eating indie in indy

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  • wb-pizza-001
  • mels-010
  • Tomo 001
  • Serendipity 003
  • Jimmy's 001
  • Turf's 006
  • Fire 002
  • Don Juan 002
  • The Mug 001

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Big City Grill and Lemonade 23 E. 38th Street

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This joint opened 7 years ago. I remember getting some carry out from here when it was newly opened. It doesn’t seem that long ago. The food was pretty good but I basically forgot about it. It is a shame I never remembered it until now. The place has some pretty good reviews. Some folks say the area is sketchy. I say it is a high traffic area and it’s no more “sketchy” than a lot of other areas.

Their main bag is Philly style sandwiches and top-notch lemonade drinks. The have a pretty good menu with fried fish, and wings as well as sandwiches.

http://www.bigcitygrilllemonade.com/

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The mushrooms were strictly prefabbed econ frozen fare for $2.99. Not worth trying again. Their main bag are the sandwiches. I got a Philly combo for $8.99, the same as Pat’s. My lemonade was a cherry.

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The sandwich was outstanding. Their version of a “Philly” is shredded steak with peppers,onions and mushrooms with provolone cheese. The individual ingredients were well-balanced and the seasoning was well done.

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I was very impressed with the sandwich and the overall operation of their joint. They have fish that they bread in-house as well as chargrilled burgers and Gyros. The lemonade may be the hook,it is that good,but the sandwiches will make you come back.

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This is the flavors they add to the lemonade. They start out with a slushy lemonade and add the flavor, shake it up and there you go.

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This is a partial shot of their kitchen. On the far left end is a spit for the meat for the pita, I couldn’t get a shot because people were working. I thought the owner was nice enough to allow me to take the shot I got. So if you want a very good sandwich with an excellent lemonade slushy without paying  SoBro prices try a trip to the “hood”.

Big City Grill & Lemonade Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

WB Pizza 6155 Allisonville Rd.

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People toss around the phrase “hidden jewel” probably too often. This little place may well be just that. The make all of their own crust and bread as well as cheesecakes and gelato. This time around we didn’t have room for desert but there is always another time.

We noticed this place some time back when we went to “Some Guys Pizza”; which is about one block away.Its proximatey to “Some Guys” may be the reason it isn’t that well know. It has been around since 1999 and Pat and I have never heard of it. It isn’t a “sexy” joint with a wood or coal-fired oven. It doesn’t offer duck confit or organic kale toppings. It is just a little Pizza joint that offers a good pie at a good price.

Naturally when you go to a Pizza place you need to overload on carbs so we ordered some garlic bread for $5.00. It comes with your choice of 2 sauces. We opted for red sauce and garlic & butter.

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The bread had a good flavor and a nice chew to it. The red sauce was very good with a touch of sweet. The fingers don’t come with it.

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Pat’s critique of the crust was correct. I don’t think olive oil before hand would have necessarily fixed the issue. However a brushing with some would have given it a sheen and an extra luscious mouth feel. My personal pie was the same way. I,however like the slight char. As long as the crust stays soft. This crust was soft and stayed soft sitting in Pat’s car and on my kitchen counter for about 5 hours,in a go box.

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My pie was a two topping one. Black olives and anchovy. I really like that combo. Both pies were under 8 bucks. A single $7.20 and a double for $7.90. The crusts we got are called their original thin crust. They also have a really thin crust if that is your taste; as well as a deep dish.

I am with Pat about the calzone. I am going to get one, maybe to go. That way I can try some cheese cake and gelato.

http://www.wbpizza.com/TheMenu/Index.htm

WB Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mel’s Drive In 3045 Mars Hill Drive.

How many folks remember drive ins? I am sure you know what I am talking about. You drive up and park and the server comes out; takes your food order and then delivers it to you on trays that clip to your car windows. If you don’t recall first hand I am sure you have heard tales from your parents or Grandparents.

I am not sure how long Mel’s has been serving food to the folks in Mars Hill,but I would guess more than 50 years. It isn’t easy to get to but it is worth the effort. It is about 50 yards from a busy highway and a railroad track. I am not sure how busy the track is but a train came by while we were there.

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As you can see it is pretty close. Mel’s is the building in the foreground.

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A couple of old-fashioned drive ins in town have house made root beer as their hook. Mels’ doesn’t. All it offers is its food and great pricing.

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They have no indoor dining. You eat in your car or on some picnic tables out back. That may turn some people off but Pat and I loved it. You may not be able to see the prices all that well on my picture but both Zomato and Yelp have shots of the 2014 menu. The new menu is about a half buck more per item. Pat ordered a single hamburger, a small order of mushrooms and cheese bites as well as a hot dog and vanilla malt.

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I opted for a breaded tenderloin. I don’t know if it was just the special for that day or if it’s the normal pricing but the girl asked me if a wanted a second tenderloin sandwich for $1.10. One for $2.75 two for $3.85. At first I said no. I quickly realized I had made a faux pas and changed my order. I figured that Pat and I could share the ‘shrums and cheese bites so I finished my order with a coney dog and a Chocolate Malted.

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I only ate one of the tenderloin. It was a pre-breaded item not hand breaded in-house. So it wasn’t representative of scratch cooking but it was representative of a damn fine sandwich. For $2.75 each and $3.85 for two make that an excellent sandwich.

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The coney dog was very good as well. A dirty water dog on a common place bun and smothered with a pretty good coney sauce. Pat asked me if I thought it was house made. I don’t know but I doubt it. Why should they. I would guess they bought it ready-made and spiced it up with chile powder and cumin. I don’t think this joint ever felt the necessity to scratch build food items. Their mission is to feed people,what they want to eat. And I gotta’ feeling folks like the food a lot.

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Oh and the Chocolate Malted was pretty good too. I mean Chocolate is the best of all Malts.

Mel's Drive-In Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tomo Japanese Steakhouse 7411 N. Keystone Ave.

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Pat called me the other day and we were talking about lunch this week. He informed me that he had just read the last few posts and realized that he had ordered several burgers. He wanted to get out of that rut ; quickly. I told him that I thought that the quickest way to carry out that was to go to a Japanese joint. I think we have gone to one before. That was Sushi Bar in Broad Ripple. Pat ordered a Tempura lunch special and I ;as usual; had a medley of sushi rolls. This time I was determined to change the pattern.

This is a very attractive place. Spacious and nicely decorated. I found it pretty dark though. Nice enough for a date night but so much for a lunch.

Their menu is very nice. They feature actual Bento boxes with Teriyaki, noodle dishes, maki and sashimi and,of course Hibachi. All are in the $7.50 to $10.75 range, and they come with soup or salad.

I wanted some cooked salmon so I ordered Salmon Hibachi for $10.75. The Hibachi dishes come with the soup or salad, fried rice and veggie of the day. I opted for Miso soup. I do so like Miso soup.

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This particular version was excellent. A lovely broth with just the right amount of tofu.

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The rest of the luncheon was expertly prepared. The Salmon was a thinner cut than I am accustomed to so it was cooked more than I would like. However it was still very tasty, and the fried rice was superb. It was a brown rice with flecks of egg and onion and the veggies were as you would image from a Japanese kitchen. Tender crisp with a hint of soy. They serve each diner with 2 sauces. A mustard sauce and a “ginger” sauce. Or at least that is what our server told us it was. The mustard had no kick and the “ginger” sauce brought nothing to the table. Flat ; no flavor.

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So Pat and I both enjoy our lunches. They were well prepared, excellent quality and great service. He won’t go back because he lives too far away. I wouldn’t mind going back;there are some dishes they have I would love to try. However there are several joints that offer similar food. They may be better or worse;but I will not know that until I eat there. I only have so much time left and there are so many places to visit I have to use my time well. So eat and enjoy it.

Tomo Japanese Steakhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Serendipity at the Post 2210 E 54th Street

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About 3 months ago Pat and I “reviewed” the American Legion Post # 34. Well in actuality we reviewed the food which was put out by a fellow named Pete. I guess Pete has moved on because I got word that a catering company, Serendipity has taken over the management of the kitchen. Here is the link to their webpage. It shows the menus for both their food truck and the Legion.

http://www.serendipitytruck.com/

I was looking forward to the meal because the menu was not your typical bar menu. Sure they have some of the stuff you would expect at a bar but also they offer crab cakes and truffle fries. To start the ball rolling I ordered a side salad.

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The salad was predominately spinach with the traditional onion and grape tomatoes. It was topped with goat cheese and candied walnuts,which brought a bit of sweet and a nice tang to my mouth. The whole dish was rounded out with an excellent Raspberry Vinaigrette. A great salad and bargain at $3

I opted for a Crab Cake sandwich. The chef doesn’t fry the cakes like a lot of people would he puts a sear on it and finishes it off in the oven. So I can tell myself it is Heart Healthy.

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The cake was big with a nice and juicy interior and what I would consider a near perfect texture and consistency. You could actually taste the crab. If I were to order it again I think I would do without the mayo and onion. Both seemed to interfere with the “crabbiness” of the cake.

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Pat ordered a burger, no onion, with a side of slaw. He also ordered a side of steamed broccoli for 3 bucks.

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Well I think the Legion has a winner here. It is going to be a challenge I’m sure. The clientele is more “mature” than other joints so that could be problematic. Some old guys can be stuck in their ways. Also Legions are known for low prices, and Bill;the Chef/owner of Serendipity uses very high quality ingredients so that right there can make the thing difficult. I think that the crew at the Legion is in for some good eating. Also it is open to the public so you don’t have to be a member to dine there. I think they have plans to have certain designated nights for BBQ ribs and Prime Rib. So that ought to be all kinds of fun.

American Legion Post 34 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jimmy’s Diner 3301 Shelby Street

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About 2 years ago this place was doing business as Ma and Pa’s Diner. It was just sold and re-opened as Jimmy’s on August first. Pat goes by it regularly and told me about it last week. We decided to try it out with our buddy Jimmy, who has lunched with us a couple of times.

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I didn’t make a copy of their menu and I honestly can’t remember too much of it. They serve breakfast all day and the menu starts out with JJ’s Special. Two bacon, 2 sausage, 2 eggs and potatoes. With a half order of biscuits and gravy and choice of pancakes,waffles or French toast for $9.75. That I remember. That and a double cheese burger and fries sell for $5.75 and on Fridays they have all you can eat Flounder for $14.

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Pat couldn’t wait to try the B&G.

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The biscuits and gravy were pretty good. A decent tasting gravy ( that could have used more sausage) over a ready-made biscuit. The pancakes were of the usual mix variety. Tasty but nothing to get overly excited about. The hardest thing for me to review are breakfast foods. Most biscuits are pre-made and the pancakes come from a mix. There are a few exceptions but this holds true for most joints. For breakfast the execution is everything. People are as finicky of their eggs as they are of their steaks. Most folks will let it slide over a med rare steak ending up more medium but don’t dare break the yolk on their over easy eggs. For my breakfast the preparation was flawless. The eggs were beautiful and the bacon had the proper crisp. As for the sausage I commented to the owner how I liked it and he told me that when he opened up he was using a fresh sausage but folks complained. They didn’t like the pinkness of the meat;so he went back to the pre-cooked patties the previous owner used.

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As you can see the potatoes are crisp and brown. The other potato option was a home fry. If they are as crisp as these that would be the way to go.

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Don’t expect anything fancy or pretentious here just expect some good cooking.

Jimmy's Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Turf Catering & Kitchen 8155 Castleway Court W. Suite C.

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Usually when I see Suite in an address for a restaurant I figure it is one slot in a big building in a strip mall. Well this place is in a slot, a tiny one at that. However the big building only has 2 businesses. Turf’s on the far end and a big old muffler place. I would guess it is in a quasi industrial use area. Unusual for a restaurant but not so for a caterer. The place is 90 percent kitchen with minimal space for sitting and ordering and the walk in cooler on the outside. Another thing they have is exceptional food.

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I learned of this place from a food blog. The writer was really excited about the grilled cheese and the Crogue as well as the pimento cheese. Everything was very tempting but I opted for the short rib sandwich and a side of pimento cheese. The picture of the menu board isn’t that legible so at the end I am including a scan of the menu. They have a very impressive set of side dishes at a more than respectable price.

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Their pimento cheese was wonderful. Creamy and cheesy. Some of the best I have had,and with their homemade bread it could be a meal all by itself.

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The short rib and cheese sandwich was excellent as well. Super rich and with a sweetness from the red onion jam that would make it an excellent dining companion with an IPA. Alas they only offer soft drinks. I especially liked the char they put on the bread. That always adds a new dimension of flavor.

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Pat was really excited about this place once he was told that he could substitute on their menu.

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As the sign noted they have only been open since 2013. Their main bag is catering so I am glad they decided to serve lunch during the week. Since they are caterers I am sure they have a propensity for fresh product more so than the average restaurant. I am in full agreement with Pat. Anyone planning on a catered affair with these guys, let us know.

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TURF Catering + Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fire by the Monon 6523 Ferguson

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This place has been around a few years. Located North of the Canal in Broad Ripple it doesn’t get the attention joints farther South receive. It also doesn’t have the traffic and noise some of those other places get. It is a pleasant old building with very nice outdoor seating. However with the weather we have had dining out doors was not an option.

I think I have passed this place up because the menu was;for the most part; a bit typical of so many other taverns. The reason I reconsidered was a food blog I read that praised their Grueben sandwich. That would be  flash fried grouper on grilled rye bread with Swiss, slaw and Russian dressing. In other words a Ruben sub fish. As it turned out I didn’t even order that.

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I didn’t order either the dirty Mac and Cheese or the almost famous Fish Tacos. I did order their Blacken Mahi, with side choice for $9.95.

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The fish was a very nice piece. The spice level was low so I really didn’t get the “Cajun” effect but it was flavorful. The fish was a bit overcooked, but with such a firm piece of fish it wasn’t a deal breaker. The onion rings were plentiful and tasty. However the batter was pretty salty for my tastes. Of course I did manage to finish them so I guess they weren’t TOO salty. I think I would order it again just with a different side. The rings were really filling.

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The size of the fish on Pat’s plate reminding me of another place we went to. They offered big chunky pieces and the batter was so thick it didn’t crisp up all the way through and the fish was “steamed”. That wasn’t the case here but the batter was as salty as my onion rings. Also I was able to taste a piece of the cod and I though it was very well done.

I also tried one of the $4 beers. That particular “flavor” of Upland I have wanted to try for a while and this was my first opportunity. I found it to be a very crisp and refreshing beer; perfect for the days of August. I can see my self coming back here. Sitting outside having a beer and a Grouper sandwich. It doesn’t overlook the Canal and it doesn’t have the people watching available South but it looks comfy and shady,and they have a good Draft menu.

Fire by the Monon Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Don Juan 3720 E. Raymond St.

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A friend told me about this place a few weeks ago. After contacting them to make sure onion could be left off their sandwiches it was a go. We also had a guest;our friend from Cali who was in for the day;on his way back home. They offer 9 sandwiches and a few appetizers. We all decided to start off with some Yucca fries for about 4 bucks and change.Don Juan 006

All 3 of us enjoyed them. If you have ever eaten fried Yucca you know they are sturdier and more fibrous than potatoes. In many ways I think they are tastier than the usual french fry. They serve them with a mayo based sauce that was so so. The winner was the Peruvian hot sauce. A mixture of chiles, spices and vegetables that give a wonderful “burn” on your throat. I used it on everything. Our buddy David was torn between the Asado; beef pot roast and the Chicharrones; slow cooked pork deep-fried and served with fried sweet potato. So was I. The obvious solution was to order one of each and share. We were both very impressed. Each sandwich had its own taste signature and a wonderful depth of flavor. I am sure it was because of the spice and herb marinade. Also the onion on top brought another layer of flavor as well as bit of crunch. I think the Asado won out over the Chicharrone. Both sell for $8.99.

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This is the Asado. The picture doesn’t do it justice at all.

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The space is bigger than it looks from the outside. The floor is concrete that appears to have been partially cut into squares and then painted black and white. The walls are covered in corrugated sheet metal giving the joint an industrial vibe.

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After we finished lunch our server brought us out a sample of their purple corn “tonic”. They take the corn and boil it down with pineapple and other ingredients to make a dark liquid with a slight medicinal taste but with an overall sweetness that is really pleasant. I really recommend the Asado or beef pot roast. It is a great taste that you don’t always find in a simple sandwich.

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Don Juan Peruvian Sandwiches Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Mug 117 Apple Street Greenfield In. 46140

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Now this place is far from our normal turf but it seemed like it would be a good choice for today. It took over for a Drive In by the name of The Frosty Mug,which opened in 1954 but was forced to close in 2011. The owner of local Tyner Pond Farm bought it at auction in 2013 and started selling the usual drive in fare;with a twist. All of the product is local and the beef and pork all come from his own farm.

Their basic burger is a quarter pounder with cheese,white onion and pickle for $2.75 and grows from there;culminating in a triple patty with triple bacon and cheese for $9.50. I started with the “Two and change Burger” for $2.75.

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It certainly isn’t much to look at but it was just what I wanted,a tasty little piece of meat with white onion and pickle.

 

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I don’t think a shot under the cover helps much;does it?

I also wanted to try one of their dogs. They offer a “Kiply Dog for $3.50. That’s one of their dogs topped with Sloppy Joe meat. They have a Sloppy Joe sandwich for $3.75.

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It was very good. They make the dogs at Tyner Farm and they are excellent tasting more sausage than Ball park dog. The Sloppy Joe meat was a bit sweet; as it should be and made a very nice balance.

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The last item I ordered was the house made onion rings. I was a bit disappointed in these;only because they added mustard to the batter. Not a big fan. Wouldn’t get them again.

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Yes I was slow in eating my lunch;but I had two sandwiches and rings to deal with and Patrick only had one sandwich. Speaking of which he gave me a hunk to try and I was impressed with the quality of the meat. Oh here is a pic of Pat’s naked dog.

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I personally would love to go back and try their Cuban and their pulled pork. And some other stuff but they are so damn far. Luckily they are adding a second place in Irvington; sometime. It was supposed to be open by now I have no idea what the hold up is. They also sell a locally source ice cream. What brand I do not know. I do know they have a sweet corn flavor as well as a maple bacon. Can you image a waffle cone with one scoop of each in it. Ain’t Indiana Grand.

The Mug Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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