Campfire Cooking

28 07 2008

The Lansing State-Journal has an article on their website this mornng about campfire cooking.  Man, does that bring back memories.  My friends and I used to “camp” every weekend.  Campfire cooked food was what I always looked forward to.  The LSJ doesn’t offer a whole lot of insight in exactly how to cook over a campfire other than to throw a commecial in there for a tuscan grill maker. 

The most important thing, make sure you’re burning a hardwood.  Softwoods not only taste bad, but they can be hazardous.  Just like on the grill, I prefer hickory.  Once you get a fire going, you have options.  Metal pokers aren’t really a good option.

Metal pokers might work for marshmallows, but are very limited when it comes to cooking a whole meal. But in a pinch, they’ll get your dogs hot enough for a bun and mustard.

You can do better than hot dogs.  The easiest way is to wrap your food in a piece of aluminum foil and throw it directly into the fire.  It will take quite a while to cook meat this way because you’re basically steaming.  This works good for vegetables.  Toss a little butter in the packet and you’ll have the best tasting veggies ever.  Be careful not to throw it directly into the fire.  Use some hot coals near the edge so it doesn’t burn. Read the rest of this entry »





Jet’s Pizza – S. Cedar

22 07 2008
  • 6445 S. Cedar St.
  • Lansing, MI 48911
  • (517) 882-6900
  • Website
  • Menu
Jets Pizza on S. Cedar St. in Lansing

Jet's Pizza on S. Cedar St. in Lansing

You may remember over the weekend I blogged a little bit about going to a Sugarland concert four and a half hours away in Peru, IL.  My girlfriend really likes Sugarland.  Today, the new CD Love on the Inside “dropped,” so we made a quick trip to Target to pick it up.  Yes, we actually BOUGHT a CD instead of stealing it.  That happens when a group actually puts out a full CD of good music and that’s something Sugarland does…unlike Metallica.  Well, we slept in and didn’t leave until lunch time.  After a little shopping, my girlfriend suggested lunch.  There’s a strip mall on Cedar Street in South Lansing that has couple sandwich shops so I headed that way.  The choice was between Jersey Giant Subs and Jet’s Pizza.  Jet’s won out because I was sort of in a pizza mood. Read the rest of this entry »





Frandor Deli

21 07 2008
  • 300 N. Clippert St. #8
  • Lansing, MI 48912
  • (517) 351-9342
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
The beef and cheddar sandwich from the Frandor Deli in the Frandor Shopping Center

The beef and cheddar sandwich from the Frandor Deli in the Frandor Shopping Center

My girlfriend needed to make a run to the Jewelry Doctor in the Frandor Shopping Center so we figured we’d hit up someplace in that area for lunch.  I had heard a lot about Amici’s New York Style Deli, but we couldn’t find it.  I didn’t realize it wasn’t quite in the Shopping Center.  Since we were kind of limited on time, I didn’t feel like driving around the area to look for it.  Instead, I noticed a sign for the Frando Deli.  I figured that would be quick and we could grab sandwiches to go.

Good sign when we walked in.  The place was packed.  We made our way through the small dining room to the counter to order our meals.  All of the sandwiches are already made and wrapped in plastic wrap.  When you order, they take the wrap off and then give you the options to customize the sandwich.  The pizza looked really good, but since we were grabbing something to go, I didn’t think that would have been a very good idea.  Instead, I went with the Beef and Cheddar sandwich.  The counter person asked if I wanted it heated and I passed.  I also passed on the toppings which would be your general deli toppers.  With the sandwich, I got a bag of BBQ chips, a small pickle spear and a medium Pepsi.  The sandwich was pretty good which kind of surprised me.  They must make and wrap the sandwiches every morning.  The bun was fresh and soft and the meat was still a little moist.  There was more shredded cheese than beef on the sandwich, but there was enough meat to make me feel like I didn’t get cheated. Read the rest of this entry »





Olde Peninsula Brew Pub

20 07 2008
  • 200 E. Michigan Ave.
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 343-2739
  • Website
  • Menu
The sign for Olde Peninsula Brew Pub in downtown Kalamazoo

The sign for Olde Peninsula Brew Pub in downtown Kalamazoo

After a weekend in Chicago, I had to drop my girlfriend off in Kalamazoo for work.  Before we parted ways for the afternoon, we thought it’d be nice to check out what Kalamazoo has to offer in terms of restaurants.  I saw a recommendation for Olde Peninsula on chow.com, so that’s what I went looking for.

Olde Peninsula is located on the corner of Michigan and Portage in what used to be known as the Big Corner.  The first brew pub opened on St. Patrick’s day in 1896.  The current incarnation opened after the 1980 tornado that almost destroyed the building.  We walked into the building and found the hostess station near the door as an extension of the bar.  The building is divided into two dining rooms.  The smoking section also has the bar.  The distillers are visible through a glass wall opposite the bar.  The non-smoking section is divided by a wall that serves as the bar’s back wall.  We were seated in a booth which was on a raised platform on this back wall.

The waitress came over for drinks and we stopped her from leaving to place our order right away.  While there were several options that looked good, we were both in the mood for our usual sandwiches.  I went with the Olde Smokey burger.  The 1/2 lb burger was topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and a bbq sauce.  The sandwich is served with a side of beer-battered fries.  The sandwich was big.  I had a hard time getting it in my mouth.  The bacon was nice and crispy and the burger was just slightly pink which lended itself to a good flavor.  I didn’t really notice the bbq sauce until the last couple bites where it had soaked into the bun.  The fries were interesting.  Beer-batterd fries aren’t usually my favorite, but the breading was not overpowering which made these better than normal. Read the rest of this entry »





Portillo’s Hot Dogs – Crestwood, IL

20 07 2008
  • 13130 Cicero Ave.
  • Crestwood, IL 60445
  • (708 ) 385-6400
  • Website
  • Menu
Portillos Hot Dogs in Crestwood.  Real Chicago-Style Food!

Portillo's Hot Dogs in Crestwood, IL. Real Chicago-Style Food!

I seem to be spending about every weekend back in Chicago and this past weekend was not exception.  This time, however, I was in town for a concert and not work.  We got tickets to see Sugarland (for the third time!) at the Cedar Point Sportsmen Club in Peru, IL.  Peru is a little over an hour from Chicago, so we decided to stop at my girlfriend’s parents before and after the show.  On our way to meet my parents, whom we were going to the show with, we started talking about food.  We had a pretty packed day trying to fit everything we wanted to do in and we neglected lunch up until that point.  Since she’s more familiar with the area, she started running down places on the way to the meeting point.  After a few suggestions, I finally said, “What about Portillo’s?” 

Let me start by saying.  I LOVE Portillo’s.  This is Chicago style food at it’s best.  When I was in college, I interned downtown at Fox Sports Net Chicago.  The downtown Portillo’s is located a few blocks away and I used to walk there all the time.  Since I started dating my girlfriend, I take any opportunity I can to stop at this location on Cicero. Read the rest of this entry »





Buddies Grill – Holt

17 07 2008
  • 2040 Aurelius Rd.
  • Holt, MI 48842
  • (517) 699-3670
  • No Known Website
  • Menu (From Okemos Location)
Buddies Grill in Holt

Buddies Grill in the Holt Plaza Shopping Center

Buddies has been on the short list of places to try near our house for some time.  Why we never got there is a mystery, but we finally hit it up for lunch.  Even the day we went, it was second choice.  I had heard about a deli inside a hardware store on Aurelius Road and that’s what we went looking for.  We found Big T’s Extreme Deli inside Brower’s Hardware, but there was a closed sign on the counter, so we were forced to find something else.  We had just drove by Buddies and my girlfriend suggested we turn around and head back there.

Buddies is located in a strip mall at the corner of Holt Rd. and Aurelius Rd.  It’s a huge space with a nice big outdoor patio.  The heat index was up over 90 degrees the day we stopped in, so we passed on the outdoors thing.  The inside is seperated into two rooms.  The main bar area with a variety of pub tables and regular tables scattered around the bar and then there’s another non-smoking room off to the left.  We took a table in the non-smoking section.  Our waitress came over for drink orders as we looked over the menu and it’s a pretty big menu.  By the time she came back with our Pepsi, we still weren’t quite ready, so she gave us a few more minutes.  Read the rest of this entry »





Red Robin Gourmet Burgers

8 07 2008
  • 6524 W. Saginaw Hwy.
  • Lansing, MI 48917
  • (517) 886-7440
  • Website
  • Menu
Red Robin

Red Robin Gourmet Burgers in Delta Township

Why is the Wii so dang popular?  We spent all morning going from store to store looking for Mario Kart.  We were told a few days ago that because the dollar is so worthless right now, Nintendo is investing most it’s efforts in Japan where the yen is strong.  We went or called almost every store along Saginaw Highway that carries video games. Striking out at every one of them really worked up an appetite.  The original plan was to go to Art’s Pizza & Italian Oven for lunch, but when we got there, there was a sign in the window that said they were closed for the summer due to losing their liquor license and they’re searching for new owners.  What a bummer.  I had been wanting to eat there for a while and now that we had the chance, it was closed.

We didn’t really want to piss around looking for another place and neither of us have ever eaten at a Red Robin, so we headed back down Saginaw.  Red Robin sits in front of Kohls near Kroger.  The building is not hard to spot with a lot of red trim and a huge sign.  We got there just before the lunch rush so there weren’t a whole lot of people in side.  The first thing that jumps out when you walk in is the TV in the floor.  There was caution tape around it the day we were in there, so I’m not sure if it was new or if someone jumped on it and broke, but it was still funny to see a TV in the floor.  We were greated by a host who took us through the dining room to a booth near the back.  The set up of the store is really interesting and not like anything else I’ve ever seen.  When you first come in, to your left is a full bar with a small dining area.  The back wall of the bar is glass that looks into the dining room.  To the right is the kitchen and waitress station.  It has the feel of a lunch counter without the counter.  There’s a big stainless steel counter where the orders come up for the waitress.  There are a lot of booths.  They created half walls throughout the space to make more walspace for them.  Every third booth or so along this half wall is a double wide booth where this is no wall.  If you bring a big group, you won’t be forced to push tables together to get everyone in.  These large booths could easily seat eight.  The walls are covered with movie posters and other art work leaving very little of the faux wood panel showing. Read the rest of this entry »