eating indie in indy

  • Stacey and Rick 007
  • Klaus 005
  • Courses 003
  • courses 014
  • Rockstone 006
  • Big Lug 003
  • los challaquilles and big lug 022
  • redemption 367
  • Himalaya Kabob 035


Stacey and Rick’s Soul Food 3399 N. Sherman Dr.

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This place is primarily a take out meat and two joint. It does offer 2 booths on opposing ends that will accommodate 8 bodies; if they know each other well. Their small meals are a reasonable $10.

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I decided on a small tip dinner with greens and mac and cheese.

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Well the tips they serve are some of the skinniest I have had in a while. The meat was still tasty,just not a whole lot of it. Their sauce seemed to be a mixture of a prepared BBQ sauce doctored up with some hot sauce. Nice flavor just pretty commonplace. The greens were pretty good,hardly if any meat but they still held that hearty greens taste. The mac and cheese was pretty boring though. Cooked macaroni and a weak cheese sauce. The corn bread tasted like Jiffy. Which is fine with me,I like all types of corn bread; Jiffy included.

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So I would give this place a 3+ out of 5. Good greens and decent cornbread and a fried pork chop that Persnickety Pat liked. I am sure their other food is at least as tasty,it just isn’t a destination for me. However I think if it was in my neighborhood I would try other things if for no other reason than curiosity. And to support local independents.

Claus’ German Sausage and Meat ( formally Klemms) 1845 S.Shelby St.

Long before there was Smoking Goose there was Claus and before that Klemms. The latter two are the same family owned enterprise that has been in Indy for 100 years. Here is a link to their website.

Claus’, as Klemm’s before has had a big impact on the local population;especially the sizable German immigrants. It has only been in the last few years local restaurants and bars have started taking advantage of the name and price point that Claus offers. When anyone talks of doing some serious grilling they head to Claus’. They also make various luncheon meats. Their braunschweiger ( both soft and coarse with bacon) and liverwurst (fresh or smoked) are my default proteins for a snack. A few slices with crackers,cheese and a beverage is a wonder way to spend an afternoon with friends or by yourself.

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Saturday morning I awoke with a craving for said treats and headed to Claus’

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That long golden thing is a 1 and 1/2 pound roll of soft Brauschweiger. The loop is a pound of fresh liverwurst. The bunch of sausages are called sizzlers. This is one pound worth,about a dozen. I have no idea why they are called sizzlers. I do know they are a great replacement for jerky.

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This is what the soft Braunschweiger looks like on the inside. This delightful mixture is easily spread on toast and practically melts in your mouth.

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Now this is what I had in mind when I went to Claus’. The Braunschweiger with slices of CoJack cheese and the Liverwurst with Ritz crackers. I strongly recommend their Bacon crackers. Now this is how I spent part of my afternoon. The only thing I didn’t show was the beverage. In this case it was a pint of Bitburger beer. Oh and yes that is a paper plate.


One Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Pat and I didn’t go to lunch this week. Our designated day is Wednesday and he threw me over for a project he had to do for his wife. I thought of going solo but I became engrossed with my own project. I bought some bundled computer courses that will teach me something about web development and coding. I am still waiting for the web developers I have contacted to get back to me about the restaurant site I mentioned the last week. The odds of me learning enough to do it alone; before I fade to a constant state of forgetfulness is remote. Never the less the more I learn the better I will feel. That being said; here begins my 10,000 words.

Wednesday evening Ivy Tech Culinary School presented a wine and food pairing. It was a success. Here are the wines we sampled.

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They served up 3 food items for the whites.

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This is the back side of the same plate shown before.

I had a really good time. Mostly because I was seated with 3 very charming ladies that made the event all the more festive. We chatted about the wines, restaurants and food. We even compared a few notes on the proper preparation of greens. As a matter of fact we have a date for lunch at Courses next Wednesday.

The following picture is of the food paired with the reds.

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I don’t plan on naming each individual dish. Suffice to say it featured, fish,beef, fruit,bread, veggies and some cheese.

Today I went to Courses for lunch. I made a reservation Monday when I learned the menu. Since they try to keep things fresh they decide on the items they will be serving at nearly the last-minute.

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For my first course I chose sautéed trout with “fatty liver”, whipped potatoes and a quail egg.

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My entre was a smoked lamb chop. Again with potatoes and veggies.

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I found myself in a minor quandary, the same as last week regarding the duck. Instead of rare chops mine were medium. In no way was that a disaster it was merely confusion on my part. I asked the hostess,an upperclassman if they discounted two culinary norms or if it was a “goof”. She went back to the Chef and asked. I was informed that they try to put out duck and lamb as mid-rare,but when dealing with students sometimes stuff happens. That made me feel better. I thought maybe someone had changed some of the “rules”.

For dessert I had espresso bean po o creme, with sweet companions.

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The wine was something I added on. It was a glass of their Barons De Rothschild Haut Medoc 2010. It meshed really well with every facet of the dessert. So for my last 1000 words here is a shot of my Japanese Cherry Blossom tea.  That started my lunch so it seem fitting the cherries were part of the dessert. The cherries in the glass and the wee little cherry in the cake.

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One More Restaurant Review Site?

You may or not have noticed the badges at the bottom of each of my posts. Currently it is Zomato and Tabelog. Prior to Zomato it was Urbanspoon. All of these are Restaurant listing sites that allow people to voice their opinion and write reviews. They differ from Yelp in that a Blogger has the opportunity to link their posts to the site.

Urbanspoon was started in Seattle and eventually it spread around the world. Last year it was bought out by Zomato ,an India based venture. Admittedly it was a little rough getting used to it but I thought it was something I could get used to. I do know that part of Zomato’s appeal was their willingness to visit businesses in person to obtain their pertinent information. Gradually they ended the personal trips and started relying on Email. A few weeks ago they laid off all of their US employees. Now all inquiries go to India. Hardly the personal touch.

Tabelog is a smaller version of Zomato. It is headquartered in Japan. It has “1 -11 employees” in NYC. I tried to link up 2 of my older posts to their site with no success. I was informed it would take 1 to 3 days. It has been 8. I also linked my most recent post to Tabelog as well as Zomato.

So I am thinking that any site that wants to list Hoosier restaurants and allow diners to write reviews should have a presence in Indianapolis.

So I am in the very preliminary steps of determining if it is possible for me and my resources to develop a site like the old Urbanspoon. Like Zomato. Like Tabelog.

So I need some comments. Something simple. What would be a good name for it. That’s it. A restaurant site for reviewers and bloggers to write about Indianapolis restaurants. Sourced in Indianapolis and staffed by folks here. Any help would be appreciated.

Courses Restaurant 2820 N. Meridian St.

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Pretty impressive menu isn’t it. What makes it even more impressive is the service is prepared by students. I have written about Courses before and I will probably write about it again. The reason is obvious. You receive a 4 star meal at 2 star prices. Also part of the proceeds and all the gratuities go to their scholarship fund.

The hardest part of the meal was deciding on what to have. The menu offered some true French Classics. I decided on the sweetbreads appetizer and duck entrée.

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This dish was expertly prepared and a joy to eat. The sweetbreads had a smooth and creamy interior and a crisp exterior that held its own with the crusted potato cake it rested upon. Between the two was the carmelized onions and pieces of bacon;as though you didn’t get enough decadence with the sweetbreads alone. A stellar dish.

Now for the Duck. Without getting in the technical weeds a couple of comments about duck. Most duck consumed in the U.S. is White Pekin. This dish traditionally uses the  Moulard (Mulard, in French). This is the duck raised for its liver. Which does make a difference in eating. The meat of the Moulard is richer and “beefier” than their American cousin. The Moulard was used for this dish.

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This dish was everything I expected it to be with one minor exception. It was a bit overcooked. I expect duck to be rare or mid rare. This was a shade more medium. In no way did it detract from the over all effect of the dish or in my enjoyment. I may have enjoyed it more were it bloodier but only marginally. The “beefy” fowl married to the creamy liver was a treat. The potatoes and veggies were tasty as well but were minor actors in this play. I love liver in all forms and to me foie gras is to liver as Roquefort is to Bleu cheese;the best.

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Patrick opted for the Charcuterie plate and the beef entrée. He is a meat and potatoes kind of guy.

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2015-11-5 Courses.

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I am afraid the picture doesn’t do the dish justice. We didn’t get the mashed potatoes or skinny green beans and carrot in the shot,so all you can see is a mass of meat and sauce. Yeah I am pretty sure it was a sauce; a delicious sauce; not a gravy. The difference between a sauce and gravy is the use of flour to thicken.

Well as Pat already said we got the cherries in puff pastry and Pot o Creme for desert and shared.

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Needless to say both dishes were excellent. I can’t say enough good things about this place. Every time I go I leave satisfied and happy. Also I have been through different semesters so the fact that they stay consistently excellent is a testimony to Ivy Tech.

Courses Restaurant


Courses Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rockstone Pizza Pub 1435 E. 86th Street.

Well; should the address look familiar there is a reason for it. This pizza place is right next door to the Big Lug. There are 2 other Rockstone Pizzas in town. Fishers and downtown. I have never been to either one but I think the one in Nora is the best. Why? Maybe because they are right next door to a Brewery. More importantly the “Family” Brewery. Yep this place is part of the Sahms family.

Last week when we left Big Lug we noticed that Rockstone had just opened the same day. We had to go have a look-see and liked what we saw. They offered wood fired pizza and pasta as well as all the stuff you would want in an Italian styled eatery.

The place is, as you may expect, beautifully appointed. The tapper area is a polished stainless steel curved to follow the contour of the bar. This is the best pictures I could take.

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I know it is hard to see with all the shine from the stainless but it is a magnificent sight.A curved wall of shiny steel with all those beer teats sticking out, ready to serve.

The prices were in line with what you might expect from a “premium” pizza joint. Pat got a 10 inch Classic Trio for $10.95. That was a wood fired pie with sausage, pepperoni and crimini mushrooms with house sauce and mozzarella cheese.

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I opted for one of their Focaccia Sandwiches. I chose the Roast Porketta. That is shredded roasted pork topped with carmelized onion and arugula. I chose that because it was a simple construct. Pig and sweet onion with a slightly bitter green. Their execution was pretty good. The onion was actually carmelized and they weren’t chintzy with the arugula. So the result was pretty good, but I don’t think it would take much to make it excellent.

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The bread is house made and very good. The individual components fit well together but I think the portion and dispersal could be reconsidered. Adding a bit more meat and onion would help,but if nothing else make sure the product goes all across the bread to give a through cover. A couple of the bites were a bit dry.

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Well I forgot my soup. My focaccia was$8.95 and came with a side.I chose a bowl of Shrimp Bisque. I got a big bowl of soup. It had a great flavor and a very nice texture. I ate the entire bowl, with a bit of help from Pat. So no wonder I had to take half of my sandwich home.

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I had a half of a slice of Pat’s pizza and I was quite impressed. Now I will be torn when I return. Sandwich or pie. They also have wood fired pasta dishes,so that is something to keep in mind. Pat and I were both pleased.

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This is the oven. Beautiful ain’t it.

Rockstone Pizza Nora. Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Big Lug Canteen 1435 E. 86th Street

Well we have another Brewery in Indy. Or as some folks called it a few years ago Nap Town. This particular place is unique if only in the fact that it is part of the Sahms’ Family of businesses. The Sahm family has been involved in the restaurant business for more years than I can remember,and I think their total stands at 10 across the city. So we have pretty high expectations for this, their first endeavor into brewing. They opened this past Monday and on Tuesday I went in to have a look. The place is a two-story beauty right on the Monon Trail at the corner of 86th St. and Westfield Blvd. To ease some of the traffic problems on 86th they provided a cut in onto Westfield Blvd. Good for them.

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This sign is a large sheet of plate steel with the name cut out by laser or water jet. Pretty dramatic. I was told that the cutouts were used for a sign in the upstairs dining area. I didn’t check that out then I thought I would wait until I came back. They offer their beers in sizes ranging from 20 oz. to 7 oz. The prices go from $6 to $3. So that means you can try 2 different beers and consume less than a pint doing it. I had a pint of their IPA and a Hoss-Dip appetizer for $7. The app was melted mozzarella cheese,topped with avocado mixed with Greek yogurt;Greekamole; spicy hummus and a black bean and corn salsa served with a big side of Frito scoops. The dip was pretty tasty. A nice bite to go with a beer.

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Today we both went,and we were both impressed with the space. An up stairs deck;overlooking the trail and an expansive patio mere feet from the Monon.

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These are the cutouts from the outdoor sigh;downstairs.

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These are the remaining letters.

Not only do they offer smaller pours for their beers they also offer half sandwiches and half salads. They even have a Big Lug Half N’ Half. That is a half a sandwich and a half a salad for 2 bucks off the regular price. That is what I opted for. A Bahn Lug; their facsimile of a Vietnamese sandwich with Smoked Pork Belly, Chicken Pate and Bahn Mi vegetables. I married that with a half Judo Chop Salad. The salad was a bowl of mixed greens topped with ham and cappacola as well as olives and bleu cheese. My choice may seem odd but all the flavors worked well together and there could not be any complaining on the size of my meal.

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Patrick decided on a BLT with grilled chicken and avocado; a full size and a half salad as a side.

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We spent $11 each for our sandwiches, a price I think is more than reasonable. The menu they give is unique and from what I have had well prepared. So. Good food. Good beer. Good prices. I especially liked that they offer “specialty” salads and each one offered a protein,be it chicken, veggie patty or ham. Basically all of their salads;except the House salad was a version of what could be called a Chef Salad. I am really excited about this place and what it can do to revitalize Nora.

Big Lug Canteen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Los Chilaquiles 4930 Lafayette Road Suite E

Pat is out-of-town so I am left to my own devices this week. I was torn between Asian and Mexican. At the last-minute I opted for Mexican. The joint I chose has a pretty good record of reviews;although none more recent than 2013; and the menu seemed more than adequate. I had planned on ordering chilaquiles. I mean they named the joint after them. However I decided on tacos instead. Chilaquiles are okay but a good taco is always welcome to me. I know you are thinking. It is a tortilla with stuff in it,so what is the big deal? Well there are tacos. And then there are Tacos. What does a good taco look like? Something like this.

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But more on that in a minute.

Normally a Mexican style joint gives you chips and salsa with you first come in. This joint offers up toasted bread and quince jelly. I think that is a pretty good alternative.

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They offer tamales on the menu. Two with beans and rice for $5.99. Unfortunately they were out so rather than think it through I just ordered beef tongue tacos. Three tacos with beans and rice for differing prices;depending on the protein option. The lingua tacos were $7.29.

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I wasn’t being entirely facetious when I was going on about the noble taco. It is tasty and wondrously simple. It doesn’t need all of that lettuce and tomato and cold shredded cheese. Not in my estimation. It needs to be a good amount of meat in 2 warm,yet soft corn tortillas. Warm enough to be pliable and fresh enough to smell the aroma of corn as you bring it to your mouth. These qualify. The cilantro and onion were an optional addition. They added a few radish and cucumber slices as well as a lime wedge which is more than enough for me. As for the beans and rice I guess they have become obligatory. The beans were pretty good. Nice and creamy. The rice was pretty boring. White rice cooked off with Sazon or bijol to give it that “saffron” color but no real flavor. Nothing more than a plate filler in my estimation.

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The tomatillo salsa was pretty good also; it added a bit of zip to the meat. Of course the star was the tongue. Exceptionally moist and tender and as you can see a good amount of it

My eyes were bigger than my stomach though. For some strange reason I ordered a Mollettes single. A yeast roll cut in half,buttered and topped with beans and cheese for $3.99. You can buy 2 rolls, 4 pieces topped with various chiles and meats for differing prices. The 2 I ordered were really good. They would be a wonder bar snack. Mollettes and cerveza. Now that would definitely work.

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Four bucks for that. Amazing. Well it is nice to know that the quality of the food is still high,even though folks aren’t writing reviews. The service was pretty good. I can see a possible language issue and if they get really busy the pace might have to be increased but the 2 young ladies I dealt with were quite pleasant. They also open at 9 AM for breakfast. To me chilaquiles is a breakfast dish. Red chile,sausage and eggs. No better way to start your day.

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Los Chilaquiles Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Redemption Alewerks 7035 E. 96th Street.

Today we headed North to Fishers; the high rent district. It seems as though the new breweries,with few exceptions,have bypassed the far north of the Metropolitan area. That is why I was surprised when I realized that I had missed this one. It is a new construction in a strip mall in a heavily traveled area of the North side.

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It is an attractive joint and the brewing equipment is highly visible as you enter.

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As soon as you walk in you are greeted by the large semi-circular bar in front of you and the aroma of smoked meat and brewing beer all around you. If that doesn’t get your appetite up and running you are a lost cause.

The menu offers some unique items not usually found on a beer joint’s menu. Battered and deep-fried artichoke hearts or a basket of hush puppies on the appetizer menu. The artichokes at $7.49 are reasonably priced,I supposed, as I have never seen them on a menu around here. I do question the pups being priced at $8.49 though. I think across the board the food prices are a bit higher than what you would find at joints closer to the city.

We thought the beer they brew is excellent,having a beginning,middle and finish. Something desirable in food as well as drink. The pricing is from $5 to $6.50,with imperial pints selling for the higher price. That is the going rate for a lot of microbrews. They do offer a flight of 6 5 oz. glasses for $10,but I was told they would be raising the price to $12. So that may be incentive to go sooner than later.

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Pat’s sandwich was $10.49. Frankly I thought that a bit high for a below average portion. If I may digress a bit on the sliced vs pulled “controversy” pulling as opposed to slicing would save some money.

The sandwich I ordered was unique to me. It included items that I would not necessarily put together but I was intrigued. Here is the description from the menu. Alewerks Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Himalayan Kabob Corner 6066 E. 82nd St.

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Cute name isn’t it. I have never had Nepali or Afghani food before,so that is why we decided on Himalaya. When we arrived we were surprised to find a $10 buffet. We also learned that the place had new owners;as of September 1. A Russian married couple. The chef was the same so the food would not miss in the translation. The buffet line was small but nicely done and well stocked.

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I was impressed with the quality of the preparation. Each dish was impeccably seasoned. No one spice took control and none of the dishes were spicy hot. I especially liked the spinach and lentils. However I couldn’t find one single weak link. They offered kabob options,sans skewer in chicken and ground beef.

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The beef was really nicely done. Little torpedos of meat that still had a touch of pink in the center. The chicken in tomato sauce offered a bonus as the sauce was a good cover for the Jasmine rice.

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Before I forget they have an excellent chicken noodle soup. A goodly amount of noodles in a wonderfully tasty broth.

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They also offer a dumpling I believe it is called a Manto. Seasoned turkey and the only dish with onion in it. It was superb. No pictures though. One last thing. As we finished the owner brought us a piece of fresh Baklava. It was the best I have had so far in town.

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They have the buffet as a weekly lunch time affair. In the evening and on week ends they offer an extensive ala carte menu. They show the menu on their website and as you can see the prices are more than reasonable. Besides where else can you get Nepali food from a restaurant owned by a Russian couple, in Indianapolis.

Himalaya Kabob Korner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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