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 »

Have A Cooking Question?

7 07 2008

No, I’m not the one to answer it.  Everything I know I learned by watching the Food Network, so I’m not about to give advice, but Food Network is giving you a chance to ask your favorite Food Network star a culinary question.  I first noticed the new show on Michael Symon’s website, but when I clicked on the link for Dear Food Network it gives you the option of which star you want to ask.  Just like Bobby Flay’s new show Grill It! With Bobby Flay, FN is giving you the opportunity to upload a short video asking a question. 

Throughout the year, do you encounter all kinds of cooking challenges – from Thanksgiving disasters to Holiday cooking blow-outs? Never fear, Food Network is here! Read the rest of this entry »

Leo’s Lodge

2 07 2008
  • 2525 E. Jolly Rd.Leo\'s Lodge
  • Lansing, MI 48910
  • (517) 882- 3850
  • Website
  • Menu

OK, so I’ve spent our day playing our new Wii.  Before I knew it, it was dinner time and I had nothing laid out or any energy to actually cook a meal.  I went and picked my girlfriend up from work and decided we needed a night out.  I had drove by Leo’s Lodge several times and figured it was time to actually stop in. 

The decor of Leo’s should be pretty obvious from the name.  It’s a lodge.  Very cool rustic feel with a faux log cabing design.  When you walk in, you sort of walk into a small dining room connected to the bar.  There are a few tables and a pool table.  We started to head that way, but my girlfriend called an audible at the last minute and we went over to the other dining room which was no smoking.  We took a seat right in front of a big screen TV.  If we played the stock market, we could have gotten caught up during dinner as they had CNBC on that particular TV.  First thing we both noticed was the chairs.  It was a very cool design with a woven rope seat and back on a rustic wood frame.  Very cool addition to the log cabin feel. Read the rest of this entry »

Seen the New Milk Jugs?

1 07 2008

I guess Sam’s Club and Costco are starting to stock these, but I haven’t seen them yet.  They’re more boxy and according to consumers, harder to use.  The idea is that the new jugs are better for the environment, cheaper to ship and ultimately, cheaper for consumers.  Those consumer’s aren’t giving the product rave reviews though.

The jugs have no real spout, and their unorthodox shape makes consumers feel like novices at the simple task of pouring a glass of milk.

“I hate it,” said Lisa DeHoff, a cafe owner shopping in a Sam’s Club here.

“It spills everywhere,” said Amy Wise, a homemaker.

“It’s very hard for kids to pour,” said Lee Morris, who was shopping for her grandchildren.

And, here’s a picture of what we’re talking about. Read the rest of this entry »

White Castle/Church’s Chicken – S. Cedar

27 06 2008

I hate White Castle.   That’s not necissarily a slam on the business.  I just don’t like thier slyders.  I’m not a huge onion fan and I really don’t like them on or in my burgers.  I’m well aware that people travel hours just to get to a White Castle, but I’ve never bought into it.  So when my girlfriend said she wanted something greasy for lunch, I was kind of surprised that she said White Castle.  I went along with it because this particular location also has a Church’s Chicken.  I figured I could get some chicken and she could get whatever greasy concoction her heart desired. Read the rest of this entry »

American International Bulk Foods

27 06 2008
  • 6016 S. Pennsylvania Ave.American International Bulk Foods
  • Lansing, MI 48911
  • (517) 393-1130
  • No Known Website

American International Bulk Foods was recommended to me by my girlfriends boss once she found out I like to cook.  I was told they have a good selection of spices, so I stopped in one day to see what exactly it was.  To my surprise, they had a lot of spices and a lot of hard to find spices at really good prices.  The store is set up like a bulk candy store.  There are rows of plastic bins filled with spices.  Just like a bulk candy store, you pick up a plastic bag and use a scoop to fill it up.  Tie the bag up and write the bin number on the bag and keep going.  This store is incredibly helpful if you cook a lot of Middle Eastern or Indian food.  There’s a lot of spices that you can’t get at the local mega mart. Read the rest of this entry »

Benson’s Vinaigrettes

26 06 2008
  • 940 Elmwood Rd.Benson\'s Vinaigrettes
  • Lansing, MI 48917
  • (517) 703-9616
  • Website
  • Menu

Boy, did we stumble on to something great here.  I drove by Benson’s Vinaigrettes last time my girlfriend got her haircut and said next month, that’s where we were going to eat lunch.  I found their website and was a little worried that I wouldn’t be all that thrilled with it.  I knew my girlfriend would love it and it’d be a nice change from all the bars and pizza joints I bring her to. 

Benson’s is located just behind the Lansing Mall.  It’s a really nice looking building from the outside with a LCD board underneath their sign that displays today’s entrees.  Inside, Benson’s reminds you of a deli.  The place is much bigger than it looks.  You walk through the dining room and get in line.  All of today’s food is on display in cases.  The menu is constantly changing.  You can get salads and wraps everyday, but that days entrees won’t be there tomorrow.  All the food is fresh and homemade.  The chef was standing in the dining room making sure everything was running smoothly.  Read the rest of this entry »