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.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bon Appetit- Hasselbeck Potatoes and Short Rib Pot Pie

I'm still cooking from Bon Appetit, per my 2014 food goals. Last month, I made Hasselbeck potatoes.

 They were not great. I love potatoes, sage, and salt, and while the presentation is nice, these guys just don't have a lot of flavor. However, they're very easy to make.

Because the potatoes were so underwhelming, a few weeks later I made the beef short rib pot pie from the March cover of the magazine. I'd never made a pot pie, and I'm pretty sure I'd never even eaten a pot pie. I thought the filling would be totally encased in crust, but that wasn't the case with this one- the crust was only on the top.

Of course I tried to put my initials in the crust, but it wasn't working out.
 The crust was made with both butter and shortening. Otherwise known as Lard have mercy.

I added a bag of frozen vegetables to the filling and threw some roasted fingerlings on the plate. You know, for health.

The beef simmered for three hours and was the most tender beef I've ever made. I bought bone-in short ribs because they are a fraction of the cost of boneless and butchered them myself. It's no big deal- just cut out the bone and slice off the fat.

The next morning I wrapped the leftovers up and gave them to my brother and sister-in-law. Dangerously delicious.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Streetside Seafood, Birmingham

A few weeks ago foodie friend Andy and I continued our tour of some of the best places in Southeast Michigan and met for dinner at Streetside Seafood in Birmingham. I'd been advised that the bread is outstanding and I'd want to fill up on it, so I ate an accordingly light lunch.

That's a total lie. I ate at Buddy's Pizza for lunch, which warrants a standalone post.

That crust. So. Buttery.

Streetside, as the cool locals call it, is nestled in downtown Birmingham. It is seriously small and we had an early dinner to ensure that we actually got to have dinner at all that night. They don't take dinner reservations. They do take your week of healthy eating and destroy it. You might think you're safe at a seafood restaurant- the healthy fats! the omega 3s!- and then you look at the dessert menu.

But before we get to dessert, we talk cioppino.

Cioppino is an Italian seafood stew. It is also an Eating Lansing family tradition- I make it every Christmas Eve. I didn't make it this Christmas Eve because we, along with most of the Lansing area, didn't have electricity. We had Chinese food instead.

I like to try cioppino when I see it on menus so I can get ideas and inspiration, so I can tighten up my seafood stew game.

This was a good one. Obviously stuffed with clams, mussels, shrimp, and a few scallops, the tomato fennel broth was also full of Israeli couscous. I dove right in, slurped it up, and mopped the bowl with the killer bread.

My dinner salad also boasted all the things I like- an egg, blue cheese, mixed greens, fresh cracked pepper, and a pungent, mustardy vinaigrette.

We had Greek calamari, but we inhaled it. I'd never thought about putting banana peppers and feta on my calamari. I've been thinking a lot about it ever since.

If we would have stopped at that- a sensible but not strictly healthy meal of salad and seafood- we'd have been fine. We'd also have to hand in our glutton club membership cards, so we soldiered on.

The dark chocolate creme brulee. With sea salt.

The memory of this dessert almost makes me want to use a swear word right here on this blog, to be read by the public.

I won't, because my grandma would be mortified. So let me say that good heavens, this creme brulee was unparalleled. I have a serious affinity for both chocolate mousse and creme brulee and combined, I'd venture to say they made one of the best desserts I've ever had.

You know I wouldn't play with you. I mean it.

Andy had the walnut bourbon pie. A la mode, with a dollop of creme fraiche.

(Oh man the last time I had creme fraiche was in England, atop sticky toffee pudding. Sob.)

Streetside Seafood- go for the bread, stay for the chocolate creme brulee. As a matter of fact, that sounds like a complete meal to me.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Still eating in England

Like I told you a few days ago, the boyfriend and I ate some fabulous meals in England. However, our last two days in the country were head and shoulders above the rest.

We spent Monday in London and had a late dinner at the Prince Bonaparte in Notting Hill. Before our trip I'd pored over some of my favorite blogs (especially this one) and struck gold when I found this restaurant. The bistro reminded me so viscerally of my time spent in France, which I look back on with nothing but the fondest of memories, and I had an almost emotional reaction when I discovered that our waitress was French.

I continued my trip down memory lane with a classic steak frites. I had a flat iron steak, rare, with anchovy butter, fries, and a small watercress, arugula, and tomato salad dressed with vinaigrette. As much as I love to stuff my face, it's uncommon that I clean my plate at a restaurant. But this flavor-packed, beautifully prepared, salty and savory and juicy meal didn't stand a chance.

I couldn't recommend the Prince Bonaparte more highly. My sticky toffee pudding took second place to the one I'd had the week prior, but it still gave a sweet ending to a whirlwind day spent in London with two of my favorite men.

Incidentally, if any of you Americans know how to make or where to find sticky toffee pudding, I'm willing to barter my services. (My services, of course, are cooking and baking, or legal advice if you want it but ugh gross who wants that.)

PS that is a JOKE, bar association! Just a joke.

The next morning we returned to Huddersfield to spend our last 24 hours with the newlyweds. We had a coffee, lounged a bit, and headed to the farm close to their home where they buy their meat. My friends are such thoughtful, conscious eaters, and it inspired me to be better about where I buy my meat. Last week I bought bacon from Ham Sweet Farm and I think their meat CSA is genius.

The boyfriend positively needed another full English before we left the country, and he wasn't disappointed.

He even ate black pudding, which he liked more than he wants to admit. I myself could have done with another scone or ten, but I didn't leave hungry.

We spent the rest of the day debriefing on the wedding, packing my food souvenirs (see below), and us girls took a little snooze as the boys set out for a bike ride on the route of the upcoming Tour de France.
As a country, we should eat more hot cross buns.
For dinner that night, my brilliant and beautiful girlfriend made roasted pork belly with cracklings, mashed cauliflower, broccoli, baby fennel, and a carrot and turnip dish that had a British name, which slips my mind. The boyfriend and I agreed during our discussion of everything we ate in England that the pork belly was one of the best things we ate.

When Luke took his first bite of Miriam's pork belly, he quietly said "Miriam, you've done it."

We couldn't have had a better trip. We enjoyed the hell out of ourselves and everyone we met, from our incredible generous host and hostess in Sheffield to the sweetly nervous mother and father of the bride to the gregarious wedding guests who came from all over Europe and Australia.

We feel a little more cosmopolitan ourselves, which we did our best to extinguish when we gorged on Fuddrucker's at the Dulles airport.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Eating England


Tea at Harrod's. Be still my fat heart.
A few short (and frantically busy) weeks ago, the boyfriend and I packed our bags and headed to Manchester, England, to attend the wedding of a girlfriend of mine.

The new passports are much fancier than my old one.
Miriam and I met in France in 2005, when we both lived in a small French town where there wasn't much to do other than eat, cook, and grocery shop. I was a complete food novice, but thankfully Miriam knew what she was doing. She taught me how to make prawn and pea risotto, and upwards of three times a week we would spend the evening in her flat, eating fresh fish, sauteed zucchini, fresh slices of baguette with French butter, and, more frequently than not, we would nip down to the bakery and pick up a little cake.

As I always say, she taught me everything I know. It was only fitting that on our first night in England, as her then fiancee (now husband) whipped up a chicken curry, Miriam took the boyfriend and me to her neighborhood naan bakery.
This is my kind of travel. I go to experience how people live in other places and I am tickled that Miriam and Luke drive a few blocks, spend a few pounds, and have fresh, garlic naan whenever they want. (I buy naan at the grocery store. It's awful.)

After the curry, we sunk our teeth into one of the most heavenly desserts I've ever had. Sticky toffee pudding is quintessentially British, and the closest comparison I can draw is that it is similar to gingerbread, but topped with a sticky caramel sauce that you will want to pour into a tub and bathe in.
Sticky toffee pudding with creme fraiche.
I could rhapsodize about our week spent in England, but here are some highlights:
Cadbury, one of my favorite things in England.

Afternoon snack- mine is a flat white and half the granola bar.

Flat white in Sheffield.
 The rehearsal dinner was at The York in Sheffield, where the bride and groom went to university.
I started with ox fritters.

And then I ate a whole roasted mackerel.

He had fish n chips with mushy peas.

The morning of the wedding, we had our first full English.

Yes, that's a fascinator on my head. Yes, that's the most gorgeous bride since Kate Middleton.

Handmade French raspberry jam as wedding favors.

Cock-a-leekie tart for our starter.

Roasted lamb. I'd expect nothing less at the wedding reception of my favorite gourmands.

In between the band's sets, we had coffee and truffles.
 The day after the wedding we traveled to Cambridge to see another great friend, who is an American naval officer. We ate our weight in tapas.
 On Monday we jumped on a train and went to London for a whirlwind day. I walked into Harrod's and was in heaven.
 We had afternoon tea at the Georgian Tea Room, which I had heavily researched and which was my favorite money spent in all of England. I had Earl Grey, he had green tea.
The scones.

Those scones are slathered in clotted cream and jam.

Save your money. Get on an airplane.

There is also a Laduree in Harrod's.
I have more to tell you about England, things about two of the best dinners I've had this year. One of them was at a restaurant that I will tell you the name of so you can visit too. The other one was at my newlywed friend's house, so you can't go there. I have to keep her to myself.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Mike's Village Restaurant for City Pulse

Read it here.

If you're not convinced to eat the doughnuts, read my cohort's article here.

Save your allowance this week and head to Dimondale.