From top, Gideon, Nicki, Jim and Jim at Lafayette Coney Island in downtown Detroit

Where can you tromp through the snow, past a boarded-up building or two, downtown in a major American metropolis, and climb into your choice of early-morning, late-night, semi-dives serving the famed Coney Island?  New York?  No, Detroit, of course!

What is a Coney?  It’s a chili dog.  And a source of regional pride and oneupmanship.  And it’s hot and cheap and you can get it with fries.  While you’re at it, have a swig of local fave (and America’s Oldest Soft Drink), Vernor’s.Coney with everything and a cold can of Vernors

Did we mention this was the only time we let Nicki out of the trunk on our wee outing that day?  I hope the fries were worth it.