Pat and I stopped here last week for beers. We were both taken by the friendliness of the crowd at the bar and Mary our bartender. We also enjoyed that draft beers were only $3.50, microbrews included. The menu was inviting and the prices are more than reasonable. Also, Mary seemed genuinely excited about the food. No one should ever underestimate the power of “a happy server face”.
Since Thursday, our normal lunch date was also July 4, we decided to go on Wednesday. Mary. Wasn’t working but Jen, our bartender was equally friendly and gracious. On their appetizer menu they have several half orders as well as full orders. Which I think is a great idea. Quite often appetizer portions are so large, people have an appetizer as an entrée. Which, from a business standpoint lowers your ticket averages. With that in mind we decided to split a half order of battered and fried mushrooms. They were excellent. A crisp fried batter full of flavor was a great foil to the softness of the fried mushroom. We had homemade bleu cheese dressing as a dipping sauce. That was probably the wrong move. Not that the dressing wasn’t very good. It was just too thick to dip the mushrooms in. I think ranch dressing or the cocktail sauce that was offered would’ve been a better choice.
One of their specials for that day was homemade lasagna. It came with soup or salad and garlic toast for $7.25. Since only onion powder was used in making the sauce for the lasagna, Pat felt it was safe to order.
I ordered strictly off the menu. Something I’ve never had before. A grilled chicken club. that is like a conventional club, 86 turkey, and substitute grilled chicken. I hesitated ordering it because a lot of kitchen guys don’t like making them. If you are busy it doesn’t take too many club orders to put you in the weeds. mine came on some beautiful marbled rye bread. It was an excellent sandwich, and fun to eat. Since it was a triple-decker , you could break it down into smaller flavor profiles. There is just something about the sweetness of fresh tomato and mayonnaise paired up with salty bacon and ham that is delicious. and replacing deli turkey with the tender grilled chicken breast is a no-brainer. And their homemade blue cheese dressing is a great dip for the copious quantity of ruffles that come with the sandwich. I couldn’t eat all of my sandwich so I took it home for my better half. She promptly declared it was the best sandwich I ever brought home.
So ladies and gentlemen, that was our experience at the Keystone Sports Review. not only is the food good;the prices right and the service great, but to me it was a pleasure to watch such a well-run business. I think it is more than worth a trip. Oh one last thing. The Dr Mc Gillicuddy Pat referred to was Mentholated Schnapps. That was also one of their specials,$ 2 /shot. We each had one as an aperitif. It settled his stomach and gave him fresh breath. I ‘m sure his better half appreciated that.https://kosherhamandcheese.com/?p=1771&preview=true
If you are an aficionado of neighborhood bars, you should definitely put this on your list.Pat and I have stopped in there a few times for beers but this is the first time we ate. We always enjoyed ourselves. Nice place,friendly crowd. Especially as it gets closer to race time. After all the 500 Track is just up the street. However their beer selection is limited to draft Silver Bullet and domestic bottles. But the prices are right.
They serve breakfast all day and that is a plus. The lunch/dinner menu is pretty typical bar although they do have a few atypical items. For example they offer both home-made chili and beef stew year round. They also have fried chicken livers. I love chicken livers but I’m not supposed to eat them. You know fat, cholesterol and all that stuff. So I tried their signature Spanish Burger. That is an 8 ounce patty of seasoned beef and onion that is baked, meatloaf style. It is then placed on a toasted bun and smothered with their Spanish Sauce. Which is a tomato based sauce with green pepper and redolent with cayenne pepper. The burger itself was pretty good. Nicely made and nicely textured. It was difficult to taste the seasoning of the meat due to the spiciness of the sauce. If you like a high level of heat then you will probably like this. Personally my taste buds have gotten pretty Gringo-fied;since my return to Indiana. Also I think it could use some different types of chile pepper in addition to cayenne. All in all it was a pretty good sandwich for 6 bucks. That’s with choice of fries or a bag of chips.
Pat ordered a grilled tenderloin. Like a lot of joints they beat out their own with a mallet. He found it to be tender and tasty. Like a lot of tenderloin in a lot of places. He did particularly enjoy the made in-house made cole slaw. It had no onion. Patrick’s kryptonite. It too was $6,with choice.
On south side of the city at the corner of Troy Avenue and Madison Avenue is the Madison Grill. It used to be Sunshine Café; and before that I believe it was a Waffle House.So the building has seen a lot of cooking and eating over the years. This current incarnation of a former sunshine Café offers a nice array of home cooking. Nothing fancy. Nothing cutting-edge or chic. Just a nice meal. Pat wanted to try their special. Chicken and noodles. It was served with two sides and a mini loaf of fresh-baked bread and butter.the bread was brought out first so that we could start whetting our appetites.
There’s just something about warm bread. Even a proof and bake loaf. I did manage to get one slice and it was pretty good. Warm and comforting slathered with real butter. When Pat’s chicken and noodles arrived his first taste was underwhelming. Good but not wow. But all the dish needed was a little more fat. Pat added a bit of butter turning the good into great. You see, fat rules. As for the sides the corn was predictable. His other side was a medley of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots seasoned and cooked on a griddle. By cooking the veggies on the flat top, it added some great brown and crispy bits. There is nothing like crispy bits to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary.
I wanted to try the special as well. However, I was feeling some diet guilt. So I ordered a Cobb salad. Normally I view salads as varying degrees of boring. Not this one. It was huge with lots of stuff on it. First off, it was prepared the way a Cobb Salad should be prepared. All of the toppings were diced and arrayed in columns. Crisp bacon, blue cheese crumbles, ham, tomato and chopped egg. The quantity was almost embarrassingly large. Almost. I finished it all and was able to sit back full and with a sated and smug grin on my face. After all I only ate a salad.
As a matter of fact I was so full I couldn’t even order dessert. And I really wanted to try some bread pudding. Oh well, there will be other times. And if I only eat a salad. I’m sure my diet could handle dessert.
Pat took off for Montana;with his wife,so,no lunch for us this week.However my 2 sisters and I went to Duos for lunch last week.That was the first time for them(poor girls don’t get out too often).They took the “safe way”;Caesar chicken wrap.Cooked chicken,Romaine,tomatoes and Caesar dressing,all in a Honey Wheat tortilla.Predictable but good.That day 2 sides were offered,greens and oven roasted potatoes.Sisters took one each so I was able to try both.I opted for greens with my entrée.We both thought the greens were good;but they could have used some pig.The potatoes were brown and crisp on the outside and a little mushy on the inside,in other words a potato that will make you smile.As for my entree I had a chicken stuffed Poblano pepper.Two nice sized peppers filled with a slightly southwest seasoned chicken,with a little corn crunch.It was pretty good;a sweet creamy chicken wrapped in a Poblano with just the right level of heat.For the perfect ending I had a Lemon Bar.For all you deprived folks out there,that is a lemon curd in a shortbread crust.Puckery sweet lemon;perfect for summertime.
Well this week we are back on a regular schedule. Last week we had lunch on Tuesday because I had a dental appointment on Wednesday to get some teeth removed.Well the procedure was so successful I have to eat soup until my dental project is finished.Ivy’s offers three soups at all times. A soup du jour, a house Black Bean soup and Chili. Their soup of the day was a Southwest chicken, so I ordered a cup of that and a cup of black bean soup. The chicken soup was really good. A slightly creamy base with a touch of tomato and a bunch of cumin. In addition to chicken ,it had black beans and corn.Evidently, to a lot of folks you add cumin, black beans and corn and you automatically have Southwestern food.Regardless of what you called it, the soup was good;and I believe I’ve had it before;and I believe it is made by Gordon Food Service.It is not uncommon for joints that offer three soups to buy ready-made soups; especially for the changing soup of the day. I am reasonably sure the black bean soup was made in-house. While not as good as the chicken soup it was pretty tasty. Although I must say I have had better. But at $2.75 per cup, with two packs of crackers it was a bargain.
Patrick; the eternal culinary question mark; had a grilled Portobello mushroom sandwich.It was actually two baby Bella caps grilled then glazed with a balsamic vinaigrette.Since I couldn’t sample it. I had to rely solely on Pat that it was as good as it looked. And it came with a full garden and a side of french fries for only $6.75.As for beer their selection seemed rather limited. I got the feeling that this was more a hard liquor cocktail place than a beer joint. They had three beers on draft. Two domestics and Blue Moon.They offered SunKing cans;but they were out.So I opted for the Blue Moon and Pat had a MGD 64 with tomato juice.That’s right a red beer;a bloody beer or a poor man’s bloody Mary.Come on don’t knock it until you try it.
As for the pictures you’re just going to love them. You see, I forgot to take any of our food. Usually I catch myself after we start eating; however; this time I did not even think of the camera until after we were done and the dishes were removed. But don’t worry I got some background shots and Pat drew a picture of his sandwich.So in addition to an original review of a local eatery you get an original drawing by Pat, a true Renaissance man.
There’s a new café in town,Thyme to Eat it’s located at the corner of S. Meridian St. and Hanna Avenue.the building used to house a dark bar in its previous life,now it’s a bright and airy café with light green interior and a pastel painted brick exterior. It might be a little on the girlie side but men are allowed and you don’t have to take off your shoes to enter.But trappings aside, it’s a serious eatery.
It’s “main bag” is to offer healthier options for lunch,and breakfast.their produce is organic and their bacon is uncured.That means you get all the yummy smokiness of pork belly with out all the residual effects of those pesky nitrites and nitrates.That’s what caught Pat’s eye;their uncured BLT;with avocado.They offer different side options;among them Sweet Potato chips;that I believe they make themselves.Since my culinary roots are from the southwest Pat suggested I get the Southwest Chicken salad.So I suggested he get a side of Sweet Tater chips;but Patrick being deaf as a post couldn’t hear so he opted for a side of sliced tomatoes.Yep,sliced tomatoes with a bacon,lettuce,and TOMATO sandwich;but I digress.The sandwich itself looked great,leaf lettuce,Roma tomatoes and a generous portion of both bacon and avocado.More importantly Pat really enjoyed it.
Before I talk about my salad. I have to say I am very finicky about salads, that’s why I don’t eat them out too often. For most places their salad mix consists of Romain, iceberg lettuce, chopped too big or too small and mixed with red cabbage and carrots for color. Now, you can do that yourself or buy it already done in Cryovac bags.There is another option called spring mix; which is an assortment of various salad greens; none of which are romaine or iceberg. That’s my favorite, and it is also what Thyme to Eat Cafe uses.One last thing about restaurant salads, especially the large “dinner” salads. Since most customers nearly always request dressing on the side that is what most establishments do. However, I believe a large salad should be tossed with the dressing be it vinaigrette or creamy. And this is what this place does. It says we have a specific salad with a specific set of ingredients and a specific dressing; so trust us. We did put some thought into this, so don’t get the dressing on the side.
Now that I’ve got that off my chest on to the review of the Southwest chicken salad. As I mentioned, it was spring mix tossed with a tasty creamy avocado dressing. Mixed in was an assortment of corn,black beans, avocado chunks,sweet and roasted peppers and Monterey jack cheese. Sitting on top was some of the tastiest chicken breast I have had out in quite some time. It appeared to be cooked on a flat griddle, just a little brown on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. It was a top-notch salad.Since Pat and I only go to these restaurants once, and since I live on the north side and no longer drive; the odds of me revisiting, as much as I would like to, are remote. However I did e-mail my sister-in-law who lives in that neck of the woods about this place. Maybe she’ll invite me to go there with her. In which case she could pick me up at the nearest bus stop, which I’m told is about a mile away. But to all you folks who live on the south side you really should try this place. A good independent eatery is as rare and priceless as an honest politician.
- Star Sandwich Shop (kosherhamandcheese.com)
To all you folks that recognize Duos as a very popular traveling food truck, I have good news for you. They now have a permanent location at the Northwest corner of 30th and Meridian streets. The entrance to the parking lot is on 30th St., it’s really hard to miss. The building used to house an insurance company for several years. I am not sure what is in it now but it appears to be several different companies. They have a grand cafeteria that I believe used to be a proper food court now it only has Duos. They serve breakfast and lunch from 7 AM to 2 PM Monday through Friday only. And since they have more space. They can offer more stuff.
On the day that Pat and I went, they had six more or more specials plus a fully stocked salad bar. Pat decided on a baked penne dish, with chicken and mushrooms and what appeared to be a cross between bechamel and Alfredo. He really loved it even though he had to spend a few minutes pulling out the shallots. You see Patrick has a thing about onions; he can’t eat them. Otherwise, his body, has a strange and according to him a rather repulsive reaction. They did forewarn him but he thought it was worth the effort anyway. I tried the quinoa croquettes.they were very reminiscent of falafel, only patty shaped not little balls. A nice cumin flavor that went well with the slightly spicy creme on top. The only weak link in the plate was the bed of slaw the croquettes were resting on. The special came with a choice of two sides. Roasted new potatoes or slaw, I opted for the slaw; oops. I thought the texture and sweetness of the slaw would match up well with the croquettes. The texture was there. However, a little bit rough for my tastes, and the slaw itself lacked the flavor I had expected. But hey,not every at-bat leads to a home run. For dessert we split a two pack of cookies. They were some sort of cappuccino cookie, after the first two bites I wasn’t sure what to make of them. But the more I eat, the more I like them. I attribute my initial puzzlement to the fact that I de-coffeed myself some time back.
Since yesterday was such a beautiful day. We decided it was time for an excursion into Irvington.That little part of Indy certainly has grown up. In the olden days; all that was there was a Dunkin’ Donuts and the Butler inn.Now it has some legit eateries and their own Brew Pub.Of course the pub doesn’t open until 4 pm during the week;I guess they don’t feel that there is a market for the old fart afternoon beer drinking crowd.But I digress.
The legends Café is a quaint and cozy little place. I can’t believe we haven’t been there before. We met up with a friend , Jim, who lives in the area. As a matter of fact he is the one that suggested legends. Their menu has a nice assortment of deli meats, cheeses, toppings and breads. You can order one of their preselected combos, or build your own. Any selection can be Panini grilled and is available as a half (4 $) or whole (7-9$).They also offer”hot entrées”. These are in the $7-$8 range and come with one or two sides. All of their ground beef comes from a farm in Greenfield, Indiana. And I assume that means it’s probably grass-fed. Their portions are quite rational. A quarter pound burger, 5 ounce chicken breast and meatloaf in the 5 to 6 ounce range.Their sides are as unique as they are extensive;and not one fried item among them.
Pat had a whole turkey and cheddar;grilled.I opted for the “special”;a half of a brisket san on dark pumpernickel with a side of baked mac and cheese.Jim ordered what I should have gotten,chicken breast with a side of pepperjack mac and snap peas.The chicken was lightly dusted in seasoned flour;crisped in the fry pan and finished in the oven.Crispy exterior,moist and tender interior.The pepperjack mac and cheese was “da bomb” and I haven’t seen steamed snap peas on a menu since Shaffer’s in Glendale.My regular mac and cheese was good as well it just wasn’t pepper Jacky. I’m not going to say Legends deli meats were the best I’ve ever had but I am going to say that they are first-rate and with their prideful attention to detail I don’t think you will be disappointed.I am going to say that their sides are better than good so that should show you that these folks can cook.I also think the pumpernickel they use is the best I’ve had in some time.I meant to ask Stephanie(our server) where they got it,but I forgot. Speaking of servers when I asked Stephanie if I could take her picture for this blog,she hesitated.She did acquiesce if I took it with her and Jim. I still don’t know what to think of that.One last thing on servers.The servers at Legend all wear black;a uniform if you will.I know that flies against the current trend for independents to view employee dress codes with disdain;but sometimes it’s nice to be able to tell a server from a stranger that just wandered in.