Ann Arbor: Small Shops
I'm not really one for road trips, but Ann Arbor is such a fun place to explore. I've been there during every season, and summer is by far the best. The main reason being that there are so many cute small shops to walk around and check out. I've done it in winter (several times) and it's just much more pleasant when I'm not freezing, haha!
We started going straight to Zingerman's -- this is a place my hubby and I have visited since we started dating! It is such an experience, so many unique offerings (deli, bakery, and pantry) that it's easy to spend hours in their little store. They have specialty items, and it's the only place we've found in the U.S. to get my favorite cheese in the world (Berkswell). Here's what we got on the last trip to Ann Arbor:
This time, we picked up a healthy mix of our standard items and some new ones too!
- Zingerman's Buenos Aires Brownies - This was my hubby's pick and one of his favorite Zingerman's treats
- Violette mustard - This was such a surprising mustard; a beautiful deep purple color and slightly floral mustard flavor.
- Regalis haskap berry & saskatoon berry jams - If you read my recent gourmet finds post, you'll find a review of some other tasty Regalis jams, and another place I've found them!
- Raspberry jam - My hubby loves raspberry jam (unfortunately raspberries are high oxalate)
Next to the farmer's market is another store called Sparrow Market. It has normal grocery items, as well as an awesome butcher shop (we love their house-smoked pastrami) and a hidden gem of a seafood counter, where you you can get fresh fish, oysters, and special seafood dishes that they prepare on the spot for you, to eat at the counter. We purchased some specialty sausages and found candied ginger that didn't use sulphur dioxide ,which was a surprise. So hard to find ingredients straightforward like this one: ginger, sugar. This is also where we got our pig skin to make homemade chicharrones!
Kind of connected inside the building is a little wine shop with a lot of natural wines, biodynamic wines, and a rather large & unique beer selection. It's so exciting to find these shops!
If we are wanting quick Mexican food in downtown A2, Tios is it. Their street tacos are tasty, come out fast, and for dessert, my hubby likes their churros so much! They come with a rich caramel dipping sauce.
Our next stop was Plum Market. I had heard so much about this market, I was looking forward to scoping it out. I can spend hours in grocery stores! They had some really unique food items, and a huge wine & liquor department. For example, I was so surprised to find they had the TALIA sleeping pizzas there (napolitano freezer-to-bake style pizzas). I had only seen them online and we actually tried them out (unfortunately, their flour didn't work for me, but it's a great option for my hubby)! Here are some of the things we purchased:
Tepache - this is another thing we actually bought a variety pack online first. A traditional fermented soda from Mexico that uses pineapple as the base, the ones we ordered online were a little too overpowering for me, but my hubby loved them. They had some different flavors at the store (Chamoy, Prickly Pear, Grapefruit Lime, Watermelon Jalapeno) and we got one of each. They were all amazing-- like, so much better than the others and not overpowering at all...made me wonder if they changed their recipe!
Chorizo - this meat is shelf stable from Spain and perfect for our charcuterie board! Reminded me of the best parts of our trip to Catalonia.
Yuzu Bachan - If you read my post on recent foods I found out about, you'll find mention of the regular Bachan sauce...but we've been looking for the yuzu one for months!!! So exciting to find it here, and it is really tasty. For an everyday sauce, I still prefer the regular one the best.
Chili lime chicharrones - You can read my full chicharrones review, but I picked these up because all I brought with me was jerky, and I needed something lighter to snack on.
Harmless Harvest coconut water - this is my favorite store-bought brand of coconut water. The pink color just makes it!
A2 Farmer's Market:
We got lucky on the day we went and it was one of two weekly Farmer's Market days, which is just diagonal from Zingerman's and next to Sparrow Market (the only downside was trying to find parking). At the farmers market, usually my hubby immediately seeks out a baker stand who sells olive bread, and a cup of hot coffee from local roaster Roos Roast, and I look for the local soap makers! Tiani makes several items, but this solid dish soap was so unique, I couldn't pass it up! It smelled great and has straightforward ingredients. I purchased a little soap dish to keep it on (the owner said it would save the life of the soap) and a couple scrub brushes. I like both the long and short ones, depending on what I'm washing. So many cool vendors and offerings from season to season at this market.
I want to know your favorite A2 places, be sure to let me know in the comments. As always, #GetSatiated.