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Sandra Rice and Noodle 10625 Pendleton Pike.

The last three weeks we have eaten more carbs than we probably should so we decided to try this Vietnamese Restaurant a friend had told us about. It was a good move. They offer typical dishes but their execution is unique.

All of their $6.99 lunch specials come with soup and a spring roll.

The soup and roll were excellent. The broth was rich and comforting and the roll was crisp and bright. In my experience it usually gets a peanut sauce but with this one I got a sweet chile sauce.

I was interested in noodles so I opted for stir fry pork with rice noodles.

This was a very simple and straightforward dish. It didn’t have any discernible sauce. It was simply fried pork loaded with rice noodles spiked with a bit of carrot and cilantro. I really enjoyed it and I would eat it again.

They have a nice sized menu with great prices. Most of their prices are in the $7 to $10 so it is economical. Factor in the portion size and you have a bargain. Also they have salt and pepper shakers on the table. You have to ask for soy.


Sandra Rice & Noodle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

BurgerFuel 6320 Guilford Ave.

This is a company store from a chain that started in New Zealand in 1995. Even though it isn’t an Independent we decided to try it simply because it is so unique. Also it is the first one BurgerFuel has opened in the USA. Their other joints are in New Zealand, Australia and the Middle East.

Their menu is small and offers some very unique additions to their free range meat patties.

http://www.burgerfuel.com/us/usa-menu

Some burger places put their sandwiches in a small half sack to help keep them together while you eat. BurgerFuel uses small cardboard containers.

They actually come in handy;especially when you have a potentially messy burger with lots of stuff. They even work upside down.

In addition to the common cold set they add a house made tomato relish to each sandwich. The most unusual addition they offer is the raw grated beet and chia. That is what prompted me to order the Bio fuel sandwich with bacon added.

100% pure grass-fed beef, organic egg, raw grated beetroot & chia, salad, tomato relish & aioli 7.40

This is one heck of a sandwich. The meat offers a great flavor, though a bit dry. This is more an observation than a criticism. The slight nuttiness of the Egmont Cheddar married well with the meat and the “salad” added a nice crunch. The beet was the big gun though. It did add a sweetness to the sandwich but the poor tomato relish was lost and the egg may have stood up to it better had it been more “runny”. The bacon was very good with just the right amount of saltiness. As for the bun I can’t agree more with Pat. More and more joints are going the Brioche route. It is a good bun but this rustic little multi grain roll is the winner; in my book.

I will be back. Next time it will be the double. I also am intrigued by their vegetarian sandwich and the Motobites. I may be a carnivore but I am always on the look out for different tastes. Also a well made sandwich is a treat even if it has no meat.
BurgerFuel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Papa Ray’s 1267 Shelby Street

We hit upon this place more by accident than design. We had intended to visit the Silver Circle Bar in Fountain Square but they weren’t open at 11 as scheduled so we found this place. We didn’t do any research on it so we didn’t know that they are part of a small chain out of Chicago. Even though they don’t actually fit the criteria of the blog the joint is small and has the feel of a Mom and Pop and we were already there so we stayed.

The Monster slice is as “big as your head.” At least that is what the guy at the counter said. They offer it as a one topping special with a drink for $5. Pat ordered it with mushrooms.

I wanted to try one of their calzones. I ordered an Italian. Sausage, peppers, onions and mushrooms all rolled up with marinara and cheese. It was 10 inch long monster for $8.49.

It was a beautiful piece of work. It was brushed with butter and topped with Parmesan cheese giving it a lovely sheen. It was a knife and fork affair served with 2 sides of marinara for dipping. It was delicious. Crisp crust with a lush and savory filling. I really enjoyed the freshness of it all. The big chunks of meat and veggies made it a treat to eat.

I think this little joint has an excellent calzone; possibly the best in the city. As for the pizza Pat enjoyed it. I may try a Monster slice when I go back. That way I can taste for myself. They deliver with in a 6 mile radius and in addition to the typical Italian fare they offer chicken wings. Being right across the street from Fountain Square Brewing should make this a popular joint. Pizza, wings and beer is a culinary hat trick.
Papa Ray’s Pizza & Wings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Fireman’s Raceway Pub 9104 Crawfordsville Road.

This joint is a first for us.  The food is cooked to order, but with pre- made product. They use a frozen crust and a ready-made sauce for the pizza. The pizza product comes from a well know purveyor that sells a good product. They also use an independent restaurant supply for the rest of their inventory.

We learned of this joint recently after visiting Jimbo’s BBQ. Actually this was where we heard of Soul Bear’s. The hook to us was the fact they were just blocks from the BBQ and they offered $1 domestic bottles on Wednesday. As for the reason we decided to eat here was solely because of Danielle. She waits tables, tends bar and cooks the food all with an amazing amount of energy and humor. She told us she wanted to go to a Culinary School but was having second thoughts. Her attitude about cooking and tending to the customers is very refreshing. She does everything to the best of her ability which is very exciting to see. That is why we opted to have lunch here. There are several joints that have one person doing it all. Serving drinks and cooking food and they are all independently owned and they deserve some attention as well as a Gastropub.

Staying with the “sausage” motif I opted for a corn dog as my app.

It was pretty dark in the bar so my pictures are less that stellar. For my “main dish” I chose a Stromboli. As Danielle explained it to me she prepares the sandwich the same as a deluxe pizza. Ground meat, sauce, peppers,onions, mushrooms, pepperoni and cheese all on a toasted Hoagie bun. All of the pizza product comes from Delco Foods, a well know supplier of Italian food products. This sandwich was a big hit. The bun was exceptional and the toast was just right. It hit all the right notes and went down quickly. For $6 it was a bargain.

You don’t always need scratch made food to have a good meal. Good product and good preparation go a long way in making a joint shine.
Firemen's Raceway Pub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Soul Bear Bar-B-Que 9120 Crawfordsville Rd. Clermont In.

We heard about this place when we had lunch at Jimbo’s, which is about a quarter-mile away. They don’t have a very big electronic foot print but I was able to find out enough to make me decide it was worth the drive. It is a basic BBQ joint with a basic menu. In addition to the usual pig and chicken they also sell fried fish.

Pat and I decided to share a full slab of ribs. A slab comes with 2 sides. Pat opted for greens while I decided on mac and cheese. Since we ate the same thing I only took 2 pictures. Unfortunately I screwed one up, so I can only show the one.

The pile of bones was huge. So big that we were able to eat our fill and have some left to take home.

I thought the ribs were pretty good. They had a good smokiness and while not falling off the bone they were still tender and juicy. I think they rank in the top 5 ribs I have had in the city. Their BBQ Sauce was excellent. We got medium and it had a bit of spice to it. They ladle sauce over the ribs just before service giving a nice puddle in the bottom to dip your bread in. The sides were rather small but with the pile of meat you get the sides are really secondary. I couldn’t make any comparison between this joint and Jimbo’s because Bear doesn’t do brisket. I can compare mac and cheese though and I liked Bears a bit more. It had a more “natural” cheese flavor.

It is a drive but I can see myself going back for the rib tips. Clermont is really a nice little town. It sits in the shadow of its more famous neighbor Speedway but it is doing pretty well on its own. Two BBQ joints, a coffee shop and a great little bar all within a half mile. It is large enough to support local business and still small enough to avoid the Starbucks encroachment. I think is a town with a future.

Between the Buns 102 S. Madison Avenue Greenwood In.

This place opened about 2 or 3 years ago in the heart of Old Greenwood. It is housed in a 100-year-old building and is decorated more or less as an homage to the 70’s and 80’s. The table tops are all decoupaged with cut outs from that era. I think they are pretty cool but the shellac used to cover and protect the artwork can be a bit tacky to the touch. Unfortunately that can lead some folks to mistakenly think the table tops are dirty. Unfortunate.

The big hits on the menu are their burgers and their dogs. The burgers are hand formed half pounders and the dogs are 4 oz. The hook is the clever and creative toppings for them.

They have a lunch menu which features a select number of their sandwiches at a reduced price. All of their items come with fries. Pat and I are both trying to watch are carbs, so I was surprised when he ordered a plain Jane dog as an app.

I did get a bite ( a one inch piece) and it was very nice. It had little rips in it as though it had experience great heat. Maybe dropped in a deep fryer and then put on a grill? I don’t know but I think it would have been killer with some relish and mustard.

I ordered off the regular menu. A PB&J Burger for $9.99. Sound interesting? It is a burger smeared with peanut butter topped with bacon, pepperjack cheese and jalapeno. jalapeno is the J in the name. Then the thing is drizzled with maple syrup. Crazy.

It is a big burger and I had to cut it in half to eat it. First thing they cooked it mid rare for me; which is a big plus. Secondly the burger is really good meat. Finally all the odd toppings made sense. The peanut butter melted onto the burger bringing a degree of fat to the lean meat. The chiles and cheese brought some heat and the bacon brought a nice smoky crunch. The syrup just brought a sweetness that your taste buds never expected but appreciated.

One last thing. The french fries. I really liked them. They were nice and crisp on the outside yet a little mushy on the inside. As for the seasoning I found it to be a rather sublime accent to the potato. Most house seasonings are too spicy or too salty. This was like Goldilocks. Just right.


Between the Bun - Burgers, Dogs & More Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thaitanium 735 Massachusetts Avenue.

There is a fancy new Thai place on Mass. Ave. It’s a good-looking place with a clever name and better than average food. The offer several lunch specials for $8.99. Each one comes with soup, salad and a spring roll.

The soup is a nice broth with just a hint of spice. I could eat a couple of bowls of it. Minimal ingredients but the broth is the hook.

I ordered the Cashew Nut with pork. This is a stir fry dish loaded with peppers, mushrooms, water chestnuts as well as cashews.

It was a huge plate full of food. The sauce was a simple brown gravy that matched up well with the pork and mushrooms. The small side of salad added just the right amount of crunch. As for the spring roll it was one of the best I have had and it wasn’t made in-house. It was full of cabbage with a delightful flaky skin. I would eat them again with gusto.

I hope this joint lasts longer than the previous inhabitant. I think it fits in well with the area.

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

Ice House 2352 S. West St.

This is indeed a bar. A tavern. I am sure some folks would call it a dive. They would be wrong. It is a big old-fashioned place that sells Adult beverages and well made food. They aren’t too worried about food trends and I am sure no one in the kitchen dreams of James Beard. The bartenders and servers are just that; not mixologists or Flairtenders. They have done the job for a while and do it with both professionalism and a smile. I am a big fan.

The Ice House is a big building sitting in an industrial area all by itself with the sign on top of the building. Like a road house from days gone by.

They always have a big lunch crowd when we go there. If you try their food I think you will see why.

This joint changed owners a few years back and the prices are indeed fancy. The double Pat got was $12.50; but when you consider the extras they include and the fact they only charge $.75 for cheese I guess it balances out. The real values are in their specials. On Wednesday they offer a 6 ounce fillet for $10.95. Included in the price is a salad and a hash brown potato casserole.

Several taverns offer a 6 ounce fillet for 10 to 11 bucks but this one; I believe; is the best around. Moist and tender. Hot with just the right amount of char and most importantly it was cooked mid rare. The potatoes were an interesting dish. It was tasty but I just didn’t want that many carbs for lunch.

Another big item on their menu is broasted chicken. For that you will need a hardy appetite. I really enjoy this place. People talk a lot about “keeping it real.” Well this is one joint that does nothing but. Keep it real.

Ice House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

J.E.Light Cafe 1901 E. 86th Street

This is a first for us. The J.E.Light Cafe is a student run cafe associated with North Central High School. We have reviewed Courses; the equivalent outlet for Ivy Tech; but I wasn’t aware Indianapolis High Schools had such programs. North Central isn’t the only one but it was the one with the most up to date media ensuring us they were indeed serving Thursday.

The menu was small yet quite eclectic, with an International flair. From Korean soup to Vietnamese sandwiches and All American cheeseburgers. The prices; as you can imagine are more than reasonable. The entrees were $6.95; soup was $1.50 per cup and desserts were $3 and $1.50.

We both started off with a cup of soup.

The soup was very well done. Chunks of smoked brisket in a rich chile infused broth. An excellent remedy for a rainy day. Prior to the service of the soup we were given a basket of house made chips.

Quite a few “professional” joints make their own chips. I don’t think any place does them better, and most don’t do them as well.

As I mentioned earlier their menu had a distinct International spin. As tempting as the choices were I decided on a lighter offering. Sushi. I was more than a little surprised by that option. Sushi requires a few years to become proficient. However I think that if young cooks are taught the basics of rolling and forming and the ever important knife work then those skills will be beneficial in all cooking. So a tip of the hat to the JEL Cafe staff.

Their Sushi plate was composed of spicy tuna roll, inside out roll, salmon and tuna Nigiri and seasoned edaname. Plus the ever popular wasabi and soy as well as pickled ginger.

Once again I was impressed with the dish. Actually sushi is difficult to critique for me. Most rolls are consistent in the ingredients used. The only difference is the portion of the ingredients. I found this offering most enjoyable. Last but not least I opted for a dish of their Chocolate Gelato.

Another hit. Well made and richly chocolate. A steal at $1.50. It is a shame that their “season” is nearly over. Next week is their last service. Cinco de Mayo. I just might have to go back.

I think North Central has a program they can be proud of. Now is an exciting time to be part of the culinary scene in Indy.

 
Light Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Jimbo’s BBQ 9211 Crawfordsville Road

This joint is located in an old house right on US 136. They have limited seating and parking in the rear. Just in case you aren’t sure where you are this is on the side of the house.

It is small place that is as neat as a pin. All of the food they offer is listed on 2 chalkboards on the wall.

As soon as you park and step outside your car you can smell it. When you walk through the front door you can smell it. A carnivore’s dream. Smoked meat. Pat and I both enjoy BBQ and have eaten at several but I don’t recall that many joints that offer chili; and none that offer Brunswick stew. The stew tempted me but I was there to try the BBQ so I ordered their brisket special with one side and drink for $8.99.

The bun was pretty generic but the brisket was far from being run of the mill. It had a nice smoke ring and an excellent smoke flavor. It was also very tender and lean. The sandwiches come undressed but they offer 4 different sauces at the table. Texas, Memphis, Kansas City and Carolina. The first three are tomato based with varying degrees of sweetness. The Carolina a vinegar based. I liked a combo of Carolina and KC. While the meat was exceptional the mac and cheese was ho-hum. Macaroni with canned cheese sauce. Very cheesy just not what I look for in a Mac and cheese.

Pat is right there are several joints that do a good job with pulled pork. It is just a matter of how good that determines where to go. That and location. Clermont is pretty far for the both of us so I can’t see me hanging out there. However I can see myself going back for the stew. That is not something you see every day.

Jimbo's BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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