If you are looking for an innovative, clean and relaxing place to enjoy a vacation or just a new place to explore, Michigan is it! To be specific, Ann Arbor is just a few hours away (by automobile) from Chicago, right outside of Detroit and below Windsor (the city in Ontario, Canada). Its endroit parfait induces an avant-garde, invigorating city and nature vibe. We wanted to spice up this press trip, so we tuned select events into a full-on fashion and lifestyle shoot. Upon arrival, we had breakfast at the Holiday Inn Ann Arbor near the University of Michigan. Straightaway we took part in exciting activities in Ypsilanti. We visited Puffer Reds since we are obsessed with cutting-edge fashion, which is a boutique that houses clothing, shoes and accessories. It has been in existence since 1979. Puffer Reds has two locations, one in Ypsilanti city and the other in Wayne county. You can shop online if you don’t live close to those areas. Ypsi Alehouse and Mishigama Craft Brewery serves many appealing beers, but, our favorite is Jimmy Jack’s Normal Beer. If you are into spicy food, you should try their Cherry Peppers and Smoked Wings.
Unity Vibration focuses on a variety of Kombucha beers and teas. The Triple Goddess Bourbon Peach Beer and Pineapple Ginger Tea are simply a delight to your buds. The Chelsea Alehouse Brewery specializes in English and American ales with many different kinds of palates including scotch, sour, cream ales and cream stout with several other varieties. Definitely try Firefly Wheat, from the selection of brews, paired nicely with their Smoked Trout Spread; the restaurant is dipped in elegance and serenity, and their food is to die for.
Eve Aronoff, French-trained chef and owner, greeted us at her restaurant, Eve Restaurant, which is located inside the Bel Tower Hotel in downtown Ann Arbor. TeaHaus is a wonderful and comfortable establishment to sip tea. They have more than 180 different teas to choose from, including classic black teas, Oolong green, white, herbal, Ayurvedic, fruit, aromatic and seasonal teas. Zingerman’s Delicatessen serves sandwiches to pair with every type of personality imaginable. It also doubles as a specialty food store, selling an array of cheeses, meats, olive oils, vinegar, coffees, teas and much more – all of these items are available via mail except the sandwiches, of course. Once you make it to Zingerman’s Deli, walk upstairs and take a look at the quilt artwork, adorable.
Ashley’s is an Irish pub that sits right across from the University of Michigan. It became an instant favorite from the first sip of their Bourbon. Johnnie Walker’s Blue Label Scotch Whisky is really rich in taste, and works well with Ashley’s BLT sandwich, which also comes with Fried Cheese Curds, Pesto Fries and a Bacon Wedge Salad. It’s heaven on earth. Arbor Brewing Company produces 130 different types of beers. A reasonable amount are seasonal and location-specific. A must-try is the Bollywood Blonde and Bliss Wheat. We came across a coffee liqueur which is worth trying, available at Ann Arbor Distilling company. We also sipped on a White Russian, which was as smooth as silk.
When time neared for the brief fashion editorial at Taste Kitchen, our stomachs were still able to work up the butterflies! It was here in Ypsilanti City, where we set up the camera equipment and searched for perfect lighting, which wasn’t that difficult in Taste Kitchen ( they’re well-equipped with massive storefront windows and tons of natural light). A little background on Taste Kitchen: this restaurant doesn’t specialize in exactly one particular category – a global cuisine with local ingredients. During your meal, it tastes as if every bite you take had been meticulously considered. Chef Danny Van treated us to a menu that called us to surrender. The dishes were so succulent, that after a full day of activities, we stuffed our stomachs with Van cuisine, and afterward, all we could do was retreat back to our room .
The University of Michigan Stadium aka “The Big House” is a classically constructed and colossal stadium built in 1927. Now, it is the largest stadium in America, with an official seating capacity of 109,900, though attendance often exceeds 111,000. One of the big perks during this tour was having the privilege of walking into the official locker rooms. The French toast at Fleetwood Diner is scrumptious, and one of their popular items is the Hippie Hash. If you’re into Moroccan food, the Casablanca is tasty, and refresh your palate with a Casablanca Fresh Lemonade with Ginger. The squad ordered a few plates: Casablanca Hummus, B’stilla , Couscous Dish and Casablanca Whole Chicken with yellow long grain rice (very tasty). The Original Gravity specializes in porter, light golden Belgian ale, American pale ale, amber ale, IPA, vanilla java porter and Orange Peel Wheels.
But, the Shinebox Dunkelweizen is recommended. Check out their website to stay abreast on their exciting menu changes. Wolverine State Brewing bar is known for their famous nachos, the 2019 Nachos. We enjoyed a flight of beers that included: Barista, Gulo, WPL, Raucher Smoked Lager and the Barista Coffee Lager (strongly recommended). In addition, they house an exclusive lager, the Wolverine Massacre Imperial Dark Lager, available annually, but only in the month of October. The dark lager is especially unique because of its packaging. Each bottle is dipped in red wax to seal in the delectable flavor. At Grange Kitchen & Bar, we tried their Spring Greens salad, Grilled Asparagus and Grilled Lake Trout. The Farmers Market introduced us to Lovage ice cream, quite a refreshing little treat. We were overjoyed to catch Pride Night at Necto nightclub. Veuve Clicquot and team members made the night! Braun Court is also an LGBTQ safe space that offers a variety of shops and great nightlife venues.
Kerrytown also houses a Farmers Market full of vendors, not to miss out on are: Maitelates Alfajor Artisanal, Mill Pond Bread, Mindo Chocolate and White Lotus Farms – just to name a few. If you’re into gelato, try the Nocciola, Coffee, Stoneground & Salted, Coconut Macaroon or Chocolate Balsamic Strawberry at Zingerman’s Creamery. So, who would’ve thought to transform an old church into a restaurant and brewery? Owners of Salt Springs Brewery, located in Saline, did. I mean, most churches hoard wine and flatbreads anyway, right? The Salt Springs Mac-N-Cheese and Sausage Pizza were faultless. At Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, in Dexter, we tasted more beers and Bourbon. Our servers recommend La Roja, they were right. Down in Grizzly Peak Brewing, we suggest Hop Happy Monk and Bear Paw Porter. It had been a while since we had tequila on our tongues, so we took a recommendation to Isalita, and that did the trick. Mani, an osteria and restaurant, offers small plates featuring seasonal and local ingredients. Their menu includes stone-fired pizza, house-made pasta alongside a small production of Old World wines. Their Pickled Tomatoes were delicious with toasted bread. Our stone-fired pizza recommendations are Cippolini and Puttanesca. We also enjoyed their Linguine and Pappardelle. It seemed we really couldn’t go wrong with anything on their menu.
This metropolis is filled with an array of restaurants and bars, with a tight local network of local farms. Ann Arbor is an innovative, fresh and artistic town, chockful of eclectic culture.
Article by Vaughn Lowery × Alicia Ramos