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Hail to the Maize and Blue
From Page 7B
With its large blue awning
and heavily tinted win-
dows, it's hard to tell
immediately that Maize and Blue on
south University Avenue is a deli. The
exterior of the
hulking square i
outside of a Gold's,
Gym. Throngs of
frat boys filing into _
the place donning
their Sunday best LILA
- sweatshirts, KALICK
sweatpants and -
- perhaps further this misconception.
However, once you enter, any doubt
dissipates. Maize and Blue captures
the zeitgeist of a true delicatessen.
Perhaps you haven't heard of Maize
and Blue. It, of course, stands in the
4hadows of the most famous institu-
tion of Ann Arbor and the world over:
no, not the Big House - Zingerman's.
Admittedly, my favorite sandwich
in this city is still there, and I never
miss an opportunity to go. But Maize
and Blue offers a great alternative at a
slightly cheaper price, about nine dol-
lars per entree.
Inside, the large glass display case
to your left leaves nothing out. Meats,
cheeses, coleslaws, chicken salad, tuna
salad and cheesecakes sit under plastic
containers stuffed with an assortment
of Lay's chips.
The bottom right corner of the case
contains another tell-tale sign of true
deli-dom - Dr. Brown's Black Cherry
Soda. I could seriously writea mem-
oir about Dr. Brown's. If you haven't
sipped one of these on the beach while
eating a sandwich, it may be safe to say
your best days are ahead of you.
Though it's located only a couple
kdocks from the Diag, Maize and Blue
doesn't just attract students. It's typi-
cal to walk in around lunchtime and
From Page 6B
food item presents.
"If you look at an onion or a pep-
per, there's not just one way to cut it,
there's a thousand ways to cut it -
same to cook it," Turchan said. "I've
injected into the menu spots where
the chefs can be creative. Every week
(at North Quad) we have a ten-way
chicken where you just have the
chicken and can create your own
sauce or serving style."
Cummings echoes this sentiment,
see the brown granite tables packed
with youngsters, college kids and
a crew of old-timers, all seemingly
embroiled in serious conversation at a
favorite table toward the back. Patrons
congregating at the front desperately
wait in line to sample the sandwiches
they've been dreaming about since
The restaurant itself is small. Its
tall sood-paneled walls are broken up
by a large mural with "Maize 'N Blue
Deli" tagged in the middle. They're
flanked by the cutouts of a basketball
and football player painted in - what
else - maize and blue. The mural is
covered with the scribbled messages
of the deli's hundreds of fans through
You'll find no signed picture of Bill
Clinton here as you would in Katz's
Deli in New York. There are no booths
reserved for celebrities as there are at
the Carnegie. All you get in terms of
decor is a smattering of art that seems
better suited for ayard sale - a bald
eagle, a majestic mountain range, an
old hockey photo cut out from the
ate here, so you
Yet despite the lack of celebrity
headshots hawked openly at well
known delis, Maize and Blue has an
array of famous fans. Michael Phelps
dropped in with a camera crew to let
everyone know how much he loves
Maize and Blue, as did Adam Richman
of "Man v. Food" last September.
A whiteboard menu hangs along
the back wall broadcasting Maize
and Blue's countless combinations by
stressing that it's the little things that
make a meal superb. He cites straw-
berry sauce-topped cheesecake as an
example. Students complained that
the sauce was too lumpy and looked
unappealing, so Cummings worked
with students to modify the topping
so that the cheesecake was brought
to its full potential.
"Everything we do, we try to make
it more appealing for our custom-
ers, whether it's just a fresh sprig of
parsley on a piece of roast turkey or
a lighter strawberry sauce for the
cheesecake," he said.
But for Cummings and Turchan,
creativity is only a part of the job. The
category. Trying them all might takea
lifetime, so it's worth it to ask for rec-
ommendations from the staff - some
of the friendliest, most helpful people
The "Maize 'N Blue Awning" -
probably the joint's most famous sand-
wich - is outstanding. The sandwich
is made of roast beef, smoked turkey,
Colby, Jarlsberg cheese, honey cup
mustard, tomato, onion and green
pepper on grilled sourdough white
bread. Massive, it almost forces you to
dehook your jaw in order to properly
masticate. The honey cup mustard
adds an inexplicable spiciness to the
freshness of the pepper and onion.
The "Where's Bo?" - pastrami,
fried egg, Canadian Cobat cheddar,
mayo, onion and green pepper on
grilled challah - is excellence. Those
who finish it will be champions.
The "Triple Play Reuben" is anoth-
er crowning achievement. The sour-
dough rye bread is perfectly toasted,
bringing together a symposium of
flavors - corned beef, pastrami, Swit-
zerland Swiss, Jarlsbergcheese, sauer-
kraut and Russian dressing. It was so
good and filling that I couldn't eat for
the rest of the day.
There's one major drawback: veg-
etarian options are sparse. There is
one vegetarian sandwich. Somewhat
surprisingly, there is also no egg salad
... weak. But besides these misgivings,
Maize and Blue delivers in te-ms of its
menu. It's got almost every classic deli
delight you desire, plus some specialty
You get what you pay for at Maize
and Blue, and that's a massive sand-
wich stuffed with deliciousness and
a smile from the guys behind the deli
counter. It's a happiness that will last
you at least two meals.
Kalick is looking for a name for her
food baby. To suggest your favorites,
e-mail her at Ikalick@umich.edu.
two chefs also try to instill a passion
for the culinary arts in the students
they work with and meet in the dining
hall. To date, Cummings has collabo-
rated with four students who dropped
out of the University and transferred
to the Culinary Institute of America.
But at the same time, the chefs also
recognize that not every student
working has gourmet aspirations and
will also reach out to the casual chef.
"I love to teach people," said Tur-
chan. "If you want to learn to cook,
just ask. You're here for your studies,
but you cook once you leave here. You
can't eat at restaurants for the rest of
home is sometimes reflected in
Project Flavor's menus too.
"I'll say, 'You guys, I made this
awesome black bean thing last
week, I think we should try it at the
cook date' ... We just have constant
Adams started cooking in college
after she took a course on the phi-
losophy and the ethics of food.
"I think that whoever made that
class owes me, because I talk about
it all the time. It basically changed
my life," she said. At the end of the
class, she had to cook a meal for all
the class members, with an ethical
reasoning behind the food that she
"Mine was that I wanted to use
all local food for my meal, and from
then on I've gone to the Farmers
Market pretty much every weekend.
I've really changed my lifestyle and
become very interested in cooking,"
In fact, the course was so influen-
tial for Adams that she designed her
own food systems major to accom-
modate her interest.
"Since U of M doesn't have a
nutrition program ... I decided I
wanted to major in something I
was passionate about, so I wrote my
From Page 7B
After two acts of diplomatic meet-
ings, banquets and cultural excur-
sions, the six principles take the
stage during the third act of the show
and express their memories, doubts,
regrets and insecurities to the audi-
ence. This final moment takes away
the veil of mystery that separates the
common man from the politician on
television and turns these mythic
figures into relatable human beings.
In addition to its importance in
the operatic world, "Nixon in China"
also has significance on an interna-
tional scale. Since the opera's pre-
miere in 1987, China has grown from
a stubborn Communist nation to a
near capitalist economic superpow-
er; if anything, the opera has become
even more relevant as a topic for
"Nixon in China" captures the
moment at which the U.S. re-estab-
lished relations with the PRC. In
1971, a year before Nixon's trip,
America lifted its trade embargo on
China, hoping to facilitate friend-
ship between the two nations. Now
that the United States's economic
own," she said.
Project Flavor also tries to use
as much local produce as possible.
Until October or November, Adams
goes to the Farmers Market on
Wednesdays specifically to get the
ingredients the group needs for its
cook date that week.
"I think that it's silly for us to be
purchasing something like spinach
that's from Meijer and has been
shipped halfway around the world
when we have really great quality
spinach in Ann Arbor," she said.
"I like and appreciate good food,
healthy foods; I feel like stuff you
get a lot of times in restaurants is
such low quality ... You don't feel
good afterward," Isaacoff added.
"But when I make stuff, it's fresh
and it's a lot of whole ingredients."
According to Levine, apart from
how good it tastes, there are other
reasons why she savors the Project
"It kind of makes you feel good
when you make something that
tastes good," Levine said.
For Project Flavor, it's all in the
name. Masterfully maneuvering
its way through the kitchen at the
Ronald McDonald House to serve
a scintillating meal that delights
residents' taste buds, the group
gives a piquant kick to the vapid and
mundane. But in its simplest form,
Project Flavor isn't just a club about
volunteering - it's a group of stu-
dents who really love to cook.
fate is inexorably tied to that of
China, Adam and Goodman's opera
contains a new level of meaning for
audiences in 2011.
This fact seems to have spurred
recent interest in "Nixon in China."
In 2009, Naxos Records released
a new critically acclaimed Opera
Colorado recording of the work.
Next month, Nonesuch Records will
reissue its 1988 Grammy-winning
recording of the original cast. In
addition, opera-goers far and wide
will be able to witness director Peter
Sellars's celebrated production of
"Nixon in China" when the Metro-
politan opera broadcasts a Feb. 12
performance to cinemas across the
Opponents of opera often com-
plain that the art form is unrelatable
and outdated. Yet new works like
"Nixon in China" turn the audience's
attention inward toward society
and make a fascinating connection
between art and current events.
Gods and heroes still exist today, yet
they take on the form of politicians
and celebrities. So while opera may
have been transformed over the past
500 years, it still plays on our imagi-
nations by giving flesh, blood and a
musical voice to the figures we see
only on television and in the news.