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Fat Cat Bar 3015 Lafayette Road.

When we can’t come to a quick agreement on destination we know we can always agree on the ever popular, hardly controversial “dive bar”. Pat, because the food is simple and me because the beer is cheap. This place has been a bar for as long as I can recall. For years it was Bud’s Lounge. Bud’s closed a couple of years ago and Fat Cat moved in. Fat Cat was originally down the street at 38th Street so they have some experience in the bar business.

Their menu is pretty common with a bunch of frozen apps and a few basic sandwiches and pizza. We ordered a side of mushrooms to start our meal off for $5. They were pretty good. Like most things frozen apps are not all the same. Some ARE better than others. These were better than average.

half eaten appetizer

Of course a picture should be taken before you start eating. Makes for a more professional effect.

I was leaning toward their fried catfish dinner but our great bartender told me it goes from $8 to $6.75 on Fridays. Unfortunately they stopped selling them with hush puppies. Their customers weren’t eating them. There is just no accounting for some folks tastes. So I went for the pig in the form of a grilled tenderloin.

This was an exceptional piece of meat. This was no light weight “fritter” this was an 8 oz. slice of pork loin that was pounded out and cooked really well on a flat top. Tender and moist with good flavor and just the right amount of chew.

So we really enjoyed this little place. It had good food, exceptional service and Domestic bottles were a buck and a half. So for 2 sandwiches, one order of mushrooms and three beers our tab was $25; with tax. That is a value. I will be back on a Friday and try their catfish special; even without puppies.

Kazablanka Grill & Bar 5801 Rockville Road.

Before I get into our review this week I would like to announce that today; the 14th of August is our 8th Anniversary. Yay.

I am not sure how Pat decided on this particular place. The only thing I can figure is that he saw it in his travels and thought it sounded interesting. Well it was definitely interesting. Some may say it was fascinating. It has a great lay out and could probably seat over 150 people. The bar has plenty of seating and located on one end so the other dining area can be used for family dining. It also has a big deck. Of course the deck could used some work. The whole joint could use an overall but it is clean. They offer a $6.99 lunch buffet, but we decided on ordering from the menu.

The menu is quite large and they offer several specials. The prices are excellent as well. After much deliberation Pat decided on Lasagne, which came with a side salad. Our wonderful server/ bartender went to the buffet and made it for him.

This was a huge salad. It would pass for two at most joints.

It took me nearly as long to order and I was just looking at sandwiches. The sandwiches come with no sides and are all $7.49 and most sides are $1.50. So that is just a bit cheaper that other joints. I decided on a new addition. A hand breaded cod sandwich. I also got a side of coleslaw and our server brought it out with Pat’s salad.

The slaw was homemade and pretty good. I don’t think Grandmas should be worried but it was better than most. I must admit I was not prepared for my sandwich.

I have never seen such a poorly presented sandwich. Four ounces of fish on 8 ounces of bread. The cold set consisted of one small piece of iceberg, one tomato slice and a few scraps of onion. Oh yes and a big solo of mediocre tartar sauce. I was more bemused than angry. Who could ever say that this plate was something they would admit to creating. It is all well and good to control portions. I further understand how two ounce cod loin portions seem attractive to control cost but couldn’t you find a smaller hoagie bun. If you insist on a 4 oz cod sandwich why not a round bun? Of course this is just a rhetorical question because who ever is in charge of your kitchen either doesn’t know any better or doesn’t care. Also it is doubtful they will even read this. I just chuckled and cut half of the bun in half and used that to make my sandwich. It made a nice size sandwich that way. However after all that the fish itself was pretty bland. The tomato tasted fresh though.

So Pat was the big winner. He got a double side salad and enough Lasagne to take home for a second meal for $10.49. I got a average at best sandwich, some assembly required, for $7.49. I also met a very charming lady who served us our food and drinks and made me a very nice Margarita for $5. In a Mason Jar.

My Margarita after I had drank half.

Well I don’t have much to add. I can’t recommend the cod sandwich but the Lasagne is pretty good. If that cod portion had been 6 ounces or more and fit the bun like other places I would not have said a word. Except that it would probably still be bland

El Jalapeno 4902 S. East Street

This was Pat’s choice. Normally he shies away from any “Mexican” food because of onion and he doesn’t like beans and the rice they serve. However he loves a crisp ground beef taco, or three.

As soon as we were seated we were served some chips and salsa. The chips were warm and the salsa was okay. It was the thought that counted. After some deliberation Pat decided on 3 tacos for $6.99 and a large side of cheese sauce for $5.50.

A large cheese sauce

I was hardly impressed with the size of the cheese sauce they offered. A monkey dish worth for 5 bucks! What does the small come in. A potion cup. The tacos were a different story.

I wanted to try as many different things as I could so I ordered a combo for $8.99. That was a pork tamal and a steak burrito. The steak was $1 more.

The meat portions of my lunch were very generous. The tamal was overflowing with thick chumks of pork, something I have not seen before. The masa shell was unusual as well. The bottom was about one half inch thick and the top was nearly an inch thick. I like masa but it can become dry as it cools so you need quite a bit of chile to keep it moist. The amount of red sauce they add was not enough for me. However the amount of meat they used and the flavor of the steak made up for it. I would get it again but with some adjustments.

With the exception of their cheese sauce this joint offers good food and a good value. Worth the drive.

Taco & Burrito Place 4102 N. Keystone Ave.

This little joint was across the street from the garage that was servicing my vehicle. The name makes it pretty clear what to expect. Of course they do offer other items but I was here for the tacos, and maybe a burrito.

The place is small but bright and clean with a rather extensive menu. All of the items are on a board and you order at the counter pay and pick up when your number is called. I got there a little past 11 and they already had customers. From the time I arrived until the time I left they had a constant stream of customers. Mostly ordering take out.

I ordered 2 tacos. One pork and one beef. I got them topped with cilantro and onion only for $2 each. You could also get them with the whole Taco Bell garden but to me cilantro and onion are enough.

The amount of meat used was amazing. Granted they use a 4 inch tort but the ratio of meat to tortilla was impressive. They offer 2 sauces. One green and one red. That is what you see on top. I found both tacos to be delicious. The pulled pork butt was a touch dry but that was rectified by the sauce. The steak had a chile presence that gave it a bit of heat. I know I have a tendency to over state when I really like something but Damn those were some great tacos.

Naturally my eyes were bigger than my appetite so I ordered a small burrito as well. I went with a ground beef. They added lettuce and tomato inside with the beef and cheese. That too was a hit. I think I would have appreciated it more had it been the first thing I ate.

I know I will be back. A taco this good for only 2 bucks cannot be ignored.

Puccini’s Pizza and Pasta 1508 West 86th Street

This pizza shop is also known as Puccini’s Smiling Teeth Pizza. I haven’t the slightest idea where that name came from. I do know they open their first location in this area in 1991 and now have 10 locations in Indiana and Kentucky. That was why we had to have a “conference” about our criteria. It is hardly a small little place with an owner operator but it is family owned so it fits.

I was leaning toward a Calzone my self until I saw their Ultimate Warrior pie listed. A unique combo of
sausage, pepperoni, onions, black olives, mushrooms & green peppers.

This was a really good pie. A crisp crust and an excellent sauce with a generous amount of toppings. Enough to make me overlook the jumbled placement of the toppings. Normally a peeve of mine. I had eaten some of their pies a few years back with my son but had forgotten how good they were.

I think this joint should be ranked up there with some of the best in the city. The prices are more than reasonable. Both our lunches were less than $9 each.

Jail Bird 4022 Shelby Street

This is a mural on the inside wall of the bar
This on the outside wall of the bar

When you see the inside mural the first thing you notice is the little jail bird in the center. He seems to glow or have a light surrounding him. Don’t worry you have not been over served nor is it an epiphany. It is just painted with a window behind it. That is the bottom picture. The one on the outside wall. I thought it was pretty clever. Clever is a good word if you just wanted one word to describe this joint.

As I understand it this place was opened by the same fellow that opened Thunderbird, which is just a few miles North, also on Shelby. Thunderbird is a more sophisticated joint. More sophisticated in that both food and cocktail menus are more complex. One thing they have in common is. I believe what ever you order it will be expertly prepared and tasty.

You can see the kitchen from our position at the bar so I was able to see the cook take ball of ground meat, place it on the flat top and smash it down. Sort of like the Culver’s commercial. So, yeah they are “old school” burgers.

They don’t prepare their sides in house. The fries, etc come in frozen. Which is fine with me. Half the time frozen fries and rings are as good or better than “house made”. That holds true for mozzarella sticks as well. Their sandwiches are served ala carte. I ordered a meat loaf sandwich with a side of mozzarella sticks.

This was one great sandwich. Their meat loaf is simple and good. Nothing fancy. A nice thick slice heated on the flat top, topped with an onion ring and a chipotle ketchup. All put together on a lovely toasted Brioche bun. The mozz sticks were as good as they ever were and they serve them with a very nice house made marinara sauce,

So Pat and I both really like this spot. If you go for lunch hopefully Morgan will be there to be your server. I can not say enough nice things about her. Pleasant and efficient and she does make a very good Whiskey Sour. Thanks again Morgan.

Here is a link to their menu

https://www.jailbirdindy.com/

Fuji Sushi & Hibachi 1705 W. McGalliard Rd Muncie Indiana.

Saturday my Granddaughter Emily graduated from Ball State University in Muncie Indiana. Afterwards we all decided to go to Fuji. We were a party of 11 so we had a wait. The place was really crowded so I didn’t wander around taking any pictures of the decor but I probably should have taken the time, The place is really attractive. Dark wood, a huge sculpture in the lobby and even a small water fountain. They offer a large dining area for Hibachi as well as a smaller area with booths. Of course they have a sushi bar as well as the usual booze bar.

I did not take this shot it was way too hot too dawdle out of doors. I borrowed it from their gallery on their website.

http://www.fujimuncie.com/

The majority of the diners opted for hibachi. My son Adam ordered a couple of rolls for people to try. I was the odd one and I ordered their lunch special sashima for $10.95. It consisted of 7 pieces assorted sashimi and a California roll. That is par for all of the sushi joints I have visited.

This is the only food pic I took. It was pretty straight forward. The fish was fresh and tasty although I think some places cut bigger pieces but that could be my imagination. The roll was very good as well and fit the weather nicely. They display the fish on a bed of glass noodles. That is as good a way as any to achieve some elevation on your entre. Of course cellophane noodles are pretty much tasteless. Of course I did not think of placing them in my bowl of soy and wasabi until much later, which is a shame because I like the texture of noodles in broth.

I think everyone enjoyed their food and the prices seemed reasonable. If you are in Muncie and have an urge for Sushi or Hibachi I would suggest Fuji. It is a charming spot with good and reasonably priced food. However I don’t know If I would make a trip from Indy just for it. I think you can get as good or better at home

Old Gold BBQ @ Metazoa Brewing 140 S. College Ave.

Wednesday wasn’t a good day. It was terrible weather, hot and humid. The sort of weather that makes you yearn for winter. We had plans to visit Old Gold since last week. The last time we were at Metazoa the bar tender gave us each wooden coins good for a one meat upgrade, so we could pay for 1 meat and get 2. Nothing better than bargain BBQ. Of course when we got there we realized that they had expired. Sad me. Fortunately the lady in charge allowed for us to use them. So I was able to get a two meat plate with 2 sides for $14.

https://www.oldgoldbarbecue.com/

I uncovered my side dishes. Coleslaw and Ranchero beans to take a couple of pictures. Unfortunately I was so busy running my mouth I forgot and started eating. Here is the shot I took after I had eaten half my brisket.

Not very appetizing is it? Well as for the taste the sides definitely could stand some improvement. The beans tasted like canned beans with a bit of meat and a whole lot of cumin. I could not eat them all. The cole slaw was supposed to be a vinegar slaw but it too came up short. The predominant flavor was raw cabbage. The brisket was excellent. Thick slices of some of the most tender brisket I have eaten. It did not have a great smoke flavor but the texture made up for it. The pulled pork was pretty good especially with their mustard style Carolina sauce. It really made the meat stand out. As for their traditional red sauce I wasn’t a fan. Once again, too much cumin. Another thing I did not get was the amount of onion they included in their basic cold set. I don’t think a few half slices is enough.

So should you be at Metazoa and decide to eat I don’t think you can go wrong with the pulled pork or brisket. The ribs and sausage may be good as well, my guess would be they are. These folks just need to work on the accompaniments.

Zaharikos 329 Washington Street Columbus Indiana

This is definitely an historic site. It has been a functioning ice cream parlor since 1900 and it definitely has that old time air about it. From the carved fretwork to the hardwood cabinetry and the marble soda syrup dispenser.

The space is airy with high ceilings and filled with natural light. From the shiny hardwood floors to the pressed tin ceiling you can’t help but feel the history of the place.

Well as charming as the space is we were there to have lunch. Fran; Pat’s wife went with us and she is a Sloppy Joe junkie like me. On their menu is a Gom sandwich, which is their version of a Sloppy Joe. You can get it with or without cheese, they come grilled on white bread. That is what we ordered.

It was really a very nice sandwich. If you like Sloppy Joes then I think you would like this. It is tighter than most Joes and the flavor is mild compared to some but it definitely has that tangy sweetness common to “loose meat” sandwiches. Since this is above all an ice cream parlor that makes its own ice cream some form of frozen confection was required. Fran decided on a Root Beer Soda.

Fran’s Root Beer Soda
Pat’s Chocolate Malted, prior to the fall.

Boy when that glass hit that hard wood floor it went every where. As quickly as they got on the clean up you can tell they had been there before. They even replaced his Malt. For Free. Very nice gesture.

Since I had water with my lunch I was ready for some Ice Cream. I ordered a 2 scoop Sundae with hot fudge. My O My it was delicious.

I ordered a Mint Chocolate Chip and a Raspberry Chocolate Chip. The Mint was very good but the Raspberry was incredible. A true raspberry taste in an ice cream. If anything would make me drive for an hour that might be it. They put the hot fudge sauce in the bottom of the dish and built the sundae on top. They also supplied a small boat with more for the top.

As formidable as the task was I was still able to clean the bowl.

I sincerely hope people have an opportunity to visit. They have a small museum of antique soda fountains in the dining room adjacent to the one we ate in. I took several pictures but they were really of poor quality. The rooms may have had a lot of sunlight but it was too diffused for my camera to get some good shots. I am including a link to their website. Listen to their sample of mechanical music. That played in the dining area. Continuously. This “modern” ear thought less would be better. Thankfully as more people came in the normal conversation took the edge off.

http://www.zaharakos.com/

So we had a splendid time in Columbus. We had plans on dropping by Zwanzigz for a beer but we were all too full to even consider it. Imagine that. Too full for a beer.

The Most Delicious Pancake House 5010 S. East Street


How is that for a name for a restaurant? No faux humility for them. Pat told me about this place and how could I pass up a joint called most delicious.

I don’t think Pat’s BT was cut and pounded in house, I believe it was brought in already breaded. It appeared to be a solid piece of meat and the consumer liked it so it probably doesn’t matter.

I decided that I needed a burger and I opted for a Most Delicious burger. That would be their standard half pounder with ham and bacon. Oddly enough I don’t believe it had any cheese. It came with a usual cold set and a spicy mayo. It was sloppy but good.

I especially liked the bacon. It was thick and crisp and just greasy enough to bring an added layer of flavor to the sandwich. What I didn’t get was the ham. It was nicely done; thinly sliced with a slight char but I don’t get the connection. It reminded me of a time , long ago, when stuffed burgers were in vogue. I had good success with various combinations so I offered one stuffed with chopped ham and Swiss cheese. “We put the ham in hamburger”. Boy that went over like the proverbial lead balloon.

I think I ordered it for the bacon. I wonder how it would be with an egg on top. Regardless the burger was pretty good the way it was.

This place doesn’t have any media presence yet so there is no menu to show. Just be assured they probably will have something you want to eat and it will be nicely prepared at a reasonable price. I think our sandwiches were under $10 each.

This fancy chandelier is in the center of the dining room. I don’t think the new tenants brought it in so it came from Shoney’s or Lucky 8 buffet. In either event it certainly adds a bit of Bling to the joint.

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