The sidewalks in Ann Arbor are lined with tables and servers are hurrying from inside restaurants to outdoor patios. Clearly the warmer weather is here to stay and with it comes new recipes inspired by fresh produce! Sarah DeWitt from the Ann Arbor Farmers Market predicts that asparagus, vegetable seedlings, arugula, green onions, radishes, berries, herbs, wheatgrass and peas will be key ingredients this season. Three local Ann Arbor chefs shared a sneak preview for their flavor-packed menu additions!
The Ravens Club
Located in the heart of Ann Arbors Main Street, The Ravens Club works with a number of local farms when preparing their menu. They plan to use local tomatoes and cucumbers for a marinated tomato salad: heirloom tomatoes, sliced red onions, basil, sliced lemon cucumbers, and extra virgin olive oil. Chef Frank Fejeran describes the combination as, simple and amazing. For those not familiar with the lemon cucumber (since its not often seen in commercial produce departments), its a cucumber similar in size to a lemon and color when ripe. Chef Frank also plans to use cherries from Wolfe Orchard for mostarda (an Italian condiment from candied fruit), pickling, jam and marmalade.
At Zingermans Roadhouse, Chef Alex Young also provides a lot of local produce from his nearby Cornman Farms! This season, try the 2011 James Beard award winners light and fresh melon and mint salad with heirloom tomatoes, or perhaps a deliciously sweet blueberry cobbler made from fresh Michigan blueberries. And this is only the start with dishes loaded with fresh greens, spring onions, asparagus and more in the works. As Chef Alex says, If it grows around this area, we use it on our menu in MANY ways.
Grange Kitchen and Bar
Chef Brandon Johns, founder of Grange Kitchen and Bar always plans his menu based around local seasonal produce. In fact, 90% of his entire menu comes from local providers. He's especially looking forward to incorporating delicious spring root vegetables hakurei turnips, various radishes and new crop carrots into his dishes as well as dandelion, asparagus and wild foraged ramps. Ramps are wild leeks and have a sharp flavor, characteristic of garlic and onion combined. Chef Brandon plans to pair these ingredients with local cuts of pork, chicken and shrimp to make his mouth-watering menu selections. Local shrimp in Michigan? Yes! Grange Kitchen and Bar gets its shrimp from a farm near East Lansing.
Upcoming Food-Focused Events
Mark your calendar for two excellent foodie events in Ann Arbor this season! The annual Taste of Ann Arbor takes place in the middle of one of Americas Best Main Streets on Sunday, June 1 from 11am-5pm! Enjoy samples of local dishes from area restaurants while live music fills the air. Want more than just a sample? Ann Arbors bi-annual Restaurant Week is great way to try some of the newest dining options. Ann Arbors Restaurant Week takes place June 22-27. Enjoy fixed priced, three-course menus ($15 lunches and $28 dinners) at more than 50 area restaurants.