eating indie in indy

Posts tagged “Soups and Stews

Mike’s Speedway Lounge 3701 W. 16th Street

If you are an aficionado of neighborhood bars, you should definitely put this on your list.Pat and I have stopped in there a few times for beers but this is the first time we ate. We always enjoyed ourselves. Nice place,friendly crowd. Especially as it gets closer to race time. After all the 500 Track is just up the street. However their beer selection is limited to draft Silver Bullet and domestic bottles. But the prices are right.

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They serve breakfast all day and that is a plus. The lunch/dinner menu is pretty typical bar although they do have a few atypical items. For example they offer both home-made chili and beef stew year round. They also have fried chicken livers. I love chicken livers but I’m not supposed to eat them. You know fat, cholesterol and all that stuff. So I tried their signature Spanish Burger. That is an 8 ounce patty of seasoned beef and onion that is baked, meatloaf style. It is then placed on a toasted bun and smothered with their Spanish Sauce. Which is a tomato based sauce with green pepper and redolent with cayenne pepper. The burger itself was pretty good. Nicely made and nicely textured. It was difficult to taste the seasoning of the meat due to the spiciness of the sauce. If you like a high level of heat then you will probably like this. Personally my taste buds have gotten pretty Gringo-fied;since my return to Indiana. Also I think it could use some different types of chile pepper in addition to cayenne. All in all it was a pretty good sandwich for 6 bucks. That’s with choice of fries or a bag of chips.

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Pat ordered a grilled tenderloin. Like a lot of joints they beat out their own with a mallet. He found it to be tender and tasty. Like a lot of tenderloin in a lot of places. He did particularly enjoy the made in-house made cole slaw. It had no onion. Patrick’s kryptonite. It too was $6,with choice.

002So if you are out and about the Westside, especially during the month of May. You really should stop in at Mike’s for a beer and a bite.

006Mike's Speedway Lounge on Urbanspoon


Brugge…Ponte…Bridge…Puente…

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By any other name it is still a brewery or a Brasserie if you will. The Brugge Brasserie has been in Broad Ripple for a few years and has been doing quite well. So well in fact they are building a new joint just Northwest of Michigan and College. As I understand, it will house all the brewing equipment. So kudos to the small business owner. I have heard good reports about the place but honestly, I have never felt compelled to go there, until now. Pat and I had lunch there Friday before Christmas. As to why it took me this long to finish this post only the ghosts of Christmas past know. Well, in keeping with the old adage better late than never, here goes.

The place is really swanky. A “hip” interior and copper sheathed tables accented with decent artwork on the walls you have an attractive and comfy place to eat. Shucks the tables look like disproportioned  picnic tables; what with the oversized hole in the center to accommodate their signature pomme frites in their paper cones. In case you just came out of a 30 year coma pomme frites are what we colonials call fried taters, or french fries. 

Pat ordered  waterzooi,or fish stew. I decided on one of their mitraillettes. Mitraillettes are a French version of a hoagie or a grinder. My particular “gun” was a meatball and peppers, braised in beer and tomato sauce.  All their “sandwiches” come with fries,and 2 sauces (for the fries).  Lordy the thing was Huge and COVERED with pomme frites.  So much so I nearly went into carb overload just eating my way to the meat.  But when I finally made it ;it was really, really good.  Plump succulent meat balls of beef and veal smothered in a sweet tomato sauce. The fact that they added fennel seed to their mixture didn’t hurt things;since I’m a freak for anything with even a hint of licorice.  As for Pat’s stew it was spot on !  All you must do is imagine a large bowl of potato, cod and mussels  ala nage  in a luscious “soup” of fish stock,white wine,butter and cream. And yes. It is as decadent and tasty as you can imagine. Pat did allow me to taste the soup. He also was generous in sharing his mussels. So I agree with Pat that it was delicious and worth the $14.00 price. As was my $11 hoagie. On the beer tip they offer a flight of 3 for 7 bucks. Since they are in the process of growing their business, they,at this time , didn’t offer all their own brews. However they had a great guest brewery. Victory out of  St. Louis. So whether you come for the food and stay for the beer;or vice versa I don’t think you can go wrong with The Brewery.Brugge Brasserie on Urbanspoon


Duos-Revisited

Pat took off for Montana;with his wife,so,no lunch for us this week.However my 2 sisters and I went to Duos for lunch last week.That was the first time for them(poor girls don’t get out too often).They took the “safe way”;Caesar chicken wrap.Cooked chicken,Romaine,tomatoes and Caesar dressing,all in a Honey Wheat tortilla.Predictable but good.That day 2 sides were offered,greens and oven roasted potatoes.Sisters took one each so I was able to try both.I opted for greens with my entrée.We both thought the greens were good;but they could have used some pig.The potatoes were brown and crisp on the outside and a little mushy on the inside,in other words a potato that will make you smile.As for my entree I had a chicken stuffed Poblano pepper.Two nice sized peppers filled with a slightly southwest seasoned chicken,with a little corn crunch.It was pretty good;a sweet creamy chicken wrapped in a Poblano with just the right level of heat.For the perfect ending I had a Lemon Bar.For all you deprived folks out there,that is a lemon curd in a shortbread crust.Puckery sweet lemon;perfect for summertime.


John’s Famous Stew

Since 1911 whenever you wanted a bowl of home-made stew you went to John’s.To say it is an Indy Icon is an understatement.I haven’t had John’s since they had a place in Irvington;and that was quite a while ago.The stew they serve today is just as tasty;just as delicious as it was 30 years ago.And don’t let anyone tell you that stew is only a cold weather food.A bowl of good stew is appropriate food year round.And from the size of the crowd we’re not the only ones that feel that way.John offers his 3 ways;mild,medium or hot.Pat got a medium I wussed out and opted for the mild.Regardless of which style you order you will receive a big bowl of savory gravy,filled with big chunks of carrot and potato.And sitting right in the middle of this gravy sea was Big Cow Island.A huge chunk of beef about  1/2 the size of a man’s fist.And everything was so tender you could use a spoon;no knife or fork required.Pat offered that the last time he had stew this good was at Nick’s in Bloomington.It was a one time special;and he still remembers it after nearly 40 years.So that should tell you something about John’s stew;or something about Pat;I’m not sure which.They don’t just offer bowls the also can give you burgers smothered with stew.Or mashed potatoes;or stuffed peppers;or cabbage rolls.You might say they are rather stew-centric.But they also offer regular burgers,tenderloin and salads if that is more to your liking.So needless to say if you ever develop a “hankering”for a memorable beef stew, now you know where to go.A bowl of meaty history for only 8 bucks;how can you go wrong?

 

After lunch we decided to head to West Morris Street and have a beer at Slammin’ Sammies.If you haven’t heard of it don’t feel alone neither have I.This my friends is a true neighborhood dive bar.One thing for sure people are friendly here.As we were walking in from the lot there were 2 gentlemen standing out side sharing a cigarette.One was about age 60 the other 50.The smoke had no filter so my guess was it was a Lucky Strike.The bar serves domestics only;12oz.for $2.50 and quarts for $4.25.So we spent maybe an hour drinking our big and little beers chatting with the home boys.All of them seemed as though they had started fighting sobriety early that day.The joint has a band stand and they offer live music on weekends.That should be a trip.The music played on the juke box was certainly eclectic.From Eminem to Waylon Jennings.From Ludicrous to David Alan Coe;with a few lesser known(to me)Rap and Country artists thrown in as well.As I said;a trip.

 

Under the category of old beers that are new again,Pat discovered one:Hudepohl;or Hudie for short.I think it was originally brewed in Cincinnati,Ohio.It had some popularity in Hoosier land 30 or so years ago;I don’t recall the last time I saw it in a liquor store or bar.But then I don’t think I ever went out searching for it.If this is a new “crafty”generation I think they done good.It starts out with a hoppy caramel taste,the finish is very hoppy;almost bitter,in a good way.At Dinner Bell on South Shelby you can pick it up for $3.49 for 6 or $12.00 for 24.So a pretty good beer for a good price.Such a deal.John's Famous Stew on Urbanspoon


Chin Brother’s Restaurant and Grocery

In general, Oriental food is a mystery to me. That’s why I was looking forward to having lunch at Chin’s, a Burmese restaurant. The menu isn’t as large as a Chinese menu, which has hundreds of dishes utilizing a handful of ingredients in skillful and imaginative combinations.I cannot remember the name of the dish I ordered , I couldn’t pronounce it anyway. It was a large portion of fried rice noodles mixed with chicken, veggies, fried egg and ground peanuts. The preparation was similar to a lot of far Eastern dishes I have eaten. You could  taste all of the individual ingredients and yet at the same time the harmonious blending created an additional flavor profile. Definitely a case of the sum being greater than all of its parts; or whatever that adage is. They served a wonderful sauce on the side for both our dishes. It was a small bowl of fish sauce with chopped pieces of tiny green chiles. It was fantastic how something so simple could taste so complex. The fish sauce was slightly sour with a slight smokiness and the chiles brought a wonderful heat to the entire sauce. You could pour as little or as much as you want and you’re good to go. I don’t recommend eating the little green peppers, unless you have a high tolerance for hot food; something I no longer have.

Pat ordered something simpler; a bowl of braised steak and thin sliced fresh ginger.He found the meat tender and tasty. The ginger permeated the stock enough to add a slight heat, distinctly different from the heat of the chile sauce. The cooking of the ginger, subdued some of the heat but little of the fragrance. If you haven’t eaten fresh ginger before it has kind of a “bite” similar to a hot pepper. Pat also got a huge mound of fluffy white rice to go with his meat. Right after we started eating our server brought out a complementary bowl of soup. It was pretty simple, chicken stock and fresh cilantro.Since we were rice rich, we added some to the soup. The soup by itself, with the added rice, and some bread would make a nice lunch; all by itself. Speaking of bread. I believe they have two types of bread they serve. I had wanted to order one, just to check out Burmese baking; but I forgot. If any of you go there, try some bread, and let me know how it is.If you check out their website the menu you will find is a smaller version of the “real” menu. And when you go you can get all of your international shopping done. Right next door they have a grocery featuring all sorts of Asian products. Around the corner is an international market with fresh produce, meat and fish. In the corner of the strip mall there is a Mexican market and bakery. Remember what they say; think globally, but eat locally.And the whole lunch cost less than $13.

After such a great lunch, we needed some time to digest; so we drove to the Three Pints brewery in Plainfield. They offer six house brews plus one guest brew at all times. They don’t offer flights, but they do offer 4 ounce glasses for one buck each. And on Thursday their house pints are only $3.50. That day they offered one oatmeal Stout the rest of their menu leaned more towards the ale variety. I especially liked the Plainfield pale ale and their Retired Red Ale;both have a nice citrus note and a good hoppy finish.Remember what they say; distance is no object when in search of a finely brewed beer.

Chin Brothers Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Thai Spice

We finally made it to Thai Spice, we wanted to go there for quite some time but something always interfered. It is located on S. County Line Rd.right across the street from Greenwood Shopping Center.Thai food is one of my favorite “ethnic ” foods;I just don;t eat it very often,because I’ve become wee bit of a sissy when it comes to spicy.Pat and I both order our dishes medium;which worked out real well.They offer approximately a dozen lunch specials all for $7.98. Each special comes with a cup of lemon grass soup;a veggie egg roll and a won ton wrapped fried banana with simple syrup.

To me egg rolls are all texture; from the fried crunch of the outer wrapper to the veggie crunch of the interior cabbage.They are almost always good and are a perfect appetizer;and this roll was no exception.The surprise was the banana;think plantain in a blanket;a little sweetness is always good at the start of the meal.As for the soup it was sophisticated in its humility and delicious.A simple broth a little savory,a little spicy with bits of tomato and tiny button mushrooms floating in it;if that don’t amuse your bouche;your bouche must be broken.

Now to our main plates.Pat ordered Padd Won Sen,Bean thread noodle with veggies and your choice of protein.Neither one of us had the foggiest idea what bean thread noodles are;and we still don’t;yet.I opted for the more ubiquitous Padd Thai with pork,I really dig rice noodles with sprouts,and they tossed in some dried baby shrimp and ground peanuts for laughs.Pat’s dish was a lot prettier than mine;with all the broccoli;pea pods and baby corn. But the flavor profiles were much the same;spicy and sweet,and the portions were more than generous.But just when you thought no mas you got your second stomach into the act and you were able to finish the plate.I’ve never made a concerted effort to study the intricacies of “oriental ” cooking;I’m no stranger to the basics but I would like to keep the nuances of Thai food mysterious and exotic.And as long as the result is as delicious as Thai Spice I won’t care at all how they do it.

 

 

Thai Spice on Urbanspoon


SoBro Cafe-Update

05 – Bungle In The Jungle (2001 Digital Remaster) There’s a new place in broad Ripple.it’s the SoBro Cafe, it’s on 52nd St. just around the corner from the Red Key. There were three of us this time when we went, Pat’s, wife Fran joined us.It’s a cute little place, cozy not all pretentious considering it’s locale.Their big deal are pancakes, both savory and sweet. I think it’s a Dutch thing.Fran tried one of their pancakes, I think it was called the Popeye, full of spinach peppers and onions and I can’t remember what else. She thought it was pretty good however she would’ve preferred the peppers and onions to be sautéed. She did try the soup of the day, bean soup; and declared it the best she had ever eaten, that includes her own. Patrick had his usual grilled cheese, pretty exciting. They have a house soup which is a Thai coconut, the broth was delicious. The stuff inside I thought was superfluous. Tiny diced chicken, mushrooms and corn kernels just seems unnecessary. I also think toast fingers would have better suited the soup then fried wonton. I also had a salad, they offered it with chicken, steak or tempeh. I chose tempeh and it was nicely done. The only thing I can add to their salad prep is possibly refreshing the salad mix with cold water and draining it for service; and change your carrots to shredded.They make all their own dressings, I used tahini lemon; it too is pretty tasty however I think adding some lemon zest to the dressing would increase the lemon flavor.Their chef definitely has skill when it comes to vegetarian cooking. Oh I almost forgot one of the most important parts they sell Sun King for four bucks! ***A few weeks back I made a solo trip back to Sobro.I tried Chai for the first time.I have no idea what it is” supposed ” to taste like; but WOW it was like a festival in my mouth.Sweet,then cardamon then cinnamon with a final hit of clove.Very cool.I also ate their Good Burger.I am hardly an expert on veggie fare but this was a GOOD BURGER no matter what was in it.From the mixed greens to the Roma tomatoes to the buttery avocado I think it matches up with any burger around; animal or vegetable.Also the home-made ketchup is great to dip your Lays chips in.I down loaded the pictures right after my visit;tardy me just now got around to write about it.If you haven’t been there why?Oh,back to the Chai.I hear it’s the owner’s own special blend.

Click to add a blog post for SoBro Cafe on Zomato