ABC 3 and Oprah’s Big Give

30 04 2008

Today was the final day to donate to ABC 3’s Big Give.  The project was a spin off of Oprah’s Big Give who donated $10,000 to the Greater Lansing Food Bank for milk vouchers.  Tonight on ABC 3 News at 6, they ran a story on some grade school kids at Donley Elementary School in East Lansing who raised money for the cause.

Oprah’s give inspired school kids to collect money to help others and today that money was collected. 

“We need each other and I think it’s important to teach children to give back and to pay it forward and just to take care of people in their own community.  Teach them young that what we have we need to share” said an unidentified woman at Donley Elementary.

Tomorrow, there will be a press conference at Bethleham Lutheran Church where representatives from Oprah’s Big Give will officially hand over a $10,000 check.  More on that story tomorrow……


Coney Island Hot Dogs

30 04 2008

I love regional food.  I love that each city has it’s own trademark.  There are some things I miss now that I live in Michigan.  I get cravings Giordanno’s stuffed pizza every now and then.  There are places that claim to be “Chicago Style” pizzerias, but none of them are.  A deep dish pizza is not Chicago Style.  It’s the stuffed deep dish that makes it Chicago style.

While living in Central Illinois, I was introduced to the Horseshoe sandwich.  Man, do I really miss these.  A typical horseshoe took two pieces of toasted Texas toast laid out on a plate.  On top of that would be two hamburger patties.  On top of that, would be french fries and the whole thing was smothered in a cheddar cheese sauce.  There are variations on the concept.  Really, you can use any meat.  Most menus offer ham, turkey, pork, or chicken in place of the hamburger.  They also usually offer smaller sandwiches called Pony Shoes.  Recently, Charlie Parker’s was featured on the Food Network show Diner’s, Drive-Ins and Dives where they showed off a Breakfast shoe.  They replaced the traditional ingredients with sausage patties, hash browns and gravy.

I really miss yelling at people when they put ketchup on a Chicago Style Hotdog…..big no-no.  I haven’t been able to find a real Italian Beef sandwich around here either.  You never realize just how regional food can be until you move.

So with all that said, I keep seeing “Coney Island” restaurants around here.  Of course, that piqued my interest and I had to figure out what was going on.  Another blogger really caught my attetnion with this post.

It’s been quite some time since I’d had the competing Detroit-style coney with its chili sauce. This sauce is wetter than that of the Flint-style sauce and seems to be quite a bit milder. However, no one else in the house had ever had the Detroit-style coney, a situation I felt needed to be rectified. So when I realized GFS Marketplace stores are now offering a package of the Detroit-style sauce, I decided my family needed to see what it was like.

Wait!  There are different styles of Coney Dogs?  This is something that’s unique to Detroit?  I’m not a real big hot dog guy, but just the fact that this is something unique to this area is enough to make me suck it up for one dog just so I can say I did.  Road trip to Detroit!

So what else does Mid-Michigan have to offer as far as unique food goes?  Anything else I shoud be looking forward to?

Heinz Top This 2 TV Challenge

29 04 2008

Matt Cozza and Erika Warren from Chicago took the top prize in Heinz’s Top This 2 TV challenge.  The challenge was to make a commercial for Heinz Ketchup.  According to the Jackson Citizen Patriot, Cozza drew on experience at a Benton Harbor restaurant to make the commercial.

In the ad, a couple is seated at a table without a ketchup bottle. They look around the restaurant anxiously as other customers pour ketchup on their food and hoard their bottles. Finally a waiter brings a bottle, and the text, “Now we can eat,” appears on the screen.

For the effort, Cozza and his girlfriend Erika Warren (who is a Jackson native) recieved a $57,000 grand prize and their commercial will be played on Food Network, Fine Living Television, and on closed-circuit TV’s at Six Flags.

4 AM Bars Update

29 04 2008

A few weeks ago, I wrote about legislation currently stalled in the House of Representatives that would give cities/towns/villages, etc the ability to create a 4 AM liquor license.  HB4573 stalled in the House last October.

I wanted to know what was going on, so I e-mailed Rep. Steve Tobocman to see what his plans were.  This afternoon, I recieved the following response from his office.

While Representative Tobocman continues to work on this bill, he has been unable to secure the 56 votes that is necessary to pass it out of the House.  Representative Tobocman is committed to this legislation and our office will keep you updated on any changes or advancements. 

My suggestion is to call your representative and tell them to get on board.  This is a good revenue source and we all know Michigan needs it.

Facing Hunger. Feeding America

29 04 2008

Saw this on WLNS’s noon show today then found information in their website

Please join us as The Early Show kicks off a 12 day food drive Facing Hunger Feeding America. We are collecting non-perishable foods until May 10th, when the nation’s largest single-day food drive ‘Stamp Out Hunger’ will take place.

A growing number of people are using food banks to feed their families and because of this food supplies are now running short. Please help support this cause. You can participate at home by donating non-perishable items to your local food bank or to our station lobby. We are located at 2820 E. Saginaw in Lansing. 


Press Release – Lansing Art Council

29 04 2008

The following is a press release from the Lansing Art Council on their Taste of Art and Life event.

LANSING, Mich – On Thursday, May 15, from 5 to 8 p.m., the Arts Council of Greater Lansing will host its second annual “A Taste of Art & Life” spring fundraiser at the home of John and Jin Hui Noud on Willoughby Road in Mason, Michigan

Event highlights include a self-guided tour of the Noud’s home and art collection; a silent auction featuring original artwork by area artists, event and performance tickets, restaurant packages and fine foods; a wine tasting featuring a selection of fine wines provided by Classic Wines; a tasting of signature appetizers and desserts from area restaurants including Dusty’s Cellar, Gumbo and Jazz, Mitchell’s Fish Market, Red Cedar Grill and Troppo. 

For those interested in learning how artwork goes from concept to creation, six area artists will be on hand to demonstrate their craft to attendees.  Participating artists include: Jessica Klumpp-Held, mixed-media painting; Jorge Lazaro Mesa Mulet, woodcarving; Thomas Nelson, landscape painting; Cara O’Brien, ceramic tile making; Douglas Thayer, forged metal blacksmithing; and Chester Winowiecki, ceramic musical instruments.  In addition to the live demonstrations, all artists will have artwork available for purchase.

Live musical entertainment provided by classical jazz guitarist Greg Howe, will round out the event.  Valet service will also be available.

Tickets start at $75 ($60 of which is tax deductible) and are available now through the Arts Council of Greater Lansing by phone at 517-372-4636, ext. 10 or at the Center for the Arts, 425 S. Grand Avenue, Lansing, Michigan.

The 2nd annual A Taste of Art & Life is a fundraiser to support the Arts Council of Greater Lansing’s mission to lead, advocate for, and advance arts and culture in the capital region.  This year the Arts Council is pleased to recognize the generosity of several supporters including Blohm Creative Partners, Capitol National Bank, The Dart Bank, John and Jin Hui Noud, Jim and Jan Parish, Public Affairs Associates and Wharton Center for Performing Arts.

Fruitport High School Second in National Competition

28 04 2008

Congratulations to Fruitport High School‘s Culinary Arts program for finishing second in the National ProStart Invitational this past weekend in San Diego,

The Culinary Arts Team represented Fruitport Community Schools very well with a second place showing at the Pro-Start National Invitation in San Diego this past weekend.  They were competeing against the thirty eight best teams in the nation and clearly demonstrated that their skill and technique is remarkable. 

The ProStart Invitational is divided into two competitions.  There’s a culinary competition and a management competition.  In the culinary competition, teams prepare a three course meal in sixty minutes using just two butane burners.  Judging is also done of knife skills, appearance, and cleanliness of food preperation.  The Fruitport team was beat by just a fraction of a point.

“It’s just crazy — we’re second in the nation,” said team member and FHS junior Karly Krentz. “It’s hard to put it into words because it’s so cool. We just worked so well together.”

For their accomplishments, each of the five team members received full-ride scholarships to the New England Culinary Institute in Montpelier, Vt. They also received cash prizes from Coca-Cola and the National Restaurant Association.

The team is coached by Amway Grand Plaza Executive Pastry Chef Scott Hunter, 1913 Room Chef de Cuisine Christian Madsen, and FHS teacher Michael Wheeler.

“The kids did probably the best we could have ever, ever asked for,” said FHS teacher and coach Michal Wheeler. “Everybody did everything they needed to do at 110 percent, and they received tons of compliments from the judges. Most importantly, the kids feel really great about what they did.

“Of course, you go for first (place), so there was a little disappointment,” Wheeler added. “But second in the nation — wow! It’s just amazing.”

That’s a great accomplishment anyway you look at it.


Don’s Windmill Truckstop

27 04 2008
  • 7262 Lansing Rd.Don's Windmill Truckstop
  • Dimondale, MI 48821
  • (517) 646-6752
  • Website
  • No Menu Online
  • Don’s Windmill is now closed.  To see the place that replaced it,

Don’s was a suggestion of one of my girlfriend’s co-workers.  We both like greasy spoons anyway and both have fond memories of truckstops from our pasts, so on our way to Horrock’s one Sunday, we took a little detour to Don’s.

The truckstop is exactly what you expect.  It’s kind of run down and not at all fine dining.  There’s a lunch counter with little coin operated TV’s then booths spread throughout the remaining space.  We just missed the breakfast buffet, so we showed ourselves to a booth in the non-smoking section and started looking over the menu while we waited for the waitress.

Don's Windmill TruckstopWe both got pop’s while we looked over the huge menu.  They do breakfast all day and offer some unique items like veal parmigana while making sure not to stray too far from what makes truck stop food great.  I ordered the Pepper Jack Cheeseburger.  The burger is a 1/3 lb frozen patty topped with a slice of pepper jack cheese served with coleslaw on the side and crinkle cut fries.  I don’t expect a whole lot when it comes to these types of places and I got exactly what I expected.  The meal was not great by any standard, but it was comforting and brought back memories of late night drunkeness in college.  There’s just something about a greasy diner burger and salt that’s comforting to me.

My girlfriend ordered the Gigantic Grilled Cheese sandwich.  Here’s a situation where Don’s went a little bit above expectations and served a grilled cheese with Texas Toast.  Like me, the memories of truck stops out west came rushing back.  She said her grilled cheese was delicious and appreciated the Texas Toast over regular bread.  Neither one of us really ate the cole slaw that came with the meal. It’s just one of those things your taught in the restaurant business….you never know when it was made.  She tried one bite just to see if it’d knock her socks off and it didn’t. The fries were a little soggy, but alright.  I salted them up pretty good.  Again, it’s truck stop food.  I wasn’t expecting anything great, but it was filling.

Our bill was just under $20 before tip.  Really, the food was good and exceeded expectations, but not worth that much.  The diner is open 24 hours and that’s what makes it appealing to me.  I love 24 hour places and will most likely be back to settle a late night craving.

Dublin Square

26 04 2008
  • 327 Abbott RoadDublin Square
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 351-2222
  • Website
  • Menu

I found Dublin Square just by searching for restaurant websites in the Lansing area.  Good find.  We pulled up to Dublin Square and almost drove by it.  The building is beautiful. Too nice for a bar in that area.  The building is 70 years old and started its days as the East Lansing Post Office.  A few years ago, the new owners decided to do something different and brought in Irish carpenters to give the place an authentic Irish feel.  The interior of the pub as well as the bar was built in Dublin out of mahogany then shipped to East Lansing.  Everything was put together back here in the states by the same craftsmen who built it in Ireland.

We were met at the door by a hostess who showed us to a table in the main dining room next to where the stage is at night.  A waiter came over and brought us water as we were looking over the menu.  It’s not necissarily the sign of a great restaurant, but it is the sign of a restaurant going the extra mile when the include a lemon slice with the water.

Dublin SquareThe menu is interesting.  I couldn’t decide as there were so many things I wanted to try.  I settled on the Irish  Bacon BBQ burger.  The 1/2 lb. Angus burger came with two slices of “Irish Bacon” (strips of ham grilled on the flat top) and cheddar cheese then it was drenched in a green apple bbq sauce.  Lettuce, tomato, onion, and a pickle spear served on the side next to a cup of green apple cole slaw.  Fries were a dollar more.  The burger was delicious.  It took up half the platter it was served on.  There was a lot of bbq sauce.  Somehow, I managed to let enough drip off then set the burger in it, so everytime I picked up the burger, I was grabbing the sauce.  It was pretty messy, but it was really good.  The green apple bbq sauce was different and the Irish bacon was much better than traditional bacon.  The fries were not very good.  They were steak fries that were not very crispy and actually kind of soggy.  The burger was delicious though and very much worth the price.

My girlfriend got the Smoked Turkey Rueben.  Two slices of pumpernickel were stacked with smoked turkey, swiss cheese and the green apple slaw.  Sauerkraut could have been added for no extra cost, but she’s not a fan, so it was left off.   The smoked turkey was incredible.  She was expecting the sandwich to be mostly slaw with a few slices of turkey, but it turned out to be just the opposite.  There was quite a bit of turkey on there.  So much she took a few slices off and tossed them on my plate.  It really tasted like something I would make at home on the grill.  It was really good.  Her meal also came with a side of the green apple slaw which she devoured.  She didn’t like the soggy fries at all and only ate a couple.  The sandwich was more than enough to fill her up though as neither of us left hungry.

Dublin Square is a beautiful bar and a great dinner spot.  There’s also a huge patio outside and if it hadn’t been so windy, would have been a beautiful spot for dinner.  They have a great menu that goes beyond bar food and beyond traditional Irish food (yes, they do have Bangers and Mash).  The space looks and feels great.  I don’t know if they allow smoking or not, but I know where we were at seemed to be free of smoke.  The atmosphere is great and the food matches the atmosphere.

Insomnia Cookies

26 04 2008
  • 603 E. Grand River Ave.Insomnia Cookies
  • East Lansing, MI 48223
  • 877-63-Cookie
  • Website
  • Menu

I first heard of Insomnia after watching Unwrapped on the Food Network.  Imagine our surprse when we accidently found one near the campus Michigan State University.  We didn’t stop in the first time we saw it, but after a meal one Saturday afternoon at Dublin Square we decided to hit Insomnia up for dessert.

The shop is located right on Grand River which is East Lansing’s main business district just across the street from MSU.  The shop is pretty small.  There are a couple tables against the windows and there’s a counter (made out of Boos Blocks) on the other side.  Behind a small sheet of glass, they have samples of their cookies and brownies.  In probably the rudest, worst example of customer service, we were greeted by a college girl who probably didn’t want to be there talking on her cell phone.  She couldn’t even put the phone down long enough to take our order.  The whole time my girlfriend was ordering, she kept the phone plastered to her ear.

Insomnia CookiesWe got the Sugar Rush deal.  Six cookies and six brownies for $13.  Our ordered included three chocolate chunk cookies, one sugar cookie, and two peanut butter chunk cookies.  We got pretty much one of each of their brownie choices.

After a few minutes in the kitchen, the server brought out our box of the most delicious cookies and brownies we’ve ever had.  We took the box home because there is no way we needed that much sugar right after dinner, but it was so, so hard to put the box away once we got home. 

I grabbed a chocolate chunk cookie right away.  Even after the drive home, it was so gooey and soft.  It was delicious.  My girlfriend grabbed the marshmallow topped brownie and said the same thing.  There was a nice crunchy crust and the inside was so moist and chewey.

Other than the rude, obnoxious server, Insomnia was amazing.  Just sitting here right now I’m having a hard time not getting up and grabbing another cookie.  I don’t think they are going to last very long.  Insomnia Cookie shops can be found exclusively on college campuses.  There are 13 locations nationwide and they all stay up late to feed a late night craving.