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Wednesday, June 20,2012

Farmers markets: Freshening up the city

by Joe Torok
Conventional wisdom suggests that urban areas, especially those with higher concentrations of poverty, are more likely to fall within a food desert. The thinking goes that along with food deserts come obesity and a myriad of health problems associated with being overfed and undernourished.
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Wednesday, June 20,2012

Do the jerk (chicken, that is)

Palace of Jamaica´s atmosphere is far from regal

by Joe Torok
The colors of the Jamaican flag beckon diners, and I came prepared. Before dining, I chatted up a friend who was born and lived in Jamaica for a time. She told me about the ins and outs of Jamaican cuisine, and, a few months prior, even brought me the national dish, ackee and saltfish — an acquired taste.
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Wednesday, June 13,2012

Applause-worthy

For a satisfying Italian meal, just say Bravo!

by Joe Torok
I much prefer to patronize local eateries over chain restaurants. Based on a select reading of my reviews, some may have a difficult time swallowing that fact. It’s just that I also prefer restaurants, local or not, that live up to what they say they’ll delver.
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Wednesday, May 23,2012

Greece is the word

Olympic Broil serves fast food that fills you up

by Joe Torok
Inside, the blue and white color scheme continues from where the marquee left off, a wall of classic car photographs makes it authentically Michigan, and there are plenty of fixed-bench booths, the kind of seating oversized guys like me squeeze themselves into.
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Wednesday, May 16,2012

More than mere meat

Mert's Specialty Meats has some gourmet surprises in store

by Joe Torok
Mert’s began shortly after the demise of L&L Shop Rite. Co-owner Shirley Decker, who lost her job in the L&L corporate office in March last year, joined her husband, Merton Prescott, a meat cutter who had been laid off from L&L a few months prior, in the realm of the unemployed.
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Wednesday, May 9,2012

Does Stillwater run deep?

Okemos eatery is surf and turf from top to bottom

by Joe Torok
A small collection of cylindrical amber fixtures hang at one end of the dining room, bathing the space in an orange-hued light that highlights extensive woodwork, sage green accents and tables so clean they shine.
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Wednesday, May 2,2012

New in town

Aggie Mae's Bakery

by Joe Torok
Old Town just keeps getting sweeter. In March, Neva Austin, proprietor of breads, pastries, cakes and all things irresistible, opened a new, stand-alone location of her Aggie Mae’s Bakery on Grand River Avenue.
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Wednesday, April 25,2012

Bringing the east to East Lansing

No-frills No Thai! caters to the college crowd

by Joe Torok
There are a couple of spots in town that I head to if I don’t feel like rustling up my own Thai curry at home, but it’s not like the Lansing area is a magnet for the southeast Asian cuisine. Within the last couple of years, though, downtown East Lansing has ushered in a few Thai restaurants, one of which sits along the fast-moving Grand River Avenue corridor.
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Wednesday, April 18,2012

East Lansing's new spots

Chopstix serves Asian cuisine, while Smoothie Café gives you Hawaiian Breezes and Mocha Madness

by Joe Torok
The new venture is based on Chou’s Taiwanese heritage, a heritage that includes southern Chinese, Korean and Japanese culinary influences, Chou says. All of those flavors find a home on his menu, but as any conscientious restaurateur will tell you, flavors are only as good as the ingredients.
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Wednesday, April 11,2012

How to define 'fine'

Upscale dining is the order of the day at Knight Cap

by Joe Torok
While that might make for a great way to bring in folks whose conception of "fine dining" begins and ends at a plate of lobster or a French-sounding cut of beef, it’s not the best way to impress those actually looking for a true fine dining experience.
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