eating indie in indy

down home eats

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.


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


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.