Adventures written by the VAMONDE Team
Michigan can have some pretty cold winters. So it's great to know that no matter how low the wind chill dips, you can venture into Frita Batidos for Cuban street food so meticulously created, it can fool you into thinking you've landed in the tropics. As you enter the whitewashed brick interior—Cuban music playing from the speakers, and long picnic tables inviting strangers to dine together—you know you've stepped into what is becoming not only Ann Arbor's most popular eatery but a place that encourages community among its diners. Frita's creator Eve Aranoff grew up spending a lot of time with her grandma in Miami. That's where she began her journey to become a chef and to understand the importance of paying attention to detail and cooking with the best locally-sourced ingredients.
The specialties on the menu include the Frita: a traditional Cuban burger made from spicy chorizo served with shoestring fries, sometimes topped with an egg:
Or the Batido: A tropical milkshake made with fresh fruit, crushed ice and Guernsey Dairy vanilla ice cream. Made with or without rum:
Do not be dissuaded from visiting if you do not eat meat or dairy. The menu is loaded with vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and non-dairy offerings. Aranoff also makes sure that menus change with the seasons and what is freshest and most abundant from local farmers and distributors. In summer, for example, you might find gazpacho made with tomatoes and corn sold at the Ann Arbor Farmer's market, with a side of spiced cilantro, and garlic fries with lime-infused mayo.
While you wait for your food, feel free to make friends by playing a congenial game of dominoes as you sit at white picnic tables. Or slice a lime from a net bag for your specially-formulated Coca Cola, just like you'd find in a taco bar down in Miami.
Be prepared to wait a while for your food. Though this is a counter service place, it is by no way fast-food quality. Everything is made to order, nothing waiting under a heat lamp here. And on game day, expect the line to go around the corner. Frita Batidos is becoming so popular it plans to open a Detroit location as well as go mobile with a food truck.
Cover image courtesy of Frita Batidos.