The Wafel Shop, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Wafel Shop, Ann Arbor, Michigan

I have a fabulous co-worker who used to live in Belgium and when she came to town once brought waffles coated in Belgian chocolate as gifts. They were sugary, crunchy and the chocolate was unbeatable (this coming from non-chocoholic). I’ve been in search of something similar locally ever since. I’ve been a fan of this place called Taste of Belgium at the North Market in Columbus, OH where they make both delicious crepes and waffles, but I wanted something here in Michigan.

The Wafel Shop is another in a series of new restaurants to open in downtown Ann Arbor in the last several months. Josh and I stopped in to The Wafel Shop for a light breakfast this past weekend, the first weekend they were open. Their standard waffles come with butter and powdered sugar, additional toppings are extra. I went with the Liege style waffle because it sounded very similar to what I had been looking for, sugary and crisp with the same dense texture. I added Biscoff spread and fresh raspberries. Josh chose the Brussles Wafel and added peanut butter and banana. To drink I had a caramel latte and Josh had a hot chocolate.

The food and drinks came up quickly, everything seemed well organized and they had the right amount of staff while we were there for the early morning rush. My latte was decent, not as good as some coffee shops in the area, but definitely serviceable. Josh really enjoyed the hot chocolate, and he’s pickier about that type of drink than most.

I loved my waffle. It was thick, crispy on the edges and I could taste the sugar pearls that were inside that give it a real distinction from the typical American waffle. The Biscoff spread was sweet and had that sugar cookie goodness. I was glad I added raspberries because their acidity and tartness were perfect for cutting through the sweetness of the spread so it wasn’t too much. Next time I would leave the butter off, it didn’t add much with the other toppings already adding a richness. I tried a bite of Josh’s waffle and it was tasty too, although not as much flavor in the waffle itself it did have a nice light airy texture. It was good Elvis style with the banana and PB combo.

I would definitely go back, but I think I’d prefer it for a snack or dessert to breakfast. I like more food in the morning and while I commend them for not trying to overreach and do too much, their menu is simple – waffles and drinks. The toppings aren’t enough to fill me up. I think they should continue to keep it simple though. They certainly seem to have mastered these Belgian style waffles and I don’t want to see that change. Dessert is just fine with me!

They also had chocolate covered waffles in a case, why I didn’t get one on the way out is beyond me, especially because it may have been very close to the original Belgian treat my co-worker gave me! Next time for sure.

The Songbird Cafe, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Songbird Cafe, Ann Arbor, Michigan

I have fallen in love with a little cafe in Ann Arbor, Michigan called, The Songbird Cafe. I find reason to stop in at least once a week or so. The staff is very pleasant and efficient and the coffee and food are simple, but delicious.

Their caramel latte is just the way I like it. They don’t skimp on the foam, which tastes like a coffee marshmallow to me! So many places these days only fill the latte with milk and leave off the froth, which is my favorite part when done right (and Songbird does it right!).

Caramel Latte at The Songbird Cafe - Ann Arbor, Michigan |

I know I’m enjoying a great latte when it tastes rich and luxurious even when I order it with skim milk, and that’s exactly what I’ve gotten every time I’ve ordered one at this sweet little cafe. Beezy’s, and now The Songbird Cafe, are my two favorite places in the Ypsi/Ann Arbor area to order an espresso drink.

I’ve also had some tasty food at Songbird, including:  oatmeal cookies, a divine apple hand pie, a simple, but delicious caprese sandwich and breakfast.

For breakfast I always order the green tea muffin with candied ginger and topped with walnuts, their cherry granola yogurt parfait,  a side of fresh fruit and a caramel latte, of course!

The muffin is lightly sweet and heavenly. I love that the walnuts are sprinkled on top so they don’t interfere with the soft texture of the muffin too much. The candied ginger wakes up the taste with a subtle and sweet zing. The granola parfait is made to order in a cute little mason jar. The yogurt is plain Greek yogurt so I usually grab just a touch of honey from the coffee bar to take the edge off. The fruit Songbird serves has always been well picked and absolutely fresh.

Songbird Cafe - Ann Arbor, Michigan |

I also enjoy seeing the love that went into the decor of this little place. I never went into this building when it was the beloved Flim Flam diner, but I imagine it’s quite a bit different inside now than it was then.

You walk in to be greeted by the friendly staff at the coffee counter and the chalkboard with specials of the day (their daily soups are fabulous as well!). The counter has lovely slats of wood and a granite top. The side walls have a touch of exposed brick for a rustic feel.

To the right is the dining area, the open entryway to the seating area is accented on side with a lovely leaded glass door. The tables are plenty with a mix of cushioned benches and simple wooden chairs. Library shelves line the back wall. Light pours in from the front window making for a very comfortable and cozy atmosphere to enjoy some simple, but lovely food.

MoonWinks Cafe, Ann Arbor, MI

There’s a great little coffee shop/cafe on Plymouth Rd. in Ann Arbor (technically the town of Dixboro) called MoonWinks Cafe. The decor is quaint and homey and the counter staff is friendly. Driving into the area of Dixboro, where the shop is located, is relaxing. It has a small town feel, even though you’re still in the Ann Arbor area. There’s a “general store” across the street that sells furniture and home goods.

The cafe serves Zingerman’s coffee and espresso drinks at a fraction of the cost of getting from the original source, which I love (and it’s much closer, too!). I always get my vice, a caramel latte, and they serve the best foam of any local coffee shop I’ve tried. In my opinion, the foam is the best part of the latte (if it’s done right), but many places leave it off altogether. The foam at MoonWinks is a rich and thick treat in addition to the coffee underneath. I also love that they serve it in a mug for those of us dining in, not a common practice anymore.

I’ve also stopped in for breakfast a few times and always loved their oatmeal with dried cherries because it tasted like slow-cooked oats. Unfortunately, they’ve taken that off the menu. I really hope they bring it back. My husband and I shared a fresh cinnamon roll last time and it was yummy. Unfortunately, it was so good we ate it before I had a chance to snap a photo! My husband always orders their breakfast burrito. Although he prefers the one at Beezy’s in Ypsilanti, he said this one is good, too.

Breakfast at Nico and Vali’s Italian Eatery, Plymouth, MI

After having such a great sandwich at Nico and Vali’s the other week, I had to go back for breakfast. I ordered a caramel latte ($3), their strawberry and marscapone crepe ($4.95) and a side of hash browns($1.50). Each place that serves espresso seems to have a different level of sweetness when it comes to flavored drinks. The caramel latte at Nico and Vali’s was a little weak in the sugar department for me, but it was still a quality coffee drink. The crepe was nicely presented dusted with powdered sugar, drizzled with chocolate sauce and served with a cup of seasonal fresh fruit. The creamy marscapone filling had a nice sweetness with a hint of lemon. The fruit cup was a mix of strawberries, grapes, honeydew and cantaloupe; each piece of fruit was extremely fresh. The hash browns were simple crispy squares of potato. They were not at all greasy or overcooked. I was a little disappointed that only one crepe came with my order after seeing the size of my husband’s personal frittata ($6.25) which also included toast and hash browns in the price, but the prices are still fairly reasonable for a more unique breakfast selection.
The server we had for breakfast was a had less personality than the friendly and knowledgeable waiter we had on the our previous visit for lunch, but service was still efficient.
Remembering their exceptional ciabatta bread I had on a great sandwich a few weeks ago I picked up a loaf ($3.50) on the way out. I made a simple garlic bread with it for dinner the next night and the texture and flavor of the bread was just as good as I had remembered.
We’ll have to make a trip back soon to try out their dinner menu!