Monday, March 18, 2019

Geraldine's Supper Club



Geraldine’s is the newest restaurant from Dan Jarman, of Fat Dan’s fame. Totally different type of place, completely different vibe for sure. So this is a tough one for me, because so many people have told me how great the Old Fashioned and the steaks are, and while I really enjoyed several things, those two items happened to be the weak links of the meal. However, there are many things I enjoyed, starting with the atmosphere of the place. Love the old school supper club feel, and the wood everywhere. We also had a very attentive server, even though we might have challenged her with a few of our questions.

The first thing we ordered to eat was the housemade Gorgonzola potato chips ($11). So they are super thin, super fresh potato chips that are drizzled with a blue cheese creamy sauce and chunks of Gorgonzola. The chips reminded me of those ones you get at the State Fair that are like a long thin layer all off of one potato. These were really good and went down a little too easy. Honestly, they ended up being one of my favorite parts of the meal and I sort of wish I had eaten more of them. Before we got the appetizer though, they brought us a banana sorbet palate cleanser. It was tasty, but I think I would have preferred it before the main course.

Next, we had a salad course—hubby and I split a wedge salad ($11). It was fine. The smoky whole piece of bacon was delicious. I think the dressing was likely the same sauce used on the chips, but because it is kind of thin, which makes it good on the chips, but doesn’t stand up quite as well to a big hunk of iceberg. And there wasn’t nearly enough of it, so we got some extra on the side. The bacon was delicious. The rest was fair.

My sister had the beef wellington ($34), which is a filet with mushroom cooked inside pastry. This was definitely the best of the steaks on the table—the filet was fairly tender, although I think cooked a little more than was ordered. It was good, and it’s nice to see this old standard on a menu. It just didn’t blow my mind. The two men at the table had the 14-ounce ribeye ($40) with the addition of herb butter. They were not super impressed with the steak, and the bite I had was so fatty, I had to spit most of it out. Maybe you have to stick with the dry aged steaks or something, because everyone has told me the steaks are great, but this one did not impress any of us. We had a side of the crispy hash brown wheel (how could you say no to that?) ($10) and sautéed asparagus ($12). The outside of the hash browns was yummy—very crispy and well salted. There was just a little too much of the soft non-crispy bits on the inside. But I am being picky—I like my hash browns as crispy as possible. Maybe deep fry the whole thing…who knows.

So, since I was going to share the beef wellington, I got the seared ahi tuna appetizer ($15) as my main. This was delicious. One of the best versions of this simple straightforward dish that I have had. The tuna was really high quality and cooked just right. It was served with a soy dipping sauce and a mustard sauce on the plate. I could pass on the spicy mustard, but I really enjoyed the soy sauce. It was a really nice dish and a good accompaniment with all the rich heavy flavors of the steaks.

We were celebrating my sister and her husband’s birthdays, and they must have heard us say “happy birthday,” because they started the end of the meal by bringing us a free dessert consisting of a chocolate bon bon, chocolate dipped strawberries, and some caramel meringues. This was really good. The dark chocolate on the strawberries was bitter and just right with the sweet strawberries. We also ordered the sticky toffee bread pudding ($12) to share at the recommendation of the server. This was really tasty too. We love bread pudding and sticky toffee pudding, and this was a great combo of the two. Plus, more of those caramel meringues, which were one of my favorite things…. I need to make these. I love the texture of meringues, and the light caramel flavor added to them and was somewhat unusual (and delicious) for a meringue.
But back to that drink. It was an old fashioned that was watered down with soda or water. You could tell they just wanted the glass to look full, but hubby wasn’t a fan. I saw a video on twitter of the bartender making the same drink, and the glass was not full. So maybe another bartender with his or her own style…who knows. The wine pours on the other hand were generous. The wine list was small, be what we had was good. 

All in all, I am still somewhat intrigued by this place—I like the vibe of it, and some of the things (appetizers mainly, and the dessert) were really good. I might make a light meal of apps—there were several more I would like to try. If I were going to get a steak, I might just stick with a straight filet. The service was very friendly and efficient as well. 

But since everyone else has told me nothing but good things… share with me what you have had and liked.

Geraldine’s Supper Club
1101 English Ave 
Indy  46203
317/600-3336

Monday, March 11, 2019

Cholita brunch


I know it hasn’t been that long since I wrote about this place, but I feel like it is my civic duty to inform you all about their Sunday brunch. So, it’s $15 and it’s all you can eat. And it’s not a buffet, but you order off the menu. It is a different menu than their usual one, and actually it has even more choices. I have been twice already and have tried a lot of different things because both times I was with several people. 

They have some drink specials including several flavors of mimosas ($10). The first time I tried the passionfruit mimosa, but I stuck with margaritas after that. The mimosa was mostly just a glass of sparkling wine with some passion fruit syrup that sort of sunk to the bottom and never really mixed in well. Their margaritas are quite good though.

As far as the food goes, it was mostly all good, and some things were exceptional. My favorites are probably the chilaquiles and the tlayuda. The chilaquiles are made with nacho cheese Doritos and they served them in the split open bag—the chips at the bottom with cheese, bbq carnitas, boiled peanuts, pico de gallo and a fried egg. This was a popular choice at the table-- hubby especially liked it. It is definitely on my must-order list here. The tlayuda is a good thing to split with a group, otherwise it might fill you up too fast because it is big. It’s like a Mexican-style pizza—the crust is a giant crispy tostada topped with cheese, seasoned ground chorizo, scrambled eggs, beans, crema, salsa verde and pico. It’s really tasty. The first time I had it, I brought leftovers home to hubby and my son and they ate it immediately. A good mix of various flavors. And if you order a side of guacamole (it’s $8 though, not included in the all you can eat price), you can put some of that on top too. 

Speaking of guacamole, they have certainly improved it since my first visit. I felt like there wasn’t a lot of it when we went the first time and that it was mainly a lot of pico. But now it feels like you are getting a full serving of it. You can get chips and salsa as part of the $15 and their salsa is good. It is fire-roasted and has that deeper flavor that comes from roasting the tomatoes and peppers. I recommend getting some to add to various other dishes as well. They serve those homemade fried flour tortilla chips, which I particularly like, even if they are a tiny bit greasy. 

Hubby loved the bacon wrapped hotdog, which basically comes served as 2 tacos with the hotdog, beans, cheese, egg, guac, pico and hot sauce. I will admit, it was pretty darn tasty and not something I would typically order. It had a nice breakfast flavor with the eggs, bacon and pork. If you like sweets for brunch, the chocolate waffle is darn good as well. I had to be forced to take a bite because I usually avoid sweets for brunch, but I was really glad I did—it is really rich and chocolatey, with just a little bit of spice in it. It has dulce de leche, vanilla custard and banana with it. A great combo. They should add this to their dinner menu for dessert. You can also get churros, and they were better the two times I had them as part of brunch then the first time we had them for dinner. I think they have perfected the fry time on them and they are crisp outside but still slightly soft inside. And they have caramel and chocolate drizzle underneath. 

Back to savory though, I also enjoyed the pozole soup much more than I thought I would—the spicy chile broth was so tasty—it has a smokiness to it and a depth of flavor that was really spicy, but not hot spicy. There is chicken, hominy, cabbage and radish in there too. And they serve it with big fried tortillas. Seriously something I wouldn’t have probably tried but was glad I did (and it was thanks to our server who brought it when we told her to surprise us with a couple of things). The other thing she brought us was the drowned eggs, which I have now had both times. These were poached eggs cooked in tomato chipotle salsa with chiles, cheese and crema. I liked this as a very flavorful option with less carbs than most other things. You really got the smoky flavor from the salsa and they know how to poach an egg here. They were all just right. 

There was also a poached egg on the carnitas gorditas, which were pieces of masa cakes with beans, cheese and some sliced avocado. There was a verde hollandaise as well. It was sort of their version of an eggs benedict. I liked the flavors here, and again a nicely cooked egg. This was one I was torn on-- the masa cakes were strangely hard to cut, but you could bite through them. The flavors were good, but they were just maybe one of the weaker choices. 

I also tried the chicken and cactus and egg tacos. Both are good, especially with some of the salsa on top, although compared to the rest of the things, they are maybe slightly less exciting. The only thing I had that I just did not like were the tamales. They are pretty dry. They do have various sauces drizzled on top, but it isn’t enough to make up for the dense dry interior. 

Overall, this is one of the better brunch options in town. You can try all kinds of tasty treats. And the drinks are nice too. For $15 you can eat as much as you want, and the food is freshly made. Let me know what you think if you have been. There are still a few items I haven’t tried…

Cholita
1001 Broad Ripple Ave
Indy  46220
317/389-5555


Monday, March 4, 2019

Ale Emporium - Revisit


It had been awhile since we’d been Ale Emporium, and recently I bid on a gift certificate at a fundraiser and won, so it was a good time. Our gift card was for a large pizza and large wings, so we grabbed some friends and went. They have so many flavors of wings, but we decided to just stick with the classic buffalo version. I like that they give you a good mix of drumsticks and flats, because hubby and I really like the flats. I can’t say there was anything particularly exceptional about them, but they were solid wings. I sort of wished for a bit more buffalo sauce—it was mainly on the bottom of the bowl and they weren’t tossed too much. The blue cheese dressing  was really tasty. We also had some ranch, but I stuck with the blue cheese. (Wings are $8 for 1 pound, $15 for 2 pounds and $26 for 4 pounds).

The pizza was more of a fan favorite—hubby really liked it. We got the thin crust, but it was still pretty deep with toppings…not really what you think of as “thin.” On half we had mushrooms and red onions (my choice) and the other side we had mushroom, red onions, pepperoni and sausage. It is really, really cheesy—they put a ton of cheese on their pizza. So this is kind of a preference thing. Hubby and one of our friends really liked it. It had a great taste, but almost a little too much cheese for me (I know, that sounds crazy). I just feel like the cheese gets a little gloppy, especially after it has cooled a bit. Hubby on the other hand, was talking about that pizza all night. He also really liked the sausage—he said it had a lot of flavor and was just the right size pieces. I did like the flavor of the sauce for sure. The whole thing reminds me of a more old school pizza flavor if that makes any sense. I couldn’t really eat more than a couple of pieces though with all that cheese—like I said, it is almost a deep-dish version of a thin crust pizza.

Service was fast too. The place was completely jammed, and we were on a deadline for an event afterwards and it all came out with more than enough time to spare. Our server was super friendly, and we got drink refills quickly. And if you like your beer nice and cold, this is the place for it.  No kids allowed in the Castleton location jut FYI.

Clearly, they are no hurting for business based on how huge it is and how busy it was. Nice to see an old school independent place still doing so well. But what are your favorite items here? I am not sure I am sold on eating the pizza or wings a lot. 

Ale Emporium
8617 Allisonville Road
Indy.  46250
317/842-1333

Monday, February 25, 2019

Daredevil Hall


Continuing with the new brewery/restaurant theme, we recently tried the new Daredevil Hall, which just opened in the Ironworks building, which, yay, is right by my house. Apparently Neal Brown is in charge of the kitchen, so that is always intriguing,

It’s a pretty classic brew pub type menu with a nod toward things German—spaetzle, sausages, etc. But I was lured in by the Instagram photo of one of the burgers on the menu, so I decided to get a burger. The picture depicted two patties that were smashed and thin….and you know I like thin burgers.  I had the brewery cheese burger ($12) with two thin patties, remoulade sauce, lettuce, tomato and pickle. This was a very good burger. The patties were nice and flat as promised and I liked that the bun didn’t overwhelm it and kind of smoshed down into the burger. The sauce was good, but kind of thin—I used the garlic aioli that I asked for with my fries and smeared a little of that on there too. That burger was really good though—really juicy and just the right proportions. Actually, I think because the bun is nice and soft I might be able to do a single and still enjoy it as much. I look forward to trying the other burger on the menu though, with a big hunk of beer cheese in between the patties. The fries have potential for sure but were cold when they came out. I think if they were cooked just a little longer and were hot, they would be outstanding. It’s early days, so hopefully the kitchen is still figuring it out.

My son is a poutine hound and enjoyed their version ($10) with fries, cheese curds, and lots of gravy. He thought the gravy was a little bland though, and while he ate it, there are others in town he prefers (amazing the variety of poutine we have in Indy now). The biggest disappointment was hubby’s spaetzle dish ($10). It was fired spaetzle noodles with cheese curds and mushrooms. He liked the roasted mushrooms, but the spaetzle was dry and the cheese not very melted (it came off in your fork in one big glob). And overall, it was a pretty bland dish—not a lot of flavors going on here. Hubby really enjoyed his beer though, and part of my burger.

All in all, like I said, I see potential here. I think the kitchen is likely still finding its groove. But I highly recommend the burger, and I am sure we will be back to get more of them soon. They have a couple of good brunch items on the weekend that I would like to try as well. 

They were doing a nice business and our service was pretty good. I suspect this place will do well—it’s a nice add to Ironworks for sure and I appreciate that its family friendly. What else has everyone tried? I would love to hear feedback on other menu items.




Daredevil Hall
2721 East 86th Street
Indy  46240
317/757-2888


Monday, February 18, 2019

FIeld Brewing


My daughter and I were on our own the other night while the boys were at a Pacers’ game, and since my daughter needs to get more practice driving hours, we decided to head over to Westfield and check out Field Brewing. It’s a happening spot and was quite busy when we got there. They don’t take reservations, so we checked in and were told it would be about 30 minutes. The nice thing is, you can grab a drink and they have a separate building where you can wait with games, a TV and lots of seating. And Mad Libs! That's what we did. I am assuming it has a purpose other than that, but it is nice to not have to cram into the restaurant on a cold night. It looks like when the weather is warm, there will be nice places to hang out and play games outside as well. 

We were seated in just about the time frame given, but sadly, at a table next to a large window and doors. The whole restaurant is mainly glass and our table was freezing on a cold night. We both left our coats on the entire time, which is sort of a pet peeve of mine. Indiana restaurants: cold in the summer and cold in the winter. I appreciated the noise absorbing foam under the tables and some panels on the wall, because this place can get pretty loud. Our server was a little overwhelmed and our service was a bit spotty and slow. We both got a drink—my daughter had a hot chocolate ($3.50) because she was so cold, and she really enjoyed it. I am not really a beer drinker but enjoyed my glass of wine. 

I have to say, the appetizers looked very appealing and we had to restrain ourselves from over-ordering. We ordered the pretzel ($6) with beer cheese and mustard, and the deviled eggs ($7). There were a bunch of others I would like to try. The pretzel was very good and we both really liked the beer cheese. We were nearly licking the little ramekin to get it all out. I do wish the pretzel had a little more salt, but that was the only thing I would change. The deviled eggs though, neither of us cared for them at all. And I am a huge lover of deviled eggs, but not these. They were made with pimento cheese, spicy nduja and dill and first of all, the filling was almost too smooth, and second, they were really spicy. They just were not our cup of tea at all. We each had one and were pretty much done. 

My daughter ordered the gnocchi ($19) and I had the braised chicken thighs ($24). Of the two, I preferred the gnocchi because of the kick of acid from the saba drizzled on top. The gnocchi were made with ricotta and were very light. I appreciated the richness of the mushrooms and vegetables, but it was nicely balanced with the greens and acid. I also liked the crunch from the pumpkin seeds. They are making their pastas in house, and it showed with the gnocchi. I would be interested to try one of the straight pasta dishes as well—or even the mac and cheese made with fresh pasta.

The chicken thighs were good as well, but extremely rich and hearty. This is stick to your ribs food. There were grits on the bottom, lots of fall veggies (brussels sprouts and carrots were predominant) and crispy parmesan crumbles on top, adding nice texture. The chicken thighs (my favorite part of the chicken) were very tender and well-seasoned. This was a very well-executed dish that just wasn’t my favorite because it was so, so rich and almost stew-like. 

The food here is being created and designed by a chef (Alan Sternberg) and it shows. Right now it’s winter and everything is aimed toward that seasonality, which I understand and appreciate. It’s just not my favorite kind of food. That’s just me. I look forward to trying this place again in the spring when things are maybe a little lighter. I bet it will be great. Like I said, everything is really well done (except those eggs, did not like those) and the ingredients are great and cooked just the right way. And what a welcome addition to the far north side. I am just over winter I guess and am tired of eating wintry foods. I will be keeping my eyes open for spring menu changes. And Spring can’t come soon enough!

Field Brewing
303 E Main Street
Westfield, IN 46074
317/804-9780

Monday, February 11, 2019

Next Door-revisit


I have started a job not too far from SoBro, so that is my go to lunch area when I can sneak away. I met my friend Suzanne at Next Door this week because I thought it was about time for me to try it again after a less than stellar first experience. 

We met just before noon, and I was surprised to find it not very busy. On my first visit, the place was packed. I didn’t have time for a long lunch, so we jumped right to entrées. Based on the server’s recommendation, I went with the chicken sandwich ($9.95 +$2 upgrade to fries). It sounded good—all the things that typically elevate a chicken sandwich—avocado, herb aioli etc. It also had lettuce and tomato and red onion. And a bun. A very large puffy bun that was a little dense for me. It was kind of hard to eat for me because the sandwich ended up being so big. I ended up eating it kind of open-faced and took the tomato and some of the lettuce off. I wished for a little more aioli and asked for it. I initially got it for my fries but used it for the sandwich as well. It was good on the fries, and I like the whole shoestring fries thing, I just wished they were a little hotter. But they were tasty dipped in the aioli. And I wished the aioli was a little brighter. It had a lot of herbs but could have maybe used some lemon. Or garlic. Or both. An ok sandwich that I likely would not order again.

I also had a bite of Suzanne’s honey Sriracha crispy shrimp bowl ($16.95). It was fried shrimp served on top of brown rice, charred broccolini, pickled daikon, carrots and cilantro slaw. She has had this dish a few times and has had mixed results, but when she had it and it was really good, she really liked it. I thought the shrimp were cooked nicely—they had a nice crunch to them and a slight sweetness I assume from the honey. There was a distinct taste of sesame oil to the dish, which I like. We both agreed it needed just a little bit more something—maybe just a little soy.  Not quite enough of the pickled flavor to balance it out. Overall though, it was certainly the more interesting dish of the two. A few more shrimp would have been nice, particularly at that price point for lunch. 

All in all, I can’t say this visit really changed my opinion about Next Door. It’s not bad, but it isn’t a place that makes me want to rush back anytime soon. Or possibly ever. 

That being said, tell me your favorite places to eat in SoBro and that area, and what your favorite dishes are… I am always looking for inspiration.

Next Door
4573 N. College Ave
Indy  46205
317/643-3480

Monday, February 4, 2019

Capital Grille - Revisit


A couple of weeks ago we went to see the Harry Potter move/symphony event at the Hilbert Theater downtown. We wanted to eat somewhere that we could ideally park our car and leave it while we ate and then after when we went to the show. Capital Grille fit the bill, although they charged us a bunch more to stay that long. So much for a good idea.

Anyhow, it has been years since we ate at Capital Grille after a series of unfortunate incidents on our last visit. We decided it was time to give it another try. They now list the calorie count on their menu, which I appreciated, but made hubby upset because he started having guilt about what he wanted to order. I started with a cup of clam chowder ($10), and I actually thought it was very good. I will admit, I ordered it because it was somewhat low in calories compared to some other things, but I was happy. I am kind of picky about my clam chowder, and this is one of the better ones in town. Creamy, but with nice chunks of clam, and seasoned well. Hubby had the crab cocktail ($19) and it is very good as well. Nice big chunks of crab and I loved the sauce they served with it. It was a homemade mustard sauce—but creamy with mayo as well. Add some lemon and it was really good. It’s not cheap, but they give you a lot of crab. I think this is totally worth ordering again. My son got the wedge salad ($12) (it’s his go-to pretty much anywhere that has one). This was a good one. They gave plenty of dressing, which is the classic problem with wedges since they are so big and dense. He almost always asks for more dressing but didn’t have to with this one. They also gave some nice large hunks of bacon on top and sliced cherry tomatoes.

The boys split the Porterhouse ($51). It was huge. They were satisfied, and thought it was very good, but nothing about it that made it particularly memorable. I had a special, which was their take on poke, with a lot of diced raw tuna, some rice and fried green beans. The tuna was very good quality, and it was definitely seasoned throughout and had a spicy edge, but it seemed a little one-dimensional or something. It needed some acid. Or more soy or something. It just had a spicy taste, but not much else going on. I probably just should have gone with the tartare version, which is usually seasoned with a little more variety. The green beans came across a little too fried and dried out. My daughter had the citrus glazed salmon with green beans, marcona almonds and brown butter ($37). It was a very nice piece of fish cooked just right (properly medium rare). They didn’t overdo it with the sauce and it just had a nice hint of the sweetness from the glaze. One of the stars of the dinner though was the side of parmesan truffle fries ($11). These were so tasty. The fries themselves were very light and airy, but super crunchy and hot. They use white truffle oil so the truffle oil flavor was light, but honestly, you didn’t even need it. They were just so good on their own. I’m no expert on making fries, but however they are doing it, they are doing them right. 

All in all, it was a pleasant meal. I can’t say this is a place that makes you want to rush back for any one particular thing, and it is a bit spendy, but a solid quality meal with good ingredients. At least you feel like you are getting the quality of ingredients you are paying for. Service is polished, and I like that even though it’s basically a steak house, they have some other interesting things on the menu. 
Capital Grille
40 West Washington Street
Indianapolis 46204
317/423-8790





Monday, January 28, 2019

Cholita


Hubby and I were looking for something new and decided to try Cholita. It’s in the ill-fated 10 01/Miss Behavin spot (what a terrible name). We went in slightly worried just because of the past experiences but were pleasantly surprised to see they have revamped the interior and that it was comfortably crowded even before 6:00. There is a large bar area in the restaurant that was full, and there is a good-sized seating area that was about half full with families as well as groups of adults. Our server was prompt and got us a drink quickly. I also liked that she didn’t have us order everything at once, as the food comes out pretty quick.

We each got a Cholita margarita (regular is $8, grande is $13). They were very tasty. They had a nice tart taste and weren’t overly sweet, which I appreciate. They use a bit of seasoning in the salt on the rim, which make it have a little kick. We also started with the queso fundido ($8) and added the chorizo option ($2). They serve this extremely hot bubbling cheese with tortillas to fill with the cheese and meat. It was really good. The edges of the cheese kind of burn on the little bowl it is served in. That crispy edge peeled out and put in a tortilla was delicious. I liked the chorizo, and appreciated that it was ground so it was easy to eat, but I thought there was maybe just a little too much of it. It sort of overtook the cheese in quantity. It all tasted really good though. The salsa that they served with it was also really tasty. It has a smoky flavor and we saved it to use on everything else. It added a nice extra dimension to the cheese and tortillas. We did not get any chips, and I am curious to know how they are. If you’ve had them, let me know. 

The majority of the items on the menu are tacos, so we got a bunch of different ones and shared them. They make all the tortillas in house and it shows. They are really good. The two seafood choices were great. Probably my two favorites. The shrimp one ($4.75) was amazing. It has bite sized pieces of shrimp (it has been cut up), cabbage, pickled onions (lots of pickled onions here), pico de gallo and baja sauce. I loved, loved the acid from the pickled vegetables. And I don’t know exactly what the baja sauce is, but it was really good. It was a great balance of flavors. The baja taco was also delicious ($4.50). It is a large piece of beer battered fried cod with cabbage slaw, pico de gallo and pickled tartar sauce.  Great crunchy taste and again, plenty of acid to make me happy. And did I mention they give you a bunch of limes to squeeze on top too? And not those dried out things you get sometimes.

The Brussels sprout taco was probably my next favorite ($4.50). They also offer a fried cauliflower veggie option that is intriguing as well. Next time. Anyhow, the Brussels sprouts version had roasted and grilled halved sprouts with melted cheese, caramelized onions, chili cream, pickled veggies and pico de gallo. Seriously, this was great. Loved the cheesiness. This was one of hubby’s top picks for sure. Really interesting and really well done.

Meat-wise, we had the skirt steak ($4.75) and the al pastor ($4.25). I have to say, after the acid and pickled veggies and all the flavor of the others, the meat ones were my least favorite. The steak was good though—it has pinto beans, guacamole, salsa and cactus pico de gallo. It is a hearty one for sure with the steak and beans, and the steak was nice and tender. Lime helped jazz it up. Don’t get me wrong, it was very good, just didn’t wow me as much as the others. The al pastor had chunks of pork, chipotle salsa and pineapple (which is the classic accompaniment). You’d expect a lot of acid with this mix, but you’d be wrong. For whatever reason, this one just fell a little flat for me. Compared to the others, it was just kind of bland. The pork was well done though and a couple of bite of just the pork showed that it was well cooked and seasoned. 
Brussels Sprout taco

I am so excited to have this place in Broad Ripple. Other than a couple of notable exceptions, I feel like Broad Ripple restaurants are just so so over all. This is a place that will certainly go into regular rotation, assuming they keep quality at the level it was on our visit. Oh, and downstairs, they have a tiki-style bar where you can order the same food, but where they offer a range of more tiki-inspired drinks. It’s cozy and nicely decorated, and I can see sitting down there and eating tacos when the kids aren’t with us.

Yay! A new place. It’s reasonably priced and they have tasty margaritas. I can’t wait to taste all the other taco flavors too. If you have been, what have been your favorites? Oh, and they have a mighty fine looking all you can eat brunch menu. 

Cholita
1001 Broad Ripple Ave
Indy  46220
317/389-5555


Monday, January 21, 2019

LouVino


Hubby and I were dropping our daughter off at a friend’s house in Fishers at dinner time and just did a little search to see what was nearby. We ended up settling at LouVino as a kind of last minute choice. It’s a small chain out of Louisville, with a couple of locations outside Kentucky, and according to their website, one coming to Mass Ave soon.

Anyway, it’s meant to be a wine bar—a fairly big selection and most you can get buy the glass. Unfortunately the very first one hubby ordered they were out of. We settled on a couple of choices and looked over the menu. They mainly have shareable small plates, but some of the bigger ones that you can make an entrée out of it you want to. We were torn between the duck fat frites and the stuffed tots. We ended up with the “loaded baked potato tots” ($9). I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but it was basically like mashed potatoes, cheese, bacon and scallions mixed together in balls and then deep fried. They were served with a side of their homemade ranch. They were pretty good, but a little bland I guess. Neither of us felt like we needed more than 2 and we were done. They just needed a little something more—you couldn’t really taste the cheese and other ingredients that much, mostly just the potato. Not a bad thing, but not as exciting as I hoped. I did like the ranch dressing. It tasted fresh and house made. It had a thinner consistency than those store-bought ones that seem sort of like they are made with chemicals.

Next, we had the fried chicken tacos ($10). Again, not exactly sure what to expect, but it was basically exactly that. Tortillas that were grilled, filled with mashed potatoes and cheese, topped with a piece of boneless fried chicken breast and gravy. An interesting concept, and I guess the tortilla made it a hand-held, but I didn’t really see the need for the tortilla. The piece of chicken was seasoned really nicely though and cooked just right so it was tender and juicy. It was a tasty bite of food, but then again, you know I am a sucker for fried chicken. I probably would have rather dipped it in the gravy to keep it crispier, but I am sort of a crispy crust fanatic.

Our last savory course was the best one, the shrimp and grits ($13). I’ll be honest, I was pretty much expecting the shrimp to be chewy and tough because so few places get it right. To the point that I rarely order shrimp at a restaurant. But this was very good. The shrimp were actually lightly breaded and fried so they had an appealing crunch and were cooked just right. They were very good. The cheesy grits they were sitting on, were also very good. And of course, you know I am a sucker for a perfectly cooked egg. There were also some crispy bits of ham. All of that stuff made for a great dish. The part I didn’t like about it was the “spicy maple” sauce that was luckily mainly on one side of the bowl.  I didn’t care for the sweetness that it added, and we kind of dammed it up on the plate so it stayed out of most of our bites. Next time I would hold this sauce. If I were summing up the food overall, I would say it was pretty good and pretty rich and hearty. I was sort of craving something acidic and bright to go along with each dish. I would have loved some green tomatoes or something like that with the shrimp or the chicken. 

We decided to get dessert and it followed the rich pattern, but when you are eating chocolate chip cookie dough beignets, you kind of don’t care. They were pretty darn tasty. Hubby was a big fan especially. They are fried doughnut balls, and they are filled with lots of chocolate chips and batter that is super hot. They serve it with a vanilla anglaise dipping sauce for just a little extra decadence. They were tasty though. Sorry I didn’t take a pic after I had cut in to them! Much more interesting.

Overall, I would say if I lived in Fishers, I might go to this place on occasion. I don’t think it is really a place I would go out of my way for though. Even though nothing was bad, it wasn’t super exciting. The interior is sort of upscale chain feel—lots of wine décor. It was comfortable enough, although a couple came in and got seated right next to us and one of them reeked of cigarettes and some kind of cover up attempt--perfume or something. It sort of put a damper on my taste buds. But what are you going to do? I do wish they didn’t seat everyone so close together when there were many empty tables though. 

Have you guys been?

LouVino
8626 E. 116th Street
Fishers. 46038
317/598-5160


Monday, January 14, 2019

SoBro Café


I met a friend for lunch the other day at SoBro Café. It’s the beginning of the year, and like so many, I may have overindulged a bit over the holidays, so I am looking for places where I can still eat out and be somewhat healthy. SoBro Café sort of seems like one of those kinds of places. Because you know I am not giving up going out to eat.

I ordered the mushroom skillet ($10.49), which was fried potatoes on the bottom and was topped with sautéed mushrooms and onions, two eggs, goat cheese crumbles, and diced tomatoes. Before you say, “hey, fried potatoes aren’t very healthy,” I will say I only ate like two of them, just to try them. I really liked the flavor of the dish—they used some truffle oil on the mushrooms, which some people get all worked up about, but I don’t mind its use in moderation. I love truffles, and the essence of it was a nice add. The mushrooms were cooked well, and there were lots of tender onions too. For some reason, I spaced telling them how I wanted my eggs cooked (and they didn’t ask), so they were a bit overcooked, but honestly, I will eat an egg just about any way, so I was fine. But next time I would ask for them over easy. I loved the kick from the goat cheese and the acid of the tomatoes. It was a nice combo. And wasn’t too bad health-wise, since I didn’t eat the potatoes. On that subject, I wished they had been a little crispier, but if they were, it probably would have been more of a temptation, so that was ok. 

My friend ordered the “shrimp po bro,” which was their take on a po boy. Shrimp was not fried, which added to the healthy aspect, and it was served on a hoagie roll with kale slaw, and a tangy remoulade sauce. They say it had an Asian twist, and I will agree. I thought it was good, but the bread was a bit big for the sandwich. I liked the acidity of the sauce on the sandwich though, and the shrimp were cooked properly.

All in all, I would say that I was able to meet my needs to go out to lunch and eat fairly healthy. I like that you can order off the brunch or lunch menu, and I like how warm it was in there on a very cold day. I was sad not to order the biscuits and gravy, which I love, but again, trying to stay healthy, right?

What are your favorite go-tos when you want to try and stay a bit on the healthy side for lunch but you still want to go out?

SoBro Café 
653 East 52nd Street
Indy 46205
317/920-8121




Monday, January 7, 2019

Duke's Indy


You know as soon as I heard there was a new place specializing in fried chicken that it was going to go on the short list. It still took me longer than I wanted to get over there, but I finally managed it recently to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

Duke’s is a honky-tonk bar on the south side of downtown. It’s out there in a kind of industrial area. The location just sort of adds to the ambiance though. They have live music (it started around 8:00) and a short menu on a chalkboard. Basically you can get a whole fried chicken, a half of a fried chicken, and then a choice of 3 sides. There’s a tater tot waffle, crispy brussels sprouts, and spicy mac and cheese. Or you can get “the whole damn thing” which is a whole chicken and one of each of the sides ($35). This is what we did. Plus an extra ½ chicken. 
Drink-wise, they specialize in some slushy alcoholic beverages, on this night it was slushy egg nog and slushy prickly pear margarita. It was pretty chilly out though, so hubby and I opted for beer and wine. Our server was friendly, although mostly just came around to bring food and take food orders, so we did a lot of our drinks directly at the bar.

The food was really pretty darn good. The chicken was HOT out of the kitchen though (temperature hot)—so hot you couldn’t really taste it at first. Once it cooled down a little bit though, it was really tasty. The crust wasn’t really thick, but it was seasoned really well—not like a lot of breading, but mostly seasoning directly on the skin. They served it with hot honey and their homemade hot sauce, but I didn’t really think it needed either. The dark meat especially was very tender—as usual I found the part of a breast I ate to be a bit dry, but I think that’s the nature of the beast oftentimes. And I like the dark meat best anyway. You also get more breading/seasoning to meat ratio with the thigh and leg, which adds to the taste.

The sides were very good. I really loved the tater tot waffle. It was a giant waffle made of, well, tater tots I am assuming, and man was it tasty. They put a big dollop of sour cream and butter in the middle and it is just awesome. I do have a weakness for tater tots though. The mac and cheese was popular the table—it is spicy though—made with hatch chilis. It was almost too spicy for me, but I still enjoyed eating some. The sauce is kind of runny too. But, it’s a nice sized portion. The Brussels sprouts are delicious too. I appreciate the relative healthiness of them—or maybe just the fact that there is a veggie offering. The crunchy brussels sprouts has chunks of apple in them, pickled red onion,  and pistachios. It’s a tasty addition to eat with the chicken. I’d say if I ranked them I would say tater tot waffle would be first, Brussels second and the mac and cheese third.

I’m not sure how the service is supposed to be, but if you are okay getting your own drinks at the bar, it’s not too bad. The chicken takes a little while, which I actually appreciate, because I assume it means they’re making it fresh. It’s a fun place with a totally different atmosphere than anywhere else in Indy, and I would happily go back. They’re also open for lunch, with actually a larger menu than dinner, but no fried chicken option (other than a fried chicken sandwich). There are several sandwiches and sides and I would be interested to try other than it is so far away.

Dukes Indy
2352 S. West Street
Indy 46225
317/643-6403