1. Avalon International Breads (first Detroit eatery to use Real Time Farms)
Jackie Victor, co-founder of Avalon (the one with the t-shirt), meets me outside on a sunny day, as a man in front of me relaxes with his iced mountain green tea, Garden Works sandwich, and chocolate sea salt cookie. (And yes…you must find room for them all). Named after a farm in Ann Arbor, Garden Works, the sandwich is a concoction of deliciousness: avocado, house-made basil-walnut pesto, roasted red pepper, Garden Works’ sunflower shoots on Avalon’s own Motown Multigrain made with 100% organic flour. A man in the distance catches her attention, she runs to give him a hug and a jovial exchange, waves hello to a regular, and we head into their office (a recently renovated detroit public school warehouse). She co-owns Avalon with Ann Perrault – they’ve been at it for 14 years – and now have a bustling retail and wholesale bakery and Detroit cafe that employees 45 people and counting. Their motto is “Eat Well. Do Good.”, best part is…it just feels good. (Also, she is solely responsible for introducing us to all the hot spots below – thanks Jackie!)
John Linardos, Dan Scarsella (pictured in the middle on right), and team just want to make good beer. Since their opening in 1994, they’ve been best known for their beers like “Ghettoblaster” and their “Nut Brown Ale”, but I was captivated by their Cass Farm Series which are drinks made from various MI fruits. The series includes Hard Cider, Perry, Blueberry Perry and their Pumpkin Ale. The brew pub never intended to serve food, but the locals made sure it was otherwise. Dan recounts, “Our customers would pound on the doors when we weren’t open. They’d want to just come in, have a drink, chat, and eat pizza. The pizza delivery guy was here all the time.” Now, no need. Pull up a chair, get a cool, crisp, hand-crafted brew, and order a roasted pear & fig brick oven pizza from their kitchen.
Dave Mancini is a busy man. When I asked him on the phone if he would mind if we swung by to chat, he said “No, not at all, just as long as you don’t mind if I have to get up to make pizza. I’m the guy that makes the pizza too.”
Kind-hearted and warm, he rushes around to make sure everyone is well taken care of. It’s a small, neighborhood spot across from the famed Eastern Market. He just makes amazing pizza. Thinner crust, slightly crispy, bubbly crust….yum. The pizzas change with the seasons, and we were too early for my co-workers, Nick Fassler’s, favorites: the Rooty Guilliani. Made with celeriac and garlic, he rates the “Rooty” as one of his top 3 pizzas ever. Need I say more.
A Detroit landmark – established in 1989 – this is a must eat place on my list next time I’m in town. Located a few doors down from Supino’s and across from Eastern Market, it’s in one of Detroit’s good food meccas. Next time I go, I’m hoping they’ll have today’s special available, the Habana Ensalada- made with grown-in-Detroit spring greens, roasted corn, black beans, locally grown tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, cotija cheese and fresh tortilla chips served with house-made lime vinaigrette.
A cultural hot-spot – a must-see. I got vegetable starters and flowers last summer at the market for an insanely great price (ave. $1-$2/starter). It is a market that boasts an impressive 250+ vendors and draws crowds of over 40,000 shoppers each week. Whoa.
Now open Tuesdays and Saturdays. See none other than, Real Time Farms, for details.
Director of Vegetable Outreach, Cara Rosaen