ADDYs 2013

Every year some of the greatest creative minds of the Greater Lansing Area come together at the  Mid-Michigan ADDY awards.

According to the Mid Michigan Creative Alliance (MMCA), the “ADDY Awards are the advertising and marketing industry’s largest and most recognized competition” and “the local ADDY Awards are the first of a three-tiered national competition … Local winners then compete against other winners within their regions in one of 14 District competitions. District winners are then forwarded to the National ADDY Awards competition.” The ADDY awards are also a host to really impressive entries from college-level students for the student competition at the ADDYs.

As you will see in the photos below, the theme this year was Mad Men and this is also a testament to how well dressed Lansing folk are. Many thanks to the wonderful folks at MMCA for putting on such a fun event. I was awestruck by some of the student work. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such incredible design talent in our city.

Way to be creative Lansing!

The wonderful Kat Cooper was the master of ceremonies at this year's ADDYs.

The wonderful Kat Cooper was the master of ceremonies at this year’s ADDYs.

The programs waiting for the guests

The programs waiting for the guests

This man is always wearing nice hats.

This man is always wearing nice hats.


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Mad Man



Hey, Lansing! Come ride a bike with me!

As most of you dear readers probably know, a few of us bloggers at Lansing Collective absolutely love riding our bicycles and taking alternative means of transportation around the city. Those who don’t know this? Just take a look here, here, or here!

Anyways, I have been trying to get together with my wonderful friend Neal to take a bike ride through our eastside neighborhood when it hit me: why not get a group of Lansingites together and take a group ride! Thus, the idea was born and Neal and I decided to plan an Eastside Group Ride this weekend and tag it “bike for beer!”, since one of our favorite local cafes has received their long awaited liquor license and now serves beer! Continue reading


Get Your Feet Dirty

I must admit, 4:30 in the morning is not a good time for me. Even approaching the longest day of the year, it’s still dark outside. You don’t even have the chance to get properly hungry for breakfast. Even most of nature has the good sense to be quiet and resting.

So it came as a great surprise that when my alarm went off at that ungodly hour last Saturday, I welcomed the sound. I was even excited to get out of bed.

Racers take to the water as they head for five check points on Lake Lansing.

It was time for Dirty Feat.

Dirty Feat is Lansing’s one-and-only adventure race, for the third year running. Teams of two are given a map with check points marked, a corresponding list of clues, and a time limit to reach them all on bicycle, foot and even canoe. Last year’s race was spoiled by an untimely accident resulting in driving my partner to Lansing Urgent Care. This year would be different. Continue reading


Fork vs. Spoon: BBQ Throwdown 2012

My eyes grew wide and my jaw dropped to the floor when I first saw the news on Facebook. My two favorite restaurants in Lansing were going to go toe-to-toe in a no-holds-barred old-fashioned another-hyphenated-adjective throwdown.

The sign designating the Soup Spoon Cafe.

If you’ve ever seen the Food Network show “Throwdown with Bobby Flay,” you’re probably already familiar with the concept. In short, two people or establishments craft their finest dishes of the same genre and let the people decide whose is better. Naturally, an event this big couldn’t be fit into a single day, so the two restaurants would be serving up their “competition plates” all week long.

But before moving on, allow me to introduce you to the competitors; as if they need any introduction. On one side, we have Soup Spoon Café, a restaurant that began its existence by expertly crafting breakfast and lunch for a couple of years before expanding into the dinner and craft beer market. Located downtown near Sparrow Hospital on Michigan Avenue, the Spoon was by far my favorite dinner spot until their challenger came to town.

Fork in the Road

In the other corner we have the young upstart Fork in the Road. This culinary mecca started just last Spring as a food truck carrying their “slow fast food” throughout Old Town and the rest of Lansing. Featuring slow-cooked barbecue mostly prepared ahead of time for fast service, it wasn’t long at all before demand allowed them to open their own permanent location at the crossroads of Oakland and Saginaw just north of Lansing’s West Side Neighborhood.

The best part about both restaurants is that they focus on local ingredients as much as possible while trying to be good neighbors and building their surrounding communities. If you asked me today which was my favorite, I wouldn’t have an answer. And yet, this throwdown would test me to do just that.

The cuisine? Barbecue.

The rules? Simple.

The clever t-shirt that I just had to buy.

Each patron would go to each location at some point during the week. There, they would order the “competition plate,” costing $18, as well as a vote card that cost an additional $2. It may seem like a steep price, but much of the proceeds are headed for the Greater Lansing Food Bank. So I had no problem splurging a little for excellent food and a good cause.

My original plan was to head to Fork in the Road for dinner on Tuesday – the first day of competition – split a plate with a friend, and head to Soup Spoon Café to sample their wares directly after. However, I underestimated the popularity of the contest; Fork in the Road sold out of their daily competition plate before lunch had even passed.

Plan B.

I met up with a local culinary expert for lunch at Fork in the Road on Wednesday instead. The plate served that day was, “Porchetta.” It looked to me to be a pork tenderloin filleted flat, filled with a delicious spread concoction of herbs eggs, and tied back up before being grilled to perfection. This was served alongside a couple of small medallions of homemade sausage, some giant leaves of ramp, and a rhubarb gastrique (carmelized sugar, deglazed with vinegar, used as a flavoring for sauces).

Fork in the Road's porchetta plate on Wednesday.

Yes, that last bit is from Wikipedia. Apparently I’m not quite that much of a Foodie.

The result was spectacular. The rhubarb gastrique was slightly sweet with a tinge of sour and paired perfectly with the smoky, savory deliciousness of the pork. But quite honestly, my favorite part might have been the homemade sausage. They should seriously consider serving up some bangers and mash or a sausage sandwich with that stuff.

I completed my throwdown challenge at Soup Spoon Café later that night (after a run on the trails at Lake Lansing North). I seemed to arrive at the perfect time. I walked straight to the bar, grabbed an open stool and immediately ordered the throwdown plate. If I had waited much longer, I may have been out of luck.

I got the last plate of the day.

This plate featured three different types of barbecue: ancho braised pork tenderloin with a cherry coriander rhubarb sauce sitting atop miso braised red cabbage; Cuban style smoked ribs topped with orange mojo salsa and a Goslings dark rum sugarcane reduction; and pork belly with housemade sweet barbecue sauce atop sage and mushroom grits.

Soup Spoon Cafe's barbecue trio competition plate.

It was even more impressive than it sounds.

The different flavors were evident from each section and the smoke flavor added by the Northern Michigan Red Hickory that they traveled up north to get just for the competition kicked everything up a notch. All the meat was tender, flavorful and well-cooked. And the accompanying sauces and sides suited everything perfectly. In fact, my favorite part of the plate might have been the miso braised red cabbage.

I washed it down with an IPA from one of my favorite new Michigan breweries, Greenbush, as I contemplated which box to check. Do I go with the porchetta or the red hickory trio?

I’m not going to give you the satisfaction of an answer. Mostly, I don’t want to influence anybody to vote a particular way. That’s because if you hurry, you can still participate! The throwdown continues until Saturday, May 26. And I recommend going to Fork in the Road for lunch that day, as I guarantee their pork belly confit will fly out of the kitchen!


Banff Mountain Film Festival

This past Thursday, April 12th, 2012 was the evening chosen for, hands down, my favorite event of the year. Started in Banff, Canada, one of the most pristine (and most visited) landscapes in the world, home of Canada’s oldest national park, is a film festival. However, this is not your ordinary film festival. Combine Banff National Park, National Geographic, and the North Face along with film makers and the most extreme non-traditional athletes of the world, and you have the most stunning visuals and unpredictable action you have ever seen or experienced. It is truly an experience.

Located in Alberta, Canada, the Banff Centre receives approximately 300 film applicants per year. Top films are chosen, and shown to approximately 75,000 audience members at the Centre. Then the film festival goes on a World Tour, in 30 + countries, reaching 280,000 people. Michigan State University Outdoors Club sponsored a viewing on campus, for a 3 hour showing. MSU chose the films, with each film length varying, some up to 45 minutes long, but most approximately 15. Last year one clip was only a few minutes.

The films are breathtaking, and the action has you at the edge of your seat. The trailer (which I watched about 4 times prior to the show) is here: It includes a few ads, but I feel they do an excellent job of incorporating the incredible natural footage we want to see and then the ad or the plug to the company and gear.

Continue reading