eating indie in indy

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A2Z Cafe 4705 East 96th Street

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This little joint changed hands about 2 years ago. Before the change it was an Italian eatery. The current owners, Gina and her husband were frequent diners and friends with the old owner. Cut to the chase and they ended up as the new owners. New owners with no restaurant experience. We got all of this from our discussion with Gina;one of the new owners. She is a delightful lady with both charm and talent. An artist by trade;  and an I.U grad she and her husband are the guiding lights of a cozy little joint with a fun and slightly quirky menu.

It was a rainy morning and we felt we needed a sweet fix so. we started with an order of fried biscuits with apple butter for $4.

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These were delightful little bites. Bits of fried dough covered with sugar. In an act of lily gilding they serve them up with apple butter. Add a cup of coffee and you have a really tasty start to your day.

They serve breakfast and lunch most of the day. In addition to the traditional cafe items they offer some fun dishes. Such as the Tater Tot Scramble. That is two eggs scrambled with ham, bacon, sausage and tots then covered with sausage gravy and then topped with cheddar cheese. It comes with toast for $8.50.

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This is not haute cuisine. It is a a fun and filling dish featuring all of the basic food groups you would expect for breakfast. From a strict culinary standpoint it has too much stuff in it,but that’s okay. The eggs were very soft and the gravy was very creamy. Actually I was impressed with the overall execution of the dish. The only reason I wouldn’t order it again is because all of the other fun stuff I would like to try.

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For a couple of rookies Gina and her husband are doing a really good job. I am including a link to their menu because I think it is a fun one.

http://a2zcafe.com/menu.html

 

 

A2Z Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Rook 501 Virginia Ave.

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This restaurant was located in a smaller venue just South of here. They made the move in February this year and I have wanted to go here since then. I didn’t want to go alone but since I couldn’t find anyone to go with me I decided that I may as well indulge myself. Their menu has a Southeast Asian flair to it with a touch of the Philippines. I am adding a link so you can see the menu.

http://www.rookindy.com/

This is their second menu. Gone are the dumplings and the Pig Faced Hash. Their dumplings were very good. They will be missed.

As you can see the chef definitely has an affection for the Noble Pig. Actually I think I finally overdosed on pork. My entire lunch was ordered from the Appetizer section of the menu. I started with a Pig Face Taco for $5.

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The meat from the head actually is the most tender on the pig so when they say it is from the face that is what they mean. The meat was rich with just the slightest hint of fat. It was garnished with small bits of cracklings and cured egg yolk. The mix of salty and savory was balanced out with a slightly sweet and sour Ponzu Mayo. It was a definite hit with me. However I was not a big fan of the corn tortilla they chose. I have had better in town.

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My second “course” was a Pork Belly steamed Bun also $5

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This was probably my favorite. A nice tender piece of pork in a soft bun with pickled cucumbers, hoisin sauce and peanuts. It just was simply great. It had all of my taste buds involved and after lunch my mouth and belly thanked me.

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The last dish I ordered was Crispy Pig Ears with a 63 degree egg and Guacamole for $8.

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As you can see the ears are sliced thin and then treated like potatoes. Fried and seasoned like a French Fry. The egg and Guacamole were to serve as a dipping sauces for the “fries”. For the most part that worked out really well. I love eggs prepared that way and to place one on a bed of chiles and avocado is great. However the whites of a sous vide egg are not really appetizing looking. Usually when I have had them they are placed in a bowl of stew, soup or noodles and the egg is mixed in. So it could just be my own peculiarity.

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So I definitely recommend this place. I also highly recommend all the dishes I have had. Especially the pig ears; as a sharable appetizer. As a first course not a last one for a solo diner. They have a whole lot to offer, not just pig.

Rook Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato