eating indie in indy

ethnic

Taste of Havana 8329 Michigan Road

This place opened in 2013 in Broad Ripple. After a while I guess the parking and the pub crawling clientele got tiresome so they moved to a place with parking. I have been here a few times and really like it. This is Pat’s first time.

I decided on a Picadillo platter. That is a plate of ground beef cooked with olives and raisins served with black beans, rice and a sweet plantain. It is a delicious plate of food however it did not have the amount of olives as I remember. However the beans and rice were as good as I recall.

I really enjoy this place. With the expanded parking hopefully I can get back more often. One quick thought on Pat’s plantain debacle. I think what he had in the past was green plantains or Tostones. What is served here are ripe or sweet plantains. When they are green they have to be beat and cooked twice and turn out like french fries. For dessert I had a cup of Cortadito. That is half milk and half cuban coffee and of course sugar. If you like coffee then you should love their coffee.

I have never had a bad meal here. From their sandwiches in the authentic Cuban bread to their bean soups and sweet pastelitos I really think you will enjoy this little joint.


Texas Margaritas 6473 N. Keystone Ave.

We hadn’t planned on eating here but we passed it on the way to buy me a new sim card for my phone and Pat asked me about it. I told him that it was the joint where I met Joey for lunch last year and they do a good job. They also offer very nice cocktails and beer. So that is where we went.

They bring out a big basket of tortilla chips and a very nice salsa as soon as you are seated. Pat’s go to appetizer at Latin joints is a large queso to go with the chips. Did not take a picture of the cheese or the chips and salsa as we were too busy eating it.

Pat likes his tacos hard and when he saw they use both ground and shredded beef he thought he had struck gold. However as he said they are very free with the use of onions. I like soft tacos but I usually get mine at a couple of smaller joints. When I come to a big restaurant like this I opt for burros and enchilladas. So I ordered the Burrito King, a new special. That was choice of steak or chicken in a flour tortilla with rice, black beans, avocado and bacon smothered in cheese sauce. I got mine with steak and it proved to be as Regal as the name implied.

Usually I opt for my burritos to be covered in chile; red or green but today I thought cheese sounded good. I really enjoyed this burro. It had a bunch of stuff in it and you could taste every element. Often something with this much going on something gets lost but not here. The steak was nicely braised and you could actually taste the smokey bacon and the creamy avocado. The beans and rice were nice as well but since they are usual companions they weren’t that exceptional. Of course I would eat it again.

So this is our second post since restaurants were allowed to reopen. I think we will check out some of the joints we have been to in the early days of our blog. A revisit of some of our favorites. This whole virus thing is a reminder that restaurants are vulnerable to a quick demise no matter how good they are. If you like a joint visit it.


Hellas Cafe 8501 Westfield Blvd.

We weren’t sure where we were going to eat this week. I thought of an Asian Grill that was scheduled to open in Broad Ripple. We drove by but they weren’t ready yet so we headed north. When we hit Nora we saw Hellas and decided we needed some Greek food.

I had a desire for Mousaka. A creamy macaroni dish just appealed to me. Their version was very good. The Sauce Bechamel was smooth and creamy and decadently rich. The sides were well executed s well The beans were cooked down Hoosier style and the potatoes were crisp and tender. All in all it was an excellent meal.

Both of our lunches came with salads; which I forgot to take pictures of. They were normal side salads and came with an excellent vinaigrette. Both cost $12.49 so I thought they were reasonable considering what you got. Our server was attentive but the overall service made me nervous. There was one server and one cook and the kitchen was building the salads to order. That really struck me as odd. The cook got behind quickly but she managed it well and never really ended in the weeds. Evidently their customers aren’t in a hurry to get back to work so if you want a warm and leisurely Greek meal consider Nora Plaza and Hellas. I don’t get this way often but if I do I want to try their Dolmades. They build theirs with ground meat which is my preference.


Thai Town 5130 W. 38th St.

There are two Thai Towns on the westside. One on South High School Road and this. The newest. It is a very spacious and good looking joint.

It was a chilly day and Pat and I both ordered Thai Ginger tea. It was served to us with our first course. The first course was an excellent Thom Yum soup and a spring roll. The soup was excellent. Sparse on veggies but abundant in depth of flavor. It had a slight heat to it, which brought a warmth. The spring rolls are made in house and have onion in them so Pat gave me his. I thought they were wonderful. They reminded me of something I used to eat from an A&P Deli many years ago.

I also must add the the tea was delicious. My usual tea samplings have been limited to a more pedestrian variety so the Thai Ginger tea was quite a treat.


I followed Pat with an order of a red curry with medium heat. It was very good. A nice consistence level of heat punctuated with a few veggies. I would have prefered more eggplant and less green beans but it was still a good dish. I couldn’t finish it all after my soup and two spring rolls.

All in all this was a very nice lunch with excellence service.and at a very good price. Our lunches were 8 bucks each. I will be back for the tea, spring rolls and soup. That would be a meal for me.

http://thaitowncuisine.com/


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.


Pizza King 12110 E, Washington Street Cumberland Indiana

Pizza King originated in Lafayette Indiana in 1954. They have expanded over the years with several “company stores” and some franchise holders. As far as I know they are only in Indiana. They were known for a thin crust, edge to edge toppings and a fine ground sausage. I have always been fond of a fine grind for pizza. This particular outlet is a company store on the far east side of Indy. Actually east of the little town of Cumberland. It is a very large place with an old school pizzeria decor.

They offer the usual fare you would find at a Pizza joint but today we were after pizza. They have an 8 inch 1 topping pie for $6.79 and charge 90 cents for additional toppings. That is what we ordered. Pat got a mushroom and sausage because that is his go to combo. I ordered the same because I could not decide, and sausage and mushroom is as good a combination as any.

Another thing I like about this place is they cut their pies in a “party style”. Instead of all triangle slices you get squares and triangles

that is why i like “party style”. You get center slices like this.

I enjoyed my pie quite a bit. The crust isn’t as thin as I would like but it was nicely done and the price is very good. It is quite a drive but I can see myself going back. I would like to get an 8 inch Meat Feast pie. The Meat Feast – A delicious blend of sausage, pepperoni, ground beef, baked ham and bacon. That is $7.99

The Pizza Inn that Pat referenced is the Pizza Parlor that was in Southport when we were in High School. That is another old chain that started in Texas in 1960. They no longer operate in Indiana. I don’t remember much about their food though. Pizza King does operate in Indy and they put out a pretty good pie.


Texas Margaritas Mexican Restaurant 6473 Keystone Ave.

I had the pleasure of meeting my pal Joey for lunch Thursday. It has been too long since we saw each other. She works too much. She did agree to meet me for her lunch break so we decided on Texas Margaritas. It is a new place that opened on the site of the former Cancun Mexican Restaurant. The joint is decorated with Mexican style murals and booths.

I thought it was quite a display of art and color. I was reminded of that phrase “a riot of color” for that was surely what it was. They brought out some chips and salsa for me to munch on and to show my appreciation I ordered one of their Texas Margaritas that was on special that day.

The salsa was house made and hotter than most and the chips were still warm. It was a wonderful start to the meal. When Joey arrived it did not take us long to order. Her a shrimp quesadilla for $12.99 and me Enchiladas Ranchers for $9.99. The enchiladas was a plate of 4 corn tortillas stuffed with ground beef, shredded chicken, beans and cheese, then covered with a red sauce, white cheese and lettuce tomato and sour cream. I also added a dish of pico de gallo for $2.25.

I nearly forgot to take a shot of my plate and I didn’t bother Joey to take a picture of her quesadilla that would just eat into our talking time. We only had an hour to catch up on stuff. She did enjoy her shrimp quesadilla but not the rice. It is unfortunate that so many Latin joints feel obligated to add rice to their menu when so few do it well. My enchiladas were very good. The red sauce they used was very tasty and I enjoyed the 4 different fillings. I should do that more often.

So I think this joint is definitely worth looking into. Good food, good service and fair pricing. Also you won’t be bored with your surroundings and if you can, have that meal with a friend so you can catch up on stuff.


La Chela Taqueria 720 E. 38th Street.

About one month ago a new taqueria opened near me. The place is small, definitely an Independent joint and it has been recently painted yellow. I can not believe it took me a month to get there. Yesterday I finally made it. The food is great. I ordered 3 tacos. One lengua one carnitas and one al pastor

I appreciate that they dress the tacos with only chopped onion and cilantro. They also add some radish, cukes and lime on the side. In addition each diner gets two bottles of their salsa, One green with a bit of heat and one mild red. The green wasn’t really hot but both had some great flavor. The tongue was very good. Moist and tender. The Carnitas was a touch dry but still good. By far the Star of the plate was the Al Pastor. Pastor is the chile and pinapple marinated pork steaks that are traditionally roasted on a vertical spit with pineapple rings. Similar to shawarma. As I said all of my tacos were excellent but the Al Pastor was even better. So if you want a taco keep this joint in mind. I had 3 tacos and a lime soda for $11.30 with tax. Don’t feel like tacos well they have other stuff as well. They don’t have a web site but they do have a good sized menu


La Parada 1642 E. New York St.

La Parada has been around for a while. They used to do business in a small stand alone building at the front of the strip mall they are in. I have eaten there several times some years back. I am glad I finally went back and with Pat a willing participant.

Parada brings you out a bowl of salsa and chips as soon as you are seated. That always makes me happy. Their menu is huge but I knew what I wanted from the beginning. Posole. I believe they are the only joint in town that has it. Posole is a wonderful soup of pork and hominy in a chile fortified broth.

Their version was hot, unctuous and delicious. It was a huge bowl. I ate my fill and took home enough for at least dinner. Another thing I enjoy about posole is the stuff they give you to add to it. Like Pha.

My Posole “stuff”

I am more accustomed to shredded cabbage but I can appreciate their substitution of shredded lettuce. As long as they had onion and cilantro. They also added a few dried chiles to the mix. They looked like dried arbol but from the lack of heat I don’t think so

The rest of our dining “props” .

Using tostadas in place of tortilla strips was pretty slick. The diner can use a piece as a scooper or crumble some up in the soup. It also saves someone some time. Pat and I were both quite pleased with this little place. The prices are reasonable, very reasonable. Pat’s tacos were less than 6 bucks, the cheese sauce was $5,25 and my posole was $9.45. Of course since they offer beer and Margaritas you can pad that ticket. For example on Wednesday they offer 16 ounce Sun King beers for $4.75. And I can testify that Wee Mac pairs nicely with posole.


El Jalapeno 4902 S. East Street

This was Pat’s choice. Normally he shies away from any “Mexican” food because of onion and he doesn’t like beans and the rice they serve. However he loves a crisp ground beef taco, or three.

As soon as we were seated we were served some chips and salsa. The chips were warm and the salsa was okay. It was the thought that counted. After some deliberation Pat decided on 3 tacos for $6.99 and a large side of cheese sauce for $5.50.

A large cheese sauce

I was hardly impressed with the size of the cheese sauce they offered. A monkey dish worth for 5 bucks! What does the small come in. A potion cup. The tacos were a different story.

I wanted to try as many different things as I could so I ordered a combo for $8.99. That was a pork tamal and a steak burrito. The steak was $1 more.

The meat portions of my lunch were very generous. The tamal was overflowing with thick chumks of pork, something I have not seen before. The masa shell was unusual as well. The bottom was about one half inch thick and the top was nearly an inch thick. I like masa but it can become dry as it cools so you need quite a bit of chile to keep it moist. The amount of red sauce they add was not enough for me. However the amount of meat they used and the flavor of the steak made up for it. I would get it again but with some adjustments.

With the exception of their cheese sauce this joint offers good food and a good value. Worth the drive.


Taco & Burrito Place 4102 N. Keystone Ave.

This little joint was across the street from the garage that was servicing my vehicle. The name makes it pretty clear what to expect. Of course they do offer other items but I was here for the tacos, and maybe a burrito.

The place is small but bright and clean with a rather extensive menu. All of the items are on a board and you order at the counter pay and pick up when your number is called. I got there a little past 11 and they already had customers. From the time I arrived until the time I left they had a constant stream of customers. Mostly ordering take out.

I ordered 2 tacos. One pork and one beef. I got them topped with cilantro and onion only for $2 each. You could also get them with the whole Taco Bell garden but to me cilantro and onion are enough.

The amount of meat used was amazing. Granted they use a 4 inch tort but the ratio of meat to tortilla was impressive. They offer 2 sauces. One green and one red. That is what you see on top. I found both tacos to be delicious. The pulled pork butt was a touch dry but that was rectified by the sauce. The steak had a chile presence that gave it a bit of heat. I know I have a tendency to over state when I really like something but Damn those were some great tacos.

Naturally my eyes were bigger than my appetite so I ordered a small burrito as well. I went with a ground beef. They added lettuce and tomato inside with the beef and cheese. That too was a hit. I think I would have appreciated it more had it been the first thing I ate.

I know I will be back. A taco this good for only 2 bucks cannot be ignored.


Puccini’s Pizza and Pasta 1508 West 86th Street

This pizza shop is also known as Puccini’s Smiling Teeth Pizza. I haven’t the slightest idea where that name came from. I do know they open their first location in this area in 1991 and now have 10 locations in Indiana and Kentucky. That was why we had to have a “conference” about our criteria. It is hardly a small little place with an owner operator but it is family owned so it fits.

I was leaning toward a Calzone my self until I saw their Ultimate Warrior pie listed. A unique combo of
sausage, pepperoni, onions, black olives, mushrooms & green peppers.

This was a really good pie. A crisp crust and an excellent sauce with a generous amount of toppings. Enough to make me overlook the jumbled placement of the toppings. Normally a peeve of mine. I had eaten some of their pies a few years back with my son but had forgotten how good they were.

I think this joint should be ranked up there with some of the best in the city. The prices are more than reasonable. Both our lunches were less than $9 each.


Fuji Sushi & Hibachi 1705 W. McGalliard Rd Muncie Indiana.

Saturday my Granddaughter Emily graduated from Ball State University in Muncie Indiana. Afterwards we all decided to go to Fuji. We were a party of 11 so we had a wait. The place was really crowded so I didn’t wander around taking any pictures of the decor but I probably should have taken the time, The place is really attractive. Dark wood, a huge sculpture in the lobby and even a small water fountain. They offer a large dining area for Hibachi as well as a smaller area with booths. Of course they have a sushi bar as well as the usual booze bar.

I did not take this shot it was way too hot too dawdle out of doors. I borrowed it from their gallery on their website.

http://www.fujimuncie.com/

The majority of the diners opted for hibachi. My son Adam ordered a couple of rolls for people to try. I was the odd one and I ordered their lunch special sashima for $10.95. It consisted of 7 pieces assorted sashimi and a California roll. That is par for all of the sushi joints I have visited.

This is the only food pic I took. It was pretty straight forward. The fish was fresh and tasty although I think some places cut bigger pieces but that could be my imagination. The roll was very good as well and fit the weather nicely. They display the fish on a bed of glass noodles. That is as good a way as any to achieve some elevation on your entre. Of course cellophane noodles are pretty much tasteless. Of course I did not think of placing them in my bowl of soy and wasabi until much later, which is a shame because I like the texture of noodles in broth.

I think everyone enjoyed their food and the prices seemed reasonable. If you are in Muncie and have an urge for Sushi or Hibachi I would suggest Fuji. It is a charming spot with good and reasonably priced food. However I don’t know If I would make a trip from Indy just for it. I think you can get as good or better at home


King Dough 452 N. Highland Ave.

King Dough is a hip new pizzeria that originated in Bloomington In. Their main hook is a wood fired oven for their pies. Unfortunately that didn’t make the trip. They use a beautiful gas-fired one instead.

This little fella’ can get as high as 900 degrees when busy and cruises at 700 when not.

They offer several set pies with unusual combos that allow no substitutions. They also have a build your own which starts at $13 for a 13 inch pie.

http://www.kingdoughpizzas.com/

The base for the build your own is sauce, no sauce. Fresh or aged mozzarella. Then you add toppings which run 75 cents to $4 more.

Pat ordered his with Italian sausage and double mushroom. I opted for something a bit different. kalamata olives and Anchovy with sauce and fresh mozz.

I must agree with Pat. They have a good pie but Mama Nita’s is as good. Matter of fact I think Nita’s crust and sauce are better. Their crust is chewy and the bottom is not as crisp as I would like. Also the sauce had no carmelization. I liked the way they chopped the fresh mozz into pieces to give more coverage and the way they pull the dough. I just think they need some more work on the baking thing. Of course I will be back because I found a deal for 2 $25 gift certificates for $25 that I could not pass up. I may try their appetizer list this time.


Mama Nita’s 11007 Allisonville Road Fishers In.

I found this place by accident a few weeks ago on my way to my son’s new house. They are an Italian food restaurant which offers the trio of Italian fare. Pasta, Pizza and subs.

https://www.mamaknowspizza.com/

However their main bag is the buffet; $5.99 for lunch. Honestly Pat and I were dubious about this joint because we really didn’t expect much for 6 bucks. Boy were we ever wrong.

It isn’t a large buffet but the quality of the pies is excellent. Both the sauce and crust were top-notch. They offer a basic salad service and they are constantly replenishing the pizza, keeping about 8 of them on deck at all times. The man even takes requests. He made Pat a mushroom no onion and a cheese burger pie; with dill pickle; for a couple of other guys. I think that is what I liked best about Mama Nita’s the guy put out pies with different toppings; not just the traditional. Buffalo and BBQ chicken and bacon plus he wasn’t afraid to load up different veggies.

They even have bread sticks and some are stuffed with pepperoni.

I know the pictures aren’t much but you know I have issues with taking pictures of buffets. For your sweet tooth there is a small freezer at the end which holds ice cream sandwiches. Only one per customer regardless how cute you are. He also has a cinnamon pie. It is simply a pizza loaded with cinnamon sugar and topped with a white icing. Like a breakfast bun.

I thought that was great, especially hot out of the oven. Try a slice with an ice ream sandwich.

So like that adage about books and covers you should never judge a pizza joint by its pricing. Here you will get an exceptional meal as well as an exceptional value. With the senior discount lunch for 2 was $11.17 with tax. Worth the trip.

 


Virginia Avenue Pizza 619 Virginia Avenue

Once upon a time there was a South of Chicago Pizza in Fletcher Place, on Virginia Avenue. It had one of the best, if not the best, Italian Beef sandwich in the city. they also had a lunchtime buffet. They were so successful they were able to open another joint near Greenwood. Back in July they were told that the new building owners didn’t want to renew their lease. So they are gone and this joint is here.

https://vapizzaco.com/

I enjoy buffets. It is just difficult for me to get any decent pictures of the buffet line.

This is most of the salad bar, in 2 shots. For an inexpensive buffet ($11- drink included) it was well-appointed.

They also offered a plain cheese pie and a meatball dish.

On my first trip I got a slice of both the sausage and bacon pies. Deep dish and a thinner crust. I also tried their meatball dish. I enjoy deep dish sometimes, it depends on the crust. However I consider it more an open-faced Calzone than a pie. I agree with Pat about the sauce it tasted of tomato only. Some people swear that a pizza sauce should be unassuming so that the toppings will stand out. Others contend every element of a dish should stand on its own. In this case I am more a stand by itself sorta guy. This especially is relevant with the meatball dish. The meatballs were huge. One cross-section was about 3 inches. They had a great texture, just no great taste. The overall dish was something I would eat at a buffet but as a primary dish, no.

As I said this was a nice salad bar. This was a very good buffet and from the lunch crowd the folks in the neighborhood agree.


Shalimar Indian Restaurant 1043 Broad Ripple Avenue.

I am sure that anyone who has been to Broad Ripple know this spot. It is just one slot in a long strip mall loaded with slots offering a plethora of different merchandise. From different ethnicities of food to liquor and alternative smoking equipment.

I enjoy Indian food. It is comforting to me. I believe that the majority of my experience with Indian fare has been at buffets. It also seems that I discover something new most of the time.

In addition to the usual cold salad fixings they offered different chutney and pickles.

One of my go to faves. Lamb meat balls

Another favorite is Tandori Chicken. With few exceptions it has always been well made where ever I got it. Crisp outside and moist inside.

This is my first plate of savouries. Rice and various sauces with both meat and veggies. Each dish was nicely done and fit a chilly afternoon.

I didn’t take a picture of my dessert plate. It was my usual choices of rice and mango pudding and Gulab Jamun. This time I tried Carrot Halwa. That would be grated carrot cooked with sweet milk and nuts and raisin. It was new to me and was pretty good.

So if you want an “exotic” lunch for about $8 I think this would definitely fit.


Don Gusto P.J. Cafe 3960 S. Meridian Street

Pat “discovered” this joint some time back and we had planned on coming here last week until Bazbeaux got in the way.

Since they are a bakery I wanted to try a Torta. I opted for their Torta Milanese with steak. It can be prepared many different ways but the main ingredient must be breaded and fried. Their version had lettuce, tomato, mayo, cheese and a fried egg to go with a very generous portion of beef steak.

It was an excellent sandwich. All of the components fit well together but what brought it from very good to excellent was the bun. It had a wonderful texture. Soft and fluffy yet with a slight chew to it and perfectly toasted. I was really impressed that sandwich.

The poor Cannoli we shared certainly didn’t last long. I didn’t even have a chance to take a picture. It was crisper than Cannolis I have had else where but it was still pretty good. Since it is in a part of town I hardly ever go to I am not sure when or if I’ll be back. I sure would like to. Those torta rolls are just that good.

 


Bazbeaux Pizza 333 Massachusetts Ave,

Bazbeaux is probably the first “gourmet” pizza joint in the city. That is to say the first joint to offer toppings other than pepperoni, sausage and mozzarella cheese. They opened about 30 years ago and are still pretty popular. They started in Broad Ripple and then expanded to Carmel and downtown Indy.

Patrick has long insisted that we have already reviewed Bazbeaux. My contention was no, we haven’t. We were on our way to some Mexican restaurant on the South side when Pat commented on an article from Nuvo. The article was about local pizza joints and of course Bazbeaux came up. So we decided to go there instead. We didn’t realize that this location was serving a lunch express only. That is when you stand in line to order a slice, some cheese bread or a side salad.

Definitely NOT a Sahm’s salad

I believe they had 4 pizzas that day. Cheese or Pepperoni for $2.75 or a slice of Greek pizza or a BOT for $3.25. I opted for a slice of BOT; which stands for bacon, onion and tomato.

For some reason they added a chiffonade of basil on the top. Having a fresh herb on the top of a hot pie can be tasty at times but when the pie sits under a heat lamp some of the flavor is lost. The pepperoni was fine. Both slices  were fine. Nothing special. A pizza may stay warm on a heated buffet and under a heat lamp but it certainly does not improve the flavor. From the size of lunch crowd this format has probably increased its business but I think the food may have suffered. Of course one could make the point that if people keep coming in what does it matter.

Should I try this joint again it will be at a location where I can get a pie made especially for me.

 

 


Ukiyo 4907 N. College Ave.

This is another Neal Brown restaurant. It is Japanese inspired with some non traditional twists. Or as is stated on the intro to their website a Hip Japanese spot serving ramen at lunch & small plates at dinner, plus reservation-only omakase. They change their menu with the seasons. I had wanted to get there while they were still working on their warm weather menu. However I missed it. They are currently serving their Fall and Winter menu. It has not been updated on their website so I have included a copy.

 

I was very excited by the food so naturally I over ordered. I started off with the shio koji duck breast.

This was an excellent dish, The duck was tender with the texture of beef filet. The greens were new to me but I liked them as much as any salad green. The crunch of the bean sprouts rounded it out nicely.

I ordered all the dishes simultaneously. The duck came out first followed by the other two.

If you like things fermented or pickled I suggest their daily tsukemono.

That day the choices were daikon radish, green bean and burdock root. All three were put up in a different pickle so you had different flavor to combine. The flavor base was familiar yet unique. It would be a great complement to any full or fatty dish. Which leads to my last dish. Their version of poutine. Curry crinkle fries. This is a side of fries smother with a curry beef gravy. I started eating before I took the picture.

This was a huge bowl of curry cheese french fries, well worth the $6 price tag. I wasn’t able to finish it so I took half home along with some of my pickled veggies. It was a cute gimmick but I think a thinner straight cut fry might be better. Regardless of the fry it was good food. So the next time you think you want a Whopper think of this bowl.

They also feature sushi. As a matter of fact they offer half price sushi for an hour on Tuesdays.

They also have a full bar. So I splurged and ordered a Tori Manhattan after lunch.

Brian my server was also my bartender and he did an excellent job with everything. Up to and including mixing my cocktail. I have never had Tori Japanese whiskey; but it does make for a smooth drink. I also appreciated the use of the coupe glass. A nice little touch of old school.

I plan on going back on a Tuesday for sushi. I have never experienced  a Happy Hour for food.

 

 

 


Liter House 5301 Winthrop Ave.

https://literhouse.com/

This was Bent Rail Brewery and now it is another part of the Sahms Family empire. I thought their Big Lug was ambitious but this could at least rival that location. As you can tell from the name that they have a German theme going on with a beer Garden planned. They also have a large smoke house in the works. They hope to have the whole project completed by Oktoberfest.

As an appetizer I was tempted between the rabbit pate and the Cornwurst. They were out of the pate; so by default it was the Cornwurst; pulled pork corn dogs, curried ketchup, rutabaga mustard for $8.

These little things were crazy. A nice pulled pork wrapped in a beautiful corn dog type batter. The curry ketchup and the mustard were very good complements to the corn-ness. The only possible critique would be the dryness of the “wurst”. In order to shape and coat the pork balls they were limited on the amount of sauce they could use. More ketchup would help.

For my main lunch I ordered a Bratwurst. They don’t make their own sausage yet. They do make their own buns though. Right now they have Smoking Goose make their sausages to their own specs.  The brat was excellent, full of flavor and a very nice snap to it. The mustard creme fraiche brought a nice creaminess to the sandwich which balanced nicely with the fried shallot.

For my side I got a simple side salad. However it was hardly simple in taste.

I ordered it with their smoked peach hefeweizen vinaigrette. It was a clean and fresh dressing that clung to the greens and enhanced their taste. The way I think a salad should be. It could be my imagination but it seems as though every salad I have gotten from a Sahms restaurant has been a cut or two above other joints. This new place is another home run for the Sahms and I am looking forward to Oktoberfest.


Loco Mexican Restaurant & Cantina 2205 N. Delaware Street.

There is a growing trend in Indy to erect buildings with a relatively small footprint that has retail spaces on the ground floor and rental residence on upper floors. The structure that Loco is in is one of these mixed use buildings. I think it has been around about three years. The bottom floor has a Mashcraft tasting room and Loco. I believe that it has been there since the beginning. The space that houses Loco has had a sort of revolving door on it; as far as tenants are concerned. That is one reason I was eager to go here. I wanted to see the place if they were gone in 6 months.

I ordered their Chile Colorado plate for $11. That is skirt steak simmered in a red chile and served with rice, salad, avocado and some flour tortillas to build your own mini burritos. The first thing you notice is the size of the meal. Neither one of our dishes were skimpy. Even Pat’s lunch special, which was only $8.

I thought my Chile Colorado was excellent. The chile sauce had that wonderful earthiness of a red chile pod sauce. Even the rice; which is normally just a spear carrier in a Mexican meal had a personality of its own. The meat was abundant and had just a slight chew to it. Which is to be expected of skirt steak. I would do it again. However there are so many other things I would like to try.

https://www.locoindy.com/

One more thing I had to try.

Yes that is a Frozen Margarita. A 27 ounce one for $9. I have not had one in over 30 years. I still have no idea why I ordered one today. It was okay but I prefer my ritas to be up or on the rocks.

Frozen cocktails aside I think this joint has a staying quality the other places didn’t have. It is a beautiful place with a nice patio and they serve kids. Something I think the neighbors might appreciate. I will be back.

A wall of tequila

 

 

 


Gallery Pastry Shop 1101 E. 54th Street G

This shop is a little tricky to find. The address is on 54th. but you can’t see it from the street. It is behind a building. You turn into an entryway and drive to the back of a small business area. Turn right and at the end is the neatest little joint you can imagine.

At the far end you can see what appears to be a Chess set on the ground. That is exactly what it is.

A little whimsy is always appreciated.

Each piece is about 2 feet high and seem to be a lightweight plastic. I say light weight because as we were leaving I saw two little kids moving them off the “board”.

I met my friend Joey, 2 of her teen daughters and her husband Jason today for brunch. The seating is nicely spaced but the acoustics and the loud music made it difficult to talk.

They offer a week day menu and a Brunch menu for Saturday and Sunday.

https://www.gallerypastryshop.com/

Once you are seated you receive small printed sheets with all the menu items listed. You check what you want, add you name and pass it to the server. It sounds pretty efficient but the service was rather choppy. Not bad just not smooth. I ordered 2 crepes, one sweet and one savory. My sweet crepe came out first. Lemon curd folded in and topped with whipped cream.

This was delicious. A tender crepe and a light curd with the proper amount of tartness. Possibly the best I have had.

My savory crepe was chorizo sausage from Smoking Goose, a “mushroom mix” and mozzarella cheese. It was a big hit as well. It held a good amount of meat and the chorizo wasn’t spicy at all. It balance well with the sweet tartness of the lemon curd.

 

I know this is an atrocious picture. I felt hurried for some reason. Each diner in our party had 4 plates and servers were in and out bringing the plates out at different times. I am glad we had a big round table.

This shot is only marginally better, which is a shame. As good as the crepes were this plate was the show stopper. It consisted of a split croissant with a piece of bruleed Trillium Cheese nestled in it. It was placed on a smear of honey with a fresh berry compote next to it.

Trillium cheese is a triple cream cheese similar to Brie and Camembert. This particular cheese comes from a local creamery. Tulip Tree in Zionsville. If you enjoy a warm and gooey cheese you would love this dish. The rind is sugared then torched making a sweet crust. Slice the crust off and put on a piece of the buttery croissant and enjoy the first bite. As you continue eating you get tastes of the cheese, the sweet honey and the slight tartness of the berries. Our table had 4 of them so it wasn’t just me that enjoyed it.

https://www.tuliptreecreamery.com/about-us/

I will be back. Joey and her girls got a dozen Macarons to go, but I was too full. Also on Wednesday they sell them for a buck. Normally they are $2.50. So I will be there at 10 AM this Wednesday.


Jamaican Jerk Chicken 7023 Michigan Road

I don’t know how long this place has been on Michigan Road but at one time it was over on Keystone Ave. and 34th Street. It was inside a gas station and had carry out only. Their menu is small featuring only the essentials.

As soon as you walk in the first thing that hits you is the wonderful aroma. The scent of all the spices and herbs mixed with a bit of smoke makes you want to eat. All of the menu is cooked in advance and stored on a steam table; so service is quick.

I decided on a quarter chicken white meal.

The breast was very good. Often breast meat has a tendency to be dry if not cooked properly. Which is why I usually go for the dark meat. The thigh is my favorite. This breast was properly done so it was both moist and tender. Under the meat is the red beans and rice. The rice was a bit dry. That is the danger of steam tables. Over time they dry the food out. The flavor was there I just would have enjoyed more red bean “juice”. The meat was rubbed with a subtle and savory blend of herbs and spices prior to cooking. Then a jerk sauce is served on the side. He makes 3 of varying degrees of heat. I opted for the “hot”. It wasn’t very hot at all but complemented the dry rub very well. I think a return trip is in my future.

Mr. Natural ordered the quarter white as well, but he opted for just the meat so he could have a side of cabbage.

Pat’s “steamed” cabbage

So if you need a jerk fix now you know where to go. While you are there may I suggest trying some of this.

Good stuff; and it is hot.