An Autumn Trip To Ann Arbor—Zingerman’s Deli, Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burgers, The Big House & More

From November 16-18, I made a quick trip with my good friend John to Ann Arbor—the place of my birth, my law school education and my older daughter’s birth—to catch the Michigan-Iowa football game and to visit old haunts.

Every narration has to begin somewhere, and this one begins at La Guardia Airport at sunrise.

John travels so much that I was able to make the trip without cost on his frequent flier mileage.

We short-hopped to Philadelphia, a mere 28 minutes, then took a larger plane to Detroit. On our second leg, John’s upgrade to first class left us sitting pretty in the plane’s first row,

from which we could see into the cockpit before the door was closed for takeoff.

In Ann Arbor, we stayed at the apartment of John’s older son, Paul, whose interest in music made his vehicle easy to spot.

We visited WFMU, the radio station where Paul can sometimes be heard on the air.

During the four years I lived in Ann Arbor with my first wife, and eventually, first born, there were a number of places I loved to eat. One of my favorites, located in the Kerrytown neighborhood,

was world-famous Zingerman’s Deli, which was founded in 1982 while I was living in Ann Arbor. The half-hour-long line was hidden around the corner. But Zingerman’s is worth the wait!

Outside, Zingerman’s had interesting nibbles that one could try.

As the staff let us inside a few people at a time, the generosity continued.

Zingerman’s offers more delights than one could properly digest in a day.

But we were there primarily to eat lunch,

so we placed our order with a helpful staffer.

Not saying Zingerman’s has expanded like L.L. Bean’s since I lived in “A” Squared or anything, but we crossed a courtyard where people were eating,

chose our drinks and paid for our meal in another building. There was plenty of seating in that other building—downstairs,


and even on the roof—

but it was in the fifties and we couldn’t resist such beautiful weather so we took a table outside.

We sipped our drinks—terrific sodas

and ice tea—

until our food arrived.

John and I shared a Jon & Amy’s Double Dip (Zingerman’s corned beef and pastrami, Switzerland Swiss and Wisconsin Muenster cheeses, hot and regular mustards on pastrami and rye breads)

as well as a Where is Deveaux, Anyways? (Montreal smoked meat, Switzerland Swiss, Russian dressing and homemade coleslaw on Jewish rye bread).

And those pickles? The best you’ll ever have. While we were at Zingerman’s, I tried to look up managing partner Grace Singleton (pictured right), whom I had become friends with on a food and wine trip to Trieste, Italy perhaps a decade ago. Unfortunately, she wasn’t there.

We toured a bit around the campus, including the famous spinning Astor Place Cube.

Eventually, we wound up at the Law School, from which I graduated in 1984. It was full of individuals who, unlike me, have gone on to amount to something. Take politicians, for instance. I started in 1980 with the class of 1983 (which included Bart Peterson, Indianapolis Mayor from 1999-2007), but due to kidney stones graduated with the class of 1984 (which included Rob Portman, U.S. Senator from Ohio).

One of the nation’s best, the law school was undergoing major renovations.

I visited the old law library,

and the newer underground library which was finished while I had one year of law school left to go, becoming my favorite study spot.

Then we headed back outside

to check out the new cafeteria and commons area.

This is where my grades used to be posted.

After a few hours touring the campus, what would be a nice dinner option? La Marsa, a terrific Lebanese restaurant with sibling restaurants scattered around the Detroit metropolitan area. Enjoy the photo tour!

We spent the night at Paul’s apartment, and then caught an early (10 a.m.) lunch at my favorite burger place in the world not named Louis’ Lunch, namely Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burgers (another place well worth the wait).

At one point, these gals suddenly announced they were switching with all the guys working behind the counter.

From Krazy Jim’s, we walked to the game.

Final result? Michigan 42, Iowa 17. Go Blue!

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