Monday, August 19, 2019

Maialina


I am trying to get out and try some new places and Maialina kept popping up in my social media. It’s a new place that is in the historic Fountain Square building and it’s Italian. I keep hoping for a great Italian place, so I was excited to try it. I didn’t realize till we were there that it was owned by the same family that owns Ambrosia, which lessened my excitement a bit (just never had an amazing meal there), but I wanted to keep an open mind.

We started with the tomato and basil bruschetta ($10), the parmesan garlic toast ($4) and the small Italian chop salad ($7). Ok, I have to say this course was pretty underwhelming. The best thing was the garlic toast and it was very good. Bread was crunchy and it had a nice amount of cheese on top that didn’t make it gooey, but just added to the flavor. The bruschetta had a lot of problems. The biggest one was lack of taste. I liked the small dices of tomato, but it needed acid so much. According to our waiter, I think it was meant to have some balsamic on it, but I tasted nothing. And for me a good piece of bruschetta is toasted crunchy so that it doesn’t get soggy under the toppings. This was very lightly toasted if it was even toasted at all. I ended up using some of the dressing from the salad and putting the tomatoes on the parmesan toast. Then I got a decent flavor bite. But the most important change I would recommend is adding acid to those tomatoes. Please. 

I was a bit puzzled by the chopped salad. When I read chop, I think little chopped up pieces that are all approximately the same size. The menu listed romaine, pepperoncini, salame, provolone, mushrooms, green olives, red onions and croutons. This was certainly not chopped very much. There was a lot of lettuce and large slices of red onion and some olives, maybe 2-3 tiny pieces each of cheese and salame, a lot of croutons, and one large pepperoncini on top. Oh, and no dressing. At all. It was supposed to have red wine vinaigrette, which I eventually asked for and got. And I was surprised at how lacking in flavor it was as well. It was not emulsified at all and the main taste was of oil. So in my mind this salad was a no-go. A chop salad should be chopped and tossed with the dressing. End of story.

Moving on to the main courses, we quickly learned none of the pastas are made in house, which was disappointing. Hubby ordered the cacio e pepe pasta ($12), my son the gnocchi Bolognese ($18), and I got the truffle mushroom flatbread ($10).  Luckily things improved on his course. The best course was the simplicity of the cacio e pepe, which was spaghetti with cheese and pepper. This is a simple dish when done well is really tasty. This was good—the cheese in the right amount both parmesan and percorino. The pepper was strange though—it was just some ground pepper on top (like the kind that comes from a pepper shaker—really fine). A little bit of fresh cracked pepper would have really added to the flavor (and was what was listed on the menu). The Bolognese was decent as well, but a weird choice to put on gnocchi because little pillow shapes of gnocchi don’t really hold on to the sauce that was made with ground meats. The flavor was good but you kind of had to eat them separately—the gnocchi and then a spoonful of the meat sauce. I would recommend a different shape of pasta for this dish. The flatbread was decent as well—I didn’t get a lot of truffle flavor, but I liked the little bit of rosemary. It was maybe a little boring, but nothing wrong with it. I definitely preferred the cacio and pepe. That’s what I would get on a return visit. Which is probably somewhat unlikely.

I will say, this is a pretty new place, so they are probably still finding their groove, but nothing really jumped out to me and the first half of the meal was pretty disappointing. They do have a nice Italian wine selection though. And our waiter was very nice and service was pretty good overall, even though they were very busy (people in Indy do love a new place). If you have been, please give me your thoughts. 

Maialina
1103 Prospect Street
Indy  46203
317/982-7676



Monday, August 12, 2019

International Adventures--Paris


Over the summer, my family and I went on a trip to explore parts of Europe—Paris, London, Windsor and Edinburgh. I have probably mentioned we used to live just outside of Windsor and my daughter did as well but didn’t remember it because she was so young. So we took the family to all the old haunts and to some other great cities.

We started in Paris (how could you not with that great direct flight from Indy to Paris?) We arrived just in time for a crazy heat wave. Anyhow, here I am just going to write about our food experiences, but we had a great time. 

To start with, we stayed at the Hotel Fauchon, which was a beautiful hotel, but is known for their bakery and fancy baked goods and sweets. Needless to say, the complimentary breakfast that came with our room was one of the highlights. The croissants alone were amazing. But I also loved the scrambled eggs that were so lightly cooked and not all dried out like they usually are in the states. They even asked how many minutes you wanted them cooked. After I got them, my whole family started getting them just about every day. Then there was the fancy chocolate cake and their French toast—which was light and custardy. We also had a dinner one night at the  hotel restaurant (The Grand Café Fauchon) which was also very good. There were crudos, risotto with tiny thin rounds of octopus, asparagus with soft boiled eggs. An extreme high end French meal—it was fun. And of course ended with fancy Fauchon desserts—the lips were filled with berries and there was a chocolate/caramel éclair. 
Fauchon dinner

The first night we arrived though, we ate at Breizh Café, which is known for crepes (it is a small Paris chain). I told you last week how much I love buckwheat crepes, and I sought this place out. This one is called the Mushroom complete (12.50). It had very thin ham, Comte cheese, mushrooms and a sunny side egg. It was perfect. The egg was runny, the ham was tasty, but in just the right amount to not overwhelm the flavors and the mushrooms just added a little extra earthiness. I also got a little side salad which was perfectly dressed with a tangy cider vinaigrette (3.80). One of my favorite meals in the world when done correctly. We all got some version of the complete—my son without the mushrooms and my daughter got one with caramelized onions instead of mushrooms. As you know I recently had a similar one at Buondi Caffe that was good as well, and that is the only place I know in Indy that does a buckwheat crepe. The kids also had a chocolate crepe for dessert and it was very tasty too. 

One morning we went on a walking tour and our guide recommended Le Relais de l’Entrecote. This is a restaurant that specializes in steak frites. And when I say specialize, I mean it is the only thing they serve.  The set menu is about €30. You sit down, order some drinks and have a plate of their house salad with walnuts and a tangy vinaigrette in front of you within minutes. You tell them how you want your steak cooked in their 3 offered choices-rare, medium, or well and that’s it. They bring your steak, slice pieces of it and cover it in their special sauce—hard to say what was in it, but it was delicious. Definitely a hint of anchovy in there as well as some nut I am guessing since they wouldn’t let my allergic son eat any of it. They give you a generous portion of fries alongside and then after you eat your steak, they come around and give you a second portion of the meat. And the frites look simple, but they were really salty and tasty. I don’t know how they made them taste so good.  It’s crazy. But really fun and delicious. One of my kids’ favorite meals of the trip. They have a couple of choices for dessert as well and we shared some profiteroles. Also so good—I love the dark chocolate they used everywhere. Just a note, there is usually a line when they open for lunch, so best bet is to get there right when they open or prepare for a wait. It’s a fast meal though, so I am guessing they turn over tables pretty quick. 

The last meal I will write about was at 58 Eiffel, which is in the Eiffel Tower. In the past, hubby and I ate at Jules Verne, which is a restaurant a bit higher up on the tower and was very fine dining. It was very decadent, but very good. However, it is currently closed for renovation, so we went with the other option. This feels less fancy and decadent, but I actually thought the food was decent. You pay a set price for the dinner (€125 for upgraded view; €95 without) and you get 3 courses plus two glasses of wine.  You can choose from a couple different options and like I said, it was pretty good-elevated (pun intended) wedding food. But in Paris. And with more interesting dishes. Lots of asparagus, some foie gras and several fish dishes. The star here is definitely the view. You can pay a little extra to be on the window, and I don’t know why you would go if you don’t have a view. Someday I would like to try the fancy place again when it re-opens.

Anyhow, this is a quick review of where we ate—of course there were lots of little pastries and chocolates along the way, but these were the memorable meals. In a couple weeks I will tell you about London—we ate very well there.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Caffe Buondi


Trying to get back into the swing of things and try some of these new places that are popping up, I met my friend Suzanne at Caffe Buondi the other day for lunch to catch up with her as well as try something new. Caffe Buondi is owned by the same folks that brought you Convivio next door. 

The menu here is quite large—maybe a bit too large it you ask me—a little overwhelming. But as soon as I saw it, I knew I was ordering the “Ickx” ($11.95). Apparently, this section of the menu is named after Italian race car drivers. There’s another section named after actresses and another named for soccer players. You can order breakfast all day or lunch—they have several sandwiches and salads as well. 

So the Ickx is a buckwheat crepe filled with ham, swiss and a sunny side up egg. This is one of my favorite dishes of all time and pretty much anywhere I see it on a menu, I will be ordering it. In fact, I searched out a crepe restaurant that specialized in buckwheat crepes in Paris because I love them so much (more on that in a future post). This was a very solid version. The crepe was thin and somewhat crisp, and the egg was exactly perfect—firm white, totally runny yolk. The cheese had a since salty distinct flavor and the ham was good quality. If I had any complaints about the crepe, it would be that maybe there was just a little too much ham and it overpowered some of the bites because you couldn’t get a little bit of everything in every bite. However, that being said, I will likely order it again if I return. I chose the little arugula and almond side salad for my side (there are a couple of options). It was disappointing because there seemed to be no dressing on it at all. I am not sure if this is purposeful or not, but a little acidic vinaigrette would be a perfect accompaniment to the salad and the crepe. Next time, I would ask if it comes dressed and ask for some extra on the side. Or get something different.

Suzanne had the Crespelle ($13.95), which is on the lunch section of the menu. It is two savory crepes (but not buckwheat) that are stuffed with chicken, spinach and ricotta and topped with parmesan cream sauce. These are almost like enchiladas or burritos Italian style. I liked the flavor of the spinach in there, but they were maybe a little too rich for me.

Overall, I liked this place—ok, mainly because I LOVE a buckwheat crepe cooked thin and with an egg in it, but I thought the quality was good and the menu is interesting. Even if it didn’t blow my mind or anything.

If you have been here and really loved something, let me know. Maybe I will get hubby or the kids to order it. Since I’ll be getting my crepe.  Oh, and let me know what sides are good. 

Caffe Buondi
11529 Spring Mill Road
Carmel, IN 46032
317/564-8092

Monday, July 22, 2019

Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers


Recently I asked people to give me a list of favorite burger places and a couple of people mentioned Freddy’s for smash burger. It intrigued me—even though it’s a chain, I was feeling smash burger-ish and was with the kids (no Workingman’s Friend for me) so we decided to give it a try.

So it sort of reminds me of In-N-Out Burger on the inside—all red and white and you go up and order at the register and they call your number when it’s ready. However, food-wise, it is more in the style of Steak ‘n Shake (wow, I just noticed the coincidence of the use of “n” in both names). Flat griddled patties with crispy edges, skinny fries and battered onion rings.  They do shakes too—but they are simpler and made with custard. They also have a large menu like Steak ‘n Shake but I think are more successful because of no table service (and the potential of bad service). The food comes out pretty quick too.

The burger was really good—I had a single with their standard set up, which is mustard, pickles and onions. I added a bit of ketchup to it as well. It was really good ($6.49 for single combo meal with fries and drink) . The meat had the crisp lacy edges but was still nice and tender in the middle. My kids both had double cheeseburgers ($7.69 for combo) and were happy to see that they added the extra slice of cheese that they used to have to ask for at Steak n Shake. I liked the long cut thicker pickles as well. The skinny fries were pretty identical to Steak n Shake and served their purpose (Freddy’s gives you a more generous portion though). Freddy’s stands out for its special “fry sauce” though—so I think it is sort of like a special sauce of mayo, ketchup, pickle juice and their burger seasoning—which is a seasoning salt. I really liked some of it on my burger as well as my fries—guessing this is why they don’t put ketchup on the burger since it has ketchup in It (by my estimate anyway). My daughter thought it was distinctly pickle-y, but I really liked it. But I love pickles. Kind of surprised they call it fry sauce though instead of using it as special sauce on the burgers. 

We got some onion rings as well ($2.29) and they tasted pretty good. Again, very similar to Steak n Shake, although these were cooked quite dark. They may have felt a little over done for me, and could have been hotter, but not bad. I am not sure if they are supposed to be cooked like this, since I have never been before, but I would prefer them a little lighter. My daughter got a chocolate shake ($3.79) which she liked, but it wasn’t as interesting as others—it seemed like it wasn’t a hand dipped shake, that it likely came straight out of a machine the way it was. But I don’t  know for sure. They do make sundaes, and Blizzard-like drinks as well.

Overall, this is a very good option for a crispy-edge burger. I am not sure why they are so far only out in the outskirts of Indy, but especially with all the Steak n Shakes closing, they would probably do themselves (and all of us) a service opening a more central location. And Steak n Shake could learn from them and probably be more successful ditching table service. 

So yes, it’s a chain, but yes, I will be eating here again. It’s a solid crispy-edged burger.

Freddy’s (multiple locations)
2740 E. 146th Street
Carmel, IN 46033
317/218-3304

Monday, July 8, 2019

U.S. Adventures: Detroit


A few weeks ago I took my daughter and her boyfriend to Detroit to see Ben Platt perform—who they are both obsessed with. Anyhow, I was excited to take the opportunity to check out some restaurants in Detroit, since I have never been there other than in the airport. 

The first day we grabbed a slice of pizza from Supino Pizzeria. There was over an hour wait so we grabbed a slice to go instead and sort of ate it on the fly. They only offer a couple of choices by the slice to go, but we were all happy—they had a slice of cheese each ($2.75) and I had the special slice of the day with artichokes, pancetta, onions and feta ($3.75). These are huge foldable slices with crispy crust, but just soft enough to be able to fold it. I really liked the crust here and the toppings for the day’s special were perfect for me—being someone who appreciates mostly veggies on my pizza. I would certainly be frequenting this place if I were from Detroit. And it raises the question about why good NY style pizza is such a challenge in central Indianapolis. Anyway, let’s move on.

Before the concert, we had dinner at Shewolf. We had not been able to get a reservation a few weeks in advance but were advised they have a large bar that is walk in and that’s what we did. We arrived right when they were opening and were seated right away (it got crowded really fast though). This is “modern Roman” restaurant and seems to be hugely popular. They make several types of pasta in house. My daughter’s boyfriend sort of let us order everything and we all shared. We started with a little freebie amuse bouche of a homemade cracker with a fairly light cheese spread. These were great. Next, we ordered the Lombardia focaccia ($6) and the carpaccio ($14). The focaccia was really good.  It had a whipped gorgonzola spread on the side, that had just a kick of blue cheese, but wasn’t too overwhelming for people who don’t love blue cheese (as I do). The focaccia had potato and rosemary on it. It was very well done and we all wished we had more. We also had the carpaccio, which I was torn on flavor-wise. The beef was really tender and good, but there was almost too much going on for me. There was hazelnuts, capers and Parmigiano, as well as a Nebbiolo dressing (a light red wine vinaigrette). I think the nuts may have been the set me over the top. I liked it, but it was almost too busy.

For dinner we split several items. The favorites were the rabbit roulade on polenta and the halibut with herbed breadcrumbs and artichokes. My daughter’s boyfriend had never had rabbit and described it as tasting like “chicken, but really good!” Both of these dishes were extremely well prepared and were seasoned with fun interesting flavors. The one let down I thought was the Roman pasta carbonara ($18). I was surprised at the shape of the pasta—large rings. They were a little al dente for me, and the “sauce” was more like a dollop of cream. I just didn’t feel the carbonara aspect of the sauce—it was too gloopy for me. And the bits of black pepper were too large and dominated the flavor. The desserts were great—they had little fried Italian doughnuts (zeppole) ($9) and this giant dish of dark chocolate gelato ($9). Both great but even better together. The doughnuts were ricotta based and covered in salted caramel sauce. So good. All in all this was a fun restaurant and had some great flavor combos for sure. I would love to try some other menu items.  

On our way out of town, we just had time for a brunch and we checked out Selden Standard. They serve lunch and dinner every day, but brunch on the weekend. The kids wanted the morning pastries ($5 each)—one was a chocolate cherry pastry and one was a blood orange cake. The kids really liked the cake. The chocolate pastry was good as well—very rich and chocolatey with some large chunks of cherries in it. I had their version of chilaquiles ($12), which were good, but I wished the chips were a little more integrated into the dish. The flavors were good—I liked the dark almost mole like sauce—it just all felt like it sat on top of the chips rather than being a part of the dish, which is my preference. The kids shared yet another sweet dish—the lemon poppy seed French toast ($12) which was actually really good. And I liked the way the chunks of rhubarb on top added a tartness. It also had lavender cream and almond. All in all, this was a really interesting menu (that changes frequently) and they do a nice job. Again, another place I would be interested in trying multiple times and check out seasonal menu items.

Have you guys ever spent time in Detroit? Eaten anywhere good?

Monday, June 24, 2019

Perillo's Pizza




My sister lives out in Danville and has been telling me to try this pizza place out that way for ages. I have to say, driving that far and through Avon no less is a bit of a turn off traffic-wise, but when my brother in law was performing in a local community theatre production, we figured it was finally a good time to see him and to try a place out there—Perillo’s it was. It’s actually in North Salem, if you are familiar with the area.
 
I have to say, the downtown is super cute. It’s one of those old timey small centers of town with some cute shops and restaurants, and a few places that are out of business too sadly (always hard for those types of areas). 

So we started with their garlic rolls ($5.50 for 5). You can get marinara or cheese sauce. We had both. These were tasty—I liked the cheese on top of the rolls. The cheese sauce was not your pure nacho cheese flavor and was a little more interesting than that. I also had a salad that is their house salad ($2.99)—it is Greek style salad with lettuce, olives, red onions, feta and tomato. They have a nice tangy Italian dressing too.

Unfortunately, I think I enjoyed the two starters more than I ended up liking the pizza. While the flavor of the toppings was really good (mushroom and red onion (about $17 for ours)), there was maybe too much sauce on it, and the topping sort of slid around on the crust. The taste was good, but it all just came across a little too squishy. And I do like the crumbled sausage they use as well-call me old fashioned. The pizza is New York style pizza, but just not exactly the right texture and consistency to make it exactly perfect for my ideal pizza. Considering how lacking we are in New York style pizza though, it’s not a bad option for Indiana. And these are big pizzas.


All in all, I like the charming environment of the restaurant and the food was pretty good. It’s not the best New York style option I have had, but certainly not the worst either.

Perillos
5 South Broadway St
North Salem, IN 46165
765/676-4171


Monday, June 10, 2019

Taziki's Mediterranean Cafe


This may be the closest restaurant to my house so when I saw it open, I knew I had to give it a try. I was disappointed a bit that it is a chain, but at least it has a unique cuisine for fast casual dining—Mediterranean food. It’s one of those places where you order your food at the register and they bring it out to you. They menu is pretty big and they are proud to tell where different ingredients come from and try to offer several healthy options. 

We started with the appetizer of whipped feta ($5.99) blended with spices, topped with honey and served with pita on the side. You can get soft pita or baked crunchy pita or a mix of both—which is what we got. This was delicious. I was impressed. Hubby and I had had a similar dish at a restaurant in Nashville and loved it—this was very similar and very good. The feta is creamy and tangy but flavored with some herbs and spices and the sweet honey takes the edge off the feta. I was undecided whether I preferred the soft pita or the crunchy pita—both were very good. The soft pita was basic, but good and the crunchy baked pita had more seasoning on it and was more like a cracker. I just ate some of both. If I had to choose, I would probably go crunchy, but I really liked having some of each.

My daughter ordered the grilled chicken basil-pesto chicken gyro ($9.99). This was very tasty—it was strips of very tender seasoned chicken with pesto, tomatoes and feta inside a wrap. I was impressed with all the dishes as to how tender the chicken all was. Not sure how they keep it so tender, but it was great. Kind of like a Greek burrito. Nearly all the dishes come with chips and a choice of a second side. My daughter got the rice—which looked kind of bland to me, but she said it was good (I didn’t try it). 

My mother-in-law had the weekend special that was a pasta dish—“Taziki’s signature pasta” ($8.99). So there is a bed of lettuce on the bottom and penne pasta and chicken on top that has been tossed in a balsamic vinaigrette. The pasta then has chopped tomatoes, feta and fresh basil on top. Again, I was impressed with how tender the chunks of chicken were. And I really liked the balsamic flavor for “sauce.” It was unique and I like the acid. Add tomato and feta and it was a tasty dish. Enough for two people, but good. She ordered a side of the tomato-cucumber salad which was nice too and could be a good garnish for the sandwiches—it was nicely marinated and had some onions in there too. 

I ordered the grilled chicken roll-up ($7.99) which is a flour tortilla filled with chicken, tomato and feta and then grilled so the tortilla is crisp. The little rolls are served with fresh salsa. You really need the salsa with this—otherwise the dish is a little boring. I sort of wished for a bit more of the tomato and cheese—and maybe some taziki sauce as well, although the salsa was very tasty. It just needed a little more, even though again, the chicken was nice and tender. I had the fruit as my side, and I will pass on this in the future—it was a little too melon heavy for me.

I would certainly order that feta dip again and would like to try their hummus and taziki as well. I wish they had a combo plate of the dips—they also have a pimento cheese. I would be nice to try them all. I couldn’t even get them to sell me a small side of taziki to go with my lunch. She only would sell me an entire other appetizer size, which we didn’t need. Offering small sides might be a good idea. 

My daughter also got some of the dark chocolate cake ($2.79). She always gets desserts, especially if there is chocolate cake. I have to say, we agreed this was the weakest thing we ate. It just had a weird taste that we didn’t care for. 

But overall, even though it is a chain, and given its proximity to our home, it will likely become a fairly regular stop. I like the unique flavors for a fast-casual place. And that you could get something fairly healthy but still with some flavor. They also offer full dinners for 4 to carry out which might be something we try as well. And they have beer and wine. Not a huge selection, but some local beers and a couple of wine choices. 

If you have been, what were your thoughts?

Taziki’s Mediterranean Cafe 
4025 E. 82nd Street
Indy. 46250
317/315-1125

Monday, June 3, 2019

U.S. Adventures: Austin


A few weeks ago, we made a super quick trip to Austin to see some good friends and see a concert. Of course there was food mixed in, and here’s where we went (yes, that’s right, there is no barbecue in this post, get over it). 

We ate dinner at a hip place called the Odd Duck. It’s a shared plate/tapas type place with a very energetic atmosphere and a super eclectic menu. Probably my favorite dish of the night was the redfish ceviche ($14). It had a great lime flavor and had cilantro, olives (yum!) and carrot curry. Very interesting flavors—lots of acid. They recommended we just mix it all together, including the chips and we did. It was delicious. Oh, and you gotta love the Paloma drink here ($10). The drink itself was super good with tequila, aperol, grapefruit, tarragon and ginger—but the coolest thing was instead of a salt rim, they put a salt foam on top. You got a little bit with each sip, but it was a soft texture instead of the crunhy salt—it was much milder and softer taste too. It was really good. 

Next we had the seeded homemade pretzel sticks stuck into broccoli queso ($8). Also, totally delicious. Think of a really good soft pretzel in a really thick rich broccoli cheddar soup. Really a kind of genius idea if you think about it. So much better than the generic nacho cheese and more interesting than beer cheese.

We also had the antelope tataki ($12) with leek aioli, cabbage, sesame and rosemary crackers. Also really good—I am pretty sure I have never had antelope tataki before and it was tender and flavorful. The aioli added a nice brightness to the dish.  The basic bread plate ($7) here was also really tasty—local sourdough bread with cultured butter and flaky sea salt. It was simple, but really good as well. And a nice addition to dishes that weren’t particularly carb heavy.

We had some Asian style goat nuggets that were on special as well. They had a great, slightly spicy, slightly sweet flavor. The texture of the meat varied, some pieces a bit chewy—but when you got a good one, it was pretty tasty. Even if one of our friends seemed disturbed about eating goat. There was also a pasta dish ($19) that has a goat chili on it as well as goat feta, cilantro and radish. The noodles were thick and eggy and the toppings gave a unique flavor for a pasta dish. Lots of goat on this menu.

Dessert was tasty too—it was like a deconstructed chocolate cake—hunks of cake with sweet potato caramel pudding and orange marmalade. The chunks of torn cake were really good—super fudgy tasting. And I ended up liking the sweet potato with it more than I thought. Especially the crisp chips on top. Overall, I think I prefer sweet potato in a dessert it seems.

Odd Duck is a unique place—really trendy and lots of good bites and flavors. Certainly some better than others, but worth checking out. 
At my insistence, we also went back to Home Slice Pizza. Last time we waited nearly 2 hours to get seated so we went early, not knowing what to expect. It turns out on Easter (the day we were there), it is not crowded at all. We sat outside and ordered some knots ($4.50 for 4) (a lot of them actually because our friends’ kids love them). They are good, but they are not the reason I go—to me they are just pizza dough in a knot served with marinara. Not much luring me in here—give me some garlic butter any day.

The pizza though, the pizza is amazing (around $20-25 for a large depending on toppings). It’s New York style and is really, really good. Super thin but with just the right amount of toppings so it doesn’t fall apart when you are eating it. And they literally put the perfect amount of toppings on it in my opinion and sauce—not so much that it makes the crust mushy. Love this pizza and wish we had one near us. Brozinni is our closest place serving great New York style pizza for me, and it’s nearly in Greenwood, which is a pretty long trek for me.

All in all, it was s super quick trip, but as always, we ate well (and don’t worry hubby was there longer than me and had some barbecue too).

Odd Duck
1201 S. Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78704
512/433-6521

Home Slice Pizza
501 E. 53rd Street
Austin, TX 78751
512/707-7437

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Ukiyo- Revisit


This week hubby and I had a date night and decided on Ukiyo. I was interested to see how the menu had shifted now that we are going into summer. I was not disappointed. First of all, one of the first things they told us were the specials which included soft-shell crab. So instantly, I was happy.

We ordered two soft-shell crabs (there was one per order) ($13 each). Loved the pickled ramps with it—added a saltiness to the crabs that was tasty. They were just lightly fried with corn starch—a very light batter. These were super meaty crabs too—love it when you get a nice bite of crab with the crunchy soft shell. I will admit, I did dip it into some of the sauce from the gyoza—which was a soy/vinegar sauce with a bit of heat.

So those vegetable gyozas ($15) were also so good. They were wontons stuffed with scallions, mushrooms and glass noodles—it was minced inside so it still came across similar in consistency to a pork dumpling even though it was veggie. The filling was super flavorful and the dumpling itself was perfectly seared on one side. Like I said, the slightly spicy vinegar soy dipping sauce was really, really good. I could sit and eat those little dumplings all day. And I am glad to see they finally have dumplings on the menu. Maybe they will do a seafood one someday—that would be so good too.

We had the negiyaki ($13) as well which was a potato, leek, and green onion pancake with a ginger miso sauce and a fried sunny side up egg and fish flakes on top. I enjoyed the flavor of this one a lot, but the stringiness of the leeks and green onions made the texture a little off for me. That egg was perfect though.

We also had the tuna nigiri tasting flight ($16), which was a fun thing to try—you got one piece each of the lean tuna, the fatty tuna, and the really fatty belly tuna. Honestly, I probably liked the first two the best—and even that lean piece just melted in your mouth. The belly tuna was actually a little too fatty for me—made it a little chewy. But hubby loved it. Although he did say he would be perfectly content with either of the first two as well. It was fun to compare them.

Lastly, we had the crab fat fried rice ($17). This might have been hubby’s favorite thing of the evening. I loved the way they put the warm egg yolk in the middle of it to mix in to the rice, which cooked it a little bit more, but still stayed runny, as opposed to scrambling them into the rice. It gave it a luxurious creamy texture. And you can’t go wrong with the big chunks of crab in there. There was also a sweet/tanginess from yuzu and saltiness from miso. 

All in all, this was the best meal I have had at Ukiyo to date. I have always enjoyed it, but I feel like the menu is continuing to evolve and it has been for the better. If you have yet to check it out, now is the time. And hopefully they will still have the soft-shell crab.

 Ukiyo
4907 49th Street
Indy  46205
317/384-1048