Ann Arbor is home to a great many restaurants. Of course, I may be a little biased and assume that they are all amazing, but when I found myself at Taste Kitchen, I was in new territory. You, back when I was a student Taste Kitchen didn’t exist. Plus, if it did it was definitely beyond my onetime student budget.
A great ramen is hard to find. Good ramen, not so much, but great yes. So when Slurping Turtle in Chicago got so big that they decided to open up an outpost in Ann Arbor, I assumed great things. So on my last visit to Michigan amidst weather worthy of ramen, I made sure to make a stop in Ann Arbor for some slurping.
2014 is here, but my 2013 may have been the best year of eating in the history of the world, so it’s time for another Unvegan Best of. The past year included a honeymoon, an epic month-long road trip and a move from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh, so my list has broadened beyond LA and narrowing down the awesome was quite the process. Nonetheless, I encourage you all to go back through my Reviews section to see what didn’t quite make the cut. Remember that the list only includes places new to The Unvegan and bear in mind that Honorable Nods this year would probably be winners any other year. Without further ado:
It’s funny how a small college town can feel quite big when winter is so long and eating out is so much more money than a box of mac and cheese. (you need that money for beer, not food). So while I was a student at Michigan, I think I made it to Pita Kabob Grill once. But upon my return to Ann Arbor recently, I found myself with someone who had glorious memories of that little Middle-Eastern hole-in-the-wall and so I doubled down on my visits.
Once upon a time I was a student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Sure, Ann Arbor may be famous for having the school, but it is almost as famous for having a little deli called Zingerman’s. Well, back in 2003 they opened a non-deli restaurant called Zingerman’s Roadhouse far off campus and I paid them a visit. At the time, all I needed to be happy was a $1 slice of pizza (okay very little has changed) and I wasn’t much for the fancy stuff. So, at the time Zingerman’s Roadhouse did very little for me and simply didn’t feel special.
After an awesome Michigan Football game, I was a happy and hungry unvegan. Fortunately I had dinner plans outside of normal Ann Arbor at a restaurant called Carson’s American Bistro. Although it was still in Ann Arbor, it was far enough from the Big House that it wasn’t hard to get a table. The name, Carson’s, evoked thoughts of some sort of a cowboy steakhouse, but when I walked in, I found it was anything but. Also, there is no such thing as a cowboy steakhouse in southeastern Michigan. It was actually a pretty upscale place with a nice selection of food. I wasn’t exactly ready for something huge (having partaken in some cheap pizza while leaving the stadium), so I looked to the burgers.
EDIT: Blimpy Burger has moved due to a rent dispute, but it is reputedly as good as always.
After four years of living in Ann Arbor and countless other trips to the city of my alma mater, I have finally made my way to Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger. Although I always knew of the place while I lived there, I didn’t realize just how big of a deal it was until I saw it on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Since that time, it has been my goal to eat at Blimpy Burger and I can finally cross that place off of my list. But is it any good?
After failing to grab a late-night snack at Red Hot Lovers (if your damn sign says you are open til midnight, I better be able to show up at 11:57 and get a hot dog), we headed to Backroom Pizza. As a college student, this place was the best. Slices of cheese pizza were a buck and pepperoni ran 1.50. No one would ever claim it was great pizza, but at 2:30 am, you don’t need great pizza. Now that I’m no longer a poor college student, I was wondering if it would still have the allure it once did.
Everyone in LA seems to know that the place has no good beer culture, yet no one has really done anything to fix that. Sure, there’s BJ’s (no good) and a couple other microbreweries that are difficult to get to, but come on, LA is a huge city that deserves more. So when I left LA for Ann Arbor for a bit of a bachelor party, we headed to the Grizzly Peak Brewing Company. I’ve loved the Grizzly Peak for a long time, even dating back to before I could drink their beer and drank their micro-brewed root beer. I have a lot of great memories of the place and hoped that my most recent visit wouldn’t be a disappointment.
After a fruitless attempt to grab lunch at Blimpy Burger, we had to think fast and find ourselves another quick place to eat in Ann Arbor. We decided that Pizza Bob’s would be a great option. Pizza Bob’s has been in Ann Arbor forever, but for some reason I never went while I was a student. Once inside, I decided I didn’t really need any pizza for lunch, but the calzone looked awesome. For $7.08 (wait, how much?), I ordered a calzone stuffed with pepperoni, sausage and meatballs. No need to order without veggies since I got to choose the toppings (innards?) myself. The guy at the counter asked if I wanted white or wheat dough, and I chose white.