This is a relatively new place, right off the Circle. Pat and I had planned on going there on the same day we went to the NRA convention; but wimped out due to the weather. Today was such a lovely day and it is so convenient I had to try it solo. There hasn’t been a whole lot written about the joint. Which might be because it’s downtown. It is open for the downtown working crowd. From 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Evidently not convenient for some food Bloggers. Regardless it is a nice looking little place with a clever name.
Frankly I don’t get the library motif or the guitars. The pot I get. The other stuff.. not so much.
I would have liked to have gotten a better shot of the menu board but I wanted to stay out-of-the-way of the customers. The first rule of Blogtography is to STAY OUT OF THE WAY. Similar to the Prime Directive in Star Trek. Is it me or does that flower arrangement resemble an angry bird?
As the name suggests they sell soup. They also have salads, but their main bag is soups. Eight different each day. All made fresh, in-house and from scratch. They have some house favorites that stay around but their forte is variety. From light and chilled to warm and belly filling they cover all the taste buds. The soups are offered as 8 ounce cups, 12 and 16 ounce bowls or, my favorite, the trio. Three 6 ounce portions of your choice for $6.25. For my “flight” I opted for Tuscan White Bean, Roasted Red Pepper with Curry and Beef & Barley. All the soups come with Amelia’s bread so that is a decided plus.
This is a country combination of kale, potatoes and white beans in broth. Normally I would consider this a rustic soup with assertive flavor. This version was more gentile, nearly delicate. No way would I call it bland, that implies a lack of taste. This soup had taste. First sip of the broth allowed the kale flavor to come through, followed by that of the beans. A touch of salt and pepper brought it more in line with my less delicate tastes.
To me red peppers are the sweetest of all peppers. Utilizing them for a cream sauce is one of the few things I still like about cream sauces. You should be cautious about what to pair them with, otherwise you might get something more dessert than soup. In this case I think curry was a great call. Curry seems to have an affinity for sweet without going crazy. Again this was a nicely made soup and the fresh parsley and sour cream was a nice touch.
Their beef and barley was a nicely constructed soup as well. A light hand was definitely used in all these soups. In seasoning and cutting the meat and veggies. In all cases a little salt and/or pepper was added to bring them more to my tastes. Which is how you want it when your star is the soup pot. You can add salt but you sure can’t take it out. I probably will be seeing more of this place. I like variety. I also like soup.
Well we headed back to Beech Grove today to visit our favorite range at Beech Grove Firearms. Subsequently we wanted a place close by to eat. Well, since the Grove is not quite the dining destination for Indy our choses were rather limited. This joint was recommended by one of Pat’s neighbors. And it proved to be pretty good.
It’s located in a strip mall close to an Inter-State exchange and surrounded by a plethora of fast food eateries. And judging by the speed at which out food came out Egg Roll fit right in. The interior was bright, and large. And it has the charm of a Wal-Mart. I don’t mean that in a nasty or snarky way I just mean the place is utilitarian and not at very “cozy”.
You order and pay at a counter, then sit and the staff brings you your food. I ordered an appetizer combo to share for $5.99.
It consisted of 2 crab Rangoon, 2 wonton, a beef stick ( that’s the kabob looking thing in the center ) an egg roll and 2 chicken wings. The Rangoon was unique in the fact that it wasn’t overloaded with cream cheese and you could actually detect a morsel, that I assume was crab. The wonton wasn’t as flavorful as I expected. They were actually pretty bland. The beef stick was pretty lackluster as well. Three pieces of tasty but tough beef stuck on a stick with 2 tiny pieces of green pepper and carrot. As for the wings, nothing exceptional. Now that leaves the egg roll. It wasn’t that bad, but I have had a lot better.
For my “main” course I got a soft noodle combo dish. That is a big plate of spaghetti, stir fried with beef, pork, shrimp and chicken and veggies all in a sauce of unknown ingredients. This was very tasty. I can’t say the same for the rather run of the mill rice that came with it. This dish, because it was a bigger portion than the lunch specials and it came on a real ceramic plate, not one of paper it cost $7.75.
They don’t offer menus. The food offerings are posted on the wall behind the order counter. And to the right of the counter is the obligatory pictures of the dishes.
Probably the coolest thing about this joint is the price of the lunch specials-$4.50. That includes an egg roll and a cup of soup. Pat being ever the frugal shopper ordered a lunch special.
So my friends. In summation I don’t think you can go too wrong eating here. The food is pretty good and the prices are more than reasonable. I might suggest you try the Pho; and let me know about it. I had wanted to try it but I became a deer in the head lights when it came my time to order. Maybe some other time. Egg Roll #1 Pho #1 4540 S. Emerson Ave. http://www.eggroll1.com/
- Lotus Garden Greenwood (kosherhamandcheese.com)
Well South of Chicago, take notice there is a Hoosier right here in Naptown that cooks a pretty mean hunk of beef. The Fresco Italian Sandwich Shoppe actually has 2 locations. One in the Marsh Grocery at 320 N. New Jersey and the other at 310 W. Michigan. On the canal. Since it was raining we opted for the New Jersey location. The joint has only been opened about three years. It is run by 2 brothers using their Dad’s recipes. And these recipes are golden. Their signature Italian beef is easily as tasty as South of Chicago’s. Fresco might have a slight edge in that they offer their sandwiches as a 4 inch half or an 8 inch whole.
We started off splitting a small Caprese Salad. He uses Roma tomatoes from a local Farmers Market, uses a local Mozzarella cheese and grows his own Basil. So needless to say the salad was fresh and delicious.
I was torn between the beef and the meatball. The owner suggested I get the beef and he would give us a sample of meatball to try. So how could I not accept such a generous offer. Again all I can say is the beef is easily as tasty as South of Chicago. On that Pat and I were in agreement. He “discovered” this place when he was shopping and had already tried a half of a beef sandwich. I might suggest you get yours dipped. The Gonnella bun soaks up all the tasty jus and still keeps its shape. A lesser roll would dissolve. As for the meat ball and accompanying red sauce it too was excellent, and on the same level as the beef.
So I can’t think of anymore to add. Except this. If you like Good Italian Beef now you have a second place to score. In addition if Caprese or meatballs are your thing then this has to be at the top of your list.
Pat and his wife, Fran went to Pure Food over the weekend. There he had a Caprese Panini sandwich;and it so impressed him he “craved” more. Their Caprese is fresh mozzarella; roasted red pepper, arugula and balsamic vinaigrette all on cibatta. Now seriously. What is there not to like ? He did add andouille sausage. Which sounded like a great addition. I didn’t taste the sandwich but I did try a piece of sausage. And I was not real thrilled;neither was Pat. It had little flavor and I thought the texture was a little too coarse. His side choice was green beans and potatoes. He thought it was good, not great ,but good. I went against my first thought and ordered a Roast Beef cibatta. Sliced beef,arugula,red onion and the ever popular lemon basil aioli. Well I hate to say it,but it was a wee bit disappointing. It was well made and it held a copious amount of beef. The trouble was it was Deli style roast beef. Overall it was flat. Average meat, no texture, no crunch, no zest. Maybe thicker onion. Maybe pickle the onions and maybe change the mayo to some sort of mustard. That’s my opinion; something everyone has. I really like this joint. One average taste experience doesn’t make for a bad “review ” Oh I nearly forgot my side. I tried their SOD; creamy potato and leek. And it was top notch.I enjoyed it very much. As for the pictures; again I screwed up. We started eating and then I remembered to take the pictures. Pretty much par;don’t you think?
I’m sure most foodies in Indy have heard of South of Chicago in Fountain Square. That’s the place that serves Chicago style pizza and Italian beef sandwiches;sandwiches so authentic you can smell the lake with every bite. Well I don’t know about the lake part but ,yes Ma, the beef IS as good as everyone says it is. Pat has been there numerous times,but I had to wait until I had bone fide functional teeth before I could give it a try. Naturally we both had beef sandwiches with cheese. I took mine with hot peppers Pat without. The sandwich is huge. It probably weighs close to 2 pounds. It is most definitely not a hand-held sandwich. At least not until you eat some of the meat out first. The au jus is also the real thing,juice from the roasting meat;not just some beef base and water. That leads us to the proper way to order. You can get it wet; that’s when the bun is lightly wetted with the jus or dipped; the whole thing is submerged in the au jus. I think there is a third option;but I can’t remember what it is. Nor can I recall what else they serve beside the beef or a beef and sausage combo. Oh and pizza. What sort of Chicago style joint would it be without pizza. The pizza might be great but on this day cow was king. A big Gonnella hoagie roll stuffed with tender,slow roasted beef just dripping with beefy goodness. And how much does such a tasty treat cost;you ask. Why 8 bucks. That’s right eight dollars. And it comes with a pack of chips,and it is big enough for two cheap people to share. It is times like this that makes you proud to be an America.
Since 1911 whenever you wanted a bowl of home-made stew you went to John’s.To say it is an Indy Icon is an understatement.I haven’t had John’s since they had a place in Irvington;and that was quite a while ago.The stew they serve today is just as tasty;just as delicious as it was 30 years ago.And don’t let anyone tell you that stew is only a cold weather food.A bowl of good stew is appropriate food year round.And from the size of the crowd we’re not the only ones that feel that way.John offers his 3 ways;mild,medium or hot.Pat got a medium I wussed out and opted for the mild.Regardless of which style you order you will receive a big bowl of savory gravy,filled with big chunks of carrot and potato.And sitting right in the middle of this gravy sea was Big Cow Island.A huge chunk of beef about 1/2 the size of a man’s fist.And everything was so tender you could use a spoon;no knife or fork required.Pat offered that the last time he had stew this good was at Nick’s in Bloomington.It was a one time special;and he still remembers it after nearly 40 years.So that should tell you something about John’s stew;or something about Pat;I’m not sure which.They don’t just offer bowls the also can give you burgers smothered with stew.Or mashed potatoes;or stuffed peppers;or cabbage rolls.You might say they are rather stew-centric.But they also offer regular burgers,tenderloin and salads if that is more to your liking.So needless to say if you ever develop a “hankering”for a memorable beef stew, now you know where to go.A bowl of meaty history for only 8 bucks;how can you go wrong?
After lunch we decided to head to West Morris Street and have a beer at Slammin’ Sammies.If you haven’t heard of it don’t feel alone neither have I.This my friends is a true neighborhood dive bar.One thing for sure people are friendly here.As we were walking in from the lot there were 2 gentlemen standing out side sharing a cigarette.One was about age 60 the other 50.The smoke had no filter so my guess was it was a Lucky Strike.The bar serves domestics only;12oz.for $2.50 and quarts for $4.25.So we spent maybe an hour drinking our big and little beers chatting with the home boys.All of them seemed as though they had started fighting sobriety early that day.The joint has a band stand and they offer live music on weekends.That should be a trip.The music played on the juke box was certainly eclectic.From Eminem to Waylon Jennings.From Ludicrous to David Alan Coe;with a few lesser known(to me)Rap and Country artists thrown in as well.As I said;a trip.
Under the category of old beers that are new again,Pat discovered one:Hudepohl;or Hudie for short.I think it was originally brewed in Cincinnati,Ohio.It had some popularity in Hoosier land 30 or so years ago;I don’t recall the last time I saw it in a liquor store or bar.But then I don’t think I ever went out searching for it.If this is a new “crafty”generation I think they done good.It starts out with a hoppy caramel taste,the finish is very hoppy;almost bitter,in a good way.At Dinner Bell on South Shelby you can pick it up for $3.49 for 6 or $12.00 for 24.So a pretty good beer for a good price.Such a deal.