Monday, January 25, 2010

a trip to ann arbor

i was lucky enough this holiday to go on a looong vacation to spend some much needed time with family and friends. after the holidays in chicago, i visited one of my best friends, miss jhongz, who lives in ann arbor michigan. i used to visit ann arbor at least once a year when i was an undergrad. always a good time! this was my first time visiting since senior year and i was introduced to a whole new kind of ann arbor. i fell completely in love all over again with ann arbor and i wanted to share a few favorite spots in case you ever find yourself in the neighborhood.

first stop, found!  found is the prettiest vintage shop i've ever been in.  it's a crafters dream!  even the cabinets and tables used to display items are lovely vintage items.  i need to find an old mailbox cabinet like the one they use to hold vintage photographs.  as you peak into every little drawer and cabinet, you find everything from door knobs to milk caps to old ledgers.  when i was there, they had complete alphabet rubber stamps in all different kinds of type.  so... tempting... thank goodness my luggage was barely large enough to hold my clothes otherwise half of this store would have found its way back to boston with me.  they also put together these great themed paper packs.  they have game packets with bits from children's books and games, medical packets with incredible pages from old medical books and dictionaries, and language packs with vintage flash cards and pages from books in other languages.  lucky for those of us that can't make it to ann arbor too often, they offer a selection from their store on their website

spice merchants.  the smell alone can make you dizzy with joy.  the rich, spicy, herby, smell of spice merchants hits you before even stepping through the doors.  the space is so beautiful.  wall after wall filled with jars of various spices.  everything is neatly organized and labeled.  good thing too because you could easily lose your head with excitement.  you can get the standard cinnamon, oregano, and peppercorn but they also offer hand blended spice mixes.  you can get fish rubs, popcorn seasonings, chili seasonings, curries, soup blends, black truffle sea salt, and the list goes on and on.  i was having trouble deciding so the sales lady told me to feel free to open the jars and take a sniff.  that actually made things even more difficult because they all smelled SO GOOD.  don't live close by?  no worries!  you can order everything from their website

ann arbor is delicious.  it was hard to pick my favorite place to eat in ann arbor but i ended up choosing zingerman's for a couple of reasons.  zingerman's was born in 1982 and is a food market complete with specialty cheese and meats, coffee, teas, fresh bread, lovely olive oils and vinegars, and best of all, the best dang sides bar i've ever tasted.  they're famous for their mac and cheese (completely justified) and i loved everything i tried (i sampled everything they had in their case that day).  you can actually sample anything you want in the store.  we had a few samples of cheese, tried some oils at the oil & vinegar bar, and poked fun at the hairnet the bread counter guy was wearing  :)  this place would be great based solely on their food, but their staff... they're staff is incredible.  their food is hand selected by experienced staff who travel the country to find the best that's out there.  everyone was so friendly and was so enthusiastic about the food.  these people really know their stuff and they love it and want to share it with you.  my only regret... not trying one of their pot pies before leaving.  sigh.  until i can go back to ann arbor, i'll be trying out recipes from their website, all of which were created by their staff!

the next time i head out to ann arbor, i'll have to add another place to this list of favorites... lab!  lab is a coffee+tea+yogurt cafe that will be opened any day now by none other than miss jhongz and mr twac.  i've seen the space and even though it wasn't finished yet, it's already beautiful.  i can't wait to see you and lab again!

image from lab


  1. awww youngmi, this is a great entry :) come back again soon!!! i miss you!

  2. Hello! Just bloghopping. Great blog!

    Happy blogging! :)

  3. :) i liked this entry too...captured grown-up ann arbor very well. and so informative..even tho i was already there firsthand!