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Texas Margaritas 6473 N. Keystone Ave.

We hadn’t planned on eating here but we passed it on the way to buy me a new sim card for my phone and Pat asked me about it. I told him that it was the joint where I met Joey for lunch last year and they do a good job. They also offer very nice cocktails and beer. So that is where we went.

They bring out a big basket of tortilla chips and a very nice salsa as soon as you are seated. Pat’s go to appetizer at Latin joints is a large queso to go with the chips. Did not take a picture of the cheese or the chips and salsa as we were too busy eating it.

Pat likes his tacos hard and when he saw they use both ground and shredded beef he thought he had struck gold. However as he said they are very free with the use of onions. I like soft tacos but I usually get mine at a couple of smaller joints. When I come to a big restaurant like this I opt for burros and enchilladas. So I ordered the Burrito King, a new special. That was choice of steak or chicken in a flour tortilla with rice, black beans, avocado and bacon smothered in cheese sauce. I got mine with steak and it proved to be as Regal as the name implied.

Usually I opt for my burritos to be covered in chile; red or green but today I thought cheese sounded good. I really enjoyed this burro. It had a bunch of stuff in it and you could taste every element. Often something with this much going on something gets lost but not here. The steak was nicely braised and you could actually taste the smokey bacon and the creamy avocado. The beans and rice were nice as well but since they are usual companions they weren’t that exceptional. Of course I would eat it again.

So this is our second post since restaurants were allowed to reopen. I think we will check out some of the joints we have been to in the early days of our blog. A revisit of some of our favorites. This whole virus thing is a reminder that restaurants are vulnerable to a quick demise no matter how good they are. If you like a joint visit it.


CHECKERED FLAG TAVERN 5725 W. Morris St.

Well we are finally back. Marion County is a few weeks behind the rest of the state so at the time we went here only out door dining was “allowed”. We have been here before and knew it was a great joint to visit. Sadly a few joints are not coming back and a few new ones will never open.

We thought this joint had the best breaded mushrooms in town so we ordered some. Unfortunately they were out so we opted for cheese curds. As you can imagine they were delicious. Just what you would expect for fried cheese.

These were on special for $8.45. They called them loaded. They weren’t really loaded but they had a bunch of diced pepadew peppers scattered all over. They were an excellent start, especially paired with a Lift Off IPA.

Pat wanted some pulled pork and this place does it right. He got a huge sandwich with a mountain of fries for 9 bucks and for an extra $1.25 he got coleslaw.

I had my eyes on their Big Pig sandwich. That is a pile of pulled pork on a slice of grilled ham and then topped with a pile of crisp bacon all on a brioche bun. Served with fries and a side of BBQ sauce. This pig feast was less than $11.

This is one beautifu, sandwich.

Interestingly enough this was the same sandwich I got here about 3 years ago. It does stand the test of time so that makes it a Classic. A classic of pork deliciousness.

Well we are now cleared to live our lives as close as we can to as it was before so I think we ought to take advantage of it and get out to lunch with a friend.


Well due to the Corona virus our state government has decreed that all restaurants, breweries and taverns are to cease all in house dining. So Pat and I will not be out for the next few weeks. Tentatively this will only last through March. Carryout is still allowed so we may try a carryout post. Until we are allowed to eat out again everyone be safe and support your favorite joint the best you can.


Vinny's Drive Bar 707 N. Lynhurst Drive

Pat and I have been doing this for nearly 8 years and have reviewed more than 450 eating establishments. Some weeks are easier than others to pick a place. It is my function to find the joints to eat at. Pat has a hand in the process when there is a place he would like to try or when I come up empty. That was the case this week. He had a list from the westside and I thought Vinny’s would work. Of course I read it as Dive Bar and I figured that any joint that admits its diviness should be visited. Of course Pat and I were both wrong.

We started out with an order of Portabello fries. An interesting spin on the ever present breaded mushroom. They were pretty good. Thick and meaty and were served with a spicy ranch dressing. They were a pretty good way to start a meal and cost 6 bucks.

Their menu is typical bar. Basic sandwiches and appetizers. They offer BBQ and pizza as well but they do it with a different spin. The Q comes from BBQ Heaven and the pies come from Rolynos. That is a local joint that started putting out pies in the early 70’s. I find that interesting; especially the pizza. Their special that day was a Spanish burger with fries for $7.50. Now that would be a seasoned and hand formed burger marinated and then cooked in a spicy tomato based sauce with added green peppers, onions and jalapenos.

I thought it was a pretty good burger. Nicely spicy and good flavor but what really made it stand out was the compaction of the patty itself. If all of their pattys are done this way it may be worth a trip back to try one chargrilled. It could be a prefect candidate for a medium rare one.

When we review a place we don’t expect folks to drop everything and run and try it out. What we would like is for those times when people are out and decide they want to eat they may remember a joint nearby that we reviewed and want to give it a try. If you are in the area keep Vinny’s in mind.


Hellas Cafe 8501 Westfield Blvd.

We weren’t sure where we were going to eat this week. I thought of an Asian Grill that was scheduled to open in Broad Ripple. We drove by but they weren’t ready yet so we headed north. When we hit Nora we saw Hellas and decided we needed some Greek food.

I had a desire for Mousaka. A creamy macaroni dish just appealed to me. Their version was very good. The Sauce Bechamel was smooth and creamy and decadently rich. The sides were well executed s well The beans were cooked down Hoosier style and the potatoes were crisp and tender. All in all it was an excellent meal.

Both of our lunches came with salads; which I forgot to take pictures of. They were normal side salads and came with an excellent vinaigrette. Both cost $12.49 so I thought they were reasonable considering what you got. Our server was attentive but the overall service made me nervous. There was one server and one cook and the kitchen was building the salads to order. That really struck me as odd. The cook got behind quickly but she managed it well and never really ended in the weeds. Evidently their customers aren’t in a hurry to get back to work so if you want a warm and leisurely Greek meal consider Nora Plaza and Hellas. I don’t get this way often but if I do I want to try their Dolmades. They build theirs with ground meat which is my preference.


Thai Town 5130 W. 38th St.

There are two Thai Towns on the westside. One on South High School Road and this. The newest. It is a very spacious and good looking joint.

It was a chilly day and Pat and I both ordered Thai Ginger tea. It was served to us with our first course. The first course was an excellent Thom Yum soup and a spring roll. The soup was excellent. Sparse on veggies but abundant in depth of flavor. It had a slight heat to it, which brought a warmth. The spring rolls are made in house and have onion in them so Pat gave me his. I thought they were wonderful. They reminded me of something I used to eat from an A&P Deli many years ago.

I also must add the the tea was delicious. My usual tea samplings have been limited to a more pedestrian variety so the Thai Ginger tea was quite a treat.


I followed Pat with an order of a red curry with medium heat. It was very good. A nice consistence level of heat punctuated with a few veggies. I would have prefered more eggplant and less green beans but it was still a good dish. I couldn’t finish it all after my soup and two spring rolls.

All in all this was a very nice lunch with excellence service.and at a very good price. Our lunches were 8 bucks each. I will be back for the tea, spring rolls and soup. That would be a meal for me.

http://thaitowncuisine.com/


Two Deep Brewing 714 N. Capitol Ave.

https://www.twodeepbrewing.com/

Two Deep has been around since 2014 and I have been there several times. However this was my first time to eat. The previous owners seemed unsure of who they were. They changed their hours and food offerings a few times. It seem that they wanted it to be a club house for beer drinkers and at first encouraged customers to bring in food. When that didn’t work they added food service. At first it was pizza, I think,and then they moved on to something else. Now the new owners are treating the joint like a bar or pub that brews beer not as a brewery taproom with limited food choices. They have an extensive list of appetizers so we started with cheese curds.

They do not make these in house but they were pretty good for $7.45

Pat rationalized that since the cheese curds were considered protein he could order a battered mushroom app for $8.45. These they do in house.

I was leaning toward a brisket sandwich but then Heidi our server told me they buy it already smoked I changed my mind. In most cases “smoked” meat you buy has been enhanced with liquid smoke. They also offer smoked pork and smoked chicken so I guess I can assume they are all purchased ready to go. I eventually decided on a burger. If you look at their menu you will notice that the burgers are pretty pricey. A regular cheese burger for $11.95. I wonder why. The burgers come with a choice of fries or tots, I decided on a burger with Swiss and tots.

The burger was pretty good and the amount ot tots was rediculous. Pat and I both ate on them and I still had a pile to take home.

The piece of lettuce on my sandwich was really green and my first thought was they used the outer most leaf on a head of iceberg. The part that some cooks throw away. It did not influence the taste any it just looked “odd” to me.

Our food did take longer to come out then I think it should have. Also I ordered my burger med rare and that is not how it came out. These are minor issues that will usually work themselves out. The nuts and bolts of this joint are solid. Good beer, good hours and an appropriate menu. Most imprtantly they have good service. Heidi is excellent and the new “trainee” is spot on as well. I will be back I just wish they would start smoking their own meats.


Madera Tex Mex BBQ & Tap 5711 E. 71st St.

Well we are back and at a new brisket joint. This location was G.T. South BBQ a few years back and then they closed rather abruptly. This place may very well fill their void quite nicely. https://maderatexmexbbq.com/

While chatting with our server Betsy I learned that they make their own tortillas. They do not offer a chips and salsa but they do sell a chips and queso for 7 bucks. One thing about their tortillas. They are flour torts not corn. They work well with the cheese sauce just expect them to be “flakey”. That is just the nature of a flour tortilla free floating in hot oil.

Pat didn’t want any bread so he opted for a half pound of pulled pork for $8. He was unable to get slaw because they put onion in theirs.

I had to have brisket since a good sliced brisket sandwich is still difficult to get around here. And I discovered that they have a good one for $10.

These guys may be new to town but they do a great job with their brisket. The smoke was subtle and the meat was tender and moist. The rub they used is unassuming so you can really taste the beef.

Since I currently have no difficulty eating onion I ordered a side of slaw for $3. I usually prefer my slaw to be sweet and creamy; like Grandma’s brand. The slaw that Madera puts up is lightly dressed with a slightly sweet and tangy effect. I really liked it. It had a great mouth feel and would work on top of a pulled pork sandwich very well.

Rarely do I make it back to a joint a second time. It is like that bear and mountain thing. However I have done it before and it looks like it is going to happen again. I am indeed planning on going back to Madera. Welcome to Indy.


Rad Brewing. Formerly know as Flat 12 Brewing 414 Dorman Street.

Another brewery but definitely not a Gastropub. I reviewed this joint not so long ago as Turn 3. Shortly after Books and Brew bought the joint out. https://kosherhamandcheese.com/2019/05/04/turn-3-chicken-and-waffle-flat-12-bierwerks-414-dorman-street/

The first thing I noticed was the pricing. They have downtown pricing for less than downtown sandwiches. They want $7.99 for a quarter pound hamburger which comes with a standard cold set and cheese. All of their sandwiches come with waffle fries. Rather than go with a burger I opted for their chicken. It comes both grilled and breaded. I wanted to see if the breast tasted the same as the chicken I had with my waffle. Well it didn’t. It was a good piece of chicken but the breading was different. So I don’t know what to make of that. Did they change the breading or change to a pre breaded product? My taste buds are old, like me, but I don’t think it is the same chicken. That could be why Rad has to charge $7.99 for a 4 ounce sandwich and Turn 3 charged $7 for the same size breast and a fresh waffle.

Normally waffle fries are treat but these were only average and not as crisp as I think they should be. As I wrote previously all sandwiches come with chose of cheese. I chose Swiss. Well what I got was not Swiss it was that abomination that food providers call Americn Swiss or White American. Cheese food without the annatto coloring.

One final thought about this joints pricing. Some places that sell burgers offer different burgers with different toppings and clever names or a list of available toppings at an upcharge. This joint decided to sell “packaged” upgrades at different price points. I think the price points, at $3.50 to $5 are just too high. Especially when they are in addition to a $7.99 base. I understand they use Smoking Goose bacon and chorizo and their product is expensive but I think I would go a different route. I still want to go back and try their waffle and chicken and maybe a grilled chicken sandwich as well. If for no other resson than to see what I get.


Taxman Brewing Co. 310 S. Delaware St.

When I can’t come up with someplace interesting to go to there is always a bar or tavern to fall back on. Or since the proliferation of Craft Brewerys the Gastropub. I think that word was coined so people would know it isn’t just a common bar that slings common beer but a joint that dispenses Craft Beer. One sign that it is a Gastropub is if they offer Frites instead of fries. Taxman has Frites. Their menu isn’t too convoluted just some basics that beer drinkers would enjoy. https://www.taxmanbrewing.com/home-cityway/

You may not be able to tell from the photo but Pat’s tenderloin is thick. Eight ounces of barely beaten pork thick. It was nearly an inch thick, something you would see served on a plate for dinner. Pat really enjoyed it regardless of how it was prepared.

I had wanted to try one of their waffles but they were out for some reason. So I opted for a double smash burger.

It was an unpretentious sandwich. Two patties from Turchetti smashed on a flat top and covered with American cheese. Like Pat’s sandwich it came with a pile of Frites.

Pat and I both were not overly impressed with the fried potatoes. In our estimation the fries from Upland and Chicago Beef and Dog were better. They were crisper which we both preferred.

The building used to be a stable and it was moved to this location and rehabed. They did a fantastic job. They also added a beer garden for the warmer weather. I think this will be a great place to grab a bite or a beer after work. They also serve spirits and wine and will be open for Brunch and everyone loves Brunch.


Shapiro’s Delicatessen 808 S. Meridian St.

Shapiro is one of my favorite joints. It is always a sure thing for a great sandwich or a hot dinner. This is my first time for breakfast. Pat and I did not meet last week; we both had too many other things going on. We decided on breakfast and I suggested on Shapiro’s. I had a desire for some great corned beef hash and they have the best. You can get it as a side for $3.95 or as an entree with 2 eggs and toast for $5.25. I opted for it with eggs.

My portion was huge and my eggs were poached. The hash was excellent. Big hunks of potato and a bunch of their in house made corned beef. If you like corned beef hash I don’t think you can get any better than this. As for toast when you order breakfast at Shapiros you just have to order rye bread toast.

I don’t usually drink sode in the AM but I can’t resist Dr, Brown’s Cream Soda

Pat ordered scrambled eggs on the side and naturally rye toast. His eggs were wonderfully mixed and appered to be more than 2.

I am sure most of you are familiar with Shapiro’s sandwiches and plate meals but in case you did not know you can get the same quality of food for breakfast. They offer biscuits and gravy I just don’t know what kind of gravy, also they are now serving pancakes. If anyone has had the biscuits and gravy let me know how it is.


Peppy Grill 1004 Virginia Avenue.

Peppy Grill has been around this town since right after World War two. By 1960 there were 10 locations around town. Now the one in Fountain Square is the only one left. When it closed in November 2018 a lot of people doubted that it would ever reopen. Well it did reopen with a new interior and kitchen and fancy red rolled and tucked booths as well.

We started the meal off with some breaded mushrooms for about 4 bucks. They were the standard pre breaded shrums you will find at most bars or diners. Good but not great.

Pat was so intent on reminiscing about times gone by he didn’t even talk about his food. Well as you can see it was a cheese burger. A single one served with chips. He seemed to enjoy it. It appears it was started on a flat top and then transfer to a grill for some marks. It was cheap. Less than 5 bucks.

For some reason I ordered a Pollock sandwich for $7.25. Pollock is an “okay” fish it just doesn’t captured my imagination. But fried fish on a rainy day seemed like a good idea.

You could tell right off that it wasn’t breaded in house. It came in breaded and frozen so all you had to do is drop it in a fryer. Their tenderloin is the same way. Pre breaded cooked right from the freezer.Good but not great.

Maybe this hew Peppy will grow into something close to the old one. In house soups and stews and pies but until that time there is always breakfast foods.


Offshore at Sun King 1021 Broad Ripple Ave.

Sun King is the largest Brewery in Indianapolis and has been around since 2009. It has expanded quite a bit in that time. Their main brewery downtown has grown from half a ware house to 3 large buildings and they have smaller locations in Carmel and Fishers. I don’t believe they would have a presence in Broad Ripple were it not for the closing of Three Wise Men. They bought all of their equipment at action which included a full kitchen. Sun King does beer but it doesn’t do food. That is where Offshore comes in to play. Offshore is the small sibling of Pier 48 Fish House & Oyster Bar which is new to Indy. It currently is a lunch and dinner house in the new Hyatt hotel downtown. The owner, Fred Knipscheer is a former Boston Bruin hockey player whose family has fished the Atlantic for generations. That is his hook, serving fresh fish caught by his family and flown in from Maine. As a “foodie” that was the most exciting news I have heard all year. After a shopping trip I stopped for a wheat beer and a bowl of clam chowder.

The picture was rotten but the chowder was excellent. Hot bowl of clams, cream and potatoes. A cold Hefeweizen was a perfect match. A bowl was a reasonable $8.

Patrick’s coleslaw without onion.

Lobster Roll- $15.50, Wee Mac beer- $6. Rendering Pat speechless- Priceless.

They offer sliders at various price points. Since fried oysters is one of my favorite sandwich fillings I opted for 2 Oyster BLTs for $11.50. The sliders are served with a bag of their house made chips.

The little Oyster sliders were delicious. A bright combination of briny sweet oyster and a salty smoke of the bacon all topped off with a cold set and a spicy mayo. The roll they use appears to be a lobster roll bun cut in half. Excellent bread and the chips were possibly the best I have had in this city. A slight BBQ flavor that would go well with any beer.

I think this is easily the best addition to the Ripple that I have seen. At least since Three Wise Men came in because it was only the second brewery in the village. Well Sun King has better beer and seafood beats out pizza and calzone any day in my book. I am sure some folks will be put off by the price of some of their items but what you must keep in mind is the fish has never been frozen. And in Indiana in the winter time that is indeed something.


Joe’s Shelby Street Diner 3623 Shelby Street

Once again a joint that won’t wow you or astound you with their clever or avant garde menu but a joint that will feed you and not hurt your wallet. They rely on several IQF items but the breakfast and burgers are made to order. They offer tenderloins two ways. The Hubcap and the Baby Moon. Both are pre-made and frozen. Pat ordered a Baby Moon.

I decided that I needed a burger, a patty melt to be exact. What I got was a nicely prepared sandwich with actual carmelized onion. Properly cooked onion brings so much to food it is a shame when not done well.

All of their sandwiches come with chips but of course you can sub fries or rings for an up charge. I opted for some onion rings for $2.75 additional. They were ordinary IQF rings but were still a pretty good companion to my Patty melt.

Well as I said earlier if you are looking for a joint that puches the envelop of culinary achievement this ain’t it. However if you want a breakfast at anytime or a good inexpensive lunch this is it. Both of our sandwiches were under 8 bucks. Now that is diner pricing.


Sero’s Family Restaurant 11720 E. Washington Street

This place is like several around town. Family owned and operated with huge menus offering large portions and breakfast served all day. It may be tempting to slip in a phrase like “cookie cutter” but that would hardly be accurate. You may find an identical menu at some other joint but the preparation is far from identical. That is probably why I order liver and onions so often. I always expect that I will be pleasantly surprised.

Yep I did it again. Liver and onions with potato choice and one other side for $9.99. I like my onions well carmelized and the meat medium rare. I understand that a thin slice of liver is hard to get medium rare but it can be cooked to medium rather easily. Well obviously the onions missed the mark and the liver was over cooked. It was also over breaded. I contend a light coating of flour is sufficient but here they seem to have used an actual breading. So the result was that you mainly tasted the coating, with a slight flavor of liver. I would make it at home but the store where I used to buy my liver does not handle it anymore. They used to sell fresh slices that were one half inch thick and cooked up a delightful mid-rare.

For my second side I opted for green beans. They were really pretty good. They were canned but had bits of onion and tomato in them. Pretty tasty.

Pat’s diet plate was $10.99, so we actually got quite a bit of food for our money. Don’t let my liver experience dissuade you from trying this place out. I am reasonably certain you will find something you will enjoy. I just don’t recommend the liver and onions.


Beach Bum BBQ Washington Square Mall

Beach Bum is a well know food truck in Indy. For a while they had a home in Irvington. I believe their idea is to have a brick and mortar presence to make the food for the truck and to sell to the sit down crowd. Currently they are only open Thursday through Sunday. This may change as the weather changes.

The dismal surroundings Pat was referring to is the deteriorated and broken Mall. Washington Square opened in 1974 and it was a quite a place at one time. It had all of the requisite anchor stores and dozens of hip and trendy “boutiques”. Now it can barely keep up with its own maintenance. Of course I am sure the rent is cheap.

Since Pat went with pork I opted for brisket. Actually I probably should have gotten a plain brisket sandwich in order to get the full effect of the meat. However I ordered a Pecos Bill for $12. That is brisket with pico de gallo and jalapenos. Pat’s pork was $8

The portion was very generous so I was able to taste the beef all by itself and it was excellent. It wasn’t pulverized like some joints do when they chop the brisket. It was cut into nice size pieces. Also Pat’s pork appeared to be cut the same way not pulled as you might expect. They offer 3 sauces. A honey mustard, a Sirachi and the Beach Bum which I assume to be a more traditional mild sauce. I tried a bit of the hot Kracken sauce and enjoyed it, and it wasn’t overly hot. I also got a side of slaw and agree with Pat it was spot on and it was only 2 bucks.

So now I know Beach Bum is a truck to be on the look out for. It is also nice to know that if you need a BBQ fix you can get it met on the far east side. If you are old enough to remember the Mall from the 70’s and 80’s try not to be too sad. Remember you have some tasty Q waiting for you.


Pizza King 12110 E, Washington Street Cumberland Indiana

Pizza King originated in Lafayette Indiana in 1954. They have expanded over the years with several “company stores” and some franchise holders. As far as I know they are only in Indiana. They were known for a thin crust, edge to edge toppings and a fine ground sausage. I have always been fond of a fine grind for pizza. This particular outlet is a company store on the far east side of Indy. Actually east of the little town of Cumberland. It is a very large place with an old school pizzeria decor.

They offer the usual fare you would find at a Pizza joint but today we were after pizza. They have an 8 inch 1 topping pie for $6.79 and charge 90 cents for additional toppings. That is what we ordered. Pat got a mushroom and sausage because that is his go to combo. I ordered the same because I could not decide, and sausage and mushroom is as good a combination as any.

Another thing I like about this place is they cut their pies in a “party style”. Instead of all triangle slices you get squares and triangles

that is why i like “party style”. You get center slices like this.

I enjoyed my pie quite a bit. The crust isn’t as thin as I would like but it was nicely done and the price is very good. It is quite a drive but I can see myself going back. I would like to get an 8 inch Meat Feast pie. The Meat Feast – A delicious blend of sausage, pepperoni, ground beef, baked ham and bacon. That is $7.99

The Pizza Inn that Pat referenced is the Pizza Parlor that was in Southport when we were in High School. That is another old chain that started in Texas in 1960. They no longer operate in Indiana. I don’t remember much about their food though. Pizza King does operate in Indy and they put out a pretty good pie.


Barringer’s Tavern 2535 S. Meridian Street

Yep this joint has been around for a long time. We were here some years back, before we started the blog. I remember it well because our bartender was telling us about the pink 38 that her father bought her for her 21st Birthday. Don’t remember what I ate but I remember her.

They offered a second special that day for $6.95. A bowl of chili and a grilled cheese sandwich. I was tempted but opted for fish and chips for $8,25

Actually I was impressed with both the quality of the product and the execution of the dish. I was also impressed with their portion control. Some joints think tossing more fries on a plate increases the value of the dish when all it does is increase costs. Barringer’s served about 6 ounces of cod loin that was perfectly battered and fried along with a reasonable amount of waffle fries. The fries were excellent as well. I don’t think I have had waffle fries as good as these, They were thick and meaty hunks of potato that I would love to eat again.

I was fed well for 8 bucks. My only criticism is the tarter sauce was so so and there was a disconnect between the ordering and the kitchen. Pat’s special was an immediate so it took minimal time to put out. My lunch required some time to prepare and Pat’s food came out first by several minutes. I think the newness of the POS system was the problem. Still doesn’t detract from the good food and the good value of my lunch, They offer craft beer on draft as well as the more pedestrian domestics. Their special was Busch Light drafts for $1.50. That may not be a really good brew but it was cold and it was beer. So they may no longer offer turtle soup or pigs feet but Barringer’s is back in business.


Chicago Beef and Dog Company 5402 E. Washington Street

This place opened a few months back but I pretty much disregarded it because I thought it was a corporate type place; from the name. Like those fish and chicken fry joints that are everywhere. I discovered it is an independent joint; so much for my assumptions. Pat was hesitant at first but agreed when he thought there was a possibility that their beef may be a better value than some other joint he likes.

I am not the freak for Italian Beef that Pat is but I thought the $8.50 price was a touch high. Eating out is not always about bargains though. It is about the adventure. Value is important but you just can’t judge value until you try it. For me I wanted a jumbo Vienna Beef hot dog. They offer different topped versions with names of different Chicago celebrities but I wanted a create your own for $6.75. For value that is probably the best. All of their dogs are available classic or charred. I ordered mine charred with spicy mustard and jalapenos.

Vienna Beef dogs are possibly the best hot dog around. This joint did it justice. A nice char on a poppy seed bun and they ceratainly didn’t skimp on the toppings. I feel that I got my money’s worth.

However as good as our sandwiches were and as much as we enjoyed them the best thing was the small fries I got for 3 bucks.

Not only was it enough for two they were excellent. They cut their own each day and they really know how to do them right. They were crisp and hot and all joints should have fries this good. They also do onion rings in house and I saw a couple of orders go out. It definitely looks as though a return trip is in order. An Italian beef combo with rings. A combo with drink and fries is $4 more. Adding rings is an extra 75 cents. If the rings are done as well as the fries I’ll be content. https://chicagobeefanddog.com/


Baby’s Diner 2147 N. Talbot Street.

In 2016 after a 15 year run the Talbot Street Night Club closed. Well now the site is home to Baby’s. A colorful little joint that is a lot of fun. Since the old Talbot had regular drag shows the owners of Baby’s wanted to celebrate its past by using color and sparkle. When I first read that in a local column I did not know what to expect. It could have easily come across as more parody than homage. But they did it right.

They also have a very nice outdoor seating area with infra heaters in the ceiling. A reminder that Summer may be over but we will still have several days left before sub zero temps.

That rustic brick building is Shoo Fly Public House.

One thing I don’t understand is why they call themselves a Diner. They have a small menu featuring smashed burgers and broasted chicken with a few side dishes. They also have a selection of Milk Shakes, some spiked with alcohol. I would like to show the menu but I seem to have mislaid the link. It is out there somewhere because I saw it. I found it. http://babysindy.com/

Pretty straight forward presentation. Chicken in a basket.

They offer their chicken as a whole bird for $24, half chicken for $12 and 2 piece white or dark for $7. I was more in a beef mood so I ordered their House Strut burger. That would be a double smashed burger with bacon, gouda and mango chutney as well as a special sauce priced at $12.

I enjoyed my burger very much, it had a lot going on. The creamy cheese and smoky bacon brought one taste to the party the spicy sweetness of the chutney another and the whole thing was unified by the hamburger lace of the smash burger. Very good burger. But it may have gone one sauce too far. The special sauce got kind of lost in all the tastes.

It is really good to see the Old North Side being rejuvenated. It is pretty close to me so I will be coming back. I want to try some chicken and a spiked milk shake.


Texas Margaritas Mexican Restaurant 6473 Keystone Ave.

I had the pleasure of meeting my pal Joey for lunch Thursday. It has been too long since we saw each other. She works too much. She did agree to meet me for her lunch break so we decided on Texas Margaritas. It is a new place that opened on the site of the former Cancun Mexican Restaurant. The joint is decorated with Mexican style murals and booths.

I thought it was quite a display of art and color. I was reminded of that phrase “a riot of color” for that was surely what it was. They brought out some chips and salsa for me to munch on and to show my appreciation I ordered one of their Texas Margaritas that was on special that day.

The salsa was house made and hotter than most and the chips were still warm. It was a wonderful start to the meal. When Joey arrived it did not take us long to order. Her a shrimp quesadilla for $12.99 and me Enchiladas Ranchers for $9.99. The enchiladas was a plate of 4 corn tortillas stuffed with ground beef, shredded chicken, beans and cheese, then covered with a red sauce, white cheese and lettuce tomato and sour cream. I also added a dish of pico de gallo for $2.25.

I nearly forgot to take a shot of my plate and I didn’t bother Joey to take a picture of her quesadilla that would just eat into our talking time. We only had an hour to catch up on stuff. She did enjoy her shrimp quesadilla but not the rice. It is unfortunate that so many Latin joints feel obligated to add rice to their menu when so few do it well. My enchiladas were very good. The red sauce they used was very tasty and I enjoyed the 4 different fillings. I should do that more often.

So I think this joint is definitely worth looking into. Good food, good service and fair pricing. Also you won’t be bored with your surroundings and if you can, have that meal with a friend so you can catch up on stuff.


La Chela Taqueria 720 E. 38th Street.

About one month ago a new taqueria opened near me. The place is small, definitely an Independent joint and it has been recently painted yellow. I can not believe it took me a month to get there. Yesterday I finally made it. The food is great. I ordered 3 tacos. One lengua one carnitas and one al pastor

I appreciate that they dress the tacos with only chopped onion and cilantro. They also add some radish, cukes and lime on the side. In addition each diner gets two bottles of their salsa, One green with a bit of heat and one mild red. The green wasn’t really hot but both had some great flavor. The tongue was very good. Moist and tender. The Carnitas was a touch dry but still good. By far the Star of the plate was the Al Pastor. Pastor is the chile and pinapple marinated pork steaks that are traditionally roasted on a vertical spit with pineapple rings. Similar to shawarma. As I said all of my tacos were excellent but the Al Pastor was even better. So if you want a taco keep this joint in mind. I had 3 tacos and a lime soda for $11.30 with tax. Don’t feel like tacos well they have other stuff as well. They don’t have a web site but they do have a good sized menu


La Parada 1642 E. New York St.

La Parada has been around for a while. They used to do business in a small stand alone building at the front of the strip mall they are in. I have eaten there several times some years back. I am glad I finally went back and with Pat a willing participant.

Parada brings you out a bowl of salsa and chips as soon as you are seated. That always makes me happy. Their menu is huge but I knew what I wanted from the beginning. Posole. I believe they are the only joint in town that has it. Posole is a wonderful soup of pork and hominy in a chile fortified broth.

Their version was hot, unctuous and delicious. It was a huge bowl. I ate my fill and took home enough for at least dinner. Another thing I enjoy about posole is the stuff they give you to add to it. Like Pha.

My Posole “stuff”

I am more accustomed to shredded cabbage but I can appreciate their substitution of shredded lettuce. As long as they had onion and cilantro. They also added a few dried chiles to the mix. They looked like dried arbol but from the lack of heat I don’t think so

The rest of our dining “props” .

Using tostadas in place of tortilla strips was pretty slick. The diner can use a piece as a scooper or crumble some up in the soup. It also saves someone some time. Pat and I were both quite pleased with this little place. The prices are reasonable, very reasonable. Pat’s tacos were less than 6 bucks, the cheese sauce was $5,25 and my posole was $9.45. Of course since they offer beer and Margaritas you can pad that ticket. For example on Wednesday they offer 16 ounce Sun King beers for $4.75. And I can testify that Wee Mac pairs nicely with posole.


Mrs. Curls Ice Cream & More 259 S. Meridian St. Greenwood Indiana

This little place has been around since 1962. It is like a drive in without car hops. It offers your standard drive in food but it is a notch or two above the usual. The building is close to the street so there is only room for a few tables in front, but on the side under some trees is a sizable out door dining room. You order at the front and they bring the food out to you.

Fran was with us this time and she ordered a coney cheese dog combo. Their combos come with a soft drink and choice of 3 different fries, onion rings, mozzarella sticks or tots. She ordered a coney cheese dog combo with mozz sticks.

As for me I ordered with gusto. A BBQ andwich combo with tots. AND a coney dog. In my defense I did not expect such a large BBQ san.

Or such a good portion of tater tots

Their BBQ sandwich was really quite good and being more than an 8 ounce portion quite the bargain at less than $7 for the whole combo. I have paid more for less elsewhere. As for the tots they seemed exceptionally tasty today.

I thoroughly enjoyed the coney dog. The sauce had a slight chile kick to it, which makes me think it also serves as the chili for the chili dog once some beans have been added. If you look closely you can see a bit of char on the dog as if it had taken a plunge in a deep fryer. A nice touch.

The back of the building

I have never been here either. My loss. Like Pat I would like to go back for a foot long and malted. We should be making plans on that soon since they close for the season on October 31. I think this should be a destination for folks. Joints like this are disappearing; and for the people who live in the area I hope you take advantage of this little out door cafe.

http://www.mrscurl.com/menu/default.html