At Dégagé Express, Head Chef Joseph Jacobsen uses techniques learned beside Jacques Pépin and Bobby Flay to transform locally sourced meats and produce—most cultivated within 30 miles of the restaurant—into elegant sandwiches and desserts. These ingredients fill the menu, composing seasonal dishes such as the Missy's Fix sandwich, made with housemade corned beef, apple slaw, thousand-island dressing, and local sauerkraut. Sous Chef Skyler Stanton, meanwhile, cooks soups such as the Train Wreck Chili. A testament to the culinary staff's creativity, croutons flavored with bacon fat and cheese top the restaurant's caesar salad, and housemade hot chocolate and locally baked pies from Schmucker's lend a sweet note, like a banker who underwrites loans with chocolate coins.
Dégagé Express calls the historic Commercial Building home. It is rumored that none other than Abraham Lincoln stayed at the building when it doubled as an inn way back in the early 19th century. Today, Dégagé uses the winsome building to host another cornerstone of the American experience: live jazz music.
The rich aromas of freshly brewing coffee permeates Biggby Coffee. Baristas blast water over specially micro-roasted beans, emitting a robust aroma as blasts and producing delicious cups of espresso. The alchemy results in Biggby Coffee’s signature drinks such as their caramel and butterscotch Butter Bear latte. In addition to coffee, they serve freshly steeped teas, Creme Freeze smoothies, and hot or frozen hot chocolate. Solid foods such as fruit cups and baked goods fuel guests for hot coffee chugging contests.
Sugary sculptures of characters such as Yoda, Hello Kitty, and Barbie grace custom cakes at Cherry Tree Bakery and Floral, where confectioners also whip up muffins, scones, and other baked goods from scratch each day. For heartier appetites, they also prepare café fare ranging from oatmeal sprinkled with cinnamon or dried cranberries to salads, sandwiches, and soups. Additionally, florists pack a glass display case with flowers fashioned into artful bouquets or trompe l'oeil donuts.
Dragonfly Artisan Tea Cottage’s tearoom wouldn’t be out of place in a Victorian dollhouse: delicate fine china teapots, fresh flowers, and doilies dot lace-covered pink tablecloths. Vines creep up mint-green walls and heavy wooden columns, and sunlight pours through picture windows. This ultra-dainty tearoom is ideal for afternoons spent sipping black, green, and herbal teas and nibbling freshly baked scones and finger sandwiches. It also serves up heartier housemade dishes that often feature organic, local ingredients, including vegetarian black-bean burgers and gluten-free fig, spinach, and gorgonzola pizzas.
In addition to hosting daily tea parties, Dragonfly Artisan Tea Cottage serves as a welcoming community hub where acoustic musicians gather to serenade patrons. Local artists display jewelry and paintings in the front room and, on some evenings, even attract craftsters and lost kittens by teaching knitting classes on the front porch.
Once fresh catches arrive to Cafe West, it's up to you how they're made. Diners can choose from 10 preparation styles for 6 seafood classics, from deep-frying mahi-mahi to stirring perch into scampi. Of course, the chefs whip up their own creations, too, such as mac and cheese made from cavatappi pasta, succulent scallops and shrimp, and house alfredo sauce.
Besides maritime options, Cafe West spotlights plenty of land-based proteins, including chargrilled 1-pound ribeyes and blackened chicken smothered in housemade pineapple salsa. Bartenders complement meals with an extensive selection of wine and brews both imported and local, some of which they showcase at frequent tasting events.
Circular mirrors back the bar, while the windowpanes in the casual dining room sport ocean-themed decorations, including diagrams explaining the differences between public and private schools of fish. Outdoor seating sets a relaxed mood during warm months.
Transylvania, Romania, may be Dracula's hometown, but it's also the hometown of something much sweeter?chimney cakes. The cylindrical cakes, which were originally baked on hot coals by the area's Hungarian residents, look a little like ribbon wrapped around a spool. To make them, bakers roll special dough by hand into an even strip, and then wrap the dough around a wooden or steel cooking roll. Next, they coat the dough in sugar and bake it. The result is a fully, soft inside and a crispy outside that is quickly coated in sweet toppings while it's still hot.
They used to be made only for special occasions in Romania and Hungary, but they've become quite popular and are slowly spreading across the world. In 1985, when the Chimney Cake Caf? opened, they officially touched down in Ann Arbor.
In the decades since then, the cafe team has added flair to the traditional pastry. They've started stuffing savory, garlic-and-cheese-covered chimney cakes with fillings such as chicken and feta cheese, and they've improved upon hot coals as their cooking method, upgrading to modern ovens and lasers. They also specialize in chicken and lamb shawarma. However, they still create the popular sweet cakes coated with such toppings as Nutella, Oreos, and coconut.