eating indie in indy

Latest

Goody’s Family Restaurant 1601 E Main Street #2 Plainfield In.

White gravy on a white platter doesn’t give much contrast does it.

I wanted something more lunch like so I decided on liver and onions. The server convinced me that the senior meal was the way to go and she was absolutely correct. A very nice portion of meat with potato and vegetable. Plus a salad or soup all for $7.

The salad was quite respectable not to the Sahm’s standard but sufficient for its purpose.

The potatoes and gravy were probably not made from scratch but they fulfilled their purpose more than adequately. These were merely the opening acts before the main event. The liver and onions. I order liver any time I see it on the menu. I like it and it is good for you. My ideal plate is fully carmelized onion and a nice slab of liver more medium rare than medium.

This plate got one out of two. The onions were nicely done but the liver was a bit more than medium. However it still retained a moistness that some joints fail to meet. It also was a beautiful piece. Not one bit of vein. It was all soft edible meat. So I realized maybe my quest for a “perfect” plate of liver might fail not because of the restaurant but me. That is except for the joints that turn it into shoe leather. That’s entirely on them. You meed a thick slice to get a mid rare finish and that seems hard to find.

Overall I enjoyed my $7 lunch. I know Pat will be back but I don’t ride so I don’t think I will make a return trip, but if I am in the area I know where I can get a good meal.

 

 

 

Books and Brews 6420 Cornell Ave.

This a local chain with about 9 locations with the Mothership up around 96th Street. According to their website franchising may be available so I have no idea how many if any are franchises. The concept is rather novel. All of their places have print book libraries where you can browse and read with your lunch. The books are also available for sale.

https://www.booksnbrews.com/broad-ripple

All of their beers and menu items have literary names and to be honest some are pretty cheesy; but that’s okay. Beer and cheese go well together. Pat ordered off the Special menu and got the Return of the King

In addition to Panini style sandwiches they offer Naan-Fiction. That is their version of pizza. The flat breads can be ordered with choice of sauce and various other toppings. The options are red sauce, BBQ sauce or buttermilk Ranch. I really don’t get the Ranch at all, but I am sure they offer it for a reason.

My piece of Naan-Fiction was called the Wilbur. Pulled pork with mozzarella, cheddar cheese and garlic salt. With that combo I went with BBQ sauce. It was really pretty good. The Naan made a nice crisp crust. The sauce seemed exceptionally sweet but not excessively so. The amounts of pork and cheese were a trifle sparse but all in all not a bad lunch for $9. I would probably do it again, but more than likely I would try one of their other options.

This is a nice little joint. It is North of the Canel. That is the quiet part of the Village. It is also the part with trees in the front. We ate on the porch so it was more like having lunch at a friend’s house. I want to get back and enjoy the quiet and their beer and food again.

 

Ralph’s Great Divide 743 E. New York St.

Another old school joint I haven’t been to in a while. They are noted for their house made pies and creamy potato soup, but you really need to try the ham. The soup comes 3 ways. Plain, Hot Pot Aug (as in Ah Gee) which is covered with cheddar cheese or the Hot Pot Pig. As you can imagine the Pot Pig has bacon and hot pepper cheese.

Going in I knew I needed to save room for pie so I ordered one of their combos. A half a ham sandwich and a cup of Hot Pot Aug soup.

Their pit ham is bourbon glazed so that should get your attention. The result is delicious. It makes for a nice and simple sandwich. As good as the ham was the soup stole the show. It had an excellent consistency and the sharpness of the cheese paired nicely with the subtle richness of the soup. It was a tandem I would definitely enjoy again.

For dessert I opted for a slice of Butterscotch cream pie.

It was every bit as good as it looks. Flaky crust and a rich Mousse like filling. It was definitely worth the calories.

As good as the food was I think the service we received may have been even better. I would like to thank Samantha and Libby for their courtesy and hospitality. Next time I am trying the Hot Pot Pig. I am also sure to have some pie.

The Whistle Stop Inn 375 S. Illinois Street

This is a little place. A place folks like to call a hole in the hole or a dive bar. None of these are meant to disrespect they are merely meant to describe an old school bar. A place that has no pretense of being a hang out for hipsters or a gastropub. It is a joint that has bar food and proud of it. It is a joint where the owner serves your beer and cooks your food. It is a bar from my youth.

They don’t have much of an electronic foot print. I should have made a copy of their menu. Their menu is small and basic. The usual range of sandwiches you might find in a small bar around here and they are all in the $6 to $7 range. The first thing we ordered was an app of clam strips. You don’t see these very often. They come with a nice homemade cocktail sauce and are worth doing again.

I was really torn between meatloaf and Sloppy Joe; both are made by the owner and I am a sucker for either. I finally opted for a meatloaf sandwich on a bun. I could have gotten it on bread; toast even. That is how accommodating the owner is.

The meatloaf was nicely done. A great texture, neither too dense or loose. It also had a great beef flavor. You didn’t taste a bunch of non-meat additives. This ranks with the best I have had.

Pat and I both enjoyed our lunch immensely. I want to go back and try the Sloppy Joe. As for the service it was wonderful. I never got the owner’s name but she is incredible. She remembers what the regulars drink and eat and she is a first class Hostess. Keep this hole in the wall in mind when you go see the Colts or just drop in if you are in the area. I think you will like it.

Liter House 5301 Winthrop Ave.

https://literhouse.com/

This was Bent Rail Brewery and now it is another part of the Sahms Family empire. I thought their Big Lug was ambitious but this could at least rival that location. As you can tell from the name that they have a German theme going on with a beer Garden planned. They also have a large smoke house in the works. They hope to have the whole project completed by Oktoberfest.

As an appetizer I was tempted between the rabbit pate and the Cornwurst. They were out of the pate; so by default it was the Cornwurst; pulled pork corn dogs, curried ketchup, rutabaga mustard for $8.

These little things were crazy. A nice pulled pork wrapped in a beautiful corn dog type batter. The curry ketchup and the mustard were very good complements to the corn-ness. The only possible critique would be the dryness of the “wurst”. In order to shape and coat the pork balls they were limited on the amount of sauce they could use. More ketchup would help.

For my main lunch I ordered a Bratwurst. They don’t make their own sausage yet. They do make their own buns though. Right now they have Smoking Goose make their sausages to their own specs.  The brat was excellent, full of flavor and a very nice snap to it. The mustard creme fraiche brought a nice creaminess to the sandwich which balanced nicely with the fried shallot.

For my side I got a simple side salad. However it was hardly simple in taste.

I ordered it with their smoked peach hefeweizen vinaigrette. It was a clean and fresh dressing that clung to the greens and enhanced their taste. The way I think a salad should be. It could be my imagination but it seems as though every salad I have gotten from a Sahms restaurant has been a cut or two above other joints. This new place is another home run for the Sahms and I am looking forward to Oktoberfest.

The Coney Islands of Indianapolis Part 1

I am reasonably sure that most folks have heard of a Coney dog or as it was called years ago a Coney Island. That is a hot dog topped with a meat and tomato sauce. If not then surely you are familiar with the Chili dog. The difference is the type of meat sauce. The Chili has a more pronounced Southwest flair to it. I have always thought the Coney Island dog came from New York. Actually I have discovered that the name may be from New York but the sandwich hails from Detroit. At the turn of the century Greek and Armenian immigrants started selling hot dogs smothered with a meat sauce. Possibly in an effort to “Americanize” it they named it Coney Island. Since that was the reputed home of the hot dog they thought it apt.

The reason I got interested in their history is a new carry out joint opened in Indy selling authentic Detroit Coney Dogs. The owner gets the sauce from Detroit so it should be authentic. After I realized that I had to get to Chucks Coneys I thought why not make it a multi part review. I know of several joints that sell coneys and chili dogs. Knowing that I could eat more than one in a day I decided to go ahead. Due to the logistics Chucks would be my last stop for day one. Naturally it wasn’t open. Their web site listed Saturday hours they just weren’t open. So let’s begin with Big Dan’s.

Big Dan’s used to be called Mr. Dan’s; and before that it was Gay Dan’s. As the sign says it has been around since 1950. I think in the 80’s it fell on hard times and now only the one at 5925 Mass. Avenue remains. I read where in the past 50 years 16 Mr. Dan’s have opened and closed. It is an authentic Hoosier experience.

They use an all beef dog. Initially it was Nathans now it is Eisenberg dogs; the Chicago dog. The dog is excellent. A great snap with a bit of spice and wonderful texture. I really couldn’t tell much about the coney sauce the amount was small and it couldn’t compete with the cheese and onion. I think to properly judge I have to go back and try just the dog and sauce. My version with onion, cheese and mustard was $4.68.

They have some replica ads from the Gay Dan days.

Garcia’s Hot dogs.  5102 E 16th Street

Garcia’s is a hot dog-cart doing business at the corner of 16th and Emerson Ave. I have seen it on several occasions but never had an opportunity to stop. I am glad I finally did. He has an amazing set up that allows him to griddle his dogs to order. He also has bacon wrapped dogs.

He greets every customer with a smile, a handshake and a hearty Welcome My Friend. The man understands Hospitality.

He splits his dogs length wise and cooks them on his griddle; giving them a bit of char. He puts them in a steamed bun, adds cheese then a bunch of chili. The onion finish gives it a nice crunch. His chili has a definite Southwest flavor. Loaded with cumin. Reminiscent of tamales. More than likely from a can but fits the dog well. It was very messy to eat in your car, it could stand a knife and fork.

Next time I am in the area I am trying a bacon dog with some of his homemade relish. His chili cheese dog was $3.50. I gave him $5 because that was definitely a 5 buck dog.

Coming soon Part 2 of Coney Dogs on Indianapolis.

 

Loco Mexican Restaurant & Cantina 2205 N. Delaware Street.

There is a growing trend in Indy to erect buildings with a relatively small footprint that has retail spaces on the ground floor and rental residence on upper floors. The structure that Loco is in is one of these mixed use buildings. I think it has been around about three years. The bottom floor has a Mashcraft tasting room and Loco. I believe that it has been there since the beginning. The space that houses Loco has had a sort of revolving door on it; as far as tenants are concerned. That is one reason I was eager to go here. I wanted to see the place if they were gone in 6 months.

I ordered their Chile Colorado plate for $11. That is skirt steak simmered in a red chile and served with rice, salad, avocado and some flour tortillas to build your own mini burritos. The first thing you notice is the size of the meal. Neither one of our dishes were skimpy. Even Pat’s lunch special, which was only $8.

I thought my Chile Colorado was excellent. The chile sauce had that wonderful earthiness of a red chile pod sauce. Even the rice; which is normally just a spear carrier in a Mexican meal had a personality of its own. The meat was abundant and had just a slight chew to it. Which is to be expected of skirt steak. I would do it again. However there are so many other things I would like to try.

https://www.locoindy.com/

One more thing I had to try.

Yes that is a Frozen Margarita. A 27 ounce one for $9. I have not had one in over 30 years. I still have no idea why I ordered one today. It was okay but I prefer my ritas to be up or on the rocks.

Frozen cocktails aside I think this joint has a staying quality the other places didn’t have. It is a beautiful place with a nice patio and they serve kids. Something I think the neighbors might appreciate. I will be back.

A wall of tequila

 

 

 

Jimmy’s Dairy Bar 7065 S. State Road 67 Pendleton Indiana

Jimmy’s is an old-fashioned drive in. No car hops but you can order at the window and eat in your car; eat in doors or use their drive up. A triple threat. I am afraid places like this are slowly vanishing. Hopefully they can still flourish in small towns. There are a few left in Indianapolis but I am afraid “progress” will eventually take its toll.

This is the sort of joint that has a concise menu made up of both house made and “store-bought” items.

Pat and I both ordered two sandwiches and some mushrooms to share. I ordered a BBQ and a Sloppy Joe.

The BBQ was excellent. It was not dry rubbed and smoked and served sauce on the side. It was cooked in an unknown manner then sauced in a very unique sauce, with mushrooms. It was moist, tasty and abundant; and less than $5. When they serve the sandwiches they are wrapped in paper, which can be problematic when you unwrap to photograph.

Sloppy Sloppy Joe. It fell apart when I unwrapped it.

As you can tell from the pictures both of these sandwiches require a fork. I have been a fan of the Sloppy Joe since I was a kid and I think the one at Jimmy’s is the best I have eaten. The meat was looser than most and didn’t have the sweetness that most others have. It wasn’t a Maid Rite or Loose meat but probably something in between; as it had a tomato presence. In either event it was a big hit.

Pat wanted to show what was under the lid. Look closely and you can see the mushrooms.

This is Pat’s tenderloin and the mushrooms. The mushrooms were one of those “store-bought” items on the menu. Not worth doing again.

Pat got a chocolate malt to top off his lunch I got a chocolate soft serve cone. I honestly can not remember the last time I had soft serve. It was so good it makes me wonder why it has been so long.

Their dining room is actually pretty spacious and don’t forget the drive through if you don’t want to come in.

They even have picnic tables out back. They got you covered no matter how you roll. This place is a keeper.

 

 

Sea Kings Seafood Kitchen 5523 E 38th Street.

This place has been home to eating establishments for probably 40 years. So three joints in about 40 years is well above the average life span. Of course I don’t have any idea how many years; if any the property set vacant.

It is an oddly shaped building that reminds me of a Gazebo. I should have taken some outdoor shots but didn’t. Their menu has a few surprises on it but it is mostly the predictable Hoosier seafood.

http://seakingsindy.com/

The new owner is a retired LEO from California so we had a good time talking with the man. Being gun enthusiasts we talked both guns and gun ranges with him. He was born in Indy and raised in this neighborhood and he wants to do his part in its revitalization.

Most of their fish are available fried, grilled or blackened. Also their meals come with hushpuppies but they only give up two per meal. I ordered a catfish meal for $10.99 with the fish blackened and for my 2 sides I opted for coleslaw and an extra side of hushpuppies.

Even with an additional side I only got 6 pups. That is unfortunate. Joints around here are so frugal when it comes to giving out pups. The fish was pretty good. It wasn’t truly blackened; in the traditional sense of the term. It was cooked on a griddle with some Cajun seasoning. The fillets were probably about 4 ounces each which give you a decent size meal. The coleslaw was sweet and creamy which I like. Overall I liked my meal. On any return trips I am trying their fried fish. They use a batter with a touch of cornmeal in it. That sounds interesting.

Pat’s 2 sides

Don’t let the container size deceive you. Both of these containers hold a good 4 ounce portion. An amount I think is adequate for a meal. His whole meal was $14.99, which I thought was high, but shrimp is always expensive when you eat out. That is why I prepare shrimp at home.

Overall this is a good choice for your seafood fix. I believe they have $7.99 specials for lunch featuring a sandwich, fries and a drink. Which is definitely competitive with the arches.

 

Dukes Honky Tonk 2352 S. West Street

This building has been around for a while as the Ice House, a legendary tavern on the near South side. The owners decided to retire and an old customer decided that he wanted to realize his dream. Owning a Honky Tonk. To him that meant live music and fried chicken dinners at night. During the day the menu is like most taverns or bars, with a few exceptions. They feature a rotating BBQ special from Black Metal BBQ which is a mobile catering truck that has its base at Dukes. They also feature Hatch Chiles on their menu in the form of a green chile cheeseburger and as a pick me up in their mac and cheese. They import them; I assume from New Mexico. I asked but our server wasn’t sure. No matter where they came from that was what I had to order. I also went for a side of mac and cheese, for a slight up charge.

The sandwich was excellent. A moist patty smashed on a flat top served on a bun wonderfully toasted with just a hint of hamburger grease. The only thing I would do different would be to 86 the lettuce and tomato. They just interfere with the chiles. As for the mac and cheese it was Ok, the chiles carried it for me. To me mac and cheese has a roux made cheese sauce mixed with macaroni. Then the dish is put into an oven with buttered bread crumbs. I can appreciate and enjoy other versions but they are not my preference. The noodle in this dish was nicely done and the cheese sauce was smooth and creamy. It just wasn’t what I expect in a mac and cheese around here.

So if you are a freak for Hatch chiles or if you need a pressure fried chicken dinner then now you have a place to go.

https://www.dukesindy.com/

https://www.blackmetalbbqindy.com/

 

%d bloggers like this: