Weekend Preview…

22 05 2008

Like last weekend, posting will be light until Monday or Tuesday.  This weekend, I’ll be driving back and forth to Ann Arbor for the Big Ten Baseball Championships.  There’s a couple places I want to try and get to and my plan is to try my luck at Krazy Jim’s Blimpie Burger tomorrow (Friday) before I need to be at U of M.  I don’t know about this, it sound kind of intimidating, but we’ll see.  I don’t know how much time I’ll actually have to eat in Ann Arbor, but if you have any suggestions, let me know,

Sunday and Monday I’ll have family in town, so there probably won’t be a lot of time to post, but I expect to eat out at least once with them.  So, I apologize in advance for the lack of posts this weekend, but be sure to come back next week as I’ll start back up with my regular news posts and of course, my reviews from lunch dates.


Higher Prices to Ruin Memorial Day…

22 05 2008

…and I don’t mean gas prices.  I saw the following story on ABC 3 and honestly, it’s just depressing.

This weekend thousands of you will fire up the barbeque to kick-off the summer grilling season, but if that’s the plan, you better bring the bank.

From ketchup to paper plates food inflation is the highest in almost two decades.  

The average price of a cook out will cost American’s six percent more than last year. 

This is just the beginning. Analysts say next year, it’ll be even more expensive  just to stay home and make burgers.

Man, they can even ruin grilling.  I already got my burgers and buns…we don’t need no paper plates or ketchup….I’m kidding.  I’m not that cheap, but really, that is depressing to think about it.  You can’t leave because it’s too expensive and you can’t stay home because it’s too expensive.  We might as well not have holidays.

McDonald’s Now Trans-Fat Free

22 05 2008

According to this AP article, McDonald’s has finally replaced it’s oil with a trans-fat free oil.

McDonald’s has lagged other restaurant operators in switching over to a zero-trans-fat cooking oil out of worries it would compromise the taste of its trademark fries. It has been under increasing pressure from consumer advocates and some public officials to make the change.

The new oil is canola-based and includes corn and soy oils.

CEO Jim Skinner told shareholders at the annual meeting at its headquarters in Oak Brook, Ill., that the new oil has been in use in U.S. restaurants for a few months now for french fries, hash browns, chicken, filet of fish and biscuits.

I’m not a huge McDonald’s eater, but when I do need fast food, I usually look for a McDonald’s.  I do like the taste of their fries.  Obviously, I’m not expecting a fast food places to cut potatos (even though Arby’s and Hardees leave the skin on their fries).  It was just in 2002 that McDonald’s thought they were doing something good by switching from beef tallow to a healthier fat with less trans-fat.  Now, six years later, they’ve been forced to switch again.

The problem with this whole situation is….who goes to McDonald’s for healthy fries?  You know what you’re getting into when you pull up to the drive through.  McDonald’s or any restaurant shouldn’t be forced to change their menu by anyone other than the shareholders or owners.  When you start changing ingredients, you start messing with taste.  Taste is the most imortant thing in any food and it shouldn’t be determined by a bunch of do-gooding hippies.

Grand Traverse Pie Company – Okemos

22 05 2008
  • 3536 Meridian CrossingsGrand Traverse Pie Company
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 381-7437
  • Website
  • Menu

My girlfriend is heading back to Chicago to see friends and family this weekend and wanted to bring back something unique to Michigan.  We were going to drive up to Middleton to an Amish Mennonite Bakery but were afraid we’d get up there and they wouldn’t have any cherry pie.  Since they don’t have a phone we didn’t know the name of the place, we couldn’t call ahead.  Instead of taking the chance, I suggested we go to the Grand Traverse Pie Company.  A small chain located here in Michigan that started in Traverse City in the mid-90’s.  Their specialty?  Pies of course.

We stopped in the Okemos location around lunch time.  Since we hadn’t eaten yet, we decided to do that first.  Grand Traverse reminded me a lot of Panera Bread.  You order at a counter then wait for your name to be called.  At least you know your sandwich is being made fresh.  There were quite a few choices for lunch ranging from cold sandwiches to soups and salads.  Both my girlfriend and I went with a grilled sandwich.

She got the Grilled Smokehouse.  The sandwich consisted of smoked ham, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and a spicy dijon mustard on sourdough bread.  The neat thing was this sandwich was served in a pie tin.  On the side, she got berry coleslaw and a pickel spear.  The ham was delicious and there was a lot on it.  She peeled a few pieces off to give to me.  She’s doesn’t like a whole lot of meat on her sandwiches and this one had a lot.  The mustard was spicy, but again, there was a little too much.  Both pieces of bread were covered with the mustard where one side probably would have been better.  Even with those two minor complaints, she loved the sandwich.  The ham had a great smoky flavor that the mustard balanced.  The lettuce and tomato were just enough to cool down the spice.

I got the French Dip.  The sandwich came with a huge cup of Au jus.  I didn’t realize it when I ordered, but sauteed onions came on top of the roast beef.  I really don’t like onioins so I scraped them off which also took off most of the cheese.  The bread was just hard enough that it really soaked up the au jus and made for a nice crunch, but held the flavor of the juice.  I got a bag of chips on the side along with the pickle spear.  The chips were just a small bag of Lays.  Usually at places like this, the French Dips are a little on the small side and I end up leaving hungry.  Not here.  The sandwich was a good size and had a lot of flavor.  It’s easy to overcook roast beef, but this was done just right.

I passed on dessert and I’m kicking myself.  I don’t really like pie, but I do like cheesecake and there was a delicious looking slice of an Oreo cookie cheesecake.  My girlfriend got a slice of Laksehore Berry Pie Grand Traverse Pie CompanyCrumble to take home with us.  Strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and apples are packed into this slice.  She picked all the flavors but the apple out.  That one seemed to fade into the background, but she did call it one of the best pies she’s ever eaten.  We also grabbed two whole pies since that was the original purpose of our trip.  Being in Michgan, she went with two Cherry Pie Crumbles to take home.  I’m sure her parents and friends will love them.  Like I said, I don’t really like pie, but these both looked delicious.  Our meal cost around $18 for the two sandwiches and drinks.  For dessert, we got out for under $30 and that was two pies and a slice.

New City Market

22 05 2008

The Lansing State-Journal is reporting today that the city has struck a deal with East Lansing developer Pat Gillespie to sell the current Lansing City Market site and turn the site into shops, offices, and residential.  Gillespie is also responsible for the Stadium District building on Michigan Ave. not far from this site.

But what does this mean for the City Market?  A new building which is about four thousand square feet SMALLER than the current City Market.  On top of that, vendors will now have to pay for their utilities. 

This doesn’t sound like a good deal to me.  The time I was at the Market, space wasn’t an issue, so loosing four thousand square feet may not be a big deal, but charging vendors more will surely drive people away.  Of course, not everyone is totally on board with the plan.

It’s unclear what kind of reception the plan will get from market vendors and users.

Some want a new building, but there’s a contingent that wants to keep the existing market, said Diane Thompson, president of the Friends of the Market, a group of market supporters.

Advocates for the market also are pushing for a new business plan and management structure for the facility.

“We feel there’s a lot of issues that still need to be addressed,” Thompson said, urging city officials to hold off on selling the market.

The city council has to approve the sale before this becomes final.  The deal will be on file at with the city clerk soon and it will be 30 days after that before the Council can vote.  The current building, built in 1938, would not be razed until the new market is built.  The hope is to have the new building open by summer of 2009