This is a shameless copycat of David Lebovitz's post on 10 Insanely Delicious Things You Shouldn't Miss in Paris. What's that quote about how imitation is the most genuine form of a compliment? Ann Arbor je t'aime. In thinking about a Top 10 list for my own town, I'm noticing an inordinate number of baked items. I'm also noticing that I know the name (or could easily find out the name) of the person who made each of these things. There seems to be a correlation going on something like Shannon's "know your farmer" thing. Why not "know your baker, cheesemaker, pizza and pastry chef"?
1. Silvio's Organic Pizza. I've already talked about how much I love Silvio's potato pizza (with its creamy blue cheese and mouth-watering sprinkle of tiny rosemary shards). And apparently their truffle pizza (with melty, oven-crisp fontina, shitake mushrooms, and truffle oil) is the biggest customer favorite, but did you know that Silvio makes a breakfast pizza? They open at 10am and you can get a pizza with tomatoes, fried potato cubes, carmelized onion, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, and cheddar to go with your cappuccino. I had a piece of the breakfast pizza hot out of the oven and it's (surprise!) DELICIOUS. I'm on a quest to figure out why Silvio's pizza is so good. A lot depends on the crust, which they make fresh 3 times each day. Did I mention that it's also made with 100% pure organic love as well?
2. Cafe Japon's Roquefort and Walnut baguette. One of the hidden gems of Ann Arbor, Cafe Japon has some of the best bread in town. Their excellent cream cheese and apricot danish is a sumptuous treat, but it's the roquefort and walnut baguette that I can't get enough of. I bought one of these slender baguettes this week and by the time I had walked home it was halfway devoured. The taste is full of savory cheese with delightful crunch from the walnuts and a lovely crisp crust. I ate the other half with an apple for dinner. $3.00.
3. Croissant Shop croissants. Watch out Paris, these croissants rule. In chocolate, apricot, almond and plain, I'd put them up against any croissant on the planet. Kurt Boyd gets up at 3am each morning to make these buttery crisp ephemera. Is there anything yummier with coffee in the morning while you're sitting at the Farmer's Market? Available at Cafe Verde and Bombadil's, you can also call 24 hours in advance to have Kurt make some that you can pick up to lay in your own supply. Buy extra to heat up gently in the oven so your friends and family will love you. $2.50 at Cafe Verde. Cheaper if you buy them direct.
4. John Loomis' Little Dragon goat cheese from the Zingerman's Creamery. Of course it would be possible to make a Top 10 list with only things from Zingerman's, but I have a couple of particular favorites. All of John Loomis' cheeses are noteworthy, but I am crazy for the Little Dragon, a chunky round of soft goat cheese with the delicate anise-y flavor of tarragon. Available at the Z. Deli and their Creamery, by the whole or the half round. Little Dragon is a tiny bit spendy at $13.99 for a whole round. However, you can also buy a half-round for half of that, and a little bit goes a long way toward daily happiness.
5. Bostock. What an odd name for such a delicious item. While we're speaking of the Big Z., this yummy confection is my newest obsession. It's a brioche round sprinkled on top with toasted almonds and powdered sugar and soaked in an orange-flower syrup. I've only ever seen it at the Primo Cafe on Liberty (also home to the nicest barista in town) and apparently it sells out quickly in the morning. It's another one of those things that's so impossibly good I want to stop people on the street to tell them to go get some. Immediately.
6. Veggie buns at the Asian Bakery. More accurately, the baked vegetable bun at Eastern Accents on 4th Street. A soft, yeasty roll, with a smattering of sesame seeds, wrapped around a savory filling of mushrooms, cabbage, carrots, and cellophane noodles. Baked fresh daily. Get yours hot from the oven at 8am for $1.85.