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City Collecting: Flint, MI

Yesterday a friend asked me to drive her to the airport in Flint, an hour from my home in Lansing, Michigan, USA. I was all for it – an hour with my friend to strengthen relationship is enough bait for me.  (For Michigan folks, Flint’s airport is amazing… friendly folks  from shuttle to security, not too big, just a good place to patronize.)

flint kabob city teaI collect cities, and prefer them when they include skyscrapers and subway trains. (Art museums and ethnic food are my primary desires.)

I used to work in Flint at night several days a week and never got to adventure during the day. It seemed a good chance to do some of that on the way home. I got off at an exit where I knew there was a lot of commercial activity, and looked for some ethnic food.

First I found a small and tidy grocery called Dale’s Natural Foods. When I’d worked downtown Flint in the mid-1990’s, there was a corner shop called “Dale’s Foods for Health and Caramel Corn.” I loved it. Caramel Corn & freshly-made beet juice, with all the characters of the city, in a tiny space.

I used to go to Dale’s on class breaks when I taught at the bank in downtown Flint. I’ve never had such fun people-watching! Turns out Dale’s son realized that downtown didn’t bring enough customers, so he moved the store to Miller Road, and transformed it into a lovely grocery (sans caramel corn).

The son & I had a nice chat while I was there. Apparently at one time, the family had two separate businesses. One of them was a candy shop, the other a grocery. By the time I came shopping, it had morphed into the health/caramel corn shop (so cool, a poem in one phrase).

After my adventure at Dale’s, I found a mideastern restaurant which has only been there 2 months – Kabob City. I eat a lot of Lebanese food (Michigan has more Lebanese folks than Lebanon at this point). Mideastern food from any area, interests me.


From the outside, I was not sure if it might be a quick take-out place. I was surprised and delighted to find a well-appointed restaurant with fabulous food and good service.

This restaurant had a chef from Israel, and I could taste the love in his food. The flavors were layered perfectly. It was just incredible. I got to talk with him a bit, and tell him I appreciated his artful flavors.

flint kabob city salads

It was so good, I took home some leftovers for my friend Altu She also cooks with love and artfulness at her restaurant in East Lansing, Altu’s Ethiopian Cuisine. Yum!

A day alone out of my house, for me, never turns out into a day of quiet aloneness. I can end up chatting with the security guard if you give me enough access. However, a day in a totally new place can truly renew me, people or not. The people of a city are a big part of its flavor. Yesterday was just the ticket!

I just left this note on as a blog comment on Bindu Wiles’ post, “Replenish, Part 3.”  Great post, highly recommended. My comment seemed just the ticket to share with you here, as well.

Photos: All from Kabob City. The plate was just a few of the selections from their salad bar. The bread was fresh and warm, the rice pudding very creamy, and the tea? The tea was served in a tall glass cup, as I remember it was in Egypt when I was there. That touch was special to me.


2 Responses to “City Collecting: Flint, MI”

  1. kathy b Says:

    Great post on a fun fun day for you. I could have eaten that whole plate of food. But, no knit shops included in the day???

  2. Toni Says:

    I’m not sure what’s on that plate, but it looks delicious. Will have to see if we have any Lebanese restaurants here in PDX.