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.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The Root, Part Three

My hankering for the fresh, reasonably-priced food at The Root had reached critical mass. I'd wake up in the morning and wonder how I could come up with a breakfast that would look and taste like something I'd find at my new favorite place. As I thought about it I would drive to work and scarf a Tupperware container full of oatmeal or yogurt and fruit, because my culinary dreams infrequently become reality.

I stopped in for lunch one day, and although I was immediately drawn once again to the scallops, the waiter told me that they had a special salad for lunch that day. Halfway through his description I was nodding like a bobblehead and told him that I would like the salad, please, and 400 pieces of bread.

Spring mix, yellow and red halved cherry tomatoes, chopped avocado, thinly-sliced radish, pickled onion, scallops and chorizo, avocado-buttermilk dressing, cracked black pepper.

I was trying my best to listen to the ladies next to me talk about Houghton Lake, because they seemed to know about a restaurant there that isn't on my radar and should be, but I couldn't lift my attention from this salad. I want to eat this everyday.

The avocado was creamy. The radishes were spicy. The greens were crisp and, after I ate this salad at warp speed, I dragged a chunk of bread across the plate so I wouldn't miss a speck of anything. The combination of scallops and chorizo was decadent, a combination I'd not thought of before and haven't stopped thinking of since.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Root, Part Two

Several weeks after my birthday dinner, it was time for me to head back to The Root for round 2. This time I was alone. I left work on a Tuesday evening and drove down the street to the strip mall in which one of Oakland County's best restaurants is oddly situated. I requested an outside table and sat, enjoying my Bon Appetit magazine and the conversations of people around me. I'm an eavesdropper, and I don't care who knows it.

This time, I started again with the scallops. They're too good. 

I just don't understand that white bean puree. It's got the consistency of hummus and lacks flavor. Maybe it's just there to anchor the dish and provide a little texture to the plate? In that case, job well done.

I followed my scallops with the watermelon salad.

Peppery greens, blue cheese (which I requested instead of feta, my mortal enemy), paper-thin radishes, pickled onions, sesame seeds. All my old friends. I felt so sophisticated, sitting and enjoying dinner alone. Eating a watermelon salad, no less, and savoring every bite. Then I dropped a bite of buttered bread butter-size down on my skirt and lost my whole attitude.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Root, Part One

I have a red Moleskine notebook that has an alphabetized list of the restaurants I've got my eye on. I pore over Detroit Free Press articles and blogs and frequently jot down names of recommendations that I get from other enthusiastic eaters. The Root has been on my list since it was named the Detroit Free Press Restaurant of the Year in 2012. Although for months I'd worked a measly 1.5 miles away, I never had the gumption (or the time) to have a meal there alone. I generally don't think twice about eating alone, but I thought this one might be an experience I wanted to share.

So I bided my time and, apparently, talked the boyfriend's ear off about my hankering for The Root. When my birthday rolled around in June, he met me at my office on Friday evening to take me to dinner. As we sat at our beautiful table and glanced over the menu, my best friend and her husband surprised me and met us for dinner.

I chose the tasting menu, and as I debated between the crab cake and the scallop, the manager approached our table with 4 plates, which she doled out to each of us. The boyfriend had emailed the restaurant, telling them that we were coming for my birthday dinner and that I'd been researching their food and looking forward to my first meal there for months. I'd heard raves about The Root's scallops and was relieved to be relieved of deciding between those and crab cakes.

 Although the white bean puree didn't add much to the dish, the grapefruit was a stroke of genius.The scallop was juicy and flavorful and melted in my mouth. While I was in a swoon of ecstasy, the next plate rolled out- a crab cake, topped with a corn chutney.

The chunks of crab were large and loosely held together, the way I like my crab cakes. It didn't taste like breading or batter, it tasted like crab. The taste was immense. I'd venture to say that this was the best part of the meal. 

Another highlight of the meal was the buttery ciabatta brought to the table. I might have eaten two pieces of it.

 Ok, I definitely ate two pieces of it, requested more, and packed it up to take home with me.

My second course was The Root Orchard Salad. Appetizer-sized salad this was not, and I was presented with a lunch-sized portion of fresh Michigan products- greens, apple, almonds, bacon, blue cheese. I knew that space in my stomach would be at a premium, but I couldn't control myself and cleaned my plate. 

For my main course, I chose the trout. Roasted fingerling potatoes are one of my favorites, and although these could have been a touch crispier, I sprinkled them with a little sea salt and went to town. The fish was fresh, topped with a tangy ancho honey glaze. It sat atop what the menu advertised as creamed spinach, but which in actuality was fresh spinach, lightly wilted and punched up with cream. I appreciated that, as I like vegetables in their natural state, not doused with a heavy sauce.

As I looked around and saw my sweet boyfriend, my best friend, her newlywed husband to whom I paid homage in my maid of honor speech at their wedding, and a table topped with presents, my heart grew two sizes. I think my stomach must have also grown a couple of inches, because when our waiter asked if we had room for dessert, there was no question.

I chose the blondie. It was vegan, which I don't care about, but it mercifully didn't taste weird and hippie-ish. I had my birthday blondie with a cappuccino.

The waiter then informed me that a complimentary dessert awaited me. I took the cheesecake home and ate it the next day. Upon my first bite I realized that the crust was made of crumbled chocolate cookies, and I sighed in complete satisfaction.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Crepes and court

A few weeks ago I was in Detroit for motion day. What is motion day? The Friday morning cattle call for attorneys in Wayne County Circuit Court. While a lot of people hate to go because it takes a long time and you're at the mercy of the Judge's docket, I love it. I love to watch the other lawyers- to see what they're wearing, how they speak to the Judge, how they argue their motions. I don't mind spending half my day there. It helps me become a better attorney.

On this particular motion day, I took Woodward out of town. I like to take Woodward, to see all the incredible architecture that still stands in Detroit, and particularly to update my list of where I'd like to eat. I drove past the Detroit Institute of Arts and a little storefront caught my eye- that of Good Girls Go to Paris Crepes. It's been on my list for a while and I decided to stop for a snack.

Truth be told, even after spending a considerable amount of time living in France, I have never eaten a savory crepe. Whenever I was presented with the option, I was also presented with a wide array of baguette sandwiches, and I couldn't forsake them. If you've never had a baguette sandwich in France, cash in your frequent flyer miles now. The ingredients are always fresh. They bread is always crusty. Whether you find your sandwich in a Paris cafe or in a gas station (seriously), I guarantee it will be one of the best sandwiches you've ever had (I didn't forget about The Reason at Slow's.)

I stayed true to form on this visit to a creperie and ordered a sweet treat. I was going to tell you that I ordered the White Kristy- lemon, butter, and sugar- but then I noticed that this crepe has Nutella in it. And I can't for the life of me remember what it was called. But I remember that there was lemon with the chocolate in this crepe, and although it might sound like an odd combination, it was delicious. If you're going to the DIA (which you should, if you're an art person, and then you should teach me a thing or two), head North on Woodward and stop for a crepe on the next block. Feel cosmopolitan. Wear a beret.

If you want to make your own crepes, World Market sells a mix that isn't half bad.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bulgogi for City Pulse

I was not a fan. Read it here.

Red Lobstah and Carnie Food

A few weeks ago I had a confession to make- I'd never been to Red Lobster. Actually, I have a hazy childhood memory of maybe eating a meal of spaghetti there, but my mother can't confirm that so I couldn't substantiate the claim.

So, the boyfriend and I headed there for dinner. Lansing's Red Lobster was in total disrepair, as apparently construction is taking place. I ordered some crazy sampler platter, because I figured I might as well experience all they had to offer.

Crab legs, lobster tail, shrimp scampi, fried shrimp, a baked potato, and the requisite bowls of butter and sour cream. It was. . . ok. I told the boyfriend that it was a once in a lifetime experience, because I'd never been there before and I won't ever go back. He, in turn, told me I am a snob. That may be true, but a few weeks later I ate this-

A Polish sausage with grilled onions. Straight-up carnie food. I followed that with a corn dog and a funnel cake. So, although I do enjoy the occasional highfalutin, knock-down drag-out meal (stay tuned for scenes from Chicago), I also know how to get down at a county fair.

A few weeks after Red Lobster while at a wedding with his hometown crew, the boyfriend's high school classmate told me that we should come to Adrian and eat dinner at the Red Lobster that he manages, as he assured me that my experience would be totally different. I'd love to go. I've never met a morsel of seafood I didn't like.

Monday, September 16, 2013


All summer long, the boyfriend and I grilled corn on the cob. I've always had a taste for all vegetables, and corn is one of my lifelong favorites. For my birthday in June I was given a little gas grill, and we made good use of it during those hot(tish) months. 

Although I don't subscribe to the "bacon is everything" trend that is so popular nowadays, I am a human being and I do recognize that sometimes a little pig fat is warranted. With that in mind, I came up with a plan and put the boyfriend to work making something called bacon butter. He prepared about 4 slices of bacon, allowed them to cool, and crumbled them into a stick of softened butter. 

We slathered the bacon butter all over our charred corn, then topped each ear with blue cheese crumbles and chopped cilantro. And we ate and ate and ate.

One of my most popular Instagram photos ever.

I like to keep the stems on the corn for easy turning on the grill.

On the 4th of July we made supercorn, mustard potato salad, short ribs, and lemonade.

"Grilled corn" purchased from an Ann Arbor-based vendor at Old Town's Jazz Fest. Pathetic.