El Azteco

15 03 2009
  • 225 Ann Street
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 351-9111
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
El Azteco on Ann Street in downtown East Lansing.

El Azteco on Ann Street in downtown East Lansing.

I have no idea why I’ve been craving Mexican lately, but it’s been like an everyday thing.  J’s step-dad headed back to Chicago, but her mom stayed for another day.  We made a run to Howell after breakfast then did some grocery shopping at Horrocks and Walmart.  By the time we got home, we were all starting to get a little hungry.  I sat down in front of the computer and asked what they were in the mood for.  To my surprise, J said Mexican which is what I was thinking.  Instead of going to one of the two places that are close to our apartment, I wanted to go to East Lansing and try one of the most popular restaurants in downtown.

El Azteco is on Ann Street near the Marriot in a that strip of restaurants at the corner of M.A.C. and Ann.  From all the things I’ve read, El Azteco made it’s name at a different location a few blocks that wasn’t nearly as flashy or noticeable as the new building.  While I love atmosphere, restaurants don’t survive without good food.  It was the good food we were really after.

We walked into El Azteco just after 6:00 on a Sunday night.  It was still spring break at MSU, so the clientel was mostly older people and families.  Someone in the kitchen noticed us and told us to take a seat in one of the front dining rooms.  There are actually three dining room areas.  Two of them are are in the front and look out to Ann Street.  The third is off to the left when you walk in and it runs along the kitchen.  We took a booth along the wall.  As you can imagine, the decor has sort of a southwest feel.  The tables are primitive with no frills.  The benches of the booth are all wood with no padding.  They are also pretty close to the table.  They really force good posture. Read the rest of this entry »

Press Release – My Co-Op Video Contest

9 03 2009

From a East Lansing Co-Op Press Release…..


Co-ops across the nation encourage co-op fans to submit short videos
and compete for nearly $3,500 in prizes

East Lansing, Michigan:
Lights, camera…arugula! This spring in partnership with National
Cooperative Grocers Association (NCGA), the East Lansing Food Co-op
(ELFCO) invites shoppers to submit short, up-to-2-minute videos in the My
Co-op Rocks Video Contest, a nationwide contest where co-op fans get to
share the reasons their co-op rocks. Submissions will be accepted online
beginning March 1 at http://www.MyCoopRocks.coop with $3,500 in prizes to be
awarded to the nation’s best videos in “people’s choice” and “judges’
choice” categories.

My Co-op Rocks Video Contest is the first food cooperative contest that
asks shoppers across the country to share their favorite co-op moments,
memories and stories online. ELFCO and NCGA are hosting the contest in
celebration of all the qualities and quirks that make co ops integral
parts of communities. Read the rest of this entry »

Topper’s Pizza

2 03 2009
  • 1219 E. Grand River Avenue
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 203-0303
  • Website
  • Menu
Toppers Pizza on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing.

Topper's Pizza on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing.

Now that it’s NASCAR season again, Sunday’s can get pretty lazy.  When the race is a west coast race, it really gets lazy because the race starts so late, it goes right through dinner.  J and I were hanging out on the couch flipping back and forth between the Shelby 427 and the Illinois vs. Michigan State basketball game.  Once we saw MSU had the game wrapped up, we started thinking about dinner.  J suggested pizza.  I was game.  Once again, we tried Izzo’s Pizzeria in Old REO Town only to find them closed again.  I continued to drive around before I ended up in East Lansing.

Topper’s Pizza is on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing.  The store is fairly new having opened just before Christmas.  Topper’s is a chain out of Whitewater, Wisconsin with locations in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, and North Carolina.  The East Lansing location is the only Michigan location.

The store is pretty small, but there are a couple of tables should want to dine in.  There’s also some leather chairs and a couch  in a little waiting area.  Since I was driving aimlessly, I didn’t call my order in.  I went to the counter to place my order.  I ordered a large cheese pizza and tried to tag on a single order of Cinnamonstix.  The lady taking the order it would actually be three bucks cheaper if I ordered a triple order of Cinnamonstix due to a promotion they had going on.  I didn’t really need that much dessert, but I did it anyway to save money.  After that was hammered out, she asked if I wanted extra cheese since I got one topping on the pizza, I said, sure.  She didn’t have to twist my arm. Read the rest of this entry »

East Lansing Police Chief Opposes Extended Bar Hours

24 02 2009

Mike and I got into a discussion today in the comments section of another post about longer bar hours.  I’m in favor.  I’ve seen it work.  I came from a city that had a 4 AM zone downtown.  It was by accident that I came across this article in the State News were the East Lansing Police Chief voices his opposition.

But for East Lansing police, longer bar hours would mean more patrols and more money spent to pay officers, East Lansing police Chief Tom Wibert said.

“On weekends, we would increase our overtime pay,” Wibert said. “We generally put out extra foot patrols on bar nights.”

Wibert said making liquor available Sunday mornings probably wouldn’t affect police, but the extended bar hours could pose a problem of increased late night crime.

“Not many good things happen between 2 and 4 a.m.,” he said.

Two things.  1.)  You’re a police department.  You’re job is to serve and protect.  Plan accordingly.  2.) Extended bar hours do not increase late night crime.  You have no proof of that  and there are several cities that have 4 AM license and it works.  Instead of prediciting what you think would happen, I would suggest getting in touch with Peoria (IL) Police Chief Steve Settinsgaard who actually encourage the expansion of Peoria’s 4 AM zone a few years back. 

East Lansing has a number of bars in a small area and they’re near the police headquarters.  Extending the liquor license by two hours shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

Flatts Grille Closed by State Treasury

24 02 2009


Flats Grille, 551 E. Grand River Ave., was closed Tuesday, with a sign on the locked door announcing that the restaurant had been seized by the Michigan Department of Treasury.

The sign announced a tax warrant against the business and explained that “it is in the best interest of all concerned parties (owner and state) to sell the perishable property.”

Ingham County Register of Deeds Curtis Hertel Jr. said a state tax lien was filed on Dec. 10 against Flats owner Paul O’Connor, for $8,864.75 in unpaid taxes.

Damn.  Never got a chance to eat there.  I considered it last time I worked at MSU, but opted for McDonald’s instead.  That’s what I get for picking a chain over a local place.

MSU Museum Chocolate Party

20 02 2009

I saw an ad for this in City Pulse so I went looking for information.  The following is from the MSU Museum website.

 MSU Museum Chocolate Party Benefit

Sunday, February 22, 2009
1:30pm – 3:30pm
Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center
South Harrison Road, East Lansing, MI

The Michigan State University Museum Chocolate Party Benefit is set for Sunday, Feb. 22, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center, Harrison Road and Michigan Avenue, East Lansing. The event features samples to savor from the area’s finest “chocolatiers.” In this popular community event, chocolate lovers indulge for a great cause — all to benefit the care and preservation of the MSU Museum’s collections.

Chefs, caterers and all-around chocolate connoisseurs compete to make extravagant masterpieces using the key ingredient, chocolate. The event is unique in that it’s one of the few professional culinary industry competitions open to the general public. Meanwhile, the MSU Museum will also mount an exhibit showing a sampling of its diverse holdings, which number nearly 1 million objects, artifacts and specimens.

Tickets are $30 for the general public and a special “Premier Chocolatier” ticket for $75 offers an advance preview of the elaborate Chocolate Party creations and a year-long MSU Museum membership.

Fat Matt’s Pizza

9 02 2009
  • 986 Trowbridge Road
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 324-7000
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
Fat Matts Pizza in the Trowbridge Plaza in East Lansing.

Fat Matt's Pizza in the Trowbridge Plaza in East Lansing.

I’m still on that quest for the perfect pizza.  We’ve found a couple really, really good ones and some really, really just alright ones.  I had been hearing things about a fairly new place in East Lansing called Fat Matt’s.  Since I was in the area, hungry, and tired, I stopped in to Fat Matt’s to see if they could place on my pizza list.

Fat Matt’s Pizza is located in the Trowbridge Plaza in East Lansing.  It’s a little tough to find at first.  It’s not visible from Trowbridge Road.  There’s a little section of the plaza on the side that has a few stores and Fat Matt’s is the last store in this stretch.  It actually sits right next to Goodrich’s loading docks. 

The store itself is pretty small.  Most of the space is taken up by the kitchen, but they do have two tables should you want to sit there and eat for some reason.  I had heard they did pizza-by-the-slice and they had a display for them, but there was nothing in it.  Instead of questioning, I just ordered a large pizza.  Usually, we get just cheese pizza since J doesn’t really like toppings, but I was in the mood for pepperoni, so I got half cheese, half pepperoni.  I got a little bit of sticker shock when the guy told me the price was $17.  I thought that was pretty expensive for a pizza.  I looked at the menu and a large cheese pizza is $13 then it’s almost $2 more for each topping.  To me, that doesn’t seem like a way to compete with the chains. Read the rest of this entry »

Quality Dairy – Michigan Ave, East Lansing

9 02 2009
  • 808 Michigan Avenue
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 319-4121
  • Website
The Quality Dairy on Michigan and Harrison in East Lansing.

The Quality Dairy on Michigan and Harrison in East Lansing.

I’m having a hard time driving past a QD nowadays.  I left McDonald’s with two sandwiches and nothing to drink.  I knew I could go back the way I came and find a Quality Dairy and get whatever I wanted to drink.
This Quality Dairy is on the corner of Harrison and Michigan Avenue in East Lansing near the Michigan State University athletic facilities.  Getting in to the parking lot is a little weird.  If you’re on Michigan Avenue, you turn into the lot on what looks like a sidewalk.  It’s so close to the corner, you wouldn’t think there would be a driveway there. 
This QD is really no different from any of the other ones in town.  The building is a little smaller than some and the inside is a little cramped, but you still get all the doughnuts, coffee, and ice cream.  Read the rest of this entry »

McDonald’s – East Lansing

9 02 2009
  • 1024 E. Grand River Avenue
  • East Lansing, MI 48823
  • (517) 332-6647
  • Website
  • Menu
McDonalds on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing.

McDonald's on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing.

I took the easy way out.  I was at Jenison Field House for MSU wrestling and I had an hour lunch/breakfast break at about ten AM.  I thought about going out for an actual breakfast, but really wasn’t in the mood.  We didn’t get back to Lansing until midnight the night before and I had to be at the Field House at seven AM.  I was tired.  I was cranky and I just wanted something quick.  I had always been intrigued by the McDonald’s on Grand River Avenue in East Lansing.  I had never seen a two story McD’s before. 

The only McDonald’s in East Lansing is on Grand River Avenue a few blocks from the campus of Michigan State University.  You can’t really tell from the road, but it’s kind of squeezed into a small space.  There’s not much of a parking lot and if there’s someone in the drive thru line behind you, you’re going to have a hard time getting out of a spot.  Read the rest of this entry »

Jenison Field House

9 02 2009
  • 248 Jenison Fieldhouse
  • East Lansing, MI 48824
  • (517) 355-1610
  • Website
The entrance to Jenison Fieldhouse on MSUs campus

The entrance to Jenison Fieldhouse on MSU's campus

I wish my first visit to Jenison Field House was thirty years.  When I walked in to the building for the first time, the first and only thing I could think was, “I bet this place was loud.”  I knew of Jenison before I moved to Lansing.  Who hasn’t?  I loved watching the old clips of Magic Johnson in East Lansing.  I can only imagine what the place was like.  Sure, it’s huge, but those big cavernous ceilings had to make the place loud.

Jenison Field House is on the campus of MSU just off Kalamazoo Street.  It’s just a block or so from it’s replacement, the Jack Breslin Student Events Center (review HERE).  It’s a huge building.  At first, I was wondering how they would even do basketball, but figured it out after seeing the wrestling set up. 

Jenison was opened in 1940 and was the home to Spartan basketball until 1989.  The facility is now used for Women’s volleyball, gymnastics, wrestling, and indoor track & field as well as a practice facility for a number of MSU sports.  There is permanent seating in an upper deck that runs around the entire facility.  The surface is a multi purpose rubber which is used for track and field.  When other events are held in the Field House, a curtain is dropped to divide the arena into a smaller area and portable bleachers are brought in to fill out the empty spaces.  Read the rest of this entry »