Taking a bite of the competition

She ate

Gabriela Lawrence

First things first (totally unrelated to food but absolutely related to the fabric of our community): JW Sexton High School is the best. What other high school in Greater Lansing has produced two illustrious City Pulse restaurant critics? I am an ever proud and loyal Sexton graduate.

But to the food. Although I love to bake, I also love buying bakery treats for my family and coworkers, and every time I go to court in Eaton County, I make a detour to Flour Child Bakery. Your selection is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. The flavors and types of treats are in constant rotation, and I love the holiday menus they post for pre-orders on their Facebook page. Chocolate Chunk Cookies are a perfect gateway if you haven’t tried Flour Child yet.

Last week, a relative who lived out of town asked me to recommend an Italian restaurant. I directed, as the Top of the Town results would suggest, to Cugino’s and alternatively to Bravo! Bravo! It’s a chain and it’s never going to win an innovation award, but I’ve never had a bad meal there. However, Cugino’s is the quintessential small-town Italian restaurant: huge portions, copious amounts of melted cheese, and bowls of spicy noodles. I am sorry for the loss of Tannin, a more gastronomically inclined restaurant, and I am hopeful that it will reopen one day.

The Best Pancakes award is appropriately given to The People’s Kitchen. Having never liked pancakes before, nor given them a second glance, I constantly think of PK’s pancakes. Mr. She Ate and I have long been under the impression that PK has quietly become the best restaurant in town. It seems to have developed consistency and one of the most unique yet approachable menus I’ve seen.

I love a hearty salad and often rack my brain for a restaurant salad that has dark leafy greens, good protein, fresh ingredients, and a good dressing. Mr. She Ate and I love Jimmy’s Pub Steak Cobb Salad, and this dish definitely deserves to be included in the TOTT competition. Another strong contender is the East Reno Green Goddess Chicken on the Cob, and if I had been told in recent history that I would recommend East Reno food, I would have laughed out loud.

Certain categories left me with questions. I think the best ranch dressing in town by far comes from Kewpee Sandwich Shoppe. Paired with a club sandwich and sweet potato fries, it’s my favorite indulgent lunch anywhere downtown.

While I agree that Klavon’s pizza is amazing, Art’s Pub is also high on my list. I prefer my Art’s pizza to be thin crust, and I love the So Fresh So Clean variety with regular dairy cheese, not vegan cheese.

Speaking of vegan and vegetarian options, Altu’s is also at the top of my list. Mr. She Ate and I have visited many other Ethiopian restaurants on our travels, and the one at Altu consistently beats it. I’m also a big fan of Picnic A Food Truck as a vegetarian option; their vegan cheese boards are to die for.

Goodfellas has been a welcome addition to our mediocre bagel scene, and I’m surprised it hasn’t had a better introduction at TOTT. The bagel sandwiches are fresh, flavorful, and filling, and I’ve enjoyed every variety I’ve tried.

My favorite Mexican chain is Acapulco, especially the Frandor location. If you can get through the crazy traffic pattern, you deserve a taco.

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