Part of an occasional series in which I highlight places in Ann Arbor I'm going to miss when I move in May aka places you should visit when you're in town!
A place of joy! (photo from annarbor.com)
I had only been on spring break for four days when I had a pang. I missed Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor. And not just Zingerman’s in general, but the specific area where they have olive oil taste testing. It was a little strange to miss that exact spot, but then again, it’s a short walk (and mental jump) from the olive oils to the fresh bread and brownies to the cheese counter and then to that lovely spot where you order sandwiches and side dishes.
I love Zingerman’s. One of my life goals is to make enough money to rent a house within two blocks so I can buy fresh bread and unusual cheeses there every other day, plus coffee cake on the weekends. Their sandwich menu is varied and delicious – the #27, Pat & Dick's Honeymooner (“Smoked turkey breast, Wisconsin muenster & sweet-hot honeycup mustard on grilled challah bread.”) is one of my favorites. Next door to the deli is the annex, with seating as well as desserts, coffees, and cocoas. Recently, they featured at least six different types of cocoa, from their regular deliciousness to Mexican drinking chocolate.
Every trip to Zingerman’s is exciting and pleasant. The staff is extremely friendly and is always willing to explain the different types of cheese/bacon/etc that they sell. There are also tons of samples, which always make me happy. When waiting in line to order sandwiches, you walk by the bread counter, so you can pick up a piece of bacon pepper bread or sour cream coffee cake or a chunk of brownie… it’s all of my food dreams come true.
So many cheeses! (photo from psychologytoday.com)
Zingerman's has also played a special role in my life in Ann Arbor. Tasting cheeses was one of my first dates with my boyfriend. Dinner at Zingerman's Roadhouse was another early date. (Try one of their macaroni and cheeses!) For my 22nd birthday, he created a picnic in U of M's arboretum with Zingerman's bread, cheese and side dishes and surprised me with their Buttermilk Cake ("A dense buttery yellow cake filled with raspberry buttercream and covered in smooth vanilla swiss buttercream." Delicious!). I've also found that getting a cup of coffee and camping out in Zingerman's to work can be surprisingly productive. Because it's a bit of a walk from campus, I'm not surrounded with stressed college students like I would be if I set up in the undergraduate library. Additionally, during my freshman year one of my favorite moments with three of my best friends was a dinner conversation that revolved entirely around Zingerman's gift baskets. When I have a steady job, I hope I can send them each gift baskets now and then to remind them.
I hope that after I leave Ann Arbor I won't have to give up Zingerman's entirely. They do have an impressive mail order catalog. (Please keep this in mind if you're someone who ever needs to buy me gifts!) Considering I missed Zingerman's that much after only four days away from Ann Arbor, I'm sure that after four months it will be even tougher. On the bright side, I'll always know where to go for lunch when I'm back in town!
And, for your enjoyment, here are my college roommate's thoughts on Zingerman's gift baskets: "So you send gift baskets back and for for like, five, ten years to establish trust. Then the last year, you don't send one, and you grab the one they send you and you flee the country. Then you're one gift basket ahead!"
What do you love in Ann Arbor? Let me know! I've only got two more months and I want to see as much as I can!