Well one more bar.Or tavern. In other words a joint that sells alcoholic beverage with food; as opposed to a joint that sells food with alcoholic beverages. I have no problem with bars or taverns. However a few weeks back someone asked me if ; as a chef ; I found some places or some food beneath me. I had never thought of that before. I just go to different places that sell food, with Pat, we eat then tell folks what we think. I don’t consider any particular food type boring or “bad” I can consider the preparation of it sub par or as Pat would say “street level”. That being said lets talk about The Free Spirit.
This joint has been at this location nearly 4 years. I believe the former owner had it on Shadeland Ave. They have excellent food and beverage specials and the prices are more than fair. The majority of their sandwiches are under $8. They also sell pizza and breakfast all day.
Pat wanted to show the char grill on his burger because when we went to the Burger Study they aggressively char grilled his burger and he thought it barely edible. And that is a fancy upscale joint that charges $11 and up for their burgers and this burger was $5.49.
I decided on a Cocky burger. That would be a burger with cheddar, bacon. BBQ sauce and an onion ring for $7.49.
This was a delicious burger. I ordered it mid rare and that was exactly how it was served. Every element of the sandwich was on point. From the toasted Brioche style bun to the crisp bacon and the battered french fries. I have paid more for a lesser sandwich.
I think this place will do well. They have great food, excellent service and enough room for a crowd. I can’t think of anything missing. It is a fun place to hang out at.
More than 7 years ago when we started this Blog we ate at Shelby Street Smokehouse in Fountain Square. At that time it was on one end of a building with End of the Line Public House on the other and a self-described lobby bar in the middle. Imbibe. Now that bar has become a restaurant and the Smokehouse only exists in the form of 2 sandwiches that are on the new joint’s menu. The pulled pork and brisket sandwiches. Since I was not really impressed with my first meeting with the brisket I opted for the pulled pork.
As you can see it is a very healthy portion and the sauce is on the side. This is a very good sandwich. It has a definitely smokiness to it. However I believe a lot of that is enhanced artificially with liquid smoke. No matter it is still a good sandwich. The price is $7.99 side included.
Side Choice: Krinkle Kut Fries, Curly Fries, Beer Battered
Onion Rings, House made Waffle Chips, Creamy Cole
Slaw, House made White Cheddar Mac & Cheese As you can see the side options are many. Also for an extra $1.99 you can get a second side, side salad or cup of soup or chile. Sorry but BBQ is not complete with out cole slaw.
My 2 sides, onion rings and slaw were excellent as well. The slaw was creamy and sweet the rings were crisp. I just wonder if they were truly hand battered in-house. Regardless they were very good.
I believe the pizza is a take away from Side Kicks pizza. A short live pizza joint that occupied the End of the Line space when they vacated.
The basic price of a 9 inch pie is $7.99 and each topping is $1.29. So all the food pricing seems reasonable. Even their beer prices are inline with most joints in the area. Five to six bucks each. I enjoyed my food very much. It is nice to see potentially empty space occupied. Also Ambrosia is working on a casual Italian restaurant in the area where the Smokehouse was. Now that would be something.
Bazbeaux is probably the first “gourmet” pizza joint in the city. That is to say the first joint to offer toppings other than pepperoni, sausage and mozzarella cheese. They opened about 30 years ago and are still pretty popular. They started in Broad Ripple and then expanded to Carmel and downtown Indy.
Patrick has long insisted that we have already reviewed Bazbeaux. My contention was no, we haven’t. We were on our way to some Mexican restaurant on the South side when Pat commented on an article from Nuvo. The article was about local pizza joints and of course Bazbeaux came up. So we decided to go there instead. We didn’t realize that this location was serving a lunch express only. That is when you stand in line to order a slice, some cheese bread or a side salad.
I believe they had 4 pizzas that day. Cheese or Pepperoni for $2.75 or a slice of Greek pizza or a BOT for $3.25. I opted for a slice of BOT; which stands for bacon, onion and tomato.
For some reason they added a chiffonade of basil on the top. Having a fresh herb on the top of a hot pie can be tasty at times but when the pie sits under a heat lamp some of the flavor is lost. The pepperoni was fine. Both slices were fine. Nothing special. A pizza may stay warm on a heated buffet and under a heat lamp but it certainly does not improve the flavor. From the size of lunch crowd this format has probably increased its business but I think the food may have suffered. Of course one could make the point that if people keep coming in what does it matter.
Should I try this joint again it will be at a location where I can get a pie made especially for me.
I am sure the name is familiar to several people. However if you can’t quite place it how about if you put the name on a truck.
Now it probably comes together. The popular food truck is now a brick and mortar on the South side. Folks that follow the food trucks know about the pizza but for the ones who don’t rest assure that this is the “real deal”. Also they have more than just pie at the shop.
Since it is so close to Pat’s house he brought the joint to my attention. Pat likes their product for the same reason most folks like it. It is good pizza and you can buy just a slice. If you want just a taste you can get a big slice for about 4 bucks. If you want more you can go the whole pie route in the form of a 16 or 20 incher. If pie doesn’t suit you try a Stromboli for $5.99. Now to me a Stromboli is a sandwich but here it is like a Calzone filled with sausage, pepperoni and cheese.
And it is huge and delicious
At first sight you might think that, as big as it is, it can’t have much filling in it. However you would be wrong. It had “stuff” in every bite. So it was big, full of cheese sausage and pepperoni and it was tasty as well. I could go on about the crust being an excellent partner to the creamy cheese and slightly unctuous pepperoni and sausage. Or the red “gravy” on the side added a wonderfully acidic note to the creation. But I will merely say it was good and oh so economical and you should try one.
So there you have it. The New York Slice. For when you are in a New York “frame of mind” and are hungry.
This posting will be different from the others; as I have few pictures to go with it. For some inexplicable reason my computer no longer recognizes my Canon Camera. I do have a few shots taken with my sorta’ smart phone.
This place originated in Valparaiso Indiana in 1968. Now it has over 100 joints covering more than just Indiana.
It has the feel of a small local pizza joint, although done up in “industrial chic”.
It has that aroma. The earthy scent of yeast mixed with the bite of red sauce and a hint of garlic.
They have other locations, that was how Pat knew they would customize his Stromboli.
Actually this is my Meatball Shell; that is what they call the Calzones. However they were same in appearance so imagine that it is a Strom.
Now here is my Meatball Shell.
It was wonderful. The meatballs were tender the sauce had a nice tang and the shell was done to a beautiful tender crispness. The only minor flaw was the amount of the sauce. However that was rectified by ordering extra solos of sauce. It is a large offering and I was surprised I ate it all as quickly as I did. It was good. Since it is right on my way to Broad Ripple I would image stopping there for lunch or carry out. The shells were $8.99 and they offer a pizza lunch special for $6.99. I can see why this place has lasted and grown. They have a good plan and they stick to it. Good house made food at a good price.
On the road again. Of course we picked one of the hottest days to do it but we had a reward of cold beer awaiting us. ZwanzigZ is not just a pizza parlor it is a small brewery as well. It has won awards for their effort so they take their beer seriously. Their menu is small; revolving around fresh dough, sauce and cheese.
I decided on one of their specials a 3 meat slice with 2 bread sticks, dipping sauce and drink for $ 5.49. I am not sure what Pat’s sandwich cost because of his modifications but the total was less than $11; with tax. That is the deal of the year. No wonder the place was full with a line.
My slice was huge. The crust was more bread like than I like but the sauce and cheese more than made up for it. It was a really nice slice and with the bread sticks a carb coma inducing bargain.
You order at a cashier station, take a number and they bring the food to you. We sat in the bar area so we could have some beer.
The beers we sampled were quite tasty. The ales were not overly hoppy and the wheat beer had a nice finish. The most unique was the Chocolate beer. It was a sweet amber beer loaded with vanilla. The stout was probably our favorite. The beers are as reasonably priced as the food. A flight of five is $7.50 and a growler refill is $7. This place may be new to us out of towners but it is definitely a success with the locals. It is only a 40 minute drive from Indy and I think it is worth it. There is also the added attraction of Zaharakos Ice Cream. We’ll save that for another time.
We hit upon this place more by accident than design. We had intended to visit the Silver Circle Bar in Fountain Square but they weren’t open at 11 as scheduled so we found this place. We didn’t do any research on it so we didn’t know that they are part of a small chain out of Chicago. Even though they don’t actually fit the criteria of the blog the joint is small and has the feel of a Mom and Pop and we were already there so we stayed.
The Monster slice is as “big as your head.” At least that is what the guy at the counter said. They offer it as a one topping special with a drink for $5. Pat ordered it with mushrooms.
I wanted to try one of their calzones. I ordered an Italian. Sausage, peppers, onions and mushrooms all rolled up with marinara and cheese. It was 10 inch long monster for $8.49.
It was a beautiful piece of work. It was brushed with butter and topped with Parmesan cheese giving it a lovely sheen. It was a knife and fork affair served with 2 sides of marinara for dipping. It was delicious. Crisp crust with a lush and savory filling. I really enjoyed the freshness of it all. The big chunks of meat and veggies made it a treat to eat.
I think this little joint has an excellent calzone; possibly the best in the city. As for the pizza Pat enjoyed it. I may try a Monster slice when I go back. That way I can taste for myself. They deliver with in a 6 mile radius and in addition to the typical Italian fare they offer chicken wings. Being right across the street from Fountain Square Brewing should make this a popular joint. Pizza, wings and beer is a culinary hat trick.
This joint is a first for us. The food is cooked to order, but with pre- made product. They use a frozen crust and a ready-made sauce for the pizza. The pizza product comes from a well know purveyor that sells a good product. They also use an independent restaurant supply for the rest of their inventory.
We learned of this joint recently after visiting Jimbo’s BBQ. Actually this was where we heard of Soul Bear’s. The hook to us was the fact they were just blocks from the BBQ and they offered $1 domestic bottles on Wednesday. As for the reason we decided to eat here was solely because of Danielle. She waits tables, tends bar and cooks the food all with an amazing amount of energy and humor. She told us she wanted to go to a Culinary School but was having second thoughts. Her attitude about cooking and tending to the customers is very refreshing. She does everything to the best of her ability which is very exciting to see. That is why we opted to have lunch here. There are several joints that have one person doing it all. Serving drinks and cooking food and they are all independently owned and they deserve some attention as well as a Gastropub.
Staying with the “sausage” motif I opted for a corn dog as my app.
It was pretty dark in the bar so my pictures are less that stellar. For my “main dish” I chose a Stromboli. As Danielle explained it to me she prepares the sandwich the same as a deluxe pizza. Ground meat, sauce, peppers,onions, mushrooms, pepperoni and cheese all on a toasted Hoagie bun. All of the pizza product comes from Delco Foods, a well know supplier of Italian food products. This sandwich was a big hit. The bun was exceptional and the toast was just right. It hit all the right notes and went down quickly. For $6 it was a bargain.
This is a first for us. The J.E.Light Cafe is a student run cafe associated with North Central High School. We have reviewed Courses; the equivalent outlet for Ivy Tech; but I wasn’t aware Indianapolis High Schools had such programs. North Central isn’t the only one but it was the one with the most up to date media ensuring us they were indeed serving Thursday.
The menu was small yet quite eclectic, with an International flair. From Korean soup to Vietnamese sandwiches and All American cheeseburgers. The prices; as you can imagine are more than reasonable. The entrees were $6.95; soup was $1.50 per cup and desserts were $3 and $1.50.
We both started off with a cup of soup.
The soup was very well done. Chunks of smoked brisket in a rich chile infused broth. An excellent remedy for a rainy day. Prior to the service of the soup we were given a basket of house made chips.
Quite a few “professional” joints make their own chips. I don’t think any place does them better, and most don’t do them as well.
As I mentioned earlier their menu had a distinct International spin. As tempting as the choices were I decided on a lighter offering. Sushi. I was more than a little surprised by that option. Sushi requires a few years to become proficient. However I think that if young cooks are taught the basics of rolling and forming and the ever important knife work then those skills will be beneficial in all cooking. So a tip of the hat to the JEL Cafe staff.
Their Sushi plate was composed of spicy tuna roll, inside out roll, salmon and tuna Nigiri and seasoned edaname. Plus the ever popular wasabi and soy as well as pickled ginger.
Once again I was impressed with the dish. Actually sushi is difficult to critique for me. Most rolls are consistent in the ingredients used. The only difference is the portion of the ingredients. I found this offering most enjoyable. Last but not least I opted for a dish of their Chocolate Gelato.
Another hit. Well made and richly chocolate. A steal at $1.50. It is a shame that their “season” is nearly over. Next week is their last service. Cinco de Mayo. I just might have to go back.
I think North Central has a program they can be proud of. Now is an exciting time to be part of the culinary scene in Indy.
Some time back Pat and I made a small tour of Wanamaker eating at Extraordinary Pizza and Wheatley’s. We had heard of The Ordinary but never got around to going there. Last week our server at Rebar made a pitch for us to give it a try. He is a night-time cook there and told us they offered more than pizza.
I am not sure how old the building is but the floor looks ancient. The dining area is a comfortable size and the menu is of a reasonable length featuring all the foods you would expect of a Hoosier tavern.
Pat decided on an individual pizza for $6.50 with 2 bread sticks.
The bread sticks are fashioned from their pizza dough and are first-rate. They come with a generic canned nacho cheese sauce for dipping.
The first thing I noticed on the menu is the prices. They are very reasonable. All of their sandwiches come with waffle fries and one other side. I wanted a burger. Their basic burger is a half pound Angus for $7.95. I decided on the Texas BBQ Burger for $8.95. It comes with bacon, cheddar cheese, an onion ring and of course BBQ sauce.
It was a pretty good burger cooked on a griddle. I did order it mid-rare but it came out more medium. I think I may start ordering my burgers rare. Never the less it was a good bite. The bacon was freshly fried and the bun was nicely toasted. I would order one of their burgers again.
My other side dish was homemade potato salad.
It was a very good potato salad. Small pieces of potato that were almost of a mashed consistency. Not what I am accustomed to but still nice.
I like Wanamaker. In some ways that stretch of Southeastern Ave reminds me of a short stretch of Route 66 that is the main drag for Moriarty New Mexico. A whole bunch of restaurants and bars in a short piece of road. The Ordinary has some pretty good food with excellent prices and it is close to Indianapolis so I think it is worth a visit.