Saturday, October 10, 2009

The greatest deli on the mail!

I know I have mentioned Zingerman's Deli before, but to reiterate, it is one of my favorite restaurants, no, one of my favorite places, in the entire world.

It is a bold claim, but if you are ever in Ann Arbor, Michigan, make sure you stop by. You will not regret it. My friend Mike may have introduced me to Spanish food, but I feel he owes me one now too for insisting he try Zingerman's the minute he set foot on the Michigan campus for grad school.

Zingerman's is not just a delicatessen, it is an experience. Every type of bread, every make of salami, coffee blend, sauce, vinegars, chicken breast, farmhouse cheese, estate-bottled olive oil, and tomato is chosen and/or created by Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig for freshness and flavor, and it pays off, with FOOD & WINE selecting it as one of the "Top 25 Food Markets" in the entire world. Yowza.

The have a wide array of custom sandwiches and other deli fare–you can view the full menu on their website (it is like food porn to me). I maintain that their best sandwich is the #11, J. J.'s Pastrami Special, which is Zingerman's own pastrami on grilled rye bread with Swiss cheese from Switzerland and roasted onions. Add spicy mustard to taste. As is the case with my mother's spaghetti sauce, I have a hard time eating pastrami sandwiches any place else, although the Astro Diner on 6th and 56th is quite nice. I do have to request the onions, however--that does not come standard, and just the level of the ingredients is not quite the same.

Pastrami sandwiches (and really, all sandwiches) from any place else in the world also do not come with Zingerman's coveted "new pickle," which I now happily have a stash of in my fridge, thanks to the aforementioned Pickle Day here in NYC.

My father loves Zingerman's even more than I do. He had just graduated from Michigan's law school when it opened in 1982 and was clerking with judge in Bay City. He always made time for little weekend visits to Ann Arbor to stock up on breads, cheeses, meats, and other goodies from Zingerman's, and I am sure his visits only increased in frequency when my mom became pregnant with me and embraced all the accompanying cravings. Every year we journey to the shores of beautiful Lake Walloon up in the northern part of the state, and my parents insist we spend a few days in Ann Arbor prior. I know it is partly because they enjoy visiting their old alma matter where they met (my dad likes to point out the little bench in the law quad where he and my mom would have lunch between classes, aw), but I have a sneaking suspicion it is also so they can fill up on Zingerman's food.

Today, however, I can satisfy my Zingerman's joneses with their mail-order program. While I also have the wide array of gourmet food shops in NYC at my disposal, the prices through this mail order are very fair, and as my schedule grows increasingly hectic this fall, I have less time to spend hours poking around foodie shops. The mail-order catalog cannot provide me with my beloved sandwiches, but it can provide me with artisan cheeses from around the world, custom blended cocoa mixes, wild honey, coffee and tea, Great Lakes chesire, beautiful breads, and more. You can even order "Zingerman's Big Box of Meat." I mean, if that does not convince you that this place is money, I don't know what will.

Visit to satisfy your every gastronomical whim.


  1. Sandwich #85 for life. That's all I have to say on that.

  2. That's a good one too! Anything that comes with baked beans is a winner in my book...and true to form, Zingerman's rocks their own brand.

  3. This is a great place, a family traditon for us!