Campus Chowdown Ep. 4: Tios Mexican Cafe (University of Michigan)

We wanted to spice our new episode of Campus Chowdown up, so we invited Guy Fieri to come host the episode.  In the fourth installment of Campus Chowdown, the boys attempt to conquer Mt. Nacheesmo, a five-pound nacho platter, at Tios Mexican Cafe in Ann Arbor.

This was the first challenge that we have featured that was also showcased by Adam Richman on Man v. Food.  He was able to put it down, but will we?

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Union Woodshop: A BBQ Smoke Session

Woodshop

When you tell somebody that you’re from Clarkston (Michigan), you’ll likely receive one of two responses: something about Pine Knob (or as the suits would call it ,“DTE Energy Music Theatre”) or something about The Union’s mac and cheese. It may be a small town, but it’s got spotlight eats. The Union’s mac and cheese is so good that you can’t take your eyes off of it to notice Kid Rock at the table next to you. (he’s a regular, the dude’s got good taste for…good taste). It’s so good that the competition is desperate to get their hands on the recipe—having been caught literally trying to get their hands on the recipe. The Union’s grub, interesting ambience (being built inside an old church) and friendly staff led to such great success that the team was able to open a second restaurant (and later a third, and a fourth) next door, the Union Woodshop. The Woodshop offers a different menu than its sister restaurant, focusing on my favorite of all the foods; and since Valentine’s Day is meant to be spent surrounded by what you love, I got some BBQ.

If the Woodshop was a dude, he’d be bearded, sporting a button-up plaid shirt, half-rim glasses, a beanie, but also, like, really good at fixing cars. If that imagery doesn’t work for you, it’s a hipster’s log cabin, with great craft brews, wood-fire pizzas, and mouth-watering, Guy Fieri endorsed smoked ‘que. Like Guy demonstrates on Triple D, my go-to order is the Porker—because what goes better with pork, than more pork? Ground pork patty, house-made hot link, and maple smoked bacon combined with explosive pickled chilies, smoked cheddar, and some South Carolina mayo spread. With all that pig no wonder Porky had a stutter. Poor guy was scared s***less.

A poor phone photo of the Porker.

A poor phone photo of the Porker.

If all of that pork makes you feel like a pig, the wood-fire pizzas are always on point. I’d recommend the Woodshop pizza, their version of the BBQ chicken pizza. In addition to the smoked chicken, you get pulled pork, brisket, onions, and a tangy Memphis sauce. The other pizzas are good, too; but I have a hard time going to a BBQ joint and not getting BBQ. It’s a sin, certainly a regret (for the secular).

tea jar

Food isn’t the only highlight of the place, however. Upstairs is also, in my opinion, the “hottest” bar in town. Now, that’s not saying much because there are only, like, three or four bars in town—but it’s still really cool! The music is hip, the feng shui is peaceful, and I fall in love with every server, but that’s just me. There are so many reasons to go to the Woodshop, make it happen.