May 12 2010 12:00 AM

Hawaiian native brings island cuisine to Okemos


President Obama should have a good excuse to stop by Lansing on the re-election trail in a couple of years now that Pii Lani Rupert has opened Aloha PiiLani’s Buffet Express on Okemos Road near I-96.

A native Hawaiian (like the president), Rupert’s new Polynesian cuisine restaurant is piggy-backing on her longtime catering business, Aloha PiiLani’s Catering.

From sushi to Spam, the buffet will offer an array of Pacific flavors, such as a curry stew with cod poached in coconut milk, brined salmon, homemade Hawaiian desserts, and the signature Big Kahuna Pulled Pork sandwich, stuffed with tomatoes, peppers, cheese and BBQ sauce.

“I wondered about me coming to Michigan so long ago,” Rupert said. “I think it was to teach (Michiganders) the flavors of the world.”

Aloha PiiLani’s Buffet Express

Okemos Road, Okemos (517) 485-8808 Hours: 6 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-
Saturday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday TO, D, OM, $

Creating Japanese confections at MSU

A sweet taste of Japan is coming to Michigan State University.

Confectionary master Shoji Nishizawa, of Shiga Prefecture (a prefecture is similar to a county) in central Japan, will demonstrate the process and art of confectionary making at the Kellogg Center at 3 p.m. Thursday, May 18.

In addition to learning how confections are traditionally created, spectators will be able to sample the pretty little treats and enjoy some Japanese tea as well. Admission is free.