Ok then, I am going to lickety-split put out the last of my Ann Arbor posts as really, things are getting mighty beautiful around these parts and I have the photos to prove it!
I would be crazily remiss to talk about life in Ann Arbor without mentioning Zingerman's Deli. These folks opened in 1982--yep, that is 30 years ago, meaning not that far off from the time period when Perrier was considered to be a human being (as I previously mentioned) and if you asked for a "knish" you might very well have been responded to with a "Gesundheit."
For once, and once only, to say that Zingerman's is an institution is absolutely without the least bit of exaggeration. Is it regularly on the "Best Delicatessens in America" lists? Check. Heralded by the James Beard Foundation? Yep. Loved by Oprah? Even that. It is exhausting and their empire was built up brick by brick, year after year, the hard way! Food geeks, dig in here for more history.
Admittedly, I did not get to glaze over in stupefaction while trying to pick from their gazillion sandwich choices because why? The line was simply ridiculous. Why I suggested even trying on a Saturday at lunch time...well, I was jet-lagged and senseless is all I can say. It was the coldest day of my visit, whip-smackingly so and yet there was a half-hour line outside. That, my friends is how good these gobblings are.
Inside, the joint is jumping and luckily my Mom and I were welcome to poke about even though we hadn't slogged through the line to order. Phones were ringing, orders being called out, finished goodies being delivered. Bustle, bustle.
Yet again for the food geeks, Jane and Michael Stern named Zingerman's Bakehouse Rye bread as the best in America last year. Um, if that isn't worth taking the plane (for those of you that do not have the most lovely Mom and Sis on the planet in Ann Arbor), I don't know what is...
...save perhaps for the Apple-smoked Bacon that this fine lady offered up to the poor souls that were frozen from the wait outside. Admittedly, I kept the napkin that the little piece was served on and smelled it for days after. I know that is odd, but they could bottle that scent as perfume.
Now, where things get especially interesting for me is Z's extremely fine taste in all worldly delectables. Yes, of course, there are moments of pricing of madness. Sixteen smackeroonies for a tiny jar of wild artichokes from Italy? Well, yes because where else exactly do you think that you are going to find wild Italian artichokes in these parts, hmmm?
Ahhh, mais oui. La grande mais oui. Because of the relatively selective olive oils for sale, gasp, oh gee, there is to be found both types (fruity and nutty) from the our own very dear Moulin Cornille in Maussane. It is a co-operative and even our friends that live in the Baux Valley bring in their olives to add to make this oil! It is fine stuff indeed.
I could barely approach the cheeses but to say that the choice was equally worldly is another understatement. Murray's NYC look out!
After the wait, the worthy that wish to eat sur place can take their victuals over to the charming little Victorian next door, which also has a slew of baked goods on the offering, too tempting for anyone to turn up their noses for dessert.
Z's prides itself on the quality of all that it does, that is why it has grown and become so loved. They smoke the meats, they bake the bread, they sweeten the chocolate. It is amazing actually, especially when you think of how completely ahead of their time they were and continue to be. Their success is well-deserved and that they kick back to the community is zooming them into the future. And yes, I did have a bit of Zingerman's--a wonderful brunch at their Roadhouse restaurant. My Mom, Sis and I all chose the same dish as it was the dish to be chosen, without a doubt: the Georgia Grits and Bits Waffle, which is filled with grits and cheddar and topped with bacon and the most amazing syrup. Yes, you read correctly. The ghost of Elvis take heed. Zingerman's has a new staple for you! I ate half (you will notice that I actually felt the need to order a side of scrambled, poor me, I had no idea what was coming my way).
So there you have it for Ann Arbor! As always, my infinite love and thanks to my Mom, Sister and my Mom's companion Leonard for showing me the best time possible!