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Spoon MSU Food Crawl: All Around the World

Hitting up all the classic eats around East Lansing.

This year Spoon MSU attempted what some might call impossible—traveling around the world in less than five hours. We didn't have enough funds to actually fly around the world, so we did the next best thing: A food crawl featuring international cuisines from Ireland to China. This spring marks our first and hopefully not our last food crawl at Spoon MSU. 

Luckily, we were able to apply for and receive the Slushie Fund from Spoon HQ, so this event and all the food was totally funded. We made matching food crawl t-shirts, and we had little Spoon swag packages for each person who came that included a pen, stickers, a phone pocket, and a key chain. 

The day started out not too great. It was quite cold outside and pouring freezing rain. Fortunately, we were able to drive to all of the restaurants, but we did have to cut out the Mexican food truck El Oasis from our restaurant schedule due to outdoor-only seating. We also ended up having to cut out the yummy Chinese and Korean cuisine from Charlie Kang's because we ran out of time. Even with the setbacks that shortened our world tour, our food crawl was a hit and everyone left with full and happy tummies. 

Stop 1: Mitten Raised

James Jabara

Mitten Raised is a "new" cafe in East Lansing. I say "new" in quotes because it actually used to be located in Okemos before moving to Brookfield Plaza on Grand River Ave where Red Cedar Cafe used to be. Mitten Raised is primarily a bakery with items ranging from donuts to scones to even wedding cakes. But you can also get various drinks like coffee made by Bloom Coffee Roasters. They also host wedding cake tastings and kid's birthday parties. 

We had an assortment of a dozen donuts along with their gluten-free chocolate chip cookie. The donuts came in fun flavors like Joyce, a cinnamon twist donut drizzled with caramel, and Cookie Monster, a vanilla cake donut with blue frosting and cookie crumbles. The donuts and cookie were a sweet start to our food crawl.

Stop 2: Bell's Pizza

James Jabara

Bell's pizza is known for their pizza, obviously, and also their Greek food. They are a "family owned and operated" restaurant and have been since 1967. Bell's pizza is located on Grand River Ave right next to Tasty Twist. All of the food on their menu is relatively cheap, and they have many interesting Greek takes on food like their gyro pizza and their falafel wrap. 

We had a large chicken shawarma pizza, spaghetti, vegetarian grape leaves, falafel, hummus, and pita. The chicken shawarma pizza was one of the best pizzas I have ever eaten. 

Stop 3: Crunchy's

James Jabara

Crunchy's is an East Lansing favorite known for the "Best Burger in Town" and their buckets of beer. They have 27 beers on tap and some of the best beer in the area. Crunchy's also has a homey atmosphere and hosts fun events like karaoke nights and trivia every Tuesday night. 

We had buckets of pizza nugs, tots, sliders, and soft pretzels, and a bowl of spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips. Crunchy's had some of the most photogenic food of the whole crawl. Considering I have a soft spot for tater tots, all of this bar food went fast. 

Stop 4: Dublin Square

James Jabara

Dublin Square is an Irish pub with the vision of bringing a little piece of Ireland to East Lansing. The inside of the pub, including the hand-carved mahogany bar, was actually made in Dublin and then shipped to East Lansing. Many of the objects inside like the metal binding the Guinness barrels are also straight from Ireland.

We had homemade potato skins, beer-battered mushroom, fish and chips, potato leek soup, tomato basil soup, and Shepherd's pie. 

Stop 5: MSU Dairy Store

James Jabara

The MSU Dairy Store is operated by the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition to teach, research, and do outreach regarding dairy and food processing. The milk for all the dairy products come from MSU cows milked on campus in the Dairy Teaching and Resource center and the Pasture Dairy center. The ice cream and cheese is then made in the Dairy Plant, and you can actually see the dairy being processed in the plant on the observation deck. The Dairy Store serves a variety of products like ice cream, cheese, coffee, grilled cheese, and soup. On Mondays, you can get free tomato soup with the purchase of a grilled cheese!

At our last stop on our food crawl, everyone ordered their own ice cream. There are many flavors to choose from at the Dairy Store including a flavor for every Big Ten school. The picture above is of Cookie Dough and Sesquicentennial Swirl, the Michigan State flavor, on a sugar cone. I also highly recommend getting a waffle cone since they make them fresh right in front of you.

Even though there were quite a few obstacles to our food crawl, which cut it short, making it less of a trip around the world and more of a trip to Europe and back, everyone had a good time bonding, and we all enjoyed some of the classic East Lansing restaurants.