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?

hmp: grilled cheddar and apple

After my return to work which was largely uneventful, I ran to the store to pick up a few groceries.  Since our apartment is still a pigsty work in progress we decided that we should keep it simple and focus on organizing the apartment.  Plus, Todd was in the middle of building some of our new furniture including a beautiful new wine bar that we bought for additional storage.

After we started to move in we quickly realized that while our cupboards are full of dishes and other wonderful things that we didn’t have any room for food in the cupboards so we also bought a big wire rack that’s doubling as storage and a pantry and will eventually house our microwave.

After putting a few things away I got to work in our new kitchen for the first time.  For our first dinner in our new home, I turned to an old favorite – grilled cheese.  With less ingredients than I can count on my hand, it was the perfect choice for a simple, quick supper.  I started with the basics an then added my favorite secret ingredient for grilled cheese sandwiches – granny smith apple slices.

Apples with cheese is one of my favorite combos.  I like to slice the apples thin and sandwich them in between slices of cheese so they stick in the bread nicely when you grilled them up.

I snacked on another favorite apple combo while the sandwiches were cooking.

Apples and peanut butter used to be a Sunday night staple at our house growing up.  I think we need to reinstate that tradition.  I love the sweet saltiness of the peanut butter combined with the tartness of the apples.  Yum!

As if that wasn’t good enough, Todd and I had our grilled cheese ready a few minutes later (his minus the apple) and enjoyed them in the sun out on the deck.

Look at all of that gooey, melty cheese!

How do you like your grilled cheese sandwiches?

Do you add anything to make them special or are you a traditionalist?