Experiencing Detroit { Small Plates + Hoedown }

Back in June I finally  got to experience the Downtown Hoedown. I am not kidding when I say I have been begging various people to go with me throughout the years to no avail [Granted, prior to this year the hoedown was a lot shadier]. Enter Katie. I could go on and on, but we were meant to be friends it just took us a few years to finally cross paths. Thus, to the hoedown we went.

Thank the Lord for Urbanspoon. It’s really helpful when two incredibly indecisive girls are standing in the middle of Detroit starving. We finally settled on Small Plates, having heard great things about it, but mostly because it was super close.

[note: a lot of these pictures are blurry-apologies!]

The next door neighbor, Detroit Beer Co., looked pretty awesome as well. Has anyone ever been there? It’s now on my list.

The interior is nice, nothing fancy, but stylish and upgraded. Our waiter was good, he flipped a coin for us to decide our entrees (I mentioned how indecisive we are right?), but then became just a bit too talkative after that.

Signature fries, delish. I selected the original ones, Katie got sweet potato. No shame in that we pretty much finished off the pails.

Margarita pizza never fails me. I have yet to find one I dislike, and this one was amazing. You can tell how good something is (or how hungry I am) when the pictures show it half gone before I remember to snap the photo with my phone.

Pretzel sliders. Pretzel bread is big right now, and I love it. Add angus beef, grilled onions, white cheddar, and applewood smoked bacon and you have a treat.

Small Plates was a winner, they had actually just re-launched their menu, and I’m guessing changed some staff because amongst the good things I had heard I also saw a lot of negative reviews. There was nothing bad about this meal though, unless you don’t like sharing. As with most tapas places you will walk away with the best experience if you order a bunch of items and share. It is also reasonably priced which is always a perk!

This year was the 30th anniversary of the hoedown, a summer staple in Detroit. For the first 29 years it ran, the Hoedown was the largest free country concert series and was held at Hart Plaza. However this year they chose to move the event to the grounds surrounding Comerica Park and sell tickets. In my opinion this was a fantastic decision. As I mentioned before I could never convince anyone to go with me in previous years, and this was because of how crazy it was known for getting.

The tickets weren’t an absurd price, they sold 3-day passes for $30 (they sold out in hours) and then single day tickets for $20. We went back and forth between Saturday and Sunday (Dierks Bentley vs. Miranda Lambert) and finally settled on Saturday to also see Montgomery Gentry. The ticket price was completely worth it, it was busy, but not to the point where we every felt overwhelmed by people.

We stood in the same spot for probably about 5 hours, choosing to wear my high-heeled boots was not a wise decision. It was such a great time though and completely worth any pain we felt. On that note, pain led to what was probably a very unwise decision:

Strolling through downtown Detroit sans shoes. Okay not so much strolling as me begging my feet to make it just a few more yards. The best part about this was the women leaning out their windows yelling “You go girls!”. We could not stop laughing, and those socks are somewhere in a trash heap. We did have to pry our feet back in our boots when we walked over some broken glass, like I said, not the best decision.

Fun fact: As thousands of people exited the concert area Jimmy Johns had staff set up everywhere handing out sandwiches. Genius I tell you. It was fantastic.

Love her!


On a concert note, earlier this summer I also went to another fantastic one. I have been wanting to see Jon McLaughlin for years. Back when I was in college I had tickets to a nearby show only to have it cancelled a week before, so disappointing. Fortunately I am not alone in loving him, and some of my favorite ladies (Kristen + Katie W.) are also big fans. When we heard he was coming to Ann Arbor we knew we had to go.

The concert was at The Ark, which is actually a non-profit venue. I love that. It is also a super intimate setting which makes for a really enjoyable evening.

This man is one of the most incredible piano players I have ever seen. I couldn’t even believe my eyes at some moments. It was such an amazing time.


Our hectic summer of traveling is starting to wind down. We are in Northern Michigan right now, enjoying the lake and Traverse City. Sunday we head to Mackinac Island with my parents and in-laws for a couple of days. For an island that doesn’t allow cars I am praying they have some solid wi-fi because Monday morning might be the craziest part of my year in terms of work. I am being optimistic that everything will go smoothly so I can quickly hop on a bike and enjoy my vacation!

Have a wonderful weekend!


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