Avalon Bakery: Ann Arbor's Coziest Cafe
If you head down East Liberty, skip Afternoon Delight and head straight for Avalon Bakery, the Detroit-based company known for its fresh breads and delicious baked goods. Avalon has been a local favorite in Detroit since its opening in 1997, and recently expanded into an impressive full-functioning restaurant on the corner of East Liberty and South Fourth Avenue. The bakery also opened a restaurant on Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit’s Campus Martius area last year.
I visited Avalon’s new Detroit location this summer and frankly, I was not impressed. I ordered a pretty average spinach salad that was over-dressed and underwhelming. However, upon giving it another try, this time in Ann Arbor, I can now confidently say that Avalon has worked out its kinks and boasts one of the best brunch menus in the city.
So, what should you order when you go? Go with a group, order a bunch of dishes to share, and leave both happy and satisfied. I highly recommend going around brunch time so you can enjoy the Potato Tacos and Blueberry Quinoa Pancakes. I’m typically a healthy brunch person and will usually opt for an egg white veggie omelet or yogurt parfait, but wow were these two items worth the calories. The potato tacos are essentially a crispy potato pancake resembling a latke, with runny eggs and goat cheese, wrapped in a tortilla and topped with a heavenly ranchero sauce and a cabbage radish slaw. It doesn’t taste like a taco and you can’t really eat it like one, but it’s so rich and delicious that the details don’t matter. Now for the pancakes... I know quinoa pancakes sound like the kind of thing that tries really hard to be healthy and tasty, but ends up tasting like cardboard. However, they’re light, fresh, topped with granola, and taste like cinnamon blueberry goodness. A big win for Avalon on the superfood pancakes.
When you finish those mouth-watering shared plates, fight the voice that tells you you’re full and refuse to quit. If you want to opt for something light for your main course, go with either the Kale Tabbouleh Salad or the Brassica Bowl. The puffed brown rice in the tabbouleh provides an unexpected crunch which pairs really well with the fresh flavors of golden raisins and diced cucumber. The Brassica Bowl is basically just kale, hummus, roasted broccolini, avocado, and a hard-boiled egg, but the simplicity of the dish is what makes it so good.
If you’re just a champ and aren’t filling up after the appetizers, go for one of the omelets or the Fried Egg, Avocado, and Bacon Sandwich. On the weekends, they usually provide a list of three omelet options and all are delicious. Add crispy bacon to whichever you choose, and I promise you will not regret it. Oh, and the fingerling potatoes that come on the side are, unfortunately for your abs, really, really good. As for the sandwich, there isn’t anything bad you can say about it. Eggs any way you like, house-baked bread, avocado, cheese, and bacon. It’s your classic BEC, but on steroids. It’s pretty big, so you may end up taking part of it home, but my best friend ate the entire sandwich within 15 minutes, even after our appetizers. Nothing is impossible to take on if you’re dedicated enough!
After your meal, order a hot drink and move over to the coffee shop seating area. This study spot is one of my favorites in Ann Arbor. The vibes are cozy, inviting, and warm —— it’s proven to cure the Sunday scaries 10/10 times.
I am so excited to continue to share my food finds on “Liv Well, Eat Better.” Check out Avalon, and stay tuned for my next article!