eating indie in indy

  • Don Juan 002
  • The Mug 001
  • Shapiro's 009
  • SOT 002
  • Rook 001
  • Castleton Grill 001
  • Deli 61516 001
  • Lucky Lou 001
  • 36 degree 005
  • 0527161409a

Latest

Don Juan 3720 E. Raymond St.

Don Juan 002

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.

Don Juan 010

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

Don Juan 011

Don Juan 013

Don Juan

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.

Don Juan 004

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.

Don Juan 003

 

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

The Mug 117 Apple 117 Apple Street Greenfield In. 46140

The Mug 001

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.

The Mug 008

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.

 

The Mug 009

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.

The Mug 007

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.

The Mug 006

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.

The Mug 005

The Mug 003

The Mug

The Mug 004

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.

The Mug 010

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

Shapiro’s 808 S. Meridian St.

Shapiro's 009

Shapiro's 008

Shapiro’s has been a part of Indianapolis since 1905. Everything they serve is made here. From the bread and confections to the soups and smoked tongue. I think the only reason we haven’t reviewed this joint before is we figured most of the folks who eat out already know of Shapiro’s. After last weeks debacle with the “Cajun” I didn’t care. I wanted a joint that I knew was good. Since yesterday when I decided to come here I knew what I was going to get. Chopped liver on rye.

Shapiro's 002

All of their sandwiches are big;the liver is no exception. As you can see I took a bite before I took the picture. Their chicken liver is excellent. Rich and dense with just the right amount of fat (schmaltz) to make it right. I got a whole sandwich for $8; even though I had to take half home. I love chopped liver and I make a pretty fair one myself. However Shapiro’s has the best. You can even add a Schmear of the liver to any sandwich for $2.55.

Shapiro's 004

Another thing I was hungry for was some Matzo Ball soup. I thought that Shapiro’s was the only joint in town with Matzo Ball soup but I discovered that the Cafe Patachou on 49th and Penn has it on Fridays. I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t make a comparison.

Shapiro's 005

To me matzo ball soup is elegant in its simplicity. The balls in their soup are an excellent combination of texture. Dense enough to taste the meal yet light enough to soak up the excellent chicken soup,or broth. You can buy it by a cup or bowl or by the quart or gallon. A bowl costs about $4.30.

Shapiro's 001

I don’t think a meal at Shapiro’s would be complete without pie or cake. I couldn’t resist a slice of German Chocolate cake for $4.10.

Shapiro's 007

It was a pretty good cake.  It had a creamy chocolate frosting with coconut pressed into it. Not what I am used to for a German Chocolate but a pretty good cake any way. It was about 4 bucks I believe.

They open at 6 AM and serve the usual omelets etc. After 10 they have the hot line up and offer hot meats. So whether  you want a plate lunch or dinner or a sandwich and a pickle they have you covered.

Shapiro's Delicatessen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Some of This…Some of That 2405 N. College

SOT 002

SOT 001

SOT SOT started as a food truck. After a couple of years the owner decided to build a brick and mortar Cajun Table while keeping his food truck rolling. He picked an old abandoned building in a less than hip part of town and refurbished it. From what I hear he did most of the work himself. The result is a very good looking place with lots of exposed brick and shiny distressed wood flooring.

SOT 004

SOT 003

Cajun and Creole food are some of my favorites bites; and I have a bit of experience in it as does my bitter/better half. Since she didn’t want to come out to play I thought I would do carry out. They offer the obligatory Po Boy sandwiches as well as your typical entrees. They offer Crawfish and Shrimp Etouffee; Jambalaya; Bourbon Chicken and Vegetarian Red Beans and Rice. They are priced out at $7 to $10 each but you can order a pick two for $11.50 and a Sampler for $14.50. They also have Gumbo; either Seafood or Chicken& Sausage as a cup for $5 or a bowl for $10.

I ordered a pick 2 of Etouffee and Jambalaya and a bowl of Gumbo; all to go. When I got home I did not re-plate for the picture-taking. I took the pics as they are.

SOT 005

This is the pick two. The Etouffee is in the foreground and the Jam is in the background. Also the garlic bread is on the left. Well to be concise we were both underwhelmed and disappointed. The Etouffee had the best flavor and a nice “Cajun” feel to the veggies however we could only find one shrimp and one Crawdad tail. Lee ( my partner) was the lucky winner and she thought the shrimp was over cooked. The second part of our pick two was the Jam and it was definitely the least enjoyed. The texture was “mushy” and it had an odd taste that neither of us could name.

SOT 006

Our final dish was the $10 bowl of Gumbo.SOT 007

I probably should have re-plated it but the only rice provided was in the bottom of the 12 ounce go bowl. Needless to say the picture is not very appealing. Apologies. We both thought it was a bit thin but that is probably subjective from what we are accustomed to. We differ on the basic flavor of the gravy. I thought it pretty good; reminiscent of a dark brown roux she did not. Another thing we were in agreement in was the dearth of veggies and meat in the dish. We ordered the chicken and sausage version and we got a few pieces of chicken and a rather mediocre sausage. So I don’t know what happened. Was it a very bad day and I should give this joint another go? I am not sure.

In summation. The Etouffee had the best flavor;just no shrimp or crawfish. The Jambalaya was a dish we could not finish and The Gumbo needs a bit of attention to the Trinity and the type of sausage. It is a nicely renovated building and I wish them the best.

 

 

 

Some of this Some of that - SOT SOT Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Rook 501 Virginia Ave.

Rook 001

This restaurant was located in a smaller venue just South of here. They made the move in February this year and I have wanted to go here since then. I didn’t want to go alone but since I couldn’t find anyone to go with me I decided that I may as well indulge myself. Their menu has a Southeast Asian flair to it with a touch of the Philippines. I am adding a link so you can see the menu.

http://www.rookindy.com/

This is their second menu. Gone are the dumplings and the Pig Faced Hash. Their dumplings were very good. They will be missed.

As you can see the chef definitely has an affection for the Noble Pig. Actually I think I finally overdosed on pork. My entire lunch was ordered from the Appetizer section of the menu. I started with a Pig Face Taco for $5.

Rook 003

The meat from the head actually is the most tender on the pig so when they say it is from the face that is what they mean. The meat was rich with just the slightest hint of fat. It was garnished with small bits of cracklings and cured egg yolk. The mix of salty and savory was balanced out with a slightly sweet and sour Ponzu Mayo. It was a definite hit with me. However I was not a big fan of the corn tortilla they chose. I have had better in town.

Rook 004

My second “course” was a Pork Belly steamed Bun also $5

Rook 006

This was probably my favorite. A nice tender piece of pork in a soft bun with pickled cucumbers, hoisin sauce and peanuts. It just was simply great. It had all of my taste buds involved and after lunch my mouth and belly thanked me.

Rook 009

The last dish I ordered was Crispy Pig Ears with a 63 degree egg and Guacamole for $8.

Rook 008

As you can see the ears are sliced thin and then treated like potatoes. Fried and seasoned like a French Fry. The egg and Guacamole were to serve as a dipping sauces for the “fries”. For the most part that worked out really well. I love eggs prepared that way and to place one on a bed of chiles and avocado is great. However the whites of a sous vide egg are not really appetizing looking. Usually when I have had them they are placed in a bowl of stew, soup or noodles and the egg is mixed in. So it could just be my own peculiarity.

Rook 007

So I definitely recommend this place. I also highly recommend all the dishes I have had. Especially the pig ears; as a sharable appetizer. As a first course not a last one for a solo diner. They have a whole lot to offer, not just pig.

Rook Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Castleton Grill 6010 E. 82nd Street

Castleton Grill 001

This week is Burger Week in Indy. Several restaurants have agreed to offer select burgers for $5 with a part of the proceeds going to Second Harvest Food Bank. The trouble is we have already been to the Independent joints that are participating. I did find one we haven’t been to that is local and that offered a relatively simple burger. Naturally when we got there Pat decided on a fish sandwich.

Castleton Grill 005

IMAG0001

Castleton Grill 004

This Grill offers 3 fish. Cod, Faroe Island Salmon and Mahi. You have a choice of how your fish is prepared. Battered and fried, blackened or grilled. A burger is no competition for Faroe Salmon so I ordered blackened Salmon. For sides you can get your typical fries,chips and slaw they also offer an Andouille sausage potato cake.

Castleton Grill 003

Well the both of the fish portions were small; 4 to 5 ounces. The mini hoagie roll was cute but my potato cake side was bigger than my fish. As far as taste goes it was pretty underwhelming. My fish was pretty to look at but was bland; even with Blackening spice. Salmon is a robust fish and should have a taste to match. As for the potato cake it was pretty boring as well. A “mushy” texture with no discernible evidence of sausage in it. I guess the corn relish on top was supposed to offer taste and crunch.

Castleton Grill 006

Castleton Grill 007

There is a pretty common saying in the Restaurant biz. “People eat with their eyes” That is just an admonition to make every plate attractive. Well the dining may start with the eyes but eventually the customers will open their mouths. Make sure the statement your food makes is something you want to say.

So Pat’s Cod was $9 and my Salmon was $10. Craft drafts are $6; in other words typical Castleton prices. There are better joints to eat even up in this area.

Castleton Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Keystone Deli 2344 E. 53rd. Street

Deli 61516 001

I don’t get this joints name. It is right off Keystone Ave. It does offer s few “deli” style sandwiches with its flat top burgers and fries and such but that is a small percentage of its menu. I first discovered the place some years back as a meat plus 2. The have a large steam table loaded up with a good variety of home style eats and put out a nice little lunch for 7 bucks. Today we had to have breakfast because of prior commitments. What we discovered was a great little diner that serves large portions of nicely prepared breakfast foods for a very reasonable price.

Deli 61516 009

IMAG0001

Deli 61516 008

Pat’s plate was $7.95 and came with a choice of toast or 2 biscuits. Now who would opt for toast when they could have 2 fluffy scratch made biscuits? Not Pat. Or me,for that matter.

Now my breakfast was $7.45 and it consisted of biscuits and gravy, and a choice of apples or grits.

Deli 61516 004

Deli 61516 007

They also give you 2 eggs,your choice, bacon or sausage and potatoes.

Deli 61516 005

Now that is a breakfast. You know the most important meal of the day. The biscuits were moist and fluffy and the gravy was excellent. This place may have it over Olly’s gravy, as far as taste. The Deli’s gravy has little specks of red pepper in it. However as for the amount of sausage I think Olly wins. The bacon was outstanding as well. Just crisp enough. I agree with Pat about the taters. They could have been a lot crisper and they could have used some seasoning. The grits were what you would expect. Nice and thick and just a tad lumpy. Just waiting for a pat of butter and some hot sauce.

They also have pancakes and waffles. As a matter of fact you can order a pancake to go with your breakfast for an extra buck. So if you are into “home cooked” breakfast food and aren’t too concerned about ambiance then this is a place for you. However if you need a Brunch like atmosphere and a Mimosa then this ain’t for you.

Keystone Deli Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Luck Lou’s Seafood Restaurant 3623 Commercial Drive

Lucky Lou 001

You enter into an outer lobby where you are greeted by a floral display

0608161123

Also their Special board. This one written in Chinese.

0608161123a

0608161152

IMAG0001

0608161147a

Pat hit the nail on the head with his opening line. This is not your typical Indianapolis Chinese Restaurant. You know the restaurants. They all have the same menu, the one with steamed or fried dumplings for $4.95 and a $7.95 lunch special with egg roll and soup. The only variant being the name on the menu. That is not to say you are going to get the same meal at all the locations. You hand the same recipe and ingredients to 3 chefs you will more than likely end up with 3 different tastes. Chefs are, if nothing else individuals.

This place deals in the “nasty parts”. Lungs and intestines. You know the stuff that is never mentioned in “polite” Restaurant society. They even offer a small plate of Beef Offal with Turnip. However this is not what drew me here. It was Dim Sum. Small plates of different foods, typically dumplings or balls steamed or fried. However before I go into my dumpling lunch I must mention our lunch guest, Bob, a friend from school. He was in for a visit from North Carolina. He likes hot food. Very hot food. He ordered a diced chicken in chiles and ordered it as hot as possible. He ate it without even breaking into a sweat.

0608161159

Lou’s menu is a big book loaded with amazing pictures. I scanned their carry out menu,which is very big as well. This will be posted on Zomato for anyone interested. As for the Dim Sum they have their own menu,complete with pictures. The prices range from $3.65 to $4.95 with the most coming in at $3.95. My first dish was a Stuffed Eggplant.

0608161148

This was my favorite. Beautifully cooked eggplant stuffed with what tasted like minced shrimp and pork in a nicely textured dressing. It was covered with a sweetened soy sauce. As I said it was my favorite. For some reason it reminded me of Thanksgiving.

0608161151

These Shrimp Balls were very interesting. They had the standard saltiness of a shrimp paste yet had the airy texture of a Southern style dumpling. I think I would have enjoyed them more with a dipping sauce of some sort. Something other than soy, hot chile oil or packs of sweet and sour sauce.

0608161158a

I have had Short Ribs at other Chines Restaurants before. The sauce may differ but they always have one thing in common. They are always chewy. The rib is never cooked long enough to become tender. I believe this is my first time for this type of sauce. It had a decent flavor and a slight pepper bite however it was a bit gelatinous from the corn starch. They served a goodly amount so I took them home and was able to “salvage” them with just a little effort. So the bones were there.

0608161159c

This was the oddest one for me. I have had shrimp and pork dumplings before but never like this. Other places served them like the twisted sort of ubiquitous dumpling you see at most other joints. As you can see these are far from small and twisted. These are large and dense. The filling is in a cavity inside.When you cut them the minced shrimp and pork is cradled like soup in a bowl it doesn’t come gushing out like jelly in a donut. The walls of the dumpling are about a quarter of an inch thick and the inner most half appears to be only partly cooked. The whole thing is chewy and the inside most of all. The filling was tasty enough but the dumpling had a sweetness to it that I found to be incongruous with the filling.

I enjoyed my dumpling lunch. Any issue I had was with my selections. The House upheld its end I may have just picked the wrong things for me. On weekends they bring in Dim Sum carts; like dessert carts in a fancy French joint. Now that I will definitely try.

Lucky Lou's Chinese Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

36 Degrees 36 E. Washington Street

Well another new joint opened up Downtown. The spot the owners picked has been a problematic one for previous tenants as it has seen 4 different restaurants open and close in the last 6 years. That is a high number even in the high mortality world of food and beverage. The space is very narrow, and the kitchen is downstairs, which can lead to some interesting situations.

They don’t offer draft beer; which is odd for this area; and their selections are not very spectacular. They had 3 different cocktail specials and for a food special they offered a club sandwich for $6 discounted from $7.50. I don’t usually eat clubs because they can be difficult to fit into your mouth. Unless you dis-assemble them,which can be fun.

 

36 degree 005

There wasn’t anything exceptional about the sandwich. It was well-built and included both ham and turkey with the bacon. Some places like to omit the turkey and add a slice of American cheese,which I don’t particularly like. The fries were exceptional tasty. They were your standard Sysco straight cut fries but they were fried and seasoned well.

36 degree 006

36 degrees 001

On Mondays they discount their menu to 5 bucks. Everything but steaks and an appetizer combo. Also on Tuesday they feature 25 cent tacos. A true taco Tuesday. The place is solid. No flash, no bang, no hook. In the long run that shouldn’t bother them. It is a tough gig and I wish them nothing but the best.

36 Degrees Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

On The Border

Right up front I wish to apologize to all the readers who come to this blog for information about locally owned restaurants. Mom and Pops. if you will. I thought this was a small local chain, like Mr. Tequilla. I was flat-footed wrong. I was enticed by the lure of a Hatch Green Chile Chicken enchilada. As it turns out the chain is far from small or local. But I had lunch there so….

Without getting in the weeds on Botany or Geography I must first explain Hatch Chiles. Hatch is a small town in Southern New Mexico,it is not a pepper. It is noted for the chiles it grows and has a yearly festival. The varieties they grow probably vary as the Universities are always experimenting on new and improved varieties. I am familiar with the Big Jim and a couple of others I can’t recall. In either event these chiles are Extremely popular in New Mexico;or at least they were when I lived out there. And they are addictive. So although I have been clean for 20 years I thought I needed a taste.

0527161409a

0527161324

Their salsa had a bit of zip but it was thin and had cumin in it. To me you don’t add cumin to salsa. And why do people cut their tortillas into quarters to fry for chips? They are too big.

0527161333a

The margarita was pretty good. It was a Grande for $6.99. It was pretty nice sitting outside with music in the background and a cocktail in hand.

Now for the main dish. My Hatch Green Chile Chicken enchilada. Were the chiles truly Hatch. Nope. Hatch is too small of an area to produce a whole bunch of peppers. Were they authentic New Mex peppers? Possibly. I recall that there is/was a brand of canned green chiles called Hatch. They were from Deming, a small town in New Mex. But pedigrees aside how did they taste? The sauce looked familiar and the flavor was a bit reminiscent, however they were a tad stingy on amount they used to covered my enchiladas. The chicken itself was okay. A decent amount but the flavor wasn’t anything to write home about. As for the beans. So so, and the rice;who thought tossing a few kernels of corn in was a good idea? Overall There are a bunch of truly local joints that do it better. I just had to chase a memory I guess. And I was satisfied.

0527161334a

 

On the Border Mexican Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 219 other followers

%d bloggers like this: