Road Food: Zingerman’s Deli – Ann Arbor, MI
For many years, I’ve gotten the Zingerman’s catalog. There are plenty of illustrations, but no photos involved in this cute deli/bakery line drawing paradise. When The Man and I realized that our trip from Toronto to our family’s home on Lake PawPaw in Michigan would bring us through Ann Arbor, we knew we had to see these treats in person. It’s hard to pull the trigger on mail ordering baked goods and charcuterie, but when you’re practically driving PAST the place — well, you’re just duty bound to check it out.
The interior of this lovely palace of deli-ciousness smells like a pastrami bomb went off and you’re standing in the rye-seeded crater. The Man is nothing if not indecisive. After several moments of agonizing over the vast cheese selection, the talented counter help came up with this artist’s palette of cheesy goodness.
To be sure we would not have any trouble identifying our cheeses, the cheese purveyor helpfully labeled our haul.
Clockwise from top – Blue d’auvergne (France), Sheep’s milk gouda (Netherlands), Detroit Street Brick, City Goat, Landaff (Vermont), Moses Sleeper (Vermont)
I highly suggest this method of cheese tasting. As we rode along across Michigan, our cheese warmed to the proper temperature for savoring and we were at our leisure to sample. We had plenty to pass around to our kids, who are being raised to understand that cheese comes in many colors other than Kraft.
Beyond the never ending cheese case, there were breads and meats seeming to stretch back to Detroit. I couldn’t pass up the pretzel bread.
This was awesomely crispy on the outside and tender-chewy on the inside. The flavors were dead-on perfect. I could have eaten about 12 of the little loaves!
The rye was dubbed by the Sterns as the best in America in Saveur magazine, so of course I had to try that.
This rye was so good that I kept eating it for breakfast every morning until it was gone. I haven’t tried every rye in America as I’m sure the Sterns have, but I would definitely say it’s the best I’ve had.
Finally, with our deep and abiding love for charcuterie, The Man and I could never imagine choosing just one of the many deli case offerings. Luckily, Zingerman’s is way ahead of us with the Meat Cone – a sampler of multiple meaty nibbles fashionably arrayed in a paper cone that just happens to fit perfectly in your minivan cup holder.
I would highly recommend a trip to Zingerman’s if you’re passing through. Forget what you’ll read from locals about how expensive the sandwiches are – it’s all worth it. You can order from their website or catalog, though I don’t have any experience with how their products hold up to shipping. However, their customer service is the bomb. The counter help was patient and kind with knowledge of each and every product. They even took Pudge’s hand and led us up the stairs to their bathroom instead of just pointing at the door. If that is any indication, pick up the phone and ask them what they can do for you.
Zingerman’s is located at 422 Detroit Street in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Get more info or some mail-order love at the Zingerman’s Deli website.
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