In 2014, my favorite local restaurants remained my favorites, including Tavern 109 in Williamston, the State Room in East Lansing, and Maru in Okemos. Of course, I added more to my list, but I also found some off-the-beaten-path new places for favorite sustenance.

— DeWitt Dairy at the Dewitt Golf Center
Every Sunday evening during the warm months, the boyfriend and I would head to the Dewitt Dairy to get an ice cream. Week after week he ordered a Cappuccino Crunch flurry made with chocolate/vanilla twist soft serve, a concoction of chocolate, toffee and a hint of coffee. I bounced between chocolate malts, New York cheesecake flurries with chocolate ice cream, and standard vanilla cones with sprinkles. It was some of the best soft-serve ice cream we found all year.

— Strange Matter Coffee Co.
Last spring while at the Allen Street Farmers Market, I had a cup of coffee from Strange Matter. It was heavenly. When the storefront opened a few months later, I hustled in and ordered a cinnamon honey latte, and I’ve had at least one per week since then. The scent of cinnamon will reach you before you even take a sip, and you’ll want one every morning.

— Ham Sweet Farm
A springtime trip to a farm stand in England inspired me to be more conscious of where my food comes from, so it was with unbridled enthusiasm that I signed up for the CSA program offered at Williamston’s Ham Sweet Farm. For $82 a month I get a variety of fresh meat, including duck, oxtail, heritage turkey and the world’s best pork chops. Yes, it’s more expensive than grocery store meat, but the flavor and the feeling of knowing exactly where my meat was raised make it worth the money to me.

— Brody cafeteria
Unless you graduated from Michigan State University within the last five years, this is NOT the cafeteria you are used to. For $10, you get access to an incredible variety of food: Sushi, salad bars, homestyle rotisserie chicken and mashed potatoes, made-to-order stir-fry, pizza and ice cream from the MSU Dairy Store. The cafeteria is open to the public and could easily feed picky kids or out-of-towners who are reliving their college days but want better eats this time around.

— Jose’s Cuban Sandwich and Deli
If you want a Cuban sandwich that will have you saving up for a plane ticket now that travel to Cuba is allowed, don’t let the location — Jose’s is adjacent to a gas station — stop you. The classic Cuban sandwich and the Midnight are my favorite. Both are laden with melted cheese, tangy meat, and pickles that give just the right amount of bite. If I keep eating like this, next year’s wrap-up might feature the area’s best cardiologists.

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