Goodbye R Club

I had written this a few months ago and it got lost in the shuffle. If you hadn’t heard, the R Club closed last month (December 2015). But I wanted to write this post from my last R Club experience.

The breakfast burger at The R Club, Lansing

Most meals are made better with multiple meats in the mix. That’s why I like my burgers with bacon. And if you add egg, that’s like a potential meat. And it’s also like breakfast on your burger. And add cheese, too? Yes, you should do that, because it would make even more better, and more better is better than less better.

So when I saw the bacon, egg, and cheese burger at the R Club, of course I would order it. And it was burger-rific. It was cooked to my liking (if it hadn’t been, there would have been hell to pay) with every bite full of something good. Interesting flavors are really what I’m after in a burger (perhaps that is why I like olive burgers so much), and the combination of all these good tastes really worked.  The fries were tasty as well, and the water was non-poisonous, a feature I like in my water. It was lunchtime, but service was fast and close enough to friendly to matter.

I wasn’t surprised at my good experience at the R Club. I’ve been there many times, both for lunch and for complaining about work (not my current job, BTW, and that ain’t no lie) with equally annoyed coworkers. They have a good menu with lots of choices and easy access to the freeway in case you need a quick escape, in case you need to stop at Speedway to get something for you anniversary. Doughnuts, gift cards, Hostess Ding Dongs – they have everything a spouse could want.

Go, eat the breakfast-like burger, and be happy.

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Poutine, Lansing Brewing Company

It’s with pride I tell you I was one of the lucky 100 people that got a free appetizer card for being among the first patrons at Lansing Brewing Company in October. Yes, haters gonna hate, but I was there.  And I had held onto that precious card through several trips to the brewery, but it was time to let it go. After all, it was going to expire, so use it or lose it. I done used it.

Lansing Brewing Company

Lansing Brewing Company

There were a few tempting appetizer choices, but I decided on the poutine to be one with my Canadian brothers to the north. And east. And in some parts of Michigan, south and west. If you have not had poutine, then you are really missing out. Imagine fries, with a bunch of good stuff on top, and that is what it is. I hadn’t had any gravy-covered fries since a trip to South Detroit in Windsor for a Weird Al Yankovic concert last summer. Good times.

To be official, LBC’s dish was called “Great White North Poutine”, evoking memories of being in the woods fighting bears and wolves and Maple Leaf fans. These fries were covered with not just any gravy, but Amber Cream Ale gravy (i.e. beer gravy). But to keep the goodness coming, they added braised pork. Yes, that’s even better than just gravy, and it was deliciously delicious pork, tender and tasty.

Poutine

Poutine

But when you put cheese curds on it, you just upped the game. There were fries that were just covered with gooey cheese that were as awesome as they sound. But the piece de resistance was the egg on top. If that doesn’t sound good to you, I don’t want to know you. It was freaking sweet. It was a big bowl of messy runny fry goodness and if I didn’t want to try the nachos so badly, I’d get the poutine again. But you should get it, because you want it. Do it Canada.

Glazed and Confused, Lansing

Starting out positive, the “Trifecta” from Glazed and Confused was among the best looking doughnuts I have ever had. Chocolate was in full effects, and there were fancy-ish chocolate shavings on top. In fact, the doughnut’s surroundings looked great, too. The owners certainly gave the old Pita Pit on Washington Square a facelift. Here’s hoping for fewer health code violations than the PP had, too.

It was definitely chocolatey, and it wasn’t bad. The cake was moist and the frosting was good. The first bite was an “oh yeah, this is good” moment, but that was followed by the aftertaste. The bitterness of unsweetened baking chocolate followed, at least, that it what it tasted like to my non-baker self. And I really wanted to like it – chocolate / chocolate doughnuts are my favorite kind, which is why I went with the Trifecta. I was hoping for a souped-up version of the kind I get from Quality Dairy, and it almost got there. A little less of that bitter taste and I would have loved it.

Glazed and Confused is still on my list of places to return to. There were several doughnuts that looked amazing, and the next time I’m downtown in the morning, I’m going to try another. Will it be the glazed? The bacon-covered long john? Only time will tell.

Jumbeaux, Lansing

It was a special occasion for my first visit to Jumbeaux: My birthday. I had been wanting to try this relatively new spot on the west side of Lansing, which was not far from where I work. Cajun food had been on my list of favorite foods since a trip to New Orleans about ten years ago, and I was happy to see a spot that served up that style of food not far from home.

The restaurant was bright and busy, but there was enough seats that no one needed to wait. The employees were very friendly and I didn’t have to wait long for my food. Maybe they knew it was my birthday, but I doubt it –  I had left my party hat in the car.

Blah blah blah – the food.

I ordered the catfish poboy. The size of the poboy was larger than I had anticipated, and mo poboy is mo better. Shredded lettuce, thinly sliced tomatoes, and a bun overflowing with fried catfish. Next to it was a plentiful amount of Bubba’s chips. I don’t know who Bubba is, but I liked his chips. The poboy itself tasted great, and had a spicy dressing that got my nose running. (Hopefully I didn’t share too much right there. If it did, forget that last line and replace it with this: The dressing has a spicy side to it, that really complemented the fish without overwhelming it.)

This will be on my list of restaurants to return to. They have an interesting menu, and the helpfulness of the staff is also a draw for me. I’m really interested in trying the alligator, even though it’s not Michigan alligator – the zoos frown on them being taken for meals. I’ve heard.

The nachos of Logan’s Roadhouse

I don’t know if it was as self-fulfilling prophesy, but I wasn’t confident about my decision to order the nachos at Logan’s Roadhouse.

The best part of the meal were the rolls that were generously supplied to the table by people who ordered things other than nachos. Buttery and soft, a multitude of them were devoured – the rolls didn’t stand a chance. Excluding the rolls, the best part of the meal were the chips. They were crispy and I was gifted with the occasional chip that was dusted with a salty / spicy concoction that brought me happiness. And queso! They had queso sauce that covered them there chips, and that wasn’t a bad thing.

Though I didn’t take a picture, not wanting to be taunted by my coworkers, I instead drew this picture, which, if printed out, is suitable for framing.

Nachos!

Nachos!

It was the chili that didn’t perform well. Not terribly good on the taste buds, it also rendered soggy anything it touched. The thin chips just wouldn’t withstand the brutal assault, and withered under the chili attack. The jalapenos were a nice touch, and did help to bolster the flavor, but not enough to overcome the chili-lanche. And since the meat is the key ingredient for nachos, it brought everything down.

So you probably already knew this, but avoid the nachos as an entrée. Perhaps with a couple of friends and a couple of beers, they would make a decent appetizer, but not a main event.

From Zoobies to The Cosmos… and beyond!

For my 200th post, I wanted to review a place I enjoy going to. Sure, I like writing snarky post as much as the next guy, but what I like much more is having a great meal.

I’ve been a fan of Zoobies since my wife’s volleyball team starting going there to drown their post-game sorrows. I soon learned they have the best popcorn in Lansing (Zoobies, not the volleyball team). Salty and truffle oily is a beautiful combination – who knew? Amazingly good, and if you have an “I’m a beer hound” card, it’s free with the purchase of a beer. That deal alone sold me on the card and lured be to Zoobies more often – well played, both of you.

The beer selection isn’t large, but its excellent. I’ve found they usually have a Short’s Brewery and Brewery Vivant beer on tap, both favorite breweries of mine. But they also carry a rotating selection of beers from breweries that I’ve never heard of. If you can’t find a beer you like at Zoobies, then there is a liquor store down the street where you can get something more to your liking, like Mickey’s or Mad Dog. Just make sure your CPL is up to date – the worst thing about Zoobies is the neighborhood. Remember, serpentine.

For our last outing, Andrea and I tried the relatively new “The Cosmo”, which is attached to Zoobies. The Cosmos is where Papa Leo’s used to be until it was ransacked by Smurfs. Ironically, the building still produces pizza, though quite a bit different (and better) than your ordinary variety, for no chain (or semi-chain) pizza will you find there now. But you will find a 50s-style science fiction décor, which is a win.

We tried the Boursin cheese / sausage pizza, and it was fantastic, even fabulous. Generously covered with creamy cheese, and with sausage with a spicy heat that paired well with the Boursin. I could have eaten the whole thing by myself, but marital stability has its upsides, so I didn’t. Be warned that if spicy foods make you weep and roll on the floor calling for mommy, it is probably best to choose another pizza.

I’ve been to Zoobies a dozen times and haven’t had a bad experience yet. It could happen – Roseanne Barr could walk in and do a strip tease or something equally awful. But it does get busy on weekends, so get there early if you actually want to sit down. Unless it’s Roseanne Barr night, and then it’s empty.

Leo’s Lodge of Lansing – French Dip

I work in south Lansing. Yes, I know, you people in boring places like New York City or Hawaii are very jealous. And to continue to tweak you poor people in those locations, we have Leo’s Lodge and you don’t. But we have plenty of empty houses, so if you want to live here, fly on over.

It was third trip in two weeks, which could mean one of two things. One, it was a decent place to eat. Or two, I need to vary my eating habits. Actually, both are true. On the previous trips, I had ordered a burger and tacos. The former was good, the latter not as much. On this tie-breaking visit, the French Dip was at bat. Henceforth in this glorious piece of writing, the sandwich will be referred to as “The Dip”.

How would the French make a dip? No clue – I’ve never had a French Dip in France. But how they do it is South Lansing, though, is quite good. There was a tall pile of thinly sliced beef in a focaccia-ish bun. That alone scores it high – lots of meat and fancy bread? Wow. But then throw in a generous pour of “au jus” and it puts it over the top. And I found that fries dipped in au jus are a thing for me. Not quite as life-changing as hush puppies dipped in cocktail sauce, but still good.

Wherever you are in Lansing, you are not far from a Leo’s. Pick one and do the dip.