The rest of my trip back to MI proved to be as fun as the first half. On Christmas Eve, my mom, brother and I went down to MGM Grand and Greek Town - two casinos in Detroit. The MGM Grand is really nice actually and looks quite a bit like Vegas, except for the clientele, which did not look like the standard Vegas fare - middle aged tourists and spring breakers (or in the first week of February, a bunch of 30 some year old women dressed in Forever 21 outfits - I am so excited about our annual girls Feb trip to Vegas!!) but rather some depressed locals with a gambling problem. I mean, really, who goes to a casino on Xmas eve? Besides us, that is?
At night we had a great dinner - filet mignon, scallops, potatos, green beans, and more. I made this stuffing that Rebecca has made for our Thanksgiving meals in the past. It is really good, and not like normal stuffing, which is why my family loved it. They kept calling it "bread pudding" because it's made with challah bread and dried fruit. My brother did most of the cooking - turns out, the guy can cook! Afterwards, we played Texas Hold'em, and this other card game called Big 2, thus continuing the family tradition of celebrating the birth of baby jesus by gambling and taking money from each other.
On Christmas Day, my sister made this awesome french toast breakfast - really good stuff. I think everyone in my family can cook but me!! Then we opened presents (I got some really great ones) and then headed over to Dad's for more eating and celebrating, and yes, more gambling! Dad made an excellent "seafood soup" with scallops, giant shrimp, and fish. We had some other sides as well. More presents and Big 2 afterwards - all in all a really great time.
The day after Xmas, my dad, bro, sis and I headed down to the Detroit. It's so weird - I spent more time in Detroit this trip than I have in the last 20 years. First, we grabbed a quick lunch in Greek Town (not the casino, but the actual area). We stopped in a little Rachel Ray $40-a-Day endorsed restaurant. It was pretty empty but the food was good. Next we headed to the Detroit Institute of Art to catch this new exhibit - "Monet to Dali: Modern Masters from the Cleveland Museum of Art." It was a really good exhibit and had some excellent works (not that I really know much about art, but it did seem like a good collection - hell, at least I recognized the names of the artists). I hadn't been down to the DIA in forever. Seriously. I think the last time was a school trip in 5th grade. At night, I went to Thode's annual Day After Xmas Bash at her parents place. It was awesome and everyone had a great time. It's so weird out to see friends who I normally hang out with in LA in a different setting. I got to catch up with Thode and Rebecca, who I don't get to see very often anymore. We had this super yummy hot crab dip, tons of hors d'oevres, and a honey baked ham as well. When we were full of food, we headed out to Nectos, this bar in Ann Arbor that I used to go to. Again, very weird to be back there. My college friends and I had many a fun night there playing "Ring Around the Tool" (long story) while we were in school.
Saturday we went to Windsor for dim sum and - guess what - more gambling! Again, I haven't been to Windsor since probably college. The food was pretty good, and the Caesars Casino there is great! I left up about $100, which was really good b/c at one point I was down by $60. Luckily I found a hot black jack table and was able to catch back up. My brother was up by practically $300 (or even more, I can't remember...)! Since we were "winners" we picked up the dinner tab at a place called Sangria in Royal Oak. It's a Spanish restaurant with great tapas and paella and of course, sangria.
On Sunday, I met up with Dad to catch a matinee. Having had a crush on Keanu since Speed, I wanted to see The Day the Earth Stood Still, but it was sold out, so we were stuck with Bedtime Stories. Definitely a kids movie, and I'm definitely glad the tickets were only $5 each. Afterwards, Dad and I picked up some Thai food and watched the rest of the NFL games. We're both in the same pool so we had a reason to watch, but sadly neither of us won (altho he won the week before, so that's good). Turns out, Max's Grandma Jeannie won - congrats!!
Sunday night was rough - I realized I'd caught the cold that Forrest had on Friday at the party (same cold that Max is still sick with), so I had to take Monday a little easy, even tho I had some cool plans. First, I met up with an old friend from high school. I hadn't seen her in 10 years!! It was great catching up and meeting her adorable two year old. After that I met up with Mrs.Elliotpreciouspants, who also had an adorable two year old in tow. I think the amazing thing about meeting up with old friends is that it's soo easy to just catch up and fall back in place. Like I can imagine that if I lived in MI, I'd see both of them regularly.
I left MI on Tuesday, after a fantastic 12 day trip. The flight back was okay, although I think that whole charging for luggage is just criminal. When I found out my second bag would cost $25 extra (on top of the $15 for the first one), I decided to just carry it on, which was really uncomfortable but whatever. $25!! That's insane.
This trip back was my first time back for Xmas in years and it reminded me that I need to go back more often. :)