eating indie in indy

Posts tagged “Food

G.G’s Bar & Grill 5701 E. 71 st. Street

People that go to bars realize they can be placed into 2 basic categories. Bars that make you nervous. Those bars you never even think of eating at. So you finish your drink. leave and probably never return. The second category is bars that make you feel more relaxed. Places you wouldn’t mind having a second beverage or even order a nosh.

Well I think G.G’s falls into the second category. We stopped there for a couple of beers last week and liked the whole scene. The menu has your basic bar fry food and it also has a good selection of not so basic pub grub.

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I really had my eye set on the Ribeye steak. But at the last-minute I thought it might be too much food for lunch. As it turned out what I did eat was just as much.

One of the specials was a slice of New York pizza for $1.99. We decided to have that as an appetizer. They make their own crust and sauce so I wanted to try it anyway.

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This is one half of the slice. My guess is it was 1/4 of a 14 inch pie. I think they only offer thin crust. The crust was pretty good, it had a nice flavor and decent mouth feel. I would have liked it a bit crisper though. As for the sauce it too had a pretty good flavor it just needed a little more pizzazz. The addition of salt would be a good start,in my opinion.

As for Pat he had planned on ordering the filet. But the allure of the big pig was too much for him.

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They offered 3 lunch specials one of which was chili with grilled cheese sandwich for $ 5.95. Now that is as Hoosier as you can get.

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The sandwich was what you would imagine. Buttered Texas toast and American cheese. Something I would hardly ever order out but it was a cold day and I wanted chili. What is it about grilled cheese sandwiches and soup that sound so compelling?

As for the chili it was a very good example of Indiana style chili, nothing fancy just tasty and filling. Chili is one of the many cooking things that intrigue me. All the different ways people prepare it fascinates me.

This chili was mostly ground beef with the main seasoning being chile powder. A mix of chile peppers and cumin. It had kidney beans and diced green pepper, definitely a Hoosier and “near South” thing. But the one thing that brought back the memories was the sweetness and spiciness of the soup. A job well done.

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So once again we introduce to you a bar. A bar that has some very good food, very good prices and a very good bar tender/server. I believe her name is Nicole. Remember its name. G.G’s Bar & Grill.

GG's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

 

 

 

 


Bearcats Restaurant 1055 N. Senate Ave. (Revisit)

Pat and I had lunch here in July 2013. We heard sometime back that the joint had changed owners and quite a few changes were made. I also heard that they were going to start corning their own brisket. Before they bought raw corned beef and cooked it off in-house. I haven’t heard any more about it so we decided to go today. As I understand it the fellow that originally opened the Living Room Lounge is the new owner. At the Lounge he perfected a technique to cook a burger on a griddle that makes it crispy on the outside yet tender and moist on the inside. Pat remember that and he was jonesin’ for a burger.

The last time we were here the place had a definite industrial vibe, concrete floors the whole bit. Now they have a wood floor. They also had mushrooms. The menu offered fresh breaded mushrooms both times. The last time they were out, not this time.

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Now these suckers were hot, fresh and delicious. An excellent appetizer.

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They had all the lunch specials typed out in the caddie on each table so you knew as soon as you sat down what the specials were. I opted for the Mahi burger. I really didn’t know what to expect. Our server wasn’t sure how to describe it. She did know they came in frozen and were good. As it turned out it was a round cutout of a fillet. It wasn’t chopped as you might expect from a sandwich called a burger. However it was a solid piece of fish and it was really pretty good. Of course this “burger” begs the question. What do they do with the rest of the fish? Don’t know. I liked this one and I really liked the sweet potato waffle fries it came with.

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The special had cheese choice so I went with swiss. I probably should have gone with no cheese. The swiss was too mild to bring much to the table.

So Pat and I both think this new joint is an improvement over the old one. Better looking, interesting specials and a much friendlier atmosphere.

Bearcats Restaurant on Urbanspoon


Sister’s Place 215 Terrace Ave.

I am sure lots of folks were disappointed when this place closed several moths ago. Well now, after a change in ownership and extensive re-modeling they have re-opened.

I have eaten there pre-blog days and have never had a bad meal. I am happy to say that trend continues.

At the old place it was typical to order pie before ordering anything else. Pie was very popular and it was not uncommon for it to be sold out during lunch. We continued that tradition today.

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That is pecan pie. Pat wanted that as a palate cleanser. I was slow in taking the shot, as you can see. I was able to get a couple of bites and it was excellent. Buttery, rich and sweet. A great pie.

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It’s at this point I would post a shot of Pat’s lunch. Well I was late once again. It has been awhile since I’ve done this. I took a shot anyway.

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I enjoy good liver and onions and I invariably order them when ever I see it on a menu. Knowing that more than likely that I will probably be disappointed. The liver is over cooked and the onions under cooked.

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Yeah I did it again. The plate looked a lot better when it first came out. The plate lunch came with potato choice and VOD and a roll with butter. They don’t have bakers until the evening, so my choices were instant mashed with mix brown gravy or french fries. The veggie was California Blend. That misnamed mix of broccoli, cauliflower and carrot that you can always find in your grocers freezer case.

My taters and gravy were adequate. Well prepared and tasty. The veggies were what you might expect, providing texture if not flavor. As for the liver and onions is was by far the best I have had in a restaurant in Indianapolis. Of course the list of joints around here that offer it is a short one. That doesn’t detract from the fact this liver was nicely done, as were the onions. They did the job they were supposed to do. A little sweet and a little crunch. The roll they offer was your everyday fluffy hunk of white bread. Good for sopping, one of my favorite things. They do provide real butter which is always a treat. All in all I would eat it again, instant potatoes,frozen veggies and all. After ordering I checked out the desert case, something Pat did upon entering.

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They offer more than pie as you can see. Any picture I took of the rest of the case didn’t work out. The glass reflected too much light. I did get a nice shot of the piece of Coconut Cream I ordered.

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This pie was really good. I am not even going to try to give any more description than that. They do not make any of the desserts in-house. I was told that they buy them from the Chicago Pie Company. When I googled it I came up with this http://www.hoosiermamapie.com/

If that’s the right place it must be destiny. The prices are excellent. Both plates were $8.95 and the pie was $3.00. So you can still get great food on Terrace Avenue, and it won’t break your budget.

Sisters' Place on Urbanspoon


The Ripple Bagel Deli 850 Broad Ripple Avenue.

Now this place has been open since 2003. I first noticed it 1 year ago, and just now we visit. I guess we wanted to wait until they got all the opening bugs worked out. Well if they have any bugs in the beginning I don’t know. They certainly have a slick operation now.

I tried to take a shot of the exterior, however I couldn’t get the whole view in without stepping into the street. Since my momma always told me not to play in traffic this is the best I could get.

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The place isn’t real big but it is colorful

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You order from a long counter and they call you when it’s ready and you pay at the end. The counter has stools, so I guess it also serves as overflow seating. They have a few laminated menus lying around but the focal points is the huge menu chalkboard on the wall behind.

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They offered a bialy as an option on the menu, so naturally I had to inquire if it was the real deal. Well the young lady behind the counter was informed enough to satisfy me that it was indeed the real thing. It is refreshing to find someone who really knows what is going on in the joint they work. So many restaurant workers are McDrones that don’t have a clue. But the people we interacted with had their stuff together.

The young lady told us that the bialy comes from Cincinnati, and the bagels come from Bagel Fair in Nora. Those folks have been making bagels in this town for more than 30 years. They have, in my estimation the best bagels in Marion County, if not the state.

Pat was happy that they had so many onion-less options. He decided on The Natty Dread.

Now that is Bacon, Colby and smoked Cheddar cheeses, lettuce,tomato and sprouts on a bialy. Since this particular bread had onion in it he subbed a whole wheat bagel. This whole thing was only $ 6.00.

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When it was my turn I knew exactly what I wanted. A Tape Your Ankles, subbing bialy for an onion bagel. This tasty bite consists of ham,pepperoni, salami, provolone, red onion, banana peppers and Italian dressing. And it was only $6.95. I also ordered a cup of Santa Fe chili for $3.50.

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The soup is house made. Just not in this house. I was told they buy it from, I thought she said Bagel Fair, but I am not positive. In either event it was pretty good. It tasted like a lot of chili I have had in Indiana. I don’t have any idea why it was dubbed Santa Fe. Maybe it was because of the addition of black beans and corn. Some folks think adding black beans and corn into a dish turns into a Southwest offering. Well, not anymore than adding soy sauce makes a dish Oriental. But as I said it was pretty good.

As for my sandwich it was very tasty. I could taste the salami and pepperoni as distinct and separate meats. The ham sort of blended into the background, but I think were it not there it would be missed. the cheese delivers a nice unctuosness and the peppers do what pickled peppers always do. They bring a hint of both vinegar and heat. I found it to be a great bite and a great value. So. I am sure Pat and I are one of the last to learn about this place but just in case we aren’t you should check this joint out. Great bagels,creative combinations and nice folks working there.

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Oh one last thing. I don’t make a habit of taking pictures of bathrooms but I made an exception here. They offer one facility and all the walls are covered in old record albums, that’s right old school vinyl. So here you go.

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Oh one last thing. This might be a clue to the deliciousness of their bagel creations, After they build them whey foil wrap them and then steam the whole damn thing. Crazy huh? Crazy good.

Ripple Bagel Deli on Urbanspoon


9 Irish Brothers 575 Massachusetts Avenue.

Okay. This joint hit Indy this summer. It’s a home-grown “chain”. Which means they started in Lafayette Indiana, expanded to West Lafayette and eventually opened another joint in Indy. They managed to secure a spot at the corner of Boardwalk and Park Place. That is to say they found a very nice location and did it proud.

The place is large and nicely appointed. You can tell they have a good idea as to how to run a business. From what I could read on the reviews the place was not received very well. Pat and Fran went there at opening and had mixed thoughts about food and prices. They have a nice presence on the Net however there are no prices listed. I find that somewhat disconcerting. What I found was a fine little pub with some decent food and competitive prices.

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We ordered the goat cheese fritter appetizer. Little croquettes of breaded goat cheese on a bed of mixed greens with a raspberry vinaigrette. Actually it was not too bad. The slightly sour cheese, bitter greens and a sweet raspberry dressing made for a tasty bite. Cost: $ 8.45.

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Our server, Holleh did an excellent job at service. She was on top of Pat’s onion aversion. She told him that the mashed potatoes had onion in them. Imagine that. He ordered a half order of corn beef and cabbage subbing house chips for the mashed potatoes. Their chips are thick slices of fried potato.

 

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This is my lunch. It is a new addition to the menu. They call it a Fisherman’s Pie. A take off on a Shepherd’s Pie. It was very interesting. It came out in an 8 or 10 ounce crock. A healthy portion for $7.45. It was a blend of salmon, white fish, shrimp and veggies in a cream sauce. Covered with mashed potatoes and cheese. Well. Your first taste, naturally was tater and cheese. Then you hit the cream sauce. Tasty, but overwhelming. There was no texture in the dish. The salmon was like the white fish. Which was like the shrimp. Or the vegetables. The flavor was all about the  sauce. . I thought it was tasty I just didn’t taste the fish. I probably would not get it again, the way it was prepared. The soda bread rocked.

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Now this joint is noted for its Whisky, Whiskey flights. As well as their Guinness pours.

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Now this is really difficult to read. That is my fault. I still have not learned the proper way to use my scanning wand. Sorry about that. Any one with suggestions; let me know.

I opted for the Lesser Know Great Flight. It had single malt, blended and pot still. All the basic whiskey ( whisky) groups. I though it was great. And a bargain at $14.

I know Shelly. I should have tried the Single Malt Scotch Flight; but I was confused. They were playing the Rover Boys. And I was drinking Guinness. I didn’t have a chance.

But for real. This is a good joint to visit. The food is good, prices are fair and the service is on point. I have to give a shout out to Holleh. Excellent job.

Nine Irish Brothers on Urbanspoon

 


Naisa Pan-Asian Cafe.

For all you grammarians out there Naisa is Asian, spelled backwards. Cute. When Pat suggested Naisa for lunch I was more dis-interested than excited. Not because I have any issue with Asian food it just seems more than not the food revolves around a central theme. Veggies chopped up, mixed with a protein in an oyster sauce and served with steamed or fried rice. How ever I was soon reminded that not all vegetables are cooked the same.

The place is not very big. Its biggest decor feature is its modesty and simplicity. The menu is on the small side and features lunch specials in the $7 to $9 range. Each special came with rice choice and soup choice, or you could sub egg or spring roll for the soup.

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I opted for Chicken with peanuts with Sweet and Sour soup with fried rice. We were served complementary wonton chips with both duck sauce and mustard for dipping. Both sauces were pretty good. Although the mustard was not the sinus clearing hot I expect.

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The soup was excellent. Full of vegetables and with a lovely broth. I would have been happy with just a big bowl and nothing else. It also helped that the weather was rainy and chilly.

The main dish was where  this particular joints unique personality came through. The chicken and sauce were no strangers to my tongue, nor were the veggies unusual. Baby corn, celery, carrot and red bell pepper. The thing that impressed Pat and me both was the freshness and quality of the cooking. The vegetables had a snap and crunch to them and they still retained their natural sweetness. I think that it is cooking like this that makes eating even more fun.

So, there you have it. A cozy dining room, good prices and excellent cooking. And last but not at all least excellent service. Our server was on top of everything. Attentive and gracious, a great combination.

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Naisa Pan-Asian Cafe on Urbanspoon


Checkered Flag Tavern 5725 W. Morris Street.

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Well Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a bar. A bar that dates back to the 1940’s. A bar that was redone about a year ago. A spacious bar with pool tables, about a dozen beers on tap and a grand out-door seating area with a fire pit. It also is a bar with some of the best tavern food I have had. They offer blackened catfish and frog leg appetizers, as well as real deal smoked pork sandwiches. We ordered some breaded mushrooms to start. Fresh breaded ‘shrums are always a bonus and they offered theirs for $5.50, with a horseradish sauce. Nothing prepared us for the monsters we were given.

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We received 5 mushrooms that were in excess of 3 inches in diameter. Each one was impeccably breaded in a thin breading reminiscent of a cornmeal breading usually reserved for catfish. The horse-radish dip that came with the mushrooms matched well; as did the one buck pints of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

As for our “entre” Pat and I were both conflicted. Pat for the “Big Ass Bacon Burger” and the “Big Pig”. Me for the catfish special and the “Big Pig”. Pat decided on the Burger. A 1/2 pound burger topped with 8 slices of bacon and cheddar cheese. He substituted pepper jack cheese and ate the whole thing. With fries the “Big Ass Bacon Burger was $7.50.checkered flag 004

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They offer a catfish sandwich for 8 bucks, choice of fried or blackened. This day the lunch special was a fried sandwich, with fries for $5. Now I love bargains. But the lure of smoked pig drew me to the porcine side. The “Big Pig” is a toasted bun with smoked ham, smoked pork and smoked bacon. Now is that not a pig tri fecta?

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The bun is nicely toasted. The ham appears to be a buffet ham exposed to extra smoke and then cooked on a griddle. The bacon looked as if it were deep-fried. No matter it was still pretty good. What carried it over the top was the pulled pork. They have a large smoker out back attached to the back of the kitchen. That way you can access the product without having smoke in your joint. Of course on the down side you must go outside to load and stoke. But heck artists must suffer for their craft.

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This imaginative sandwich is only $8.50, with fries. It is worth every darn dime. When Pat and I went to Squealers, Pat had the smoked pork. After tasting a piece of my pork sandwich he was ready to declare Checkered Flag better. I don’t know about you but I think that is pretty good for a Westside bar.

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We don’t think you can go wrong with this joint. It is simply a neighborhood bar with some outstanding food.

Checkered Flag Tavern on Urbanspoon


Lynn’s Cafe 3748 Lafayette Rosd

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Well it seems like we are off on the right foot again. We stopped at a place that knows how to cook. It’s a small and modestly furnished place that is very neat and tidy and has a super clean kitchen in view of the dining area. Pat and I had a friend join us and while we waited we chatted up with the owner. She is a super nice lady and is also a student. She is in the last year of her Masters of Divinity degree from the Christian Theological Seminary. They are open early and serve breakfast all day. They close at 2 PM during the week and have Soul Food Sundays. During the week in addition to their regular menu they offer daily specials. The specials today were breaded and fried chicken wings or Turkey Tips, both were $8.50 and came with 2 sides and choice of roll or corn bread.

Now I am sure you are wondering what is a turkey tip. Well they are de-boned turkey ribs. As to what a turkey rib is. I don’t know. The only info I have is from a sales rep several years ago. He offered that they were not formed nor processed. They were honest pieces of white meat cut by a special method that has been patented. That was the first and last time I ever thought of them until today. Lynn offered us a taste and they were really good. Moist and tender with a light BBQ sauce. On the inter-net someone did say they were pressured cook prior to shipment. I don’t know. I could not detect any signs of overcooking. A lean piece of muscle meat will invariably be chewy if it is over cooked. That was not the case here. The included link might be helpful

http://www.google.com/patents/US6280311

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I ordered corn bread, sweet potatoes and greens to go with my turkey. At the first bite I was impressed with how the tips tasted. An individual piece was tasty but a plate full was greater than the sum of its individual pieces. In either event they made be a believer. The sides matched the center of the plate well. The greens were cooked long enough to exude a nice liquor and developed a great flavor. The sweet potatoes were of the fresh variety and were whipped like russets. The candy like sweetness was a great foil to the slight bitterness of the greens and the slight smokiness of the meat. The cornbread was well made as well. It did seem a touch old but that was hardly a deal breaker.

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Our guest decided on a grilled chicken sandwich on whole wheat with fries. We didn’t make her write a review, but she cleaned her plate and remarked it was all very good.

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After lunch Lynn gave us a piece of chocolate cake to share. Three layers of dark deliciousness.

 

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So the west side scores another one. This place is a definite keeper. Good food and a great lady running the joint. Remember Soul Food Sunday.

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I know this is a lousy shot but that is one great looking stove. Double ovens, 8 eyes and a flat top. A beauty.

Lynn's Cafe on Urbanspoon


Caplinger’s Fresh Catch Seafood Market 7460 North Shadeland Ave.

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This joint is the real deal. Not only is it a premier facility for fish mongering it is also a pretty nice little place to get a fresh fish feast. In addition to a set menu of favorites they also offer the guests the option of picking from their large selection of fresh product and having it prepared for a flat $2.50 fee.

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Just about any fish product you might desire I think you can find here. From whole Grouper to U 10 scallops to 4 count shrimp. Trust me that in itself is rare in Indy.

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I am a very simple fellow. Show me a fish market or a sausage shop and I am a happy man. Give me the opportunity to eat some of my favorite foods at said location and my eyes become as big as a full moon. In other words I invariably over order, and subsequently over eat.

As soon as I walked in I saw a sign on the first cooler cabinet advertising Blue Point Oysters for $1.59 each. That was my mandatory “first course”- 6 fresh Blue Points; shucked for free.

A delightful combination of sweet and briney. A great start to any meal.

A delightful combination of sweet and briney. A great start to any meal.

After that was ordered I inquired about the sandwiches. They offer a Caplinger’s Special for $ 4.99. I thought it might be an ever-changing special but I think it is a constant Basa sandwich. For the sake of brevity when you think of Basa think bottom feeder. Think catfish. It is a sweet, and firm white fish. In addition to the sandwiches they also offer the same fish choices in a dinner. Now that comes with a bigger portion and 2 hush puppies and choice of 2 sides. I am ashamed to admit that I forgot that they offer hush puppies as a side. I wanted to try the Special sandwich.

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I try not to engage in superlatives. However I do admit that when I bite into something I really enjoy I act like a 13-year-old boy who kissed his first love. That being said. My first bite into my Basa sandwich was damn near perfection. Soft, sweet and tender,with a slight hint of heat and a crisp,salty breading. Oh- the bread. To me it was an excellent accompaniment to the fish. Again the bread is from Roll With it Bakery in Irvington.

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You would think that all of that food would satisfy me. But oh no. You see when I review a joint I feel compelled to try as many food items as possible. Hey. You must suffer for your craft. So I had to try the Chowder. Clams, potato and cream.

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This was a delicious display of simplicity. True to their description. Great hunks of clam. Tender pieces of ‘tater and…of course cream. This is a great example of chowder. Thick, and wonderful.

By now you would think that I have consumed enough. Oh no. I had to try their “New Recipe” crab cake. A 4 oz. cake made exclusively of  lump meat. That is all I can say about that. They produce a thick cake full of lump meat that is really a good buy at $6.99 for an add on.

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Pat naturally opted for the cod sandwich. He couldn’t try any of the chowder; because of onion.

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Well boys and girls if you like fish. If you think  you like fish this is the joint you must go to. Fresh oysters, yellow fin tuna. Hell the list goes on. Even Pat; the most critical fish fiend in the city liked the cod sandwich.

 

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Caplinger's Fresh Catch on Urbanspoon


3 in 1 Restaurant 4202 W. 56th Street

Today we traveled to the west side for some El Salvadoran treats. Pat discovered this place more by happen stance than anything else. His wife, Fran, brought him a tamale she had picked up at the City Market from the 3 in 1 Restaurant,it had a stand at the Farmer’s Winter Market. Sweet corn, pig and no onions. Love at first bite for Pat.

We don’t go to the west side that often so I was curious to see what sights I have been missing. Besides. I am a freak for tamales. Also I was quite curious about the name. At each table was a laminated sheet explaining the origin of their name. I thought it was a touching story so I am posting a copy.

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I wish to apologize in advance for my pictures. Normally I make up for my lack of photographic skill by taking multiple shots, and picking the best to publish. However my batteries were dying so I couldn’t.

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As you can see the prices are more than reasonable. They also have a special on Pupusas, 2 for $5. A pupusa is a thick corn cake stuffed with various tasty things. Chicken or pork and cheese or loroco and cheese. Loroco is an edible flower. An item I have heard of but never tried. Both pupusa and loroco are common in El Salvador. And the closest I have been to El Salvador is Costa Rica .

We ordered Deep Fried Corn Balls and a Riqua to share. A riqua is like a unstuffed pupusa.

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These bad boys were delicious. Look like hush puppies don’t they? That’s what they taste like, but sweeter due to the corn used. At the owner’s suggestion I added powdered sugar to one and it was so reminiscent of a State Fair elephant ear my mouth thought it was August.  And if you added the house made tomatillo sauce the whole flavor profile changed. Instead of enhancing the sweet corn it complemented it with a note of sour and a touch of heat. I thought the tomatillo sauce was outstanding. Definitely one of the best I have had. Including my own.

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This is one-fourth of a riqua. We did it again. Eating before snapping. It too was tasty. Like a Johnny cake with extra sweetness.

Pat ordered a pork tamale and a chicken and cheese pupusa. Since I ordered a locoro pupusa we shared.

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As you can see their presentation is very utilitarian. In addition to the loroco pupusa, I got a plain tamale and a steak taco. They don’t add the garden to their tacos. For that they have a small cold table for the customer to add their own.3 in 1 009

The tamale was softer and sweeter than I am used to but it was good none the less. In the future I will go with pork. I know it wouldn’t be “authentic” but I think a little bacon with the pork would be a nice little addition. The loroco had a nice flavor but I am unable to describe it. The end taste was familiar  but I can’t quite put my tongue on what it is. I know that’s not much help but that’s the best I can do.The steak on my taco was tender, moist and abundant. I think the one factor that made this taco outstanding was the choices in the condiment table.

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In addition to the usual taco toppings they offered green olives, banana peppers, cojita cheese and a crazy slaw. Just shredded cabbage, carrot and lemon juice. Simple and delicious. And the addition of green olives to a taco is brilliant. I can not believe I have not tried it before now.

So if you like good eats with a Latin flair then you should get to 3 in 1 Restaurant. The family that owns the joint is earnest and committed to good food. Also I noticed on a sign as we were leaving you can get the Fried Corn Balls with bacon and cheese for about a buck more. Fried corn, bacon AND cheese. The 3 main food groups.

3 in 1 Restaurant on Urbanspoon

 
http://www.3in1restaurant.com/