eating indie in indy

down home eats

shalom

Why do we  have this blog? I am sure some folks ask that. It is really simple. We are two old friends that enjoy having lunch together, and an occasional Adult beverage. When I retired from the Restaurant Biz my old friend Pat and I decided to have lunch every week and BS about the past. After a few weeks we decided that we needed to share our experiences with people. Actually we bring some unique experiences to the table. I spent several years “touring” the south-west and old Mexico. I also spent a tour in Las Vegas. That is where I went to Culinary School; UNLV. After Vegas I opened a few joints in New Mexico, so I think I have an understanding of what it takes to be an owner/ operator. As for Pat he is very analytical and has pretty good food instincts. So we hope you enjoy our posts. More importantly we hope you find a place you want to go to and break that chain habit of eating


To the Nines 1999 US 31 South Greenwood In.

In the 21st Century there is probably more Culinary schools than ever before. I know more High Schools now have culinary programs. To the Nines is the student run restaurant for Center Grove schools. Way out in the country ( my perspective) down in Johnson County. When we decided to go we learned that they have buffets on Fridays and prix fixe meals on Tuesday. Since Tuesday wasn’t an option for us I made reservations for their “Lunch for Brunch” buffet.

As the man said we had no idea that there was a 50 % discounts for seniors. The students did a good job of setting up and refilling the buffet. Refilling chafing dishes can be tricky, especially with an endless line of eaters.

They offered the usual fare of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and biscuits with gravy. They also offered a French Toast bake and a Breakfast Casserole. I passed on both.

They make the biscuits and pastries from scratch. The biscuits were as good as any I have had at a restaurant service. Same with the Cinnamon roll. The gravy was good not great. But that is the same for most joints that offer it. Overall the students did a very nice job. I would like to go back for the fixed meal. Even though it is a long drive.

 


Sunshine Breakfast House & Grill 5116 West 38th Street

Sometimes Pat and I like to change things up and do breakfast instead of lunch. Usually when Pat has something else to do on Wednesday afternoon. Such was the case this Wednesday.

This place has only been open for 4 months. It is in a building that used to house a Mexican restaurant and you can tell from the hand painted murals on the walls. Their breakfast menu is pretty standard but I thought the prices a bit lower than most joints. Which is a good thing. I went all in on their Sunshine Breakfast platter for $8.99. It was 2 bacon, 2 sausage links, 2 pieces of ham, hashbrown potatoes and 2 eggs your call. Plus a choice of pancakes or toast. I couldn’t resist the siren call of pancakes so I ordered my eggs scrambled. I mean why have all that egg yolk without toast to mop it up.

Everything was very nicely done. The shredded potatoes were crisp, as was the bacon. I especially like the slight “char” on the ham from the griddle.

The pancakes were light and fluffy, not exceptional, but good and they went well with the salty meats.

So we had a very nice breakfast, relatively cheap. As Pat said there isn’t any foo foo stuff on their menu just good solid food. Well worth trying.


The Patio 7206 E. Washington Street

The building that houses the Patio used to be a fast food place.( Arby’s?) Now it is a some of this, some of that Mom and Pop joint. The menu is extensive. They called themselves a Mediterranean Restaurant. Well they have that covered with Gyros and pizza. They also toss in a few BBQ items, some Mexican choices as well as fried fish, burgers and Tenderloin. A big menu. The Gyros were recommended but we felt more like BBQ.

This is not a place I would normally order ribs from. To me ribs cry out for a smoker and this place has none. So they would be baked; hopefully not boiled beforehand. Well I think they were boiled a bit before baking but they were still pretty tasty. They reheated them on a flat top and then sauced them. The meat wasn’t falling off the bone but you could separate the bones with a plastic knife so I think they passed the tender test. I was surprised at how meaty the ribs were, often spare ribs are a bit sparse. The slaw was very good. A mayo based dressing with a bit of vinegar that gave it a very nice acidity. I agree with Pat about the fries. They were fried perfectly. Crisp exterior and tender in side.

The only weak link would be the toast. Their attempt was laudable ( a touch of rosemary ) but it could have been toastier. However in the operators defense he may have felt hurried. Pat was up to retrieve the food prematurely so the guy may have felt like he had to sell it asap. However you could make a point he should have dropped the bread sooner. But that is such a nit I won’t attempt to pick it. Any more than I already have.

So we had a very nice full slab of ribs dinner for $19.25. We ordered an extra side of slaw and I think they gave us an extra side of toast and our total was about $22 ; including tax.

All of their prices seem more than reasonable and as big as the menu is if you can’t find something you want you aren’t hungry.

 

The Patio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


3 Carrots 920 Virgina Avenue

Three Carrots has had a presence in the City Market Downtown for a few years. This joint in Fountain Square is new. As a matter of fact it still has an “under construction” vibe for the exterior. As the name may suggest it is not a place for cheese burgers. It is a vegan restaurant. Pat and I may not be vegans or vegetarians but we can appreciate a Vegan lunch every now and then. Our server suggested that as many as 40 percent of the diners are neither vegetarian or vegan. They come because the food is good. Gook cooking will draw a crowd no matter the fare.

I tried a bite of Pat’s “tenderloin” and the texture was a very good match. The flavor was nice but I couldn’t say it was a match to pork. The taste stood on its own.

For my lunch I was intrigued with the Seitan Bahn Mi sandwich. The seitan was marinated in ginger, soy and lime juice and as  expected the sandwich was dressed with jalapeno, cilantro, avocado mayo and pickled carrot and daikon. I am a sucker for pickled veggies so the choice was easy.

It was a big sandwich and it had a lot going on. I can honestly say I am not sure about the marinated “meat”. I  liked it but the texture; while “meaty” had an unusual bite. Maybe if it were done in one piece instead of pieces. I am not sure. Maybe it was all in my head. You know the faux meat thing. In either event it was an excellent sandwich and I am glad I got it.

They offer chips and salsa with their sandwiches. They have other sides available for an up charge.

The chips and salsa were okay but I am not a fan of “blue” tortillas. However the size fits well with their sandwiches. I am sure I am preaching to the Vegan ,Vegetarian choir when I say how good this joint is but to all of those that eat meat remember. Good food is worth searching for, whether it is plant or animal.
Three Carrots Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


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