She ate


Last week, I read a bizarrely mean-spirited and pointless editorial in the Detroit Free Press, bemoaning the fact that Lansing is the capital of Michigan and generally expressing how terrible our city is. Obviously, I disagree vehemently. I don’t feel like the editorial in question should be dignified with much more of a response than what has already been written by my friend and Lansing State Journal columnist Graham Couch, but it did make me ruminate on something that has been on my mind: the state of downtown Lansing.

Downtown has gone through so many changes in a short period of time. When I was a Cooley Law School student around 2010, downtown was in a heyday. Thousands of young adults packed downtown restaurants and bars most nights. Now Cooley enrollment has plummeted, the pandemic sent many state of Michigan workers into permanent home or hybrid workspaces, and downtown needs time to pivot and recover.

Of course, we all want to see that recovery and help facilitate it. To that end, I have redoubled my focus on supporting downtown businesses. My 6-year-old son loves to visit downtown to look at the giant Christmas tree, eat fries at Weston’s Kewpee Sandwich Shop and select a few treats from the Peanut Shop. I recently relocated my law practice to the firm of Foster Swift, a cornerstone of downtown Lansing, and I couldn’t be happier. It’s incumbent upon all of us to put our money where our mouth is and spend at least a fraction of our time and money in downtown Lansing. I can give you a list of favorites, but the cream of my crop are Sultan’s Express, the New Daily Bagel and my new obsession, Veg Head.

For those of us who care, Veg Head’s online ordering system is intuitive, user-friendly and sends you a text when your food is ready.

I know cauliflower has become a substitute for borderline insane things, like waffles and mashed potatoes, but to be fair, the little guys have a ton of texture if you treat them right and can be extremely satisfying. This is why I’m hard-pressed to order anything other than the Cauliflower Street Tacos ($10) when I go to Veg Head. They’re incredibly nuanced — not only spicy but rich and so satisfying. The creamy avocado pairs perfectly with the spicy, fresh salsa verde, and you could put pickled onions on an old shoe and I’d eat it. If you’re vegan-curious but don’t know where to start, don’t hesitate to dive into these tacos.

If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, try the Nashville Tofu Sandwich ($12). I love tofu because, again, the texture is incredible if you know how to prepare it. The extra water should be pressed out, and only then can you expect perfectly crisp tofu. The Nashville sandwich gives me that big-lunch vibe that I want from a sandwich, but it’s a fraction as heavy in my stomach as a burger would be. The fries are, without fail, crispy, salty and well-seasoned.

December is prime time for holiday lunches, and treats lurk around every corner in my office. Sometimes I just need a filling lunch that isn’t going to make me want to crawl under my desk and rest my eyes. In that scenario, the Roasted Chickpea or Cauliflower bowls ($12) are perfect. Both bowls are packed with fresh ingredients, brimming with quinoa and a dressing of your choice. I’ve  had them both on repeat, and it doesn’t show signs of stopping.

A few years ago, Mr. She Ate and I took a trip to Tucson, Arizona, and visited an amazing vegan Mexican restaurant. We were blown away by the jackfruit tacos, and he was eager to try Veg Head’s barbecue jackfruit sandwich ($10). He devoured it, proclaimed himself satisfied and requested a return visit.

The Free Press writer might have an axe to grind with our fair city, but we know better. She thinks Lansing residents don’t clap back when people criticize our town and claims that we instead tacitly agree. Maybe the real reason is that we don’t need to clap back. We know about our taco trucks, our Lugnuts, our River Trail. We know about snow tubing at Hawk Island Park and eating Mr. Leslie’s Cheesecakes. We don’t argue, because you don’t engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent.  


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