Monday, October 11, 2010


At the beginning of this local food journey I had assumed that I would only be able to eat food that I had cooked for myself but low and behold, I am singing a new tune after the events of last night. To conclude Marcy's Birth Week, the Zatz family ventured to Ann Arbor and took Hadas, Marcy, and I out to Vinology.

After scoping out the menu online, I was very hopeful that I would be able to actually order a dish. Not only does their menu rotate seasonally, these wonderful words are printed at the bottom:

To support our environment and local economy, 
we focus on local and sustainable ingredients whenever possible. 
Participating farms in this menu include: 
Eat Local Eat Natural, Guernsey Dairy, Calder Dairy, Miller Amish Chicken Farms, 
Gunthorp Farms, Werp Farms, Mighty Good Coffee, Avalon Organic Bakery

Nevertheless, I called in to see the extent of local purchasing Vinology takes part in. I learned that about 90% of their produce is from local sources. I was directed towards Aaron, one of the chefs, to discuss just what that meant.

I ended up talking to Aaron both on the phone and at the restaurant. He helped me navigate the menu to see my vegan options but when he offered to make me something special, how could I say no? Considering I am a far from picky eater, he surprised me with this beautiful creation:

Photo Credit: M Ziggity

Rice pilaf with saffron, topped with huckleberries, micro greens, and thyme.
A salad of dandelion greens, carrots, cucumber, and heirloom tomatoes, tossed in a vinaigrette dressing.
Roasted zucchini and asparagus in a roasted red pepper sauce.
All of which was grown in Michigan (except the rice...)

Although this will obviously not be a typical dining out experience for me (Hello college student budget), it made me realize how accommodating people will be if you are open and honest about your lifestyle. I could have easily kept my mouth shut and ordered the veggies salad, the only dish on the menu that explicitly is from Werp Farm, but I'm glad that I didn't. Not only was Aaron more than willing to make me something special because of my dietary restrictions, he saw it as an exciting challenge!

All I can say is, don't be embarrassed about your personal goals or what you consider important, you'll be surprised to find how many people want to know more or actually share them!

1 comment:

  1. That is a gorgeous plate of food. Saffron rice huckleberries! when do you see that on a menu and vegan. I agree, talk to your server about special vegan requests. I never have had any problem ordering vegan meals. No reason to be apologetic afterall you are a paying customer. I am sure they would accommodate a nut allergy or gluten free sensitivity so why not vegan request. More and more places are adding these items to their menu. At the very least every restaurant has some olive oil that they swap out the butter with. and veggies that they can at least put on pasta. Most of the time they really get creative. My non vegan friends often want what they bring me.