Ah … the holiday season is upon us. It is time to slow down and turn the focus toward celebrating family and friends. The best way to do that is in a festive, yet informal, environment. It is great to find a place where we can relax and enjoy each other. It’s even better when we don’t have to do any of the cooking or cleaning! One great establishment to accomplish this is Edmund’s Pastime. Located in downtown Lansing, it is right in the middle of all of the city’s holiday magic. It is the perfect place for a special night out, yet it is cozy and friendly enough to accommodate the whole family — kids included. Edmund’s menu is completely unpretentious. Nothing gets fancy here. There are burgers, sandwiches, salads and a few classic entrees like chicken pot pie and fried perch. But the fun starts in the all-day breakfast and the “adult” shakes. Alright, let’s get to the food. My dining partner Emily and I started out with an Edmund’s signature appetizer, the Tator Tot Casserole. Now, nobody tip-off Santa, but these were naughty (oh…wait…maybe that was my Mudslide shake). Arriving in an innocent enough looking dish was a pile of tator tots, ham, cheddar cheese and….cheese sauce. Like ballpark/movie theater-style nacho cheese sauce. Once sampled, your mind goes spiraling into confusion. How old am I? Where am I? Who came up with this? I felt like I had to look around before I got caught. Doing what, I do not know, but somehow I was in trouble. And it was worth it. Throw on some ketchup and you have a humdinger of a unique starter. Next up was the Corned Beef Hash. This was love-at-first-bite for me. A symphony of white potatoes, sweet potatoes, sautéed peppers and onions and corned beef all topped off with rich gravy and two creamy eggs. Since there were not enough carbs in the meal, a side of toast was thrown in for good measure. I loved it, but another friend told me I had undermined its brilliance with more ketchup. And may I digress slightly. I made it clear that Edmund’s caters to all members of the family. As a mother I appreciate that one of my family’s favorite vegetables — ketchup — just makes everything on the menu taste that much better. Now my dining partner Emily couldn’t quite drum up my level of enthusiasm in her gastronomic choice. Maybe she was just jealous. She had gone with the buffalo chicken sandwich. I sampled it and thought it had a ton of flavor. It even had the added bonus of a ranch dipping sauce on the side. I think that because her husband drags her to Edmund’s often, she may have been grumpy at my lack of inventiveness for this review. I had to sweeten her up. So, we had the desserts. There are only two (unless you count the four non-alcoholic and 12 “adult” shakes on the menu). So with much ado we had the apple pie sundae and the brownie sundae. How can you go wrong? Each was a balance of warmth and richness, in apple or chocolate, topped off with ice and whipped cream. Wait! I just realized how you can go wrong — I’m right back to being on the naughty list. Anyway, Edmund’s Pastime pretty much keeps its offerings simple and uncomplicated (minus where you land on Santa’s list in response to how you construct your meal). This can be a blessing as our days become more hectic trying to spread tinsel and cheer. There may not be a lot of razzle dazzle on the menu, but there is solid culinary fun to be had. The razzle dazzle can be seen outside the window with the holiday lights. Warm and informal, the place is perfect for quality time with family and friends as we celebrate this joyous season. So take a moment to slow down and enjoy. Buy Santa an “adult” Oreo Speedwagon shake. That way you can buy your way onto the “nice” list. Just remind him to put ketchup in my stocking —not coal.
Colette Evangelista sells certified organic, non-toxic beauty, health, baby and home products at www.healthandhopeorganics.com. Twenty percent of her profits go to Ascending Above Autisim, a charity that helps parents pay for autism treatment.