About Me

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Lansing, Michigan, United States
I am a Lansing townie, lawyer, and restaurant reviewer for the City Pulse. I love traveling, reading, yoga, and baking, but my favorite hobby is stuffing my face.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Peanut Butter and Yogurt

I've been reading quite a bit lately about people eating peanut butter and pickle sandwiches. I originally thought that this was just an oddity in my beloved Sunday New York Times, then I saw a video snippet on CBS Sunday Morning where a man took a big bite of a PB&P sandwich. Honestly, it looked disgusting. Has anyone ever eaten this sandwich before? Is it as horrifying as it sounds?

On the same episode of Sunday Morning I was intrigued to see a segment where Serena Altschul (remember her from MTV News?!) went to a Chobani cafe in NYC. Check this out. The pistachio yogurt with chocolate and mint looks ahmahzing.

During normal (read: non-Thanksgiving) weeks, I eat about five servings of Greek yogurt. It has a wallop of protein and very little sugar, which is exactly what I look for in my afternoon snack.

Of course, in my morning snack, I look for caffeine, chocolate, and a minimum of 1,000 calories, but a girl's gotta have some fun, right?

Anyway, you can get Greek yogurt at just about any grocery in town nowadays. I generally stick to Chobani or Fage, whichever is on sale. I always buy fat-free plain yogurt and add my own topping, if I have gotten myself together and planned ahead. I very rarely buy flavored yogurt. It's full of sugar and nonsense.

Serena Altschul also talks about Siggi's Icelandic yogurt (skyr, if you want to be technical.) This stuff is great, it has even more protein and has delicious and natural flavorings. I make an exception to my no flavors rule and splurge when I find Siggi's. I know that you can buy it at the Better Health Store on Clippert near Frandor, which is where I also like to buy my tempeh and Bob's Red Mill products when I am trying to be good and healthy and virtuous.

Then I eat these-
Pumpkin cheesecakes on Thanksgiving. I ate three. Then I hated myself.

Monday, November 19, 2012


When I was in college and declared that my major was Political Science ("MY MAJOR IS POLITICAL SCIENCE! I DECLARE IT!") I decided that I should probably get some real-world experience in the form of an internship. I don't remember how this all shook out, but I got a position in the office of one of the greatest guys I have ever met- State Senator Mickey Switalski, repping Roseville and Eastpointe (formerly known as East Detroit.)

I loved being in that legislative office. Mickey gave me actual tasks to accomplish, instead of the normal intern duties of making copies, getting coffee, and taking documents from the Farnum (Senate) building to the House Office Building. I also became close friends with Mickey's Constituent Relations Director and sister-in-law, the 60-something Scottish firecracker Helena. Helena and I would frequently decide that Mickey could go without us for a few hours and would head south down Washington Square to have lunch at a restaurant that quickly became our favorite place- Restaurant Mediteran.

I believe my work in Mickey's office started in 2003, which means that I've been eating at Mediteran for 9 years. I had my 24th birthday party there. I finally convinced my parents to listen to my advice for once, and they too became Mediteran devotees. I've extolled to many people the necessity of making a lunch reservation, especially when the legislature is in town, because the little cafe becomes completely packed.

The gorgeous, colorful presentation of the salmon isn't lost on this sister.
In short, I consider myself to be well-versed in how things operate at Mediteran. Let me give you a few tips:

1. Igor, who is 30ish, is the owner. His father, Mirko, is the waiter. Mirko drew all of the artwork that hangs on the walls. You might think that Mirko hates you, but he's just prickly in that Eastern European way.

2. At lunch, I always order one of the specials. I don't even open the menu. The specials are listed on a dry-erase board outside.

3. At dinner, I love the salmon and the spaghetti bolognese. They have the best spaghetti, and some of the best salmon, in town. 

This isn't the spaghetti bolognese, it's the spaghetti Balkan. Also delicious.

4. Do yourself a favor and go in around Christmastime. The decorations are incredible.

5. At dinner, you will be presented with dessert after your meal. These desserts are all house-made (by Igor's mother) and gorgeous. They taste as good as they look.

6. You won't be presented with a check at your table. When you are ready to pay, head to the counter where Mirko will ring you up. Yes, you can use a debit or credit card. And yes, you should tip profusely.

7. Much like Soup Spoon, you might leave Mediteran smelling like food. If that kind of thing matters to you, you might want to leave your coat in the car (although I personally wouldn't think it was a bad thing to snuggle up to someone who smelled like some of the most delicious food in the city.)

Every dessert is worth the calories. I don't say that lightly.
8. I have reason to believe that Mediteran won't be open forever. Put it into your restaurant rotation sooner than later

9. They don't have a liquor license and no, they don't want one. Don't expect to have a drink with dinner.

10. If you're there for lunch, don't forget to put money in your meter. Those meter maids don't play.

Mediteran is downtown on Washington Square, across the street from the Cooley Law Library. There is also an adjacent cafe, but all my expertise pertains only to the sit-down restaurant.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Red Haven for City Pulse

I've taken my questionable talents to City Pulse for a monthly restaurant review that kicked off yesterday. Check out my first article and impressions of Red Haven here.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fork in the Road

Last Saturday night I had dinner with my favorite veterans at Fork in the Road. FITR is the stand-alone incarnation of one of my favorite eateries, Trailer Park'd. I have always loved Trailer Park'd burgers, their wood-paneled truck, and the aromas that waft out of that little trailer, but unfortunately FITR has not yet won my heart.

I ordered the Brussels Sprouts, shown above. As they are ridiculously called on the menu, the Fried Brussels with Carmelized Onion Cheddar-Apple-Maple Mustard-Cider Vinny. I love Brussels Sprouts and I like that they were whole, not shredded or halved, but there wasn't any caramelization to speak of and the mustard sauce was overpowering. 

I also had the tacos, better known as the Ballin' Ass Tacos. I can't quite bring myself to say that. I can, however, comfortably assert that these tacos are the best thing on the menu. 

I have a couple of reasons for that claim: 1. unlike many of the other options at FITR, an order of the tacos gives you a pretty substantial amount of food; 2. I think that $7.50 is a reasonable price; and 3. these tacos are GOOD. Don't order them if you can't take the heat, because the chorizo is seriously spicy and I was straight chugging water by the end of the second taco. 

I also ordered the bread pudding. After it came to the table I realized that I've already had the bread pudding at FITR and wasn't in love with it, but I soldiered through and ate half of this. 

I like the chunks of chocolate and the pistachios, but it's quite dry and the bread pudding at Soup Spoon beats the crap out of FITR. 

Here's the rub- my total after ordering these three items was $20 and change. That. Is. Outrageous. I know, I know- local, sustainable, difficult to make a profit- I know. But let's get real for a second. This is Lansing, Michigan. This diner is a stone's throw from Sexton High School (heyyyy, shoulda been a Big Red!) and a recently-shuttered GM plant. The price point at FITR is way, way off. 

My vet ordered the ravioli. He asked the cashier (yes, you order your food at the counter, pay for it, then they bring it to you, and this is awful and I hate it) if he should get a side dish, and she told him that the entree was a "huge plate of ravioli." 

There were three raviolis on the plate. It was $18. 

Guys, I just can't get behind that. And believe me, I have no problem paying for delicious food when I think it's a good value and you're getting what you pay for. I just can't say that I feel that way about FITR, and I'm sad to report that. I hope something changes. 

In the meantime, Happy Veteran's Day, in particular to my favorite Republican, my favorite veteran, my political foe and my good, good friend. You're the best.

Saturday, November 3, 2012


Last week I got disappointing news from the Board of Law Examiners. I, along with 437 other exam-takers, failed the bar exam. But it's ok. Michigan is thankfully a state that allows appeals of bar exam scores, so I will wage an argument and hope that the Board of Law Examiners awards me two more points.

Yes, two points. That's all I need.

Anyweekspentbeingmadattheworld, my friendsicles have been great. And I needed that. Yesterday I met up with one of my very smartest friends for lunch. He told me a story about a test that he had to take a bunch of times. It made me feel better. It also made me happy that I want to be a lawyer and not a doctor, because MAN doctors have to take some insane exams.

We went to Champps in the Eastwood Towne Center. Why the extra "p" in the name? Why, why?

I'm trying to decide upon one menu item that will become my "thing." You know what I mean? Like, my brother always get a club sandwich. I used to get Philly cheesesteaks, but I'm over that. At Champps I got the Kobe burger, but I'm thinking that something a little more nuanced should be my thing instead. Buffalo chicken sandwich? Patty melt? I need input.

So, the Kobe burger was fine. I particularly liked two things about it- the mayonnaise was already spread on the bun, and the cheese was perfectly broiled. Bubbly.

However, I HATE shredded lettuce. It falls out of the bun and is stupid. I would never request a leaf of lettuce while ordering a burger because I recognize that that would make me sound like a complete jerk, so I will just suffer in silence and be a tiny bit crestfallen every time I see a plate come out with shredded lettuce atop the bun.

But the burger was fine. Nothing remarkable, but solid. We also had crab bread for an appetizer, which was heinous. If there was really supposed to be crab on the bread, as the name implies, I'm sad to report that I didn't see or taste any. The bread itself reminded me of that French bread that I used to eat before swim practice in the form of Stauffer's French bread pizza. Why is that stuff called French bread? It is completely unlike a crusty, thin, gloriously-roof-of-mouth-ripping French baguette.

But, you know, America #1 and all.