eating indie in indy

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Sandra Rice and Noodle 10625 Pendleton Pike.

The last three weeks we have eaten more carbs than we probably should so we decided to try this Vietnamese Restaurant a friend had told us about. It was a good move. They offer typical dishes but their execution is unique.

All of their $6.99 lunch specials come with soup and a spring roll.

The soup and roll were excellent. The broth was rich and comforting and the roll was crisp and bright. In my experience it usually gets a peanut sauce but with this one I got a sweet chile sauce.

I was interested in noodles so I opted for stir fry pork with rice noodles.

This was a very simple and straightforward dish. It didn’t have any discernible sauce. It was simply fried pork loaded with rice noodles spiked with a bit of carrot and cilantro. I really enjoyed it and I would eat it again.

They have a nice sized menu with great prices. Most of their prices are in the $7 to $10 so it is economical. Factor in the portion size and you have a bargain. Also they have salt and pepper shakers on the table. You have to ask for soy.


Sandra Rice & Noodle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Papa Ray’s 1267 Shelby Street

We hit upon this place more by accident than design. We had intended to visit the Silver Circle Bar in Fountain Square but they weren’t open at 11 as scheduled so we found this place. We didn’t do any research on it so we didn’t know that they are part of a small chain out of Chicago. Even though they don’t actually fit the criteria of the blog the joint is small and has the feel of a Mom and Pop and we were already there so we stayed.

The Monster slice is as “big as your head.” At least that is what the guy at the counter said. They offer it as a one topping special with a drink for $5. Pat ordered it with mushrooms.

I wanted to try one of their calzones. I ordered an Italian. Sausage, peppers, onions and mushrooms all rolled up with marinara and cheese. It was 10 inch long monster for $8.49.

It was a beautiful piece of work. It was brushed with butter and topped with Parmesan cheese giving it a lovely sheen. It was a knife and fork affair served with 2 sides of marinara for dipping. It was delicious. Crisp crust with a lush and savory filling. I really enjoyed the freshness of it all. The big chunks of meat and veggies made it a treat to eat.

I think this little joint has an excellent calzone; possibly the best in the city. As for the pizza Pat enjoyed it. I may try a Monster slice when I go back. That way I can taste for myself. They deliver with in a 6 mile radius and in addition to the typical Italian fare they offer chicken wings. Being right across the street from Fountain Square Brewing should make this a popular joint. Pizza, wings and beer is a culinary hat trick.
Papa Ray’s Pizza & Wings Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Thaitanium 735 Massachusetts Avenue.

There is a fancy new Thai place on Mass. Ave. It’s a good-looking place with a clever name and better than average food. The offer several lunch specials for $8.99. Each one comes with soup, salad and a spring roll.

The soup is a nice broth with just a hint of spice. I could eat a couple of bowls of it. Minimal ingredients but the broth is the hook.

I ordered the Cashew Nut with pork. This is a stir fry dish loaded with peppers, mushrooms, water chestnuts as well as cashews.

It was a huge plate full of food. The sauce was a simple brown gravy that matched up well with the pork and mushrooms. The small side of salad added just the right amount of crunch. As for the spring roll it was one of the best I have had and it wasn’t made in-house. It was full of cabbage with a delightful flaky skin. I would eat them again with gusto.

I hope this joint lasts longer than the previous inhabitant. I think it fits in well with the area.

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


George’s Mexican Taco 801 Broad Ripple Avenue

Well as a rule we do not eat Mexican that often. Pat is not a big fan of Mexican food because of those pesky onions. I enjoy most Mexican foods. Even the average ones. This is a small joint with a small menu. The sort of joint where you go to a counter; order and they bring the food to you.

Their menu is posted at the front next to the order counter. As I said it isn’t very big. Tacos, burritos and quesadillas. They also make their own chorizo, which intrigued me as I make chorizo as well. The burros sell for $8.50 with choice of meat. All come with the meat beans, cheese and rice all together in a tortilla. So I ordered a steak burrito.

The burrito was pretty good and very filling. I still can’t get used to the idea of  beans and rice tucked into a burrito. I didn’t eat the tortilla but I did eat all the filling. It went really well with a nice tomatillo sauce.

I also purchased a singled out chorizo taco for $2.99. They give an option of corn or flour torts. Naturally I got the corn. I thought it pretty authentic and tasty.

They sell their tacos for $2.99 ea or 3 for $8.50. The usual suspects for protein choice and of course the obligatory Jarrito beverage selections. I think it was a decent little joint for lunch. Do I think it could be a destination? No, not for me; but if you are already there I think it would be a good choice.
George's Mexican Tacos Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Mama’s House 8867 Pendleton Pike

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For the life of me I have no idea why we haven’t been here before now. It is located in a strip mall just west of Post Road. Unless you are actually looking for it you would more than likely not even notice it. That would be a shame because this is definitely a place worthy of notice.

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Pat forgot to mention the soup he got as a first course.

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It was a delicate broth with small cubes of tofu added. It also had a mystery vegetable(?) in it as well. Opaque strips of something that didn’t really have much intrinsic flavor. It was pretty good for an opening act.

I was really second guessing my lunch choice after Pat was served. I ordered Seolleong- Tang. That is beef tongue boiled in an ox bone broth.  While I am not a fan of boiled meats I like tongue and I am especially fond of bone broths so it sounded like the answer to a cold afternoon.

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The broth was very nice;not as rich as I thought it would be but still very good. The beef tongue was plentiful and tender. As I ate I discovered little bits of tripe and sweet potato starch noodles as well. That was a pleasant surprise. I got another surprise when they brought out the sides for the soup.

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Little bowls of pickled onion and mung bean sprouts, kimchi and some delicious slices of cucumber in a sweet chile sauce. These additions turned a good soup into a great soup. All of their lunch specials are $6.99 or $7.99. I am definitely going back.

Mama's House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Hibachi Bar -Japanese Steak House. 921 Broad Ripple Avenue.

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Well Broad Ripple has one more new joint. This is Hibachi Restaurant. New for the Ripple scene. It is located where the Sabbatical used to be. Curiously that’s right next door to the Triton Taproom and the Sushi Bar. The Hibachi Bar is owned by the same folks who have the Sushi Bar. All they need is one called the Tempura Bar for a true hat trick.

Their dining room is really nice looking.

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All of the seating is for Hibachi. So you get a show even if you order from the hot kitchen or the sushi kitchen.

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This is their basic dining unit. In the background is the sushi bar. Their menu is an odd Frankenstein affair. Cut and paste with several items marked off. Of course this is only their first week of operation so I am sure they will be making adjustments along the way. Being true to their name they offer a lot of steaks and combos with fish. They also have a few noodle dishes ( from the kitchen) and Teriyaki Chicken as well as salmon.

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Funny thing about the sake. The chef had it in a big squeeze bottle. I figured it was just water and the sake bit was a joke. When Pat told me it was indeed sake I was jealous. Hell Pat doesn’t even like sake. Oh well. I ordered Yakisoba. That is  a buckwheat noodle dish cooked with veggies and a protein. I opted for chicken.

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I thought this dish was excellent. The chicken was not overly abundant but the overall flavor and amount made it an excellent value at $12. I especially liked the tender crisp celery and its crunch.

About the prices. I thought the pricing was reasonable. They feature strip steak and filet mignon as well as ocean-going sea food, which ain’t cheap. Pat’s Teriyaki chicken was only 9 bucks. And in celebration of their Grand Opening they were offering a 15% discount. So I don’t see the pricing as a problem. I can only image things getting better for this place. I think it is a nice addition to Broad Ripple.

 

Hibachi Bar Japanese Steak House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


WB Pizza 6155 Allisonville Rd.

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People toss around the phrase “hidden jewel” probably too often. This little place may well be just that. The make all of their own crust and bread as well as cheesecakes and gelato. This time around we didn’t have room for desert but there is always another time.

We noticed this place some time back when we went to “Some Guys Pizza”; which is about one block away.Its proximatey to “Some Guys” may be the reason it isn’t that well know. It has been around since 1999 and Pat and I have never heard of it. It isn’t a “sexy” joint with a wood or coal-fired oven. It doesn’t offer duck confit or organic kale toppings. It is just a little Pizza joint that offers a good pie at a good price.

Naturally when you go to a Pizza place you need to overload on carbs so we ordered some garlic bread for $5.00. It comes with your choice of 2 sauces. We opted for red sauce and garlic & butter.

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The bread had a good flavor and a nice chew to it. The red sauce was very good with a touch of sweet. The fingers don’t come with it.

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Pat’s critique of the crust was correct. I don’t think olive oil before hand would have necessarily fixed the issue. However a brushing with some would have given it a sheen and an extra luscious mouth feel. My personal pie was the same way. I,however like the slight char. As long as the crust stays soft. This crust was soft and stayed soft sitting in Pat’s car and on my kitchen counter for about 5 hours,in a go box.

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My pie was a two topping one. Black olives and anchovy. I really like that combo. Both pies were under 8 bucks. A single $7.20 and a double for $7.90. The crusts we got are called their original thin crust. They also have a really thin crust if that is your taste; as well as a deep dish.

I am with Pat about the calzone. I am going to get one, maybe to go. That way I can try some cheese cake and gelato.

http://www.wbpizza.com/TheMenu/Index.htm

WB Pizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Tomo Japanese Steakhouse 7411 N. Keystone Ave.

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Pat called me the other day and we were talking about lunch this week. He informed me that he had just read the last few posts and realized that he had ordered several burgers. He wanted to get out of that rut ; quickly. I told him that I thought that the quickest way to carry out that was to go to a Japanese joint. I think we have gone to one before. That was Sushi Bar in Broad Ripple. Pat ordered a Tempura lunch special and I ;as usual; had a medley of sushi rolls. This time I was determined to change the pattern.

This is a very attractive place. Spacious and nicely decorated. I found it pretty dark though. Nice enough for a date night but so much for a lunch.

Their menu is very nice. They feature actual Bento boxes with Teriyaki, noodle dishes, maki and sashimi and,of course Hibachi. All are in the $7.50 to $10.75 range, and they come with soup or salad.

I wanted some cooked salmon so I ordered Salmon Hibachi for $10.75. The Hibachi dishes come with the soup or salad, fried rice and veggie of the day. I opted for Miso soup. I do so like Miso soup.

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This particular version was excellent. A lovely broth with just the right amount of tofu.

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The rest of the luncheon was expertly prepared. The Salmon was a thinner cut than I am accustomed to so it was cooked more than I would like. However it was still very tasty, and the fried rice was superb. It was a brown rice with flecks of egg and onion and the veggies were as you would image from a Japanese kitchen. Tender crisp with a hint of soy. They serve each diner with 2 sauces. A mustard sauce and a “ginger” sauce. Or at least that is what our server told us it was. The mustard had no kick and the “ginger” sauce brought nothing to the table. Flat ; no flavor.

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So Pat and I both enjoy our lunches. They were well prepared, excellent quality and great service. He won’t go back because he lives too far away. I wouldn’t mind going back;there are some dishes they have I would love to try. However there are several joints that offer similar food. They may be better or worse;but I will not know that until I eat there. I only have so much time left and there are so many places to visit I have to use my time well. So eat and enjoy it.

Tomo Japanese Steakhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Don Juan 3720 E. Raymond St.

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A friend told me about this place a few weeks ago. After contacting them to make sure onion could be left off their sandwiches it was a go. We also had a guest;our friend from Cali who was in for the day;on his way back home. They offer 9 sandwiches and a few appetizers. We all decided to start off with some Yucca fries for about 4 bucks and change.Don Juan 006

All 3 of us enjoyed them. If you have ever eaten fried Yucca you know they are sturdier and more fibrous than potatoes. In many ways I think they are tastier than the usual french fry. They serve them with a mayo based sauce that was so so. The winner was the Peruvian hot sauce. A mixture of chiles, spices and vegetables that give a wonderful “burn” on your throat. I used it on everything. Our buddy David was torn between the Asado; beef pot roast and the Chicharrones; slow cooked pork deep-fried and served with fried sweet potato. So was I. The obvious solution was to order one of each and share. We were both very impressed. Each sandwich had its own taste signature and a wonderful depth of flavor. I am sure it was because of the spice and herb marinade. Also the onion on top brought another layer of flavor as well as bit of crunch. I think the Asado won out over the Chicharrone. Both sell for $8.99.

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This is the Asado. The picture doesn’t do it justice at all.

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The space is bigger than it looks from the outside. The floor is concrete that appears to have been partially cut into squares and then painted black and white. The walls are covered in corrugated sheet metal giving the joint an industrial vibe.

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After we finished lunch our server brought us out a sample of their purple corn “tonic”. They take the corn and boil it down with pineapple and other ingredients to make a dark liquid with a slight medicinal taste but with an overall sweetness that is really pleasant. I really recommend the Asado or beef pot roast. It is a great taste that you don’t always find in a simple sandwich.

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Don Juan Peruvian Sandwiches Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Shapiro’s 808 S. Meridian St.

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Shapiro’s has been a part of Indianapolis since 1905. Everything they serve is made here. From the bread and confections to the soups and smoked tongue. I think the only reason we haven’t reviewed this joint before is we figured most of the folks who eat out already know of Shapiro’s. After last weeks debacle with the “Cajun” I didn’t care. I wanted a joint that I knew was good. Since yesterday when I decided to come here I knew what I was going to get. Chopped liver on rye.

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All of their sandwiches are big;the liver is no exception. As you can see I took a bite before I took the picture. Their chicken liver is excellent. Rich and dense with just the right amount of fat (schmaltz) to make it right. I got a whole sandwich for $8; even though I had to take half home. I love chopped liver and I make a pretty fair one myself. However Shapiro’s has the best. You can even add a Schmear of the liver to any sandwich for $2.55.

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Another thing I was hungry for was some Matzo Ball soup. I thought that Shapiro’s was the only joint in town with Matzo Ball soup but I discovered that the Cafe Patachou on 49th and Penn has it on Fridays. I haven’t tried it yet so I can’t make a comparison.

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To me matzo ball soup is elegant in its simplicity. The balls in their soup are an excellent combination of texture. Dense enough to taste the meal yet light enough to soak up the excellent chicken soup,or broth. You can buy it by a cup or bowl or by the quart or gallon. A bowl costs about $4.30.

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I don’t think a meal at Shapiro’s would be complete without pie or cake. I couldn’t resist a slice of German Chocolate cake for $4.10.

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It was a pretty good cake.  It had a creamy chocolate frosting with coconut pressed into it. Not what I am used to for a German Chocolate but a pretty good cake any way.

They open at 6 AM and serve the usual omelets etc. After 10 they have the hot line up and offer hot meats. So whether  you want a plate lunch or dinner or a sandwich and a pickle they have you covered.

Shapiro's Delicatessen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato