Shannon

Vaginas (and vagina supporters!) are taking over the Capitol!

Let’s just start with the word vagina.

Vagina.

It sounds like an infection at best.

Maybe a medical instrument.

“hurry, nurse, bring me the vagina.”

Vagina.

Vagina.

-excerpt from “Introduction”, The Vagina Monologues

For those of you that know me in person (or IRL in internet speak!) you know how much Eve Ensler’s play The Vagina Monologues has impacted my life. I have been an outspoken advocate for the V-Day movement and this play since high school, even taking the plunge to become an actress in the MSU production for three years of my college career, then directing upon my return to Lansing in 2007.  Continue reading

Shannon

Women are watching …AND WE VOTE!

Protesting at the Capitol.

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to bike down to the State Capitol and participate in a protest against House Bills 5711-5712-5713, known to most as the Super-Anti-Abortion legislation being catapaulted through state government at unusually rapid speed.

Now, while I recognize that not all of you will agree with my political point of view on this, I think that what is important is that we are all aware of legislation affecting our state and that we celebrate the fact that we live so close to where it all goes down- giving us the opportunity to make our voices heard when we feel necessary and take part in the democratic process! I mean, how wonderful is it that I am able to hop on my bicycle, pedal a mere 2 miles, and join my fellow women standing in opposition to harmful bills, and truely proclaim “this is what democracy looks like!” Continue reading

Ken

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!

Jess

Who you gonna call? No, not quite…

Venge of Lansing

Remember that time you were wakened from a deep slumber with a fear in your heart so deep you could swear you were about to meet your imminent doom? I know you do, because it’s happened to all of us. Is there someone watching me? Is someone out there? Am I being followed? You might be. But it might not be in the way we tend to think. As you see, or prepare to see The Avengers (you’re not fooling me, I you know you’re going to see it), turn your thoughts to those in the world that creep about… but in pursuit of good. People like Lansing’s own superhero: Venge. Continue reading

Khalid

Love through the Ages

Christina is a dear friend of mine and she just sent me a text message saying:

I just asked a boy to prom and he said ‘YES’

In case you don’t already know me, I am not a 15 year old high school student and neither is Christina. However, there is going to be a prom for adults in Lansing on May 19th and every one is abuzz about who they are taking and how they are going to ask them. I am using every ounce of energy not to share some really good ideas people have.

As for Christina, it is a beautiful coincidence that the prom on May 19th is exactly 10 years and 1 day after her high school prom. To this day, she wished that she had the guts to ask her high school sweetheart (now husband) to prom when she was in high school. In a flurry of excitement she was giddy to ask him now that they are married, regardless of the fact that it is 10 years later. Just wait till you see what she will be wearing!

 

 

Let me back up a little bit and give you a little background on “Love through the Ages: A Prom for Adults“. Continue reading