In Search of Coffee, Part III: Astro Coffee

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Looking towards downtown Detroit.

A couple Fridays ago when the girls were with a sitter, I drove to Corktown, Detroit’s oldest neighborhood (though, as Wikipedia points out, the actual city of Detroit is much older) located on the west side of the city. Originally occupied by Irish immigrants in the mid 1800s (most from County Cork, hence the name). At the end of the decade, Maltese immigrants came through, and in the early 1900s, Mexicans.

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Central Station, Corktown.

This up-and-coming neighborhood (according to various news articles I’ve read, most recently in The New York Magazine’s “Post-Post Apocalyptic Detroit”) is a hot spot for cool restaurants (including the always-crowded Slows Bar BQ), clubs, retail stores and yes, a coffee shop in the form of Astro Coffee, which opened three summers ago. Astro Coffee lies at the edge of Corktown, kitty-corner from the abandoned Michign Central Station.

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The 2100 block of Michigan Avenue (Astro Coffee is housed in the green building).

I was really excited to finally visit Astro Coffee. We tried as a family to pop in one Saturday, but a sign on the door told us they were closed for a week-long holiday. This particular stretch of Michigan Avenue was quite busy with business lunchers and some families at Slows and Mercury Bar across the street. As I walked by the front window, I noticed the Ritual Coffee (from San Francisco) sign, which made me both happy and unsure (I have mixed feelings about Ritual. It’s a long story).

IMG_7757 (580x800)Inside, there were some pastry and cookie selections up front, with daily sandwiches (which the flies seemed to enjoy, even with the mesh domes meant to keep them out) along the side counter. I ordered a cappuccino and a sage shortbread cookie.

IMG_7756 (785x800)The clientele was what one would expect. There was the usual one or two people on laptops at the back communal table, a couple regulars at the bar area, a few business folks ordering cups to go. I sat at the counter facing the street. The guy behind me was talking to a friend about such and such picking up his new TV show (yawn) and the older couple next to them were tourists (I’m guessing. They were speaking French).

IMG_7762 (800x800)So what about the coffee? you ask. Delicious! It was full-bodied, and bitter the right way. The crema was thick and creamy and I can’t remember, but I don’t think I needed sugar. The cookie was served on a pretty little vintage plate. It was quite sweet and the sage tasted suspiciously like rosemary, but hey. I was there for the coffee.

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