13gpusa-blog1-002It’s been 15 years since Detroit hosted a major skating competition. During that time, half the ice dancers in the world have moved here, it seems. The whole region is a bargain (except on marathon weekend, which is this weekend, of course), there are several large and successful training centers scattered through the suburbs, and it’s a major airport hub. It’s also on the Canadian border, and we all know that Canadians skating fans are fiercely loyal. Detroit has a bad reputation, but it’s one of the friendliest cities in the northern half of the country. The fantastic architecture makes even the abandoned buildings beautiful (Metropolitan Building, pictured right). So why has it taken this long to bring a major event back? I have no idea. My best friend grew up in central Michigan and moved into Detroit this year, so we’ve had this discussion countless times.

So I’m glad Skate America is back in Detroit, to say the least. I’m glad that my best friend lives a mile away and that I can take the People Mover to the arena. I’m glad that I already have a favorite coffee spot (Nutella lattes at Chez Zara!) and I’m glad that I get to attend an event at Joe Louis Arena before they bulldoze it and build a new one. I’m glad that I got to eat at Mudgie’s last night, home of some of the best sandwiches I’ve ever put in my mouth. I’m glad that, when I got home from the short dance last night, my friends said, “Wanna go to Dutch Girl?” Nothing says end-of-a-long-day like a midnight doughnut run. Not a bad trip for my first-ever Skate America!

The dancing was terrific last night, of course. I love the quickstep rhythm, a sentiment that was echoed by the top three teams at the press conference. The effervescent dances are so much fun to shoot, and I’ve been humming Michael Bublé’s “For Once in My Life” for about 24 hours now, which is far from the worst ear-worm I’ve ever had.

I’m settling in for a long day at the rink today, but I have plenty of energy, thanks to a mid-morning stop at Detroit’s Eastern Market, where my friends and I hit the food trucks for brunch. I’m usually a breakfast-food-in-the-morning king of person, but I couldn’t resist Papa Smurf mac & cheese (feat. wild mushrooms, fresh parmesan, and carmelized onions) from the Mac Shack and a Pork Confit taco from El Guapo. Arena food just can’t compare.


Broadway People Mover Station


Joe Louis Arena People Mover Station


Saturday brunch from the Mac Shack

– Mel