1. Truffle Fries @ Jolly Pumpkin
If you could have just one memory in life, it should be the taste of Jolly Pumpkin’s truffle fries dipped in rosemary aioli melting in your mouth. OK, fine. You should remember your friends and family first. But then truffle fries.
2. BiBimBop @ Kang’s
NOTHING, NOTHING is more comforting than a hot stone bowl BiBimBop at Kang’s, topped with a perfect runny egg, and doused in gochujang, glorious Korean hot sauce.
3. Gyro @ Ahmo’s
A quick Ahmo’s gyro with chicken and lamb will ALWAYS make you happier than a fancy schmancy sit-down dinner.
4. Hippie Hash @ Fleetwood Diner
When you crave genuine rude diner service with your hangover brunch, come to Fleetwood. Hippie Hash—hash browns topped with grilled tomato, green pepper, onion, mushroom, and broccoli with feta cheese—will cure all your problems.
5. Duck @ The Earle
Go to The Earle and order the most tender, succulent duck for a fancy schmancy dinner that WILL make you happy.
6. Fritas @ Frita Batidos
Frita Batidos is the Cuban inspired burgers and shakes joint of your dreams. They take a spin on the traditional Cuban burgers usually made with spicy chorizo and served with shoe string fries— Here you can select from chorizo, black bean, chicken, fish, or beef. In between bites, sip on a cajeta or coconut cream batido AKA tropical milkshake.
7. Pizza @ Mani Osteria
You can grab a slice of wood fired nationally acclaimed pizza. But anything on the Mani Osteria menu is a win, including the handcrafted pappardelle bolognese—I have friends who would literally give up their second-born child for a lifetime supply of that sauce.
8. Fish & Chips @ Monahan’s Seafood
Monahan’s makes you feel like you’re in a New England seafood market (but you’re still in Kerrytown—You’re here after perusing the Farmer’s Market, after all). Order the fish and chips and ask to make your chips Cajun. Trust me.
9. Coffee @ Comet Coffee
Everyone — especially coffee Instagrammers and aficionados — will find a caffeinated beverage to love at Comet Coffee. With pour-over, French press, and siphon coffee, the cup of Joe here is on par with big city coffee houses. Plus, good pastries (from Pastry Peddler, below). Not too shabby.
10. Croissants @ Pastry Peddler
You thought no one else knew about Pastry Peddler, the tiny bakery hidden on south campus, that has wee early hours and closes by 3 p.m. You wish. Its freshly baked goods flourish throughout Ann Arbor’s many coffee shops (like Comet, above), serving Wolverines the flakiest, yummiest almond and chocolate croissants imaginable.
11. Brunch @ Selma Cafe
If you could start your Friday morning at a local-foods breakfast party cooked by volunteer chefs to support the local farming economy, wouldn’t that rule?
On a weekly basis for five years, Lisa Gottlieb, co-founder of Selma Cafe, hosted that party in her home. Two hundred-plus visitors come through to eat a seasonal meal with new and old friends (with name tags and all) for a suggested donation. All the revenue goes to pay for ingredients bought locally and the rest to fund micro-loans for the local farms. Since April 2013, Lisa no longer regularly hosts brunches due to zoning issues. But Selma Cafe still goes strong with the support of the community. Currently the Cafe is serving breakfast on a monthly basis in Sunward Cohousing’s common house kitchen. Happy fifth birthday, Selma!
12. Colliders @ Rod’s Diner
Colliders are the legendary frozen yogurt at Rod’s Korean diner where you get to dump a bunch of ridiculously good toppings in a plastic party cup. Yes, the cookie dough is REAL.
13. The Quad @ Blimpy Burger
The famous Blimpy Burger where you decide: Single, double, triple, quad, or — wait, for it — quint hamburger patties? Cheese, bacon, pickles, onions, and/or fried egg?
Super-sad news that it recently closed shop for new university development. BUT, rest assured, the people will have their quad back in a new location soon. On the last day of service at the iconic “polar bear snow” storefront, there was a line of devotees as long as the line for cronuts. But actually worth the wait.
14. Ethiopian Feast @ The Blue Nile
Mop up delicious Ethiopian stews, lentils, and veggies with rolls and rolls of spongy injera bread at The Blue Nile. This feast also comes with limitless spiced Ethiopian tea — cinnamon, rose hips, orange, and lemon peel. Did I mention it’s all. You. Can. Eat? It’s a bit pricy, but you’re paying to feel “cultured” anyway, right?
15. Lobster Bisque @ Le Dog
You have a small window of opportunity (11:30–2 p.m. or before the soup runs out) to get a cup of rich lobster bisque at the Le Dog hotdog stand. When it happens, you’ll feel SO PROUD.
16. Muffins @ Afternoon Delight
Just look at this muffin! Waiting in line for breakfast at Afternoon Delight is worth that muffin. (Eggs benedict, pancakes, frozen yogurt with fruit are also worthy contenders.)
17. Falafel @ Jerusalem Garden
The state of Michigan has no shortage of decent falafel with Dearborn as the largest Arab population in America, but eating these crispy, perfectly seasoned falafel at Jerusalem Garden is a holy experience.
18. Mac & Cheese @ Sava’s
Sava’s is the ultimate comfort food destination where the sides are even better than the main. Order the mac and cheese with sweet potato fries and you’ll have nothing to complain about for the next 20 minutes of your life.
19. Wuxi Ribs @ Asian Legends
Taiwanese night market in this little old town? Though it’s not exactly the same as an urban street market, Asian Legends lets you choose from a long list of traditional Taiwanese snacks like pork dumplings and beef wrapped in scallion pancakes. Most popular item: Wuxi ribs, which are fall-off-the-bone, barbecue ribs.
20. Red Mole @ Prickly Pear
Anything with red mole on the Prickly Pear menu is mouthwatering. This means: You MUST TRY house special chicken poblano rellenos.
21. Cocktails @ Ravens Club
It’s impossible to have a bad drink at Ravens Club. They make innovative cocktails with housemade TRC bitters, while perfecting classics like the original hand-pulled old fashioned. Stellar nonalcoholic drinks too — housemade ginger beer for the win.
22. Pesto Waffle Fries @ Ashley’s
Ashley’s, home of THE WORLD’S BEST CRAFT BEER as its fiercely loyal fans will tell you, also has amazing pub fare like these PESTO waffle fries.