The last few weeks Pat and I appear to be stuck on one specific food genre’. The Italian sandwich or grinder. First, South of Chicago, then Greiner, then Fresco and now the Cannoli Queen on the south side of Indy. Since Pat still resides on the south side. He noticed the place. Sometime back, but thought it was part of a chain. When he discovered that it was a mom-and-pop joint we put it on our list. And after eating there and talking with the Queen herself, I think that this is probably the most complete little Italian joint around. They make their own pasta, sauces, and all those delightful little cannolis and confections. And they even make their own bread.
On top of one of the merchandise cabinets they provided small saucers of samples of their biscotti, and their various other sweets. After trying a few pieces I could not make up my mind as to whether I wanted an Italian Beef or Meatball Grinder. They cook their seasoned beef, along with green peppers and onions for several hours. Which was very tempting. They also make their own meatballs; and who can ignore a plump and tender hand-made meat ball? All of their sandwiches come with Italian fries. These are crinkle cut fries topped with Parmesan cheese and then toasted in an oven. Locked on the horns of a tasty dilemma. I went with the meatballs. And I must say the whole sandwich was nearly flawless. The meatballs were moist and tender; a perfect foil to the bread, which had the perfect tooth. Just the right combination of soft and chew. And the sauce was first rate as well. As for the fries they were deceptively tasty. Pat nor I thought they looked like much but the taste was spot on. Especially with the addition of that excellent “red gravy”. And to gild the Lilly the owner gave us a taste of their beef. It too was excellent. Melt in your mouth tender with a wonderful jus; infused with green pepper and onion.
After lunch we just had to split a Cannoli. A chocolate dipped cannoli, at that. I think this confection sums up the nature of the culinary endeavor. It is all about both balance and contrast. And when it is done right it is a whole lot of fun to eat. The sweetness of the cream cheese filling, and the texture of the fried tube. Hey I think cannoli should be included in the list of State Fair food. After all it is fried.
Meet Matt, bartender/ server at Union Jacks in Broad Ripple. Also may I introduce the bar at Union Jacks; a well-known and established tavern on Broad Ripple Avenue. It is styled after a British pub. Complete with dark wood and big pints and mugs of beer. One of the great things about this place is the “open-air” seating in the bar dining room. Along the outside wall they have seating at a bar with a mini garage door and windows. On nice days the door can be opened and it is like sitting outside on the sidewalk. Only better. You don’t need to worry about rain or pesky birds. It also gives you a chance to chat with passers-by. Who will either smile and talk back or hurry off; scared by two old louts in a bar. Most people were sociable and we did have a fun time.
What is interesting about this joint is although it is an English pub when it comes to food they are really noted for their Italian beef sandwiches and deep dish pizza. Patrick lived in Chicago several years after college so he has a “thing” for Italian beef. And as I think you can see it brought the artiste’ out in him.
I was craving pizza, especially when I discovered they had a 7 inch personal, deep dish with two toppings for $7.50. Admittedly, I’m a pizza junkie and I’ve tried deep dish in a lot of different places in this country. I must say they have one of the best I’ve tried. A nice rich sauce thick chunks of sausage and tender yet flaky crust. For some reason some people think deep dish means thick crust. They end up with something closer to a hollowed out bread bowl with stuff in it than a pie.
While we were eating our Italian food. We were drinking a Scottish ale Floyd’s Cutter. That is, the Floyd Cutter that Pat referenced in his review. This was the first time I have tried it. It was excellent.
While we were finishing lunch a young couple came in. Since we were, for the most part, hogging the best seats in the house we moved down to give them room to join us. It seems the gentleman was from England and his wife was American. And he had just been naturalized as an American citizen. So naturally we had to have a pint to celebrate such a momentous occasion. As I said we had a great time.
Sitting in an English style pub. Eating Italian food and drinking Scottish ale. In Indianapolis Indiana. What do you say to that Knicks?
Our usual lunch on Thursday didn’t happen this week. I was fighting a cold and thought it best not to go out. However the prior Monday I had errands to run and ended up at Coal Pizza for lunch. I wanted to try the sandwich the previous bartender had recommended. They call it a grinder, and it sounded similar to the sandwich I had at Taste; at 52nd and College.It was an assortment of imported Italian meats with provolone cheese and olive salad; all on a square of focaccia. The presentation was “interesting” to say the least. All the meats were finger rolled, placed on the focaccia topped with cheese and olive salad then cut on the bias.I thought the finger rolling was totally unnecessary; unless you work for Kroger assembling holiday platters. The flavor was spot on. The combination of meats with the provolone cheese and the slightly spicy olive mixture was first-rate. The weak link was the focaccia.All the focaccia I’ve had before had the texture and density of bread, not day-old cornbread. The appetizer we had the previous week had the density and texture more shortbread than anything else. Frankly I didn’t pay too much attention to it, I just took it to be an anomaly; a little goof in a newly opened joint. However one week later, one week older the bread was way too crumbly for a sandwich,regardless of how tasty the fillings were. I haven’t given up on the place; I’m just a sucker for a pizza place. Especially one with the coal-burning oven.