A lot of folks know of Taste of Memphis as a food truck. Well now it’s a brick and mortar joint as well. They took over a building that has housed a few restaurants over the years and turned it into a commissary. They cook their food there; and sell it both on premise and in their truck. I stopped for some carry out today, they had their smoker fired up and I could not resist.
My eyes were bigger than my stomach, so to speak, and I ordered a rib tip dinner with mac & cheese and greens. And a pulled pork sandwich and a smoked sausage sandwich. Even though there would only be my wife and I eating, I wanted a good representation. Besides left overs are fine.
I order the tips with sauce on the side. I wanted to check out the meat naked. It was indeed an excellent job of smoking. Moist and tender with both a beautiful bark and smoke ring. My better half and I were both very pleased. I only had a bite of the mac & cheese. It was pretty good. The wife seemed to enjoyed it more than I did. The greens were very good. Deep flavored and peppery. They gave up a great pot liquor. Now would be the time for the jiffy.
When they do a pulled pork or smoked sausage sandwich they add the sauce and then top it with coleslaw. I think that is a great way to eat some smoked pig. Of course you will find some folks that want all that on the side. I thought it was great. The pork is what you would expect from folks that know their way around a smoker as they do. The sauce was both sweet and a little hot. And with the creamy slaw. A great combo.
Normally I don’t order sausage at a BBQ joint. It is usually a sausage that has already been smoked and then smoked some more, sauced and sold. I’m not sure why I did but I am glad I did. This link was good size and very tasty. It reminded me of Big Red Hots. Nice texture and great flavor. Clara liked it even more than I did.
So folks if you liked it for lunch; at the truck. Now you can get it any time at the Mother Ship. Like maybe dinner carry out. Pick it up on the way home. Everyone can use a little smoked pig in their life.
Eureka. 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.
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.
Well as the title suggests I just love sausage. The Heidelberg Haus Café has been on Pendleton Pike since 1968. It has been primarily known as the place to go for wonderful German cakes and cookies. As a matter of fact, Pat and I stopped in there a few months back for some cookies; after a less than mediocre lunch at Papa’s, across the street. A lesser-known fact is, they also offer lunch. Sausage lunch. Their small menu offers nothing but various types of sausage. They buy their sausage from Claus’, formally known as Klemm’s. which is THE place to go for authentic German-made sausages. Their plates are pretty straightforward. One or two sausages; depending on the type you order, with a portion of the German potato salad and a piece of rye bread and butter. Pat chose frankfurters. Two long pieces slightly smoked pork sausage, that were boiled, prior to serving. He and I have both had sausages from Claus before, so we knew what to expect and we were not disappointed. However, we made the same mistake we’ve made too times before. We started eating and then remembered pictures. So are pictures are not the best we have published.
My eyes were bigger than my stomach, so I ordered two bratwurst. These beauties were slightly fried so there was a slight touch of fat on the outside. The slight resistance of the casing and the smoothness of the sausage inside maked for a delicious pairing. The German style potato salad also made for a great accompaniment. Creamy, with a slight hint of vinegar, it didn’t try to compete with the meat to fill you up. I only ate one sausage, deciding to take the other home in order save room for dessert.
When we first walked in, we were told that Thursday was national Black Forest day. So to honor the celebration. They were selling slices of black forest cake at 1968 prices. One dollar. So in honor of Black Forest day we had to try a piece. And it was multiple layers of rich chocolate cake and real whipped cream. I had to stop and brush away a tear, just thinking about the last bite.
So,there’s not much more I can add. If you like good German sausage served to you, at a good price.( Both plates of sausage totaled less than $18. ) then the Heidelberg Haus Café is the place to go. Even if you can take or leave sausages but if you have a hankering for THE BEST German confections in Indianapolis, then get out to Pendleton Pike.You won’t be disappointed
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.
Well we went to Fat Dan’s Deli in broad Ripple this week.To say we were both disappointed, would be an accurate statement. This joint has been on our list ever since I learned they used a dry rub on their brisket.We would normally order difference dishes. This time we decided we both needed to try the brisket. So we got two identical sandwiches and an order of fries to share. The portions were nice size, the toasted bun was decent. However, approximately 25 to 30% of the sandwich was fat. And I’m not talking about the crisp kind that adds crunch I’m talking about the high cholesterol, flabby kind of fat that damn few people would like. I will say this the rub, the man used is one of the better ones I’ve tried.What meat there was,was quite tasty.And obviously I must have misread the menu. I thought the brisket was smoked, and yet there was not a trace of the smoke Ring or even the faintest flavor of smoke. It was much like the smokehouse in Fountain Square, more pot roast then smoked brisket.I was going to get into greater detail about how I was taught to smoke and trim and slice brisket in Texas. But I will wait until I get my recipe blog up and running.
Now we come to the french fries. They refer to them as the best fries in the universe. Well they must exist in a smaller universe than I remember; because I would consider them average. Again they were nicely seasoned, a little salty, but it didn’t appear as any attempt was made to drain any of the oil.And another thing. If you’re going to call your fries the best of the universe. You might consider double frying them. A lower temperature at first then at a higher temperature before you sell them, that way they won’t be so limp. I know it’s more work but you get to $2.75 per order.
What is interesting, we decide to go there because of a beer.Last week after lunch we went to the sinking ship for beer and they had Falls City on draft. For you younger folk out there, Falls City was a “working-class” beer from the 60s and 70s. And if I remember correctly it sucked. But Pat goaded me into trying one. And it wasn’t my daddies Falls city. It was a good IPA; naturally I knew it wasn’t the original formula. So when I got home I checked it out on the Internet and sure enough, the formula is different. First off it’s being crafted in Louisville and the formula they are using is supposed to be more reminiscent of the original from the 30s. And according to their website. You can only find it at three places in Indy. The Sinking Ship, Brothers and Fat Dan’s. Irony of ironies Fat Dan’s no longer serves it. So after lunch we decided to walk down to brothers to try it there. And guess what ?They didn’t have it either. So I guess the only place I can get my Falls City fix is at The Sinking Ship on College Ave.
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.
There’s a new café in town,Thyme to Eat it’s located at the corner of S. Meridian St. and Hanna Avenue.the building used to house a dark bar in its previous life,now it’s a bright and airy café with light green interior and a pastel painted brick exterior. It might be a little on the girlie side but men are allowed and you don’t have to take off your shoes to enter.But trappings aside, it’s a serious eatery.
It’s “main bag” is to offer healthier options for lunch,and breakfast.their produce is organic and their bacon is uncured.That means you get all the yummy smokiness of pork belly with out all the residual effects of those pesky nitrites and nitrates.That’s what caught Pat’s eye;their uncured BLT;with avocado.They offer different side options;among them Sweet Potato chips;that I believe they make themselves.Since my culinary roots are from the southwest Pat suggested I get the Southwest Chicken salad.So I suggested he get a side of Sweet Tater chips;but Patrick being deaf as a post couldn’t hear so he opted for a side of sliced tomatoes.Yep,sliced tomatoes with a bacon,lettuce,and TOMATO sandwich;but I digress.The sandwich itself looked great,leaf lettuce,Roma tomatoes and a generous portion of both bacon and avocado.More importantly Pat really enjoyed it.
Before I talk about my salad. I have to say I am very finicky about salads, that’s why I don’t eat them out too often. For most places their salad mix consists of Romain, iceberg lettuce, chopped too big or too small and mixed with red cabbage and carrots for color. Now, you can do that yourself or buy it already done in Cryovac bags.There is another option called spring mix; which is an assortment of various salad greens; none of which are romaine or iceberg. That’s my favorite, and it is also what Thyme to Eat Cafe uses.One last thing about restaurant salads, especially the large “dinner” salads. Since most customers nearly always request dressing on the side that is what most establishments do. However, I believe a large salad should be tossed with the dressing be it vinaigrette or creamy. And this is what this place does. It says we have a specific salad with a specific set of ingredients and a specific dressing; so trust us. We did put some thought into this, so don’t get the dressing on the side.
Now that I’ve got that off my chest on to the review of the Southwest chicken salad. As I mentioned, it was spring mix tossed with a tasty creamy avocado dressing. Mixed in was an assortment of corn,black beans, avocado chunks,sweet and roasted peppers and Monterey jack cheese. Sitting on top was some of the tastiest chicken breast I have had out in quite some time. It appeared to be cooked on a flat griddle, just a little brown on the outside, moist and tender on the inside. It was a top-notch salad.Since Pat and I only go to these restaurants once, and since I live on the north side and no longer drive; the odds of me revisiting, as much as I would like to, are remote. However I did e-mail my sister-in-law who lives in that neck of the woods about this place. Maybe she’ll invite me to go there with her. In which case she could pick me up at the nearest bus stop, which I’m told is about a mile away. But to all you folks who live on the south side you really should try this place. A good independent eatery is as rare and priceless as an honest politician.
- Star Sandwich Shop (kosherhamandcheese.com)
To all you folks that recognize Duos as a very popular traveling food truck, I have good news for you. They now have a permanent location at the Northwest corner of 30th and Meridian streets. The entrance to the parking lot is on 30th St., it’s really hard to miss. The building used to house an insurance company for several years. I am not sure what is in it now but it appears to be several different companies. They have a grand cafeteria that I believe used to be a proper food court now it only has Duos. They serve breakfast and lunch from 7 AM to 2 PM Monday through Friday only. And since they have more space. They can offer more stuff.
On the day that Pat and I went, they had six more or more specials plus a fully stocked salad bar. Pat decided on a baked penne dish, with chicken and mushrooms and what appeared to be a cross between bechamel and Alfredo. He really loved it even though he had to spend a few minutes pulling out the shallots. You see Patrick has a thing about onions; he can’t eat them. Otherwise, his body, has a strange and according to him a rather repulsive reaction. They did forewarn him but he thought it was worth the effort anyway. I tried the quinoa croquettes.they were very reminiscent of falafel, only patty shaped not little balls. A nice cumin flavor that went well with the slightly spicy creme on top. The only weak link in the plate was the bed of slaw the croquettes were resting on. The special came with a choice of two sides. Roasted new potatoes or slaw, I opted for the slaw; oops. I thought the texture and sweetness of the slaw would match up well with the croquettes. The texture was there. However, a little bit rough for my tastes, and the slaw itself lacked the flavor I had expected. But hey,not every at-bat leads to a home run. For dessert we split a two pack of cookies. They were some sort of cappuccino cookie, after the first two bites I wasn’t sure what to make of them. But the more I eat, the more I like them. I attribute my initial puzzlement to the fact that I de-coffeed myself some time back.
On 54th St., just west of the Monon trail sits a rather common looking building that was a gas station in a previous life. Since the place was called Locally Grown Gardens, I naturally assumed it was nothing more than a “farmer’s market,”. And frankly, I haven’t had a lot of success with farmers markets in Indianapolis. Obviously, I’ve been looking at the wrong ones. A young fellow named Christopher N.at Putitinyourface.net told me the full story or least his review did.It seems that Locally Grown Gardens isn’t just a produce stand, and a good one at that, but also offers a large array of baked goods and lunch and dinner.
Their menu is limited, three entrées and two sides and a whole bunch of pies. They smoke their own pork out back and offer it as an open-faced sandwich for 9 1/2 Bucks. They also offer two salmon dishes at $12.85 each. One with citrus vinaigrette and mixed greens and the other with, I believe with a Rosemary mustard vinaigrette and ginger slaw.Pat ordered the pork, when it came out our jaws dropped. It wasn’t just a big mound of shredded pork sitting on a piece of Texas toast. It was two colossal hunks of smoked pig on a thick slice of the chefs homemade bread and a puddle of rich, reddish-brown sauce on the side.The pork was perfectly smoked and properly moist. The sauce was bold and I could see how too much could overpower the pork. However, it was perfect used as a dip for the meat.My salmon was equally impressive. All their food is served on large white rectangular plates, which enhances the visual spectacle. The portion was at least 8 ounces and was cooked just to the point of inner opaqueness and no more. The perfect mid rare. The mixed greens were thoughtfully selected and presented, with large enough leaves so that you could see what they were,not like these all too common salads that look as if they’ve been run through a blender.The vinaigrette was sweet and acidic enough to be a proper unifier of the greens and the fish. It was also the perfect foil for the richness of the salmon.
But wait, as a great as the lunch was the best is yet to come ,the desert. A big slice of wait for it… Wait for it. Sugar cream pie. That’s right the state pie of Indiana. To say it was delicious is like saying Padma Lakshimi is cute.The crust was tender and flaky and the filling was more reminiscent of a crème Brulé than a pie.Seriously words can only go so far you really must try this pie. At $3.50 per slice and $10.50 for a whole pie, you can’t go wrong.
You should be forewarned that seating is limited. There is a large table with benches in the library room, a picnic table and a small café table out under the trees., But that shouldn’t deter you the great food and the other neat stuff they have makes it worth the trip.
- Sugar Cream Pie (mixitup.me)
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.
pIt’s getting harder and harder to find mom and pop places that serve food that is actually made on premise.I’m not saying that everything should be “scratch made”;there’s quite a few pre-made products out there that are really good.But should’t you spend a little more time on the “center of the plate” than opening a can,or thawing and reheating?This brings us to Papas Pancake House.Back in the day Papas was the place to go for breakfast,when the clubs closed.I’m sure they still serve a great one ;after all breakfast is still the quintessential short order dining event.However we both thought the lunch was lacking.I had a meatloaf Manhattan.Well;the meatloaf tasted as though it had been delivered to them already cooked,sliced and frozen;all they did was thaw and heat.They used instant potatoes and gravy;bland except for the over peppered gravy.Refering back to the analogy I made regarding meatloaf and sides when I wrote about Kountry Kitchen;Papas should go back to school and maybe spend a little more time in Church.Pat ordered a corned beef sandwich;the only question he asked was where did they get it;Kroger or Marsh?It was a rather mediocre store deli beef.Ho hum.We both had soup,vegetable beef,and we both agreed,it was canned.What more is there to say? So Papas best of luck and keep your breakfast,it looks as though it works.
We went to this place quite some time ago and from what I hear it’s gotten more awesomer since then (what do you expect from a liberal arts degree)?Anyhoo this place is the real deal.Just be hungry when you go in ‘cuz they are serious about portions.From the baked chicken to the smothered pork chops to the meat loaf;everything was spot on.I know some of you are saying “Hey TJ;what’s the deal about meat loaf;everyone does meatloaf”,well you’re right but not everyone does it well.I use meatloaf as a standard to determine a cook’s skill;the texture the density and of course the flavor,are all important.Now the sides;if a properly crafted meat loaf is a testimony to a kitchen’s skill then their sides are indications of their soul.That being said then the Kountry Kitchen has the skill of a master carpenter and the soul of a Sunday morning church choir.The smashed potatoes are “dirty” (skin left on) full of butter;the dressing had great texture,with enough veggie crunch to keep your interest and the flavor was solid enough to match any protein choice.As for the greens they were tremendous,deep complex smoky flavor ,the best in the city.The only better I’ve had in this town was at Vee’s on Boulevard Place;but the place closed sometime ago.Oh yeah,cornbread,they have pretty good corn bread.The thing about corn bread and greens you have to resist the urge to eat all the bread with butter or what not and wait ’til you finish the greens.At the bottom of the bowl,or cup you’ll see a green liquid;that’s called pot liquor.Now you take your corn bread,crumble it up and mix it with the liquor and eat it with a spoon.Now that is a country meal.So if you’re hankering for a meal like grams would make this is the place.
UPDATE: This Post was written some time ago. Since that time as I understand it, the establishment has changed owners. I noticed the website is different and the menu is different. I draw no conclusion from that I am merely saying that the food we ate that day may not be the same as you will have now.