Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Road Trip: Taxman Brewery--Bargersville, IN

We were on a road trip the other day and based on a friend’s recommendation, decided to hit Taxman Brewery on the way home for lunch. Well, it was brunch actually—that’s what they serve on Sundays, and I have to say, if there was a place like this in Indy, I think it would make a killing. Brewery plus brunch would be a popular idea (hint hint).

Anyhow, it’s a good-looking menu and was hard to choose what to get. There were 6 of us, so we started with their breakfast frites ($10) to share. It’s a large portion of frites that are thick cut but I am guessing they’re made in house. They are topped with two eggs (they were scrambled, I probably would ask for them runny), sausage, bacon and pimento cheese. Really, this is kind of a genius idea, putting breakfast on fries and then melting pimento cheese on them. Hubby really liked the sausage they used—it was in pretty big hunks. And even though I would have enjoyed the runny yolk mixed in too, it was nice to get a little bit of egg in just about every bite. It’s a good thing to share with several people though, because it would be a bit much to eat on your own.

For my main, I went with the biscuit BLT ($9)—they make their own chive biscuits, which are little, but tasty—they put two next to each other and then top them with 2 eggs (mine were over easy of course), bacon, big pieces of iceberg lettuce and tomato jam. I wasn’t sure how I felt about the iceberg at first, but it gave a nice crunch and presentation-wise, it made it look like a massive sandwich. I cut it down the middle to eat one biscuit at a time. I really enjoyed it. I liked that the egg and bacon was cooked just right and that the tomato jam wasn’t ridiculously sweet (always my worry when I see “jam” on a savory dish). I think it may have been my favorite thing of everything I tried at the table.

Hubby had the moules frites ($10). They do a daily preparation of their mussels—this was a buffalo style version. I don’t think I have ever had buffalo mussels before—they were good. The sauce was quite spicy and had a lot of hot sauce flavor. I like buffalo-flavored things, so I enjoyed these as well even though it was quite strong. I liked the chunks of blue cheese on top as well. There weren’t a lot of frites with them, but the frites, as mentioned above are good. Luckily, my daughter ordered a side of them so we pilfered a few of hers.
My in-laws shared the chicken in a biscuit ($10). This was good as well, although there was a lot of stuff going on here. There were more of the chive biscuits topped with pieces of chicken that was stuffed with spinach and bacon and then fried and topped with gravy. I liked the chicken-it had good flavor but I wasn’t a huge fan of just how much gravy was on it. 

Speaking of, my son had biscuits and gravy ($9). I think this may have been my least favorite. They were the same biscuits, which are good, but the gravy was just ok—just didn’t have a ton of richness to it. There was sausage in it, but not a lot of it. It also didn’t help that it wasn’t very hot. But then again, biscuits and gravy have to be really good to make them really stand out to me.

They have done a nice job with the interior (and exterior) of this place—it’s kind of one of those places you feel like is in the middle of nowhere, but even on a Sunday at around 2:00, they were doing a pretty big business—maybe too big as the service started to suffer after a large party came in from the Indy Brew Bus. They do have lots of beer to try, and hubby really enjoyed Taxman’s triple. I had a glass of wine, what can I say? They are using lots of local ingredients in the food as well. Again, it’s a nice place, with an interesting brunch menu, with a lot of beer choices (both their own and from other breweries). I think it’s a great idea for places like this to offer a special brunch menu and I wish more places in Indy would do it.

Taxman Brewery
13 South Baldwin Street
Bargersville, IN  46106
Taxman Brewing Company on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Movable Feast - Revisit

My friends at Movable Feast have relocated to a new location and I tried a new sandwich (I can’t quit that jerk pork on Wednesdays and now Saturdays too) so I figured it was as good a time as any to get a new post out there. 

Their new location is on 65th Street right next to Bier Brewery. It’s not your typical location for a restaurant, but worth seeking out—and if you want a beer, you can conveniently go next door. The new space is enormous compared to their old one—they still have some outdoor seating and it’s a bit nicer since it’s on a road that is less busy. The inside seating has increased dramatically and is very spacious—making it easier to have a conversation with someone without feeling like you’re right on top of your neighbor.

Getting to the new sandwich though—I tried the “monster melt” ($7 with choice of side) for the first time. The owners had mentioned they thought I would like it, and they were right. It is a hot sandwich made with grilled whole grain bread, mozzarella, bacon, fresh guacamole, tomato, field greens and chipotle mayo.  This is the special on certain days only, so follow their twitter feed to know when @INdyfeast. The bread has the right density and texture to stand up to all the stuff going on in the sandwich. It has just the right amount of that gooey, cheesy factor but with some balance from the bacon. The bacon gives it a firm base as well as some nice salt. I also like the Chipotle mayo. They do nice flavored mayos there, which is the thing that often makes a sandwich great for me. The only thing I took out was the tomato, because I am so picky about them. I appreciated the crunch of the greens as well. This is another very cravable sandwich for me and I can easily see it going into the rotation.

I also had one of their oatmeal chocolate chip peanut butter cookies ($1), which are clearly homemade, and so soft and just perfect. You get just a bit of the peanut butter flavor but with some extra texture from the oatmeal. It’s a great combination and something I should not have started getting because now I want one every time I go.

They are also offering many of their salads and to go type products in coolers near the front door. I am a fan of their dill chicken salad and you can get that there. They change out what they offer each day but I have seen various types of hummus, potato salad, and mac and cheese kicked up with beer from next door. I am happy to see this place expanding both their space and their business and wish them luck. I am also glad they’re still in my neighborhood.

Movable Feast
5143 East 65th Street
Indy 46220

Still waiting on their signage

Movable Feast on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 18, 2015

Perrotta's Kitchen Supper Club - Revisit

I had the opportunity to once again dine at Perrotta’s Supper Club recently. It’s a cool concept—Gustavo Perrotta is a talented chef, but does these dinner parties as more of a hobby and passion. He holds a couple of dinners a month, usually at Indy’s Kitchen and now also at a North side location. He does a set 4 course menu for 12 people ($50 a person)—you can either sign up to just go to one of his scheduled dinners and meet some new people, or you can organize your own dinner with your own schedule and invite friends. This is what we did this time.

The food at Perrotta’s is as lovely as it is tasty. Our first course--well, it was an amuse bouche, was a little tasting of salmon tartare with a spicy mayo and a garlic infused soy sauce on a crispy plantain chip. The other was salmon wrapped around a thin cucumber stick and topped with a bit of goat cheese, a teeny slice of tomato and salmon roe. Both were delicious. I could have easily eaten a plateful, but I guess that’s why its an amuse bouche, right? Both were seasoned just perfectly—enough to appreciate the seasonings, but not so much to lose the inherent flavor of the salmon.

The next course was an Argentinean style empanada filled with mushrooms, ricotta and gruyere cheese. There was a balsamic glaze underneath and some micro greens on top. Apparently Argentinean style is a slightly dryer style of pastry, not the flakier kind you see with other empanadas. The flavors went nicely together. I like that salty, slightly nutty kick of gruyere. I particularly liked it when you got a nice bite with everything including the greens and the balsamic. Several in our group picked this course as their favorite.

The main course was a squid ink risotto with various shellfish—there were rings of calamari and pieces of shrimp mixed into the risotto and there was a nice piece of lobster tail and a perfectly seared scallop on top. The plate was dotted with red pepper sauce and parsley puree. I was impressed by how well all the individual pieces of shellfish were cooked. They were all nice and tender. The squid ink gives a nice color contrast, although I have never felt like it adds a dramatic amount of flavor. The risotto was nicely cooked though—not too firm and not too squishy either.

The dessert course was really good, and one of the Chef’s grandmother’s recipe. It was a guava bread pudding with vanilla ice cream. This was baked in a bowl and I loved the way the edges that cooked against the dish got really crisp—you kind of had to dig it out with your spoon, but it was so good, even though I was getting really full. I appreciated that it wasn’t gigantic though.

Again, I am always impressed by just how lovely the food is at Perrotta’s and it also tastes really good. The format is really fun because you get to interact with the chef and watch the food prepared in front of you. It’s something different to do food-wise and is a fun way to interact with a group of your own friends or meet some new people.

Perrotta’s Kitchen
Supper Club
Indy’s Kitchen
2442 Central Ave
Indy 46205

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Long Thanh - Revisit

I have written about this place a couple of times before but I am kind of in the mood lately to re-post about some of my favorite places. This is another place that hubby and I eat regularly—probably half the time we grab a weekday lunch together, this is where we go.

Typically, our order consists of the Vietnamese pancake and the rare lemon salad (you can read about both in my last post). This time hubby was insistent that we mix it up a bit so we got one of our classics, the pancake ($7.25), and on the recommendation of our server (and pretty sure the “mom” of this mom and pop operation—he’s in the back cooking), we also tried #60 on the menu, the cubed beef rice dish ($8.25).

The pancake is delicious. It’s always good and just such a perfect dish. The pancake is made with rice flour and turmeric (giving it the color) and is very thin with nice crispy edges. The inside is stuffed with bean sprouts, onions, pork and shrimp. My favorite thing to do is to take some of the big lettuce leaves on the side, put some of the pancake into it, drizzle the seasoned fish sauce on top (which gives it a nice tangy flavor), add a little of the fresh cilantro, and roll it up and eat it. Seriously, it’s amazing. It’s big, and we always split it (the picture is just my half), but we always eat every bite.

The cubed beef dish was very good as well. It was described on the menu as “curried” beef with onions, lemongrass and crushed peanuts. I didn’t realize until after I ate it that the peanuts were missing. Regardless, the dish was very good. The beef was cut into slightly larger dices than what you see in a lot of Vietnamese dishes, and was sautéed very hot so that a caramelized edge formed on each piece. There were lots of super tender onions mixed in as well and when you added more of the seasoned fish sauce that came on the side here also, this dish was great. It needs the little extra tanginess from the sauce but once it has it, and you get the light flavor of the lemongrass and the fairly mild taste of the curry, it has a very good taste. The beef is certainly cooked through, but has a great taste due to the way it is prepared. The whole dish is served over nice, slightly sticky rice and again, isn’t bad wrapped up in the lettuce and with the fresh cilantro served with it. I’m not sure if I think it’s better than the rare lemon beef we normally order, but it’s definitely worth throwing into 
the rotation.

I have never had the Chinese side of their menu—I have been warned that it isn’t as good as the Vietnamese side—but I really like nearly everything I have had from there. If you like Vietnamese food, and don’t mind a bit of a dive, give this place a shot.

Long Thanh
5707 East 71st Street
Indy  46220