Stephen Rushmore Jr.
I have been wanting to take my girlfriend Bonnie to Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth, Michigan for a while now. This past weekend, I finally had my chance.
My original plan for dinner on Friday night was to eat at Budapest Hungarian restaurant in Toledo. But we got off to a later start than desired, so we wouldn’t have made it before its 8:30 closing time. Luckily, there is always Tony Packo’s nearby. I have been here many times before, so I knew just what to order….a stuffed cabbage, a hot dog with chili and cheese, a side of dumplings with paprikas and two sides of German potato salad. Everything was as good as always, especially the excellent potato salad.
For Bonnie, things were complicated because as a good Catholic, she doesn’t eat meat on Fridays. And Tony Packo’s is meant for meat lovers. She still seemed happy with her vegetable chili and sides of mac & cheese and mashed potatos w/ gravy. As usual, I was too stuffed for dessert, but she loves apple dumplings and was excited to see it on the menu. Unfortunately, she took one bite of it and pushed it away. The only explanation was that it was too chewy.
From Tony Packo’s, it was a short ride back to our hotel, the Sleep Inn in Oregon, OH. Here is Tony Packo’s website for those interested:
Bonnie wasn’t happy that I wanted to leave the hotel no later than 6:30 the next morning, but since I promised her a great breakfast, she accepted it with grace. So we headed off to Zingerman’s Deli in Ann Arbor, MI.
I have been to Zingerman’s around a half dozen times and have always had a very good meal. But this visit was the best food I have had there.
If you haven’t been there before, Zingerman’s can be a little overwhelming. As soon as you walk in the place, the smell is intoxicatingly good, with all the cheeses and breads on display. And the menu is so large, it would take you a half hour to read all the signs hanging over the ordering counter. So I have taken the strategy to just order the first thing that really appeals to me. I ended up ordering the D – $’s Cuban Conundrum, which has typical Cuban sandwich ingredients, except it was on a grilled paesano roll. While it didn’t make me feel like I was in Little Havana, the sandwich was delicious.
Bonnie prefers breakfast food for breakfast and got the French toast. The bread used was two extremely thick slices of challah bread and she swooned over how good it was. We also got sides of Garlic potato salad and potato pancakes, both of which were outstanding. We agreed that this meal was going to be tough to top.
Zingerman’s also has a really good coffee and bakery area, but other than Bonnie’s hot tea, we were too full to get anything.
Another thing I like about Zingerman’s is how friendly the employees are. They are obviously very happy to be working there and seem to enjoy interacting with the customers and encourage questions.
I should point out how expensive Zingerman’s can be. I got the smaller portion of the Cuban sandwich and it was $11.50. But considering how big it still was and the quality, I feel I more than got my money’s worth.
It was time to head to Bronner’s, the world’s largest Christmas store. I dropped Bonnie off a little after 10:00 and told her I would be back in about three hours. Since I love visiting college campuses, I headed for Mt. Pleasant, MI, where Central Michigan University is located. I walked around a little bit and bought a few things in the student bookstore. While I was headed back to the highway, I came across a….
Grand Traverse Pie Company! I have eaten at the one in Traverse City, MI and loved it. So, I stopped in, had a bowl of minestrone soup and two slices of pie. They look like they have about 25 types of pie everyday, but only have about 10 available to sell by the slice. My piece of banana creme pie was perfect, but thought t,29,287930,0,9261,18.104.22.168
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