Eat! Lansing

July 20, 2008

Peanut Barrel

Filed under: American, Campus, East Lansing — Jack Lumanog @ 1:34 pm

Peanut Barrel
www.peanutbarrel.com
521 E Grand River Ave East Lansing, MI 48823
(517) 351-0608
Mon-Sat: 11:00 am 2:00 am,
 Sun: 12:00 pm 2:00 am

I’ve often looked forlornly at the outdoor patio of Peanut Barrel while strolling along with my wife and two daughters.  The place looks like a lot of fun  —  but not super kid friendly (not meant as a criticism).  I don’t think they have a highchair and the patio doesn’t look big enought to accomodate our stroller.  But, thanks to a babysitter and a night enjoying the beautiful weather in East Lansing, my wife and I finally were able to give Peanut Barrel a shot.

I had Sal’s Memorial ‘Shroom Burger with fries and a Long Island Iced Tea.  My wife had a sandwich (can’t remember which one) and a Long Island Iced Tea.  The meal and drink were delicious and the patio vibe was a lot of fun.  Total cost for dinner and drinks with tip was about $23.  Not a bad deal at all and a great spot to people watch.  Service was fair but in their defense, the 2 waitresses were covering the entire patio and trying to keep track of the seating order between them.  I suggest being on the ball to make sure you’re getting your order in and being proactive to get your check when you’re ready to cash out.

July 12, 2008

Amici’s New York Deli, take 2

Filed under: American, Lansing, Uncategorized — Jack Lumanog @ 9:22 am

Amici’s New York Deli
521 N Clippert St Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 332-1000
Monday-Saturday, 10 am-8 pm; Sunday 11 am-6 pm

OK, I felt enough remorse about my last post (stay away from the corned beef is all I’m saying) about Amici’s that I stayed true to my promise about coming back to try the pastrami.  As soon as I posted my first review of Amici’s yesterday, I felt bad enough that when contemplating my lunch I had to return to try to find a redeeming item off the menu.

The pastrami is the main event here and should not be missed.  OK, I plunked down another $9.74 for a sandwich and a soda but this time went for the #3 “The Westsider” (basically it’s the #1 with pastrami instead of the corned beef).  The pastrami on its own was wonderfully moist and it didn’t need the Russian dressing and the cole slaw  —  though it added some depth and flavor to the great flavor of the pastrami.  The corned beef definitely needed the cole slaw and dressing which is why I thought they were trying to make up for bad meat by putting all this other stuff on it.

I will gladly return to Amici’s after finding some heavenly solace in their pastrami.  Sorry to be so harsh the last time around, but I knew I was missing something here where it seemed they were trying so hard to do something right.

July 11, 2008

Amici’s New York Deli

Filed under: American, Lansing — Jack Lumanog @ 7:40 am

Amici’s New York Deli
521 N Clippert St Lansing, MI 48912
(517) 332-1000
Monday-Saturday, 10 am-8 pm; Sunday 11 am-6 pm

I was born and raised in Hoboken, New Jersey and spent an awful lot of time in New York.  I like to think that I know a fair amount about “New York deli food”.  So, I was really excited about trying Amici’s New York Deli.  That is, until I had their hot corned beef sandwich.

The corned beef was very thin, dry and bland.  And, there was a lot of it on the sandwich.  I’m told that the pastrami is the main event and to give it another shot.  I wasn’t impressed with my first visit there.  The restaurant is trying to clearly go for that NY deli vibe.  The prices were certainly in line with New York (nearly $10 for my sandwich and fountain drink) and they offer Dr. Brown’s sodas and salt and vinegar chips. 

The ambiance is pretty nice with free wi-fi and a flat screen TV on one side of the restaurant and a bustling lunch crowd the day I was there.  Though I wasn’t feeling the NY deli vibe the first time, I’m still willing to give the pastrami a shot the next time I’m there.

July 9, 2008

The Coffee Barrel

Filed under: Coffee, Okemos — dkastner @ 6:11 pm

The Coffee Barrel
www.thecoffeebarrel.com
2446 Jolly Road, Okemos, MI  48864
517-349-3888
M-F 9am-5pm

After the likes of Starbucks swept through the nation, many people developed a better appreciation for good coffee.  After the great wave of coffee chains a new breed of small coffee companies are springing up, primarily in places like Portland, Seattle, and Chicago that focus on roasting small batches of high quality coffee beans for a complexity and flavor that blow the average coffee chain’s brews out of the water.  

After having experienced Intelligensia in Chicago and trying Stumptown‘s offering in Portland recently, I was excited to finally be able to try The Coffee Barrel when I was able to take a day off (I work too far away to visit TCB during regular business hours).  The manager gave me a mini-tour.

The Coffee Barrel roasts somewhere around 300,000 pounds of coffee at a time and ships it to various restaurants around the country.  The coffee is roasted in an air roaster.  For large quantities of beans, this is the preferred method over iron drum roasters that are heated externally as the air roaster roasts the beans more evenly.  Many emerging boutique roasters, however, prefer to roast using the old iron roasters as they provide more direct control of the roasting.  Much more attention is required in this process, but the results are phenomenal.

With that bit of background in mind, the full city Columbian roast I tried, while not the best, stands toward the top of my list.  The beans had the advantage of being fresh, which makes a big difference.  However, the flavor lacked some complexity and left a slightly bitter aftertaste.

The store offers five different roasts – from full city to viennese to french.  Several different varieties spanning the globe are also offered – from Columbia to Guatemala to Ethiopia and Sumatra.  In addition are many flavored coffees.  But then what’s the point of all that?  One notable flavor featured coffee beans coated in specs of white chocolate.  

If you want fresh coffee and don’t want to mail order it or roast your own, this is the place!  They will also grind your coffee for you if you lack your own burr grinder.

July 7, 2008

Korea House

Filed under: East Lansing, Korean, Sushi — Jack Lumanog @ 7:56 pm

Korea House
Restaurant menu via allmenus.com
978 Trowbridge Rd, East Lansing, MI 48823
(517) 332-0608‎
hours: M-Fri 11:00 am 9:30 pm, Sun: 12:30 pm 9:00 pm

(This is my first review here as a co-contributor so I hope I don’t screw this up.  Though some of this might be old hat to many of you Greater Lansing foodies, I’m still relatively new to town so cut me some slack!)

In my year and a half in Lansing so far, I’ve been faithful to Korea House when I get a craving for Korean food (there was that one indiscretion at Charlie Kang’s but I swear it was a one time thing and it’s over between us).  I usually go for a quick lunch and there’s plenty to choose from.  I usually get a craving for all the wonderful side dishes like pickled radish or kimchee.  The lunch menu has got lots of great eats priced at around $5.  The sushi bar is open during limited hours around lunch and dinner.  If you have a craving for sushi, this will more than satisfy.  But nothing mindblowing here.

For my money, I stick with the basics:  Galbi dinner portion with a can of Diet Coke.  It’s an enormous amount of food for $10 and it’s great every single time.  The bulgogi runs a close second on an item not to be missed on this menu.  Classic, straightforward Korean food served efficiently and inexpensively. 

Not to be nitpicky, but the service is not the greatest in town.  There are always a lot of waitresses buzzing around and they are the most efficient bunch I’ve ever seen.  If I can get a smile out of any of them, I feel as though I’ve accomplished something pretty spectacular!

New Contributor

Filed under: Site News — dkastner @ 7:08 pm

I’d like to give a warm welcome to Jack Lumanog, the first co-contributor to Eat! Lansing.  Jack moved to the area a year and a half ago, loves food, and has a ready opinion.  Look forward to more updates!

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