zingerman’s got that something

On Sautrday, after we had wandered though the whole farmer’s market we walked over to an Ann Arbor institution, Zingerman’s Deli.  I’ve enjoyed some of Zingerman’s products before – specifically several loaves of their delicious Parmesan Pepper bread, compliments of my former boss.  I was excited for our Zingerman’s experience because I’ve only heard positive things.

There was a line for sandwiches when we got there so we got in, preparing for a long wait.  Less than 10 minutes later we were at the front of the line where a tray of samples awaited us.  While we waited out our final moments in line, we were offered bites of brownies, roasted peanuts, cheese and even mini sandwiches.  I was impressed by the spread and it made our already short wait a breeze.

When we got inside the deli, it was packed but that gave us plenty of time to decide on what we were having and also to take in the vast array of products offered there.  On top of being a deli, Zingerman’s also offers dry goods, has a creamery, a bakery, and owns a coffee shop next door that is aptly named Zingerman’s Next Door.  They even have a mail order business so people across the country can have access to their products.

I could have spent $500 on products there but, since we still had furniture to buy, just ordered a sandwich and lemonade.  I am not a huge sandwich fan.  If I eat a sandwich it is almost always grilled and evenly more likely to be some form of grilled cheese.  I don’t like lunch meat and pretty much only eat it when it’s offered to me and I don’t want to be rude.  I do, however, love barbecue and chicken so I was torn between Jay’s BBQ Chicken and Benno’s Birdie.  Taking the advice of an extremely friendly and helpful Deli worker, I chose Benno’s Birdie.

I chose well.  The (half!) sandwich was stuffed full of Amish chicken breast, Ligurian pesto, oven-dried tomatoes and fresh handmade mozzarella and served between grilled rustic Italian bread.

There was a part of the sandwich where the pesto met the butter they used to grill the sandwich and it was the most delicious salty, butter taste.  Mmm.  That was a great sandwich.  To top it off, the lemonade was delicious too, a perfect balance of sour and sweet without favoring either taste.

I can see why Zingerman’s is so popular.  They have a ton of options, use local ingredients and offer high quality deliciousness.  They just seem to have found that something special that a place needs to be a huge success.  It helps they don’t seem to take themselves too seriously.

You’ve gotta love a good sense of humor.

Are there any food institutions near you?

What’s your favorite sandwich?

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ann arbor farmer’s market

On Saturday, Todd and I made a trip down to the Ann Arbor farmer’s market.  We were heading to Crate and Barrel and Ikea to pick up furniture and figured Ann Arbor would be the perfect place to stop for lunch and a quick stroll through the farmers’ stalls.

It was flower day at the market which would have been perfect – I’ve been looking forward to buying some flowers and herbs to grow on our deck – but I didn’t want to run the risk of the dirt flying all over the back of the car or not having room for the furniture we were buying that day.  The plants had to wait.

I was surprised that there wasn’t more produce at the market but it makes sense since here in Michigan most fruits and vegetables won’t be ready for a few more weeks.

The farmer’s market there is much bigger than our local one and it was fun to walk through.

Before we left, we made one purchase.  One of my favorite things, a result of my study abroad in Buenos Aires, is a good alfajor (that’s pronounced al-fa-hore).  Alfajores come in a variety of flavors but my favorite are two shortbread cookies with dulce de leche filling.  The can either be eaten as they are, dusted with powdered sugar, edged with coconut flakes or covered in chocolate.  All of these combinations are delicious.

I recently found out that an Ann Arbor based company, Maitelates, sells their alfajores at the Ann Arbor farmer’s market.  The company is owned by a Chilean woman who makes the alfajores from a family recipe.  For more on her and the business, read this.

Honestly, that was the real reason we stopped in Ann Arbor.  They happened to be the first booth we saw when we walked in and we wasted no time picking out several different flavors – dulce de leche (the classic), coffee (for Todd), peanut butter, almond and a few more dulce de leche for good measure.

[photo from alionthego.com]

We tried them today and the stop in Ann Arbor was definitely worth it.  The cookies were buttery and light, the dulce de leche was delicious and the chocolate covering all of that sweet deliciousness was amazing.  For some reason, I wasn’t expecting the semi-sweet chocolate and it was dark and thick and just perfect.

I’m looking forward to getting to our own farmer’s market.  It’s only a few blocks away from our apartment so I plan on lots of Saturday morning walks there throughout the summer.  Just another week or so and the produce will be filling up the stalls, I can’t wait!

What is your favorite non-produce item at your local farmer’s market?

What are you looking forward to buying at the farmer’s market this summer?

east side adventure

Today was a super Sunday.  It’s opening weekend at Comerica Park in Detroit so Todd and I went with some friends to the Tigers’ game today.  It was seriously the most perfect day.  All week they had been calling for rain but this afternoon the sun was shining and, believe it or not, it was hot.  I love warm weather and I did not mind the 80 degree weather at all.  I was so happy just to be outside on such a gorgeous day.

Of course, ballpark food is always one of my favorite parts of game days.  I had a hot dog, an ice cold lemonade and split a bag of peanuts with Todd.  Exactly the right combo.

The Tigers lost to the Royals today but it was so much fun to spend the day at the game, enjoying our friends and the beautiful day.

After the game, Todd and I went to IKEA to look for some things for our newlywed apartment.  We’re moving May 1st, the Sunday before our wedding so we thought it would be a good idea to pick up a few things before then so the apartment would be a little more ready for us post-honeymoon.

When we were done there we met up with our friends Justin and Krista for dinner at The Prickly Pear Cafe in Ann Arbor.  They had been at the game with us but were all the way down the row so it was really nice to be able to catch up with them over dinner.

After eating my fair share of chips and salsa, I decided on the Vegetarian Sweet Potato Enchiladas.  I really like sweet potatoes so I couldn’t pass this dish up and I’m so glad I didn’t, it was delicious!

I don’t really think of sweet potato as a Mexican food and I love when Mexican restaurants offering interesting choices with unique ingredients.  Oh and the squash salsa on top was a great addition.  Good work, Prickly Pear!

Today was a really nice day.  It’s always good to get out town and spend time with friends, we were lucky to spend the first gorgeous day of the year together.  And honestly, it was nice to have a day where I wasn’t thinking of or doing anything for the wedding.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the planning and preparation process but it was nice to step away from that for a whole day as well.

I hope everyone else had an awesome Sunday and that it was nice and warm wherever you are!

How did you spend this amazing day?

What are you favorite ballpark eats?