What's the real Zingerman's (in Ann Arbor) like?
The stuff in the Zingerman's catalog looks incredible. But it's also incredibly expensive. Does the actual Zingerman's store really charge such high prices? Do they have the same selection as the catalog?
Also, on the catalog - when they ship such things as bread and cheese, are they really top-notch, after a few days in the mail?
I just ate at Zingerman's this past Monday, after a business trip to Ann Arbor. Oh, what a fantastic meal! My friend and i shared a fabulous, flavorfull Pastrami sandwich, built in the best bread i've had in ages (I bought a loaf after), and a platter of various fish (what was it called, Manhattan Platter?): smoked chub, trout, lox, and a whitefish salad, served with a bagel, tomatoes, onions, capers. Outstanding flavors, the smokiness complimenting the fish, not overwhelming it. We also bought some magic brownies to eat on the plane back, rich and dense chocolate heaven!
Theyre selection is big for such a small space, and the prices looked OK to me, given the high quality and the variety they offer. Not cheap, but pretty well worth it!
Now I never ordered anything from their catalog so I dont know how their cheeses travel (although given their high quality standards and the amount of business they do, Id guess that they have that shipping well figured out!)
The deli is wonderful, and the prices are comparable to what you see in the catalog. As the previous poster mentioned, they're quite high, but the stuff they carry is high quality.
I've ordered the breads. They ship them next day fedex (IIRC), and they arrive pretty decent. I've only ordered the chocolate cherry bread this way (it's AMAZING). I just sliced it immediately and put it in the freezer. Mmmmm, a slice of it toasted is wonderful.
While the sandwiches are somewhat expensive, keep in mind that not only are the ingredients top-notch, but the sandwiches are quite large. My husband and I usually split a "small" sandwich ($8-10) along with a couple of smaller deli items. I love the sandwich w/ whitefish salad, cream cheese, scallions, but my husband likes the chicken breast, green chile, bacon, etc. on farm bread. That one you're almost certain to want to split. Sorry, but I don't remember the actual names.
Thanks for the comments. I'll have to check Zingerman's out at some point - it sounds worth the trip. Now, if I could just convince myself to shell out, for example, $25 for 2/3 lb. of French caramels from the catalog...
But I have to say - the bread prices, even in the catalog, are totally reasonable - $5-7 for sourdoughs, ryes, etc., and $10-15 for breads stuffed with things like cherries, chiles and chocolate.
What I like most about Zingerman's is if you go in person. They will let you try anything you like first. Which I love for the cheeses I try a few I haven't had everytime I go in there. I always end up buying some too. They have the best salami, cappicola, etc around as well (that I have found). The only bummer is it is usually so crowded you feel like you are imposing on everyone in line by taking your time and really looking around. So for cheeses I usually go to Zingerman's Creamery itself. The back house if next door as well so you can get bread pastries and cheeses without the crowd if you are like me and prefer less hussle and bussle.