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ZwanzigZ Pizza 1038 Lafayette Avenue Columbus Indiana

On the road again. Of course we picked one of the hottest days to do it but we had a reward of cold beer awaiting us. ZwanzigZ is not just a pizza parlor it is a small brewery as well. It has won awards for their effort so they take their beer seriously. Their menu is small; revolving around fresh dough, sauce and cheese.

I decided on one of their specials a 3 meat slice with 2 bread sticks, dipping sauce and drink  for $ 5.49. I am not sure what Pat’s sandwich cost because of his modifications but the total was less than $11; with tax. That is the deal of the year. No wonder the place was full with a line.

My slice was huge. The crust was more bread like than I like but the sauce and cheese more than made up for it. It was a really nice slice and with the bread sticks a carb coma inducing bargain.

You order at a cashier station, take a number and they bring the food to you. We sat in the bar area so we could have some beer.

The beers we sampled were quite tasty. The ales were not overly hoppy and the wheat beer had a nice finish. The most unique was the Chocolate beer. It was a sweet amber beer loaded with vanilla. The stout was probably our favorite. The beers are as reasonably priced as the food. A flight of five is $7.50 and a growler refill is $7. This place may be new to us out of towners but it is definitely a success with the locals. It is only a 40 minute drive from Indy and I think it is worth it. There is also the added attraction of Zaharakos Ice Cream. We’ll save that for another time.

 

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


Hoosier Brewing 155 Holiday Place Franklin Indiana

We just love new Breweries. We especially love the ones open for lunch. Quite a few don’t open until 4:00 PM. This particular one has been opened for a while but I didn’t discover it until recently. It is quite the drive; 27 miles from me and 20 miles from Pat’s. Even with a map we still got lost.

Now what would be a trip to a new brewery without a flight of beers.

We opted for the flight of 8 for $10. I think only 6 of the beers offered are brewed at Hoosiers, the remaining two were guests. I was not sure which beer was which I just drank ’em. I think they may want to find a way to name the brews for the patrons without relying on the memory of the server. At least they may want to have a beer list.

They have a nice sized menu; featuring the usual stuff and a few “surprises”.

https://www.facebook.com/HoosierBrewhouse/menu/

I was intrigued by cod for the fish and chips and the  tenderloin. Both are smoked then battered and fried for service. Pat wasn’t too sure about cold smoked cod so he opted for a tenderloin sandwich for $9.99.

In addition to a sandwich they a General Tso’s Tenderloin in a bowl. That would be a bowl of rice topped with Red Flyer battered tenderloin bites with Tso sauce and green onion. Sounded good and it was.

I enjoyed the slight smokiness of the meat and the batter was a pleasant alternative to a more conventional breading. Their Tso sauce tasted a lot like Mae Ploy; a sweet Thai chile sauce. That was fine I like Mae Ploy. I usually keep a bottle on hand at home. I would have liked some sauce between the rice and meat as well as on top; or at least some soy available. Over all a pretty good lunch for $8.49.

So these guys brew some pretty good beer. A nice stout? As well as one with a coconut flavor to it. They seem to have a nice balance of hop and malt in their selections. As for the food they offer a smoked ribeye steak dinner for $19.99 in addition to a respectable lunch menu. That may be the reason for a return trip.

 


J.J’S Fish Chicken & Gyros. 203 E. 30th Street

Last week Pat left on a trip west so I was on my own. I got busy so I wasn’t able to go anywhere. As it turned out Pat’s trip was interrupted and he wanted to have lunch. We arranged to meet at a place that doesn’t open until noon. I had a earlier commitment so we planned on meeting at 1:30. Alas the joint wasn’t even open. It was supposed to be; it just wasn’t. I decided on J.J’s. I had eaten there before and found the food to be uninspired but good.

The last couple of years Indianapolis has seen several Fish and Chicken fry joints open. Most are national chains. The leader of these chain stores appears to be Jordan’s. J.J’s has a very similar menu. It is a very small place. It is primarily a take away place, they can only seat 4 people.

They offer several lunch specials for $5.99. All come with fries and a drink. That was my first exposure to J.J’s. I was in the area and starving so I stopped and ordered his wing and catfish combo. I received 3 medium size chicken wings with a filet, fries and a drink. $5.99.

I think Pat was dubious of my pick. They sell Italian Beef sandwiches; and I know Pat likes those.

Sometimes I am a sucker for fried fish; especially Ocean Perch. So I got the Perch and fries special.

I really enjoyed it. The fish was nicely done. Too many places think that fish has to be fried hard to be done. They do a very good job with their fish. Both flaky and tender. This place isn’t too far from me so I can see myself getting some carry out dinners here. The prices are more than reasonable.

Also don’t worry about the area. I am sure some folks still see it as the old Dodge City, but remember that Goose the Market is a few blocks South on Delaware. This area is in the midst of “gentrification”. For better or worse the hood is changing.
JJ Fish Chicken & Gyros Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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