eating indie in indy

down home eats

Batters 5543 E. Washington Street

Well there is another new joint in Irvington. A self-described pancake house that serves breakfast all day. I hope this place lasts longer than the 2 previous tenants. If they don’t survive it won’t be because the food isn’t good or the prices are too high. Most of the dishes are in the $6 to $7 niche with specials going for $9 with soup or salad included. As for the quality of their fare the items we had were top-notch.

I opted for breakfast as well. For me it was “Bases Loaded” (?) for $7; the same as Pat’s omelet. Mine was biscuits and gravy with 2 eggs and 2 bacon or sausage.

I was quite impressed. I believe I have tried every biscuit and gravy in town and I think that Downtown Olly’s does it best. Now I may have to reconsider that proposition. The first bite was loaded with sausage flavor and a hint of bacon fat, as though bacon fat was used in the making of the roux. It could have been from the bacon on the side but what ever it was I hope they do it every time. The gravy had a very creamy quality that most country gravies don’t have. It was an excellent dish and bargain priced at 7 bucks.

The only thing I would do differently is order a side of toast to sop up all the gravy and egg yolk. I was able to used Pat’s crust from his toast so none of it went to waste. I think I will be back again. They do list their specials on Facebook so I am keeping my eye open for liver and onions. I have it on good authority they do a respectable job with that diner classic.

 

 


Hoagies and Hops 414 Dorman Street.

This is Indy Bacon Week. That is one week that NUVO invites restaurants to showcase all things bacon. Each joint comes up with their own bacon special for 5 bucks. Similar to Burger Week which happened in June. Both of these promotions also serve as a fundraiser for Second Helpings. This is an easy promotion since Hoosiers have such a “thing” for pork. We love all that is pig. From crisp bacon to deep-fried tenderloin as big as a truck tire or pulled pork on a toasted bun. Beef may be what’s for dinner in Texas but in Indiana it is pork.

Hoagies and Hops opened in 2015. A husband and wife  from Pennsylvania grew “nostalgic” for East coast hoagies and cheese steaks and decided to bring the food here. They get their bread from an Italian bakery in New Jersey and their deli meats from Dietz and Watson in Philadelphia.

The truly clever part of this opening is the location. It is right inside Flat 12 Bierwerks. Flat 12 has been around since 2010 and have consistently produce high quality beers. The only food that was provided was by the occasional food truck so if you wanted food with your beer you were out of luck. Now when you walk in you have the food counter on the left and the beer counter straight ahead. A genius idea. Hoagies and Hops opens at 11:30 Flat 12 noon.

I opted for the Paddy’s something or other.

Paddy’s Pub Cheesesteak
Smoking Goose Bacon, Sliced Ribeye, House Horseradish Mayo, House Pepper Relish, & Muenster Cheese

Now this was a very good sandwich. The meat was tender and flavorful and the sweetness of the relish helped balance out the mayo. I would have preferred more bacon; but more bacon is always the answer to just about any food question. I agree with Pat. The bread they use is top shelf and like Pat I would do it again. In a heart beat.
Hoagies and Hops Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


IKEA 11400 Ikea Way Fishers In.

Breakfast at IKEA  

I know we are the guys who go to independent eateries in Indy; but this place just opened a week ago; and I have never been to Ikea. To me this is just some Swedish company that sells furniture kits and meatballs. A punchline to a joke. However they have a Cafe that sells breakfast and lunch and prices are low. The place is huge; a gigantic warehouse where you can buy anything you might want. They also sell 75 cent hot dogs.

The cafe has a cafeteria setup with one serving line that sells breakfast from 9:30 to 11:oo, lunch 11:00 to 3:00 and dinner from 5:00 to close. Pat got what they call a small breakfast for $1. That includes eggs, potatoes and turkey sausage. Milk is $1 as are the cinnamon rolls and a side of bacon is $1.29. So you get a pretty comprehensive breakfast for less than 5 bucks. Also if you become a “Family Member” you get free coffee.

I opted for a Swedish American Breakfast for an extra dollar. That is a small breakfast with the addition of Swedish pancakes and strawberry jam. The eggs are your typical cook in bags eggs you find on steam tables everywhere. Nothing spectacular about them at all. The potatoes were okay and the bacon was very good. Nice and crisp. The sausage was a surprise. It was turkey sausage but it actually tasted like sausage. The “pancakes” were not so good. They looked more like a crepe and they were quite chewy. Would not eat them again.

The best part on my morning meal was my piece of cake for $1.99.

It was called a Chocolate and Butterscotch Cake had it had a slightly toffy like crust and tasted like a creamy Heath bar with just the slightest crunch. It was very good. I would eat that again.

After breakfast we had to walk around and look at all the stuff. That is why they sell food here. To keep the customers in the store looking. After a couple of hours browsing, and after eating 75 cent hot dogs we went back to the Cafe. One note on the dogs. They are pretty good but they offer no condiments. I like at least a bit of mustard on mine.

Lunch at Ikea

I have heard so much about the Ikea meatball I just had to try them. Besides I had a coupon for buy one get one. So for $5.99 we got two Swedish Meatball entrees.

It was an interesting plate of food. The mashed potatoes taste real, the gravy was okay and the veggie medley was unique. It consisted of cauliflower, sweet potato and carrot with a bit of red onion. It was interesting. The vaunted meatballs were also interesting. To me I think less is better for these. The first few were tasty enough but the more I ate the less tasty they became. Maybe I just got full. If I find my self back there I will probably try them again.

This place is definitely a destination; just not for food. However it is nice to know that you can get some decent food while you are there; and it is cheap.

 


Murphy’s Pubhouse Fishers 11650 Olio Rd. Fishers In.

Yep we drove all the way into Fishers. The only reason I can think of is that Pat was on a mission. Earlier that day I proposed 2 possible joints for us to go to and Pat came up with some alternatives. His primary location was halfway between my 2 suggestions. Therefore it would be a “halfway house”. He also had 3 others on the list, which was a good thing, because we never found the first three. This whole Geist, Fishers area is crazy. If you don’t live here don’t try to navigate it without help. I have been in the area several times because my kid lives up there and every time I think I find his house more by accident than design.

Murphys has been around for years. In addition to the place we went to they have a Pub House on Thompson Road and a Craft House in Oaklandon. These are in addition to Murphys at Flynn’s; the home of the $11 filet lunch special.

It was a bit cool today with a nearly constant drizzle. The sort of day that demands beef. Since their steak special isn’t until Thursday I opted for the Steak Hoagie. It was a huge sandwich filled with steak, peppers, onions and mushrooms and topped with 2 different cheeses.

It was an excellent sandwich. Meaty and cheesy with just the right amount of veggies. It was too big for me to finish. Actually it would be a perfect sandwich to share. If I lived closer I would definitely get this to go; at least weekly.

This is really a great place to visit. Well run with good food and staff. The prices are what you would expect. Pat’s tenderloin was $9.99 and my hoagie was $13.99. Which at first seemed high until you see it. An easily shared sandwich for 14 bucks is a deal. So we had no complaints and highly recommend the place.
Murphy's Pubhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Bbi Cafe & Sandwich Bar 4825 Oakbrook Drive.

This is a charming little place on the North side in the vicinity of 59th and Georgetown road. It has been around for 15 years, the current husband and wife team that own the place bought it in 2012. They serve a basic menu of sandwiches, soups and salads for lunch and the usual eggs, pancakes and biscuits and gravy for breakfast. It’s not sexy or “cutting edge” they just offer good cooking at a reasonable price.

The menu is written on a large chalk board behind the counter where you order. They also offer specials. Their special for Wednesday was a blackened rib eye steak sandwich with grilled onions on a ciabatta style roll, the same as Pat’s cheese burger.

My steak was nicely done. It had a slight heat from the Cajun spices and a creamy chipotle mayo. The tender meat was an excellent foil to the chew of the bread. I would not hesitate ordering it again. As my side I picked a pasta salad. It had a vinaigrette dressing that didn’t overpower any of the other ingredients, but I think I would have liked a bit more of it.

Our total tab was $18.50 so it is reasonably priced and the food is more than reasonably tasty. Actually it is close enough me that I can try their breakfast. I am always on the look out for good biscuits and gravy.

Bbi Café & Sandwich Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


The Propylaeum 1410 N. Delaware

https://www.thepropylaeum.org/

As you can see this is the most historical and stylish place we have yet to visit. I have included a link to their website which offers more information than the Cliff’s Notes version on the plaque in the front yard.

Naturally when you visit a house as grand as this you want to take lots of pictures. Unfortunately my camera battery was fading so I was only able to take a few. Fortunately they allow self guided tours M-F 9 AM -5 PM. They also offer tea on Wednesday from 1 to 4 with a prior reservation.

The food is provided by Food Guys Catering and they did a splendid job. The menu is familiar and yet it has a few offerings that are not that common. They serve Chicken Velvet soup which was a standard at the old L.S Ayres Tea Room and is legendary in these parts. They also use both Campari and Kumato tomatoes which is rare. In addition they have a Nicoise salad on the menu, also very uncommon. That is what I ordered.

Their version omitted the skinny French green beans ( Haricot Verts ) and used asparagus. They also added artichoke hearts and substituted fingerling potatoes for the red. The basic salad ( sans canned tuna) is priced at $6. For an up charge you can add grilled chicken, grilled tuna or blackened salmon. Feeling lucky today I opted for the salmon for 3 bucks. The salmon was actually skillet blackened and nicely done. I would have liked it a little less cooked but it was fine and it complemented the salad very well. I really appreciate a  Nicoise salad because of all of its different components. From the saltiness of the olives to the sweetness of the tomato to the snap of the asparagus it was nicely designed and prepared. Speaking of tomatoes they seem to have use Kumato tomatoes on my salad, that explains the “odd” color.

At the end they brought us two cinnamon rolls that were pretty tasty, day old, but tasty.

So if you want to have lunch in a lovely old dinning room and eat some very good food at a more than reasonable price than you must try the Cafe at the Prop.

Propylaeum Tea Room Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Garrison 6002 N. Post Road

The Garrison is located at the Old Fort Benjamin Harrison site. Specifically it is the old officer’s club. It overlooks the golf course and is just down the road from the Hotel. The whole thing sits on a State Park but I believe it is privately run. The only reason for that belief is the food is too good. Were it run by the State the food would probably be prepared by some contract corporation that offers a lesser product. If I am wrong I apologize to anyone offended.

The place is open for lunch during the week, brunch on Saturday and Sunday and dinner only on Friday and Saturday nights. In all cases the service is in the form of a buffet. To be frank I was quite surprised by the quality of the food. Impressed even.

The whole buffet is tucked into a corner of a large dining room so it looks small and non consequential. When you get there you realize that they offer all the salad “stuff” you need. There is also a small station in the center that provides 2 hot soup and cobblers.

I probably should have taken a shot when the fried chicken was full, but I was busy eating.

Two of the desserts Pat ate.

I ate 2 desserts as well as a plate of salad. I concentrated more on the hot food. Across the board I was quite pleased with everything. The ribs were fall off the bone tender and the fried fish was both crisp and moist. However I think the 2 main stars were the fried chicken, followed closely by a meat “ragout” with rice. Both were outstanding.

The beans had real bacon in them; which is always a hit with Hoosiers. They even set out fried biscuits with apple butter. A totally splendid spread. I am told that the Brunch Buffet is even better. It is served in a larger room so I can imagine what it must look like. For Sunday a reservation is recommended. For our lunchtime buffet it only cost $10.99, drink included. I find that to be the most incredible thing I have come across this week.
Garrison Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Sunny’s Chicken 1030 US Highway 31 S Greenwood In.

Pat found this joint tucked into a strip mall in Greenwood. In addition to fried chicken and chicken parts it also sells fish. Fried fish; all of their food is fried.

I should have had the chicken.

I love chicken livers. I order them when I find them. They offer them in 3 sizes. One half pound, a full pound and a pound and a half. I opted for a full pound for $6.59. To be blunt they did a lousy job with them. I ate them, cuz they’re livers. To me even bad livers should be eaten. In the first place they didn’t pay close enough attention to the breading of the little things. Some of the breading fell off exposing the flesh to the heat of the fryer. That is bad form. It burns the flesh. The second thing they did wrong was leave them in the oil too long. Chicken livers should have a crisp exterior yet still be moist on the inside. Like a good home fry.

I doubt if I will be back. Just because it is so far from me. If I am in the area I would be happy to try their chicken. Or maybe the fish and shrimp. Just not the livers.


Sunny's Chicken Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Open Society 4850 N. College Ave.

This review is long over due. Open Society has been open for more than a year but I never seemed to have the time to get there. It appears their main bag is coffee. They open at 7 AM serving pastry along with their coffee. They also offer Brunch from 11 to 3. After that it’s dinner time. The front of the place has all the coffee service, the back houses the bar. The picture I took is of the bar area.

Their Brunch/lunch menu has the usual suspects. Featuring egg dishes, hanger steak and fried potatoes. They also have a burger of beef and lamb. I have to get back another time to try that. However for today I wanted their version of eggs Benedict. With a Mimosa.

The first thing that I noticed was the white foamy pieces of egg white on the plate. I know it is a small thing. A petty thing, but I was trained to remove them before serving. Regardless of appearance the eggs were beautifully poached.
I was surprised that the herb salad was at the bottom of the stack. I had expected it to be more of an accompaniment, like the potatoes.
As I said the eggs were poached beautifully and paired with the slightly spicy sauce it was a big hit. It was really hard to tell about the crab cake. There were too many other tastes going on. The potatoes were great. Crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. I believe all home fries should be done that way. I wasn’t too fond of the greens being buried under the crab cake etc. I think I would have preferred them on the side with a bit of vinaigrette; or else not at all.
The shrimp; I almost forgot the shrimp. They were a nice little bonus. Adding shrimp is always nice.
Now that I have “broken the ice” I will probably be back. I go by the joint at least once a week. Next time I will try the burger.

Open Society Public 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