eating indie in indy

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Why do we  have this blog? I am sure some folks ask that. It is really simple. We are two old friends that enjoy having lunch together, and an occasional Adult beverage. When I retired from the Restaurant Biz my old friend Pat and I decided to have lunch every week and BS about the past. After a few weeks we decided that we needed to share our experiences with people. Actually we bring some unique experiences to the table. I spent several years “touring” the south-west and old Mexico. I also spent a tour in Las Vegas. That is where I went to Culinary School; UNLV. After Vegas I opened a few joints in New Mexico, so I think I have an understanding of what it takes to be an owner/ operator. As for Pat he is very analytical and has pretty good food instincts. So we hope you enjoy our posts. More importantly we hope you find a place you want to go to and break that chain habit of eating

Christina’s Pancake House ( formerly Sister’s Place ) 215 Terrace Ave.

I am starting off my lunch review with a picture of the best part of my lunch. Pie

A delicious slice of Lemon Meringue pie for $3.50. They buy the pies from Hoosier Mama Pie Company in Chicago. The same outfit that the previous owner use. It was an excellent piece of pie. I can’t say the same for the rest of my lunch. My meat loaf dinner was $9.45 and came with soup or salad, roll and VOD as well as a plate of meat loaf and “lumpy mashed potatoes” all smother with gravy. One of the soup options was Chicken Gumbo. Well it was not what I expected.

I think you could call this many things but Gumbo isn’t one of them. I have never seen a Gumbo that didn’t have the Trinity in it. Nor have I ever had a Gumbo with macaroni added to it. Overall it had the flavor of a Campbell’s Soup. Would not do it again.

The roll was interesting. It had a slight Ciabatta chew to it which I thought was nice and they use real butter which is always good. As for the veggie. Why bother. It was straight from a bag of frozen vegetables and no attempt was made to even make them even interesting.

Now we come to the center of the plate. The meat loaf. It wasn’t bad just not really good. I would guess that it wasn’t made in-house. I based that on the compaction and the fine grind of the meat. If I am wrong then they can redeem it by using seasoning in a more bold fashion. Since they refer to their potatoes as lumpy I would guess they are made here from real potatoes. They are pretty lumpy and pretty good. The gravy was more than likely from a mix but had a decent flavor to it. I think if you want a more “scratch made ” experience you should try breakfast, which they sell all day. It is a really large menu so you could probably find something you like.

Tavern at the Point 401 Mass. Ave.

As you can see the building seems to come to a point. Hence the name.

It is hard to see in this pic but that’s Pat pointing at the sign over the door. It’s a Tavern at the Point sign. Yeah that’s funny.

The place has been gentrified since it was the Old Point. They added a second bar. This one seats 5 bodies and, like a sushi bar, gives a nice view of the kitchen operation, and it was a pretty busy kitchen that day. I had a great time watching.

I decided on a Smoked brisket melt. Horseradish Havarti cheese, candied onion, horseradish sauce and of course brisket. All on Sourdough bread. It was a very formidable sandwich. I always like to order any meal the way the chef or cook has planned it. Most times it is done a certain way for a reason. I was a bit wary of the candied onion but I thought the boldness of the horseradish and the fat from the brisket would keep the sweetness in check. Not quite. I first encountered an “onion marmalade” at a joint I worked in California about 30 years ago and have seen it a few times since then. It is still a practical and popular element to a sandwich but it can overwhelm the other ingredients. This was a very good sandwich that wasn’t bullied too much by the candied onion. I personally would have enjoyed it more with a more pungent horseradish.

Pat and I both had the slaw. It was a slightly sweet vinegar affair that had a big old Southwest spin to it. It was garnish with a bit of cilantro. That was a big old kick in the taste buds. I enjoyed it tremendously and I am going to rip the idea off the next time I make slaw. The sandwiches are in the $12 – $ 13 range and beers are $7. It is Downtown after all. The only negative I have is about the bar stools they are bolted to and floor and do not swivel so they are hard to get it. Other than that this joint is a hit and I will be back.

https://www.tavernatthepoint.com/

Here is our post for the The Old Point Tavern; FIVE years ago. That is a long time.

https://kosherhamandcheese.com/2013/04/24/the-old-point-tavern/

Gallery Pastry Shop 1101 E. 54th Street G

This shop is a little tricky to find. The address is on 54th. but you can’t see it from the street. It is behind a building. You turn into an entryway and drive to the back of a small business area. Turn right and at the end is the neatest little joint you can imagine.

At the far end you can see what appears to be a Chess set on the ground. That is exactly what it is.

A little whimsy is always appreciated.

Each piece is about 2 feet high and seem to be a lightweight plastic. I say light weight because as we were leaving I saw two little kids moving them off the “board”.

I met my friend Joey, 2 of her teen daughters and her husband Jason today for brunch. The seating is nicely spaced but the acoustics and the loud music made it difficult to talk.

They offer a week day menu and a Brunch menu for Saturday and Sunday.

https://www.gallerypastryshop.com/

Once you are seated you receive small printed sheets with all the menu items listed. You check what you want, add you name and pass it to the server. It sounds pretty efficient but the service was rather choppy. Not bad just not smooth. I ordered 2 crepes, one sweet and one savory. My sweet crepe came out first. Lemon curd folded in and topped with whipped cream.

This was delicious. A tender crepe and a light curd with the proper amount of tartness. Possibly the best I have had.

My savory crepe was chorizo sausage from Smoking Goose, a “mushroom mix” and mozzarella cheese. It was a big hit as well. It held a good amount of meat and the chorizo wasn’t spicy at all. It balance well with the sweet tartness of the lemon curd.

 

I know this is an atrocious picture. I felt hurried for some reason. Each diner in our party had 4 plates and servers were in and out bringing the plates out at different times. I am glad we had a big round table.

This shot is only marginally better, which is a shame. As good as the crepes were this plate was the show stopper. It consisted of a split croissant with a piece of bruleed Trillium Cheese nestled in it. It was placed on a smear of honey with a fresh berry compote next to it.

Trillium cheese is a triple cream cheese similar to Brie and Camembert. This particular cheese comes from a local creamery. Tulip Tree in Zionsville. If you enjoy a warm and gooey cheese you would love this dish. The rind is sugared then torched making a sweet crust. Slice the crust off and put on a piece of the buttery croissant and enjoy the first bite. As you continue eating you get tastes of the cheese, the sweet honey and the slight tartness of the berries. Our table had 4 of them so it wasn’t just me that enjoyed it.

https://www.tuliptreecreamery.com/about-us/

I will be back. Joey and her girls got a dozen Macarons to go, but I was too full. Also on Wednesday they sell them for a buck. Normally they are $2.50. So I will be there at 10 AM this Wednesday.

Greens & Things Eatery 4709 Shadeland Ave.

This place used to be called Bookers BBQ. We reviewed it in January 2017 and then they were out of BBQ so there won’t be any comparisons.

Pat order the pulled pork meal which comes with 2 sides for $12. I think he was bummed that it came in the form of 2 sandwiches. He is still avoiding non beer carbs and was expecting a pile of pork on a plate with a side of green beans and greens. He had the meat scraped of the buns before I had a chance to even think of taking a picture.

Pulled pork pulled from the buns.

I decided on a half slab rib dinner with collard and coleslaw also $12. I also ordered a small side of hush puppies.

My greens

Hush puppies!

I ordered my food with sauce on the side (SOS). I got it hot which had an interesting flavor. It was simply a sweet sauce with hot sauce added. I have had it at other joints but this one had a more vinegar kick, which I enjoyed. The ribs could have spent more time on the fire. They had a bit of fat and were a bit chewy. They weren’t the best I have had nor were they the worse. There was no noticeable smoke ring so I figured they were cooked in an oven. More time in the oven would have made then more tender and rendered more of the fat. Since this joint is new I have faith that they will get it together. The coleslaw was nice and sweet which I like with BBQ. The greens did have a nice flavor but they could have used a touch of crushed red pepper and a shot of vinegar. The pups had a great corn flavor and would have been great dipped into the collard pot liquor but I didn’t get much liquid in my greens.

Their menu is pretty basic and seems to cover most of the country food groups.

Overall I enjoyed my lunch. I was full and I had some food to take home. I will enjoy a return trip. They have a bunch of sides and they also have meatloaf on Sundays. It isn’t close but it is an easy drive.

 

 

 

Jamaican Jerk Chicken 7023 Michigan Road

I don’t know how long this place has been on Michigan Road but at one time it was over on Keystone Ave. and 34th Street. It was inside a gas station and had carry out only. Their menu is small featuring only the essentials.

As soon as you walk in the first thing that hits you is the wonderful aroma. The scent of all the spices and herbs mixed with a bit of smoke makes you want to eat. All of the menu is cooked in advance and stored on a steam table; so service is quick.

I decided on a quarter chicken white meal.

The breast was very good. Often breast meat has a tendency to be dry if not cooked properly. Which is why I usually go for the dark meat. The thigh is my favorite. This breast was properly done so it was both moist and tender. Under the meat is the red beans and rice. The rice was a bit dry. That is the danger of steam tables. Over time they dry the food out. The flavor was there I just would have enjoyed more red bean “juice”. The meat was rubbed with a subtle and savory blend of herbs and spices prior to cooking. Then a jerk sauce is served on the side. He makes 3 of varying degrees of heat. I opted for the “hot”. It wasn’t very hot at all but complemented the dry rub very well. I think a return trip is in my future.

Mr. Natural ordered the quarter white as well, but he opted for just the meat so he could have a side of cabbage.

Pat’s “steamed” cabbage

So if you need a jerk fix now you know where to go. While you are there may I suggest trying some of this.

Good stuff; and it is hot.

 

The Rib Kitchen 1501 Prospect Street

This is a new joint that opened in November 2017. As I was told by the owner after they opened they closed for a while to do some re-organization. They did the re-organization well because this is a neat little joint. The menu is intentionally sparse. They also do a nice array of deep-fried appetizers sold by the pound. On the Q menu they only offer ribs and rib tips reserving the smoking of brisket and pork shoulder for specials.

This little guy stands at the counter where you order. The building used to house a KFC so the format is similar.

Pat and I both ordered the special. A pulled pork sandwich with a drink and 2 sides for $9.99. What he didn’t mention was the order of fried mushrooms we shared. The owner was kind enough to split them up for us. The mushrooms were interesting, the batter was tasty just a bit thick. I agree with Pat’s assessment on the pig and the sides 100 percent.

These are our 2 sides. Creamy slaw and Greens. The slaw wore a creamy dressing that coated without drowning the cabbage and the greens were in that perfect range of done but still having some tooth. The man also makes his own sauce which was really good as well. As we ate he told us about the brisket that he had to try as a special in the near future. A slow smoked brisket sounds wonderful, so that will be for my return trip.

The Clay Oven 7415 US 31 Indianapolis

This little place sits in a strip mall on land used for the US 31 drive in theater when I was in high school. It is probably an improvement. It is a buffet that only costs $10; which is probably what got Pat’s attention.

Like most buffets taking pictures is difficult. I took selected shots of the buffet line first thing.

This is the cold section featuring Indian raisin pudding and fruit custard.

Fried bread and various Dal or lentil dishes.

Pat’s beloved Palak Paneer.

Gulab Jamun, Allo Tikki, and Veggie Bhuna.

I took a picture of our first plates but regardless of that old saying about eating with ones eyes when you are at a buffet you pick your dishes according to your hunger not your aesthetics.

Pat’s first plate.

My first plate

I have a slight familiarity with common Indian dishes; nearly all through buffets. This is the most complete buffet I have been to. In addition to the dal dishes and Tiki Masala and Vindaloo they offered Potato cakes and vegetable fritters. These were all fried in a Garbanzo bean batter. They were quite tasty but required a sauce. That is what the various chutneys are for.

I had two large plates but still had room for something sweet. They offered my favorite Gulab Jamun. A spongy milky ball simmered in a sugar syrup. Delicious. They also had something I was not familiar with. Rice pudding and fruit custard. The pudding was thinner than that I am accustomed to but was excellent. Their custard was outstanding as well and the added fruit was a bonus. I don’t know that there is a better Indian buffet in town.

The Clay Oven Indian Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dave & Betty’s Diner 4801 Southeastern Ave.

Diner   noun

1.

a person who dines.

2.

a railroad dining car.

3.

a restaurant built like such a car.

4.

a small, informal, and usually inexpensive restaurant
This little joint fits definition # 4. Although there are a couple of examples of # 3 in this area. One is on east 38th street, it is barely recognizable as to its original intent as it was converted to a Subway some time back. The best example is the Oasis Diner in Plainfield Indiana.
Dave & Betty’s doesn’t look at all like this but their intent is the same as every other diner in the country. Serve good food at good prices.

Pat’s Humongous Burger.

This is the half order of biscuits and gravy that we split as an appetizer. The gravy was better than most but not as good as Ollie’s. The biscuit was very nice indeed, and it only cost $3.60.

For my meal I could not resist their Beef Manhattan. For all you non Midwestern folks that is a roast beef sandwich cut on a bias with a pile of mashed potatoes in between the 2 halves. Then the entire thing is covered in brown gravy. There version was $ 6.60.

The taters were Potato Pearls and the gravy was probably from a mix but the beef was real and the portion was generous and it was hot. I thought it was delicious. It reminded me of my first Manhattan as a kid at the old Troy Restaurant in Downtown Indy. It is hard to resist hot beef and gravy. Of course had I been more observant I would have noticed that there special was meat loaf and I have a “thing” for meatloaf.

As big a lunch as it was I decided I had some room left for pie. In this case it was Banana Dream. A real pie crust filled with banana pudding and topped with whipped cream. It was pretty good. I probably could have eaten a whole pie.

This diner doesn’t have much of an electronic presence so I scanned their menu but only the lunch part turned out.

Dave & Bettys Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Whit’s Inn 1020 N. U.S Highway 31

Well as the man said this week is Tenderloin week and several bars and restaurants chose to participate. Of the few we had never been to this joint appeared to be the most interesting.  It is a neighborhood dive. The sort of place that draws the same crowd with karaoke on Wednesday night and live music on weekends. As a matter of fact Henry Lee Summers played there a while back. If you recognize that name you are probably over 50 and from Indiana. If you don’t never mind.

One thing we did not consider was the smoking. In Marion County smoking is no longer allowed in public places in Johnson County its smoke em if you got em. It wasn’t as off-putting as I thought it would be. The aroma was present it just wasn’t so bad that it ruined my visit. However as Pat said if I came back it would be to sit outside.

This place hand cuts the tenderloin and then cubes them in a cuber before they bread them by hand. So the sandwich is legit I just wasn’t in the mood for a hunk of fried meat. Their menu is small and predictable and nothing really jumped up and said “pick me”. I decided on a double bacon cheese burger; 86 the bun and garden. I wanted just the meat.

It was nothing spectacular. Two half pound beef patties topped with cheese and 2 nice slices of bacon. To me they were over cooked. I understand most joints are leery of not following Board of Health guide lines but I think 160 degrees is allowable. No matter; it was meat and it was filling.

Like most bars this joint has a Golden Tee golf machine and next to it is the coolest cocktail table.

Pretty neat isn’t it.

I enjoyed my self because the folks were friendly ( small Indiana town). As a matter of fact we met a fellow named Tom who worked for the city of Greenwood and has for 40 years. He was one year from retirement and on vacation. He decided that we were such nice guys that he had to buy us lunch. That was especially nice. If you are in the Franklin area and want a cold beer and a bite and you don’t mind smoke check out Whit’s Inn.

Thanks again Tom; enjoy your vacation.
Whit's Inn Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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