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Upland Brewery Fountain Square 1201 Prospect Street

This is our first visit to this particular outlet but we know enough about the Upland brand to know we would get some good food. They have a comprehensive menu that should interest any appetite. https://uplandbeer.com/fountain-square/

Pat went in all in on the carbs when he ordered Mac & Cheese. A huge bowl of Cavatappi loaded with cheese for $14

My decision was made as soon as Pat told me they offered Bone Marrow. I really enjoy bone marrow but it is very hard to find. I can’t even find it fresh to make at home. So I was pretty excited.

I thought their presentation was spot on. Traditionally marrow is served with a parsley salad . They served theirs with an arugula salad. They also topped the bones with a “toasted almond relish” which didn’t really excite me that much. However what did was the addition of some beatifully pickled slices of a Fresno or Pepadew chile.

They also added some cherry tomato halves which brightened the whole plate up. Overall it was very nicely done. There seemed to have been a slight delay between heating and serving the marrow bones as the marrow was stubborn to get out. Hardly a deal killer as I will definitely get it again. Since my plate was considered an appetizer I was still a bit hungry so I ordered some dessert. A fried apple hand pie for 7 bucks.

Pat and I shared the slice and it was delicious. Fried crust with apples and cinnamon all on a puddle of caramel and topped with ice cream. What more could you want? It also went well with my choice of Champagne Velvet, which was their featured beer for the day so it only cost $4 per pint. I can’t think of a more pleasing lunch. The food, the beverage and the atmosphere were all great.

Good Morning Mama’s 1001 E. 54th Street

Pat and I went to this place a few years ago for lunch. This day we decided on breakfast. This converted gas station has grown quite popular for brunch. Every time I drive by on Saturday or Sunday there is always a line. They have 3 outdoor eating areas so they should be okay regardless of what the Mayor decides.

Pat’s breakfast was called Mama’s and came with 2 eggs, potatoes or grits, biscuit or toast and choice of meat for $6.99 to $8.99 depending on the meat. I chose the same plate with toast, over easy eggs and grits.

Everything was done well. Yolky eggs and grits are the reason I carry a Bottle of Crystal hot sauce with me. It turns good into great. I think this is a great place for a morning meal. Good prices and good quality plus you can good a Mimosa to go with your bacon and grits. Just in case you want to reduce the caffeine in your diet.

Downtown Ollie’s 822 N. Illinois St.

Downtown Ollie’s is one of our favorites places to visit. Pat and Fran are frequent breakfast visitors. Up until this year I would go to my gym downtown on my Birthday and come here for a breakfast of biscuits and gravy and a Bloody Mary. A couple of years ago the ownership changed and as far as I can tell the only thing that has changed is the decor. Ollie’s had a perpetual Christmas theme going on with twinkle lights. The lights are gone and overall the decor is a bit more “grown up”.

It is a shame that Pat’s lunch was sub par but as he said they have a bunch of other stuff that is not. As for me I opted for their Sloppy Joe sandwich with tater tots. The same thing I had when I first visited here.

It was just as good as I remember it. On an intersesting side note the sandwich is about $1 more and the portion is smaller. That is fine because they served a whole bunch of food before and now the portions are more reasonable.

This was there featured coctail for the day. Coconut rum with some sort of juice. I have no idea what gave it the green color but it was tasty and cost 5 bucks.

So we will be probably be doing some revisits until things get sorted out. It is OK to get out and have a meal away from home. So do it.

Texas Margaritas 6473 N. Keystone Ave.

We hadn’t planned on eating here but we passed it on the way to buy me a new sim card for my phone and Pat asked me about it. I told him that it was the joint where I met Joey for lunch last year and they do a good job. They also offer very nice cocktails and beer. So that is where we went.

They bring out a big basket of tortilla chips and a very nice salsa as soon as you are seated. Pat’s go to appetizer at Latin joints is a large queso to go with the chips. Did not take a picture of the cheese or the chips and salsa as we were too busy eating it.

Pat likes his tacos hard and when he saw they use both ground and shredded beef he thought he had struck gold. However as he said they are very free with the use of onions. I like soft tacos but I usually get mine at a couple of smaller joints. When I come to a big restaurant like this I opt for burros and enchilladas. So I ordered the Burrito King, a new special. That was choice of steak or chicken in a flour tortilla with rice, black beans, avocado and bacon smothered in cheese sauce. I got mine with steak and it proved to be as Regal as the name implied.

Usually I opt for my burritos to be covered in chile; red or green but today I thought cheese sounded good. I really enjoyed this burro. It had a bunch of stuff in it and you could taste every element. Often something with this much going on something gets lost but not here. The steak was nicely braised and you could actually taste the smokey bacon and the creamy avocado. The beans and rice were nice as well but since they are usual companions they weren’t that exceptional. Of course I would eat it again.

So this is our second post since restaurants were allowed to reopen. I think we will check out some of the joints we have been to in the early days of our blog. A revisit of some of our favorites. This whole virus thing is a reminder that restaurants are vulnerable to a quick demise no matter how good they are. If you like a joint visit it.

CHECKERED FLAG TAVERN 5725 W. Morris St.

Well we are finally back. Marion County is a few weeks behind the rest of the state so at the time we went here only out door dining was “allowed”. We have been here before and knew it was a great joint to visit. Sadly a few joints are not coming back and a few new ones will never open.

We thought this joint had the best breaded mushrooms in town so we ordered some. Unfortunately they were out so we opted for cheese curds. As you can imagine they were delicious. Just what you would expect for fried cheese.

These were on special for $8.45. They called them loaded. They weren’t really loaded but they had a bunch of diced pepadew peppers scattered all over. They were an excellent start, especially paired with a Lift Off IPA.

Pat wanted some pulled pork and this place does it right. He got a huge sandwich with a mountain of fries for 9 bucks and for an extra $1.25 he got coleslaw.

I had my eyes on their Big Pig sandwich. That is a pile of pulled pork on a slice of grilled ham and then topped with a pile of crisp bacon all on a brioche bun. Served with fries and a side of BBQ sauce. This pig feast was less than $11.

This is one beautifu, sandwich.

Interestingly enough this was the same sandwich I got here about 3 years ago. It does stand the test of time so that makes it a Classic. A classic of pork deliciousness.

Well we are now cleared to live our lives as close as we can to as it was before so I think we ought to take advantage of it and get out to lunch with a friend.

Well due to the Corona virus our state government has decreed that all restaurants, breweries and taverns are to cease all in house dining. So Pat and I will not be out for the next few weeks. Tentatively this will only last through March. Carryout is still allowed so we may try a carryout post. Until we are allowed to eat out again everyone be safe and support your favorite joint the best you can.

Vinny's Drive Bar 707 N. Lynhurst Drive

Pat and I have been doing this for nearly 8 years and have reviewed more than 450 eating establishments. Some weeks are easier than others to pick a place. It is my function to find the joints to eat at. Pat has a hand in the process when there is a place he would like to try or when I come up empty. That was the case this week. He had a list from the westside and I thought Vinny’s would work. Of course I read it as Dive Bar and I figured that any joint that admits its diviness should be visited. Of course Pat and I were both wrong.

We started out with an order of Portabello fries. An interesting spin on the ever present breaded mushroom. They were pretty good. Thick and meaty and were served with a spicy ranch dressing. They were a pretty good way to start a meal and cost 6 bucks.

Their menu is typical bar. Basic sandwiches and appetizers. They offer BBQ and pizza as well but they do it with a different spin. The Q comes from BBQ Heaven and the pies come from Rolynos. That is a local joint that started putting out pies in the early 70’s. I find that interesting; especially the pizza. Their special that day was a Spanish burger with fries for $7.50. Now that would be a seasoned and hand formed burger marinated and then cooked in a spicy tomato based sauce with added green peppers, onions and jalapenos.

I thought it was a pretty good burger. Nicely spicy and good flavor but what really made it stand out was the compaction of the patty itself. If all of their pattys are done this way it may be worth a trip back to try one chargrilled. It could be a prefect candidate for a medium rare one.

When we review a place we don’t expect folks to drop everything and run and try it out. What we would like is for those times when people are out and decide they want to eat they may remember a joint nearby that we reviewed and want to give it a try. If you are in the area keep Vinny’s in mind.

Hellas Cafe 8501 Westfield Blvd.

We weren’t sure where we were going to eat this week. I thought of an Asian Grill that was scheduled to open in Broad Ripple. We drove by but they weren’t ready yet so we headed north. When we hit Nora we saw Hellas and decided we needed some Greek food.

I had a desire for Mousaka. A creamy macaroni dish just appealed to me. Their version was very good. The Sauce Bechamel was smooth and creamy and decadently rich. The sides were well executed s well The beans were cooked down Hoosier style and the potatoes were crisp and tender. All in all it was an excellent meal.

Both of our lunches came with salads; which I forgot to take pictures of. They were normal side salads and came with an excellent vinaigrette. Both cost $12.49 so I thought they were reasonable considering what you got. Our server was attentive but the overall service made me nervous. There was one server and one cook and the kitchen was building the salads to order. That really struck me as odd. The cook got behind quickly but she managed it well and never really ended in the weeds. Evidently their customers aren’t in a hurry to get back to work so if you want a warm and leisurely Greek meal consider Nora Plaza and Hellas. I don’t get this way often but if I do I want to try their Dolmades. They build theirs with ground meat which is my preference.

Thai Town 5130 W. 38th St.

There are two Thai Towns on the westside. One on South High School Road and this. The newest. It is a very spacious and good looking joint.

It was a chilly day and Pat and I both ordered Thai Ginger tea. It was served to us with our first course. The first course was an excellent Thom Yum soup and a spring roll. The soup was excellent. Sparse on veggies but abundant in depth of flavor. It had a slight heat to it, which brought a warmth. The spring rolls are made in house and have onion in them so Pat gave me his. I thought they were wonderful. They reminded me of something I used to eat from an A&P Deli many years ago.

I also must add the the tea was delicious. My usual tea samplings have been limited to a more pedestrian variety so the Thai Ginger tea was quite a treat.


I followed Pat with an order of a red curry with medium heat. It was very good. A nice consistence level of heat punctuated with a few veggies. I would have prefered more eggplant and less green beans but it was still a good dish. I couldn’t finish it all after my soup and two spring rolls.

All in all this was a very nice lunch with excellence service.and at a very good price. Our lunches were 8 bucks each. I will be back for the tea, spring rolls and soup. That would be a meal for me.

http://thaitowncuisine.com/

Two Deep Brewing 714 N. Capitol Ave.

https://www.twodeepbrewing.com/

Two Deep has been around since 2014 and I have been there several times. However this was my first time to eat. The previous owners seemed unsure of who they were. They changed their hours and food offerings a few times. It seem that they wanted it to be a club house for beer drinkers and at first encouraged customers to bring in food. When that didn’t work they added food service. At first it was pizza, I think,and then they moved on to something else. Now the new owners are treating the joint like a bar or pub that brews beer not as a brewery taproom with limited food choices. They have an extensive list of appetizers so we started with cheese curds.

They do not make these in house but they were pretty good for $7.45

Pat rationalized that since the cheese curds were considered protein he could order a battered mushroom app for $8.45. These they do in house.

I was leaning toward a brisket sandwich but then Heidi our server told me they buy it already smoked I changed my mind. In most cases “smoked” meat you buy has been enhanced with liquid smoke. They also offer smoked pork and smoked chicken so I guess I can assume they are all purchased ready to go. I eventually decided on a burger. If you look at their menu you will notice that the burgers are pretty pricey. A regular cheese burger for $11.95. I wonder why. The burgers come with a choice of fries or tots, I decided on a burger with Swiss and tots.

The burger was pretty good and the amount ot tots was rediculous. Pat and I both ate on them and I still had a pile to take home.

The piece of lettuce on my sandwich was really green and my first thought was they used the outer most leaf on a head of iceberg. The part that some cooks throw away. It did not influence the taste any it just looked “odd” to me.

Our food did take longer to come out then I think it should have. Also I ordered my burger med rare and that is not how it came out. These are minor issues that will usually work themselves out. The nuts and bolts of this joint are solid. Good beer, good hours and an appropriate menu. Most imprtantly they have good service. Heidi is excellent and the new “trainee” is spot on as well. I will be back I just wish they would start smoking their own meats.

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