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Foodie Finds: Blaze Pizza

Blaze logo

Fast Fire’d Blaze Pizza has now opened two locations in Ann Arbor- 3500 Washtenaw Ave Ann Arbor in the newly renovated Washtenaw Commons shopping center and 980 W Eisenhower Pkwy in Cranbrook Village. The California-based chain is part of the fast-casual wave of pizzarias on the rise, and by the looks of things during my visit, it’s receiving a warm Ann Arbor welcome.

Upon entering the Washtenaw Commons store, the entry to the ordering line was clearly marked. I recommend grabbing one of the paper menus as you make your way to the ordering counter—ordering is easy, but it’s smoother if you know what you’re doing. The friendly person behind the counter asked me my name and then welcomed me to Blaze. He was extremely helpful in pointing out the many ingredients and as I made my way down the assembly line of pizza toppings, I was greeted by name by other pizza creators.

blaze-pizza-interior

There are two ways in which to order your pie—either one of their 9 signature pizzas or the DIY option. Either way, your name is put on a slip of paper which follows you through the assembly line of goodness. I chose from the Artisan menu and ordered the Green Stripe – pesto drizzle over grilled chicken, roasted red peppers, chopped garlic, mozzarella and arugula. My daughter was a bit less adventurous and chose to completely customize hers from the sauce to the toppings. She selected a traditional red sauce and loaded it up with veggies.

blaze-fast-fired-pizza

Once paid, we grabbed a few drinks and stood and watched our pizzas being quick-fired to perfection in their massive 500 degree ovens. Quick-fired means exactly that—our wait was no more than 3-5 minutes. Despite the rush, the space is large, so there were plenty of seating to choose from.

Pizza image

Not wasting any time, I rushed into the first bite, excited about the carb-fest I’d been dreaming of all day, and that first bite did not disappoint. Neither did the second, or third, or fourth. The thin crust was perfectly cooked and had just enough crunch to keep me wanting more, and though I initially thought the quantity of toppings appeared skimpy, I was wrong. There was exactly the right amount to compliment the crust.

I looked over at my daughter and she, too was thoroughly enjoying her masterpiece. Her pizza was delicately layered with spinach, red pepper, mushrooms and two kinds of cheese. She is a bit picky when it comes to pizza but the lack of conversation proved that we were both enthralled with the delicious pies set before us.

Though the acoustics created a rather loud dining experience that had me wanting to scoot out quickly, I’d say everything else made up for that. The employees were incredibly friendly, and the pizza was exceptional – particularly considering the $8 price tag, quick firing, and the fact that I could have easily split my pizza with my daughter. Blaze is what it is – and it’s that good!

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5 Places in Ann Arbor to Eat Delicious Mexican Food

Did you know that September 16 is Mexican Independence Day and National Guacamole Day?  Get into the spirit with delicious Mexican food. Below are 5 of the best Mexican restaurants in Ann Arbor.

Chela’s

Chela's tacos
Isalita

Isalita Guacamole

 

Sabor Latino

Sabor Latino
Taqueria La Fiesta

Taqueria La Fiesta
Tmaz Taqueria

TMAZ

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Top 5 Ann Arbor Sports Bars to Watch the Game

Both the University of Michigan and Michigan State University are on the road this weekend. The Detroit Tigers are beginning their play-off run on Saturday. The next best thing to being in the stadium cheering on your favorite team is watching the game on the big screen at one of the best Ann Arbor Sports Bars.

  1. The Arena
    With 22 TV screens, including 4 high definition big screens and 2 in the bathroom, you won’t miss a single play at The Arena. 

  2. Fraser’s Pub
    A classic Ann Arbor hangout, Fraser’s Pub features 2 big screens and several TVs to enjoy your favorite game. 

  3. Banfield’s Westside Grill & Tavern
    A popular sports bar on the west side of town, Banfield’s features 20 TVs. 

  4. Buffalo Wild Wings
    With TVs everywhere you turn, Buffalo Wild Wings on State Street is a great place to catch the game. 

  5. Damon’s Grill
    With 4 larger then life screens, Damon’s Grill is a great place to cheer on your favorite sports team. 

Where is your favorite place to watch the game?

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Travel to Florida: 5 Things To Do When Visiting the Tampa Bay Area

Summer is finally here, and while we love Ann Arbor, this means we’re all ready for a long vacation and a break from the real world. If you’re looking for a breath of fresh air, head on down to Florida and experience all that the Tampa Bay Area has to offer.

Here are a few of our favorite things that you won’t want to miss:

Theme Parks. Despite the heat, families tend to migrate to the theme parks in the summer. Head to North Tampa to experience a plethora of wild animals and roller coasters at Busch Gardens or cool off next door at it’s water park partner, Adventure Island.  You can even get a discounted pass if you’re going to be visiting both parks! If you’re looking for a little more magic, take a drive up to Orlando to visit Disney World or Universal Islands of Adventure. It’s only a little over an hour away and well worth the drive!

Sporting Events. No matter what your sport, Tampa Bay has something to offer. Head to downtown St Petersburg to catch a Rays baseball game or hit downtown Tampa to see the Bucs hit the field or the Lightning hit the Ice. If basketball is more up your alley, stop by to see the Orlando Magic play after that Disney trip. Don’t forget to pick up an authentic jersey while you’re here – we wouldn’t want you going home empty handed!

The Arts. The Tampa Bay Area is well known for the arts. Downtown St Petersburg in particular has been voted the #1 mid-size art destination in the country two years in a row! From local co-ops and galleries to the largest collection of Salvador Dali’s works (Dali Museum pictured above), the Chihuly blown glass exhibit and the Museum of Fine Art, there is an endless amount to experience. This truly gives the city life.

Nightlife and Dining. From the laid back atmosphere provided by Central Avenue to the more upscale Beach Drive, Downtown St Pete is definitely a first choice for all ages, both locals and travelers alike. Be sure to check out the unique local cuisine before hitting the town! You can also head over the bridge to South Tampa or Bay Street and you’re sure to find some of the best dining and nightlife around. Whether you’re looking for a drink on the beach, the night of your life or something family friendly, Tampa Bay has got you covered.

The Pinellas Beaches. While there’s plenty to do to keep you busy, the Tampa Bay area also provides a healthy amount of beautiful beaches perfect for relaxation. If relaxing just doesn’t cut it you’re itching to check out a few prime pieces of Real Estate while your in town, you may want to stop by a few of the most expensive beach homes on the market.  They won’t let you down.

If you’re ever in the area and have already covered this to-do list, feel free to stop by Smith & Associates Real Estate and I’m sure we can come up with a few more ideas! Be sure to check out our blog, lLike us on Facebook or follow us on twitter to stay up-to-date on the local community and Real Estate market!

What are your summer plans? We’d love to hear all about them in the comments below and for a few reasons to visit Ann Arbor, visit the Smith & Associates blog!

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Try Something New During Taste of Ann Arbor

Taste of Ann Arbor, the delicious downtown annual event, will take place on Main Street this Sunday. With more than 40 restaurants serving up a sampling of popular menu items, visitors are advised to bring their appetites.

To try the tasty samplings, visitors must pay with tickets. Volunteers from The Michigan Theater will be selling tickets throughout the event for $0.50 each. In addition to the food, the Bank of Ann Arbor Sonic Lunch stage will be at the corner of Main and Liberty featuring live music.

Taste of Ann Arbor
Sunday, June 3rd
11:00am – 5:00pm

Participating Restaurants:
Cafe Japon
Fresh Fruit Smoothies
Grizzly Peak
Mani Osteria and Bar
Rocky Mountain Chocolate
Silvio’s Organic Pizza
The Ravens Club
Arbor Brewing Company
BD’s Mongolian Barbecue
Graham’s Restaurant
Palio
Schakolad
Argiero’s
The Earle
Cafe Felix
Vinology
Marnee Thai
Jamaican Jerk Pit
Blue Tractor
Busch’s
Jazzy Veggie
Melange
Conor O’Neill’s Traditional Irish Pub
Gratzi
Real Seafood Company
La Dolce Vita
Carson’s American Bistro
Sabor Latino
Miki Japanese Restaurant
Black Pearl
Blue Nile
Cupcake Station
Shalimar
The Melting Pot
Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
Carlyle
Mediterrano
Whole Foods Market
Buffalo Wild Wings
Mahek Indian Cuisine

What are you looking forward to trying at Taste of Ann Arbor?

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