We finally made it to Thai Spice, we wanted to go there for quite some time but something always interfered. It is located on S. County Line Rd.right across the street from Greenwood Shopping Center.Thai food is one of my favorite “ethnic ” foods;I just don;t eat it very often,because I’ve become wee bit of a sissy when it comes to spicy.Pat and I both order our dishes medium;which worked out real well.They offer approximately a dozen lunch specials all for $7.98. Each special comes with a cup of lemon grass soup;a veggie egg roll and a won ton wrapped fried banana with simple syrup.
To me egg rolls are all texture; from the fried crunch of the outer wrapper to the veggie crunch of the interior cabbage.They are almost always good and are a perfect appetizer;and this roll was no exception.The surprise was the banana;think plantain in a blanket;a little sweetness is always good at the start of the meal.As for the soup it was sophisticated in its humility and delicious.A simple broth a little savory,a little spicy with bits of tomato and tiny button mushrooms floating in it;if that don’t amuse your bouche;your bouche must be broken.
Now to our main plates.Pat ordered Padd Won Sen,Bean thread noodle with veggies and your choice of protein.Neither one of us had the foggiest idea what bean thread noodles are;and we still don’t;yet.I opted for the more ubiquitous Padd Thai with pork,I really dig rice noodles with sprouts,and they tossed in some dried baby shrimp and ground peanuts for laughs.Pat’s dish was a lot prettier than mine;with all the broccoli;pea pods and baby corn. But the flavor profiles were much the same;spicy and sweet,and the portions were more than generous.But just when you thought no mas you got your second stomach into the act and you were able to finish the plate.I’ve never made a concerted effort to study the intricacies of “oriental ” cooking;I’m no stranger to the basics but I would like to keep the nuances of Thai food mysterious and exotic.And as long as the result is as delicious as Thai Spice I won’t care at all how they do it.
- Thai style chicken noodle soup – a meal in itself! (tastyadvice.wordpress.com)
To all you folks that recognize Duos as a very popular traveling food truck, I have good news for you. They now have a permanent location at the Northwest corner of 30th and Meridian streets. The entrance to the parking lot is on 30th St., it’s really hard to miss. The building used to house an insurance company for several years. I am not sure what is in it now but it appears to be several different companies. They have a grand cafeteria that I believe used to be a proper food court now it only has Duos. They serve breakfast and lunch from 7 AM to 2 PM Monday through Friday only. And since they have more space. They can offer more stuff.
On the day that Pat and I went, they had six more or more specials plus a fully stocked salad bar. Pat decided on a baked penne dish, with chicken and mushrooms and what appeared to be a cross between bechamel and Alfredo. He really loved it even though he had to spend a few minutes pulling out the shallots. You see Patrick has a thing about onions; he can’t eat them. Otherwise, his body, has a strange and according to him a rather repulsive reaction. They did forewarn him but he thought it was worth the effort anyway. I tried the quinoa croquettes.they were very reminiscent of falafel, only patty shaped not little balls. A nice cumin flavor that went well with the slightly spicy creme on top. The only weak link in the plate was the bed of slaw the croquettes were resting on. The special came with a choice of two sides. Roasted new potatoes or slaw, I opted for the slaw; oops. I thought the texture and sweetness of the slaw would match up well with the croquettes. The texture was there. However, a little bit rough for my tastes, and the slaw itself lacked the flavor I had expected. But hey,not every at-bat leads to a home run. For dessert we split a two pack of cookies. They were some sort of cappuccino cookie, after the first two bites I wasn’t sure what to make of them. But the more I eat, the more I like them. I attribute my initial puzzlement to the fact that I de-coffeed myself some time back.
Since yesterday was such a beautiful day. We decided it was time for an excursion into Irvington.That little part of Indy certainly has grown up. In the olden days; all that was there was a Dunkin’ Donuts and the Butler inn.Now it has some legit eateries and their own Brew Pub.Of course the pub doesn’t open until 4 pm during the week;I guess they don’t feel that there is a market for the old fart afternoon beer drinking crowd.But I digress.
The legends Café is a quaint and cozy little place. I can’t believe we haven’t been there before. We met up with a friend , Jim, who lives in the area. As a matter of fact he is the one that suggested legends. Their menu has a nice assortment of deli meats, cheeses, toppings and breads. You can order one of their preselected combos, or build your own. Any selection can be Panini grilled and is available as a half (4 $) or whole (7-9$).They also offer”hot entrées”. These are in the $7-$8 range and come with one or two sides. All of their ground beef comes from a farm in Greenfield, Indiana. And I assume that means it’s probably grass-fed. Their portions are quite rational. A quarter pound burger, 5 ounce chicken breast and meatloaf in the 5 to 6 ounce range.Their sides are as unique as they are extensive;and not one fried item among them.
Pat had a whole turkey and cheddar;grilled.I opted for the “special”;a half of a brisket san on dark pumpernickel with a side of baked mac and cheese.Jim ordered what I should have gotten,chicken breast with a side of pepperjack mac and snap peas.The chicken was lightly dusted in seasoned flour;crisped in the fry pan and finished in the oven.Crispy exterior,moist and tender interior.The pepperjack mac and cheese was “da bomb” and I haven’t seen steamed snap peas on a menu since Shaffer’s in Glendale.My regular mac and cheese was good as well it just wasn’t pepper Jacky. I’m not going to say Legends deli meats were the best I’ve ever had but I am going to say that they are first-rate and with their prideful attention to detail I don’t think you will be disappointed.I am going to say that their sides are better than good so that should show you that these folks can cook.I also think the pumpernickel they use is the best I’ve had in some time.I meant to ask Stephanie(our server) where they got it,but I forgot. Speaking of servers when I asked Stephanie if I could take her picture for this blog,she hesitated.She did acquiesce if I took it with her and Jim. I still don’t know what to think of that.One last thing on servers.The servers at Legend all wear black;a uniform if you will.I know that flies against the current trend for independents to view employee dress codes with disdain;but sometimes it’s nice to be able to tell a server from a stranger that just wandered in.
Have you ever felt like a cold sandwich for lunch?You know the kind you could fix at home;if you had access to a bunch of fixins’.Brown bagging;without the bag.That’s how Pat and I felt Thursday so we went to the Star Sandwich Shop,on Delaware St,across from the City Market.It appears to be rather popular with the busy downtown crowd.They make all the sandwiches in advance and store them in a refrigerated merchandise cabinet.They offer the usual assortment of bottled water,juices and fountain soft drinks.They also offer pre-made salads and homemade hot soups.They offer a rather extensive variety of sandwiches;however you can’t get one “custom made”which could be a problem for some one like Pat;who is allergic to onion and detests mayo.However we checked out the menu in advance and we knew what to expect.Pat had a plain turkey with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat.I had their turkey with lettuce,tomato,provolone and cranberry sauce;all on a hoagie style roll.I also tried their sour cream and dill potato salad and sesame noodles.The potato salad needed some acidity to curb the richness of the sour cream and a lot more dill;for my taste.The noodles were very good I’d eat them again any time.All in all we think this joint’s worth trying.You know the sandwiches are fresh and they do have a good selection.From the classic;PB&J to the less common egg salad with bacon.So next time you’re downtown and you want a sandwich that isn’t grilled or deep-fried and aren’t in the mood for a “footlong”try Star.
I was really looking forward to our excursion to the Patriots Table. The menu seemed extensive and the reviews were rather diverse. They almost seemed to break on age groups. Older folks liked it , younger folks did not. One fellow even decided not to go in when he saw the condition of the parking lot (it had been re-patched many times). I guess he didn’t stray too far from Carmel or the immediate downtown area. The place is spacious all dark wood even some that appeared to be old barn beams.The patriotic theme and the military memorabilia was an excellent choice and a nice change of pace from the more usual modern “clutter”.
They offer a senior menu, with smaller portions at lower prices. Their regular menu has pretty good prices to begin with. Since Pat and I qualify as legitimate seniors we ordered off the senior menu. Pat chose the 7 inch personal pizza, with two toppings for about five dollars. The crust was definitely of the premade frozen variety. However the sauce and toppings were generously applied and the pie was nice and crisp. Overall Pat thought it was a pretty good job. I opted for the calf’s liver. A plate lunch featuring liver and onions with gravy, mashed potatoes with more gravy, country-style green beans and coleslaw. All for around six bucks. I won’t quibble about the age of the cow that sacrificed its organ for my lunch, however I can definitely say the liver was overcooked, and the onions were far from caramelized. The gravy on the liver was a brown mix gravy, a pretty good mix though. I think a good mix beats a bad scratch gravy every time; if for no other reason than consistency. Mashed potatoes were instant and the gravy was a tasteless white gravy mix. Why the difference I have no idea. The green beans were typical canned cooked down with bacon pieces, tasty but common.For some reason some lady walked over (an employee, not a total stranger) while I was chewing asking about my liver (my luncheon liver not my beer soaked personal one) and furthermore commented that their country green beans were the best in the world.She was raised in the country and she knew what she was talking about. After I had swallowed was able to speak again the only thing I could think to say was “I haven’t eaten all the green beans in the world so I really couldn’t say”. At that point Pat intervened and they had a pleasant little chat about country living as a child. The only reason I mention this is I had the impression that if I told her that I thought the beans sucked she would argue with me.Adjacent to the dining room they have an ice cream parlor that serves 27 different varieties; they also make their own cobbler. But we were too full to even think about dessert. You see even though my lunch was mediocre I could still clean my plate; that’s what a pro does.As for the coleslaw it was pretty good, they make their own dressing it was just a little sweet for me to eat it all.
Before I sign off I would like to mention a few peeves of mine about eating out. Servers: when inquiring about your tables please do not ask “how’s everything tasting?”; And always assume the customer wants change back. Asking if they want change is like pandering for a tip.and customers: if you don’t want change tell your server that, it’ll save them an extra trip. Also 10% is no longer the minimum tip.
So to sum it up if you like average food in large quantities cheap and want sitdown service then this is your kind of place.
This week’s target was the Red Lion in Fountain Square. Pat and Fran had been there before so it wasn’t a complete mystery. The location is the old GC Murphy lunch counter; so it’s not too big of a space. Our server Katie told us up front she was fighting a hangover;something I’m sure we can all appreciate. I told her before lunch is over I would have to take her picture for my blog. She groaned, and then posed obligingly. However due to her frail condition at the time I won’t publish her picture; especially since I remembered to take pictures of our food. Patrick decided on a Hoosier tradition, a breaded tenderloin. He declared it a first-rate effort. A nice portion of tender meat with minimal breading; just enough to protect the flesh and offer a pleasant crunch. All their sandwiches come with fries, or you could substitute baked beans, or tater tots. They hand cut all their fries and the result is a great 7/16 skin on french fry properly fried and seasoned. Naturally I chose the meatloaf sandwich with tater tots. The meatloaf came on toasted white bread, with a little dab of gravy, Swiss cheese and topped with onion rings. The meatloaf was well-prepared however to me it was too peppery. I don’t believe it was the gravy I think it was the meatloaf. The two onion rings on top were crispy and tasty. However, the bread could have been a whole lot crisper. The slightly crisp bread coupled with the gravy made the bread more chewy then crisp. Overall I think lunch was quite good.It gives me a “hankering” for some of their more substantial fare. Like ; bubble and squeak, bangers and mash, and hot pie. However if I ever go back to that particular place is still debatable. I will explain later.
I discovered a new beer; a Triton Brown ale. Katie first told me it was a double barrel Brown from Triton. And then she told me it was Sweet Georgia Brown from Triton. In either event it was delicious.Today I went to their website and discovered all they had was a double brown, no Sweet Georgia Brown. Now I am confused. No matter, as that Shakespeare fella said that which we call a rose etc.
Now back to the buzz kill. I took pictures of our server Katie, a delightful Fat Tire neon sign at the end of the bar as well as our food. No problem. We were sitting at a deuce next to a wooden partition that separated the kitchen from the dining area,it was all of 5 foot high. When I stood to take a picture of the kitchen I was told by someone in a position of authority that picture-taking was not allowed. I thought it was funny. I asked Katie what would happen if “the big boss” caught me taking pictures. Would he confiscate my camera or what. She told me, in a joking fashion that he would “beat me up”.I had no problem with what had transpired up to that point. It was their prerogative to allow pictures or not. However they could have handled it differently. What appalled me was the fact that prior to this we got smiles and in general acknowledgment of our existence. Afterwards we were treated as pariahs.No one spoke to us or even looked at us. That led to an interesting situation in trying to get our check and pay our bill and leave. It doesn’t negate the fact that the food is decent, the prices are okay and the service is good, as long as you don’t piss off the Boss Lady. Any issue I might have with this joint is just that, my issue. The joint is worth trying. Just keep the cameras in your pocket.
11 – MaybeShow of hands who has never been to the peppy Grill? I don’t see too many hands. It’s no wonder the peppy Grill is an Indianapolis institution. Back in the day it was always the final destination after an evening of partying. Unless you met a friend in which case you went to waffle house; that always seemed a classier joint to take a lady.Now at my age it’s just a great place to go for a good lunch. The one in Fountain Square is sort of small and seems to be constantly busy. Pat had their Wisconsin cheddar soup and half ham and cheese sandwich both of which he found to be tasty, good honest food that hit the spot on a particularly nasty day.I chose the meatloaf plate, a thick slab of meat loaf with mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans. The meatloaf was nicely seasoned and well made. The green beans were pretty good with little pieces of bacon in them. The potatoes were instant but nicely seasoned and the gravy fit pretty well even though it came out of a mix.Afterwords Pat ordered a piece of pistachio pie. All their pies are made in-house by the nighttime cook. I had a little taste and thought it was pretty good. The crust appeared to be of the of the prebake variety,but the filling was quite tasty and was covered with a whole lot of whipped cream rosettes. The consistency of the filling seemed like a marriage of pistachio pudding and gelatin. But nevertheless I thought it worked. So if you’re just plain hungry and want an honest simple yet tasty meal don’t forget the peppy Grill.
05 – Bungle In The Jungle (2001 Digital Remaster) There’s a new place in broad Ripple.it’s the SoBro Cafe, it’s on 52nd St. just around the corner from the Red Key. There were three of us this time when we went, Pat’s, wife Fran joined us.It’s a cute little place, cozy not all pretentious considering it’s locale.Their big deal are pancakes, both savory and sweet. I think it’s a Dutch thing.Fran tried one of their pancakes, I think it was called the Popeye, full of spinach peppers and onions and I can’t remember what else. She thought it was pretty good however she would’ve preferred the peppers and onions to be sautéed. She did try the soup of the day, bean soup; and declared it the best she had ever eaten, that includes her own. Patrick had his usual grilled cheese, pretty exciting. They have a house soup which is a Thai coconut, the broth was delicious. The stuff inside I thought was superfluous. Tiny diced chicken, mushrooms and corn kernels just seems unnecessary. I also think toast fingers would have better suited the soup then fried wonton. I also had a salad, they offered it with chicken, steak or tempeh. I chose tempeh and it was nicely done. The only thing I can add to their salad prep is possibly refreshing the salad mix with cold water and draining it for service; and change your carrots to shredded.They make all their own dressings, I used tahini lemon; it too is pretty tasty however I think adding some lemon zest to the dressing would increase the lemon flavor.Their chef definitely has skill when it comes to vegetarian cooking. Normally I wouldn’t offer suggestions to any restaurant, however I really do want this place to be successful. I think the staff deserves it.Oh I almost forgot one of the most important parts they sell Sun King for four bucks! ***A few weeks back I made a solo trip back to Sobro.I tried Chai for the first time.I have no idea what it is” supposed ” to taste like; but WOW it was like a festival in my mouth.Sweet,then cardamon then cinnamon with a final hit of clove.Very cool.I also ate their Good Burger.I am hardly an expert on veggie fare but this was a GOOD BURGER no matter what was in it.From the mixed greens to the Roma tomatoes to the buttery avocado I think it matches up with any burger around; animal or vegetable.Also the home-made ketchup is great to dip your Lays chips in.I down loaded the pictures right after my visit;tardy me just now got around to write about it.If you haven’t been there why?Oh,back to the Chai.I hear it’s the owner’s own special blend.
If I had to choose one word to describe Maxine’s when I first walked in, it would be professional. The place was extremely busy and yet everyone appeared to be moving efficiently and professionally. We didn’t want to wait for the fried chicken; because they do it right, they cook it to order and it was going to take 35 min. So Pat opted for a blueberry pancakes breakfast, and I picked salmon cakes and greens.before all that we decided to share some fried green tomatoes. They were excellent, the sauce they served with them was slightly reminiscent of big boy sauce. They also give you complementary corn cakes and home-made peach butter. The corn cakes were pretty good but the peach butter was first-rate . The pancakes are for real, homemade with real blueberries. The salmon cakes were definitely old school, thick and crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. I would not have minded if the potatoes had been fried crisper, but what is not to like about fried potatoes. Oh, I almost forgot about the greens they were probably the best I have had in town, to date. Be forewarned they are spicier than what you would usually expect. All in all this is a place worth going to and worth going back to.When you do go make sure you give yourself enough time to try the fried chicken, I know I will.
The Steer In has been a staple in Indy’s food scene for a long time;and with good reason.When we first sat down I couldn’t help but notice my neighbor’s plate of meatloaf.A big slab with potatoes and gravy;the perfect elixir for a chilly,rainy day.But I resisted the impulse to order it immediately and went through the menu.They have an extensive new menu.Matter of fact it’s so complete that if you can’t find something to eat either you aren’t hungry or you are too picky to eat out.They offer pizza,with fresh made dough and with that comes various Italian style sandwiches.They also have a section of favorites that includes among other things the aforementioned meatloaf and beef and noodles;which is what I had.Tender chunks of beef with spaetzle style noodles.The noodle choice was an excellent one; just enough “tooth”to balance the smoothness of the real mashed potatoes.They even serve Hoosier green beans;cooked down with bacon.Not that easy to find.Pat wanted a stuffed pizza;which we had on good authority was excellent.However figure on a 40 minute wait time;so he got a mushroom, jack burger instead.And of course it was great;their burgers are always great.Our other companion;Jim; ordered a Pizza Bomb.Toasted Hoagie bread with pepperoni,salami,peppers and onions,topped with red sauce and cheese.It gave him a Happy Danish face,actually we all had Happy faces when we got through.The pictures on this post were all taken by me with my camera phone;they’re not so hot.Trust me the food is a lot better than the photos.They just started delivery service;I don’t know the delivery area but if you fall into that zone consider yourself a lucky eater.
It’s getting harder and harder to find mom and pop places that serve food that is actually made on premise.I’m not saying that everything should be “scratch made”;there’s quite a few pre-made products out there that are really good.But should’t you spend a little more time on the “center of the plate” than opening a can,or thawing and reheating?This brings us to Papas Pancake House.Back in the day Papas was the place to go for breakfast,when the clubs closed.I’m sure they still serve a great one ;after all breakfast is still the quintessential short order dining event.However we both thought the lunch was lacking.I had a meatloaf Manhattan.Well;the meatloaf tasted as though it had been delivered to them already cooked,sliced and frozen;all they did was thaw and heat.They used instant potatoes and gravy;bland except for the over peppered gravy.Refering back to the analogy I made regarding meatloaf and sides when I wrote about Kountry Kitchen;Papas should go back to school and maybe spend a little more time in Church.Pat ordered a corned beef sandwich;the only question he asked was where did they get it;Kroger or Marsh?It was a rather mediocre store deli beef.Ho hum.We both had soup,vegetable beef,and we both agreed,it was canned.What more is there to say? So Papas best of luck and keep your breakfast,it looks as though it works.
We went to this place quite some time ago and from what I hear it’s gotten more awesomer since then (what do you expect from a liberal arts degree)?Anyhoo this place is the real deal.Just be hungry when you go in ‘cuz they are serious about portions.From the baked chicken to the smothered pork chops to the meat loaf;everything was spot on.I know some of you are saying “Hey TJ;what’s the deal about meat loaf;everyone does meatloaf”,well you’re right but not everyone does it well.I use meatloaf as a standard to determine a cook’s skill;the texture the density and of course the flavor,are all important.Now the sides;if a properly crafted meat loaf is a testimony to a kitchen’s skill then their sides are indications of their soul.That being said then the Kountry Kitchen has the skill of a master carpenter and the soul of a Sunday morning church choir.The smashed potatoes are “dirty” (skin left on) full of butter;the dressing had great texture,with enough veggie crunch to keep your interest and the flavor was solid enough to match any protein choice.As for the greens they were tremendous,deep complex smoky flavor ,the best in the city.The only better I’ve had in this town was at Vee’s on Boulevard Place;but the place closed sometime ago.Oh yeah,cornbread,they have pretty good corn bread.The thing about corn bread and greens you have to resist the urge to eat all the bread with butter or what not and wait ’til you finish the greens.At the bottom of the bowl,or cup you’ll see a green liquid;that’s called pot liquor.Now you take your corn bread,crumble it up and mix it with the liquor and eat it with a spoon.Now that is a country meal.So if you’re hankering for a meal like grams would make this is the place.
UPDATE: This Post was written some time ago. Since that time as I understand it, the establishment has changed owners. I noticed the website is different and the menu is different. I draw no conclusion from that I am merely saying that the food we ate that day may not be the same as you will have now.