July 22 2011 12:00 AM

Soup Spoon Caf expands its menu for the season; check out the new Dawg in East Lansing


If word of mouth had monetary value, The Soup Spoon Caf wouldn’t need an advertising budget.

The popular east side bistro added a dinner menu recently and, last month, expanded its offerings for the summer.

New on the dinner menu are the grilled walleye ($18), with
a lemon-brown butter sauce and the East Side Chicken ($16), a breast
stuffed with spinach, dried cranberries, garlic and goat cheese.

The Spoon-I-pino ($21) is also new. Server Eric Austin, an
enthusiastic ambassador of all things Soup Spoon, explains that the
Spoon-I-pino concept is an interpretation of cioppino, a type of fish
stew originating from Italian fisherman immigrants who settled in the
San Francisco area. In the original recipe, fisherman tossed the
leftovers from the catch of the day in a pot for a rustic stew. 

At Soup Spoon, it’s a bit more elegant: a tomato-tarragon
clam sauce brings together scallops, shrimp, chicken, chorizo and
vegetables over a bed of linguine.

The goat cheese points ($8) are light and delicious.
Crunchy medallions of French bread are topped with a smear of tangy goat
cheese, diced tomatoes, a hint of garlic and herbs. A sweet balsamic
syrup is drizzled over top, balancing the piquant cheese.

A few new items have found a summer spot on the sandwich menu, too.  Whitefish
tacos ($7.99) boast a lemon-tarragon aioli; the Cubano should delight
sandwich fans with its savor combination of pork, caramelized onions and
more pressed on a sundried tomato bun; and the kobe-wagyu ($11.99),
with its top-shelf beef, gorgonzola cheese and the works on an asiago
bun, makes for a gourmet burger you’ll have difficulty finding anywhere
else in town.    

What Up Dawg?

“What up dawg.”

That’s how you’ll be greeted when you enter or call East
Lansing’s newest hot dog shack named, appropriately enough, What Up

These slingers of tube steaks opened five months ago on
M.A.C. Avenue, and the business fits right into the college town
atmosphere with beer on tap, irreverent T-shirts declaring the wearer
has, indeed, done it “dawgy style,” and periodic eating contests.  

The Big Dawg Challenge (for those whose pride eclipses his
or her brain) dares a contestant to down all nine specialty dogs on the
menu within 20 minutes.  Accomplish
this Herculean labor and earn the privilege of creating your own hot
dog for the menu and, for posterity, your photo will be placed on the

Like an earnest freshman at Michigan State University, What Up Dawg makes an effort to be economically conscious.  Michigan-made
products crowd the menu: Dearborn Brand and Kowalski (Detroit) hot
dogs; Bell’s Brewery (Kalamazoo) beers; buns from Detroit’s Brown’s
Bakery; and Faygo soda and Better Made chips — both Detroit

Even the potatoes are Michigan-based, purchased from a Detroit wholesaler.

“I will not cut an Idaho potato,” general manager Bill Schramm says, adding that the What Up Dawg?’s fries are hand cut.

Chili topping for dogs or fries comes in two styles:
Detroit style, which is saucier and works well on fries, and
Flint-style, a meatier version that stands out more on hot dogs.

Schramm likens the Smokey Dog ($4.50) to a sensory
explosion in your mouth, with its smoked sausage, barbecue, bacon,
grilled onions and cheddar cheese.  It’s messy, that’s for sure.

Italian sausage is the vehicle for the simpler Consigliare Dog ($3.50) that gets topped with grilled peppers and onions.  And
the Chicago Dog ($3.50), with a Kowalski all-beef weiner, gets the
classic blend of tomato, raw onion, neon relish, sliced pickle, sport
peppers, mustard and a pinch of celery salt.    

What Up Dawg?
317 M.A.C Ave.,
East Lansing
(517) 351-3294
Noon-midnight Monday-Wednesday
Noon-3 a.m. Thursday-Saturday
Noon-9 p.m. Sunday
TO, BW, OM, WiFi

Trailer Park’d parked at last

It’s hard to blame a transient merchant for not settling down.  But after a handful of relocations, Trailer Park’d has found a stable home.

The restaurant on wheels, with its commitment to the slow
and local food movement, will be pleasing the public in Lot 56 of Old
Town (where Turner Street dead-ends into Grand River Avenue) throughout
the week. On Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, Jesse Hahn and
company will be serving up gourmet street food from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. 

You can still catch the trailer at the Allen Street
Farmers Market from 2:30 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays, and at the East
Lansing Farmer’s Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays.