Zingerman’s Tour de Food

Matt and I traveled to Ann Arbor, MI to visit his family last weekend, and while the family visit was the first priority, we had a pretty serious food itinerary as well.

Zingerman's Deli

Zingerman’s is an Ann Arbor institution that Matt got me hooked on when I first visited his hometown a couple of years ago. Their deli and shop, pictured above, is their main business, but they now own different businesses all over town.

When I first visited their store, I was amazed at how friendly everyone was and how willing they were to give samples of their products. In fact, they encourage you to sample something before you buy. Whenever Matt or I go, we always wind up bringing home some sort of fancy olive oil or spice. In fact, when Matt and I first started dating, he took a trip home and brought me back some fleur de sel from Zingerman’s. He knew the key to my heart…

Zingerman's Tour de Food

Since we knew we wanted to visit as many of their businesses as possible in our short visit, we embarked on Zingerman’s Tour de Food, a self-guided tour of their retail businesses in a 24-hour period. You have to get your “passport” signed at each stop and then turn it in at the end to be entered in a $250 gift card drawing. They also donate $5 to the Southern Foodways Alliance for every person who completes the Tour de Food.

We arrived in Ann Arbor just in time for lunch, and Matt’s brother was a trouper when he picked us up from the airport and we asked if he’d be willing to go straight to the deli, followed by the bakery, creamery, and coffee shop. We were on a tight schedule, and luckily he likes Zingerman’s as much as we do.

Zingerman's Montreal Beef

The first time I went to Zingerman’s Deli, the person behind the deli counter was nice enough to give me samples of their different meats when I couldn’t decide what to order. I was torn between the pastrami, corned beef, and Montreal beef, so they gave me a sample of each to decide. They were all delicious, but the spices on the Montreal beef made it the clear winner for me. Just like last time, I went with the S. Muno’s Montreal Reuben with the hot Montreal beef, swiss cheese, sauerkraut, and russian dressing on grilled rye bread. (And that is the small size.)

Zingerman's Latke

Matt is sort of obsessed with Zingeran’s Potato Latkes. He thought about getting something else this time, but inevitably settled on a couple of latkes. They are simple but done right.

Zingerman’s Delicatessen
422 Detroit St
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Zingerman's Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Zingerman's Bakery

Our next stop was Zingerman’s Bakehouse. While you can get most of their baked goods at the deli, it was fun to see where they actually do the baking. They also have a schedule posted by the checkokut of which items come out of the oven when, so you can time your trip accordingly if you’re truly serious about your baked goods.

Zingerman's Brownie

We just wanted a bite of something sweet, so we shared a Black Magic Brownie. It was dense, fudgy, and, indeed, magical.

Zingerman’s Bakehouse
3711 Plaza Dr
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Zingerman's Bakehouse on Urbanspoon

Zingerman's Gelato

Zingerman’s Creamery is located right next to the Bakehouse. They have an impressive selection of in-house made cheeses. They nicely offered samples of anything we wanted to try, but we were too full at that point. Or at least until we got to the gelato counter. The Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato was too good to pass up. A quick espresso from Zingerman’s Coffee Company next door washed it all down.

The next morning, we headed to Zingerman’s Roadhouse for brunch. I’ve been dying to try their macaroni and cheese ever since Alton Brown named it the best comfort food in America.

Roadhouse Pastry Basket

But first, we started with the Pastry Basket. It had a freshly fried donut (which was still steaming hot when it arrived), and a few different types of coffee cake. The coconut lime coffee cake might be the best baked good I’ve ever had. It was really hard to save room for that mac and cheese…

Roadhouse Mac and Cheese

This Roadhouse Macaroni and Cheese that they’re famous for definitely lived up to the hype. Instead of baking the pasta in the cheese sauce, they saute it together over high heat so that parts of the cheese sauce get caramelized. The result is perfectly cooked noodles swimming in a creamy cheddar sauce with little caramelized bits throughout. It’s ridiculous, really.

Roadhouse Fried French Toast

Matt ordered the American Spoonfruit Fried French Toast, which was two thick slices of bakehouse bread filled with blueberry preserves and fried in a vanilla batter.

Zingerman’s Roadhouse
2501 Jackson Ave
Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Zingerman's Roadhouse on Urbanspoon

Even though we were technically done with the Tour de Food, Matt told me we had to try at least something from San Street, an Asian street food cart is part of Zingerman’s community of businesses. We went by later in the afternoon to check it out.

San Street Tofu Bun

Matt ordered a Spicy Tofu Bun. The tofu was fried and then coated in gochujaug, which is a Korean chili paste that I am going to buy immediately now that I know about it. We both joked that we wished everything we ever ate could taste like this…except that we weren’t really even joking.

San Street Chicken Bun

I ordered a Spicy Chicken Bun. It was good, but it was hard to live up to the spicy tofu version. We tried to go back to San Street for an early lunch before our flight home on Monday but they didn’t open early enough. We were actually a little devastated.

Overall, we had a great weekend in Ann Arbor. Now please excuse me as I go try to replicate that tofu bun.

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