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JT’s Grille 2210 E. 54th Street

One thing Indy does as well as any city is re cycle its restaurant property. This building on 54th street started out as a Long John Silver’s. Then it became Just Judy’s, a long time tavern that relocated about one year ago. Now it’s become JT’s, not just a Tavern but a Grill, with an E. The place has gone through quite a make over. New paint, new furnishings, the whole bit. The lunch menu is pretty much what you would expect for a tavern.

I ordered something I rarely order. A grilled chicken sandwich. It was okay, nothing spectacular. Which is one reason I don’t make a habit of ordering grilled breasts that often. This particular piece of chicken was a half breast, about 4 ounces in weight and easily dwarfed by the all too generic bun. They offer a wide selection of sides to pick from. One is a cup of soup for an extra $1.49. Their SOD was split pea with ham, one of my favorites. And it was excellent. Thick and loaded with ham cubes. I could have eaten a big ol’ bowl.

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Pat was torn between their French Dip and a battered fish sandwich. The man sure does like his fried fish.

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After lunch I discovered that they have a really nice smoker out back, and a nice stack of logs. Covered by a metal roof. So maybe we mis ordered. They did offer a pork bbq sandwich, but at the time of ordering I didn’t know about their smoker. Also after lunch when we were at the bar having our obligatory Pale Ale the Manager/ Server/ Bartender was pouring out a measure of bourbon for their BBQ sauce. Which could be a good sign for future eaters. I really can’t say anything bad about the joint I just didn’t see anything really special. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not there.JT's Grille & Bar on Urbanspoonhttp://www.jtsgrille.com/


Greiner’s Sub Shop

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As you can tell from the header this is an old place. I believe this is where I ate the 2nd submarine sandwich in my life. And until yesterday I haven’t been back. Also as you will readily see there are no pictures of our food due to a slight camera malfunction. Had the lunch been better I’d probably go back and take some shots. However I don’t think the trip is worth the bus fare to relive.

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I think Pat enjoyed his sandwich more than I did mine. I had an 8 inch mushroom steak  sub. For $5.25, you can’t complain about the price. Oh and they bake the bread in-house, so that was pretty good. But that is about the end of the compliments. The “steak” had the taste of a “formed” beef product. That is to say no taste. The only flavor was from the canned mushroom gravy. And that was far from great. Oh and on top of the bad sandwich I also got a cup of “chili” with beans. Straight from a can. I heard that this is a new owner. If that is the case he might want to rethink his position. I am not sure but I just can’t imagine any joint staying open for over 40 years with no more on the ball than this. The help is far superior to the food and that is a shame. He ought to wake up and smell the “5 dollar foot long” before it’s too late.Greiner's Subshop on Urbanspoonhttp://www.greinerssubs.com/cpsiteframepage.lasso?-token.lpuserref=119771.113129


MacNiven’s Restaurant & Bar 339 Mass. Ave.

My first-born son and I decided to recognize his Birthday with lunch; rather than dinner. Initially it was to be Saturday dinner but he got some tickets to the National Drag Races. No father can compete with a dragster. So we decided on MacNiven’s; a Scottish American Tavern, since neither one of us had ever been there before. Frankly I was looking forward to trying their version of Haggis. I had also had read good reviews of their burgers. They take 8 ounces of Angus beef, shape it into a über thin patty 6 to 8 inches in diameter, soak it over night in Worcestershire and cook it on a flat top and serve it on a toasted bun with the usual garden. They also offer a nice selection of house cooked beef selections.

In addition to a Haggis entree they also offer it as an appetizer. That is the first thing I ordered. Along with a Tennents. A Scottish brewed Lager I have never tried before. Unfortunately Adam has had haggis before and did not like it. So I was forced to go it alone. I must tell you I found it to be excellent. Rich and meaty with a great texture. Easily spread on the little pieces of rye bread over a nice foundation of whipped butter. The bread was the weak link. Dry and a trifle generic for such a spread. Akin to serving caviar on a Ritz. Of course I am not sure if I can think of an alternative to keep the same price point. As far as the Tennents beer is concerned it is a great beer with food. An ABV of 4 and a sublime taste perfect to have with a meal.

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Adam decided on Chicken Tenders and Fries. Unfortunately he was not overly impressed. He thought they were pretty run of the mill. I couldn’t really detect any signs that they were prepped in-house. My son thought they were a pre made and frozen piece of chicken.

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As for my entre I opted for a burger. Unfortunately I was underwhelmed. Being a big fan of Worcestershire sauce I was rather disappointed in the flavor. Or lack there of. I think it was because the patty had sort of flat top steam cooking thing going on. It definitely could have benefited from a little carmelization and crunch. For all their sandwiches or Baps as they call them they offer a large variety of sides. I tried a cup of Vegetarian Chili. It was surprisingly tasty, I say surprisingly only because I think of Vegetarian Chili as an oxymoron. This, however had a good Southwest background and was loaded with various beans. Plump Butter Beans ( my favorite) included.

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Naturally I ended up taking half of my food home. From the beginning I wanted to keep room for desert, somehow that never works out. They have a bread pudding with raisins soaked in 18-year-old Glenlivet over night and topped with vanilla ice cream and caramel syrup. Well, not today. But someday; someday I shall have that desert. Before I forget I wish to thank Julie, our, server. She might have been new but she did a great job.MacNiven's Restaurant and Bar on Urbanspoonhttp://www.macnivens.com/


Tower Dining

I am sure very few people are familiar with this name as it didn’t open until August 18.you. It is a buffet open from 7 AM to 11 PM Monday to Friday and 7 AM to 3:30 PM on weekends.It was built for; but not exclusively for; IUPUI students. The building, a former hotel now offers housing for students as well as class rooms. In addition to the buffet. So this outing is a first in 2 ways. It is the first time we intentionally set out to eat at other than an independent joint and it was also our first foray out for breakfast. Pat had lunch there the first day and was quite impressed.

In all honesty my initial impression was disappointment. The first station I hit was the heat tray station. It features the immediate foods. Scrambled eggs, sausage etc.  It was in total disarray. It doesn’t take much to fluff up a buffet. As for the food. The eggs were quite good. Moist and fluffy. Their sausage was beautiful to look at but only mediocre to eat. They also offered the worse excuse for bacon I can imagine. As for the potatoes. Well they were more hash tan than hash brown.

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While I was eating I was able to look around and realized how large a venue it is. They do indeed have all the bells and whistles that you might expect in a breakfast buffet. They offer a first-rate omelet station. A make your own Belgian waffle area with several toppings and of course a plethora of dried cereals. From granola to Fruity Pebbles.

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After coffee I had a very nicely made egg white omelet, with spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes and a touch of white cheese.

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So…In a nut shell I think this place has possibilities. It definitely needs some tweaking ( NOT TWERKING). More attention to detail. Maybe a change of product. And definitely the boss needs to put the proverbial clog up some bums. I am pretty sure Chartwells will sort things out. Someone has a lot of money invested in the place. And at $6 and some change it is well worth some patience. I am planning on trying lunch. I hear that is where the action is. They have all of their stations going and it is priced under $8.

On a Sophomoric side note. Pat informed me that University changed the name of the building to Hines Hall, and the 2 letter designation is HO. That gives a whole new nuance to the question. “Where you having lunch”?Tower Dining on Urbanspoon


Kim’s Kake & Kupcake Kreations

Kim's Kakes 005-001Well, that name sure is  a mouthful. But it leaves no doubt as to what this place is all about. It is on the south side, 5401 Madison Avenue, to be precise. I believe it has been open for about three years. It relocated recently to a larger building across the street from its original location. So business has been pretty good. They have a website but I don’t think it is updated too often. So most of their business appears to be by word-of-mouth.

They recently added soups and sandwiches to the menu. The usual fare, you would expect from a joint that made its own bread. With a couple of atypical twists.

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From the beginning, I was intrigued by the pretzel bun. EVERYBODY has a pretzel bun now. Even Wendy’s. But the only similarity between this bun and everyone else’s is the spelling. This creation has the texture and density of a good bread and the flavor and saltiness of a soft German pretzel. I ordered a pretzel club. Which is Cotto salami, ham, bacon, lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing. Ranch dressing would not be my first choice for such a bread but I try to try a dish the way the Cook planned it. The salami was assertive enough to stand up to the bread. The other stuff did not fare as well. When I go back. I hope to try the smoked sausage and pretzel bun sandwich. Or if that’s not available, the straight up salami with mustard. I tried a cup of the loaded potato soup. It was pretty good. Tasty even on a 90° day. The Eclair Pat mentioned was one we got to share. I cannot say that this is the best Eclair I have had. Sometimes when I taste something that I really enjoy I tend to gush like a 14 year old boy meeting a 14 year old girl. But it surely was an excellent pastry. One anyone would be proud to serve. The entire preparation was spot on. From the Choux Pastry to the vanilla cream filling to the chocolate “Shell” on top.

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I couldn’t finish my lunch so I took one half of the sandwich home along with my “better than Hostess” cupcake. As well as a few other items. I mean, these cases are hard to resist.

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My better half, Clara, ( who has a background in Food and Beverage as well ) really liked the pretzel bread, and the cupcake. She just took exception to my chose in take out. Two of them were pretty close in taste. That is why I MUST go back. To score some more pretzel bread and some Cake Truffles. They also offer a gluten free eclair. As far as other gluten free products I honestly am not sure.

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Kim's Kakes 013Kim's Kake & Kupcake Kreations on Urbanspoonhttp://www.kimskakekreations.com/


Cafe Audrey at the Fort

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Do yourself a favor and go to the Fort. For non residents that would be Fort Benjamin Harrison; former Finance Center for the whole U.S.Army. Now that it is no longer a functioning Federal Post, it is home to a few commercial enterprises. To me, possibly the finest of them all is Audrey’s at 9134 Otis Avenue. It’s not a large place and it is only open for breakfast and lunch so if you decide to go don’t dawdle. It strikes me as the kind of joint that opens to a crowd and keeps hopping ’til 3:00.

The menu isn’t ” cutting edge or avant-garde” it is  typical American Cafe. However if what Pat and I ate are representative their preparation is far from typical. The mozzarella sticks were your typical IQF variety; but in addition to the “normal” variety they offered a spicy variety which we really liked. It was a nice change from the more bland stick.

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Now normally I am not a real big fan of fried fish. But for some reason I had a “hankering” for some fried fish. I could get it as a sandwich, or a one or two piece platter. With a choice of two sides. I am so glad I opted for the Big Boy plate. The breading was SO good. At the risk of sounding overly dramatic I think that was the best tasting breading I have eaten. It had a sufficient amount savory and spicy to add pizzazz to the mild swai fish. The portion I got for $10.99 was outstanding. It was a good 10 ounces of fish. And the two sides were a bonus. The potato salad was quite good, with a hint of vinegar; which is always welcome with fried fish. The mac and cheese was pretty typical. Maccaroni covered with cheese;possibly from a can. Don’t get me wrong I am not criticizing just commenting. The dish worked well and I did not leave a trace. So would I order it again” Ya’ betcha’.

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Oh. Did I mention they make their own desserts and ice cream? I didn’t. Well….. Pat tried a strawberry shortcake. They use Madeleine as a base for the ice cream and strawberries. And no, they don’t make the Madeleine in house. I was able to try one bite. I got a taste of cake, ice cream and strawberries a perfect bite of Summer.

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I got a slice of home made Key lime Cheese cake. All I can say is It was good. It was delicious. And instead of reading about it maybe you ought to go eat some of it.

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Looks as though it could have been a school-house at one time doesn’t it. Or a WW II barracks. I hope all the past memories are pleasant ones because I’m pretty sure the future ones will be. Once again I feel compelled to mention the staff. Everyone I saw was super busy and super enthusiastic. There are no slackers at this place. I especially want to thank our server. Sorry I forgot your name. Excuse me. Don’t lose your zest and thanks for the great service. Even though you “forced” us into dessert. Well… maybe you didn’t actually force us.Cafe Audrey at the Fort on Urbanspoonhttps://kosherhamandcheese.com/?p=1876&preview=true


The Golden Jersey Inn of Yellow Springs Ohio.

Well here we are. Fairborn, Ohio, a suburb of Dayton. we planned on meeting David and Chandler for lunch. I had done my due diligence and located lunch options near the Holiday Inn in Fairborn. Maps included. However Chandler had to take his car to Springfield for some work. The general consensus of all the folks at the car repair was the best place for lunch was the Golden Jersey Inn of yellow Springs, Ohio, home of Antioch College. The Inn is part of the Young family farm. It’s a huge dairy farm that has been working since around the time of the Civil War. They make their own cheese and their own ice cream. That in itself is worth the price of admission. the Inn is housed in a huge two-story barn. I probably should have taken some exterior shots of the structure itself, but I did take this classic picture:

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That’s Pat pretending he’s a farmer on a 1946 Case Tractor

David and Chandler were kind enough to let me sample their lunches. so I have some idea of a few different options on their menu. As soon as we arrived we were greeted by the manager on duty. Chandler introduced us as four wayfarers needing advice on what to order. The manager thought we could not go wrong with the buttermilk fried chicken and beef.  But before we made any decisions we had to try some of their in house made fried cheese curds. I don’t think David or Chandler knew what they were. But, every body loved them.

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Pat decided on fried chicken sandwich with a side of green beans. That is one of the great things about a joint that offers country cooking. You can get a side other than french fries.

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golden jersey inn; yellow springs oh 038David ordered a buttermilk fried chicken salad. The salad was nice size and featured slices of red and green pepper,in addition to the usual salad suspects. A nice touch you don’t usually see that much anymore. The piece of chicken I tried was nicely crisp on the outside and moist on the inside. Just the way country fried chicken is supposed to be. It appears they added crushed cracker pieces into the seasoned flour for the breading. An old-school tradition that gives a delightful crunch to fried food.

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Chandlers choice was beef and noodles. On this plate they gilded the lilly by adding a scoop of dirty mashed potatoes. The noodles appeared and tasted as being homemade. About the width of fettuccine but maybe three times the thickness. A great tooth upon biting with good flavor. I did not try the beef ; I was trying to control my fat intake for the day. I could tell by looking at it that it was properly done for a dish of this nature. No Sous Vide here. Simply a nice hunk of beef slowly simmered in liquid until falling apart.

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Oh. That extraneous dish? That’s sweet potato casserole. That was specifically recommended by the guys at the car shop. it was a great dish, sweet and with a nice crunchy pecan top.

I fell back on my default choice, meatloaf. It has been a while since I’ve ordered  meatloaf. Even at joints that offer it. but I thought that might be a good thing to try here. And I was not disappointed. Thick slabs of savory meat and sweet onion paired with delicious skin on mashed potatoes. And the whole thing smothered, I mean smothered with a rich beef gravy. At first I was dismayed by the amount of gravy used on the beef and noodles and the meatloaf. Sometimes kitchens, even so-called fine dining kitchens distract from mediocre cooking by excessive use of sauce or gravy. But not in this case. It is no wonder people recommend this place for lunch or dinner. Or just to hang out with the kids and eat ice cream.

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Now, what kind of customers would we be if we did not try the ice cream at a place that makes its own? We decided to share  a Buckeye Sundae, a chocolate chip mint and hot fudge sundae and a side of Cow Patty ice cream. The Buckeye is a tree and the nickname of the state of Ohio also a peanut butter ball dipped in chocolate. The latter confection set atop a dish of chocolate and peanut butter ice cream covered in tiny chocolate peanut butter candies. The other sundae is what you would expect. Mint ice cream loaded with chocolate chips covered with hot fudge and whipped cream. The Cow Patty ice cream is their own particular concoction. Rich chocolate ice cream filled with pieces and parts of chocolate stuff and things. All were delicious. And they were lovely to look at too. It’s a shame I didn’t get a picture of them. The four of us fell on those three little desserts like a horde of locusts on a Kansas wheat field.

THERE WAS JUST TOO MANY OF THEM. WE DIDN'T HAVE A CHANCE.

“THERE WAS JUST TOO MANY OF THEM. WE DIDN’T HAVE A CHANCE.”

So I must agree with Pat. It is not too far a drive if you live in Indianapolis. And if you live in Ohio. What’s your excuse? The Golden Jersey Inn and the Young family farm are treasures. Enjoy them.Young's Jersey Dairy on Urbanspoonhttp://youngsdairy.com/http://youngsdairy.com/Young's Jersey Dairy on Urbanspoon


Willett’s Diner 301 South Warman Ave.

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A tiny little place that’s been open since 2005. It used to be a bar. Back when neighborhoods had grocery stores and bars. Mr. Willett bought the place and converted it to a neighborhood diner. He passed away and his Mrs. took over operations. She was recently diagnosed with cancer and now it falls to the daughter to keep the joint afloat. You won’t find arugula or confit here but you will find hand breaded tenderloin; breakfast served 7 AM to 2 PM and house made pies on Wed. and Friday. She doesn’t use lard for the crust but she does use Crisco. As you can see the menu is not that large; but they do have daily lunch specials. That is what Pat and I ordered. The special, only difference I got mine covered with fried onions. We shared some fried mushrooms. They were of the pre-breaded IQF variety. Respectable if not remarkable.

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Unlike Pat I would have preferred my meat with a little more pink inside. The onions were nicely done. The crispy char from the hot flat top was excellent. All ground meat patties should come that way. All in all ,like the mushrooms ,tasty and respectable. The broccoli exhibited all the signs of exposure to excessive heat. A faded green color and no snap. Now “chefs” will tell you that is not the way to prepare it. And a broccoli freak such as Pat does not dig it like that. I, on the other hand do not like the bright green crisp member of the cabbage family. I prepare them the “correct” way I just won’t eat them. I prefer mine to be overcooked and covered with canned cheese sauce. So the veggie pleased me enormously. I am such a Hoosier. I know Willett’s is probably not on your beaten path; but if you are in the area try it for breakfast. I mean look at the prices.

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001Willett's Diner on Urbanspoon


Keystone Sports Review.

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.

Hand battered and deep fried mushrooms in all their glory.

Hand battered and deep-fried mushrooms in all their glory.

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.

They make their own croutons.

They make their own croutons.

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The picture doesn't do it justice.

The picture doesn’t do it justice.

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.

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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.Keystone Sports Review on Urbanspoonhttps://kosherhamandcheese.com/?p=1771&preview=true


Lunch at His Place

012Eureka. I have finally found a place in town that can produce a proper smoked rib. It’s His Place Eatery at 30th Street and Shadeland  Avenue. They call themselves  a soul food restaurant, which is a catch phrase for country cooking. If that is supposed to mean that they offer good food; then they nailed it. They don’t just offer smoked pig they also grill or fry chops, chicken and fish. They even have big salads. And of course they make their own deserts.

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As you can tell they don’t spend a lot on plate garnishment. They want their food to be the center of the plate with no distractions. That little splotch on Pat’s review is a drop of rib juice. Clumsy. The owner does the cooking and he is a man after my own heart in that he prefers a dry rub. Saving sauce as optional not mandatory. The rib is the king. Hands down. The meat really just slides off the bone. The dry rub accentuates the flavor of the pig and keeps it moist. Every bite fills your mouth with smokiness. Not that intense overwhelming liquid smokiness that some people pass off as ” smoked”. But the real hard wood and fire kind. I didn’t even use any of the sauce they provided. 

The sides they provide match the quality of the protein they serve. The greens were as good as any that I have had; and the mac and cheese is on a par with Taste Budds. The bourbon cream corn was interesting. It was pretty good. I am just not a big fan of cream corn. But I had to try it. I also had to try the sweet potato cheesecake. Even though I had to take half my lunch home. The cheesecake was rich and potato sweet. A definite home run. The only negative was the corn bread. It was more a corn muffin of the average kind. But that should not be a deal breaker. To me if you like a lot of sweet red sauce with your Que then by all means go with the Wonder. Which brings to mind. Chef, should you read this, have you ever considered a Carolina vinegar and pepper sauce to go with your ribs? Just a thought.

017https://kosherhamandcheese.com/?p=1720&preview=trueHis Place Eatery on Urbanspoon