eating indie in indy

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Leviathan Bakehouse 1101 N. College Ave.

The Leviathan is a new joint which opened in September this year, during the pandemic and all of the restaurant closures. That move could be considered either foolhardy or brave. I am leaning toward courage rather than foolishness. Time will tell.

https://www.leviathanbakehouse.com/

I was torn between the Breakfast sandwich and the roast beef but the Porridge loaf sold me on the Roast Beef Chimichurri. It was a substantial sandwich with a lot going on in it. So much so that I could not fully appreciate the chutney.

As you can tell it is a colorful sandwich. As you might expect the bread was the lead role in this creation. The beef and peppers did their job properly and it was a very good sandwich. I would do it again but next time I will try their breakfast sandwich… a blanket of soft shallot baked eggs, and mild salsa verde has me intrigued.

I very nearly forgot the salad that came as my side. It is a vegan grain salad. It is made with wheat berries and a bunch of healthy things and as a bonus it was pretty good. I could order it again. Check out their website they have a bunch of stuff.


Well due to the Corona virus our state government has decreed that all restaurants, breweries and taverns are to cease all in house dining. So Pat and I will not be out for the next few weeks. Tentatively this will only last through March. Carryout is still allowed so we may try a carryout post. Until we are allowed to eat out again everyone be safe and support your favorite joint the best you can.


Vinny's Drive Bar 707 N. Lynhurst Drive

Pat and I have been doing this for nearly 8 years and have reviewed more than 450 eating establishments. Some weeks are easier than others to pick a place. It is my function to find the joints to eat at. Pat has a hand in the process when there is a place he would like to try or when I come up empty. That was the case this week. He had a list from the westside and I thought Vinny’s would work. Of course I read it as Dive Bar and I figured that any joint that admits its diviness should be visited. Of course Pat and I were both wrong.

We started out with an order of Portabello fries. An interesting spin on the ever present breaded mushroom. They were pretty good. Thick and meaty and were served with a spicy ranch dressing. They were a pretty good way to start a meal and cost 6 bucks.

Their menu is typical bar. Basic sandwiches and appetizers. They offer BBQ and pizza as well but they do it with a different spin. The Q comes from BBQ Heaven and the pies come from Rolynos. That is a local joint that started putting out pies in the early 70’s. I find that interesting; especially the pizza. Their special that day was a Spanish burger with fries for $7.50. Now that would be a seasoned and hand formed burger marinated and then cooked in a spicy tomato based sauce with added green peppers, onions and jalapenos.

I thought it was a pretty good burger. Nicely spicy and good flavor but what really made it stand out was the compaction of the patty itself. If all of their pattys are done this way it may be worth a trip back to try one chargrilled. It could be a prefect candidate for a medium rare one.

When we review a place we don’t expect folks to drop everything and run and try it out. What we would like is for those times when people are out and decide they want to eat they may remember a joint nearby that we reviewed and want to give it a try. If you are in the area keep Vinny’s in mind.


Shapiro’s Delicatessen 808 S. Meridian St.

Shapiro is one of my favorite joints. It is always a sure thing for a great sandwich or a hot dinner. This is my first time for breakfast. Pat and I did not meet last week; we both had too many other things going on. We decided on breakfast and I suggested on Shapiro’s. I had a desire for some great corned beef hash and they have the best. You can get it as a side for $3.95 or as an entree with 2 eggs and toast for $5.25. I opted for it with eggs.

My portion was huge and my eggs were poached. The hash was excellent. Big hunks of potato and a bunch of their in house made corned beef. If you like corned beef hash I don’t think you can get any better than this. As for toast when you order breakfast at Shapiros you just have to order rye bread toast.

I don’t usually drink sode in the AM but I can’t resist Dr, Brown’s Cream Soda

Pat ordered scrambled eggs on the side and naturally rye toast. His eggs were wonderfully mixed and appered to be more than 2.

I am sure most of you are familiar with Shapiro’s sandwiches and plate meals but in case you did not know you can get the same quality of food for breakfast. They offer biscuits and gravy I just don’t know what kind of gravy, also they are now serving pancakes. If anyone has had the biscuits and gravy let me know how it is.


Offshore at Sun King 1021 Broad Ripple Ave.

Sun King is the largest Brewery in Indianapolis and has been around since 2009. It has expanded quite a bit in that time. Their main brewery downtown has grown from half a ware house to 3 large buildings and they have smaller locations in Carmel and Fishers. I don’t believe they would have a presence in Broad Ripple were it not for the closing of Three Wise Men. They bought all of their equipment at action which included a full kitchen. Sun King does beer but it doesn’t do food. That is where Offshore comes in to play. Offshore is the small sibling of Pier 48 Fish House & Oyster Bar which is new to Indy. It currently is a lunch and dinner house in the new Hyatt hotel downtown. The owner, Fred Knipscheer is a former Boston Bruin hockey player whose family has fished the Atlantic for generations. That is his hook, serving fresh fish caught by his family and flown in from Maine. As a “foodie” that was the most exciting news I have heard all year. After a shopping trip I stopped for a wheat beer and a bowl of clam chowder.

The picture was rotten but the chowder was excellent. Hot bowl of clams, cream and potatoes. A cold Hefeweizen was a perfect match. A bowl was a reasonable $8.

Patrick’s coleslaw without onion.

Lobster Roll- $15.50, Wee Mac beer- $6. Rendering Pat speechless- Priceless.

They offer sliders at various price points. Since fried oysters is one of my favorite sandwich fillings I opted for 2 Oyster BLTs for $11.50. The sliders are served with a bag of their house made chips.

The little Oyster sliders were delicious. A bright combination of briny sweet oyster and a salty smoke of the bacon all topped off with a cold set and a spicy mayo. The roll they use appears to be a lobster roll bun cut in half. Excellent bread and the chips were possibly the best I have had in this city. A slight BBQ flavor that would go well with any beer.

I think this is easily the best addition to the Ripple that I have seen. At least since Three Wise Men came in because it was only the second brewery in the village. Well Sun King has better beer and seafood beats out pizza and calzone any day in my book. I am sure some folks will be put off by the price of some of their items but what you must keep in mind is the fish has never been frozen. And in Indiana in the winter time that is indeed something.


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.


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.

 


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


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


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


Mayberry Cafe 78 West Danville In.

This is going to be a fun post. Not only does this joint have good food it also has some great photo ops. Even for a bad photographer.

This is parked out front. I couldn’t get the whole car into the pic. I backed up all the way to the wall to get this shot.

This is the view we got when we parked. That is right. We parked right behind Sheriff Taylor’s squad car.

The town of Danville is the home for this Cafe. The cafe is an homage’ to Andy Taylor and the popular TV series featuring Sheriff Taylor and all of his friends and family. In addition to all the kitsch and pictures they also offer an amazing menu of good food.

To start we had to try the mushrooms. They served them in a metal cone, more apt for pomme’ frites;. I thought it was pretty cool for mushrooms.

The mushrooms were pretty good. Not exceptional but good. Worth the 6 buck charge. This place offers beef in many ways, all of which are slow roasted brisket.

I was torn. They offer a very nice salad bar for $7.50. They also offer variations with soup or baked potatoes with the salad bar. I was tempted but their house burger is a combo of  sirloin and brisket ground fresh daily and grilled to order. That was my call. I asked for it rare. I was told they could do that. The burger came out more medium.

In defense of the kitchen Indiana has rules regarding the temperature of ground meat products. If I remember properly all ground meat patties should reach a temp of 165 degrees. So I can see a kitchen dude just agreeing with the server and then cooking the burger to what they consider “legal temp”. Some joints will cook me a med- rare burger with no problem. Some won’t. So it is probably a crap shot. What I can say is this was a very good burger. Had it been cooked to rare or medium rare it would have been fantastic.

So I must say I was quite impressed with the food. I also thought that the decor was wonderful. It is a combo of country kitsch and old-time TV memory.

As an end to our lunch we shared a strawberry shortcake. It was very good. Two thick slices of pound cake smothered in strawberries and covered with whipped cream. Three bucks.

So I think this is a wonderful place to visit. Not only do you have an opportunity to hang in a Mayberry joint you also have a chance to have some excellent food.

Mayberry Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Rebar 20 N. Delaware

Yep; it is a bar. But to be more accurate it is a Rebar. Now what is a Rebar? Well in this case I would say it is a joint that has a wall of serve yourself beer. The concept is great. You get a plastic card. You place it on a sensor and the pour yourself as much beer as you like. You are charged by the ounce and they offer 20 different rotating taps. You can get  2 ounces for a taste or a 12 ounce glass to enjoy with your meal. To me it is a winner for everyone concerned. For the consumer you do not need to worry about an over worked bartender, and for the house the bartender is free to do other things. Plus the place gets paid for the tastes that folks expect to get. I should have taken a picture.

But we were here for the food. From what we sampled I would say that these guys have probably the best “bar” food around. The kitchen staff is composed of young people who went to the Chef’s Academy here in town. So they have a crew of knowledgable and creative folks that are in this business by choice. Which does make a difference.

They make the majority of the food from scratch. The exceptions are the buns, fries and cheese curds. The batter on the curds is reminiscent of what you would find on a corn dog. They were pretty good but there is better out there. It is a shame they don’t have the room to batter their own. I think they would probably hit it out of the park.

The dipping sauce they served with them was a dill Ranch dressing. Too close to tartar sauce for me but it was a decent condiment. They have set lunch specials. Pat opted for the house burger for $8.

Now isn’t that a splendid hunk of meat. Pat gave me a bite and it was as tasty as it looked. I decided on a pair of sliders for $7. You get your choice of an Angus blend burger, house smoked and pulled pork or a spicy sloppy Joe. I ordered the BBQ and the Sloppy Joe. Again I was impressed. I know pulled pork and sloppy Joes are hardly haute cuisine but some preparations are better than others . Even with the simplest of dishes.

Pat and I are in agreement about the chips. They served a whole bunch of them but they were fried too crisp for us.

This place is in a perfect location for me. It is a short block away from the new Transit Center. Since I do not drive downtown, and since it has a patio on a very busy street I can see myself sitting there having lunch and a couple of Adult beverages. Speaking of  beverages they have a Adult milk shakes featuring Graeter’s Ice Cream with various liquors.

https://www.rebarindy.com/

They are changing their menu soon so I am sure I will be back there at least once more when that happens. Actually I will probably be back with some regularity. It is a fun joint to visit.

 

Rebar Indy Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Thunderbird 1127 Shelby Street

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The sign is a bit misleading. The Thunderbird opened as a night club in 1950, and “rocked” it old school until 1972. I was never there. I went to old-time “divey” bars and for late night entertainment there was Broad Ripple.

I think this new incarnation opened 2 years ago as a dinner house. They just recently decided to give lunch a go. Here is a link to their website.

http://thunderbirdindy.com/

I suggested this place a couple of weeks ago. I think Pat agreed just to humor me. As he has said many times he is a simple man with simple tastes. Also he has a well know aversion to onion.

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I don’t agree with Pat’s assessment that this place is a bistro. Their food is pretty much comfort foods with a Southern focus and a chef driven spin. Are their prices high? Yep;on some items. A 9 buck grilled cheese is high. On the other hand at $3 my biscuit sliders were quit reasonable. Especially when you realize a McDonald’s bacon, egg and cheese biscuit costs more.

One thing Pat commented on was how oily the chips were. Tasty but oily. Evidently they flash them in the fryer for a bit and then sprinkle them with old bay seasoning.

They have okra fries on their menu. I like fried okra. Finding it around here is difficult. The few places that offer it give you this frozen stuff in a bag . Here they buy it fresh, cut it and fry it to order.

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You get a nice sized bowl for $5. They offer a spicy mayo based dipping sauce I wasn’t really a fan of. I did enjoy the okra though. It is pickled before it is breaded and fried. Which adds a whole new layer of flavor and it also adds a bit of acid to the mix. Now for the biscuit sliders.

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They offer two options. Braised pork belly and fried chicken. I got one of each. The belly was melt in your mouth tender. They topped it with an onion jam, which was pretty sweet. It fit well with the fatty pork but after a few bites it became almost cloying. The next time I get it I will 86 the jam.

You can get your chicken biscuit mild or hot. I chose hot and it had a pleasant burn. The chicken biscuit comes topped with their slaw and house pickles. The slaw was vinegar based and played off the spicy crunch of the chicken nicely. My taste for slaw leans more towards the creamy style but this variety did its job well. I think a side of the slaw might be too “dry” when eaten by itself. The biscuits themselves were nice. Flaky yet substantial enough to hold up to fried chicken. The pickles were unique to my taste buds. They are of the refrigerator variety. You slice ’em; pickle ’em and stick them in the fridge. I enjoyed them.

This place is well-appointed with lots of wood and custom light fixtures. The whole joint has a dimly lit ambiance. Suitable for an evening of cocktails and snacks. I think that would be the best way to enjoy this space. With some friends and a few cocktails and eats. They offer craft draft as well as wine but I think they take their mixed drinks very serious. The bartender has several bottles of syrups that they use to flavor some of their liquors. The bartender is also serious about Bourbon. He likes to keep Bonded bottles around. Nothing says commitment like a few bottles of 100 Proof bottled in bond liquor.

Thunderbird Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato