I’m a gluten-free vegan with a myriad of allergies to veggies and fruits. It’s not the easiest diet. I’m allergic to common foods like avocados, tomatoes, corn, spinach…the list goes on. It’s always hard for me to travel because of my diet. My boy child recently graduated high school…crazy! I guess I have to stop calling him the boy child now. He really is turning into a wonderful young man. Smart, funny, and focused on being a surgeon. Before he started college, I was able to spend a few days with him in Ann Arbor, MI. Of course, we were really there for the Michigan football game but we also had some time to wander around the city. Before I travel, I always research the city so I can figure out where I am able to eat. I found several options in Ann Arbor. It was kind of surprising but I guess it’s because of being a college town. I also have to balance my dietary needs with what a hungry, carnivorous 18 year old wants to eat, so it made the choices a little more challenging.
The first place we ate was Sava’s on State Street. I made a reservation on Open Table. I highly recommend making a reservation. This place was busy even at 9pm! When you walk in, you first notice the restaurant decor. It has different sections with unique themes including a private dining area. A neat idea for a big crowd. The menu has a lot of variety. It clearly marks gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options. I chose the Hippie Bowl…and the staff was really laid back about the modifications I had to make to suit my diet. It was delicious!
The perfect blend of veggies and lemon-tahini dressing. The meat eating 18 year old had a burger that he loved. He even asked if we could eat there again the next day! Anytime I can find a place that is easy to deal with on my diet AND allows picky teens to get what they want…it’s a WIN!
The next day, we wanted to catch a late breakfast before the game. We decided on Cafe Zola on West Washington St. Due to the huge crowds for game day (I’ve never seen so much maize and blue!), I made a reservation with them as well. They have an option to make a reservation on their website, but the day/time I wanted wasn’t available. However, when I called them, I was able to get in with no problem. Once we got there, I was so thankful we made a reservation…this place was packed! The exterior is an older brick building with limited outside seating on the sidewalk. Inside, the walls are exposed brick with a variety of art that is available for purchase. Their menu is extensive for both breakfast and lunch. I just had to try one of the morning cocktails. I ended up with the French Ginger. Delicious! I also ordered the McCain’s Steel Cut Oatmeal with dried fruit (cherries) and nuts. They make their oatmeal with water so I was good to go. They also offer almond milk and coconut milk which was pretty cool. The hungry teenager ended up with a huge plate of strawberry waffles. Cafe Zola definitely does not skimp on portions. I couldn’t even finish my bowl of oatmeal!
After the Michigan Wolverines earned another victory (GO BLUE!), we tried to decide where to eat dinner. Ended up at P.F. Chang’s. I don’t often eat at chain restaurants, but P.F. Chang’s is an exception. They are really accommodating with special diets. On this visit, the chef came out to work with me to create a customized meal due to my allergies. I ended up with a great dish…similar to the street noodles.
The next morning was a travel day so we decided to go to Kerrytown for a few hours. This place has an eclectic mix of shops, restaurants, and an open air farmer’s market. The farmer’s market had about 20 vendors set up on this particular weekend. They were selling anything from cigar box guitars to soaps to jewelry. It was fun to just walk around and check stuff out. Before heading back to the airport, we grabbed lunch at Miss Kim’s. I was skeptical at first if I would be able to eat anything on their menu. However, the young lady at the counter was able to work with the chef to make sure I would be ok. I ordered the Tofu Mushroom Bowl. It took a little bit for it to come out but the wait was worth it. I also got to sample some of the end of season Rose wine. I was a little sad that it was end of season! Miss Kim’s was also running a special that day for Korean Hot Dogs. The teenager was happy to find something basic. He doesn’t like a lot of different types of food. All in all, I’m glad we stopped here for lunch. A nice surprise.
Ann Arbor was one of the easier places for me to eat while travelling. If you look up vegan restaurants, you’ll find that I wasn’t even able to get to most of the recommended locations. Travelling with a picky teenager doesn’t allow for exploration of 100% vegan spots. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find so many options at non-vegan restaurants on this trip. I never felt sick on this trip which is always a plus. Definitely a place I will travel to again…and recommend highly to others!