eating indie in indy

down home eats

Fat Cat Bar 3015 Lafayette Road.

When we can’t come to a quick agreement on destination we know we can always agree on the ever popular, hardly controversial “dive bar”. Pat, because the food is simple and me because the beer is cheap. This place has been a bar for as long as I can recall. For years it was Bud’s Lounge. Bud’s closed a couple of years ago and Fat Cat moved in. Fat Cat was originally down the street at 38th Street so they have some experience in the bar business.

Their menu is pretty common with a bunch of frozen apps and a few basic sandwiches and pizza. We ordered a side of mushrooms to start our meal off for $5. They were pretty good. Like most things frozen apps are not all the same. Some ARE better than others. These were better than average.

half eaten appetizer

Of course a picture should be taken before you start eating. Makes for a more professional effect.

I was leaning toward their fried catfish dinner but our great bartender told me it goes from $8 to $6.75 on Fridays. Unfortunately they stopped selling them with hush puppies. Their customers weren’t eating them. There is just no accounting for some folks tastes. So I went for the pig in the form of a grilled tenderloin.

This was an exceptional piece of meat. This was no light weight “fritter” this was an 8 oz. slice of pork loin that was pounded out and cooked really well on a flat top. Tender and moist with good flavor and just the right amount of chew.

So we really enjoyed this little place. It had good food, exceptional service and Domestic bottles were a buck and a half. So for 2 sandwiches, one order of mushrooms and three beers our tab was $25; with tax. That is a value. I will be back on a Friday and try their catfish special; even without puppies.


Jail Bird 4022 Shelby Street

This is a mural on the inside wall of the bar
This on the outside wall of the bar

When you see the inside mural the first thing you notice is the little jail bird in the center. He seems to glow or have a light surrounding him. Don’t worry you have not been over served nor is it an epiphany. It is just painted with a window behind it. That is the bottom picture. The one on the outside wall. I thought it was pretty clever. Clever is a good word if you just wanted one word to describe this joint.

As I understand it this place was opened by the same fellow that opened Thunderbird, which is just a few miles North, also on Shelby. Thunderbird is a more sophisticated joint. More sophisticated in that both food and cocktail menus are more complex. One thing they have in common is. I believe what ever you order it will be expertly prepared and tasty.

You can see the kitchen from our position at the bar so I was able to see the cook take ball of ground meat, place it on the flat top and smash it down. Sort of like the Culver’s commercial. So, yeah they are “old school” burgers.

They don’t prepare their sides in house. The fries, etc come in frozen. Which is fine with me. Half the time frozen fries and rings are as good or better than “house made”. That holds true for mozzarella sticks as well. Their sandwiches are served ala carte. I ordered a meat loaf sandwich with a side of mozzarella sticks.

This was one great sandwich. Their meat loaf is simple and good. Nothing fancy. A nice thick slice heated on the flat top, topped with an onion ring and a chipotle ketchup. All put together on a lovely toasted Brioche bun. The mozz sticks were as good as they ever were and they serve them with a very nice house made marinara sauce,

So Pat and I both really like this spot. If you go for lunch hopefully Morgan will be there to be your server. I can not say enough nice things about her. Pleasant and efficient and she does make a very good Whiskey Sour. Thanks again Morgan.

Here is a link to their menu

https://www.jailbirdindy.com/


Zaharikos 329 Washington Street Columbus Indiana

This is definitely an historic site. It has been a functioning ice cream parlor since 1900 and it definitely has that old time air about it. From the carved fretwork to the hardwood cabinetry and the marble soda syrup dispenser.

The space is airy with high ceilings and filled with natural light. From the shiny hardwood floors to the pressed tin ceiling you can’t help but feel the history of the place.

Well as charming as the space is we were there to have lunch. Fran; Pat’s wife went with us and she is a Sloppy Joe junkie like me. On their menu is a Gom sandwich, which is their version of a Sloppy Joe. You can get it with or without cheese, they come grilled on white bread. That is what we ordered.

It was really a very nice sandwich. If you like Sloppy Joes then I think you would like this. It is tighter than most Joes and the flavor is mild compared to some but it definitely has that tangy sweetness common to “loose meat” sandwiches. Since this is above all an ice cream parlor that makes its own ice cream some form of frozen confection was required. Fran decided on a Root Beer Soda.

Fran’s Root Beer Soda
Pat’s Chocolate Malted, prior to the fall.

Boy when that glass hit that hard wood floor it went every where. As quickly as they got on the clean up you can tell they had been there before. They even replaced his Malt. For Free. Very nice gesture.

Since I had water with my lunch I was ready for some Ice Cream. I ordered a 2 scoop Sundae with hot fudge. My O My it was delicious.

I ordered a Mint Chocolate Chip and a Raspberry Chocolate Chip. The Mint was very good but the Raspberry was incredible. A true raspberry taste in an ice cream. If anything would make me drive for an hour that might be it. They put the hot fudge sauce in the bottom of the dish and built the sundae on top. They also supplied a small boat with more for the top.

As formidable as the task was I was still able to clean the bowl.

I sincerely hope people have an opportunity to visit. They have a small museum of antique soda fountains in the dining room adjacent to the one we ate in. I took several pictures but they were really of poor quality. The rooms may have had a lot of sunlight but it was too diffused for my camera to get some good shots. I am including a link to their website. Listen to their sample of mechanical music. That played in the dining area. Continuously. This “modern” ear thought less would be better. Thankfully as more people came in the normal conversation took the edge off.

http://www.zaharakos.com/

So we had a splendid time in Columbus. We had plans on dropping by Zwanzigz for a beer but we were all too full to even consider it. Imagine that. Too full for a beer.


Pupuseria Casa Maria 7363 N. Michigan Road

I have been wanting to try this place for a while. One of those times when Pat was gone I went there but they were closed for a remodel. Pat is hardly ever interested in eating something different but some times he surprises me.

Pupusas are thick tortillas stuffed with various other food items. This place offers several different varieties along with tamales and tacos.

Pat ordered a steak and cheese and a chicken and cheese pupusa. All of the pupusas come with a cup of pickled cabbage. We also had a basket of chips with different salsas.

I ordered 2 pupusas, a pork and cheese and a loroco and cheese. I also got a tongue taco and a chicken tamale. More food than I was able to eat so I was able to take them home for an evening snack.

My pupusas were excellent. Large and hearty. Loroco is an herb used in some parts of Latin America. The pupusa I ordered was made with a cheese with the bud chopped up in it. So the actual flavor of the herb was minimal regardless they were very tasty and went really well with the slaw.

That large dolma looking object is my tamale. They use banana leaves instead of corn husks. This was the biggest tamale I think I have ever had. I probably should have unwrapped it to photograph but I was more concentrated on eating. It was pretty good. It did have a thicker “shell” than some tamales I have had but it wasn’t a deal breaker to me. As for the taco it was ideal for me. Two soft corn torts with a lot of meat and topped only with cilantro and onion.

I really liked this joint. It is small but nicely appointed and the food is very good and more than reasonably priced. The total cost for our feast was $18, and for a Bonus Pat tried something he never thought he would try.


Pots & Pans Pie Co. 4915 N. College Ave.

This post is long over do. I found this place a few months ago and have been several times. Pat and I came her for pie after we ate at Upland. They offer both sweet and savory pies and I have sampled both, however I don’t have pictures of them all.

This my latest slice from yesterday, a Bourbon chocolate pecan pie. I had forgotten how well Bourbon and Chocolate go together especially a dark chocolate. The innate smokiness and sweetness of the liquor coupled with the slight bitterness of the Chocolate makes for a delicious union. Add all of the above to the normal lusciousness of a pecan pie and you get an amazing hunk of pie. The bakers use leaf lard from Smoking Goose so you can imagine the flakiness of the crust.

Margarita lime pie
Salted Caramel and Pear.

This place offers savory pies as well as sweet. The pie slices are $5, galettes are $6. A 9 inch sweet pie is $25. They offer savory pies in two sizes 6 inch for $10 to $11 and 9 inch for $35.

Beef and mushroom

Their beef and mushroom pie was the first savory offering I tried and it was excellent. It was easily as good cold as hot. Possibly better. I also tried a 6 inch sausage and gravy and a 6 inch meatball and mozzarella. The fillings on the later two were good just not as good as their beef and mushroom.

So if you like pie now you know where you can get your fix. If for some reason you are on the fence about pie get to the Pie Co. I think that will get you off that fence.


10th Street Diner 3301 E 10th Street

This is a Vegan restaurant. I am neither Vegan or Vegetarian. I am a Carnivore. I don’t judge anyone’s food choices. When I go to any meatless joint I merely critique the taste of the food and its preparation. Whether it is BBQ, burgers or Vegan skill can always be appreciated.

The building used to be a gas station and the new guy did an outstanding job in the construction of the new space. The owner has been Vegan for 10 years and his background is in catering. This day he got off on a wrong foot with me though. One of my pet peeves about a joint is having your whole menu ready by the time you open. Pat wanted the Lasagne for $14.50 but the owner told us he needed 20 minutes more to finish it so Pat had to order something else. He opted for the Seitan Rueben for $ 9.50 with the Bistro sauce on the side. Bistro is their horseradish and vegan mayo which replaces the traditional 1000 Island dressing.

All of the sandwiches come with a basic round corn chips. For an upcharge of $2,50 you can get a different side. For my sandwich I opted for the Submarine sandwich for $9.50. It consists of “beef” Seitan, peppers and pickled onion. I also got fried Brussels sprouts.

Honestly I had an issue with the sandwich. I could only detect 2 small pieces of pepper and no pickled onion. Subsequently the sandwich was pretty bland. Hopefully that was just a miscue. I took half the sandwich home and a little salad mustard improved the taste a great deal. The sprouts were pretty good. Crisp with a touch of Balsamic vinegar. If I am in the area I will go back. I really want to try his Lasagne. Zucchini “noodles”, Seitan in red sauce and cashew ricotta sounds pretty good.

This is a shot of the interior. It was taken from outside one of 2 double doors. That spot in the upper left hand is from the idiot photographer.

Hoagies and Hops 4155 Boulevard Place

Eight years ago Flat 12 Brewery opened. Like most breweries the food option consisted of the occasional food truck. Then three years ago Hoagies and Hops set up shop in their tasting room. We reviewed it for the Indy Bacon week about a year ago and they put out an impressive sandwich. Now Flat 12 is going their own way on food and Hoagies and Hops has moved to another spot and hooked up with Chilly Water Brewing.

It is a very nice spot. Each business has its own area separated by a wall; with an opening and 2 separate entrances. That I am sure was to placate our curious alcoholic beverage laws.

The husband and wife team that started the eatery are purists; they import the bread from South Jersey and use House sliced Delmonico rib eye for their cheese steaks. Their Hoagies and cheese steaks come in 3 sizes; 7,9 and 18 inches. As for their cornerstone cheese steak you order it with or without onions and Provolone or Cheese whiz. I got a 7 inch cheese steak or Shorty with onions and cheese whiz for $7.99. Wow. It was a very nice sandwich. Flavorful and loaded with steak. The bread was the perfect complement to the meat and cheese.

On my second trip I wanted to try one of their cold hoagies. They use Dietz and Watson cold cuts. That is considered the Godfather of luncheon meats. I ordered the Hog Island. It offered Salami, Ham, Prosciutto, Capicola and Provolone. I enjoyed the freshness and crispness of the fillings and great texture of the bread.

Both of the sandwiches I tried were top-notch. Since this joint is so close to me I will definitely be a regular. FYI on Wednesday Chilly Water features $4 pints and $7 Growler fills. In addition Hoagies and Hops discounts their half Cheese steaks by 2 bucks. Now how can a beer drinking bargain seeking carnivore resist that.


Continental Grill Family Restaurant 3815 W. Washington Street

https://www.continentalgrill.net/

For some reason we don’t venture to the west side very often. I discovered this place by “surfing the web.” It started out as a Waffle House and opened in 1970. It changed identities recently and appears to be doing very well.

The menu is huge and they have different specials every day, breakfast and lunch and dinner. It would seem as though some of their lunch specials are menu items at a reduced price. However they did offer a Swiss Steak Manhattan which really intrigued me. They also offered an 8 ounce rib eye with toast and 2 sides for $9.99. That I couldn’t resist.

They aren’t much on presentation; as you can see. It didn’t matter. The steak was a perfect medium rare and delicious. They had an extensive list of sides but I decided on butter beans and potato pancakes.

Butter beans are not seen on too many menus. I enjoy them; and here they even serve them with a fresh buttery taste spread.

The pancakes were probably not made in-house but were pretty tasty. They were made with mashed potatoes and had a nice crisp to them.

So if you are hungry but not sure what you want than this joint may be just the place for you. Lots to choose from with big portions and good prices.

 

 

 


Momma’s Kitchen 2853 E. 25th Street

This place used to be Taste Budds Soul Food. When it closed it didn’t take long before someone stepped in to claim the place. I was really fond of Taste Budds food so I was half way expecting something similar. Honestly I was a bit disappointed with the menu. They offer a few breakfast items but the everyday lunch was only 4 combos for $10. A Herby Burger, Fried chicken, quesadilla and nachos. All came with fried potatoes or home fries and a drink. Their rib tips and fried fish were only available on certain days as specials. Evidently roasted chicken is not an option.

Per the menu you can get any part of the chicken for your meal. In reality they only offer wings. Pat had wanted a fried breast but ordered a Herby Burger instead.

The potato options on the menu become french fries for service. Lots of french fries. We each got a basket like this.

I decided on their wing combo.

I got 6 wings placed on top of 2 pieces of white bread. The wings were nicely done. Hot and crisp with good seasoning. I probably should have ordered their chicken and waffle special. A buttery waffle sounds better than 2 slices of plain white bread. I enjoyed my lunch and I think it was reasonably priced. I really should go back to try their tips. I believe they serve them on Thursday or Friday.

 

 


Paleo Soul 7305 E 96th Street

I found this place on a net search. I thought that such a clever name needed further study.

The Paleo Diet is an eating plan that tries to duplicate the eating habits of our ancestors; 10000 years ago. In other words food a hunter gatherer would consume. That means no grains, legumes or dairy. The owner came up with the idea because members of her own family have some food allergies and she thought Paleo could be an answer. Not all the menu is Paleo but it has a few items and if our lunch is an indication all of it is delicious.

I was tempted to order beans and rice and chicken and noodles two of their non Paleo dishes for $3.95 each. However once I learned that the meatloaf was just out of the oven I could not resist.

I know I said that I would never order mac & cheese out again but I just had to try theirs. I am glad I did. This was creamy and cheesy with a slightly crisp top. A great partner to the meatloaf. As for the meatloaf I thought it was delicious as well. It was seasoned perfectly and I loved that it had a bit of ketchup on the top. When you took a bite you would taste the savory gravy and then a taste of vinegary sweetness from the ketchup.

Both of our entres were $10.99; drink included. After consuming my meatloaf I was beguiled into ordering a piece of cheese cake, for $4.

This wasn’t a cheese cake that you would get at GFS or Sysco this was scratch made by the owner’s cousin. It was thick and rich without being overly sweet. I don’t know that I have had better.

Every thing in this little joint is made from scratch. The food is excellent and the prices are good and the only thing left to comment on is the staff. The folks here are wonderful. They went out of their way to make us truly feel at home. It was like eating at a friend’s house. It is a shame it is so far from me. I will try to get back soon.