The Food and Wine Hedonist

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The Best Sandwich in Ann Arbor is at…

I think I’ve found the best sandwich in Ann Arbor, and it’s not who you think it is. I t’s not the multi-million dollar specialty food juggernaut who’s name begins with a “Z” and rhymes with “Lingermans.”    How’s that for a riddle?

While the Z-Deli, rightly so, has grown through the years to take over the entire block, Ginger Deli is a walk-up window that opened in April with a couple tables around it.   The Z-Deli has an incredible selection of meats and cheeses around the world which they use in their vast collection of sandwiches.  The G-Deli only has four sandwiches.   And of the course the biggest difference – a G-Deli sandwich costs $6 and a Z-Deli one will force you to decide whether you want to make your car payment this month.

The reason why Ginger Deli only makes a small variety is that they aren’t really a deli.  They are actually a Vietnamese food stand that makes Banh Mi sandwiches, Pho (noodle soup), and a few kinds of spring/summer rolls.  So really the comparisons to Zingerman’s aren’t really fair to either.

One thing that the two delis have in common is that they make their own bread daily.   Ginger’s baguettes are made in their main kitchen blocks away every morning from scratch and delivered to the walk-up window.   The bread only contains flour, water, and yeast – as simple as it gets.   Because they don’t add other ingredients, their bread has a shelf-life of half a day before it starts getting stale.  And since they only make bread in the morning, this limits their operating hours.    So they’ve decided to only open for lunch and early afternoon.  It’s an interesting model.  By the way, any unused bread is tossed or donated and a fresh batch is made the next morning.

The bread has a perfect crust, but you don’t buy a sandwich for the bread do you?   Ginger’s bread is small and thin, adding enough texture and support to let the fillings shine.  I’ve had three of their four types of Banh Mi – beef, pancetta, and the vegetarian.  I haven’t had their chicken yet, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time.  All of them have pickled carrots and daikon, jalapeno, cilantro, and cucumber.  My daughter went for the vegetarian version which had marinated radishes, aioli, and tofu.   Not bad at all but, c’mon, it’s vegetarian.

The first time I went there I had the steak, which was excellent.  It was lightly marinated, but still had great flavor and texture.

Ginger Deli Banh mi

 

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I’ve since returned twice and had the pancetta, which is the best of the bunch.   Real pancetta is the Italian version of bacon – pork belly that’s cured and spiced with pepper and other flavors.   Ginger’s pancetta is a marinated pork shoulder that’s braised.   I’ve never had anything like it – it was very reminiscent of corned beef but still retained it’s natural pork flavor.

The summer rolls are the best I’ve had in Ann Arbor.  The ingredients were really fresh and I liked the balance between them. Too often, the restaurants stuff them with noodles and cilantro but the shrimp portion was, well, shrimpy.

From my blogging buddy MegGoesNomNom.com

From my blogging buddy MegGoesNomNom.com.  Check out her post here

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The pho was very good as well, with its nice earthy broth and fresh ingredients.  When ordering to go, the noodles and the meat are in separate containers.  This allows the flavors to remain distinct and not muddled up.  Nice move.   The only downside is that because of their restaurant format they don’t have the various garnishes – cilantro, bean sprouts, lime, etc – in separate bowls.   They are all in there, but it’s nice to be able to customize it to taste.

They have an awning that encloses the few tables and there was plans to put some heaters there for winter.

From my blogging buddy - Clovereats.com

From my blogging buddy – Clovereats.com  Check out the post here

 

I haven’t been back since the weather turned, so hopefully they’re there.  Otherwise, I can foresee having to vacuum crumbs out of the car.   Because the sandwiches are way too good to wait until I get home.

Have you been to Ginger Deli?  Any good banh mi by you?

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Ginger Deli on Urbanspoon

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About thefoodandwinehedonist

I don't know everything about the world of food and wine, but I'm not going to let a small detail like that stop me from blogging about it.

13 comments on “The Best Sandwich in Ann Arbor is at…

  1. Megan @ MegGoesNomNom
    December 8, 2014

    My favorite too!! I agree that the bread is perfection, and the pancetta rocks.

    • thefoodandwinehedonist
      December 8, 2014

      Do u know if they have the heater?
      Thanks for the pic ( even tho i didnt really ask in the first place) 😉

  2. ksbeth
    December 8, 2014

    I’ve walked by it and was curious to stop in for a taste. Now I plan to visit, sooner rather than later )

  3. the winegetter
    December 8, 2014

    Agreed, agreed, agreed!!! Pancetta is KILLER! If the heaters are up, should we have lunch there this week??

  4. applesandclovers
    December 8, 2014

    Mmmmm, have you had their Snowmazing? It’s super light and fluffy but still creamy. Delicious, but not sure if they offer it in the winter.

  5. Cheap Wine Curious
    December 8, 2014

    I need one of those in Sonoma! When I want Vietnamese, I have my mom cook…when she’s willing. This post made me soooo hungry! thx. Thanks alot. 😉

  6. Jay
    December 9, 2014

    Wow, that does look good!

  7. wanderingglutton
    January 4, 2015

    Looks good, but, as I said before cilantro tastes like soap to me. I am a fan of a sandwich from the specialty-food juggernaut that you mentioned, but it isn’t served at the deli, only at the Bakehouse. It is called the 3 Little Pigs and has ham, bacon and Genoa salami on crusty farm bread with very garlicky aioli. It may have some vegetable on it for color, but the trifecta of pork does it for me.

  8. Pingback: Ann Arbor Restaurant Scene Part 3: Would you eat here? | The Food and Wine Hedonist

  9. Pingback: Ann Arbor Eats: Katoi | The Food and Wine Hedonist

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This entry was posted on December 8, 2014 by in Ann Arbor, Dining and tagged , , , , .
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