Castle Bakery

1 09 2008
  • 713 S. Main St.
  • Frankenmuth, MI 48734
  • (989) 652-9941 EXT. 3282
  • Website
  • Menu
The entrance to Castle Shops in downtown Frankenmuth

The entrance to Castle Shops in downtown Frankenmuth

After spending an hour or so at Bronner’s CHRISTmas Wonderland, we headed downtown to check out the businesses district of Frankenmuth.  What we found was a shock.  Tourists packed the streets of a vibrant, bustling downtown anchored by the Bavarian Inn and Zehnder’s.  We drove around for a while looking for a place to park.  We finally found one in a parking lot on the other side of the covered bridge.  It was a hot day and no one had had anything to drink since lunch at the Blackforest Brew Haus & Grill (review HERE). One of the first places we ran into was the Castle Shops.  We noticed a bakery and figured they’d have bottled water or soda or something to drink. 

The Castle Bakery is the first thing you come to when you walk down the steps to the Castle Shops.  The whole shopping area is located below the Bavarian Inn Restaurant.  The feel of the whole area is that of an old castle.  The buiding is all stone from floor to ceiling.  The bakery takes up a huge portion of the area when you first walk in.  There is a case displaying their goodies that runs from the door all the way to the other side of the shop.  J found the bottled water and grabbed one of those then went to pay.  On the way, she noticed a chocolate chip cookie with mini pretzels baked into it.  It looked way too good to pass up, so she didn’t.  It didn’t look appetizing to me, but she loved it.  Read the rest of this entry »

Panera Bread – Lansing Mall

21 08 2008
  • 5300 W. Saginaw Hwy
  • Lansing, MI 48917
  • (517) 703-9340
  • Website
  • Menu
Panera Bread located inside the Lansing Mall on Saginaw Highway in Lansing

Panera Bread located inside the Lansing Mall on Saginaw Highway in Lansing

I used to be scared of Panera Bread.  I always assumed there is nothing there I would like because they didn’t make greasy hamburgers and fries.  My girlfriend finally got me there one day while we were doing some extended work in Decatur, IL.  We had exhausted all of the downtown restaurant options and another lady we were working with had mentioned she was going to Panera Bread.  I decided not to argue and went along for the ride.  To my surprise, I actually found quite a bit there that sounded and looked good.  Panera has always been a standby for J.  She eats there pretty much every time she has to work in Kalamazoo or anytime she has to find someplace to eat and I’m not with her.

Today, we needed to run to Horrocks before heading back to Illinois for the weekend.  J just wanted a salad for lunch and asked if there was a Panera close.  The only one I could think of was the one at the Lansing Mall so after we grabbed what we needed from Horrocks, we headed down Saginaw Highway to the mall.  Read the rest of this entry »

Astoria Pastry Shop

27 07 2008
  • 541 Monroe St.
  • Detroit, MI 48226
  • (313) 963-9603
  • Website
  • Menu
The Astoria Pastry Shop in Detroits Greektown Neighborhood

The Astoria Pastry Shop in Detroit's Greektown Neighborhood

The Astoria Pastry Shop was another recommendation from fellow blogger Genie28.  Being new to the area, we had no idea that Greektown was pretty much within walking distance from Comerica Park which was our final destination of the night.  We drove down Monroe Street looking for the shop.  After driving around the cramped streets for a few minutes, we realized how close we were to CoPa and ended up pulling into a lot and just parking for the night.  We headed back to Monroe Street to find the Astoria Pastry Company and couldn’t believe what we found.

The Astoria Pastry Company is located across the street from the Greektown Casion along a strip of road that is home to a lot of restaurants.  There was a steady line of people going in an out so we figured it must be one of those “must hit” places.  When you walk through the door, you’re immediately assaulted by a huge case of homemade pastry’s, cookies, and ice cream.  It was very overwhelming.  We didn’t know where to start.  Read the rest of this entry »

Grand Traverse Pie Company – East Lansing

19 06 2008
  • 1403 E. Grand River Ave.Grand Traverse Pie Company
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 203-3304
  • Website
  • Menu

I think we screwed ourselves.  Last time my girlfriend went home to Chicago, she brought a couple pies for her family and some friends.  I have to go to Chicago this weekend to shoot a rugby tournament for Sky TV Sports, so my girlfriend took Friday off and we’re making a weekend out of it.  We going to some of her friends’ house for a cook-out and it was suggested she bring home a pie for dessert.  So, before work and after lunch, we hit up the Grand Traverse Pie Company in East Lansing for a couple pies.

Grand Traverse is in a little strip mall between MSU and the Meridian Mall.  If I would have gotten the GPS out and followed it like I should have, it would have been about a ten minute drive. Instead, I tried to do it from memory and went the wrong way.  Once we finally got there, we found parking spot up close and went to get our pies.  When you walk in, your overcome with pie.  To the right is a little freezer which was just calling my name.  You see, in this little freezer, they put their cheesecake and the Oreo Cheesecake was yelling at me to buy it.  My girlfriend looked at me and said “Just get it this time!”  How can I argue with her, so I got my Oreo cheesecake.  I’m sitting here eating it as I type this.  It is freaking delicious.  Very few things in life compare to Eli’s Cheesecake, but this was really good. I like cheesecake, but I love Oreo Cheesecake. Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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.