There comes a time, even in a pandemic, when one simply can’t abide the restrictions for one more minute, throws caution to the wind and opts for something UTTERLY CRAZY like… indoor dining.

It was perhaps irresponsible, yes, but honestly I thought I was going to crack from boredom. Alan too, so when he said, “You want to do something?” I thought fuck yeah, I want to try this spot in Dearborn I’ve been meaning to check out for something like three years. I know we’re negative and won’t be infecting anyone. If it goes the other direction, well, I knew the risk.

This place is said to have the best hummus on the planet. (Possible headline for my obit: Unsuccessful writer ‘died for hummus;’ in last words, claims ‘it was worth it’) I can report that while my personal experience with hummus isn’t all that wide, it was in fact very good, and so was the foul, the harhoura, the falafel and the mint tea, as well as the roasted potatoes they sent to the table on the house, why I’m not sure. But I tipped 25 percent. Everyone’s having a hard time, and it was so nice to get out. Of course any carb-fest in Dearborn wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Shatila, a bakery and sweet shop where they serve Lebanese and French pastries:

Truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of that super-fussy style of dessert — I’ll take a good slice of in-season peach or apple pie over that, any day — although they certainly are fun to look at. And my choice, the pineapple cake at the top left, was very good.

While we were at the first place, we stumbled across the restaurant’s chickpea stash and I took a picture, but I won’t post it here because I suspect it could be an OSHA violation to store a literal ton of chickpeas in 50-pound sacks in a hallway, but when they’re destined for such tastiness, I am willing to keep my mouth shut.

And now I’m so full I won’t eat until tomorrow, but a good swim in the morning will use up the calories.

It was a fine day, for January anyway, and we drove home on surface streets, Warren Avenue all the way, from the hookah shops and clothing stores for traditional Arab women through the industrial this and that of Detroit, then Wayne State, then the east side and all the way to GP.

On the drive out, Alan’s phone chirped with a news alert, which he immediately checked. “I always hope it’s news about Trump having a massive stroke,” he confessed. “Not today.”

The rest of the weekend was spent absorbing another Lansing scandal: The most recent Speaker of the House, a 33-year-old preacher’s kid who spent his six years in the lower chamber basically being a professional Christian, was revealed as anything but. His sister-in-law came forward to claim he started sexually abusing her when she was 15 (and he was 21), and didn’t stop until last summer. It’s a tawdry tale, but only surprising if you are shocked that halo-polishing Christians dig hanging at strip clubs and banging lots of chicks. I am not.

Nor am I surprised by the ex-Speaker’s high-and-tight fashy haircut. It’s like semiotics with these guys.

Bloggage? Here’s something a little light-hearted, that serves as a pretty good example of why Detroit stands alone as a news town, or at least on a par with Miami: A flashback story about the time a radical anarchist prankster threw a shaving-cream pie in the face of a so-called “child guru,” then was tracked down by the guru’s followers and beaten with a hammer. The prankster sounds like someone I would have liked a lot:

Halley was a well-known rebel character in the Wayne State University neighborhood. He drove a cab for a living but was also a writer, poet, pamphleteer, actor and self-described anarchist clown. He staged guerilla-theater events in parks, streets and the lobby of the Fisher Theatre, where he and fellow performers taunted people paying top dollar for mainstream Broadway plays.

Operating his own storefront theater, Halley once put on a satire about the 1978 massacre in Jonestown, Guyana, offering the audience Kool-Aid. That was a sardonic reference to the hundreds of Jonestown cult members who died after a drinking a fruit-flavored beverage laced with poison. On another occasion, Halley led audience members through the Cass Corridor as actors popped out from behind trees and garbage cans. One of his characters was Dirty Dog the Clown, who played a harmonica and spouted radical slogans.

In a 1978 Free Press article that recalled the pie incident, Halley, with a straight face, told a reporter the plastic plate surgeons had implanted in his head picked up radio signals.

All this entertainment for the cost of a newspaper. I ask you.

Happy week ahead, all. Let’s hope I’m still testing negative at the end of it.

Posted at 6:20 pm in Current events, Same ol' same ol' |

37 responses to “Stir-crazy.”

  1. Jeff Gill said on January 9, 2022 at 6:50 pm

    Hummus is life!

    My wife continues to hope & watch, as well, for a disabling stroke. “Not that he dies, that would be wrong.” Trusting in grace . . .

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  2. Deborah said on January 9, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    What in the heck is Wordle (did I even spell that correctly)?

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  3. Ann said on January 9, 2022 at 9:52 pm

    Deborah–Wordle is too stressful. You only get six chances to guess the word and all your friends are tweeting about getting it on the second or third try. Not me. Let me recommend instead.

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  4. Bruce Fields said on January 9, 2022 at 11:04 pm

    After noticing Shatila boxes stacked outside an Ann Arbor place a few years ago, I’ve started wondering how much of the area they supply.

    Always a fun trip.

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  5. Karim said on January 10, 2022 at 2:02 am

    It’s periphery, but you won’t find the best hummus on the planet east of Amman and west of Haifa. Sorry; I’m Palestinian and my national pride is at stake. Try Abu Jbara. Then we talk.

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    • nancy said on January 10, 2022 at 8:26 am

      I’m offering to judge a hummus contest. Anywhere, any time.

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  6. Dexter Friend said on January 10, 2022 at 2:06 am

    I have good memories of hummus from a Middle Eastern restaurant in Philadelphia many years ago, and from falafel carts in Cleveland and New York, but these flat tins and plastic bowls of hummus in grocery stores do not resemble the good stuff at all.
    We’ll never have food trucks here in this archipelago of small towns which is my world here in NW Ohio. The Trumpers here would burn them out on general principal.
    Some very fucked-up moron or mentally impaired asshole went to a gas station in Pioneer, just north of me 20 minutes where he bought a can of kerosene. He dumped it all through his car then dumped the rest on his head. He then smashed hard into a parked car, headed south towards Bryan, rammed another car in the rear, made it to Bryan and started some shit at a drive-through window at a fast food restaurant, then headed east and was finally apprehended in Fulton County, Wauseon area. Why kerosene instead of gasoline?

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  7. Mark P said on January 10, 2022 at 8:51 am

    Dexter — Maybe he knew gasoline would be far more likely to ignite than kerosene. Maybe the kerosene was just performance art. Maybe he was smarter than he looked. No, no, probably not.

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  8. Deborah said on January 10, 2022 at 9:10 am

    LB makes hummus with a can of chickpeas drained mixed with pressed garlic, probably some herbs purées it in a food processor and puts some kind of white cheese on top (feta?). It’s pretty good, but I’m not a huge hummus fan.

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  9. JodiP said on January 10, 2022 at 9:29 am

    I love a good hummus–but I like baba ganoush even more.

    Personally, I am not willing to try indoor dining. It helps that I love cooking and exploring new recipes.

    We had a strange Saturday. Two dear friends came for dinner, and about 9:30, we heard gunshots. A person was shot on my block, somehow drove his car a half block away and later died at the hospital. This followed the armed break-in at another home on December 4th. I spent a lot of time responding to neighbors as I am the block club leader. It’s a hard time in our city, as crime really is increasing but we have fewer law enforcement resources. I have such conflicting feelings about this given the history of policing.

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  10. ROGirl said on January 10, 2022 at 10:26 am

    Soaking dried chick peas and boiling them is time consuming (you have to boil the crap out of them) , but the hummus tastes better than if you used canned chick peas. Spell check thought they were chicken peas, I had to go back and override it.

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  11. susan said on January 10, 2022 at 10:38 am

    It’s so easy to make hummus, and so much better than that swill sold in groc stores. And better yet, is to cook your own garbanzos. That can take three hours, unless you pressure cook them. I make a huge pot of them and then freeze four or five quarts. Ceci always at the ready! You wouldn’t believe how much sweeter and nuttier that makes hummus than using canned beans. I’ve been doing this for years. Also, needs lots of tahini and lots of fresh lemon juice.

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  12. Suzanne said on January 10, 2022 at 11:00 am

    I make my own hummus as well. It’s really easy. I have never cooked my own chickpeas, though, too lazy to take the time. Maybe after retirement when I have more time…

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  13. nancy said on January 10, 2022 at 11:37 am

    It’s easy to make good-enough hummus. To make great hummus requires some sorcery. The secret ingredient is baking soda (or so I am told), which breaks down the skins on the chickpeas and leads to a much finer texture. The Arab (or as some are called, “Mediterranean”) restaurants around here serve a version that’s so creamy it’s almost like pudding. And they add a slick of olive oil on the top, usually. Get some fresh pita into that and I’m a very happy eater.

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  14. Jeff Borden said on January 10, 2022 at 11:49 am

    As luck would have it, I’m meeting a couple of pals at a Persian restaurant in Evanston, where I plan to feast on the appetizers. The grilled potato planks, grilled mushrooms and the appetizer size of their chicken kabobs. Rather than pita, they serve a flatbread much like naan that is laced with herbs and spices, the perfect repository for their delicious hummus and babaganoush.

    Folks, I think we’re too far along in the fascist march to the future to be affected by the Orange King. I am disappointed in myself for wanting to watch someone suffer, but I want to see him die slowly and waste away babbling nonsense. But even if that happens, there is a battalion of other authoritarian, racist assholes ready to take his place starting with Rick DeathSantis in Florida.

    As they’d say in an old Western, “Folks, we’re in a heap of trouble.” The QOP is busily replacing election board members and supervisors with true believers at the state level. The Senate isn’t going to act on the John Lewis Act. Manchin isn’t going to let go of BBB. And the coronavirus is going to continue to bedevil us, largely because of a well-oiled and well-financed propaganda effort led by Fucks News hosts. (Of course, Tuckems, Klannity, drunken Judge Jeanne and Aryan prototype Ingraham are all vaxxed and boosted. Fucks News requires it.)

    Any NN.C readers in Ohio or Pennsylvania should be burning up the phone lines to retiring senators Portman and Toomey to get them to support the Lewis legislation. They’re retiring and have nothing to lose. Both are weak as dishrags, but they aren’t full on MAGAts like Cruz, for example.

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  15. ROGirl said on January 10, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    Lots of tahini adds to the creaminess. And I love the garlic sauce that the Middle Eastern restaurants serve with shish tawook and shawarma.

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  16. alex said on January 10, 2022 at 12:19 pm

    I second Jodi re: baba ganoush.

    I miss Old Jerusalem in Chicago’s Oldtown neighborhood. Don’t even know if it still exists, but loved the baba ganoush. Always wanted to try out Mahboub’s on Devon. Not that I’ve ever heard anything about the food one way or another. I just like saying it. Mahboub’s.

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  17. Heather said on January 10, 2022 at 1:04 pm

    I also prefer baba ghanoush. There are a bunch of great Middle Eastern restaurants in my Chicago neighborhood–I should patronize them more but I tend to cook a lot. Maybe I’ll head over to a Lebanese place I like today to pick up something for lunch. On the other hand, the beau spent about six hours cooking Asian food yesterday and sent me home with three big plastic containers of stuff, including oyster kimchi.

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  18. LAMary said on January 10, 2022 at 1:17 pm

    The Lebanese restaurant we loved for years closed in April. It was struggling with the whole covid shut down situation and then the owner caught covid and died. Another one of my favorite, family owned and operated restaurant bites the dust.

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  19. Suzanne said on January 10, 2022 at 1:32 pm

    This is the hummus recipe I usually use.

    It’s always funny to take homemade hummus to a party. People are so impressed but it really isn’t that difficult.

    This is also a favorite of mine.

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  20. Julie Robinson said on January 10, 2022 at 1:33 pm

    If you have an Instant Pot you can reconstitute dry chickpeas in less than an hour. This happened at our house yesterday after the person cooking realized she didn’t have canned chickpeas. We had a soup with chickpeas and potatoes and I don’t know what else, but it was good. So were the fresh yeast rolls. Best of all, I didn’t step foot in the kitchen. I’m enjoying leaving my apron on the hook most days.

    I was told all the chickpeas were needed for the recipe, but that we have tahini, so next time we’ll have to cook extra and try making hummus. And source out a local bakery with fresh pita, what a difference that makes.

    It’s raining here for the first time in weeks. The plants are happy.

    P.S. I’m with Nance on the frilly pastries, which never taste as good as they look. Give me an honest brownie or cookie and a scoop of ice cream instead.

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  21. susan said on January 10, 2022 at 2:02 pm

    Here’s how I make hummus:
    Put in blender: (I do it in this order because the cumin seed and garlic get broken up and blended really well if they are on the bottom of the blender)

    whole cumin seed
    olive oil
    fresh lemon juice
    home-cooked garbanzo beans
    bean broth from the cooked beans, as needed

    Once it’s all blended smooth, I blob it into a bowl and stir in finely chopped fresh parsley, pickled capers, fresh coarsely ground black pepper, salt to taste. Sometimes I’ll add in some variety of dried hot pepper I’ve grown (from not so hot to more hot: highlander, fish pepper, Aleppo, cayenne). I can’t stop eating it! Also makes a great vegetable or salad dressing, if you run out of bread things. Or if you have nothing else in the house but a spoon, there’s that.

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  22. Sherri said on January 10, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    Baba ghanoush is wonderful stuff.

    I’m going to have to try making hummus with dried chickpeas.

    Karim, I’m willing to concede there’s no good hummus outside of Palestine. Can I get delivery to the west coast?

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  23. JodiP said on January 10, 2022 at 4:36 pm

    Oooh, frilly pastries! I love them. We have a place in town, Patisserie 46 that makes some great ones. We get them if we don’t have time to make dessert. We’ll usually buy several and cut them up so everyone can taste them.

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  24. Deborah said on January 10, 2022 at 4:51 pm

    Alex, Old Jerusalem is indeed still there on Wells in Old Town, at least it was there in November the last time I walked down that street. I’ve never been in it but always wanted to.

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  25. Deborah said on January 10, 2022 at 5:03 pm

    Maybe I’m not a huge hummus fan because I’ve not had the kind made by ethnic experts?

    But there’s a fast food chain in Chicago called Roti, that makes really good food (to me). i used to go to one in the loop area before I retired. You go through a line and they dish up what you want as you pass by and then they top it off with a piece of pita or naan that I just loved. Because it’s was basically fast food it’s probably abominable to those that know better, but to me it was always delicious. I don’t remember hummus on the menu though.

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  26. basset said on January 10, 2022 at 5:10 pm

    On this day in 1964… release of the first US Beatles LP, “Introducing the Beatles,” possibly one of the most counterfeited records ever:

    “Meet the Beatles,” the one with the black cover that all of us of a certain age know, came out ten days later:!

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  27. Dexter Friend said on January 10, 2022 at 5:24 pm

    Jeff Borden: Ohio’s long list of candidates for Portman’s seat includes one Bernie Moreno. He’s now spending for many TV ads here. From what I garner from the ads, Moreno wants to basically cut all financial aid to nearly every recipient. I assume he means FEMA Covid19 funeral costs, childcare credits, maybe trimming Social Security, hell, he was vague. His message loudly proclaims he wants to curb and gut aid to poor and deserving recipients, right to the bone. He also is pro-Trump to excess, wanting to finish the insane wall at the southern border and make English the only language recognized as official. He hates immigrants. Taking our jobs, doncha know? Yessir, we, I and my friends, we love picking vegetables in huge corporate California and Texas grow conglomerations. Moreno is just another republican POS.

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  28. Dexter Friend said on January 10, 2022 at 5:30 pm

    basset, that VeeJay record, I bought it for like $2.59 in Fort Wayne the day it dropped. I still have it, but it has lost its value as it all scratchy from a million plays. 30 days later the Capitol Records album dropped. I bought that too, first day. Still have it, saved only for the cover, as it was ruined by a heater 51 years ago.”Introducing The Beatles” first, then “Meet The Beatles” a month later. I was by far the biggest Beatles fan at my school. My figure of 30 days later was from The Beatles Channel earlier today.

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  29. Deborah said on January 11, 2022 at 4:28 am

    Just seeing this, was in the WaPo a few days ago we have friends in Taos who built their own earthship and they have lived in it for a couple of decades, they’re architects and used to work for Reynolds. Before we had a presence in NM we stayed in many different earthships in Taos. They are weird looking but of course very sustainable. In the winter they can be quite cold inside at night though, same with our cabin in Abiquiu when the fire goes out in the wood burning stove and the solar gain has dissipated. But when we’re under the down comforter in the sleeping loft it’s fine until morning when we dress quickly and make a fire as fast as we can. The earthships have no heating at all except for the sun.

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  30. Dorothy said on January 11, 2022 at 11:37 am

    My husband made hummus from scratch several years ago and it was delicious. I remember having the leftover tahini in the fridge for a long time and we just pitched it eventually. Wish we’d thought to just make it again. Sometimes life flies by, you know?

    In September 2019 we drove to Poughkeepsie for my sister’s 35th wedding anniversary when their kids threw a nice party for them. At their house, day before the party, the put out a spread for snacking. A container of lemon and beet hummus was there and MAN was it delicious! The brand name was Ithaca and I’ve not been able to find it anywhere in Ohio.

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  31. Bruce Fields said on January 11, 2022 at 1:49 pm

    Love those pictures of the Earthships. They sound really neat and I’m glad there are people experimenting in that direction.

    I don’t like how some of it fuels the hope that you can go it on your own. It’s just not true. Part of any solution is density, and efficient, shared infrastructure. And, as they say at the end, we need building and zoning codes that don’t outlaw better solutions. Which means, again, dealing with other people. Which sucks sometimes, but there you go.

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  32. Suzanne said on January 11, 2022 at 4:36 pm

    The Hoosier state continues its descent into being the Dumbass State

    On top of the legislator who said teachers should present things like the history of the Holocaust without making value judgements.

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  33. Jeff Gill said on January 11, 2022 at 5:26 pm

    In a hurry I can make a (to me & my spouse) perfectly acceptable and then some hummus with two cans of chickpeas, drained mostly, lemon juice from the big bottle in the fridge, two spoons of minced garlic from the jar in the door, a decent pour of olive oil, ridiculous amounts of cumin, modest amounts of salt and pepper, and a big serving spoon’s worth of . . . peanut butter. If you don’t have tahini available, it works quite well. Toss all into food processor, the chickpeas last, and it blends into a hummus that matches most of what I’ve eaten in the Middle East.

    The last run of the processor I shake in some paprika and just enough olive oil to dampen it, then fully mix it together, and “sahtein”!

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  34. Deborah said on January 11, 2022 at 6:05 pm

    I don’t know what tahini is or know if I’ve ever had it, I’ve not had that much exposer to ethnic foods I guess.

    Bruce, the earthships can be neat, our first time staying in one was when our architect friends were house sitting for the actor Dennis Weaver who owned one part way up Taos mountain, it was quite scary driving up to it and it was interesting to stay in for a night. I used my hair blow dryer there and blew all the fuses in the solar powered place. The earthships tend to smell weird because they use grey water in the bathrooms and to water the planters inside, it often smells sour, I guess you can get used to it. We’ve met the guy who started the whole thing that was interviewed in the WaPo article, I wouldn’t call him a friend because we didn’t know him that well, he was quite the womanizer and a bit of an asshole, our friends worked for him because they believed strongly in living sustainably but they quit after a while because of his attitude about women etc. One time we were on an international flight, I don’t remember where we were going but we were in first class because as I’ve said before my husband had thousands of frequent flier points from business trips. Reynolds was coincidentally on the same flight with some of his workers on their way to a European sustainability seminar or something, they were in coach. He kept coming up to talk to us and asking us to order free booze for them, it was very awkward for us, the flight attendants were pissed and we were embarrassed. He didn’t give a flying fu** and felt entitled. I was sorry to read that he now has stage 4 prostate cancer though.

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  35. Deborah said on January 11, 2022 at 6:23 pm

    We’re going to Southern CA, to see my husband’s granddaughter, leaving Thursday, driving a rental car. LB is going along to see her friend who is working in LA. Her friend had Covid about 2 or 3 weeks ago and is fine now, she works in healthcare as a contract worker at Mount Sinai in Beverly Hills (I think?). My husband’s granddaughter and her dad and his girlfriend also all had Covid about 2 months ago, they were all fully vaxxed (except maybe the granddaughter we never got the lowdown on that for sure). So we hope we aren’t getting ourselves into something. We tried to get test kits at Walgreens today, nothing available, tomorrow we’ll try CVS again.

    Also we went grocery shopping today for road food, have been hearing a lot about empty shelves in various places around the country that we hadn’t experienced until today at Whole Foods. It was mostly in the dairy cases, hardly any dairy products, don’t know if it was because of supply chains or the lack of their own workers being able to re-stock shelves or what. After that we went to Trader Joes and didn’t see anything like it there, so who knows. Maybe it’s always like that mid-afternoon on Tuesdays at Whole Foods and just hadn’t noticed before.

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  36. Jeff Gill said on January 11, 2022 at 8:19 pm

    Tahini is a paste of toasted sesame seeds; it’s vegan & gluten-free so it’s become popular in lots of stores that didn’t used to have it. Just a jar or wide mouth bottle of a whitish-grey paste usually with a bit of oil floating on top, but it’s peanut butter without the added sugar. If you use creamy peanut butter to make hummus, you need extra cumin and a bit of salt more to balance the sweetness more than the peanutty taste.

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