wayne State friends! Welcome back to another year of academics! I’m excited to be sharing the journey of my last semester with everyone!

This past summer was one of the best I have had ever! Some highlights include going to Italy with my best friend Grace, who also just recently graduated from the music department, and completing my practicum requirement for the College of Education in Baltimore with the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra’s OrchKids program! Of course I will share more later, but these were the major highlights.

I am looking forward to continue sharing my Detroit happenings with everyone and I’m excited to be working as a Dean’s Delegate again!

Happy second week of school, everyone!

Apr 13 / Natalie Frakes

Marcus Elliot Quartet at Cliff Bell’s

For over a year now, the Marcus Elliot Quartet has been the Tuesday night feature at Cliff Bell’s jazz club located in downtown Detroit. Apart from the musicians who flock to the club for the traditional third-set jam session, the quartet is chiefly composed of Marcus Elliot on saxophone, Michael Malis on keys, Ben Rolston on bass, and Stephen Boegehold on drums.

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The sign has a typo – they’re a quartet, not trio. But, they play every Tuesday night at CB’s – 8pm to midnight and there is no cover! My friends and I try to make it out every Tuesday night to support these guys because, simply put, they are some of the most fresh, talented, and most influential of the younger generation in the jazz scene of Detroit. Individually, all of the musicians in ME4 have performed with some of the world’s best jazz musicians – Marcus Belgrave, Paul Keller, Bob Hurst, etc. They’ve learned from some of the best, which is clear once you’ve heard them.

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Listening to them is like witnessing a fresh page in Elliot’s/Malis’/Rolston’s collective narrative progress while the group continuously searches for artistic expression with in-demand chops and inventive writing. My favorite tune, and definitely a crowd favorite, is one of Elliot’s titled “The Hills of Panar Del Rio”.

Going out to Cliff’s on Tuesdays has become a tradition which I hope to keep to for a little bit longer. And simultaneously supporting Detroit’s music community and my friends is something that I will also continue to do for a long while.

Make it out to Cliff Bell’s sometime soon! You won’t regret it because they have great food, my favorite bartender in the world, and of course, the best musicians playing the best jazz. To hear some of Marcus Elliot 4tet’s music, check outhttp://marcuselliotquartet.bandcamp.com. You definitely won’t regret it!

Feb 18 / Natalie Frakes

Food Feature: Sala Thai

Sorry, folks! It’s been a while since I posted in here… I’ve been busy with midterms, and I know you all have been, too.

A couple weeks ago, I had a long lunch break on a Friday and I called up Stephen and we took a trip over to my favorite Thai food spot (because of the food and sentimental reasons) – Sala Thai.

Sala, located in Eastern Market on Russell Street, has delicious and authentic Thai food – arguably one of the best Thai restaurants in Metro Detroit. The restaurant is located inside an old firehouse and the environment is cozy and Thai-themed with canopy-like booths and big tables. The staff are all very nice and service is quick-paced. They have an extensive menu, as well, which includes a full bar and sushi.

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The picture above shows my favorite dish from Sala Thai – tom kha. It’s a twist on chicken soup with a sweet and sour and lemony flavor. I order it with tofu, and it has coconut milk, green onions, mushrooms, and it’s sour because they also add fish paste. Don’t let that last ingredient make you stray from trying this! It honestly makes the dish so much better!

All of their noodle and rice dishes are to die for… Just be careful with the heat. Since this is an authentic Thai restaurant, their mild = a little spicier than normal, medium = spicy, and medium plus = mouth on fire and a runny nose.

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Their vegetable curry (picture above) is superb. Get it with tofu, or don’t!

When you’re over in Eastern Market or just hungry for some Thai one day, I definitely recommend Sala Thai. Check out their website: http://www.salathai.us/

Feb 2 / Natalie Frakes

Food Feature: Green Dot Stables

Green Dot Stables is another restaurant in Detroit that stays open because I single-handedly support them with my patronage…

Just kidding. I do, however, go there maybe more often than I should, but only because it’s that good. Everytime I want a quick, cheap, delicious meal and some good drinks, Green Dot is the first place I think of.

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Everything on the menu is below $2-$3 and even though you end up getting a few dishes, it ends up being less or equal to a regular, boring, sittin’-around-stale meal you can get at any other restaurant. But the Green Dot… They show horse races on their tv screens and they have raffles on Saturday nights for really obscure prizes. It’s also in the middle of nowhere on Lafayette and from the parking lot is an unobstructed view of the ghastly majestic Michigan Central Station.

These are the benchmarks I use when evaluating restaurants – not the food. So, with Green Dot being the A++++ exemplar, what’s not to like?

The food is super. It’s superfood. The following are specimens from Green Dot’s esteemed menu:

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Chicken Paprikas (Hungarian-inspired soup) – $3

Korean Slider (burger with kimchi and peanut butter) – $3

I also had a Fluffer Nutter (marshmallow creme + peanut butter) for $2.

Spend the $10 you’ve made from tips at your after-school job and visit Green Dot! It’s the place to be.

www.greendotstables.com

Jan 28 / Natalie Frakes

Food Feature: Socra Tea

A few Sundays ago, I had the pleasure of eating Sunday brunch at Socra Tea, right here in Detroit! They were hosting a special brunch with Detroit Gypsy Kitchen and Socra Tea has the best loose tea collection I know of.

Detroit Gypsy Kitchen is based on the concept of plant-based eating. Of course, there’s plenty more to it, but the food on the brunch menu was all vegan and gluten-free! The spread below contains the following: tomato-basil soup, mushroom and Brussels sprouts quiche with rice-based crust, and a kale and sunflower seed salad with a homemade vinaigrette. Seriously yummy!

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On top of this, I ordered a 20 oz. pot of Socra Tea’s Japanese Sencha – one of my favorite teas. All of this was for only $12. So, of course, with all these benefits, I hope they put together something again soon!

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Socra Tea has a great space over in the Medical Center on Garfield, right by MOCAD. If you’re ever around there, you absolutely have to stop in! They always have a daily tea sampling, amazing pastries and desserts, and the tea is always delicious and hot. The atmosphere is welcoming and next-door to Sugar Hill Clay, a pottery school and art center.

Check out these awesome Detroit-based businesses at their websites: Socra Tea, Detroit Gypsy Kitchen, and Sugar Hill Clay!

Jan 18 / Natalie Frakes

Michigan Music Conference

I just got home from Grand Rapids after a few days of absorbing tons of information about music and music education at the Michigan Music Conference. I have the right to exclaim that I am absolutely exhausted!

The MMC is an annual conference for musicians around the state and Midwest. It’s such a great opportunity to network and see people you haven’t seen in a while! I ran into my middle school music teacher, youth orchestra director, saw a lecture by a former camp director, and got to see plenty of Wayne State alumni!

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WSU Booth

I worked the Wayne State booth and spoke to several educators expressing interest in working directly with Wayne’s music programs. They wanted to form a relationship with the ensembles so their schools’ music programs could potentially take field-trips to witness collegiate-level music in action! This concept would be an amazing opportunity for the music department to become more involved with the community and for recruitment!

I attended and helped Academic Services officer Danny DeRose with the successful set-up of the Wayne State Alumni Reception. I greeted familiar faces and met new ones – all alumni of Wayne, too!

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Alumni Reception

I believe that attending conferences pertaining to your field are important. Not only do you make valuable connections, but you also gain vast amounts of knowledge… The amount of sessions happening was overwhelming and I had a difficult time choosing what to go to. I highly recommend to all my colleagues in the CFPCA to attend some sort of conference for the field they are studying. Professional development is praised in the workforce!

I had an amazing time at the MMC and I can’t wait ’til next year!

Jan 7 / Natalie Frakes

Food Feature: Detroit Institute of Bagels

Yesterday, which was the first day of the Winter 2014 semester, and our first snow day, was when I ventured outside in freezing weather to try out the Detroit Institute of Bagels. They were of the few places around that was open and since having my wisdom teeth extracted last week, I hadn’t been able to chew anything substantial. I was semi-healed and I wanted to chew on something, so why not bagels?

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We arrived at the DIB, hungry and wanting coffee, and I was surprised to see a decent amount of patrons weathering the cold. I guess it meant that their coffee was hot and their bagels awesome!

My hypothesis was proven – I ordered a plain bagel with jalapeño cream cheese and Stephen ordered one of their small-batch bagels: rosemary, olive oil, and sea salt with scallion cream cheese. Mmm! Seriously, their bagels are amazing… They were so good that we had to order one more. They also serve Anthology Coffee, a local artisan coffee roaster, and the roast they were serving was a full-bodied, sun-dried roast called Ngororero Bourbon.

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Definitely recommend going to Detroit Institute of Bagels. They’re reasonably priced for the level of work they put in and everything is completely local. To find out more about them, check out their website: www.detroitinstituteofbagels.com.

Jan 7 / Natalie Frakes

Detroit Institute of Arts

The D.I.A. – one of Detroit’s gems and certainly a spectacle. I still remember the first time I visited. I had to have been three or four years old. I was taken by my mother for my first art museum experience.

I’ve seen so many different showings there: Ansel Adams, Richard Avedon, Van Gogh’s works, Patti Smith, and so many more.

Even though I’ve been there so many times throughout my life, it still feels like each time is the first time. There are always new works to discover. There are always new works to discover. Some days I feel like seeing modern art, other times I want to explore the African art or “practical” art. The collection the Institute houses is so vast that there really is no way one could thoroughly examine every piece.

On top of a world-class art collection, the museum has so many events happening – chess tournaments, seasonal showings, family activities, live music on Fridays, and so much more.

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The Detroit Film Theater is also one of the D.I.A.’s best features. Every season they rotate the films being shown and it is very rare that they would show anything not worth seeing. Documentaries, indie, and foreign films are among the selections and I highly recommend heading over there one weekend for a showing. Here is the film schedule.

Make your way over to the Detroit Institute of Arts one time this winter semester. Tri-county residents get free admission, as do students!

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Dec 29 / Natalie Frakes

Food Feature: Le Petit Zinc

It’s been too long since I’ve posted about the amazing community renewal that has been happening in Detroit… with food!

Le Petit Zinc, a small French cafe in Corktown, might be on my list of “most frequented restaurants”. It’s a very authentic French-style cafe and part of its appeal is the environment – it reminds me so much of my times in Paris!

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They have awesome crepes made with local and fresh ingredients, strong and delicious coffee (which is actually espresso), and often times I feel like they stole one of my music playlists, as I always seem to hear my favorite tunes played there!

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Le Petit Zinc is the perfect place for breakfast and lunch. Every time I’m there I have been satisfied – it is simply fabulous!

Check out their website to explore their menu: http://lepetitzincdetroit.com/

Dec 29 / Natalie Frakes

Winter@Wayne

Spending my days around campus during the winter is some of my favorite times of the year. There are so many things happening around campus and in the city… Especially for the holidays!

Here are a few highlights from my winter at Wayne State and in Detroit:

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Ice skating at Campus Martius

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Christmas Tree at Campus Martius

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A festive lunch at Mudgie’s Deli in Corktown

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Art installation on Cass and Canfield from Noel Night

There’s so much to do during the winter months in Detroit! Next year, plan on visiting Midtown on Noel Night and Campus Martius for fun winter festivities.

Hope everyone has a happy New Year!