This past Saturday David and I took full advantage of the gorgeous, blessedly sunny weather (it was a really long, godawful rainy week ’round here)–we started out hitting the garage sales (since I’ve already picked up a used waffle iron and an ice cream maker, I passed on getting any more kitchen equipment). Then, for lunch, we headed down to W. Washington in Ann Arbor, across from the parking lot, sort of kitty-corner from Grizzly Peak, and checked out the new food cart courtyard that’s been set up there.
I’ve been reading about the burgeoning food truck/cart trend for quite awhile now, and I’ve been seriously jealous of places like New York and LA and Portland, so when David came across a mention on the web of a new food cart business, Mark’s Carts, that had just started up in Ann Arbor, there was no question, and no waiting: I had to go try it out. We got there at the tail end of the lunch rush, so Darcy’s Cart was out of chorizo for breakfast burritos (which eliminated almost half their menu), and RoosRoast, who had set up their cart just outside of the actual courtyard, were about ready to pack up for the day, but there was still a crowd and plenty of food to be had. We got a pair of sweet, puffy pork buns from San Street, and some chorizo corn dogs with aioli (on the recommendation of Joe Saul, who we ran into there) and zippy patatas bravas from Debajo del Sol, and finished with a truffle from The Lunch Room. It was all well worth the trip and the minor inconvenience of having to eat standing up. (There are a number of benches inside the courtyard, some actually covered, but obviously if you get there during a meal rush you might have to find a perch somewhere nearby.) They’re just getting started, and still filling out their roster, so we have the People’s Pierogi Collective‘s cart and an Indian chaat cart to look forward, too.
On our way back from Ann Arbor, I decided I was having too much fun to just go home, so we decided to go have a look around the new Rust Belt Market at the corner of 9 Mile and Woodward in Ferndale (yeah, I know–that’s a lot of driving; what can I say–in the spring and summer I get a major case of wanderlust). The Rust Belt Market is an amazingly cool artisan market full of funky, crafty goods–yes, there’s a faint whiff of patchouli in the air, but also an incredibly invigorating vibe of creativity. And in amongst the “Detroit Lives” t-shirts and reclaimed industrial furniture and handmade soaps and jewelry and knitted mustaches-on-a-stick, there were cake pops and locally-ground coffee and spices. In fact, it seems like the Rust Belt Market would be a good alternative to the farmers markets for any foodie out there with aspirations of setting up an artisan food business–it was really buzzing on Saturday, and space rentals are fairly cheap and flexible.
Finally, as our last stop before going home, we walked a couple of blocks down Woodward to Treat Dreams, an ice cream shop that was billed on a sign inside the Rust Belt Market as offering “unique” flavors. I could have gone with either the vegan orange-clove sorbet or the “Kooky Monster” ice cream: blue moon ice cream (of course) with a variety of cookies and candies smushed into it. But I wanted ice cream, and didn’t especially want a blue tongue and lips, so instead I went with “Bittersweet”: coffee ice cream with chunks of toffee and chocolate. David had a two-scooper with “Dark Chocolate” and “PB&J” ice creams, which were pretty much what they sound like. All three flavors were good, and I was seriously tempted to grab a pint of their “Breakfast with Chocolate” ice cream to go, just because it sounded intriguing (breakfast plus chocolate has to be good, right?), but given how hot it was outside it would have been a puddle by the time we got it home. I guess we’ll just have to go back… 🙂