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, May 23, 2014

A Tuesday at Cracker Barrel

A few weeks ago, I made an appointment to use a Groupon and have my car detailed. I went to Corky's on Washington Square in REO Town, and they did a great job.

Before the boyfriend dropped me off at my office and took me for a surprise special mid-week treat- breakfast at Cracker Barrel.

I know. I'm all about independent, locally-owned, hidden gem restaurants. But I love, I love, Cracker Barrel. I always have.

We both had the seasonal butter pecan pancakes.

They were doughy but a little bit crispy on the outside. Light, fluffy, buttery and pecany and to die for. Throw in a neverending cup of coffee and I could have quite literally stayed there all day.

Eat breakfast, rock on the front patio for a while. More pancakes for lunch, peruse the foodstuffs and other kitsch in the country store. Chicken and dumplings for dinner and it's time to go home.

The pancakes came with eggs and bacon. Bring Your Own Hunk.

Memorial Weekend: a great time for pancakes.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Easter Vigil picnic


I love Easter Vigil mass. I love the ceremony of it, sitting in a darkened church, lit only with candles. I love the incense, the incantations. I love watching the new Catholics as they are baptized, but what I love the most is the Communion of Saints. Last year, when I sponsored a girlfriend of mine in her conversion to Catholicism, our much-adored Father Mark described this as the point in the mass when we call on all of the saints and ask them to be with us as we observe our sacred rituals. It spoke to me.

After Easter Vigil mass in 2013, I decided that that was the Easter mass for me. Regardless of the length (three hours), I would observe Easter on Saturday night. I don't know how, but I convinced Mr. Wonderful to go with me. Maybe it was the promise of chocolate eggs and hot cross buns on Easter morning.

Mini Cadbury creme eggs, a souvenir from England.

The boyfriend picked up a six-pack of HCBs from Roma Bakery. They made an excellent snack with my coffee.
Before we headed for church that evening, I put together an Easter picnic. We had a Gala apple, drizzled with local honey. Maureen Abood's lamb lollipops with fresh mint sauce. Pretzel crisps and garlicky hummus. Grilled whole wheat naan bread, rubbed with garlic and topped with chopped parsley. Thick slices of blue cheese. And roasted asparagus wrapped in prosciutto.

It was a beautiful meal. It was a beautiful mass and a much-appreciated time for quiet reflection. I'll be there next year, hopefully with Mr. Hot Cross Buns himself holding my hand through the Lord's Prayer.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fish and Fennel Stew, Bon Appetit

A few weeks ago, after the boyfriend and I went on a rambling 5 mile run (well, I puttered along "running" while he briskly walked- he's much taller than I am), I pulled together this fish and fennel stew from Bon Appetit.

I used catfish, which I found on super sale at Goodrich's. I used plain Greek yogurt instead of creme fraiche, because creme fraiche is essentially nonexistent in Lansing, Michigan.


It was a perfectly satisfying, quick, and relatively healthy dinner. The potatoes gave it a bit of bulk, which we needed as we were famished after our exercise.

Fish Stew with Fennel and Baby Potatoes

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 8 oz. small waxy potatoes (such as baby Yukon Gold), scrubbed, sliced ¼” thick
  • ½ medium fennel bulb, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • ¼ cup crème fraîche
  • pound skinless flounder or fluke fillet, cut into 2” pieces
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
  • Lemon wedges (for serving)

Nutritional Information

Calories (kcal) 380 Fat (g) 19 Saturated Fat (g) 4 Cholesterol (mg) 90 Carbohydrates (g) 15 Dietary Fiber (g) 2 Total Sugars (g) 1 Protein (g) 34 Sodium (mg) 280

PREPARATION

  • Heat oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Cook potatoes, tossing occasionally, until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Add fennel and garlic; season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, until fennel is soft, about 2 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil, and cook until almost completely evaporated, about 4 minutes.
  • Add 2 cups water to pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until potatoes are tender, 10–12 minutes. Stir in crème fraîche. Add flounder, cover pot, and reduce heat. Simmer until fish is cooked through, about 4 minutes.
  • Stir dill into stew; season with salt and pepper. Serve with lemon wedges.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Brody Cafeteria, Michigan State University, Take Two

A few weeks ago my high-school junior cousin came to see me. Well, she came to visit the beautiful campus of Michigan State University, and I agreed to be her tour guide.

Obviously, we started with lunch.

Since my last visit to the Brody Cafeteria, my blog entry on the place has been the most popular post- ever- on this website. I think visitors to campus for football games look for a convenient and cheap place to eat and Brody Caf fits the bill. Brody Caf is open to the public.

I've been meaning to go back for years and this was a perfect opportunity. We headed to the dorm complex, paid our $10 for lunch (actually, she paid for me- thank you, Paige!), and gazed in amazement.

There is everything. Pizza. Sushi. Made to order sandwiches. Roasted chicken and mashed potatoes. A salad bar. Hand-dipped ice cream. A breakfast bar with cold cereal, doughnuts, and bagels. Soup. Stir fry. Personalized omelets.

I didn't eat everything, but I sure tried.


I started with a trip down the salad bar. I also had matzoh ball soup, because I'd never had it before.


The boyfriend had a salad too. He also had a club sandwich, which they made for him, and a slice of Philly cheesesteak pizza.






For my next trick, I had a slice of meat lover's pizza (because nothing makes me feel like more of a chunk than eating MEAT LOVER'S PIZZA) and more meat- a grilled chicken breast dipped in buffalo sauce.

I couldn't stop.

I had a spicy tuna roll.




And then I had an ice cream cone.




Everyone needs to be going to the Brody Caf. For the price of what you'd pay at a salad bar, you can have salad and soup and a sandwichandasteakandapizzaandacakeandandand.




If I were a smarter person I'd buy a meal pass. I'm ok with being the thirty-something weirdo eating in a dorm cafeteria everyday if you're ok with being friends with me.