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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This little place sits in a strip mall on land used for the US 31 drive in theater when I was in high school. It is probably an improvement. It is a buffet that only costs $10; which is probably what got Pat’s attention.
Like most buffets taking pictures is difficult. I took selected shots of the buffet line first thing.
This is the cold section featuring Indian raisin pudding and fruit custard.
Fried bread and various Dal or lentil dishes.
Pat’s beloved Palak Paneer.
I took a picture of our first plates but regardless of that old saying about eating with ones eyes when you are at a buffet you pick your dishes according to your hunger not your aesthetics.
Pat’s first plate.
I have a slight familiarity with common Indian dishes; nearly all through buffets. This is the most complete buffet I have been to. In addition to the dal dishes and Tiki Masala and Vindaloo they offered Potato cakes and vegetable fritters. These were all fried in a Garbanzo bean batter. They were quite tasty but required a sauce. That is what the various chutneys are for.
I had two large plates but still had room for something sweet. They offered my favorite Gulab Jamun. A spongy milky ball simmered in a sugar syrup. Delicious. They also had something I was not familiar with. Rice pudding and fruit custard. The pudding was thinner than that I am accustomed to but was excellent. Their custard was outstanding as well and the added fruit was a bonus. I don’t know that there is a better Indian buffet in town.
Pat wasn’t able to have lunch with me this week so I figured I would have to eat alone. Fortunately I was able to make a lunch date with a friend I am not able to see very often. We decided on this new Bento place in Broad Ripple. The menu is odd to me. They have a set Bento lunch that you can get prepared in different styles. Also they offer a choice of edamame or tempura shrimp as a side dish. I ordered a beef Bento in a Mongolian style with shrimp tempura.
The beef dish was excellent. The beef was very tender and the veggie portions had a very nice snap to them. The sauce had slight sweetness that fit well with the rice. On the down side the tempura wasn’t great, the batter coat was too thick and the egg rolls were merely average. The beef more than made up for it. On the UP side I had my first bubble tea. My pal Joey turned me on to that. Bubble tea is a flavored tea mixed with milk and it has tapioca pearls added. I had coconut. It was delicious especially the little black tapioca pearls.
Joey opted for shrimp and I honestly don’t recall what style she chose. I do know she got the edamame. She likes edamame. She also ordered a Taro bubble tea. She liked her food but wasn’t impressed with the egg rolls either. The entrees are in the $9-$10 range and the bubble tea is $3.95. I never thought I would say this about a non-alcoholic drink but I think it is worth it, and I think this little joint is worth a visit.
South of Chicago is probably best known for their Italian Beef sandwiches, and rightfully so. They probably have the best in the city. They also have pizza and during weekend lunch they have a buffet, featuring one of their entrees in addition to the pizza. On Tuesday it is Italian sausage.
This is a small joint so the buffet doesn’t take up much space. They offer a modest salad bar as well.
For the hot food they have various deep dish pizzas and one large thin crust cheese pizza.
For me taking pictures of a buffet is problematic. The sneeze guard gives off a glare so I can’t stand in front and take a shot so I have to stand at the end. With this set up the space is limited so this is the best I could get.
There are more elaborate buffets in town but this modest affair is more than adequate to sate your appetite. Plus it is only 10 bucks each. Drink included. I really enjoyed their food. The toppings on the pizza were abundant and the sauce was rich with nice body. Cautionary note it is heavy with tomato paste; which I like; but you can almost OD on it. The sausage was very good but I am with Pat on the beef. For that you have to hit the joint on Monday. Regardless of the day of the week this place is quite legit. Here is the schedule of the entrees with the buffet.
This is one business among many in a strip mall on the main drag in Broad Ripple. That may be why we never hit it up before now. Had I known what was in store for us I would have wanted to go sooner.
They offer lunch specials similar to other Chinese joints in town but we ordered from the regular menu. We each ordered a pork egg roll for $1.60. It was a pretty good roll, however I forgot to take a shot of it. I could have eaten another one. The first thing I noticed was they serve everything in and on disposable ware. Even the cutlery is plastic.
We each received a large paper plate of white rice for our entrees. This place doesn’t skimp on serving size.
That haze in the upper left hand corner is steam from the food. That was how fast the food came out.
I felt a need for pork in black bean sauce.
Usually pork in stir fry are in small pieces. This was large slices of pork loin. Two to three inches in diameter and one-quarter inch thick. A delicious surprise.
I understand Pat’s hesitation about a return visit as he lives a distance. I am only a few miles away and am in the area at least once a week. Also they are built for carry out. The amount of food we were served was crazy and the quality was as good as any in Indy. Each of our lunch dishes were $8.45. Two people could easily share one of the entrees. I am sure some folks may be turned off by the paper plates and plastic forks but it doesn’t bother me a bit. I consider it a testimony to the tenderness of the meat that a plastic knife can cut it. So the utensils shouldn’t be a negative so large the tasty food can’t over come.
I am sure the name is familiar to several people. However if you can’t quite place it how about if you put the name on a truck.
Now it probably comes together. The popular food truck is now a brick and mortar on the South side. Folks that follow the food trucks know about the pizza but for the ones who don’t rest assure that this is the “real deal”. Also they have more than just pie at the shop.
Since it is so close to Pat’s house he brought the joint to my attention. Pat likes their product for the same reason most folks like it. It is good pizza and you can buy just a slice. If you want just a taste you can get a big slice for about 4 bucks. If you want more you can go the whole pie route in the form of a 16 or 20 incher. If pie doesn’t suit you try a Stromboli for $5.99. Now to me a Stromboli is a sandwich but here it is like a Calzone filled with sausage, pepperoni and cheese.
And it is huge and delicious
At first sight you might think that, as big as it is, it can’t have much filling in it. However you would be wrong. It had “stuff” in every bite. So it was big, full of cheese sausage and pepperoni and it was tasty as well. I could go on about the crust being an excellent partner to the creamy cheese and slightly unctuous pepperoni and sausage. Or the red “gravy” on the side added a wonderfully acidic note to the creation. But I will merely say it was good and oh so economical and you should try one.
So there you have it. The New York Slice. For when you are in a New York “frame of mind” and are hungry.
Well we went back to Irvington to try a new Vietnamese joint that opened right next to Batters. They have a restaurant in Westfield, by the same name and evidently business is good.
Like most Asian places around here they have excellent lunch specials all in the sub $7 range and all come with a choice of egg roll, spring roll or soup. To start things off we decided on a fish cake appetizer for 6 bucks.
These are shredded fish and potato cakes and are pretty good. They have a nice flavor with the slightest hint of spice on the back-end. They have an odd texture. By odd I don’t mean off-putting or gross I merely mean it is unique to me. I enjoyed them but I think I would have liked a more assertive sauce. They served a Mae Ploy sauce; that ubiquitous bottled sweet chili that is so popular. It is a fine sauce just rather sweet for these cakes.
After our app we got our spring rolls. I prefer spring rolls over egg rolls possibly because they aren’t fried.
These were big, nicely constructed and full of “stuff”. One complaint is the peanut sauce. Too thick and too sweet. It was like a little dish of pudding. However that is a very small complaint compared to the size of the spring roll.
Pat chose from the stir fry section of the special menu.
I had to go with Pho. I mean the place has Pho in its name. Normally I would get a beef Pho. Thin slices of raw beef in the broth. However this time I thought I would be adventurous and go with meatball . Asian meatballs are different from Western meatballs in that the meat is pounded not minced and adding fish to the beef and, or pork is not uncommon. Every bowl of Pho must have a plate of garishment.
This plate was a bit light compared to some Pho I have had. It consisted of a lime wedge, 2 jalapeno slices some basil and a whole bunch of mung bean sprouts.
This was a very good bowl of food. I would be happy to try it again if I were in the area and hackering for a Pho fix. The food is not so unique as to make this a destination. However if your normal joint is getting boring give this a try. Or if you are in the Irvington area for some of the Christmas festivities give it a try. If I lived here I would be ecstatic that they moved in. Just one more option for lunch or dinner.
This posting will be different from the others; as I have few pictures to go with it. For some inexplicable reason my computer no longer recognizes my Canon Camera. I do have a few shots taken with my sorta’ smart phone.
This place originated in Valparaiso Indiana in 1968. Now it has over 100 joints covering more than just Indiana.
It has the feel of a small local pizza joint, although done up in “industrial chic”.
It has that aroma. The earthy scent of yeast mixed with the bite of red sauce and a hint of garlic.
They have other locations, that was how Pat knew they would customize his Stromboli.
Actually this is my Meatball Shell; that is what they call the Calzones. However they were same in appearance so imagine that it is a Strom.
Now here is my Meatball Shell.
It was wonderful. The meatballs were tender the sauce had a nice tang and the shell was done to a beautiful tender crispness. The only minor flaw was the amount of the sauce. However that was rectified by ordering extra solos of sauce. It is a large offering and I was surprised I ate it all as quickly as I did. It was good. Since it is right on my way to Broad Ripple I would image stopping there for lunch or carry out. The shells were $8.99 and they offer a pizza lunch special for $6.99. I can see why this place has lasted and grown. They have a good plan and they stick to it. Good house made food at a good price.
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.