The Occasional Joke

Nurse: Patient's name?

Centurion: Marcus Licinius Crassus

Nurse: And his date of birth?

Centurion: 115 BC.

Nurse: All right. And what is he here for?

Centurion: Cataphract surgery.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Return of the oddly inflamatory shop-local list

The opening of a WalMart in Saline has been reported as impacting the local stores (huge surprise,) which prompts me to repost my shop-locally list, with some additions suggested by others.

Wine, Deli, Chocolates Morgan and York 1928 Packard, Ann Arbor 48104 734 769 9770
As we say in Ann Arbor, "you know, the old Big Ten Party Store." Repeatedly voted Best Wine Shop. Especially in the realm of small French labels and Kermit Lynch - imported values, this is the place. Update 2011 06 14: still going strong, as far as I can tell.
Wine Everyday Wines 407 N. Fifth Ave - 1st Floor Ann Arbor, MI 48104 734.827.WINE
Just as the name implies, Mary Campbell's shop is dedicated to affordable wines. Update 2011 06 14 As with Morgan and York, Mary seems to be weathering the storm.
Produce, high-end groceries, wine Produce Station 1629 S. State St. Ann Arbor MI 48104 734.663.7848
With the exception of the Farmer's Market in season, there is no better place for produce in Ann Arbor, period. Small, inconvenient to get to and get around in, it's worth the effort. Unofficial Rules: do not use a full size grocery cart (even though they have them), do not bring children. Update 2011 06 14 - If you were a fan of his, Jorge' from the moribund Village Corner is working with them on their wine selections.
Deli, luxury foods, coffee beans, bread Zingerman's 422 Detroit Street, Ann Arbor MI 48104 888.636.8162
Although Zingerman's is the Superpower of local vendors, with aspirations to a global reach via their mail order side, they're still local, and they still roast a fine coffee bean.
Produce, meats, plants Ann Arbor Farmers Market 315 Detroit St, Ann Arbor 48103 734 994-3276
In season, the best produce available. In the winter, a desolate tundra of crafts and wreaths. I mark the return of reasonable weather in the area by the reappearance of edible things at the market. Unofficial rules: no strollers! Update 2011 06 14 there are edibles, for sure, but the real kickoff will be when people bring in their picked basil and the whole place smells like caprese! In addition to the Saturday and Wednesday daytime schedules, the Market is experimenting with a Wednesday evening opening, which at first blush seems like it might be more dining-and-strolling focused than retail. Just started, so the outcome remains to be seen. NB: Zingerman's hosts the Westside Farmers' Market (Thursday PM) out on the far West Side, at their Roadhouse Restaurant; Ypsilanti also has a market - Tuesdays, PM -- apparently; the website is broken at the moment.
Bulk food, spices By the Pound 617 S Main Street, Ann Arbor (734) 665-8884
Best place for getting just exactly the amount of something you want, not what Proctor and Gamble thinks you need. I do not assert that you will save any money, necessarily, but you'll pay for the food you're buying, not its packaging. The routine is, grab one of the plastic bags that are set out, dump your preferred quantity of whatever into it, close it with one of the tagged twist-ties, and write the price per pound on said tag (not a stock number as with some other bulk places.) The store owner has all the prices of the hundreds of items memorized, but the staff don't necessarily, so write legibly.
Groceries Ann Arbor People's Food Coop 216 N 4th Ave, Ann Arbor (734)994-9174
Everything you'd expect in a coop. We are members, but we don't shop there all that often, primarily because we can get virtually everything they have from one of the other vendors listed here. Nothing against the coop, just seldom happens that I think of them first. It's a character flaw.
Groceries Ypsilanti Food Coop 312 North River Street, Ypsilanti (734) 483-1520
And of course, there's a food coop in Ypsilanti, too.
Produce, groceries, wine Fresh Seasons Market 2281 W Liberty St, Ann Arbor MI 48103 Closed Closed
They did not survive the chaos.
Meats, produce, groceries Sparrow Market 415 N. Fifth Ave - 1st Floor Ann Arbor MI 48104 734.761.8175
There is no better, more consistent source of meat in Ann Arbor, with the possible exception of the actual raisers who come to the Farmer's Market. The rest of Sparrow's empire in Kerrytown is pretty darn good, too. Update 2011 06 14 Going strong, with a small lunch capability added. Anthony Bourdain apparently interviewed Bob, but in the demise of all things Border's, the video appears to be missing.
Meat Hannewald Lamb Stockbridge MI 49285 (in the Farmer's Market, too) 517-851-4718
A local raiser, with a Farmer's Market presence. The absolute best lamb I've ever cooked, and nice dog treats, too.
Meat Knight's Market 420 Miller Avenue, Ann Arbor (734) 665-6494
Easily forgotten (by me, in the last list,) due to their low profile and edge-of-downtown location, Knight's is a major supplier of meat to local restaurants, and their little shop will sell you some, too. Many of the best-rated burgers in Ann Arbor list "Knight's meat" on the menu. They are reportedly planning to join the 21st century in terms of image and offerings, sometime this year.
Seafood Monahan's 407 North 5th Avenue, Ann Arbor MI (734) 662-5118
To the extent that you can get fresh seafood in Ann Arbor, Monahan's is the place to get it. As always with fish far from the sea, you're better off going in without preconceived notions about what you want, and simply asking, "What's good today?"
Smoked fish etc. Durham's Tracklements 212 East Kingsley Street Ann Arbor MI 48104 734-930-6642
Nationally-known source for great smoked fish and other smoked animals. In fact, a tiny hole in the wall on the north side of Kerrytown. Wonderful stuff.
Groceries Busch's various various">
Although Busch's exhibits most of the faults of supermarkets, it is, at least, a local enterprise. If you absolutely, positively have to shop at a supermarket, these are slightly better than the other places. Not recommended for anything that perishes or comes in grades of quality, such as fish, meat, deli, or produce.
Dog-related Stuff Dog-o-Mat 2 2740 Jackson Blvd (734) 769-1492
After an unfortunate relocation, Dog-o-Mat is regrouping and planning a new presence. In the meantime, the PawRun dog park is still a going concern, and there is the above-listed franchise Dog-o-Mat 2 for washes and grooming.
Dog-related Stuff Dogma Catmantoo 208 North 4th Avenue, Ann Arbor (734) 929-0022
I know, I know. Terrible name. But a nice little place near Kerrytown for dog supplies.
Dog-related Stuff Fun Time Dog On line only
A local business, although with no bricks and mortar presence. Profits are shared among various dog rescue organizations. Disclosure: the proprietress is a good friend of ours.
Groceries Hiller's 3615 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor (734) 677-2370
Those on the East Side speak well of Hiller's, although I seldom find any need to shop there, any more than any other supermarket. May be worth your while.
Groceries Plum Market 375 North Maple Road , Ann Arbor 734.827.5000
And those on the West Side seem to like Plum, although it's completely off my beat. It is, in fact, a small supermarket chain, with stores in Bloomfield and West Bloomfield. Caveat emptor.
Groceries, New Age Hooey Arbor Farms 2103 W. Stadium, Ann Arbor 734-996-8111
The website says "... we offer local and organic produce; fresh Michigan grass-fed beef, pork, lamb and poultry; fresh seafood ..." I will not flatly deny any of that, but I see little evidence of it, personally. Primary focus seems to be on packaged food such as cereals, a bulk food aisle that is no match for By the Pound (above), and vast amounts of holistic and groovy and unregulated substances and equipment. Used to be a smaller, funkier place, at Liberty and Maple, but they are now in an antiseptic new place, next to the Stadium Ace Hardware.
Hardware Stadium Hardware 2177 W Stadium Blvd, Ann Arbor (734) 663-8704
Not clear that they have a website of their own, but who cares? What they do have is an entire room of nuts and bolts, screws, and obscure gear that you may only need once in a lifetime, but by God, when you need it, you need it. And other stuff that you may not need, but you know you want. And staff you can ask "How the $#*!! do I fix a clogged hoozitz?" and they'll know. With the demise of Schlenker's, this is the go-to place for HW and HW expertise.
Hardware Ace Barnes Hardware 3352 Washtenaw Ave and 2105 W Stadium Blvd 734.971.4555 and 734.665.7555
Not strictly local, since the Ace name is more or less national, but Ann Arbor's two Ace Barnes stores are good places, slightly less hardcore than Stadium, but with a wider and shallower range of goods, and almost as good a crew of staff.
Hardware Jack's Hardware 740 Packard Street, Ann Arbor (734) 995-0078
Small, quirky, extremely local outfit on Packard, with one of those "My boss told me to change the sign so I did" marquees and reputedly a bit of an attitude, politically. But infallibly polite to paying customers, in my experience, and a good local source in the Packard student ghetto. Careful with the parking lot; the drill is, enter the right-most drive, park, and then exit by circling around the extremely narrow alley and coming out again on the left. Otherwise, you have to back out onto Packard.
Gardening and Kitchen Supplies Downtown Home and Garden 210 S. Ashley Street, Ann Arbor (734) 662-8122
Years ago, downtown supported two nearby, friendly hardware stores, the above- mentioned Schlenker's and what this place used to be, Hertler's. Schlenker's is gone, but Hertler's became Downtown Home and Garden under the care of Mark Hodesh, a downtown Ann Arborite if there ever was one. He tells the tale of the store on the website -- for here, it's enough to say that if you have a need for seed or a pan to cook the tomato sauce in, DTH&G is probably the place to start looking.

And of course, here are the places I beg of you not to spend your money. Whole Foods: all marketing, all the time, with marginally better quality perishables than low-end supermarkets and a predatory approach to local competition. You spend more for what you buy and get far less value. Not a place to buy wine, either; if you can spell "Bordeaux," let alone pronounce it, you will know more than the wine staff. Trader Joe's: just say no. There is nothing here that you want, and most of it is of very dubious provenance. Again, the staff know nothing that you don't already know. Kroger's, Meier's, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Costco, etc. There is absolutely no viable cost/quality equation you can come up with that justifies shopping with these people.
Update 2011 06 14 Ok, I admit that you can come up with a rationale that satisfies you for shopping with these Somali Pirates. But you will not come up with one that convinces me. Because, as the Wood-Charles motto says, Libenter homines ...