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Amy Viny

East Lansing Food

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Any suggestions for tasty eats? I'll be visiting MSU. Any cuisine--or any great bakeeries , food shops or delis--just genuine good food. We'll be driving through Detroit area too so if you have any luch ideas there throw em in. I've heard of a locally owned awesome grocery store in the Detroit area that worth a stop too. Anyone have the name and other info? Thanks in advance.

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There are a handful of Detroit topics, there doesn't seem to be any real consensus on which (if any) places are worth eating at. I think it depends what you're used to eating and what your expectations are. If you find something great, please report back!

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For dinner in East Lansing, I recommend Restaurant Villegas. Unfortunately, their web site is being renovated, but there's some info on eG if you do a search.

Detroit's a big city. Could you be more specific about what kind of food you're interested in, where in the city you'll be, etc?

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Hi Alex-

Actually I'll just be passing through Detroit --(Ann Arbor too) enroute to Cleveland. I'll be spending most of my time in Lansing--would stop for good ethnic of any variety or BBQ. Or should we plan on a stop at Zingerman's Roadhouse?

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Hi Alex-

Actually I'll just be passing through Detroit --(Ann Arbor too) enroute to Cleveland. I'll be spending most of my time in  Lansing--would stop for good ethnic of any variety or BBQ. Or should we plan on a stop at Zingerman's Roadhouse?

Yes, definitely -- or the deli, depending on what kind of food strikes you at the moment.

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Hi Alex-

Actually I'll just be passing through Detroit --(Ann Arbor too) enroute to Cleveland. I'll be spending most of my time in  Lansing--would stop for good ethnic of any variety or BBQ. Or should we plan on a stop at Zingerman's Roadhouse?

For some excellent BBQ in the Detroit city limits, Slows would be the ideal choice for you. An advance warning: service can be, and often is, pretty lousy, but the food (at least for me and those I know) is consistently high quality. The pulled pork is fantastic! The split pea/okra fritter appetizer is also highly regarded by us, and when I've had the catfish with its remoulade, I've liked it quite well.

Again, though, if service is really important to you (and when you're on the road, I can see how it might be), you might be better served to pass it by for another time when you have a bit more time to spare.

Zingerman's Roadhouse may be good, but I still say that its eye-popping prices aren't justified by the fare.

Oh, and if by "good ethnic of any kind", that includes Middle Eastern food, you cannot go wrong stopping at any of the myriad places in Dearborn.


Edited by boagman (log)

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For dinner in East Lansing, I recommend Restaurant Villegas. Unfortunately, their web site is being renovated, but there's some info on eG if you do a search.

Detroit's a big city. Could you be more specific about what kind of food you're interested in, where in the city you'll be, etc?

Sadly, the great Eric Villegas has closed his doors. There is certainly a void on the high-end cuisine in the Lansing area. It is partially filled by the Likes of Troppo, which is downtown Lansing, and quite good.

Ethnic food is good in many varieties. For Indian, I recommend Sindhu in the Hanah Plaza for their awesome lunch buffet. There's a new place on Grand River called Gumbo and Jazz (1138 E. Grand River Ave., East Lansing) that's great. Sushi is good at Sansu, also in the Hannah Plaza. There is also a new bakery there, which is good but I can't remember the name. I also recommend Udon Sushi Bakery, which is not really a bakery, but has wonderful authentic Udon and bubble tea. Only open after 5PM, however.

I second the Zingerman's recommendation. Also, for fine dining in AA, check out Eve Restaurant. Fantastic food and ambiance.

My most spectacular meal ever (yes EVER) in Michigan has been at Saltwater in the MGM Grand in Detroit. This was only last week, in fact, and I've been meaning to hype this place. Unbelievably fresh, high-quality, fresh, delicious, fresh fish. The quality of the tuna tar tar was 10 out of 10. The soft shell crab was a revelation. The poached maine lobster tail melted in my mouth. Even the foie gras torchon was the best foie gras torchon I've had. The only flaw in the meal was that items were ocassionaly under-salted. Luckily, I mentioned that a dish early in the meal was undersalted and they brought out sea salt and soy sauce, which served my wife and me well through a couple other courses. Small crime in my book.

When will you be in the area, and for how long?

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Thanks. I just returned. Did try Udon Bakery good choice. Sadly wasn't abel o check out your other suggestions. I was at a conference at MSU and unfortunately for most of the meals we were forced to endure the on campus dining hall--YECH. I've really never seen food like this-sulfite bleached salads, mystery meat "tater- tot casserole, and luke- warm greasy fried everything. I thought colleges were making great strides in improving the quality of their on campus food service. Looks like MSU needs to focus on what's going on in their campus dining halls.

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Yeah, I went to MSU for undergrad. The dorm food is pretty outrageous, but I don't have anything to compare it to. Does anybody rave about dorm food?

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Yeah, I went to MSU for undergrad.  The dorm food is pretty outrageous, but I don't have anything to compare it to.  Does anybody rave about dorm food?

I honestly can, but only in mournful retrospect. I truly *hate* Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, and I only went there for one year. I hate it now, and I hated it while I attended there, back in 1990-91. And yes, that included the food, but how little I knew then.

I transferred my next year to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL the following year, which I *loved*. However, I did learn at least one thing: sometimes you don't know what you've got until it's gone. The food program at Moody was just downright *awful* when compared/contrasted with that of Calvin. I was ungrateful for Calvin's food while I was there because I'd been spoiled all my life by my mom's great cooking, and Calvin's came up short when compared to that. Big shock there, eh?

Going to Moody was still worth the lousy food (and I understand that they've made *great* strides of improvement to the food...since I left, of course), but comparing Moody's food service to Calvin's was just like comparing Calvin's food to my mom's...there just wasn't any comparison. Calvin actually had *great* food service.

So yeah: decent college food is out there, or at least it was when I was going to school.

On a side note, the *best* mass-produced/"institutional" food I've ever had in my life was at a camp in Wyoming, and the food there was done by a wonderful couple who just so *happened* to be retired bakery owners. I was only in junior high at the time, but holy stinking cow...I knew wonderful food when I tasted it. Never, *ever* have had better "institutional" breakfasts, lunches, or dinners. Yeah, it may have been smaller in scale than a college, but the principle remains the same.

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Any updates on decent/good eats in the East Lansing/Okemos area?

I'm about to make my annual Memorial Day weekend trip out there and looking for anything worth checking out vs. sticking with the known-and-eh chains in the area. Sad to see Villegas is closed. Will probably be stopping in Dusty's one night - I know it's poo-poo'ed by a lot on egullet, but we've not had a bad experience there (it's at least been a step above the chains).

Any ethnicity is fine except Indian (my partner is not a fan) and probably don't want to travel too far as we're going to be working long hours each day and pretty tired by the nighttime.

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Depending on your schedule, you might want to consider Gumbo & Jazz, on East Grand River, right next to Bell's Greek Pizza. They're open only until 8 p.m., and it's a pretty small place, but the food is excellent. Here's an MSU student's blog post about the place. I'd definitely call first, though -- I just got a recording saying they'd be on vacation until May 12, and today is the 18th.

I like the cafés at the two Schuler Books & Music stores in the Lansing area. They don't serve dinner per se, but you can get soups, salads, sandwiches, quesadillas, or quiche.

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I'm glad to see there is some discussion fo my hometown here on E-gullet! I'm a student at MSU and have lived around here most of my life

The mid-Michigan area doesn't have a good foodie reputation but there are good meals to be had. All of these recommendations are lunch or casual places. I work in the industry and do not head out for fancy sit-down dinners much, so I can't really offer any advice on that.

First of all: Breakfast

The Jukebox Grill, Coral Gables, and Golden Harvest (in Lansing) all offer fresh and honest dinner breakfasts, all reasonably priced.

The Rest of the Day:

-Lamai's Thai Kitchen - on Michigan Ave in Lansing (less than a mile west of E.Lansing), The place is a hole in the wall, single-proprietor. Great buffet. It can be tough to find a seat some days because it has created quite a following - There is another place in south Lansing called Taste of Thai that is a bit more upscale (al-cart for dinner) and nearly as good.

The Soup Spoon Cafe- Michigan Ave (3-4 blocks west of Lam Mia) - Only open for lunch (I think), simple menu, they keep it seasonal. Three fresh soups everyday, good place for a soup & sandwich or a simple pasta dish. The whitefish chowder is my favorite.

The Knight Cap - Michigan Ave in downtown Lansing. A tiny place that is a Lansing institution. It has been hit or miss the last few times I've been but even when the food isn't great the atmosphere makes up for it. It is like stepping into the fifties when you walk through the door.

Altu's Ethiopain Cuisine- also on Michigan Ave in a run-down strip mall (just east of the Lansing/EL border). I haven't eaten there but have heard good things. Could be worth a try.

Woody's Oasis - Various locations - they have built a nice local chain with 2 deli-style locations, a food-court place on campus, ready to eat snacks and wraps sold through coffee shops on campus and a bar/restaurant in downtown EL. Pretty good Mediterranean fair, I love the lamb kabob. The bar location also has a nice selection of beers on tap.

Palace of Jamaica- South Washington Ave (Lansing, the southern-most end of the Washington Square shopping district) - The place is definitely substance over style (in fact the crowd from the liquor store next door can be downright scary) but the food is second to none. It's just a lunch counter/takeout place with a few small tables but the best jerk chicken or stewed goat within 100 miles (at least)

Los Tres Amigos on E. Grand River in EL (3 other locations) - this place has exploded from it's start on Lansing's south-side. They now have a quick service storefront at Frandor Shopping Center and a bar/resturant near EL's "student-ghetto." I haven't tried that location (it's the newest) but the others offer the best mexican in the area. You can even get house-made menudo.

Finally, a shameless plug for the place I work. The State Room at Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center (Harrison Rd). It is not well liked in another eGullet thread but I should say that there is a new chef and FotH manager since then. I think the quality has improved a lot in the past year. Take it for what it's worth :biggrin:

I hope you enjoy your time in Lansing.


Edited by Smitty (log)

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Welcome to eGullet, Smitty, and thanks for all the information. It's great to have a resource in the Lansing area. Go Spartans! (Ms. Alex is a grad.)

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Hey everyone, once again I'm preparing to head back to the East Lansing/Okemos area for a Memorial Day weekend convention. Looking for any thoughts/tips on new places to try out as it's actually been 2 years since I've been. Last time I went, I recall eating multiple times at Ai Fusion, which was right near the hotel I was staying in and I loved it. No doubt will be returning there as I see they're still open.

My convention is more in the South Lansing area, so any places between those two parts of Lansing would be great.

Thanks!

(Oh, any any cuisine is fine, except for Middle Eastern which always seems to set off my few food allergies/intolerances.)

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Hey everyone, once again I'm preparing to head back to the East Lansing/Okemos area for a Memorial Day weekend convention. Looking for any thoughts/tips on new places to try out as it's actually been 2 years since I've been. Last time I went, I recall eating multiple times at Ai Fusion, which was right near the hotel I was staying in and I loved it. No doubt will be returning there as I see they're still open.

My convention is more in the South Lansing area, so any places between those two parts of Lansing would be great.

Thanks!

(Oh, any any cuisine is fine, except for Middle Eastern which always seems to set off my few food allergies/intolerances.)

Well you're just in time to check out my new venture. I just helped launch a lunch truck with some friends (an when I say just, I mean just, today is our 3rd day in operation).

We are called Trailer Park'd and the focus is upscale street food with an emphasis on locally sourced products. The menu is seasonal, the meats are from free-range animals and are cooked on a hardwood smoker.

The location isn't locked down right now because of a fight with the city and some downtown business owners. We are currently in a private lot just west of South Washington Ave on Mt. Hope. If the location changes before your trip I will keep eGullet updated, either here or in a thread that I start devoted to our project. Here are a some pictures.

CO - Menu.jpg

Owosso Organics Greens w/ Herb & Citrus Vinaigrette + Fried Egg

CO - Owasso Organic Salad.jpg

The Taco; house ground & seasoned pork - mole verde - house made queso blanco - cilantro - lime

CO - Taco.jpg

Free Range Burger: Fontina Cheese-Caramelized Onion - Garlic Aoli - Arugula on Olive & Feta Focaccia

CO - Burger.jpg

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Oh and I should say that I rescind my recommendation of the Knight Cap. The quality at that place has taken a nosedive (so I've heard) since a shakeup in the kitchen a while ago.

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Smitty, those look quite good! It'd be helpful to know prices, though. Quite surprised the chalkboard menu didn't have the amounts listed on there.

It seems that Michigan municipalities as a whole are having a rough time coming to terms with (much less embracing) the food truck movement. There's a somewhat new (6 months now?) taco truck in the Detroit suburbs who's been having a rough time location-wise, too. I can imagine that in his case, though, he sort of makes his own bed: he's a Michelin-starred chef who charges way, way too much for tiny, tiny portions, and doesn't respond to criticism of any sort. I can't imagine that he gets along with too many cities, either...

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Those pictures are from our cold open for friends and family. It took place before we had health department approval so we couldn't charge for food, simply take donations.

The prices for the current menu are as follows:

Sandwiches: 7.50

Taco: 4 (2 for $7)

Entree Salad: 6 (add meat for 1.50)

Soup & Sides: 3

Beverages top out at 1.75

We are also on facebook and twitter for anyone interested.

@trailerparkd

Trailer Park'd Facebook

CO Door.jpg

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Smitty - I'll keep that in mind, though are you just a lunch operation and will you be serving for Memorial Day weekend? I'm pretty much locked in during the days for convention duty, so looking for evening dining options in the area between May 26 - May 29.

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Smitty - I'll keep that in mind, though are you just a lunch operation and will you be serving for Memorial Day weekend? I'm pretty much locked in during the days for convention duty, so looking for evening dining options in the area between May 26 - May 29.

We will be open until 6 the 26th and 27th. We will be dark Saturday to Monday. I hope you get a chance to make it out. Our current location is in Lansing's 'Old Town.' The address is 1200 N Cedar St

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Thanks Smitty. I might be able to get over on the 26th, will see depending on how smoothly the road trip goes!

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Thanks Smitty. I might be able to get over on the 26th, will see depending on how smoothly the road trip goes!

I hope your trip goes smoothly. If you are able to make it out to the truck, unfortunately I won't be there to great you. I actually can't believe I forgot to connect the dates. I will be cooking a guest chef dinner at my other gig, the Kellogg Center.

It should be a great meal. A cat named Brian Goodman is in town from Cleavland. He helped open Michael Simon's NYC place. I met him and started on the prep Tuesday. The meal looks really good. It's $60 or 65 for 5 courses with wine. It might be worth calling to see if there are any seats left. (800) 875-5090

Visiting Chef Series Spring 2011

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I just got word that because of the weather the trailer won't be open this afternoon/tonight. THought I should let you know so you don't go on a wild-goose chase.

Hope you enjoy your time in Lansing.

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Some general Lansing rec's from someone who grew up there, but has lived in NYC for the last few years.

Sultan's: is in my opinion the best Middle eastern food in the lansing area i always eat here at least once when i visit www.sultansrestaurant.net/

El Azteco: Kind of a hole in the wall but the hot salsa, cheese dip and the Topopo salad are great. I usually eat here multiple times when i visit.

Knight Cap: Was always great when i lived there but i have not been there in over 3 years so i can not speak to any decline in quality.

Ukai Sushi and Steakhouse: Not the most innovative sushi/steakhouse place in america, but i have never had a bad meal or sushi that wasent fresh at either location east or west.

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