MSU Dairy Store

31 05 2008
  • 1140 S. Anthony Hall, Farm LaneMSU Dairy Store
  • East Lansing, MI 48824
  • (517) 355-8466
  • Website
  • Menu

The MSU Dairy Store was one of the stops on the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitor’s Bureau “Be A Tourist In Your Own Town” event and it looks like it may have been one of the most popular.  The MSU Dairy store is inside Anthony Hall on the campus of Michigan State Univeristy.  After a day of touring our town, we headed out to MSU to finish the day off with some ice cream.  We weren’t the only ones who thought that.  The line wrapped around the walls inside the store, in the hallway outsdie the store and then out the door.  Since we had nothing better to do, we decided to stick it out, but some families with small kids who got in line behind us weren’t that brave.  We ended up waiting about an hour before we finally got to the counter to get our ice cream.

The MSU Dairy store is set up just like any other ice cream store in the country.  The difference is they make all their own ice cream.  There is a huge list of flavors….most of which are named after Big Ten schools.  My girlfriend was willing to experiment and went with Sesquicentennial Swirl and Black Cherry.  The Sesquicentennial Swirl was some kind of cake batter ice cream and the Black Cherry had chunks of cherries in it,  “It was soooo good,” she just told me.  She got two scoops in a waffle cone.  After we walked away and she had a few bites, she said it tastes like they make their own cones.  I happened to notice the waffle irons behind the counter, so yes, they do make their own cones.

I was less adventerous and got a vanilla shake.  They take their homemade vanilla bean ice cream and fresh milk and mix them up to make the most delicious shake I’ve ever had.  The homemade ice cream is DELICIOUS.  We both agreed the hour wait was worth it.  This is probably the best ice cream I have ever had. 

Besides scoops, they offer their ice cream in pints and quarts and they also sell homemade cheese.  There’s a counter before you get to the ice cream filled with cheddar, chocolate cheese, colby jack, jalapeno pepper, and dagano cheese. 

We’ll definately be back and from now on, we’ll take visiting friends and family for a little treat when they’re in town too!  Hopefully we’ll hit a day that isn’t quite so busy though





Kelly’s Downtown

31 05 2008
  • 203 S. Washington Sq.Kelly's Downtown
  • Lansing, MI 48933
  • (517) 484-5007
  • Website
  • Menu

My girlfriend and I were checking out the city courtesy of the Greater Lansing Convention and Visitor’s Bureau “Be a Tourist in Your Own Town” (which is an incredible event and I would definately recommend you check it out next year.)  Around lunch time, we made it downtown and decided to hit up Washington Square for lunch.  At first, we stopped into Tavern on the Square, but the menu kind of sucked.  There were no sandwiches and it was pretty expensive.  We were just looking for a quick lunch so we could keep touring the town.

Across the street sat Kelly’s.  So we got up and left Tavern on the Square and crossed the street.  There was a patio outside, but we chose to go inside and found a table near the front of the shop.  There’s a huge bar in the middle of the space with seating all the way around.  We sat down and waited five to ten minutes for the lone waitress/bartender to even acknowledge us.  She yelled across the bar to get our drink orders then a bus boy actually brought them out.  After a few more minutes, she yelled across the bar to take our order as well.

My girlfriend got Kelly’s Thatsa Wrap which is listed as vegetarian, but offers options to add grilled chicken which she did.  The wrap comes standard with tomatos, cucumbers, peppers, onions, and mushrooms inside a flour tortilla.  Besides the chicken, she got ranch on the side and added fries to her order.  She seemed to really like the wrap and had some fries left over for me.  She said the cucumbers were a good addition changing the texture and the flavor of what you usually expect in a wrap like this.

I got the Bear Burger.  It was a 1/3 lb sirloin burger with crumbled bleu cheese and bacon.  The burger was obviously a frozen patty.  It was really greasy.  I picked the sandwich up and it was wet.  At first, I was afraid it wasn’t done.  There was a puddle of grease on the bottom that I almost mistook for blood.  I bit into it anyway and it was done, but it was really greasy.  Fortunately, the bleu cheese covered most of that up.  I did a double check just to make sure there was bacon on there.  It kind of got lost in all the wetness.

After the initial delay in getting to us, the waitress did a much better job.  Our drinks never got empty and she got the check to us pretty quickly.  For the two of us, it was about $20, but we ended up spending more time in the restaurant than we really wanted to.  Really it was only about forty minutes, so it’s not terrible and normally I wouldn’t complain.  I’ve read a lot of good reveiws about this place, but it didn’t do anything for me.  My burger wasn’t very good and places like this I usually expect more.  I just haven’t had much luck with the downtown restaurants yet.  I’m still looking for that place near the Capitol that is worth getting in the car and paying parking for.   Kelly’s would probably be a great night spot, but for lunch, it just didn’t do anything for me.





Taco Bell – S. Lansing

31 05 2008
  • 5634 S. Cedar St.Taco Bell
  • Lansing, MI 48911
  • (517) 393-8639
  • Website
  • Menu

Ah, Fourth Meal.  My girlfriend came home from work and said she was hungry.  What a coincidence because I’m always hungry.  We debated for about ten minutes about where to go.  There’s a White Castle, Tim Horton’s, and Taco Bell pretty close.  For some reason, we both craved taco’s so Taco Bell won out.

Like most fast food, it has been year’s since I’ve eaten at a Taco Bell.  In Illinois, I always went to a chain called Taco John’s.  Tuesday’s were Taco Tuesday where taco’s were half price, so that was about the only time I ate fast food taco’s.  Anyway, back to Fourth Meal.  It was after midnight so only the drive-thru was open so we got in line.  Taco Bell is a pretty popular place that late at night.  There were probably five or six cars in front of us, but the people working inside were pretty efficient in getting people through the line.  We didn’t sit in line more than five minutes before ordering.

I stuck to something simple and just got four hardshell tacos.  Like most places, the tacos are really simple with just beef, lettuce, and cheese in the shell.  I’ve always thought Taco Bell’s tacos were a little dry and that’s why I don’t usually go.  These were that way too, but it really hit the spot that late at night.

My girlfriend got a softshell taco, a small nacho, and a Strawberry-Mango Fruitista Freeze.  The softshell taco was just like mine….but with a softshell.  The nachos are just…well, nachos.  The chips came with a cup of cheese on the side.  The Fruitista Freeze are kinda like a fruit smoothie.  All the advertisements show a mango smoothie with a layer of strawberries on top.  What she actually got was a mango smoothie with a dollop of strawberry on top.

Taco Bell served it’s purpose.  We didn’t order enough food beause we were both still hungry, but that late at night do you really want a big meal?  Since there are no Taco John’s that I know of in the Lansing area, I’m sure we’ll hit Taco Bell more often.  Again, not my first choice, but it’s not horrible either.  It’s one of those “you know what you’re gonna get” places and that’s not always a bad thing.





More Depressing Corn News

30 05 2008

The bad news just never stops for corn growers.

A cold, wet spring put crop planting weeks behind schedule across much of the U.S. Corn Belt and drastically slowed growth where corn is already in the ground.

Now, farmers in parts of Iowa, Illinois and Indiana are replanting corn that either sat under water in flooded fields too long to germinate or can’t break through sodden, compacted soils. And the cool, soggy weather continues, the last thing a heat-loving crop like corn needs.

“It’s starting to look like a very difficult year,” University of Illinois agronomy professor Emerson Nafziger said.

So how does that effect you?  Higher prices yet again.  There’s going to be less corn this fall which means more money for farmers, but it also means higher prices for us.  There’s just no relief in sight!

 





Celebration Cinema – Lansing

30 05 2008
  • 200 E. Edgewood Blvd.Celebration Cinema
  • Lansing, MI 48911
  • (517) 393-7469
  • No Menu Online
  • Website

So, like so many guys this weekend, I had the pleasure of seeing the Sex in the City movie with my girlfriend.  Unlike most guys, we had to go to the midnight showing Friday morning.  I actually suggested it because I didn’t want to waste a gorgeous weekend indoors at a movie.  She loved the idea and so did one of her co-workers so I picked her up from work and the three of us headed over the theater.  We ordered our tickets on-line earlier in the day and even went and picked them up on her dinner break, so once we got there, it was straight to the concession stand.

I had been hungry all night and was really looking forward to movie theater popcorn.  Not sure what they do differently, but there is nothing better than movie theater popcorn.  The menu was a little confusing.  The only thing they had listed behind the counter was combos.  Two pops and a popcorn, one pop and a popcorn, etc.  There was a video menu on the counter on the other side of their registers but it was moving so slow I didn’t want to sit there and wait to see what they had.  I just said screw it and went with the super combo which was a super bucket of popcorn and two large pops.  At first, it seems expensive at $13.50, but when you break it down, it’s really not all that bad.  There was a lot of popcorn and the pops were huge, so had I ordered them seperately, they probably would have all been over $4 if not $5.

Celebration CinemaThe cool thing about this particular theater is a lot of it is self serve.  There is another room just off the concession area.  There are a couple large fountain machines…but even better, there are a couple butter dispensers for the popcorn so you can actually determine how much or how little butter you want with the popcorn.  I don’t do movie theaters that often, so I definately took advantage of that one drenching my super sized bucket of popcorn in butter.  There are also shakers of powdered cheese on the counter.  I added some sharp cheddar to my popcorn.  My girlfriend liked it, but I couldn’t wait to get down a little farther in the bucket to get passed it. 

That large bucket lasted the two of probably a half hour or so…and I was really hungry so I wasn’t eating very slow.  The pop lasted me an hour into the movie then I had to get up and make a quick trip to the bathroom.  There was another fountain outside the theater we were in so I’m assuming that means free refills, but it was one in the morning and there was still an hour and a half left in the movie.  I didn’t want to have to get up again, so I passed on the refill.

I really liked the self service part of Celebration Cinemas’ concession.  It gives the consumer control over the amount of butter in the popcorn and ice in the drinks and it makes drink refills easier.  I’ve been to a lot of theaters and lot of different theater chains and this was the first time I had ever seen this.  A nice to touch.





Have Food Prices Peaked?

30 05 2008

I was forwarded an Associated Press article that says food prices have probably peaked.

PARIS (AP) — World food prices are set to fall from current peaks in the coming years but will remain “substantially above” average levels from the past decade, a report said Thursday.

……..

Despite the price hikes, general price levels have remained “remarkably stable,” suggesting that inflation in the coming decade will “remain low,” the report says.

Compared with the previous decade, the report said average prices over 2008-2017 for beef and pork should rise 20 percent; sugar around 30 percent; wheat, maize and skim milk powder 40 to 60 percent; butter and oilseeds more than 60 percent; and vegetable oils over 80 percent.

That’s not really comforting, but the report was really about world food prices, not just US food prices which have seen a spike recently.  What the story is saying is food prices should begin falling in the coming months, but we’re not going to see them fall to what they were five years ago.  Still, it’s a little bit of relief.





Stupidest News Story This Year…

29 05 2008

I didn’t know what to think when I saw this article.

BOSTON – Dunkin’ Donuts has pulled an online advertisement featuring Rachael Ray after complaints that a fringed black-and-white scarf that the celebrity chef wore in the ad offers symbolic support for Muslim extremism and terrorism.

The coffee and baked goods chain said the ad that began appearing online May 7 was pulled over the past weekend because “the possibility of misperception detracted from its original intention to promote our iced coffee.”

In the spot, Ray holds an iced coffee while standing in front of trees with pink blossoms.

Critics, including conservative commentator Michelle Malkin, complained that the scarf wrapped around her looked like a kaffiyeh, the traditional Arab headdress. Critics who fueled online complaints about the ad in blogs say such scarves have come to symbolize Muslim extremism and terrorism.

I’m a lot more conservatives that most bloggers and even I think this is ridiculous.  If anything, it’s just any ugly scarf.  Why in the hell would anyone think Rachel Ray is a terrorist?  She butchers the English language and annoys the crap out of most of society with her text messaging inspired abbreviations, but to suggest there’s a hidden agenda in this photograph is ridiculous. 

Rachel Ray





Turkeyman Deli & Catering

29 05 2008
  • 5021 W. Saginaw HwyTurkeyman
  • Lansing, MI 48917
  • (517) 327-8300
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

My girlfriend gets her hair cut at Etc. Salon & Spa near the Lansing Mall on Saginaw Highway.  I usually go with her then go shopping to kill time.  After she’s done, we’ll grab lunch and enjoy the rest of the afternoon together until she needs to go to work.  Last time she got her hair cut, I drove into Turkeyman Deli & Catering’s parking lot to turn around.  I thought then it looked like a neat place but didn’t want to eat without her, so I kept going.  We didn’t have time for lunch that day because she had to go to work earlier than usual.  This time, we had time so we made the stop.

Turkeyman is located in a small strip mall kitty corner from the Mall.  Inside the store are about five booths and a small deli counter.  You order at the counter and they get your food up pretty much right away.  We both went with the house special.  The Turkeyman Sandwich is very similar to a pulled pork sandwich.  They take all white meat turkey that has been smoked and pulled off the bone then marinate it in a BBQ sauce.  The pile the pulled turkey onto a whole wheat hoagie bun.  My girlfriend had them add lettuce and shredded cheese while I got my with just the meat.  For another $1.50 each we added a bag of chips and a fountain drink. Our total was just over $15, but our total time in the store was less than fifteen minutes. They were efficient in getting our food and it was so good we plowed through it.

TurkeymanThe turkey was delicious.  The texture was just like pulled pork, but the white turkey meat made it a completely different sandwich.  The bbq sauce was sweet, but not overpowering.  The whole wheat bun was another unique feature.  My girlfriend loved that, but I probably would have been happier with a white roll. This sandwich, even though it was a BBQ deli sandwich, was pretty healthy and it was healthier food that was incredibly delicious.  My girlfriend kept saying over and over that Turkeyman was a “good choice” for lunch.  I just got a bag of Lays, but she got a bag of baked Pita chips.  Something different.

Turkeyman is found all over the area.  In the parking lot they had two giant smokers that are used for fairs and carnivals.  They also have a permanent presence at Spartan Stadium, the Breslin Center, and Oldsmobile Park.  Sandwiches aren’t the only thing on the menu.  You can also find turkey drumsticks, soups, salads, and grilled sandwiches.

If you don’t know it’s there, you’ll probably drive right by Turkeyman.  Slow down, open your eyes and stop.  Turkeyman has taken a unique concept and ran with it.  Everyone can do pork or chicken, but a whole restaurant that survives on it’s turkey is something worth stopping in to.





Jon’s Country Burgers

28 05 2008
  • 3109 S. Cedar St.Jon's Country Burger
  • Lansing, MI 48910
  • (517) 393-1627
  • No Known Website
  • Menu

I’ve driven by Jon’s Country Burgers quite a few times on my way to some other restaurant downtown and always wondered, “What the heck is a country burger?”  Well, I found Jon’s menu on-line and answered that question.  It’s “two patties of fresh ground meat, melted cheese, pickle, lettuce, and salad dressing on a toasted bun.”  OK, so that really doesn’t sound appetizing to me (it’s the salad dressing part), but I needed a place to eat a quick dinner one night because I didn’t feel like cooking.

I picked my girlfriend up from work and we headed down Cedar to Jon’s which was obviously a drive-in back in the day.  There’s still an awning for curbside service, but there’s also a dining room…which USED to actually be the drive-in.  It looks like they just put up four walls and added some furniture.  You can still see the wall that used to be the exterior wall.  The door to “go inside” is still there and the waitresses use still use the small counter to pick up orders behind the glass wall.

Jon's Country BurgerJon’s was a little confusing for us first-timers.  When we walked in, we really didn’t know what to do.  A waitress came out and said to just find a seat so we did.  We pulled out the menus on the table and began to look them over.  A different waitress came over with water and told us when we were ready to order to just pick up the phone.  Yes, there are phones at every table that connect you right to the kitchen.  That’s how you place your order.  The waitress doesn’t take it. 

After a few minutes of looking over the menu, my girlfriend picked up the phone and placed our order.  She got the chicken stips which came with an order of fries.  They were the standard deep fried chicken strips, but they were soft and moist.  She got honey mustard on the side and asked for a couple sides of barbecue sauce as well.  The five strips and out of the bag fries were more than enough for her. 

I got the Bacon Burger with Cheese basket.  My sandwich came with fries and applesauce which I passed over to my g/f.  They also brought out a shaker of cinnamon to the table for the applesauce.  My burger was, again, your standard drive-in burger.  There were two strips of crispy bacon a slice of cheese on a juicy burger.  It’s the kind of meal that just begs for me to oversalt the fries then wipe the plate with the burger just to make it a little more salty.  I’m not sure why, but it’s one of those wierd things that I’ve just been doing forever with cheap burgers.

I finished my burger and fries long before my girlfriend did.  I really didn’t feel like there was a whole lot there.  Either that or I was really hungry.  The waitress came and took my plate while my girlfriend finished then seemed to forget about us.   I don’t want to be too tough on her because she was in training and she was a little timid it seemed like.  My g/f finished her meal then we sat there for 10-15 minutes waiting for a check.  The waitress finally came over and asked if we needed anything else and we ended up just asking for the check just to make sure we got it then.  She went back into the kitchen area and came out a few minutes later.  The total for the two of us was $20.  Stupid me, I thought I had a $20 in my wallet, but to my surprise when I opened my wallet, there was only $10.  I felt a little stupid having to ask my girlfriend to spot me $10, but she did and I’ll make it up to her with lunch tomorrow.

Jon’s is a really unique place.  The ordering system is unlike anything I’ve ever seen before.  It lets you talk directly to the cook, so you take the middle man out and make sure you get exactly what you order.  Some of the other things were a little wierd.  The waitresses uniforms looked too much like nurses uniforms and they were always carrying around trays which really made things feel more like a hospital than a restaurant.  The food was classic comfort food which met, but didn’t exceed my expectations.  It’s another one of those places I’m glad we went to just because of the uniqueness of the building and the expeience, but not sure if we’ll go back.  It probably wasn’t a good thing that on our first trip there we had a waitress in training since we didn’t really know how things worked.  It was almost so confusing that it really took away from the dining experience.





Campaign for Smoke Free Air Optimistic

28 05 2008

Even though I’v been a vocal supporter of an outright ban, I think today’s vote was the nail in the coffin.  I really don’t see Sen. Bishop letting a second, yet exact same, version of the smoking ban being called before the session ends on June 26.  However, the lobbyists disagree with me.

Lansing, Mich. – The Campaign for Smokefree Air (CSA) is encouraged today by the state House’s actions in moving the smokefree bill forward, but is disappointed that it chose to include exemptions, causing the bill to be sent to the other chamber. We were pleased by the additional support in the House, in that nine more representatives see the need for smokefree air. However, we are concerned that the House did not concur with the Senate passed version and instead allowed exemptions,” said Susan Schechter, spokesperson for CSA. “All employees deserve the same protections from secondhand smoke. We will continue to work with both chambers to pass a comprehensive smokefree workplace bill.”

The House passed a vehicle bill, HB 5074, which is essentially the same bill that was passed by the chamber in December. The bill was approved 65-39, and sent back to the Senate for consideration.

Of the 33 states that already have smokefree workplace laws, more than two dozen regulate smoking inside casinos, including six that provide smokefree gaming areas and halls. Three more states (Montana, Nebraska and Oregon) will expand their smokefree policies to include casinos in 2009. The city council in Atlantic City recently voted to close the loophole in New Jersey’s law that exempted casinos — all worksites in the city will be smokefree starting in October.