Peeza, Peeeeza, Pizza!

I am channeling one of the clones from Multiplicity in my subject line; we always called him the 3rd Steve but I think the character’s name is Dave or Doug or something.

We had pizza at Deluca’s tonight. As we are in the midst of moving and packing this week, we’ll be eating out a lot and I figured pizza was a good choice plus I’d have lunch leftovers.  I’m pretty sure pizza was on my mind after walking past someone carrying Cottage Inn boxes on Washington downtown at lunchtime.

Chris and I have been going to Deluca’s for a few months now, after I read about it in someone’s blog (love to give credit but I sure don’t remember where I read it).  They can be incredibly busy and last night was the perfect example of that with a 25 minute wait. After we got our table, I noticed 2 large groups of at least 15 people each.  We’ve driven by a few times and decided it was just too busy for our hunger level but last night, we both really wanted pizza.

Besides pizza, Deluca’s serves calzones, sandwiches and a number of pasta dishes including baked spaghetti, manicotti, spinach lasagna and veal parmesan.  Thus far, we haven’t ventured off the pizza section except for some appetizers.  One night, Chris got a cup of Italian Wedding Soup and we’ve sampled both the breadsticks and garlic bread.  The garlic bread, with or without cheese, is the better choice in our opinion.

Because we can’t agree on toppings, our practice of late has been to each get a small/medium (I go for 9″, Chris usually gets 12″).  I really prefer vegetables on my pizza and Chris is a meat guy.  One of the toppings I particularly like at Deluca’s is the roasted garlic: whole cloves right over the pizza.  Excellent but not the best choice for work leftovers. In addition to traditional toppings, you can also get hot capicola, jalapeno, broccoli, artichokes, chicken, link sausage, feta (plus more).  Deluca’s also offers a number of specialty pizzas including Hawaiian, BLT and Philadelphia (Roast Beef, onions & mushrooms, mixed cheese). Chris’ usual is mushrooms, onion and sausage.

Deluca’s recently went totally smoke free.  They only serve Pepsi products via fountain (free refills) but you can get Coke products in a chilled can.

Deluca’s started life in the 60s as the Willow Bar. In the early 80s, the three Deluca brothers bought out the founder, their father Pat. Little has changed since then, partly due to the brothers’ reluctance to disappoint regular customers by taking things off the menu.

Deets:

Web: http://www.delucaspizza.com/
Address: 2006 W. Willow (West of MLK), Lansing MI 48917
Hours:Mon.-Thur. 11AM-10:30PM; Fri & Sat 11AM-11PM, Closed Sunday

Accepts credit cards, totally non-smoking

Sawyer’s Gourmet Pancake House

It took me about a week of driving past this little place to figure out the name.  And actually, I didn’t get the name from the front of the building.  Its easy to be distracted by the giant banner proclaiming “World’s Best Blueberry Pancakes.”  I happened to be flipping through City Pulse newsmag and recognized the same claim in an advertisement.

The following Saturday, Chris and I headed down there for brunch, about 12:30.  It was the first warm Saturday of the spring and the restaurant was hopping.  We waited about 40 minutes for a table, thinking this better be worth it.


And it was. Sawyer’s kitchen is stocked with organic and locally grown ingredients.  (Nearly) Everything is made from scratch. Their pancakes are made with organic, stone-ground flours from Michigan’s oldest stone-ground mill.  Eggs are from Eggland’s Best vegetarian-fed chickens.  You can get real Michigan maple syrup for your pancakes. And coffee is free-trade.  Not organic, free-trade or even that good for you but important to us: they carry Coke products.

Since that first visit, I have been back about 4 times. Chris, about 40.  Seems he’s been going there to eat lunch and study several times a week.

My favorite item thus far has been the California Turkey Burger.  You can get the turkey burger a couple of different ways but anything with avocado is going to be towards the top of my list. The restaurant serves breakfast till close and lunch starts at 11 AM. I’m not a huge breakfast eater but I did have a bite of Chris’s omelet this past week and I think I’ll get my own next time.  I’m also constantly tempted by the French Toast.  French Toast is my favorite carb-friendly breakfast but I’m rather particular about the toppings.  French Toast should be topped with powder sugar only.  I’m amazed at the rarity of powder sugared French Toast in restaurants. Maybe its something exclusive to my family or the midwest or???

Sandwiches come with your choice of hashbrowns, home fries, regular fries and sweet potato fries. I’ve had each variety and actually, the hashbrowns were my favorite.  The fries (including sweet potato variety) are good but a little on the softer side.  I like my fries crispy on the outside, soft in the middle. 

Sawyer’s has started barbequeing on the front porch every Friday from 11AM to 3PM.  Even if you don’t make it Friday, you can usually benefit from the leftovers through the weekend. 

The only negative thing I can say about the restaurant is that the kitchen can be very slow sometimes.  For Sunday brunch, I don’t mind waiting but I would be worried about a weekday lunch if my time was tight.

Deets:

Web: http://gourmetpancakehouse.com/
Address: 608 W Saginaw St, Lansing MI 48933
Hours: Monday-Friday 6AM-3PM; Sat & Sun 7AM-3PM

Accepts credit cards, totally non-smoking

Get a half-off gift certificate for Sawyer’s from WLNS here.  As of June 20th at 12pm, there were only 14 left!

Ai yi yi

Chris didn’t even think we should bother “reviewing” this restaurant since we were so not impressed.

Last week, we were on the east side of East Lansing with no particular plan. I mentioned there was a “new” asian/sushi place in the same strip mall so we decided to check it out. All I could remember from the review I’d read, several months ago, was that it was busy thanks to the student population (now on summer break) and the ambience was pretty lush.

The restaurant, Ai Fusion, opened in the fall. It has the same owners as Ukai Japanese Steakhouse, which also serves sushi.

The restaurant had a pretty upscale feel with a cushy couch in the waiting area, several private rooms, ornate chairs and a large sushi bar centered in the main dining room. On the down side, there were several flat screen tvs scattered about. Tonight, game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals, that was okay but to me a high end restaurant shouldn’t be catering to the sports fans.

Second disappointment: they serve Pepsi products. Yes, I could have had hot tea or even sake or beer but it was a weeknight and tea doesn’t quite cut through the spicy sauces I like as much as a carbonated beverage will.

Chris had teriyaki chicken. I had spicy tuna roll and a Bettina Roll from the sushi menu. I’m almost positive I also marked yellowtail with scallion too but it didn’t come and we didn’t get charged for it. The rolls are pretty big so that worked out for the best anyway. The spicy tuna roll was just tuna mixed with some spicy sauce. It was very spicy and I was disappointed to not have any cucumber or avocado. The Bettina roll is shrimp tempura and avocado wrapped in rice then topped with more spicy tuna. If I’d know how spicy this was going to be, I wouldn’t have ordered more of it.  I may be more particular than I realized but I don’t like it when the tuna is diced up and mixed with the spicy sauce.  I can’t help but suspect the sushi chef is using lesser quality tuna and is covering that up. 

Dinners and sushi are served with salad and miso. The salad was a bit more than the usual iceberg lettuce and carrots- mine had red bell pepper and celery. Topped with the typical ginger dressing, which I thought was overly sweet but Chris was happy with.  Miso soup was your basic run of the mill; I much prefer when they add a little seaweed or scallions in to the broth.

When I asked Chris how he’d rate this restaurant he said “3 out of 10.” Then he said he didn’t think it was worth blogging about. His comments was “it wasn’t great but it probably won’t make you sick.”

Consensus is that we might return there, for the sushi only, if we got a positive review from someone else or if the line at another, better, sushi place was too long.  Ambience was a plus, non-sushi dish was bad, sushi was okay. service was average.

Other places in the area that serve sushi:

San Su on Hagadorn.  I’ve been there and like it but its quite busy. They recently moved in to larger digs

Omi Sushi – In Downtown East Lansing. I have not eaten here but Chris has. They seem to have a lot of the sushi rolls that he likes- tempura  everywhere!

MIdori – Under new management since my last visit.  I felt they were a little over-priced but the rolls were fresh and tasty.

Akagi Sushi – Never been, don’t know much about.

Best sushi within a decent drive (both price and flavor) is in Flint:

Sagano Japanese Bistro, 2065 S Linden Rd, Flint, MI 48532
(810) 230-7300

Service can be a little slow but they have great prices, a nice variety and a separate dining area with hibachi grills (Classic Japanese steakhouse) if you want your entertainment with dinner instead of after.