You’re walking through the Diag, stomach a-rumbling, head spinning with savory images. Should you take a bite into one of Totoro’s gingery California rolls, head down East Madison to see what the chefs of South Quad have concocted or check out that super-spirited deli on South U? Or maybe you’ll choose to stay in, buying fresh produce from the local grocers deep in the heart of Kerrytown. If you’re stuck on what to cook, ask a student group devoted to hearty home cooking with a philanthropic twist.

This week, The B-Side will investigate the factors behind the rich, textured vibrancy of the Ann Arbor food scene. Let these articles serve as a snapshot of a city saturated with culinary palatability — from cultivation to preparation to ingestion. Hungry yet?

Cafeteria creativity: The work of dining hall chefs

When Natalie Emcard swipes into a campus dining hall, she may not consider herself a customer. But for the chefs who toil behind the scenes, students are customers. And each chef uses his or her creativity and culinary arts training to satisfy the patrons who bustle through the University’s nine residential chow houses.

The art of the roll: Ann Arbor’s sushi scene

Ann Arbor boasts a vibrant sushi scene — evidenced by the numerous sushi bars and restaurants littering the edge of campus. Though a lot of things have changed about the practice of making sushi through its transplantation from Japan to America, some of its original attributes are still present today in Ann Arbor.

Local, sustainable sustenance sold at People’s Food Co-op

Put simply, the Food Co-op gives off good vibes. It’s as if breathing the air, just looking at the local apples and organic kale, even considering washing your hair with jojoba shampoo will permanently rid your system of toxins and allow you to contort your body into the most fantastic yoga positions.

Flavorful volunteering with ‘U’ student group

As a club combining community service with the culinary arts, Project Flavor cooks weekly gourmet meals for the occupants of the Ronald McDonald House — a residence located across the street from the University Hospital that offers housing for little-to-no charge to families who have a child going through extended medical treatment.

Lila Kalick: Why I love Maize and Blue Deli

With its large blue awning and heavily tinted windows, it’s hard to tell immediately that Maize and Blue on South University Avenue is a deli. The exterior of the hulking square building somewhat resembles the outside of a Gold’s Gym. However, once you enter, any doubt dissipates. Maize and Blue captures the zeitgeist of a true delicatessen.

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