eating indie in indy

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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.

Monkey Business 5055 S Dearborn Street

Pat picked this place. He learned of it from his cousin, who is a regular. That is one of the interesting things about taverns. Their regulars usually visit more often than a regular at a dinner house. When you go to a dinner house you go to eat. Same can be said for a lunch place. When you visit a tavern you can eat or drink. Taverns also have a bunch more appetizers than a  restaurant. So the occasions to go to a tavern are more numerous. Pat mentioned that this joint was previously named Harry C’s. I have never heard of that place either.

We started out with some fried pepper jack cheese cubes. For some reason I neglected to take a picture. These little things were very good. Lightly breaded and cooked perfectly. I was really surprised that they weren’t hand-made in the kitchen. I have had these before and they weren’t nearly as good.

Pat didn’t write about what he had for lunch. I guess he was still thinking of his prime rib dinner. He had a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon and tomato for $6. I guess he liked it. I mean it is really hard to mess up a grilled cheese sandwich.

They offer a fish and chips platter with a choice of walleye or catfish for $7.50. Either fish will get you fries, coleslaw and tarter sauce. I opted for walleye, because it is a good white fish and you don’t see it around too often.

I liked it. It was a good portion of fish and it had  very tasty breading, Also the coleslaw was house-made and the amount of fries they give you is reasonable. Some places think it is necessary to serve up more french fries than 1 human can eat. I would like to see them offer an extra piece of fish for an up-charge. I could have handled another piece of walleye. On Fridays they offer an all you can eat fish and chips for 12.95. I think that is the price.

I like this little place. Good food and great prices. For the bonus their special that day was $2 Domestic bottles. They offer several draft beers and a  Craft brew cost $5. If I lived closer I would try that Prime Rib dinner myself


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


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


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.