eating indie in indy

Posts tagged “Sandwiches

Mann’s Grill 1214 S. Tibbs Ave.

After our trip to Working Man’s I was inclined to hit a BBQ place or a newly opened brewery. Pat was leaning more towards a meat and pick two kind of place. Since he was just back from Chicago, where he and his wife had biked 200 miles in two days,for charity,I thought it best to forgo debate and head to Mann’s Grill.

What can I say about Mann’s Grill? It is an older place located in an industrial area on the west side and is notorious for its low prices and big portions. It also serves breakfast all day. They have done some remodeling since the last time we were here. Turning a counter that separates the kitchen from the dining area into a wall with a pass through and adding faux brick to the dining room walls.

As far as food goes it is your usual diner fare. All of their dinners are $7.50 and the sandwiches are in the $4 to $5 range. You can also get a breakfast of 2 eggs, meat and potato choice and your choice of pancakes,french toast or biscuits and gravy for about 6 bucks. That is the kind of joint it is.

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I decided on beef tips and gravy. For my sides I opted for corn and mashed potatoes.

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I had to take 3 different shots to capture all the food. The beef was done well. Falling apart tender and smothered with mushrooms and gravy. The beef was tasty, the mushrooms were canned and the gravy was from a mix; never the less it was pretty good. The potatoes were nicely seasoned and tasted like real spuds. The corn was also canned but they did season it well. So you know what to expect here. Nothing exotic or fancy. Just a nice meal at a good price. Our lunch tab was $15. Remember ambiance costs.

 

 

 

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Flat Water Restaurant 832 E. Westfield Blvd.

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I thought I’d open with a shot of Canada Geese, to set the mood. As you can tell we went to eat in Broad Ripple,right on the canal. This property is a prime location and one of the nicest joints to sit outside. After the pizza joint,Bazbeaux, moved to a bigger location a new restaurant took over. I am pretty sure it wasn’t called Flat Water. I can’t remember the name,but they only had a beer and wine license and they had some pretty good food. This incarnation has a full license and is carrying on the practice of selling some good food.

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I mean how could you not enjoy sitting on a deck and watching ducks and geese “frolicking” in the water? Throw in some good eats and a couple of Margaritas for dessert and you have great lunch time.

I didn’t scan the menu,as they have a website. However the menu on the site is not current, Sorry about that.

Their lunch special was a buffalo tenderloin. A breaded tenderloin smothered with hot sauce and topped with blue cheese crumbles. That was $9. Pat decided on the menu tender for the same price. For a $1.50 up charge he got a side of grilled asparagus. Before Pat gives his take on his sandwich I want to add my 2 cents. That breaded tenderloin was the prettiest piece of breaded pork I think I have seen. Also I tried a piece of asparagus and it was great. Tender crisp with a nice light char. Good job.

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In sympathy with our dining companions out in the canal I tried the house smoked salmon sandwich. It was lightly hot smoked. That is to say it was cooked on a grill with wood chips added so the fire cooked it and the light smoke was a tasty hitch hiker. I would have liked it a little less cooked but that wasn’t enough to rate anything less than very good and well made.

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Since it was well crafted I shall engage in a little “nit-picking”. The bread, while good was too much club for the salmon. The spinach and other mixed greens was a nice touch just maybe too abundant. The bacon was a nice addition. Adding both texture and a different level of smokiness. The avocado really got lost. Salmon is pretty assertive and the poor thing got overwhelmed. It did impart a bit of creaminess but maybe something with more cojones might accomplish the job better. But that is just one guy’s opinion. In either event it was an excellent bite and value at $11.

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For the adult beverage part of the review they have a nice selection of draft beers and they feature PBR and Miller High Life cans for $2.50. They also offer Margarita specials on Thursday. Their house version for $ 5 and one featuring El Jimador and Cointreau for 6 bucks. Well I opted for the top shelf. It was as good as it sounds.

So in summation I really don’t think you can go wrong with Flat Water. Good eats, good drinks and a wonderful deck overlooking the canal. Also the service is good as well Thanks Gary we appreciate the job you did.flatwater 012

Flatwater Restaurant on Urbanspoon

http://flatwaterbroadripple.com/


Labor District Cafe 135 N. Penn.

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I have known about this place for quite some time, but have been conflicted about eating here. The website was unclear about the  source of their roast beef, ham or turkey. Was it purchased already cooked from a vendor or did they buy the meat and cook it off themselves. One blog I read really didn’t clarify the issue for me. So I believed that the only think they cooked themselves was the soups and the meatloaf. Granted, at one time I thought it a good idea to eat a joint’s meatloaf whenever possible. To judge their skill. I quit that after running into too many GFS and Sysco thaw and warm products being used. So I figured it would be meatloaf once again.

The place is attractive and bright. I don’t think I saw a single deuce in the dining room. It seemed it was for the most part 4 top tables.

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All the tables are set with cloth napkins and a bottle of water. I have noticed a couple of places doing that. That must be the new “thing” around town. As soon as you sit down your server brings you a bowl of pop corn, giving you instant garnish for your soup.

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This is outside the main entry so it gave me an idea how I would start my lunch. Some beer cheese soup. It had been a long while since I had any. Even though it was August it sounded tasty. Beer and cheese.

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This was a cup. I thought it would pass for a bowl in a lot of joints. I thought it was pretty good. A light cheese presence with a touch of beer. I added some of the popcorn to it. That is why the spoon is in the bowl.

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The meatloaf sandwich is served on sourdough bread. It is topped with provolone cheese, crisp onion and special sauce. I added some bacon to mine. I was quite pleased with their version of an American Classic. The meatloaf had a good amount of thyme added to it as well as grated parmesan. The special sauce is a nice home-made ketchup. My poor bacon got lost in the shuffle. The onions weren’t as crunchy as I hoped. I think me putting some of the kettle chips on it would have given more texture. They aren’t shy about the amount of tater chips they give you.

Meatloaf San. Under the cover

Meatloaf San. Under the cover

Today was the first day of a new menu. After lunch I talked with Patrick, the manager. He told me that in addition to getting all of their product from Hoosier sources they cook off all of their beef, ham and turkey. So I think you should expect some superior club and other “deli” sandwiches. As for me when I return I think it will be a Chef salad. Or maybe a Cuban. Or a Club. Or a Roast Beef or…. I don’t know.

I am including a link to their website as well as scans of the new menu. I hope that helps.

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Labor District Cafe on Urbanspoon

http://labordistrict.com/


Caplinger’s Fresh Catch Seafood Market 7460 North Shadeland Ave.

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This joint is the real deal. Not only is it a premier facility for fish mongering it is also a pretty nice little place to get a fresh fish feast. In addition to a set menu of favorites they also offer the guests the option of picking from their large selection of fresh product and having it prepared for a flat $2.50 fee.

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Just about any fish product you might desire I think you can find here. From whole Grouper to U 10 scallops to 4 count shrimp. Trust me that in itself is rare in Indy.

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I am a very simple fellow. Show me a fish market or a sausage shop and I am a happy man. Give me the opportunity to eat some of my favorite foods at said location and my eyes become as big as a full moon. In other words I invariably over order, and subsequently over eat.

As soon as I walked in I saw a sign on the first cooler cabinet advertising Blue Point Oysters for $1.59 each. That was my mandatory “first course”- 6 fresh Blue Points; shucked for free.

A delightful combination of sweet and briney. A great start to any meal.

A delightful combination of sweet and briney. A great start to any meal.

After that was ordered I inquired about the sandwiches. They offer a Caplinger’s Special for $ 4.99. I thought it might be an ever-changing special but I think it is a constant Basa sandwich. For the sake of brevity when you think of Basa think bottom feeder. Think catfish. It is a sweet, and firm white fish. In addition to the sandwiches they also offer the same fish choices in a dinner. Now that comes with a bigger portion and 2 hush puppies and choice of 2 sides. I am ashamed to admit that I forgot that they offer hush puppies as a side. I wanted to try the Special sandwich.

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I try not to engage in superlatives. However I do admit that when I bite into something I really enjoy I act like a 13-year-old boy who kissed his first love. That being said. My first bite into my Basa sandwich was damn near perfection. Soft, sweet and tender,with a slight hint of heat and a crisp,salty breading. Oh- the bread. To me it was an excellent accompaniment to the fish. Again the bread is from Roll With it Bakery in Irvington.

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You would think that all of that food would satisfy me. But oh no. You see when I review a joint I feel compelled to try as many food items as possible. Hey. You must suffer for your craft. So I had to try the Chowder. Clams, potato and cream.

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This was a delicious display of simplicity. True to their description. Great hunks of clam. Tender pieces of ‘tater and…of course cream. This is a great example of chowder. Thick, and wonderful.

By now you would think that I have consumed enough. Oh no. I had to try their “New Recipe” crab cake. A 4 oz. cake made exclusively of  lump meat. That is all I can say about that. They produce a thick cake full of lump meat that is really a good buy at $6.99 for an add on.

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Pat naturally opted for the cod sandwich. He couldn’t try any of the chowder; because of onion.

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Well boys and girls if you like fish. If you think  you like fish this is the joint you must go to. Fresh oysters, yellow fin tuna. Hell the list goes on. Even Pat; the most critical fish fiend in the city liked the cod sandwich.

 

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Caplinger's Fresh Catch on Urbanspoon


Manley’s Irish Mutt -7041 East Tenth Street

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Saloons…Bars…Taverns no matter what term you use Manley’s is a perfect example of one. A  menu heavy on appetizers and with certain must have, or you’re not a real bar, sandwiches. Namely a breaded tenderloin, a burger, some type of chicken and roast beef, or steak. All bars have these. Some do them poorly. Some do them well and in the case of the Mutt some do them extremely well.

We started off with some mushrooms. You could tell from the uniform size that they were probably not made in-house. However at first bite you might think they were hand battered and then breaded back in the kitchen. They were excellent. Very crisp on the outside and almost liquid on the inside. Sort of like a savory mushroom cordial.

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As you can see I nearly forgot to take the picture. That stain at the top of the basket isn’t grease. I’m not sure what it is. These ‘shrums were not at all greasy.

The lunch special that day was a breaded tenderloin, for $6.99. Believe it or not I really try to watch my fried food intake; so I took a pass. Not Patrick.

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I completely forgot to take any pictures until Pat was finished and I was half done. Luckily a guy next to us at the bar ordered one, and he was kind enough to let me use his plate as a stand in.

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I ordered a Cuban Sandwich. Jerk seasoned pork,ham, pickle and swiss cheese on a grilled hoagie. The fillings are pretty much the same at most places around here the only question is the pork and the bread. This version was $6.99 and the coleslaw was an additional $1.99. The sandwich was excellent. From the spicy tenderloin through the ham and pickle to the swiss cheese it was a complete hit for me. So very tender. All the components represented themselves in tasty fashion and the melding of the 4 created another layer of taste. As for the coleslaw it turned out to be a good complement to the sandwich. Creamy and sweet.

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Pat thought I should have tidied the plate up before taking the shot. Obviously I thought otherwise. I think Pat was right.

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They have the usual selection of adult beverage. A few crafts for $4 and more Irish whiskeys than I have seen in one joint in my life. And they sell them for 4 bucks on Saturdays. I must say it is refreshing to see a back bar that doesn’t have 25 different vodkas.Manley's Irish Mutt on Urbanspoonhttps://kosherhamandcheese.com/?p=2342&preview=true


Three Sisters in Broad Ripple

I have wanted to try this joint for a while. I am not sure why we waited so long? Maybe we needed to wait for a Dark and Stormy Halloween afternoon. You know; to balance out the hip granola vibe of The Ripple.

The place is in an old house; so it’s not too big. The menu is interesting and it has been on Diners, Drive Ins and Dives. And that appearance has yet to go to its head. Unlike some joints in Indy.

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As you can see on the menu it offers quite a bit of Vegan Fare. That is why Pat tried their breakfast service. He and Fran went here when their two vegan daughters were in town. Their pricing can be a trifle high on some items. That may be why he was a wee bit snarky at first. It was his turn to buy. Although he did suggest the spot. Ahem.

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These must be the Three Sisters. The name sake of the Cafe.

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3 Sisters 011Our service was a little perfunctory. Everyone was pleasant but our server just seem rather new to the work.

As for the food; I thought my sandwich was outstanding. It was slow cooked Fresh Ham with braised Kale and pepper jack cheese. In other words slow roasted pig and Country Greens. Everything worked so well together. The more you ate the more you enjoyed it. Well you can keep your Manhattans; be they beef or turkey. When the snow stars flying give me one of these. Every time.

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Now every great sandwich deserves a great side. And here that would be calico potatoes. A combo of grated sweet and yellow potatoes. A huge portion fried perfectly, toasted handsomely and tasting wonderfully.

3 Sisters 0183 Sisters Cafe on Urbanspoonkosherhamandcheese.com/?p=2202&preview=true


Shoefly Public House. 122 East 22nd Street

There is a new place in town and it just happens to be in my neighborhood. To say there was a need in this area, Mapleton Fall Creek , would be a pretty accurate statement. Saturday was their Grand Opening and from all accounts it was very successful. The owner really did it right. A nice wide open space with a lot of room to stretch your legs. And the man built the wooden bar and the tables with his own hands. Now that is special.

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I think the bottles are Ginger Beer, that they bottle on premise.

I think the bottles are Ginger Beer, that they bottle on premise.

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The menu is refreshingly different. They also have a nice supply of local beers. As you know Pat and I have been known to tip a malted beverage every now and again. I didn’t scan the menu but I am including a link for their website which shows their food and beer.

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This joint does something different for the sides that come with sandwiches. They offer a small chef side that changes daily. In this case it was a potato “croquettes” with a Sriracha mayo. The little ‘tater cake was pretty tasty and spicy sauce fit well. I was drawn to the “cold pressed Spanish chicken sandwich. As it was explained to me after the chicken is cooked it is mixed with capers, anchovy, roasted red pepper and olives. Then a focaccia roll is split coated with olive oil and the “fixings” are stuffed inside. Then the whole thing is wrapped and pressed with a brick for two days. I am not familiar with the technique but the result is definitely worthwhile. The texture was soft and almost creamy. Imagine a bread rillette. The only thing else I can add is the flavor was very much a single note. An excellent single note but singular none the less. I added a taste of the spicy sauce that came with the potato cake and it added a nice spot of heat. It could have used some crunch. In my humble opinion.

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I really recommend checking out the menu on the website. It might be a trifle hard to read but I think you can navigate it all right.

A nice view of Talbot Street from the front window.

A nice view of Talbot Street from the front window.

Shoefly Public House on Urbanspoonhttp://www.shoeflypublichouse.com/


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/


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/


Foundry Provisions

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Oh Goodie! Just what Indy needs one more hip coffee-house with pressed sandwiches. Now don’t get me wrong I have nothing against coffee houses it’s just that they all try so hard to be hip. In much the same way coffee joints in the 60’s tried to be psychedelic and in the 50’s more bongo and beatnik. And Panini can be a delightful lunch. You just have to be a tad circumspect about the fillings otherwise you might have a “mushy” sandwich. This particular joint is in an excellent location at the corner of 16th St. and Alabama St. An area that seems to have changed over night from semi hood to more metropolitan. For want of a better word. As far as decor I would call it industrial chic or proletarian casual. They left the concrete floor untouched. Chipping paint and all. They also enjoyed the use of gray corrugated metal siding and wood. Whoever owns this place put some bucks into it. It was just not my cup of chai. But they obviously are targeting a young crowd, not old farts like me and Pat.

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As far as food options go they offer some breakfast options, including pastries from Circle City Sweets, a local bakery that has a pretty good reputation. They also offer soup from Circle City Soups. As I understand it Sweets and Soups are owned by a husband and wife. And no I have no excuse as to why we have not tried these places before. For lunch they offer 5 pressed sandwiches each with a historic Hoosier name. As far as meat options they have smoked turkey, Mortadella and City Ham. They proudly announce that the ham is from Smoking Goose . A well know local meatery. So from that I guess we can assume the turkey and Mortadella are from the same source. Pat tried a Tarkington. A turkey and provolone sandwich 86 mustard.

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I tried the Harrison. I am a sucker for avocado. One thing Pat and I both noticed, at the first bite was that they stuck romaine in the sandwich and then toasted it. Now I really like wilted lettuce but toasted romaine? Not a big fan. To me it had an odd taste that detracted from the flavor of the ham. They have spinach on the menu I think spinach would be a better choice than romaine. To me the biggest deal was the lack of texture. The only crunch was the bread, which had a nice toast to it. Between the melted Swiss and avocado the overall effect was rather bland and mushy. It needed some prominent texture and some distinctive flavor. But I am not going to go through the entire menu and suggest alternatives. This is not my joint and they did what they did for a reason. Best of luck to them.

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I almost forgot my soup. Gazpacho. It was the best part of lunch. Ironic that they don’t make it here.

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Moe and Johnnys

This is a different sort of review. I went here with my eldest son, for lunch. I am never sure why I don’t write about some joints that I go to. This is a perfectly fine place. Clean and respectable; with good food. I know I have eaten here a few times; pre- blog days. And Pat and I have been there a couple of times for beers. So today I write.

Adam ( my first-born ) likes to eat and cook he just isn’t crazy about it. So our conversation covered my grand daughters and his work. He has a real job. He has nothing to do with food and beverage. He ordered a pulled pork sandwich with bbq sauce. All he volunteered was that he liked it. He added the lettuce and tomato but removed the onion and pickle. So the pork sandwich has my kid’s approval. 

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I ordered an All American cheese burger. But first I determined it was indeed charbroiled and I could  get it mid-rare. I added cheddar and got the whole garden. Usually I enjoy my burgers the same way I enjoy my Irish Whisky; neat. This was a fine ass burger. And no amount of salad could interfere with the flavor of that char grilled and juicy hunk – of- meat. I am sure a whole bunch of folks know and like this place so I’m sure I am not telling people anything new.

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http://www.moeandjohnnys.com/menu/MJ-Full-Menu.pdfMoe & Johnny's 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


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


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


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


Lockerbie Pub

12 – Mercedes Benz

I can’t believe I haven’t written about this place before.Pat and I have been there a few times for drinks.And I know we ate there;I had a turkey Manhattan;as big as your head;I can’t remember what Pat ate,I think it was a burger.What got me thinking about it was last week;after eating we popped in for a beer and were greeted by the same two smiling faces as before.Amanda,the bartender and the owner(whose name I cannot remember,sorry)who also waits tables.It is so refreshing to see an owner actually working,not just “owning”.However when I went back through my “archives” I couldn’t find any posts for it.So since I knew the food was tasty;we decided on a revisit,a do-over,a Mulligan so to speak.So here we are.

Their menu is your typical bar menu,burgers,tenderloin and the like;but they also offer lunch specials;like Manhattans and meat loaf sandwiches.Naturally I ordered the meat loaf sandwich.( see my Kountry Kitchen posting ).I wasn’t disappointed at all.I got a huge slab of tasty home-made meat loaf on a big toasted bun,with a mound of crinkle cut fries;all for only$6.50.Pat got a triple-decker grilled cheese with tomato and some of the best looking bacon I’ve seen in a while;all on marble rye.He opted for tater tots;what is it about tater tots that seems to bring out the little boy in grown men?Our entire lunch bill came to less than $16 after tax.

As far as beverage goes they have a nice selection of Sun King beers on draft for $5; we had some scary good Sky Cake, deep and hoppy.They also offer beer specials for $3.75;like Summer Shandy.I out did my self this week I didn’t remember to photograph our food until Pat was half way through his grilled cheese.And I was doing so good for a while.I’ve heard people refer to The Lockerbie as a dive.Well maybe since I’ve worked a few border towns I have a different criteria;so I don’t consider it a dive.I prefer to think of it like your favorite sweater;easy to slip into and right makes you feel right at home.

The song I am inserting I dedicate to Amanda and the owner (whose name I forgot;sorry ) I decided to go back and add another song;just because I really like it.The Joplin is for Lockerbie;Sally Ford and the Sound Outside is just for the hell of it.03 – Cage(1)Lockerbie Pub on Urbanspoon


The Tin Roof

I know;I know the Tin Roof is a corporate joint but I had to conduct some business at the City County building and when I finished I needed sustenance quickly.And since it took such a long time for it to open I was flat-out curious.So I called Patrick and told him to meet me there.It’s located in the Century building;at the corner of Penn and Maryland St.This whole area is becoming quite the destination for food and drink.Tin Roof anchoring the south corner;Coaches at the north corner and O’Reilly’s in the middle.Around the corner on Pearl in the same building is Pearl Street Pizza.Factor in Scotty’s Brewery and Mo’s across the street and Morton’s one block north;so if you come to this part of town and you go home hungry or thirsty it’s your own damn fault.Well enough of the tourism talk let’s get back to the subject at hand, The Tin Roof.

The joint is deceptively airy,since they tore out part of two walls facing Penn and Maryland and added huge glass sliding doors;similar to Brother’s in Broad Ripple.Also since they can access 2 side walks they can have two patio seating areas. The walls are covered with old signs ,which is pretty cool;but the cool factor faded when I ordered a Flat 12 draft and it came in a plastic cup.I thought I was at a college kegger.I figured when Pat came he would have a beer and we would leave;go someplace more “civilized”.However the more I watched Amanda;our bartender/server work the more impressed I became.She was the perfect adherent to the old restaurant adage:”You have time to lean,you have .time to clean”.She was energetic and efficient;I figured any joint that has the good sense to hire some one like her;can’t be all bad;regardless of what they serve their beer in.

As for the menu I found it odd they didn’t offer a hamburger of any kind.They had the typical apps,wings etc.,the obligatory entrée salads and a rather large array of quesadillas,Panini style sandwiches and something they call pizzadillas;built like a quesadilla but stuffed with pizza ingredients.The various combinations offered for the ‘dillas and the sandwiches was varied and all sounded really good.Pat got a Shroom quesadill .A plain 12 inch tortilla with jack cheese mushrooms,chicken and avocado;served with rather run of the mill tortilla chips and a side of home-made salsa that was more sweet than spicy.His over all opinion was that it was tasty just not spectacular.He thought it could use more stuff inside.The same could be said for my sandwich.It consisted of turkey,bacon, avocado and provolone cheese.It was well crafted and the bread was excellent;it just seem to lack pizzazz.The side of Basalmic vinaigrette helped some what, but it still needed something.It did come with a side of crinkle cut fries,and both meals only cost $8 each.As for malt beverages they sell a flat 12 draft for $5;but the special that day was Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys for 2 bucks.So all in all I think this may be a joint to check out;even though it is a chain all the people who work there are really special.Tin Roof on Urbanspoon


Stars Sandwich Market

Have you ever felt like a cold sandwich for lunch?You know the kind you could fix at home;if you had access to a bunch of fixins’.Brown bagging;without the bag.That’s how Pat and I felt Thursday so we went to the Stars Sandwich Market ,on Delaware St,across from the City Market.It appears to be rather popular with the busy downtown crowd.They make all the sandwiches in advance and store them in a refrigerated merchandise cabinet.They offer the usual assortment of bottled water,juices and fountain soft drinks.They also offer pre-made salads and homemade hot soups.They offer a rather extensive variety of sandwiches;however you can’t get one “custom made”which could be a problem for some one like Pat;who is allergic to onion and detests mayo.However we checked out the menu in advance and we knew what to expect.Pat had a plain turkey with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat.I had their turkey with lettuce,tomato,provolone and cranberry sauce;all on a hoagie style roll.I also tried their sour cream and dill potato salad and sesame noodles.The potato salad needed some acidity to curb the richness of the sour cream and a lot more dill;for my taste.The noodles were very good I’d eat them again any time.All in all we think this joint’s worth trying.You know the sandwiches are fresh and they do have a good selection.From the classic;PB&J to the less common egg salad with bacon.So next time you’re downtown and you want a sandwich that isn’t grilled or deep-fried and aren’t in the mood for a “footlong”try Star.Stars Sandwich Market on Urbanspoon