Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint – Nolensville, TN

6 10 2009
  • 7215 Nolensville Road
  • Nolensville, TN 37135
  • (615) 776-1856
  • Website
  • Menu
Martins Bar-B-Que in Nolensville, TN

Martin's Bar-B-Que in Nolensville, TN

One more chance for BBQ before leaving Tennessee.  J and I got up just before lunch time in Nashville.  Our next stop was four hours away in Indianapolis where we were going to spend the night before going apartment hunting in Kalamazoo.  It seemed like a good stopping point. 

One of my “must see” stops was a BBQ joint in Nolensville, TN.  I thought it was north of Nashville but it actually ended up being a half hour south.  I was ready to just skip it, but J talked me into it.  We were in no hurry to get to Indy, so why not get one more good meal before heading home.

Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint is one of Nashville’s best.  It’s on Nolensville Road just outside of Nolensville, TN.  I actually heard about this place from the same Bon Apetit article that raved about Slow’s and Zingerman’s Roadhouse. 

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what I found was not it.  For some odd reason, I was under the impression this was going to be more of a sit down restaurant.  What we found was a small, neighborhood BBQ joint. Read the rest of this entry »





McAlister’s Deli – Okemos

15 07 2009
  • 4760 Marsh Road
  • Okemos, MI 48864
  • (517) 381-3100
  • Website
  • Menu
McAlisters Deli on Marsh Road in Okemos

McAlister's Deli on Marsh Road in Okemos

It’s not very often that J and I make appointments for the early afternoon, but today, we had something to do in Okemos around one o’clock.  Our appointment wasn’t going to take long, so we decided we could squeeze lunch in after what we needed to do and before she needed to go to work.

Since we didn’t have a whole lot of time, I asked the question, bar food or deli.  She chose deli which narrowed the choices to Panera or McAlister’s.  Since I’ve only eaten at a McAlister’s once and she never had, I chose the latter. 

McAlister’s Deli is a chain of restaurants founded in the late nineties in Oxford, Mississippi.  There are three locations in the Lansing area.  Since we were in Okemos, we went to the Marsh Road location which is near the intersection with Grand River Avenue in a small strip mall. 

When we walked in, J’s first thought it was a sit down restaurant, but the aisle from the door leads you right to the order counter.  The decor is made to resemble the original restaurant which was in a gas station.  The lighting is pretty dark and the tables are sectioned off with dark wood dividers Read the rest of this entry »





Subway – Cedar & Jolly

15 05 2009
  • 5025 S. Cedar St #2
  • Lansing, MI 48910
  • (517) 393-7370
  • Website
  • Menu
The Subway at Cedar & Jolly in Lansing.

The Subway at Cedar & Jolly in Lansing.

OK, so when you think “celebratory lunch,” Subway isn’t the first thing you think of, but we just didn’t have time to go out for something fancy.  We were both starving and J still had to get ready for work, so I suggested Subway.  Jokingly, I said we should go to the store at Cedar & Jolly.  I had never been there, but J went a few weeks ago and came back with a doozy of a story about the layout of the building.  Normally, we’d just go to the Subway in Holt, but J said I needed to see this store to understand what she was talking about. 

The Subway at Jolly & Cedar looks like most other Subway’s from outside.  It’s situated in a small strip mall near the busy intersection.  Heck, even when you first walk in, it looks like any other Subway.  There are a few tables, but, for the most part, it’s a carry-out business.  The counter is the back right side of the space.  There was only one other person in front of us when we got there just before one o’clock. 

J eats at Subway quite often when I’m working, so she knew what she wanted right away.  I usually get the same everytime as well, so there was no waiting on us when it came our turn to order.

J got a footlong veggie on whole wheat.  When her sandwich was finished, it had pepper jack, lettuce, cucumbers, banana peppers, green peppers, and Chipotle Southwest mayo.  She tried the Chipotle mayo last time she was at a Subway and really liked it.  Read the rest of this entry »





Christie’s Bistro

31 03 2009
  • 925 S. Creyts Road
  • Lansing, MI 48917
  • (517) 323-4190
  • Website
  • Menu
Christies Bistro at the Sheraton Lansing on Creyts Road

Christie's Bistro at the Sheraton Lansing on Creyts Road

Today is another one of those days.  It’s J’s one year anniversary at work and, more importantly, it’s her birthday.  She had a few gift cards for a couple stores in the mall that expired today so I suggested we get up and go shopping.  After that, I planned on taking her out for a nice lunch.  

The stores we needed to go to are in both malls, so I could make a choice based on where I wanted to eat lunch.  I ended up choosing the Lansing Mall because there was a nicer restaurant near there that we haven’t been to and a birthday lunch was a perfect excuse to check it out.

Christie’s Bistro is inside the Sheraton Hotel on Creyts Road near I-496.  You enter the hotel at the main entrance.  Once inside, there really aren’t any signs or any indication on where to go.  I actually noticed the hostess station in an area that looked more like a lobby than a restaurant.  She was on the phone taking a reservation when we got there.  Once that was finished, we were shown to a table in the back of the dining room.

The dining room is interesting.  It’s not what you expect when you hear the word “bistro.”  It was nice, but it looked more like a hotel lobby or a conference space than a fancy restaurant.   There was a big fountain in the middle of the space that looked a little out of place.  There are also some private party rooms along one wall.  Read the rest of this entry »





Soup to Nutz Bistro & Custom Catering

18 03 2009
  • 123 Kalamazoo Street
  • Lansing, MI 48933
  • (517) 485-0955
  • Website
  • Menu
Soup to Nutz Bistro & Catering on Kalamazoo Street in Lansing.

Soup to Nutz Bistro & Custom Catering on Kalamazoo Street in Lansing.

I guess you could say the third time really is the charm.  J and I have tried to eat at Soup to Nutz a couple times in the past only to run into problems.  The first time was on a Saturday after waiting in line for tickets to see Obama speak.  We didn’t realize they weren’t open on Saturday.  The second was during the week.  We wanted to go for breakfast, but we got there at 9:30 and they don’t open until 10:30.  When we got back, we found they don’t do brunch during the week.  At that point, we gave up.  The only day they do brunch is Sunday and we spend most Sunday’s on the couch watching NASCAR. 

After we went to Golden Harvest this past Sunday, a commentor suggested we try Soup to Nutz.  That got me looking at their website again.  I looked at brunch first, but then I got curious about lunch.  J and I are really lunch people and their menu looked perfect.  J got up early to get her taxes done and when she got home, she suggested heading downtown for lunch.

Soup to Nutz Bistro is located on Kalamazoo Street near Washington Square.  There are actually two entrances which can be a little confusing.  The sign is actually above the catering side of the business.  If you go in there, you’re basically walking in to the kitchen.  The other door is the one that enters the dining room.  There’s no sign marking it as an entrance, but you can see tables and others dining as well as a special board in the window.  Read the rest of this entry »





Jersey Giant Subs – South Lansing

20 11 2008
  • 6441 S. Cedar St.
  • Lansing, MI 48911
  • (517) 272-2300
  • No Known Website
  • Menu
Jersey Giant Subs on South Cedar in Lansing.

Jersey Giant Subs on South Cedar in Lansing.

The market is flooded with sub sandwich shops.  It seems like they all run together and I never know what’s a chain or what’s local.  We’ve passed over Jersey Giant Subs a number of times because we wer just tired of sub shops.  They’re all pretty much the same, right?

J wasn’t able to come home for dinner tonight and I had to go meet someone and pick up some gear for a job I have tomorrow in Grand Rapids.  Since I was out, I figured I’d just grab something for dinner instead of trying to scrounge something up for myself.  As I was driving back down Pennsylvania towards home, I thought of the non-descript sub shop we always pass up.

Jersey Giant Sub sits in a small strip mall on Cedar Street near the Meijer.  There are a lot of food options along this stretch of Cedar St.  The strip mall is mostly other take out places.  There are two Mexican places close by and a number of national chains.  Jersey Giant Sub kind of gets lost in the mix.

I had a hard time finding a parking spot.  There’s something in that strip mall that people love because every time we go there (there’s also a Bigby), the parking lot is packed.  I found a spot on the other side of the complex and walked back to the store.  Read the rest of this entry »





Poor Boy Restaurant – Kankakee, IL

5 10 2008
  • 1514 E. Court St.
  • Kankakee, IL 60901
  • (815) 939-1880
  • No Known Website
  • No Online Menu
Poor Boy Restaurant on Court Street in Kankakee, IL

Poor Boy Restaurant on Court Street in Kankakee, IL

After twelve hours, I finally got to welcome my niece into this world.  Needless to say, after twelve hours, my sister-in-law was exhausted and hungry.  Her first meal post delivery was Wendy’s, but the next day, she wanted something deep fried.  I went back to the hospital hoping I could hold her again, but she was put under the blue lights due to the jaundice, so instead, I just got to hang out with my brother and sister-in-law. 

About 3:00, the new mom decided she was hungry, but the hospital kitchen stopped serving.  No bid deal.  LIke I said, she was really in the mood for deep fried anyway.  When she worked at a flower shop on Kankakee’s southside, Poor Boy Restaurant was a frequent stop for lunch. Read the rest of this entry »





Boone’s Long Lake Inn

20 09 2008
  • 7208 Secor Rd.
  • Traverse City, MI 49648
  • (231) 946-3991
  • Website
  • Menu
Boones Long Lake Inn outside Traverse City

Boone's Long Lake Inn outside Traverse City

Whenever we go on a trip, I like to find the place where the locals go for a meal.  You can always find good spots in the tourists hubs as well, but it’s those out of the way places that a tourist might have a hard time finding where the real gems are.  Boone’s Long Lake Inn came from a recommendation from Ang who said she and her fiance will find a reason to drive to Traverse City just so they can go to Boone’s.  That was a good enough recommendation for me, so we headed out of town to find Boone’s.

Boone’s is located a few miles outside of town on Secor Rd.  I damn near missed the turn for the driveway.  The sign came up on me pretty fast, but since there was no one behind me, I slowed down in a hurry to make the turn.  The restaurant sits at the end of a short drive.  When we got up the hill, we came into a huge parking lot that was pretty empty.  We were pretty early for dinner, so it was questionable whether we would even be able to get a meal here.  There’s a sign posted on the outside of the restaurant with the hours and they just opened for dinner about ten minutes prior to our arrival.

When we got inside, we were met by a host and shown to a table.  The dinning room is massive.  It’s divided into three separate, gigantic spaces.  In addition to the dining rooms, there’s a bar and banquet rooms.  Boone’s is huge.  Our waitress came over for drinks and told us about the specials.  Steaks had been recommended, but I don’t normally eat steak at restaurants.  Too expensiveand I’m a little picky with how it’s cooked.  I like it medium rare and that seems to be open to interpretation for some reason.  There was plenty on the menu that looked good.  I ended up ordering the single bacon wrapped pork loin.  The pork chop came with choice of potato and a salad.  I chose french fries for the potato and got a side salad with Italian dressing.  The most interesting thing about the salad were the croutons.  They were obviously homemade.  They were crispy on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside.  Before the meal, the server brought out a loaf of warm, homemade bread.  I would assume the croutons are made from that left over bread.  Side salads are usually uninteresting and bland, but the croutons made this salad just the opposite. Read the rest of this entry »





Blues BBQ – Urbana, IL

5 09 2008
  • 1103 W. Oregon St.
  • Urbana, IL 61801
  • (217) 239-9555
  • Website
  • Menu
Blues BBQ on Oregon St. in Urbana, IL near the University of Illinois

Blues BBQ on Oregon St. in Urbana, IL near the University of Illinois

I made a mistake.  I had planned on going to grab a couple slices of pizza after I got off work from a pizza joint that gets rave reviews.  Instead, I chose to go get BBQ.  That in itself is not a bad choice.  The restaurant I chose was the bad choice.

I noticed Blues BBQ last night when I went to Manolo’s (review HERE) to get pizza.  I almost went there then because it *looked* like a neat place.  When I left Memorial Stadium tonight about 8:00, I headed back to the area to get some Q. 

Blues BBQ is located in a little shopping district on the campus of the University of Illinois.  From the outside Blues looks like an upscale BBQ place.  It’s not the roadhouse you think of when you usually think of BBQ.  This should have been a huge warning sign.  When you walk in, again, you’re met with an upscale, eclectic feel.  There are a handful of tables in the dining room.  Most of them share seats with long, red benches.  There’s a bar that runs along the windows which is about the only thing in here that you would find in a typical BBQ place.  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 »