Fish tacos at The Roadhouse, Beulah

It was a semi-dark and snowy night in northern Michigan when we pulled into town.  Past the McDonald’s, we rolled into the heart of Beulah to the town’s best restaurant, The Roadhouse. Now, I know what you’re thinking: Where’s Beulah? It’s north of wherever you are, that’s where.

I’m going to start somewhere unusual with a bold bean statement: The re-fried beans were the best I’ve ever had. Oh yes I did. Usually, they are an extra on the plate that I eat as an afterthought, if I have enough room. But these beans actually tasted good. I was actually disappointed when they were gone – I wanted more. So a big bean bravo to The Roadhouse.

Fish Tacos at The Roadhouse

Fish Tacos at The Roadhouse

But you are not going to eat anywhere just for the re-fried beans, so let’s get to the main event. The fish tacos are a Friday night special, drawing people from blocks and blocks. Or, in my case, 150 miles. They’re so special, in fact, you can only get them on Fridays, so plan ahead. The fish was fall-apart light and had a nice flavor. Hold on tight because those tortillas fall apart  – that pico soaks in pretty well.  I had three, and it was just right for me. Your mileage may very.

I am also a fan of the frozen margaritas there. They do not skimp on the tequila, which is my favorite ingredient in a margarita. Save room because they are worth it. They are especially useful after a long drive with a child. I’ve heard.

I’ve been to The Roadhouse in all seasons, and though summer is best – they have a nice patio, complete with outside bar – any season will do for some excellent Mexican food. It’s a tough decision on what to eat, but both the fish tacos and the nachos are excellent.

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Gracie’s Place, Williamston

Williamston is the place to go for nice restaurants around Lansing. For me, who lives on the east side of town, it’s an easy trip, but even if it were a hard trip (in snow, uphill, both ways), it would be worth it. Tonight’s target was Gracie’s Place, and to make the trip even better, there was a jazz band that night.

But bring out the food. I decided on the braised beef, or as the receipt read, “Scott Bloom Braised Beef”. I didn’t know they named cows, but the one I was eating shared my first name, which was a little disconcerting. (Yes, I know Scott Bloom is a farm.) But besides that, the beef was very tender – it fell apart when I used harsh language, so there was no need for a fork. The little potato grenades that guarded the meat were even better that their carefully-protected treasure. I would even choose them over McDonald’s French fries, if that tells you how good they were.

Gracie's Place

That Gracie has some nice beef.

Wednesday night was one of those beautiful times called “half-price wine night”. I didn’t know that going in, but now armed with that knowledge, I feel emboldened  to go to Williamston and drink more. We chose a bottle of Montepulciano D’Abruzzo that started slow but really came alive when the food arrived. If I had to describe it (and I don’t, but I’m in that kind of mood), I would say it was shy 15-year old going to their first dance, but then just busting out when the DJ plays “Party Rockin’. Or, as my daughter calls it, “Potty Rockets”.

The mousse cake was not large, but it was rich. If you didn’t get enough dinner, then the portion should be just right. If you’re stuffed but have no self-control when it comes to chocolate, then there is enough to share. If you’re into that sort of thing.

Beggar’s Banquet, East Lansing

Half-price wine night was the draw. Yes, Wednesdays are specials days at Beggar’s Banquet. The draw of cheap(er) booze is like a bug zapper to a bug, just with your chances of being electrocuted substantially less.

I decided on the teriyaki tilapia, which wasn’t a bad choice, even though it looked like it was. It was an ugly looking fish, and if I ever find that picture, you can see for yourself. But in the end, it’s how it tastes, now how it looks, and it tasted good. It was heavy on the teriyaki, so take that for what it’s worth. For me, that’s worth a lot. The vegetables were another matter. I think they were nuked, or they were boiled within an inch of their life… and then were kept on being boiled.

For dessert, I tried the very nice looking chocolate mousse cake. Unlike the fish, this one looked better than it tasted. Not that it was bad, but it wasn’t $8 good. The cake part was dry and everything else was alright, except the whipped cream was quite good. Maybe a whipped cream cake would be a good idea.

My favorite part of Beggar’s (besides half-price wine) is the service. I’ve never been disappointed with the amiability of the wait staff. (That means they’re friendly.) They’re fast, they’re fun, and they’re saving the world, one bottle of wine at a time.

The next time I return to Beggar’s, I’ll probably get the Mac & Cheese, Dave’s Way (with bacon!), if that’ s still available – in my opinion, the best Beggar’s has to offer.

Moe’s Southwest Grill, East Lansing

We’re a month into the new year, and I was only two restaurants into my goal of 25 new (to me) restaurants. With a heavy weight upon my heart, I decided to step it up and hit new restaurant #3, Moe’s Southwest Grill in East Lansing. In case you’re bored or curious, #1 was “Starter’s” in Dearborn, and #2 was “The Kung Fu” in Lansing.

Moe's, East Lansing

Moe’s, East Lansing

The interior was bright and cheery like those polar bears in Coke commercials. What made my Monday visit even better that Monday was burrito night – $6-ish for a burrito, chips, and a Coke. I decided on the Homewrecker, even though it sounds very antisocial. But meat, guacamole, sour cream, and assorted fillers stuffed that poor flour tortilla. It was stretched tight – I felt sorry for it. No tortilla deserves that fate. And then I ate it.

Moe's Burrito

Moe’s Burrito

So as far as burritos goes, it was good. I went with the pork, though if I had to do it over again, I would have gotten the steak. Or the chicken. Or the ground beef. But not the vegetarian  – that’s just wrong. I would compare the Moe’s burrito to Pancheros or Qdoba’s – they’re all the same style of meal. The chips were also good, and there a half-dozen (or so) different salsas to choose from. And they had a cool touch-screen Coke machine that I would love to have in my house.

So I’ll be returning to Moe’s. For the nachos, though – I need to find out how Moe’s nachos stack up to the others around town. Otherwise, life means nothing.