Where Should We Eat? What Should We Eat?

Whenever I travel, the first thing I like to know is where to eat, and what to eat. At Changing Gears, we’re determined to make our states as well known for their food as they are for their lakes and what we make here.

So tell us: where should we eat — in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and upstate New York? How about Ontario? What’s your favorite dish in Detroit, Cleveland and Chicago? Which farm markets do you recommend? Wineries, bakeries?

Continue reading “Where Should We Eat? What Should We Eat?”

Changing Gears Goes On the Air 9/20

Mark your calendars for  Monday Sept. 20. That’s when Changing Gears will go on the air. We’ll be reporting on the future of the Midwest industrial region from our partner stations Chicago Public Radio, Michigan Radio and ideastream in Cleveland.

You’ll hear from all the members of Team Gears — Niala Boodhoo, Kate Davidson and Dan Bobkoff — and we’ll be kicking off our special Web features. Meanwhile, our food writer Michael Nagrant is whipping up a batch of Reinvention Recipes that will give you a new view of some familiar dishes and places.

Continue reading “Changing Gears Goes On the Air 9/20”

From Miami to the Midwest: Niala Boodhoo

Niala BoodhooI’m Niala Boodhoo, and I’m the Chicago-based reporter for Changing Gears.

This Great Recession has been measured by lots of numbers: job loss, foreclosures, and bankruptcies. But along with statistics, the recession has had a personal impact on workers, owners of businesses, small and large, and on our communities.

I’ll be responsible for covering these kinds of stories from Illinois as well as the Great Lakes states of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Indiana.

I’ll be focusing on community redevelopment, and hope to tell how our region is handling the transition from manufacturing to a new identity. Like my team members, I’ll also be looking at stories about environment, food, arts and our ethnic diversity.

I’ve been a business reporter since 2000 in London, Washington and Miami, where I was born and raised. I’ve covered stories like the British economy and election of Tony Blair as Prime Minister in 2000, as well as the price of aluminum (or as they say it, alu-MIN-ium) on the London Metals Exchange, but the stories I remember the most are features about people, like a story I wrote about a curry shop owner in Bradford, England, a “curry capital’’ of the world. Continue reading “From Miami to the Midwest: Niala Boodhoo”

Team Gears Welcomes Food Writer Michael Nagrant

Everybody in the Chicago food scene knows (or knows of) Michael Nagrant, and we’re happy to announce he’ll be a contributor to Changing Gears. Mike is taking charge of Reinvention Recipes, our look at chefs and food purveyors across the region who are taking new approaches to cuisine. Watch for Reinvention videos and recipes to run here soon.

In my short stint in Chicago, I’ve found Mike to be an encyclopedia of the local food scene. Ask him for a recommendation, as I did today, and you’ll get a synopsis of the menu, the backgrounds of the chefs and a description of the atmosphere and prices.

His work has appeared in Saveur, as well as New York Magazine’s Grub Street blog. He’s a regular contributor to Chicago Magazine and the Chicago Sun Times, and the regular food columnist for NewCityChicago.com and CS-Modern Luxury. He also was — drum roll — an essayist in the Alinea cookbook by chef Grant Achatz that won the James Beard Award. Continue reading “Team Gears Welcomes Food Writer Michael Nagrant”

Team Gears: On The Scene in Ann Arbor

I’m Kate Davidson and I am delighted to be joining Changing Gears as our Ann Arbor based reporter.  Ann Arbor is just lovely this time of year.  For one thing, it’s cooler than Washington D.C., where I grew up.  (When we moved to D.C. from Buffalo, my brother was four.  He greeted the sweaty capital by stepping off the plane and promptly fainting.)

Until my things arrive, I’m staying in temporary university housing, where kids criss-cross the yard in the morning, practicing martial arts.  They defy neighborhood naps with trumpet practice.

Ann Arbor has always had the reputation of being a place apart from the rest of the Detroit area.  A local landlord summed it up this way:

“Ann Arbor – twenty-eight square miles surrounded by reality.”

But that reality is exactly what Changing Gears is about.  And I need your help to understand it. Continue reading “Team Gears: On The Scene in Ann Arbor”

Radio Times: The State of the U.S. Auto Industry

On Monday, Senior Editor Micki Maynard spent an hour on Radio Times from WHYY in Philadelphia, discussing the state of the American auto industry. If WHYY sounds familiar, that’s because it is the public radio home of Fresh Air with Terry Gross. Micki joined Case Western Reserve University economist Susan Helper and host Marty Moss-Coane, fielding questions from listeners and even one from Twitter.

Take a listen and feel free to weigh in on the discussion below.


Team Gears: Our Man in Cleveland

Dan BobkoffI’m Dan Bobkoff, and as the Cleveland reporter for Changing Gears, I’ll be holding down our fort on Lake Erie.

If you’re a regular listener to our partner station WCPN ideastream, you’ve already heard me for the past three years, doing reports on business and politics in northern Ohio. Many of those have run on NPR shows like All Things Considered and Morning Edition. Here’s one I did recently for Weekend Edition on interesting new uses for excess infrastructure.

One thing I’ve learned since I moved here nearly four years ago is that Cleveland and Northern Ohio don’t have as clear a national image as Michigan and Chicago. That’s both good and bad. Many outside the Midwest have no real conception of what’s happening here and what it’s like to live here. For some, the image is stuck in a 40-year time warp conjuring up images of a Cuyahoga River on fire and late night comics picking on Cleveland as the “mistake on the lake.” Sure, foreclosures, population loss and the decline of manufacturing have taken their toll, but Northeast Ohio is also home to a world class orchestra, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, a fantastic hospital, food scene, and a downtown that’s looking better every year. Continue reading “Team Gears: Our Man in Cleveland”

From the Senior Editor: Meet Team Gears

It’s an exciting week for the Changing Gears team. All of our reporters are now in place — Dan Bobkoff, who is working from partner WCPN ideastream in Cleveland; Kate Davidson, based at Michigan Radio in Ann Arbor, and Niala Boodhoo, who is our Chicago reporter based at WBEZ in Chicago.

To reach any of us, send an email to changinggears (at) umich.edu. And welcome, Team Gears!

The Future of the Automobile Industry

Senior Editor Micki Maynard appeared on The Diane Rehm Show on NPR stations Monday to discuss the future of the automobile industry.

The show featured a number of callers from the Changing Gears region, who had interesting stories and opinions on federal assistance for General Motors and Chrysler. Other guests included David Shepardson, the veteran Washington automotive reporter for the Detroit News.

Did you listen to the program? Let us know your thoughts on the industry’s future.