Category Archives: Ann Arbor Restaurant Reviews

Ann Arbor Mark’s Carts Vegan Lunch Run

Ann Arbor Food

Pad Thai from the Lunchroom @ Mark’s Carts  Ann Arbor

Still on my Vegan kick. I had lunch sampler from the The Lunchroom and at San Street at Ann Arbor food carts, Mark’s Carts. The Lunchroom has a three item sampler for $8 and a bunch of great vegan cookies. I also had a mushroom bun from San Street, which also has a tofu bun for vegan options. Emily and I split up the meal for a nice variety (not show below).

Make sure you stake a claim on The Lunchroom cookies. Emily took a bite and would not give it back.

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Slaw from the Lunchroom @ Mark’s Carts Ann Arbor

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Tofu Bahmi Sandwich from the Lunchroom @ Mark’s Carts Ann Arbor

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Bun from San Street @ Mark’s Carts Ann Arbor




Ann Arbor Vegan Dining at Jazzie Veggie

Ann Arbor Food

Mum Season: It is officially Fall

Keeping with my Vegan theme for the week, I attended my second Vegan Meetup event in Ann Arbor. It was at Jazzie Veggy on Main Street.

They do a lot of “faux meat items,” which are big hits with the Vegan set. There was “chicken” nuggets, soy sausage, “meat balls” with spaghetti, and more. I am looking to transition out of eating gluten, which means that most of the faux meat is off the menu.

They offered some fun apps of sweet potato fries and Plantain Chips.

We had the Krab cakes, very tasty, the veggie enchiladas and carrot cake.

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Mushroom Sandwich

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“Krab” Cakes: Very Yummy, I must have

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Enchilada w/Spanish Rice

Sava Restaurant Ann Arbor

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Cappellini Marlon (pasta w/lobster, shrimp in saffron cream sauce

This is my second time going to Sava in Ann Arbor. They have a mixed menu of pub food, standards like steak and fish, pasta and Italian, and Mexican.

That seems all over the map, but everything I have had there has been good.

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Fish and Chips (Icelandic cod beer battered)

Ann Arbor Food Sava Restaurant

Marlin special

Ann Arbor Food Sava Restaurant

Filet Mignon Steak with potato and asparagus

Ann Arbor Food Sava Restaurant


Ann Arbor Food Sava Restaurant

Chocolate Lava Cake with Ice Cream

Ann Arbor Food Sava Restaurant

Creme Brulee

Marks Carts Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Food

It is offical. Mark’s Carts are open for business. For the most part it is a lunch scene to about 2:00 PM. Show up later and some of the carts may be closed up for the day.

I have tried three of the six carts so far.

I had a tasty coconut vegan stew from the Lunchroom and a vegan chocolate chip cookie.

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Humble Hog served up some good brisket BBQ and for the more adventurous Head cheese.

And Eat, which has been a mainstay at the AA downtown Farmers Market had a tasty pork confit with a mustard seed spread.

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All offerings were great.

The Pork Buns offered by San Street are raved about, but I have yet to try them or Debajo del Sol chorizo corn dogs.

Mary’s Fabulous Chicken And Fish– and Gizzards: By Jeff Pierce

Article and photos by Jeff Pierce, Washtenaw Voice staff

Ann Arbor Food

Yong Kims secret location at 3220 Packard road

An odd looking structure sits on Ann Arbor’s southeast side, owned by Yong Kim and his wife Aggie. Loyal followers have flocked to this structure since Yong and his wife opened it back in 1982. Welcome to a restaurant named Mary’s Fabulous Chicken & Fish, located at 3220 Packard road, in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Yong and his family have proudly served the Ann Arbor area for three decades.

“I love Yong Kim’s gizzards. I’ve been eating here for years,” said Al Dungey, 74, a Ford retiree from Ann Arbor.

“Gizzards are healthy to eat. They’re rich in iron and protein like beef liver,” said Dungey, while eating in the two-table dining area.

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Al Dungey at counter

CPA Pete Papadopoulos, 45, is a financial adviser in downtown Ann Arbor.

“I stop here once in a while for a pint of gizzards to take to work. They’re excellent,” according to Papadopoulos. He also ordered a 3-piece chicken dinner.

‘Brick’ Washington, 28, lives and works in Ypsilanti. He stops in Mary’s Chicken the time for carryout. “Yong’s gizzards are the best. I get them when I order chicken legs or a cheese steak hoagie,” said Brick, a patron since 1993.

Ann Arbor Food

Yong Kim stands in front of menu

L.T., 32, of Ann Arbor, has stopped at Mary’s since the age of 8. “Good gizzards are hard to find. I stop in at least once a week. It’s a cheap snack– $1.99 for a half-pint of gizzards,” said L.T., an unemployed southeast-side resident.

“Yong serves his gizzards in a Styrofoam cup ready to eat! When I’m done, I have a cup and fork to use later,” said L.T.

The carryout restaurant relies on chicken and cheese-steak hoagie sales. But shrimp, clams, French fries, onion rings, fried mushrooms and various sandwich styles are available, as well as chicken and fish combo dinners. All dinners, served in grease-stained boxes, contain french fries, coleslaw and a roll.

Gary McCall, 45, from Chelsea, a University of Michigan employee, stops for the convenient carryout.

“I’m picking up a few pints of homemade rice pudding for a dinner party tonight.” according to McCall.

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Yong Kims south side Ann Arbor specialty: Gizzards

Yong Kim sells 80 pounds of gizzards per week. He buys frozen chickens pre-cut, but the gizzard demand forces him to buy additional 40-pound packages of frozen gizzards.

“Gizzards are small. Our chicken sales can’t generate enough gizzards. We buy frozen gizzards separately to bread, cook and serve,” according to Yong.

Don’t forget the gravy “I keep the price down for everybody,” said Yong.

Mary’s Fabulous Chicken & Fish is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Tienda La Libertad: A Taste of Mexico in Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Food

Walk into Tienda La Libertad, a Mexican and Latin American grocer on 2231 West Liberty in Ann Arbor and you will feel like you have been transported to Mexico. That is the way Cesar Hervert, the owner Tienda La Libertad wants it.

Mariachi music plays in the back ground; there are smells of taco meat cooking on the grill and colorful piñatas adorn the ceiling waiting for a party.

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In fact many of the customers and employees speak to each other in Spanish, so if you did not know it, you would think you were in another country.

A hand written sign next to the entrance advertises $1.59 tacos. For those who have not been to the grocer in a while, these are new as of this January.

For regulars like a tall Spanish speaking guy wearing a T-shirt with a soccer player in an astronaut suit, these tacos are comfort food.

He orders two beef tongue tacos, which are his favorite. He would like to see them offer tripe (beef intestine) tacos and beef brain.

“Beef tongue is very tasty. It tastes similar to raccoon,” he said with a smile. Tienda La Libertad does not serve raccoon.

He said that he had tried raccoon tacos, but it is not a traditional meat served on tacos in Mexico.

Ann Arbor FoodFamed food writer Calvin Trillin in his book, The Tummy Trilogy, notes the importance of seeing tripe on the menu of a taco joint. He is not a fan of tripe, but he sees tripe on the menu as a sign that the place is the real deal.

Tripe not withstanding, Teinda La Libertad is the real deal.

Hervert has big plans for the prepped food aspect of the business. They just installed a hot bar which features beans and rice, soup and three sections of meat.

“You come in. You get your meal and you are good to go,” said Hervert.

The hot bar was just installed the day before and Hervert is excited about it.
They currently can only offer take out, but Hervert says that will change soon.

Ann Arbor Food

Cesar Hervert

“We are going to have seating for 20 inside,” said Hervert gesturing to the open space near the hot bar. “We will also have tables outside for another 20.”

Hervert is working out the details with the city to offer seating, so he could not say exactly when sit down dining will be available.

For now there is a standing room only counter off to the side where customer orders tacos.

Prepared food is only one aspect of Tienda La Libertad. Their main business is groceries.

“I mostly get tortilla, refried beans, chips and the Mexican cheese Queso Fresco,” said Rita Nelson, a regular customer. “I do not get taco there. I make my own at home.”

They also have fresh baked goods, and other items like prepaid phone cards, Spanish language DVD rentals and Western Union money transfers for customers to send money to relatives living in Mexico.

Tienda La Libertad is located on Ann Arbor’s west side at 2231 West Liberty St, near W. Stadium Blvd.

Open Daily 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.,
Sundays 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
Phone (734)585-5796

View Larger Map

Washtenaw Community College: Garretts Dinner and a Movie

Ann Arbor FoodOne of the best entertainment deals at Washtenaw Community College is Dinner and Movie*. For $15, you get dinner for two at Garrett’s Restaurant (located in the Student Center) Friday night dinners and two movie passes to Quality 16 theaters.

The restaurant is run by WCC Culinary Art and Hospitality Program. Chef Gary Marquardt runs the Friday night program.

*I am pretty sure Dinner and a Movie is only available to WCC students, but anyone can come for the dinner.

There was a full house of 43 dinners last Friday with many taking the Dinner and Movie offer. Tickets for Dinner and Movie are available at the cashier counter on the second floor of the Student Center.

The meals at Garrett’s are based on a theme. Last Friday’s theme was an all vegetarian meal, which included a vegan offering. The meals come with rolls/bread, an appetizer, choice of soup or salad, an entree and dessert.

Garret’s Friday night service also offers a variety of beverage service with some nights featuring wine, beer or specialty alcoholic beverage.

They do not offer alcohol every night, however. On vegetarian night, Garret’s featured a table side tea service and they will be featuring smoothies on another night this semester.

Seating for the Friday night service begins at 5:30pm. The cost is around $15 per person. Cash, check, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover Card are accepted. There is an additional cost of $4.95 for the beverage tasting. Reservations are encouraged, and you can call 734-973-3592 to reserve a table. Upcoming dinners include:

* March 11: Vegetarian menu with tea tasting
* March 18: St. Patrick’s Day beer tasting
* March 25: Catch of the day with fruit smoothie tasting
* April 1: Southwestern celebration with margarita tasting
* April 8: Spring into summer with BBQ and beer tasting

Here is a run down of the meal:

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They offered nine different varieties of ice cream including blueberry, vanilla, chocolate, green tea, pistachio, strawberry…

Washtenaw Student Run Bakery:The Sweet Spot

Here is a quick video a did using a flip camera. It is of the WCC student run bakery, which is only open a few hours a week, Tues-Thursday from 12:00-1:00 p.m. They sell out fast, so get there early.

Tomukun Noodles in Ann Arbor: PHO

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Tomukun is one of Ann Arbor’s newest restaurants. They specialize in moderately priced noodle dishes like ramen, pho, soba, and udon. They also offer rice dishes and a nice assortment of appetizers like pork buns, which come more open faced than the traditional cooked inside a bun.

The verdict.

The place was great. I ordered the deluxe pho and Emily had the spicy seafood ramen. Good Pho is hard to find. I thought theirs was worthy. Was it the best? The Pho I had out in Oregon kicked-ass, so I will not go on the record saying it was the best I ever had, but it was the best in town and I plan to make Tomukun my haunt for my local Pho fix.

What you want to see with Pho is fixings like lime, sprouts, hot peppers, sweet and hot sauce and fresh basil. Tomukun provided those fixings. Any place that cheaps out and does not provide them with your Pho is not worth returning too. (I will not say who you are…other so called Pho places in town…but they know)

What made this Pho a little different at Tomukun is the broth, which was pork not beef. I liked it. They also put slices of pork belly in the Pho Deluxe, which I never had before. I am not a big fan of intestines, which are common in Pho, so the addition of pork belly was welcomed.

At $11 is was on the pricy side for Pho, which usually runs about $7 in the out of the way places in Portland. But I figure you pay more to eat in downtown Ann Arbor.

Click here to see the Menu

Cinco Lagos: Brian Polcyn’s Mexican Restaurant

Ann Arbor Food

I went to Cinco Lagos, in Milford, Michigan for my B-day meal this year. It is the newly themed restaurant by Brian Polcyn which used to be the Five Lakes Grill and featured upscale cuisine. The restaurant has now morphed into a fine medium priced Mexican eatery. We went on Friday night and the place was packed. There were not many people waiting to get in, but the place was full with a steady stream of people leaving, and others being seated.

The food was what one would expect at a Mexican restaurant. There are Tacos, Chiles Poblanos Rellenos, Enchiladas, Nachos, Fajitas, and as a nice surprise Pozole Soup (pictured above).

A big basket of chips comes to your table for free to start, with pico salsa, and a hot red salsa.

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I order the Pozole, and loved it. It was rich, hearty, porky in a good way, and full of flavor. I am a big pozole fan, and make it every other week or so at home.(see my recipe) Mine is made with chicken, not pork, to please a family house majority.

The pozle is so rich, that I could have had it for my meal. At $3.50 a bowl it is a bargain. The next time I go, I might just order two bowls for my meal, along with the chips and call it full.

For our entrees, Emily and I both ordered the three taco platter, which consisted of three large chicken, pork, and beef tacos, each with there own sauce, which came with rice and black beans($11). They were some of the best tacos I ever had.

In general the place is very affordable, the service was very good, and the atmosphere nice yet with a lot of TV’s going made for a kind festive, sport bar like feel. The most expensive entree on the menu was a shrimp, chicken and steak fajitas($16)

They offered a only one special, mahi mahi with a tequila butter sauce, and manga salsa. It sounded great, but we both wanted tacos.

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They were more like six tacos because they came with six soft taco shell. The idea being that you placed half the filling into one of the two shells provided with each taco.

The meal was very filling, and after my pozole, I only had three of the six tacos. The rice and beans are very good and worth noting. Most of the rice and beans I get at mexican restaurants were a filler and after thought, but these were expertly prepared and very tasty.

The big star of the place was the margaritas.($5). Every table besides ours seemed to be having a margarita party, which explains the business model for the place (sell great inexpensive food, and encourage margarita orders). But this is not a margarita bar with lame food. The food is excellent, and affordable. And considering the packed crowd, I felt that Chef Polcyn made a great decision.

For dessert I had the spicy brownie with vanilla sauce which was excellent. It was a warm brownie with a touch of spice for a pleasant, subtle back ground favor.

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Emily had the Mexican flan, which I tasted and it was great, very smooth.

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In general the food was great, and affordable. The check was $40 for two, with soup for me, a soda, and dessert for two and we took home a full meal each for lunch.

Some online comments mentioned that the menu was playing it a little safe with featuring the more familiar Mexican fare. The menu does seem very standard, but the food was all great. Maybe some additional special would satisfy the more adventurous crowd, which I encourage, but the people I saw seemed perfectly happy as was I.

I will definitely go there again. In fact if this place was in Ann Arbor, I would probable go there almost every day. (smiles)