Eat! Lansing

February 10, 2010

Dusty’s Tap Room to start Sunday brunch

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jack Lumanog @ 4:13 pm

Dusty’s Wine Bar/Tap Room/Cellar
1839 Grand River Avenue, Okemos, MI 48864
Phone: 517-349-5150
Cellar hours: M-Sat 7am-9pm, Sun 7am-6pm
Wine Bar/Tap Room hours: M-Th 11am-12am, F-Sat 11am-1am, Sun 12pm-10pm 

If you’re a fan of Dusty’s Cellar on Facebook, you may have noticed this little bit of good news:

Ever have a breakfast craving on Sunday morning? Starting March 7th Dusty’s Tap Room will offer Sunday brunch and build your own Bloody Mary bar from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Details and pricing to follow.

Great news for Sunday brunch seekers in Greater Lansing!

June 15, 2009

Michigan’s Cornucopia of Beer

Filed under: Uncategorized — erithmetic @ 10:00 pm

One of Michigan’s best kept secrets is its wonderful contingent of microbreweries.  Michigan has a high number of breweries per capita among US states, trailing only behind Wisconsin (home of Milwaukee’s breweries), the Rocky Mountain states (home of Coors), the Pacific Northwest (where most domestic hops are grown), and the far northeast.  Microbreweries and brewpubs were quite common before prohibition.  Many of the German immigrants into Michigan brought their beer garden culture and lager beers with them.  Yet Michigan enacted prohibition laws two years before the 18th amendment was passed and Detroit was the first major city to go completely dry.  After prohibition, many of the small breweries were wiped out and large national breweries, such as Budweiser, picked up the demand and were able to outsell the micros due to better economies of scale.  1978 was a turning point as legal restrictions on microbrewing were relaxed and a home brewing movement began.  Michigan’s craft brewing scene didn’t really take off until the 90’s as laws were relaxed.  However, given that it has only been a couple of decades, Michigan’s modern brewing scene is outstanding.

Within 100 miles of Lansing you will find 80% of the state’s breweries – a perfect reason to take a quick road trip! In the Lansing area alone, you’ll find Harper’s Brewpub in East Lansing, the Travelers Club International Restaurant and Tuba Museum in Okemos, and the Michigan Brewing Company in Webberville.

When most people think of beer, the first thing that comes to mind is the stuff that tastes like liquefied Corn Flakes sold under national labels. It’s no coincidence that corn (cheaper than wheat, barley, etc.) is a major ingredient in many of these brands. They are marketed toward those who see beer as a means to an end rather than a matter of quality or taste. But beer can be an enjoyable, tasty drink and it comes in so many varieties. Each brewery in Michigan reflects on its owner’s style and creativity, the location, and the type of ingredients used. Each brewpub also has its own unique atmosphere.

If you’re in the Lansing area and you want a good start, head over to the Michigan Brewing Company in Webberville.  My favorite offering is their Celis White, a Belgian-style ale that has a sweet, floral, fruity taste.  Their brown ale (a more nutty, carmel flavor) is also very good. The brewpub lacks atmosphere as its situated in the middle of an industrial park next to a major ADM grain terminal and the interior decor is just as sterile. However, it is far outweighed by the quality of beer. I’m also trying not to hold a grudge over the fact that Kid Rock has asked MBC to brew a special, state tax subsidized beer that he wants to taste like Coors Light.

I have yet to taste the offerings at Harper’s and the Traveler’s Club.  But here are a few suggestions as you branch out further from Lansing:

  • Dark Horse Brewery, Marshall, MI. This cozy hole in the wall (don’t blink or you’ll drive right past it) offers some innovative flavors, such as their blueberry stout.
  • Arcadia Brewery, Battle Creek. They specialize in British-style ales.
  • Bell’s Brewery, Kalamazoo. The most popular local brand in Michigan with their “Oberon” wheat beer.  Personally, I am sick of Oberon, especially after having a skunky batch (on tap, even!) not too long ago.
  • Ann Arbor Brewing Company, Ann Arbor. Well respected around Ann Arbor. Of note is their recent launch of a Belgian style ale.  I’ve tried their alt beer and it has a very dark, tobacco flavor.
  • Corner Brewery, Ypsilanti. A great place to hang out – plenty of couches and a patio in the back yard.
  • New Holland Brewing Company, Holland. So far, I’ve only tried their Dragon Stout and it was very good.

Note that over time, breweries tend to change up their offerings as they try new flavors. Many brewpubs offer samplers of each of their beers, a major advantage to visiting them rather than buying off the store shelf. I should also mention that Horrock’s and Goodrich’s are excellent places to find Michigan beers.

Another great resource is the Lansing City Market where Matergala stand.  The owner knows a great deal about brewing and is a great resource, especially if you’re home-brewing.

Have fun enjoying the beers of Michigan!

April 19, 2009

State Side Deli

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jack Lumanog @ 5:00 pm

State Side Deli
3552 Meridian Crossings, Okemos, MI 48864
(517) 853-1100

I’ve not had much luck with finding a decent hot corned beef sandwich in the Lansing area.  That is, until a friend told me about the new-ish State Side Deli in Okemos.  I knew I was a deli snob, but not until I got an informative earful about the virtues of double-baked rye bread from Detroit.  My snobbery comes from being raised on New Jersey/New York deli where the bread is a secondary deal.  The first order of business is usually a pound to a pound and a half of the most delicious corned beef or pastrami you’ve ever had.  But again, I digress…

In a deli experience, I usually look for Dr. Brown’s soda (at State Side: check), amazing corned beef and pastrami (check and check) and decent bread (check).  Everything else can take a back seat in my opinion.

The dining room is pretty small so I suggest you come before or after the typical lunch rush hour if you expect to dine in.  We got in around 11:30 or so on a Saturday morning so we were the only ones there for a bit until a steady stream of customers came in until every seat was spoken for.

I had the #34 sandwich:  corned beef, pastrami, cole slaw, cheese and russian dressing on rye bread.  My friend who is really in the know about the legendary double-baked rye bread said that our visit wasn’t the best bread he’s ever had there.  It was my first experience with double-baked rye and I thought it was spectacular…even on a not so great day for it at State Side.  The sandwich was enormous, the corned beef and pastrami perfectly juicy and I basically inhaled the whole thing in 10 minutes.  Absolutely delicious!

I’ll have to save room for dessert next time or just take some to go once my enormous sandwich has digested.  There looked to be some delicious dessert options there at State Side (a small selection of ice cream) plus cheesecake, 7-layer cake and some other things.

I highly recommend this new deli.  Suddenly, after my visit to State Side, I’m not feeling all that deprived of decent deli in Greater Lansing!  And, I think I’ve been converted to the virtues of the Detroit double-baked rye.  The bread really added something different to the corned beef/pastrami experience!

March 31, 2009

CLOSED: Krispy Kreme

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jack Lumanog @ 2:23 pm


A sad day for me (as an eater) and for cardiologists in the Greater Lansing area with the closing of our only Krispy Kreme on Lake Lansing Road at Eastwood Town Center.  It probably did not help that there was a “fake out” entrance that led to nowhere right next to the proper entrance and exit to the Krispy Kreme.  Also, it might not have helped to have a ton of Tim Horton’s locations opening all over Greater Lansing around the same time within the last year.

Oh well, Krispy Kreme, you will be missed.

February 12, 2009

Olga’s Kitchen

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jack Lumanog @ 3:26 pm

Olga’s Kitchen

Meridian Mall Food Court
1982 Grand River Avenue, Okemos, MI 48864

Frandor Shopping Center 
354 Frandor Court, Lansing, MI 48912

Lansing Mall
5330 West Saginaw Hwy., Lansing, MI 48917

I’m into my third year living in Lansing and I can safely say that I’ve settled into some eating ruts.  On the one hand, it’s nice that when I eat at my regular places, they usually know what I want when I sit down.  On the other hand, you forget that there are other places you’ve not tried yet.

My family and I decided on something new.  After driving by the Frandor location of Olga’s Kitchen a million times or walking by the food court locations at Lansing and Meridian Malls, we finally made our way to an Olga’s!

This was a nice place for a leisurely meal with courteous and efficient service.  The main attraction seems to be the Olga Sandwich…don’t call it a gyro or a doner kebab, though it looks suspiciously similar to both.  It’s an Olga sandwich, in Olgabread with Olgasauce.  Whatever you call it, it was delicious.

I opted for the Olga Combo with the Olga Sandwich (with extra meat at $2 upcharge) with curly fries and cole slaw.  My wife went with the Olga Sandwich and zucchini fries (excellent with the horseradishy dipping sauce it comes with) and my daughters split the kids meal of Stouffer’s Mac & Cheese. 

I think we all ordered well and got just the right amount of food.  The cost of our dinner added up in a hurry though…nearly $31 including drinks and tip.  Not a bad place and we’ll probably hit it again if we’re undecided on dinner.

January 8, 2009

CLOSED: Red Cedar Grill and China Gourmet in Lansing Mall

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jack Lumanog @ 3:42 pm

I went out to the Lansing Mall today to run some errands and both restaurants that I had in mind to eat at were closed.  My first choice today was for Bourbon Chicken (I know, I know, not the healthiest of things to eat) at China Gourmet.  That place at the food court is closed. 

Then, I thought, “Why not Red Cedar Grill for a burger?”  That place was closed as well. 

Click here for a report from Lansing State Journal on how Red Cedar Grill will be handling gift certificates at their Williamston and Brighton locations.

December 5, 2008

Bangkok House

Filed under: Lansing, Thai, Uncategorized — Jack Lumanog @ 2:31 pm

Bangkok House
420 E Saginaw St # 112, Lansing, MI 48906
(517) 487-6900

Usually when I have a craving for Filipino food (BTW, I’m Filipino!), I usually find a Thai restaurant as that is usually as close as I can get as far as flavor profiles are concerned.  Filipino restaurants are hard to find around here in the Midwest (unless you’re in Chicago) but I can usually find a Thai restaurant that will hit the spot.

But, I digress…  after a few attempts in my nearly two years in Greater Lansing, I finally was able to eat at Bangkok House!  Usually, they are closed when it occurs to me to go check it out.  The location is another factor as it isn’t on my way to my normal routes for work or errands.  So, this had to be a deliberate trip at the dinner hour and they were open!  (The restaurant is closed for a few hours in between lunch and dinner.)

My wife and two daughters joined me for this little outing for dinner and all of us were pleased with our experience.  To start, we ordered 2 orders of Thai spring rolls (4 pieces all together for $4.00) and fried tofu ($3.00).  The fried tofu comes with either a sweet and sour sauce (I recommend this one) or a peanut sauce (I would avoid this one  —  the look of it wasn’t all that appetizing).  The kids loved the starters and they came to the table very quickly.

For dinner, my wife and I both ordered Pad Thai (come on, why not?).  My wife had the pork version, mild spices.  I ordered shrimp and chicken with extra egg, medium spices.  My wife’s came out first and then there was a bit of delay before mine came out.  They were both delicious and not at all greasy (which has been my experience at another Thai restaurant in Lansing  —  Dok Sing, across from the Lansing Mall).

Everything comes from the kitchen to your table at one temperature  —  “boiling lava hot” as comedian Jim Gaffigan would call it.  It’s not meant as a criticism at all.  It’s just how it is.  Food coming to our table was extremely efficient.  However, don’t expect for anything to be cleared off your table between courses.  We resorted to putting empty plates, glasses and other stuff on the table next to us (thankfully, no one was seated at that table next to us!).

Bangkok House seems to be one of the few Asian restaurants in the Greater Lansing area with a liquor license.  I enjoyed a healthy pour of the house chardonnay at $1.95 per glass  —  a relative bargain at any restaurant these days.  The white wine matched well with the spice of my entree.  There’s also a good selection of beers also at very affordable prices.

All in all, I’d recommend this place for something different.  The prices are just great, the food comes out to you very quickly and everything is pretty tasty.  This was not at all a bad way to spend a Thursday night with the family!

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.

May 12, 2008

Grand Traverse Pie Company

Filed under: American, Bakery, Desserts, East Lansing, Okemos, Uncategorized — erithmetic @ 7:32 pm

Grand Traverse Pie Company – Okemos
3536 Meridian Crossings, Okemos, MI 48864

Hours: M-Fri 6:30am-8:30pm, Sat 8:00-8:30, Sun 10:00-6:00

Grand Traverse Pie Company – East Lansing
1403 E Grand River Ave, East Lansing, MI 48823

Hours: M-Sat 6:30am-10:00pm, Sun 7:00-7:00

One thing you learn when you move to Michigan is that you must pronounce some town names incorrectly in order to blend in.  For instance:

Charlotte is “shar-lot” not “shar-lut” (don’t confuse it with that city in North Carolina!)
Delhi is “dell-high” not “deli” (they have to differentiate themselves, otherwise people might accidently fly half way around the world to India)
Grand Traverse is “grand trav-erse” not “grand truh-verse” (they must have meant to name it “Grand Travis”)
Traverse City is pronounced accordingly

One of the popular vacation spots in Michigan is Traverse City, the epicenter of Cherry production in the state.  Every year there is a cherry festival that draws a multitude of tourists.  The Grand Traverse bay area also features plenty of beaches and water sports.

A bakery cafe local to Traverse City decided to take their store and make it into a chain.  There are two GTPCs around Lansing and several others scattered around the state.  The stores are set up similar to Panera, et al.  The menu offers an array of sandwiches and salads that are adequate.  However, the store shines in its offering of baked goods, all of which are made fresh each morning.  The fruit pies are pretty good, but they won’t match your grandma’s (or my wife’s) homemade pies.  They just seem a bit too sugary and soft.  My favorite dessert there is the peanut butter cup.  A cup-shaped peanut butter cookie, the inside filled with peanut butter and chocolate frosting.  The fruit-filled turnovers are also delicious.

There’s also free wireless internet and the usual selection of coffee.  

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