Chili’s nachos

Joining the Chili’s e-mail list has it’s privileges. In my case, I got a coupon for a free appetizer. And since nachos are a favorite dish of mine, I used it for the large beef nachos.

Chili’s nachos are probably not what you picture when you hear nachos. There was no heaping pile of chips shoved before me when they arrived. The “large” only had a dozen normal-sized chips. Doesn’t sound like much, but the chips were absolutely loaded with cheese. Completely covered it what I’m saying. And atop each chip were slices of beef and some jalapenos.

By the time I was done, which I didn’t rush because I was trying to savor the cheese, I was full. (The large Blue Moon didn’t hurt either.) Let me tell you, those were some good nachos. Maybe not top 10 on my nacho list (I’ve got to post my list sometime), but they were good.

And unlike the last time I was at Chili’s, I wasn’t insulted for getting a 10 oz. margarita. I was directly insulted, it was more of a passive-aggressive insult. I ordered one, which the bartender made without complaint or comment. Later in the evening, as I was enjoying my booze and nachos at the bar, the bartender complained to a waitress about having to make 10 oz. margaritas, because it was as much work as a normal margarita for less money.

But karma can suck sometimes, and I happened to get a survey, which I dutifully filled out, complimenting the food and naming out the bitchy bartender.

Anyway, nachos = good.

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Champps, the good and the bad

Champps has become my go-to place to watch football games at a bar. It gained this distinction because Damon’s in East Lansing closed several years ago. Damon’s was my spot for over 10 years. Big booths, four gigantic TVs, and an excellent sampler platter were my main reasons. And to me, it just had that “Cheers” feel – not as cozy, but it was my “home” bar. 

But all things come to an end, and after much searching, I decided on Champps. It has the big TVs and good food, including gigantic plates of nachos. The half-price burgers on Monday nights is a deal that is hard to beat. But since I had a $5 coupon that wasn’t applicable to the half-price burgers, last night I went with the pulled pork sandwich, something I had not tried before. 

It was good. Like everything at Champps, the sandwich was very large – I didn’t quite finish it. the pork was topped with crispy onion and BBQ sauce. I supplemented the chips for waffle fries, which were good, as usual. 

I have two beefs with Champps. First, over the last few weeks, they haven’t turned the big TV in the main dining room to the game, even after reminding them that there is a game on. That’ annoying, because the smaller TVs which ring the main one are smaller than the one I have at home. I could have saved myself the trip and seen the game in hi-def. 

Second is their  lack of drink specials. Champps tends to have expensive pop and beer, so I’ve been avoiding drinking them to save a few bucks. If, however, they had a beer special that was actually in affect before 10pm, (I am married with a kid and a job, you know) then I would spend a few bucks to save a few bucks.

 So Champps, take it from Leo’s and get those MNF beer specials going.

The Bierock at Old Chicago

I was out and about on Monday night to watch the football game on ESPN, where Philadelphia trounced Washington – it wasn’t even close to close. So for a change of pace, I went to Old Chicago in Okemos.

This is Old Chicago-Style “Bierock”, which reminded me a cross between a calzone and a pasty. It was stuffed with ground beef and cheese and baked in soft dough, not the harder-style dough that surrounds pasties. It sat in gravy and was served with fries.

Old Chicago Bierock

Old Chicago Bierock

And I liked it. The gravy (the website says brandy-Dijon gravy) was tasty with a flavor I never thought gravy would have. The Bierock was definitely filling. The downside was that it has mushrooms, but they were easy to identify and pick out.

Along with my Bierock I had a $3 25oz. Blue Moon draft. I was very happy with that price, as Blue Moon is among my favorite beers. Of course, Old Chicago has a hundred (or so) different beers, but I went with one that I knew would be good.

 A $3 beer and a good pasty-hybrid ground beef creature was good use of my Old Chicago gift card. They have more than just pizza there, so peruse a little farther into the menu and check out their surprisingly varied selection.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

For this week’s date night, we found ourselves at Five Guys Burgers and Fries in East Lansing (623 E. Grand River). It was pretty busy, mainly college students, but a few families, too.

Since I figure I should order a burger and fries, I went with the cheeseburger and Cajun fries.  Andrea almost got a separate order of fries for herself, but the girl at the counter said their fries were large enough for two people. And she was right.

We waited probably ten minutes for our food – like I said, it was busy – and it was worth the wait. (You also get free peanuts, so if you are starving, snack away.) Andrea said they were the best burgers in town, and they were very good. My cheeseburger was a mess, but in a good way – there were cheese and onion everywhere. And it was large enough to satisfy.

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Five Guys Burgers and Fries

The aforementioned Cajun fries were topped with a Cajun spice (obviously) and were also very good. Unless you have big appetite, you can probably split an order of fries like we did – they are not stingy at Five Guys. The little cup you see is a little more than half the fries – the rest were in the bag, hiding.

The interior was bright and the walls were covered with quotes and magazine reviews of how great Five Guys burgers were. It was like sitting in a gigantic advertisement. And if you like big bags of potatoes, then you’ll feel right at home.

I was very happy with my meal at Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Next time, I may try the cheese bacon dog, because cheese AND bacon on a hot dog rocks. It’s not a fast food-priced meal – for the two of us, it cost $15 – but you are not getting fast food taste either.

Mumbai, East Lansing

Time was short as we squeezed dinner in between dropping off our daughter at my parents house and getting to the MSU Auditorium to see the Bob and Tom Comedy Tour. Unfortunately, dinner didn’t get the attention it deserved, but we still enjoyed the meal.

Mumbai takes the place of India Palace at 340 Albert St in East Lansing. I never went to the latter, but I’m glad we stopped into the former. We were seated immediately, which was good because of our crazy time crunch. We were greeted with a hot towel and fruity welcome drink served in a combination tiny metal pitcher / shot glass.

We started with the Punjabi Samosa, fried potato turnovers. Two were served, and were larger than we expected. They had be at “fried”, but they were perfectly cooked, crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, like a big potato hush puppy. From India.  We also ordered a side of Naan, which I would rank as super good. Again, the portions were plenty, even for splitting.

Samosas at Mumbai

Samosas at Mumbai

I had the Chicken Curry entrée and was happy with my choice. The food was served in a small dish and a much larger dish of rice to share. Being hungry, I first looked at the little dish and thought there was no way that was enough food. I was wrong, and I was definitely full when we left. We were given a choice of spice level. I chose medium, but could have gone safely up to hot.

Chicken Curry and Naan at Mumbai

Chicken Curry and Naan at Mumbai

We even had a visit from chef and owner Paddy Rawal, who, BTW, did a great job on our meal. And unlike some of those of restaurant manager visits, I didn’t mind him stopping by. I don’t know why, but he reminded me of an Indian James Bond. If it later comes out that he is some kind of international man of mystery, I will not be surprised.