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Ann Arbor coffee lovers' alert

For those looking for good coffee, I would also recommend The Pastry Peddler at 619 Packard St. As far as I know, they are the only shop in town that sells Intelligentsia, making it worth my while to go at least once a week.

Breakfast / Lunch in Ann Arbor

I can't believe no one mentioned Cafe Zola. My favorite by far. Hip setting, good coffee and Turkish breakfasts, amazing omelets. Fleetwood is cute, but it's just a diner.

Lunch in Oklahoma City

Straight up delicious local BBQ - Earl's.

My in-laws live there and it is the first place I request to go to on every visit.

Where to get dessert after a show in Ann Arbor?

I would recommend La Dolce Vita, downstairs from the Chop House. It is just a few blocks away from the Michigan Theater.

Special occasion dining in downtown Grand Rapids, MI

San Chez has great tapas and is in a cool building. However, they don't take reservations so you are in for a long wait on a weekend. It would be worth it to me, but that's only because I know how good their food is.


My in-laws live in OKC and I am periodically overwhelmed with jealousy thinking about them eating at Earl's. It's a BBQ place, and it is really, really good. They have a couple of outlets around town.

Lansing Michigan

I lived in Lansing for a number of years and worked there up until last year. I am picky but was fairly satisfied by frequenting the following places (with a big 2nd for Woody's and MBC):

*Akagi in Okemos, in a tiny strip mall near the Wal-Mart. I used to live in Japan and this is by far the best sushi in Michigan, IME. Doug, the owner, chooses the best possible raw ingredients and keeps it simple. (Ukai is NOT good, IMO. Small portions, no attention to detail, it is primarily a "Japanese steakhouse.") Akagi is unpretentious, it looks like a Japanese lunch counter but is a foodie heaven.

*Asian House on Grand River in East Lansing. Twice, cars have crashed into this place, but I overcame my fear to get their tasty pho when I was sick or it was winter.

*Emil's downtown Lansing. This is a comfort-food Italian place that has been there for years. Tuesday nights (I think) they have all you can eat spaghetti. It is frequently packed with locals.

*Thai Food From Lamai's Kitchen in Lansing. No atmosphere, phenomenal homestyle food cooked by a lady (Lamai) who is always there and makes you feel like she's your long-lost Thai grandma. She has a different lunch buffet every weekday. I only wish I had such good Thai food where I live now.

*Knight Cap in downtown Lansing. You will only hear this from locals. Great steak, 70s vibe, next to the strip club. Worth your time.

Jul 16, 2008
porkypine in Great Lakes

Kyocera knife white blades - stained already?

I have a small Kyocera chef's knife and a paring knife, both with the white blades. I like them very much, however, my chef's knife is already stained from use. It's sort of brownish in the middle, despite careful handwashing. I have used it only to chop veggies and possibly once or twice for meat. Is this normal? What, if anything, can I do about it?

Oct 30, 2007
porkypine in Cookware

HELP! Just moved to Kalamazoo. Need Chowish Food.

Welcome to Kalamazoo! The food is "eh" here, IMHO. The Union, Epic Bistro, Fandango and Bravo's are all good and pricey. To that list I would add Zazio's (Italian) in the Radisson, great food, demonstration kitchen just for foodies like you, excellent wine selection, very expensive.

Not a restaurant, but Tiffany's is an excellent wine shop with the area's best selection of wines and beers, along with a little gourmet grocery shopping. In the same strip mall is Saffron, fairly good Indian food (Punjabi). There is finally a sushi restaurant in town, Sushi-Ya. the food won't blow you away but the decor is very nice. Across the street from it is Shakespeare's, a big college bar with good drink specials, good pizza, and a portion of their menu dedicated to vegan options. Don't miss Pilsen near campus, an extremely cozy little bar which feels like a ski lodge and serves Belgian beer on tap.

Ditto Olde Peninsula. I eat there all the time.

And on the list of places to avoid: Kraftbrau (the beer is HORRID I do not understand how they can stay in business) and Burdick's (terrible food, often served cold.) Shwarma King is not an acceptable substitute for decent middle eastern food, don't bother.

Feb 21, 2007
porkypine in Great Lakes

ISO Good Chow, East Lansing, MI

I would ditto most of these for fancy family dinners, esp. All Seasons Bistro. My specialty, though, is really tasty local food, irrespective of atmosphere. Emil’s is a Lansing classic, with fresh delicious traditional Italian food. On Michigan Ave. in Lansing, heading towards the capitol. Cadillac Club is extremely hokey but actually pretty fun with good food and a very large space. The owner spent millions to make it look like his dream, and it includes full size replicas of celebrities and cars inside – it looks like Vegas and they usually have entertainment too. The food is high quality regional cuisine, though, no pub grub. On South Washington in downtown Lansing just south of 496. If your kid likes sushi (surprisingly abundant in this area) skip the drab Ukai and go to my favorite sushi restaurant in town, Akagi. It’s in Okemos in the strip mall in front of the Wal-Mart. It has absolutely the freshest fish in town, hands down, and is incredibly affordable, in part because it skips most of the pretentious faux-tatami styling of other sushi joints. I tried all sushi in this area and eventually ended up going here exclusively.

Everyone else is right, El Az is no good, I wouldn’t go there either except for drinks.

Where to find Panko in Lansing, MI area?

I bought them at the Meijers on south Cedar St. near I-96. I don't remember if they were in the breadcrumb aisle or the international aisle, check both.

You can also almost certainly get them at the huge Asian megamarket on Grand River in East Lansing. If you have never been there, definitely go. They have an entire aisle dedicated to each major Asian region (Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian etc.)

Who uses homemade chicken stock in recipes?

I guess I'm like most everyone else. I have plenty of the boxed stuff in my pantry, but whenever I roast a chicken, I use the carcass for stock. I'm not religious about it, though, like some people I know. I prefer it more if I am making a soup where the stock flavor is more apparent. I also use the slow cooker method for my carcass.

Oct 09, 2006
porkypine in Home Cooking

What recipe/method/ process has irked you the most? [moved from General Topics]

I hate peeling tomatoes and deveining shrimp. Seriously, I just buy the frozen uncooked shrimp that are already peeled and deveined, I am that lazy.

Oct 09, 2006
porkypine in Home Cooking

Big 10 nostalgia foods -- alum cravings? [Moved from Midwest]

Mr. Spot's in Ann Arbor. Hot wings. I used to live just a few blocks from there in school and just loved it to death. I have never been to another place quite like it, even when I moved to East Lansing (boo.)

Oct 04, 2006
porkypine in General Topics

Typical Foods of Every State/Region of US?

Michigan Beers

If you are into beer, be sure to get local Michigan beers. The best: Bell's Oberon, Two Hearted or Amber; Michigan brewing Company Mackinac Pale; Arcadia Whitsun. Many of these are seasonal.

Oct 04, 2006
porkypine in General Topics

what do you eat/or prepare straight from the can, jar, package, etc.. that is perfect just as it is as a meal or snack? ?

Thank you for posting smoked oysters. Yes, I do this too. One time I put them on a salad and it was tasty, but just not the same as opening a can and digging in.

Sep 12, 2006
porkypine in General Topics

Iowa City

I grew up in Iowa City and lived next door to the Pagliais for 8 years. I can assure you, they themselves call it "polly-eyes".

I love their pizza, as do most people I know who grew up there. Love-love, really love. For anyone perusing this thread, I think the fact that it is controversial should make it a must-visit so you can decide for yourself. Their entire menu fits on the front and back of a little table tent. This is because their ingredients are so fresh and well-done they don't need to mess around with too much stuff. I recommend the Palace Special and a pitcher.

Sep 12, 2006
porkypine in Great Plains

Local Food in Iowa

I assume Stringtown Grocery and the Kalona Cheese Shop are already in your book...

Ann Arbor is the place to be, college living is the life for me....

At that hour, you can still get food at Ann Arbor Brewing. I always liked their food.

what do you eat/or prepare straight from the can, jar, package, etc.. that is perfect just as it is as a meal or snack? ?

Ditto that, except I eat Dulce de Leche (instead) right out of the can/jar. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to be eaten?

I always enjoyed Mary Kitchen corned beef hash right out of the can (unheated.) Also Campbell’s chicken noodle soup. Finally Tang, unmixed with water. These habits all developed in adolescence, and my parents were so horrified I actually had to hide the fact that I was doing this. I still have to hide it from my husband.

Aug 28, 2006
porkypine in General Topics

Dinner in Lansing Michigan

Owltalker is correct, Thai Food from Lamai's Kitchen is absolutely fantastic. It is not fancy by any stretch of the imagination. But you feel like you are literally sitting at home, with your very own Thai grandmother cooking homemade meals for you. I have never had Thai food like Lamai's, many of the dishes are not typical of a Thai menu.

Almost across the street is Emil's, a local Lansing favorite that has been there forever. Traditional Italian food, but everything is made with top quality ingredients, therefore, delish.

Just a couple doors down from Lamai's is Lopez bakery, a great place to pick up homemade tamales and Mexican sweets. It's not really a spot for meals, though.

In East Lansing, try Woody's Oasis for Middle Eastern food. They have a traditional restaurant downtown where the kids are, and another informal place with a deli counter on Trowbridge.

Move further east and you will find my favorite restaurant in the entire area: Akagi in Okemos. The proprieter and his family run this small place in a strip mall and serve up sushi that is incredibly fresh and inexpensive. I lived in Japan for a year, and Akagi far exceeds my US standards (much better than the boring Ukai) with large portions, creative rolls, and again, superfresh fish. Their softshell crabs are bona fide softshells and probably my favorite thing on the menu along with the Alaska roll.

Dusty's and All Seasons are tasty but fancy and expensive, so be aware.

Lansing is boring but the food is great - enjoy!