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You might notice a theme in my posts – I believe that food can create community in its most basic sense. And now that our communities are often more virtual than proximate, why not tap into that fact to create demand for healthy options?

Enter Foodsurge, a solution by a Detroit-area innovation team that calls themselves The Beet Squad.  Foodsurge uses social media fueled-tools to connect people with fast, nutritious meal options we can all get behind.

As a entry, Foodsurge has risen to be among the top two candidates in a competition whose winner gets the money and support to turn their idea into a reality. (The other top contender is a group from San Francisco that calls themselves the Udon Project.)

To quote the Foodsurge  mission:

Foodsurge is a platform that creates the connections between local producers of real food and area restaurants in order to create the quick, fast meal options the foodie community wants. Let’s group restaurants, farms, growers and eaters to create a better system that provides real, healthly and quick food options for everyone.

Similar to group buying sites, Foodsurge connects people with providers by using a voting-style method that ensures demand and availability for both parties.


Foodsurge 30 sec (Original Music – version 2) from Gary Wohlfeill on Vimeo.

Naturally, Detroit’s emphasis on food as a way to reinvent itself makes this project the perfect venue to bring attention to the intentions of the progressive Detroit Foodie Community. Don’t wait to cast your vote, as voting ends tomorrow! Show you support for this idea by going to yoxi to register for an account, and HERE to vote for Foodsurge/Beet Squad!

Learn more about the project by reading this story from the Detroit News Hub….and spread the word!!!

This installment of the Detroit Pizza Tour takes us to the charming near-Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods….

Right there on Mack Avenue, near the Original Pancake House and right by a cute yarn shop, is the delightful storefront of DiNoto’s Genuine Italian with a welcoming red awning.

Detroit Pizza - Dinoto's

Cheerful storefront is your first clue that this is gonna be some swell pizza.

When we entered Dinoto’s we were confronted with a promising aroma and friendly service. A young woman was working the counter, answering our questions, when owner-operator Pino DiNoto emerged from the kitchen and insisted we sample one of his famous “S” cookies – a cakey, buttery sugar cookie with a delicate layer of frosting. His thick Italian accent immediately charmed us and gave an aura of authenticity to the pizzas we were about to sample.

Detroit Pizza - Dinoto's pictures

Family photos proudly on display are more evidence of a strong tradition behind DiNoto's

We decided on two small pizza and a side order of cannelini beans and took a walk around the neighborhood while our pizzas were being prepared. To be clear, DiNoto’s does carry out only. For some reason, even though I’d read some Yelp reviews before going, I was a little surprised to realize this, but it didn’t really matter in the long run.

Our two pizzas were Pino’s White Vegetable Pizza and the Sicilian Pizza. Pino’s White vegetable pizza is described as “light and delicious – without sauce, topped with oven roasted veggies, olive oil, herbs and Romano cheese.” This was Michael’s favorite. It had tomato, onion, and thinly sliced yellow squash. Indeed light and garlicy. My only regret was that there was not more of a tang to it, to balance the flavors. I think had the tomatoes been in season this would have done the trick, but we all know fresh tomatoes this time of year aren’t always the best tasting.

Detroit Pizza - Dinoto's Pino's White Vegetable Pizza

Pino's White Vegetable Pizza

The Sicilian was my favorite, also very simple, with crushed tomatoes that had a serious depth (almost as if they were mixed with sun-dried tomatoes) and herbs, olive oil, garlic with a light sprinkling of Romano cheese. Tangy and delicious.

Detroit Pizza - Dinoto's Sicilian Pizza

DiNoto's Sicilian Pizza

This isn’t the Detroit pizza style with the thick crust, but a medium-to-thin crust, with an unobtrusive, delicate flavor that really highlights the toppings. Don’t expect gobs of melted cheese, either. Just a slight dusting of Pecorino-Romano actually makes this pie a healthier option than some grease laden varieties we’re accustomed to. We did  happen to pick pizzas that were vegetarian, but mostly because there is a wide variety of vegetarian options that just looked so yummy and different. They also have a pie with prosciutto and arugula, the Gambino’s Favorite, which is calling my name for another visit.

I read rave reviews about the meatball sub, so next time I go I will try a different kind of pizza, for some variety, and this highly recommended sandwich. Their menu also has some fantastic looking pasta dishes and salads. One thing is for sure, if I lived closer I would be making more trips to DiNoto’s and probably buying too many of those delectable S cookies in the process.

Detroit Pizza - Cute Dinoto's counter area

Cute, homey counter area. Note the stacks of 'S' cookies on left!

Overall, the unique, authentic quality of the pizza combined with the quaint atmosphere and exceptionally welcoming service can’t help but endear you to this place. I can see why DiNoto’s is a favorite pizza stop for Detroiters. As it stands, my only regret was that I could not enjoy the pizza fresh from the oven with a nice glass of Chianti (this is the kind of pizza that screams for wine over beer!). Since we simply couldn’t wait for the drive home to lose that hot-out-of-the-oven experience, we had to eat it in the car!

DiNoto’s Genuine Italian Carry Out

20223 Mack Ave.
Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236
Phone: (313) 884-5030

Wow, I am so freaking excited for Detroit right now. Seem like everywhere I look in national media there are mentions of cool things happening in this dynamic city.

Especially cool to see the food scene getting some well-deserved attention. Most notably the Atlantic gave the Detroit restaurant scene a healthy dose of recognition for it’s use of made-in Michigan products.

Two other examples are the NY Times article on Slow’s BBQ, and Grist’s highlighting the community organizing around urban gardening projects. The author noted about Detroit: “food has emerged as the key motivating force of Detroiters’ efforts to re-imagine their town as a thriving, livable place.”

Well said.

Detroit urban gardenNow I know the nay sayers like to scoff that urban farming is no golden ticket for Detroit, but I say give it a chance. In the face of non-existent job opportunities, Detroiters are creating their own. And we don’t know where that will go. Imagine if we bought even 25% of everything we ingest from local sources, what would that look like? I think it would create jobs and also have significant quality-of life-impact, as food connects people to each other as one of the most basic elements of our humanity.

Greening urban spaces, not only through urban gardening, but by creating sustainable, usable green spaces in the city CAN change the city.

For added inspiration, check out this TedX video about greening the ghetto by Majora Carter from the South Bronx whose commitment to urban renewal has truly made a difference.

Food can really lead the way for a better city, not just for Detroit, but for people everywhere. I believe that Detroit  is experiencing economic realities that will likely befall many cities in years to come. And our survival tactics can serve as a road map for the future.

It’s the first Sunday in September, and there’s a nip in the air this morning! As I often do on Sunday mornings, I’m off to pick up a little treat from my favorite Michigan-based coffee chain, Biggby.

Biggby - Michigan's Own Coffee More than the bright-clear sky and wear-your-hoody weather, a sign of approaching fall is the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte! Nothing says “You’d better buy some Halloween candy” like picking up a Pumpkin Spice Latte before your weekend errands.

Oh, and don’t forget their limited edition Hot Caramel Cider – particularly if you’re not interested in a wallop of caffeine. The Hot Caramel Cider is a treat worthy of calorie expenditure. Kids love it, too!

So I urge you to drive on by the ubiquitous multi-national corporates and buy Michigan, not just because it’s the right thing to do for your state and neighbors, but also because Biggbly just flat out offers a better beverage! (AND because these seasonal sippables will be gone before you know it!)

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