Monday, August 29, 2011

Site upgraded! Pardon Our Dust!

As you may notice, I don't update this blog much any more. I hope that will change soon. (I am still busy, but the food scene has evolved a lot in Lansing, and so there is a lot of new reviews and information to add.)

Because you lose all of your special formatting when you upgrade, the site is currently generic -- but it is MUCH easier to browse and find what you're looking for, so I think it's worth it.

For newbies: my emphasis here is on little locally owned restaurants and food stores -- authentic ethnic places, especially Asian food. I don't review chains, though I might mention them once in a while in a post about something else. (For instance, if I did a post about french fries, I might mention my likes and dislikes at the fast food joints.)

More to come....

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Kung Fu Szechuan Cuisine - more great Sichuan food!

Just a quick note to tell all that we have another great and authentic Sichuan restaurant in town! Kung Fu Szechuan Cuisine is tucked away in the corner of a little strip mall right near Frandor - just north on Clippert, in the island between Saginaw and Grand River, a few doors north of Medawar Jewelers.

They have many dishes in common with Hong Kong Sichuan - but also a nice selection of their own dishes. If you are not used to Sichuan food, be warned that it is often spicy, and the menu does not have little stars or peppers to warn you which dishes are the hottest. However they often say right in the name of the dish, and you can ask before ordering something you don't recognize.

I recommend their Dumplings in Spicy Sauce, myself. (It's so good I save the left over sauce in the freezer to put on noodles on cold winter nights. But it's intense and you only need a spoonful.) A friend recently had their Korean Style Noodles with Ground Pork - which consisted of noodles in a ragu of chopped meat and mushrooms and seasonings. Very tasty!

One great thing about Kung Fu - they have a good lunch buffet. Unlike Hong Kong, they have a good selection of Sichuan dishes as well as a few of the usual westernized fare. It's a good way to try their menu.

Among their authentic dishes on the day we were there: Ma Po Tofu, and Sichuan Green Beans - both dishes properly seasoned with the complex Sichuan seasonings, but without the ground pork so that vegetarians can enjoy them; La Zi Chicken (often called Jalapeno Chicken - fried, but not battered, chicken, tossed hot with peppers); Twice-Cooked Pork (with regular pork, not side-pork, but seasoned with Sichuan peppercorns); Gong Bo Chicken; Garlic Eggplant; and Sichuan Flavor Shrimp (which seemed to be the famous and lovely "Strange Flavor" sauce, which is lightly aromatic, sweet, sour, and salty at once - and these shrimp are not in their shells).

Western dishes include a really nice version of General Tsao's Chicken - not too heavily drenched in sauce, and the sauce not too sweet (though if you really like a lot of sauce, you can scoop more from the bottom). Also mixed seafood, lo mein, sweet and sour chicken, and pepper beef, plus crab rangoon, springrolls and soups.

Kung Fu Szechuan Cuisine, 730 North Clippert (north of Frandor, in the same strip with Medawar Jewelers), (517) 333-9993.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Lamai Anniversary TODAY!

A quick note: Lamai decided that her anniversary date was too close to her birthday, so she moved it. She's celebrating it today, June 1, 2010. (The birthday will be in September.)

She has her usual Thai Sukiyaki feast. This "cook it yourself" dish is tasty and spicy (although not for everyone's tastes, so go easy on the pink sauce at first.) I just had a little shrimp and scallops version for take out lunch. She also has her lovely garlic and caromelized ribs. Here's a post on Lamai's other dishes, which are also available today.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Drive-by Karahi King

Just a quick note; hidden in the Brookfield Plaza shopping center on Trowbridge is a new Pakistani and Indian restaurant called Karahi King. They are around the corner from Woody's Oasis, and behind Korean House - where there used to be a calzone place.

A friend stopped by tonight and reports that they have really great Naan (the flat, buttery Indian bread that goes so well with curries and things) and their Dal (lentils) is thick with greens and garlic and very very filling. The meats were apparently also good, but she spent so much time raving over the naan and dal that I didn't get a detailed report.

They are open from 11am to 11pm. More info coming as soon as I get it.

(NOTE: as the comments have pointed out - this place is still going through an uneven opening period. Sometimes great, sometimes not so much. They have, however, simplified their menu, and that should help them find their stride.)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ai-Fusion - My Favorite Sushi

We've been looking for a favorite sushi place since Midori got sold. The biggest problem is that I'm not really jazzed by purist Japanese sushi. I don't really get excited by the subtle differences between one kind of fish or another. I like excitement in my sushi - hot, creamy, crunchy with highlights of this flavor and that flavor. Because of that I lean toward Korean sushi. Of course, fusion cuisine - that peculiar blend that came out of California - also tends toward more variety.

And now we've found Ai-Fusion. They are run by the same people who run Ukai, and if you order from their regular menu, you will find some similarities in flavors with their sauces and meat grills (I love the teriyaki and mustard sauces that come with their grilled meat dishes - try the teppanyaki filet mignon!)

But it's their sushi menu that I go for. No, they don't have quite the balance of medium rolls that Midori had. The rolls here are either simple or are extravagant, and it takes a little experimenting to find your favorite balance of flavors and textures. (And very often, you'll get it all in the same roll.)

The hard part is remembering exactly which roll was the one you really loved last time - each roll has so many elements, they all start to sound alike. I can say for certain one of our favorite rolls is the Spicy Baked Scallop Roll - a roll with shrimp tempura, avocado and cucumber in it, with piles of scallops, tempura flakes, masago and sauces. The other big roll depicted here was (I think) the Fusion Roll, which was filled with spicy tuna, avocado and crab, and then the whole roll was fried up in tempura breading.

But we really liked the Playboy roll, and the MSU roll, and the Peacock, and the Crunch roll. You can find your own favorites. And don't forget to order some little rolls - an Avocado roll, or an AAC, or a pickled radish roll - to clense the palate between the taste overload on the big rolls.

They also have a lot of small private rooms, including some tatami rooms, for moderate sized parties.

Ai-Fusion is at 2827 East Grand River (in the old "Pistachio's" location) in East Lansing. 517-853-700.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lamai Birday is TODAY!

I missed that it was Lamai's birthday!

She has her usual Thai Sukiyaki feast. This "cook it yourself" dish is tasty and spicy (although not for everyone's tastes, so go easy at first.) I just had a little shrimp and scallops version for take out lunch. She also has cake and her lovely garlic and carmelized ribs. Here's a post on Lamai's other dishes, which are also available today.

In other news, I see the little place a few blocks down where Tacqueria Del Rey (and many other restaurants) used to be seems to be setting up to be a little grocery store. If the rumor is correct it will probably be a middle eastern place, but we'll have to see if it will have a bakery or deli associated. (They just put an ice machine outside, so it will probably be a decent convenience store for the neighborhood too.)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Drive bys - July 26, 2009

All news of Mexican restaurants this time:

*Ramon's is Back! For fans of the old Ramon's in north Lansing, there's a sign on a big red house on West Saginaw that says they are back (and you can see that they have a bbq outside too). The house is a block or two west of Pine St, or a couple of blocks east of the Lansing El Azteco. (Between Butler and Sycamore, but on the north side of the street.)

*Famous Taco has returned to the location right next to the South Precinct of the Lansing Police Department in South Cedar St. This was great location for us before, and I am looking forward to it.

*Sadly, one of our readers has confirmed that Tacqueria Del Rey closed its doors just yesterday. It was probably hard to compete with El Oasis so close by. We will miss this. (Same reader says there could be a middle eastern place moving in soon. The east side has the Jerusalem Bakery and the grocery/deli that moved into the old Lopez Bakery - but I think there is room for something more. We'll see if this location is really cursed or not.)

This is the time of year when our favorite little places suffer. The MSU audience is out of town. Many people go on vacation. Be sure to give some business your favorite small restaurant. Keep them in business!