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38 TAP?

Actually the place is called Twenty Tap. But thirty-eight is the number of craft beers they offer on draught. Twenty Tap does sound better than the alternative. They are in SoBro; on N. College;across the street from the former Atlas Market location. They’ve been open for a couple of years but this is our first lunch. We have been in a few times for beer. And tried some fried cheese curds ( good) and another friend and I stopped in one evening and had some brews and the charcuterie platter ( not so good). The menu is definitely not your typical pub & grub.

Since our new ” format ” worked out so well ( for me ) we are doing it again. However Pat wants to write it during lunch. And since I forgot my notebook he wrote it on a napkin.

Deluxe Grilled Cheese- Mushroom, Tomato, Spinach, Beer Mustard (sub Pesto for Beer Mustard)  $8 (veg

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Oh for the record it was determined; after writing; the mushrooms were not canned. They were steamed.

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I needed some meat. And what carnivore could pass up SMOKED BRISKET?

Pressed Brisket- House Smoked, Fischer Farm’s Brisket, Peppadew, Arugula, Onion, Cheddar, Anchovy Butter  $9

The sandwich looked as good as it was described. However I though the taste could have used some tweaking. The portion of meat was meager and I could not detect much smoke. It reminded me of the brisket at The Smokehouse in Fountain Square. Or a leaner version of what was offered at Fat Dan’s. More reminiscent  of pot roast than anything else. Good pot roast but pot roast none the less. The peppadew peppers were a good call. A nice sweet flavor and a great color; but too many can be too much. Again the arugula; another nice call;but the characteristic bitterness; that people enjoy was hit and miss. The portion might need a “review”. Same with the onion and anchovy butter. ( I couldn’t taste it. ) I know I’m coming across as a total p***k in this review. But I can be very picky regarding an ambitious menu. Seriously guys I think you are doing a good job. Owning and running a restaurant is a tough gig. Cooking for strangers can be daunting. Every patron is judging your performance, and your judgement. That can be some ominous stuff.

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Twenty Tap on Urbanspoon


Mike’s Speedway Lounge 3701 W. 16th Street

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.

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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.

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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.

002So if you are out and about the Westside, especially during the month of May. You really should stop in at Mike’s for a beer and a bite.

006Mike's Speedway Lounge on Urbanspoon


A Byrd in the Hand…Jonathan’s Byrd Cafeteria

When Pat and I first started going out to lunch and writing about it. We only had one rule, only independent restaurants, diners or bars would be considered. For the most part we have managed to stick by that. With all kinds results. Both bad and good. We decided on lunch because he didn’t want to fall into that “old man-trap of early bird specials and 3 PM dinners. Besides Pat needed to get home and get dinner ready for his wife when she got home from work. However our list of places to go is getting smaller with every passing week. So we decided to try Jonathan Byrd’s cafeteria in Greenwood. So bring on the blue haired ladies. The joint is well-known for its homemade food. And it is a large and attractive space.

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At the very beginning I made a rookie mistake when visiting a cafeteria or buffet; I did not check out all the options first. In the cafeteria they will put the deserts at the front of the line with the salads; in order to entice you to eat and spend more. With buffets it’s nearly a war of attrition. They try to spread things out so you will spend as much time walking as you can. So what I’m getting at is I got too much food. Again. Pat, almost always the sensible one ate rationally. He had a nice piece of breaded fish with a side of steamed broccoli, a side of carrots and a nice whole-wheat dinner roll. Although the fish had been fried. He blotted any excess grease off prior to eating. They did have a baked option for fish, but the portion was much larger. Pat’s lunch was tasty, filling and nutritionally fulfilling. Very much keeping in line with the man of his maturity.

005Now me, on the other hand, picked a lunch fit for two. Pasta salad, Boston cream pie (why it is called a pie. I don’t know why. It is obviously cake). Having picked the beginning and the end of my lunch . I needed something for the middle. So, I opted for a side of corn bread dressing with a touch of gravy, Turkey pot pie and a biscuit with butter.

004The pasta salad was tasty. One of the better versions I’ve had. Multi colored tortellinis with grape tomatoes, and thin slices of red radish. All in a dressing reminiscent of Buttermilk Ranch. The cornbread dressing was very “genteel”. Fine textured and mildly flavored. But considering the rest of my food it fit in well. The biscuit was nice and fluffy but considering I already had pot pie it was redundant. The pie was rather unique. Don’t get me wrong it was very good. Just in my estimation different from the usual Boston cream pie. The cake was fluffier than I am accustomed to and the chocolate glaze was more milk chocolate, then dark chocolate. As for the cream filling. It was sweet vanilla cream. What’s not to like. However, the winner, winner, turkey dinner was the pot pie. it had a top crust only which was more than sufficient. The crust was handmade and flaky, barely containing a large , thick portion of filling. Big chunks of turkey with carrots and peas in a rich gravy. I cannot imagine this dish being done better. The peas even had a slight bite to them. Meaning they were not cooked into mush. If you have an opportunity to try this. I strongly recommend it.

As soon as we sat down we unloaded our trays. We didn’t want people thinking we are institutionalized.The prices were quite reasonable. I believe the whole tab came to less than $19 and we got a lot of food.

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 Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria on Urbanspoon


Hey…I Do So Have Followers…

This post does not have anything to do with eating;directly. It’s about my favorite blog that I follow. I Don’t Get It;by Kerby. It’s about things that make no sense. So she has plenty of material to work with. It is written by a young lady from Texas. Having spent some time in Texas I have good feelings towards Texans. I don’t wish to generalize,but in general the Texicans I dealt with were stand up folks that could definite weave a good yarn. Kerby definitely fits that description. She tells a mean story and she leaves no doubt on what she means.

One of her recent posts was about Roquefort cheese. Specifically Roquefort dressing and how old coots preferred it over all other dressings. Being a semi old coot who loves all bleu cheese;especially Roquefort I added my 2 cents. She responded by asking what it was that I liked so much about Roquefort. And you know… I really could not fully describe the flavor of bleu cheese. I did say that I thought that Roquefort cheese taste more “bleu” than the rest. But what the hell is that supposed to mean. Here is the post in question. You really ought to check it out.

http://sanceau.com/

Hey-Kerby Wilma Rudolph.


Jockamo Fee Na’ Ne’….

PIZZA….. I just love pizza. This week Pat and I decided we needed to try Jockamo‘s Pizza. They have at least two locations. One on Washington Street in Irvington and one in Greenwood. We decided on the one in Greenwood because that fit in to our beer drinking plans for later. This location is huge. Nicely appointed and decorated and they even have a cute little beer and wine bar nestled in the back corner. As soon as you walk in, you’re greeted by a hostess and what apparently is their monkey mascot.

202-001When you first see the little fella you can help but grin. After all, who doesn’t like monkeys. But after editing the picture , the sucker could be a mite scary. But monkeys are all cute even the scary ones. They have a full menu. Big salads, little salads, sandwiches and daily lunch specials. Which are five dollars for a slice of pizza of the day, a small salad and a soft drink. That seems like a bargain. But Pat and I wanted PIZZA. They offer a 10 inch pie for $6.85. They also have an extensive list of toppings. From the traditional to the not so traditional. Such as chorizo sausage from Smokin’ Goose Meatery to Cajun sausage from a joint in New Orleans. In addition to the common cheese offerings they also have less common. Feta,smoked Gouda and Gorgonzola. Now I like all forms of blue cheese, but I don’t dig melted bleu cheese; it has a metallic aftertaste to me. The verdict was unanimous. They offer a fine ass pizza pie. The crust is thin and slightly crispy and the sauce is slightly chunky, which gives it more mouth appeal. The toppings are nicely portioned and the pricing is more than fair. Two 10 inch pies with two toppings each totaled less than $18. Now what do you need a chain for when you can get a pizza like this at a mom and pops? And as you can see their pies are quite photogenic.

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203Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza on Urbanspoon


Madison Grill

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.

004There’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.

005I 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.

008As 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.

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010Madison Grill on Urbanspoon


Ralston’s Tavern on Mass. Ave.

I checked out the website and menu on this place several weeks ago. It seemed a little pretentious and a lot expensive. As a matter of fact, Pat told me he and Fran stopped in there after a bike run and was turned off by the prices. Now it appears they have streamlined the menu and lowered prices. It is still a swanky joint with a lot of attention paid to fruit reductions and such. It also has a huge draft beer selection and one of the coolest wine systems I have seen. When you walk in, you are greeted by a host at a station made of beer cans.

003To the left of the host station is a large dining room and to the right is the bar and more dining room. The bar has two beautiful draft systems and the aforementioned wine pour station.

007004As I said earlier, the menu appears to been trimmed somewhat, but still leans a little to the trendy and chic. Pat ordered Caesar salad with fried chicken and dressing on the side. It was a normal amount of chopped romaine lettuce with five oddly shaped pieces of chicken. Odd because it looked like index finger sized Lincoln logs. Pat thought the chicken was a little dry. He was not a big fan. It was served with a cute little bowl of flat bread points and Parmesan cheese crisp. The only remark he had to make about the crisp, was that it was more a Parmesan cheese non-crisp. As for the dressing it was house made. Thick, creamy and rich with anchovy and Parmesan cheese.  Now Patrick is not a big fan of anchovy so he was not too thrilled. If you dig anchovy, as I do, you would probably enjoy it a lot. The first two tastes were delicious. Even with the heavy anchovy, you can definitely taste the Parmesan cheese. However, after a couple of bites you can see why it is a dressing not a dip. It needs to be tossed with lettuce. It is still a great Caesar dressing. Pat thought it was satisfactory just not worth $13.

008I was torn between their rather funky selections of flat breads and one of their unique sandwiches. Their house burgers are a mixture of shredded potato and ground beef. Interesting. They also have this one.

Bacon, mixed greens, cucumber, green tomato, red peppers with an apple butter spread on flat bread.

Now that would probably be either fantastic or dreadful. I can’t imagine it would leave an eater with no opinion. I decided on a slow roasted pulled pork with the bourbon glaze on a pretzel bun. The pork is tender and slightly sweet from the bourbon glaze.The glaze worked with the pork, allowing you to better taste it. Not mask it like some sauces do.Their selection of sides is rather unique. I chose couscous salad.

Couscous, avocado, black olives, red and yellow peppers, tossed in olive oil. The veggies were small diced and not really plentiful but it was still a very tasty salad.

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It is a swanky joint with swanky food, swanky dishes and a big selection of beer. One last picture of the last thing you’ll probably see,just before you leave.

010Ralston's DraftHouse on Urbanspoon


Dufours in Irvington

Irvington Historic District (Indianapolis, Ind...

Irvington Historic District (Indianapolis, Indiana) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pat and I normally plan our excursions well in advance. This time our decision to go to Irvington was totally spontaneous. The reason I’m putting this in is we have a friend,Jim, who lives in Irvington and works out of his home. Whenever we have lunch in that vicinity we call him and he joins us, This time, since this decision was spur of the moment and I didn’t have my phone with me, and since Pat didn’t have his number-we could not call. So now on to the food.

They have a trendy chic menu of sandwiches,salads and home-made soups. Featuring ham, turkey, different cheeses and sprouts. They also have roast beef which I avoided, thinking it was pre- sliced deli meat. I found out later it might be roasted in-house. Now that is a cow of a different color. Their SOD was creamy chicken and mushroom. We each had a cup and it was wonderful. Thick with chicken and mushrooms in a delicious real heavy cream sauce. The best I have had in quite a while.

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Pat had a combo with the aforementioned soup and half a grilled cheese. The sandwich was pretty standard. Thick toast, cheese and tomato. Pretty basic. I on the other hand ordered the most pedestrian sandwich on the menu; a sloppy Joe. What can I say, I’m a Hoosier. I can’t pass up sloppy Joe or meat loaf. The sandwich was good, but it is what it is. Ground beef browned up with peppers and onions with a sweet tomato sauce. You see a sloppy Joe sandwich is like beer. They are all good;just some are better than others.

They don’t serve chips with their sandwiches they serve something they call veggie straws. These are square little tubes in pale green,light red and beige. They don’t have a distinctive flavor. My guess is they are an extruded potato product with vegetable color. Whatever they are they are different and definitely cute. Make paste of cheese or a compound butter and you could make a funky edible log cabin. Oh,one more thing they offer pastries and locally made chocolates. They have a display case up front. I not sure why I didn’t take any pictures. At least of the chocolates. They are turtles and hearts approximately 1-1/2 – 2 inches in diameter. They are made off premise and brought in and painted. That’s right painted in pastel colors. They look like little enameled jewels. Next time I go I am both  taking pictures and biting the heads off a few turtles.

003005Dufours in Irvington on Urbanspoon


Sushi Bar Broad Ripple ( Revisit )

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Pat,Fran and I haven’t gone back yet. However my first-born son,Adam went there with me for his birthday. The food was just as good as the first time. Adam is not too adventurous. He pretty much sticks with Terriyaki and California rolls. For $15.95 he got a platter of chicken strips on a bed of slivered onion, dressed with a copious amount of Terriyaki sauce. The chicken was accompanied by a cup of rice, and both soup and salad. He also ordered a Cali roll for about 4 bucks. I stuck with the more “traditional” Sushi Bar Special # 3. That is a Cali roll,a Tuna roll and 10 pieces Nigiri ( chef’s choice ) plus soup and salad, for $25.95. The soup was as tasty as before and the salad was a bowl of plain iceberg lettuce with a house dressing that tasted a lot like a thin 1000 Island dressing,without the relish. Tossed in with the lettuce was a super thin slice of carrot and 2 equally thin slices of cucumber. I will say this. The cukes tasted like cukes. An oddity here in the winter. Regardless how tasty the soup and adequate the salad next time I am going ala carte. I had trouble cleaning my plate.

Adam really liked his chicken  and rice and roll. He too had a tough time finishing everything. As for my dinner it left me fat and sassy and smiling. The rolls were good; as to be expected and the nigiri was nice as well. The rice portion was smaller than I am accustomed to and didn’t have the same sweetly sour taste that some have. I received  5 types of fish. The salmon and tuna I recognized the rest were white and I can only guess as to their identity. One had a dab of fish roe on it, a cool touch. That is the fun about eating at a sushi bar. The rolls with the differing flavors and textures. The sashimi or nigiri with the clean taste of the fish. Altered only by the salty heat of the wasabi and soy. And the whole thing balanced by the hot astrigency of the hot sake. And when you throw in some sticky rice you can’t help but have a party in your belly.

Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon


Pure Food Eatery ( Revisit )

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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?Pure Eatery on Urbanspoon


The Illinois Street Food Emporium Bakery & Deli

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What a big name for a rather small place. Pat and I have been meaning to try this place for a while, don’t know why we haven’t until now. They have a pretty good format. They offer a wide variety of deli and sub sandwiches; grilled or cold. Pair that up with house made soups and chili and a plethora of different salads you have a joint with lunch written all over it. If you take that marriage and add a case displaying the most decadent looking cakes and pastries this side of Bavaria you have a brand. They even have a merchandise freezer offering a selection of their products you can take home. Well now that my cheer leader routine is over let’s talk about their food.

They have a category called grilled sandwiches that are all $9.40 and come with choice of soup,salad,chili or mac & cheese. I got a Havarti Delight. Havarti cheese,avocado,sprouts and tomato on wheat bread. It was a nicely prepared and tasty sandwich. Creamy cheese, double buttery from the avocado and the buttered toast with just the right touch of acidity from the  ‘mater. Had I to do it over again I would have added bacon. Bacon is always a nice addition. I did have a bowl of chili. I had to have some meat or else my stomach would have thought I was angry with it. The chili was pretty good better than most; not as good as some. Pat had his usual default lunch; grilled cheese. It had an interesting choice of cheeses. Provolone,jack and Colby on what appeared to be sourdough bread. It was satisfactory. However Pat got a little miffed when he learned ,after the fact, he should have been offered bread choice and an option to add 2 veggies from a list of 4 . I guess he should have read the menu board. He opted for salad with oil and vinegar. Has the manufacture of oil and vinegar cruets been suspended? Once again the oil and vinegar was served in portion cups. OK end of rant. After lunch Pat had a chocolate glazed donut. I had a bite and it was really good. Trouble is it cost $1.67. As Patrick so sagely pointed out it was no better than Longs and for that price he could have gotten 3 donuts. I think you better leave your sweet tooth at home when you stop here for lunch.Illinois Street Food Emporium on Urbanspoon


Sushi Bar-Broad Ripple

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The post I made earlier was actually about our little adventure 2 weeks ago. I’m still a little behind from the Holidays. That post was short because; well… Let’s just say the lunch was not very good. This post will be short as well ,only because I neglected to take any pictures of our food. So Pat and I decided we need to revisit soon; with his better half Fran. They have lunch specials ;a whole board full of different rolls. Pat is not a big fan of sushi or sashimi but he is a fan of fried fish. So he ordered shrimp tempura. Five nice shrimp and veggies with miso soup or salad and a cup of sticky rice( the best rice of all ). All for $7.99. For me sushi,sashimi, nigiri etc are all my favorite. So I got a 2 roll deal. That’s 2 rolls;your choice; miso or salad for $6.99. I decided on the ubiquitous spicy tuna and cucumber& eel. I probably could have made a better selection for texture but I serious thought of a 3 roll combo. Thankfully I stayed with 2; and chose two of my favorite proteins. And what is sushi without sake ? Pat; believe it or not has never had hot sake. He merely had a taste. However he did discover the “allure” of hot wine. I don’t need pictures to describe our total delight at the quality of our lunch. However, since we ARE going back I will wait ’til then to be verbose.Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon


Brugge…Ponte…Bridge…Puente…

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By any other name it is still a brewery or a Brasserie if you will. The Brugge Brasserie has been in Broad Ripple for a few years and has been doing quite well. So well in fact they are building a new joint just Northwest of Michigan and College. As I understand, it will house all the brewing equipment. So kudos to the small business owner. I have heard good reports about the place but honestly, I have never felt compelled to go there, until now. Pat and I had lunch there Friday before Christmas. As to why it took me this long to finish this post only the ghosts of Christmas past know. Well, in keeping with the old adage better late than never, here goes.

The place is really swanky. A “hip” interior and copper sheathed tables accented with decent artwork on the walls you have an attractive and comfy place to eat. Shucks the tables look like disproportioned  picnic tables; what with the oversized hole in the center to accommodate their signature pomme frites in their paper cones. In case you just came out of a 30 year coma pomme frites are what we colonials call fried taters, or french fries. 

Pat ordered  waterzooi,or fish stew. I decided on one of their mitraillettes. Mitraillettes are a French version of a hoagie or a grinder. My particular “gun” was a meatball and peppers, braised in beer and tomato sauce.  All their “sandwiches” come with fries,and 2 sauces (for the fries).  Lordy the thing was Huge and COVERED with pomme frites.  So much so I nearly went into carb overload just eating my way to the meat.  But when I finally made it ;it was really, really good.  Plump succulent meat balls of beef and veal smothered in a sweet tomato sauce. The fact that they added fennel seed to their mixture didn’t hurt things;since I’m a freak for anything with even a hint of licorice.  As for Pat’s stew it was spot on !  All you must do is imagine a large bowl of potato, cod and mussels  ala nage  in a luscious “soup” of fish stock,white wine,butter and cream. And yes. It is as decadent and tasty as you can imagine. Pat did allow me to taste the soup. He also was generous in sharing his mussels. So I agree with Pat that it was delicious and worth the $14.00 price. As was my $11 hoagie. On the beer tip they offer a flight of 3 for 7 bucks. Since they are in the process of growing their business, they,at this time , didn’t offer all their own brews. However they had a great guest brewery. Victory out of  St. Louis. So whether you come for the food and stay for the beer;or vice versa I don’t think you can go wrong with The Brewery.Brugge Brasserie on Urbanspoon


Putting on the Ritz…At the New Aristocrat Pub

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Do you know that over used phrase “…better than ever” ? Well guess what? The Aristocrat is back and it is “better than ever”. For any locals that live under a rock the Aristocrat was (is) a long time establishment that was gutted by fire. It took quite a while but it is back,and Mr. Rising-Moore should be proud of the result. I thought the old layout seemed cramped. The bar was to the side and you had to walk through a dozen doors and through the dining room to get to the facilities. The new layout is open and spacious. The large U-shaped bar,with its 60 tapheads, is the center of attention. And all of the beer they pour are craft or “micro” brewed and cost 5 bucks. You gotta’ love the in your face display of excess. We’re beer; we’re here and we’re not going to go away. Now;to the food.

Patrick,who is evidently on a pork tenderloin diet; had just that, a grilled pork tenderloin. It was a nice size;nicely grilled, tender&tasty. Everything you would expect from the state mammal. I had to have a tuna sandwich. The description was compelling. Grilled tuna topped with a slice of grilled pineapple,with a side of cucumber relish and chipotle mayo. You just can’t escape “exotic” mayo it seems. The tuna was delightful,even though it was closer to medium than med-rare. The pineapple ring was pretty much so-so,too thin to accomplish what I think they wanted to accomplish. As for the mayo it was pretty much what you would expect. A slightly spicy mayo that did enhance the flavor of the fish. The salsa was compelling as well. Small cubes of sweet and hot peppers and cucumber that had a sweet and spicy effect. I still don’t get what they were trying to do with that combo,but just because I can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there to be seen. No matter, it was a fine sandwich and I would eat it again in a minute. So,in summation The Aristocrat is back and well worth the wait.Aristocrat Pub & Restaurant on Urbanspoon


The Panorama Grill 901 N. Pennsylvania Street-Indy

Has anyone out there ever been to the Urban Element ? Has anyone ever heard of the Urban Element ? Well no matter. That joint closed and in its place is Panorama Grill;specializing in Mid-East cooking with some American stand by s as well. The place is nicely decorated in urban chic;probably left over from the previous tenant. Our first server was not real knowledgable about the menu and was so timid and soft-spoken; I think she is going to have to “bulk up” if she plans on staying in the business. A more experienced server answered our questions and took our order;I don’t know if that was their system or if the youngster had her table jacked.No matter. Pat took the safe way out and had a burger,a plain hamburger. It was a little more charred than he would have preferred but is was satisfactory. I fell back to my old stand by,the falafel. Like the burger it was satisfactory; maybe a little above satisfactory. The falafel had a hint of cinnamon and a nice crunch. The pita was soft and the tahini sauce was abundant. The whole thing was so abundant I couldn’t eat it all. They also provide fries in abundance. A big pile of your standard 3/16 inch cut skin on french fries dusted with paprika. Again, nothing to get too excited about. All in all a nice lunch in a nice place at a nice price. Less than sixteen bucks for the two of us. And it’s close to downtown. On Penn just a half block north of the central library. So I think it is worth a shot. OH my.I forgot to mention the pickles. They are small non garlicy spears that have the appearance and texture of home-made refrigerator pickles. A perfect choice for any cuisine; especially food with bold taste.Panorama Grill on Urbanspoon


Its Like Coming Home

At the corner of Capital Avenue and 13th street sits the Tip Top Tavern. Pat and I have stopped there a few times,but it has always been closed. A couple of weeks ago we found out why. The place has gone through a few owners the last few years and have never been able to make a go of it. Now the owner of the building has decided to have a go of it himself; and it appears as though he is on the right track. They only operate 7:00 A.M. to 10:00 P.M.;Monday through Friday. Which is probably a good call for the neighborhood. 

It is certainly a good-looking place. Cozy booths around the perimeter of the dining room and several large dark wood tables down the center. The first thing you notice,when you walk in is the large ,dark, carved wood back bar. It looks antique;but it probably isn’t.  The remaining area is spacious and bright; with an abundance of old school glass blocks in the walls ;that allows for a great deal of diffuse natural light to enter. Like I said, like coming home. The service is first-rate and the people are great. The owner is casual and friendly and Echo ;our server/bartender is a charming and lovely young lady that never stops moving. 

The menu is pretty much what you would expect in a tavern;but although the fare might be common the execution isn’t. They cut their own tenders from a whole loin;and cube it themselves ; with an honest to gosh cuber; no hammer for these folks. I haven’t had a grilled tender in I don’t know how long. So when I learned they cube their own I had to have one. That hunk o’ pig was 8 ounces if it was a gram. They cook all their meat on a flat top griddle. Would that make it a Tip Top Flat Top? Nevermind. The sandwich was on point. The meat was cooked just to the right point. It offered enough “chew” so that you knew you were eating real meat; but not too much so it would wreak havoc on my store-bought chompers. Pat ordered a Philly cheese steak; and his only complaint was it needed more beef. But then who doesn’t like more meat? The sandwiches come with choice of fries,macaroni or potato salad or fresh fruit cup. I can’t remember the exact price of their sandwiches but I’m pretty sure they are less than 8 bucks. As for beer; well let me tell you they have a very respectable selection of craft brews for $3.50 to $4.00. That’s pretty good for”downtown”. Oh I almost forgot they also serve breakfast, hence the 7:oo A.M. opening. And their pricing is incredible. So it seems like a no brainer to me ,heading into work  downtown on Capital pull off at 13th;they have a parking lot; and fuel up.Remember breakfast is the most important meal of the day.Tip Top Tavern on Urbanspoon


Pure Food…Pure Thoughts?

Another new joint has opened in Fountain Square;Pure Food Eatery and in this case Pure means simple.It is a lovely little place,not too artsy fartsy or too urban tavern chic;just nice.The menu is Panini Press centered.Sandwiches and wraps in simple and tasty combos.Not a single french fry or chicken wing to be found;no fryers anywhere.They did fall into the aioli trap however.That is where you flavor mayo call it (fill in the blank)mayo and “jazz”up your menu.A good emulsion sauce has its place but sometimes people stick it in the most unlikely places;like grilled cheese.Since I am still dentally challenged that is what I ordered.Actually a half sandwich and a cup of soup.All their Panini are available as 1/2 or whole.The wholes are reasonably priced,in the $7-$8 range;the 1/2’s are not as reasonable;at $6.The 3 cheese Panini was pretty good.A curious combo of Havarti,Swiss and Provolone cheeses with the obligatory slice of tomato.Their addition of Pesto mayo;although not traditional,did bring a nice additional taste to the mild cheeses;also a touch of unctiousness to the toasted sour dough bread.Patrick decided on a BLT.Nothing out of the ordinary except for the avocado spread;which Pat turned down;due to onion content.We both enjoyed our sandwiches;and more than enjoyed the SOD;Chicken and Rice. A delicious home-made stock loaded with fresh Tarragon.The stock alone was worth the 90 cent up-charge,the diced chicken and rice was a bonus.In addition to sour dough they also offer wheat and rye bread,which would go well with some of their other filling options.

The biggest deal of the day was the Thursday beer special.New Belgiums for $2.50.I discovered Shift by New Belgium.They call it a Lager but it has a definite Ale quality.Delicious;and a bargain at $2.50 for a 16 oz can.The thing about good beer is you get nutrition and you can consume regardless of  the condition of your teeth.


The Four Seasons 1140 N State Rd 135 Greenwood Indiana.

Our lunch schedule has been erratic because I have been under going some extensive dental work (dentures).This trip to Four Seasons actually happened approximately 4 weeks ago when I still had my front teeth;only my front teeth.I guess I have just been lazy in not writing it up until now.Four Seasons is on South Meridian,real close to Greenwood.We’ve been there before,pre Blog days;so it’s not a ground breaking trip.It’s a nice little joint;along the lines of Flap Jacks.It offers pretty good food at a decent price.Pat ordered a French Dip ($6.95);with a side of apple sauce.The beef,I can see;the apple sauce?Go figure.It was your basic Kroger deli roast beef on a decent roll.Tasty but a small portion;and the au-jus was more au than jus.Overall,nothing to get worked up over.I,on the other hand,opted for a “diet plate” ($7.25).On that you got a tomato stuffed with your choice of tuna salad or turkey salad;along with cottage cheese,fresh veggie garnish and the ubiquitous diet plate inhabitant.The canned peach half.What I got was a nice 5×6 tomato stuffed with a very tasty home-made turkey salad,a full fat cottage cheese and of course the aforementioned peach.The only reason I mentioned the fat content of the cheese is that,at home,I eat 1% or 2% fat cottage cheese.And the real deal is SO much creamier and tasty.But the nicest thing about this joint was the staff.They all were friendly, and acted as if they really wanted to help us.Something you don’t always see.

Afterwards;for the refreshment part of our trip we decided to stop at the Longacre Tavern.It too is on the south side,Madison Avenue north of Southport.It has been around for quite a while;and it looks it.I don’t think I’ve in there for 30 years.They offer New Castle or Blue Moon draft for $5.50 and domestic draft for $3.Downtown prices for a joint that ain’t downtown.’Nuff said.Four Seasons on Urbanspoon


Stardust Terrace

This past Thursday Pat and I decided to go to the Indiana Historical Society and try the Stardust Terrace Cafe for lunch.The cafe is named  in remembrance of Hoagy Carmichael;a famous Hoosier song writer,performer and actor.Among the many tunes he wrote you can include Stardust;hence the name.The place is attractive,neat and well-appointed and has a beautiful terrace overlooking the Downtown Canal.The food is handled by Hoaglin Catering;which has a fine reputation;and I believe they have a place of their own on Mass.Ave.Most of their menu;while extensive;is sandwich assembly.Now don’t get me wrong;I’m a big fan of nicely prepared sandwiches;and their selections were varied as well as interesting;we were just in the mood for some cookin’.And we had it on good authority they make a nice Quiche.And contrary to that old Playboy story;real men DO eat quiche.As you well know Pat CAN NOT eat onion;his body gets all weird ;so he asked about their quiche options and was reassured that the veggie one was onion free.Oops;not quite.He had to pull the thing apart to get out the onions;just to eat.He didn’t make a big deal about it;he is used to it.Lesson time kids;if you work a kitchen, and your kitchen builds something, know what is in it.If you don’t know just say so.I on the other hand can,and will eat damn near anything.My quiche was of the ham and cheddar cheese variety,Pat’s was supposed to be of the roasted red pepper and mozzarella cheese variety.Neither one was teeming with non egg ingredients.As under whelming as the filling was the crust was as exciting as tap water,and as tasty.The only thing that saved the lunch was the large soup cup of fresh fruit that came with the quiche.Fresh melon,strawberries,blueberries and even a little taste of pineapple.Beautiful.Oh and the chocolate brownie we got to share.A moist fudgie square with chocolate chips;delicious.If they made it, good for them,if they didn’t, no matter, they had the good taste to buy it.I wouldn’t discount this place for lunch though, by no means.The selection of sandwiches they offer is really impressive.I know I’ll be back,by myself or maybe with my daughter-in-law;they have ham salad and a good ham salad is a thing of beauty.Stardust Terrace Café By Hoaglin To Go on Urbanspoon


Duos-Revisited

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.


John’s Famous Stew

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.John's Famous Stew on Urbanspoon


Zelma’s

On Shadeland Avenue,in the 900 block sits a free-standing building that houses Zelma’s.As I later learned the building is over 80 years old and has been the home for Zelma’s for more than 30 years.The place is in pretty good shape but it has seen better days.And the cooking has too I’m afraid.Zelma is 93 years old and doesn’t have the hands on as she did, back in the day.When we arrived there was one other customer;an elderly lady finishing her pie at the counter.So when she left we had the whole joint to our selves;and the full attention of the cook/server.The lady was 73 and was doing it all;cooking and covering the counter and the tables.She did have a dish washer that day;normally she wouldn’t.Chatting with her made this one of the most enjoyable lunches we have had.Pat had a grilled cheese with a side of sliced tomatoes and fries.I know, it is really kind of hard to screw that up.But that wasn’t why he ordered it he woke up with a “craving”.I tried their special.Meat loaf with 2 sides and roll and butter for $5.85.The meat loaf was home-made and was good;not spectacular;but good.To  the cook’s credit she used ketchup sparingly before baking.The green beans were canned;which is totally acceptable at a diner;but they could have used more seasoning and more cook time.The mac and cheese was smooth and creamy and made by Gordon Food Services (GFS).It comes in a foil pan ,you pop it in the oven and bake,keep warm and serve.After lunch we ordered pie.Chocolate, peanut butter, cream pie to be exact.Can I hear a YUM?The pie was quite good even though it wasn’t 100% house made.Our server lamented that when Zelma was younger they made all their pies,totally from scratch.Crust,filling and meringue.Now they only make the filling.The younger lady that they have doing the baking and the specials does what she can,but….Oh they also have cobbler that they make,but I didn’t think to ask how home-made they were.All in all it was a pleasant meal.What the food missed in originality was more than made up by the charm of the server/cook.Hearing her talk about her early life and her family was a treat.And the whole meal cost less than $16.Such a deal.

Zelma's on Urbanspoon


Taste Budds Soul Food

Today is a beautiful Saturday; and, you know you have had a long, hot and hard week. So I think you and the whole family should hop into the car; jump on your bikes or pop into an IndyGo; and go to 25th and Oxford streets and have lunch. Taste Budds is a place you must go to if you like good cooking, think you like good cooking or like a lot of people don’t even know what good cooking is. Depending on your age a meal at Taste Budds is the kind of food your mom or grandma would’ve made for you when you were young.I don’t care who you are or what you prefer to eat; I think you’ll find something to like there.They offer small plates for $8.18, tax included and large plates, for $11.99. Either size comes with two sides and choice of bread; one of which is hot-water cornbread; or some would call it Johnnie cake. They also offer $3.99 lunch specials,that are served with fries and coleslaw.

Normally I don’t order, rib tips ; when I go out. The quality as well as the technique is hit and miss. This time,I asked the young man where they got their meat and how they were cooked. That might sound extreme, but believe me, I’ve been burned before by fatty and/or bony tips. I ordered the small plate of tips with collard greens, mac & cheese, and of course cornbread. When I opened the clamshell I was astounded by the big pile of beautiful pieces of pig inside. The pieces were small enough you could pop one into your mouth and chew around the occasional small bone before discreetly depositing it in a napkin. At the same time the pieces were tender enough to cut with a plastic fork.You could taste the slight smokiness from the grill and the sauce did its job properly;enhancing the flavor of the pork not overpowering it. As any good backup singer should.The greens were as good as you would expect from a kitchen this good. They used smoked turkey to season them;a pleasant alternative to the more usual smoked ham hock. As for the mac & cheese all I can say is, it is hands down,the best I’ve eaten in any restaurant I have been to.

Pat opted for a small plate as well.He chose herb roast chicken, mashed potatoes, greens and cornbread. He enjoyed the greens as much as I did, this being the first time he has had them with smoked turkey. And if the speed at which he ate the mashed potatoes and gravy, he must have liked those too. At the risk of sounding gushy the chicken was beautiful. It was a lemon and herb crusted and roasted airline breast. That is to say it was a breast half with a wing attached. The skin was golden brown and the flesh inside moist and tender. Now that I was able to try since, Pat couldn’t finish his meal either.It always amazes me how something so simple could be so delicious and so hard to do by so many folks.The only thing that Pat and I could not agree on was a cornbread. He thought it was the best we have had and I thought it was a tie between , theirs and Dee’s and Pa and Ma’s.

Since the number five bus stops right in front of the place I’m going back, soon. I have to try their liver and onions. To date, every place I’ve gone to always overcook the meat and undercook the onion’s.So folks this place is the real deal.So to all those folks who “whine” about how the chains are taking over; get off your back sides and get to Brightwood and support this great little independent café. To paraphrase myself in my post about Kountry Kitchen: These guys have the skill of a master carpenter and the soul of a church choir.

Hey Rick if you and Jim go;try the meat loaf and let me know how it is.Taste Budds Soul Food & Catering on Urbanspoon


Fireside Brewhouse

We had planned on hitting a place in the “inner city” but we had to make a run to Gander Mountain in Greenwood first.And what do you think was right across the street?Well the Fireside Brewhouse that’s what.And I cannot imagine two men passing up any place that calls itself a brew house;even if it really doesn’t make its own beer.The place is huge and really GOOD looking;you might even call it beautiful.I took a few more structure shots than normal;since I forgot, again,to take any pictures of our food until the plates were in such disarray it would be a waste of time to try to salvage a shot.

But you should be aware that they practice Down Town Pricing;some one has to pay for the pretty.They offer over 100 beers;a dozen or so are on draft.I had a couple of Flat 12 Half Cycles at $6 each and Pat had a Hacker-Pschorr Weisse for 6 bucks;and it wasn’t even a big bottle.Like I said downtown prices.Their menu is standard Tavern fare,with sandwiches in the 9-10 dollar range.They offer a variety of Angus Burgers combos.They have one called The Dude.It’s a fully cooked burger topped with Velveeta cheese;placed on a bun and the whole damn thing is beer battered and deep fried.Naturally it comes with fries;as do all their sandwiches.Normally I like my burgers naked;no garden,no mayo, maybe cheese.However on this occasion I ordered their Tijuana something or other.A southwest seasoned patty topped with fried green chiles,onions,white cheese,guacamole and “chipotle mayo”.I added lettuce and tomato( a man needs some veggies )so the end result was quite a mouthful.The overall taste was quite good.The slight spiciness of the seasoning and the mild heat of the lightly breaded poblanos brought a welcome crunch to blend with the creaminess of the guacamole.The only negative is they don’t toast the buns,so near the end the mayo and the guac.made the sandwich a little mushy.

Pat ordered an Italian Beef sandwich.A decent portion of roast beef on a hoagie roll with red sauce,pickled veggies and provolone cheese.Per the bartender’s suggestion he got the sauce and veggies on the side along with a side of au jus.It came out open face so he ate it with a knife and fork.When I asked him how it was, he said the quantity was “street level”.Meaning he didn’t get enough meat.However when he attacked the other half he commented that the meat wasn’t “evenly divided”;so he was happy again.I thought he was enjoying the food because I thought I caught a glimpse of sparks coming from his knife and fork;but maybe it was just a trick of the lighting.One thing we both agreed on was the fries had a great house seasoning.

So; in summation if you live or work around here it’s a nice place to go for a bite;they even offer a kid’s menu.If you desire a beer after work before you head home to the Mr. or Mrs.they offer daily specials.Thursdays special was $2.75 domestic drafts,but since all I am allowed to drink at home is domestic light beers on Thursday I require a real beer.Fireside Brewhouse on Urbanspoon