Monday, October 14, 2019

Cake Bake Shop Carmel


Cake Bake has clearly been a darling of Broad Ripple since it opened, and it truly is adorable inside. It is one of my now-teenage daughter’s favorite places. I was excited to hear about the expanded menu at the new Carmel location and checked it out the other day with a group of girlfriends. If I am completely honest, I have never thought their cakes were all that, particularly at the price…but I do love a French bistro-style savory menu, and that’s what they have in Carmel (Broad Ripple too but I don’t think it has as much variety last time I checked).

Since there was a bunch of us, we shared a couple of starters—we had crab cakes (it was actually the crab cake dinner that comes with 2 cakes for $32) and the burrata salad ($18). Both were actually very nice. The crab cakes had a lot of crab in them (you’d hope so at that price) and their remoulade sauce had a nice kick of mustard to it that amped up the flavor. I liked the very crispy panko-breaded edges. And I have to say, I am kind of particular when it comes to crab cakes. I would eat these again. 

I also enjoyed the freshness of the burrata salad ($18) which was a nice amount of burrata with fresh tomatoes, basil and extra virgin olive oil. The tomatoes were wonderful end of summer tomatoes and I appreciate this considering the travesty that a lot of places serve for tomatoes in Indiana. This should never happen in Indiana in the summer. They also brought some nice warm French bread with it, which I could have eaten all of, but restrained myself. It was good. 

I ordered the croque Madame for my dinner ($21). If you are unfamiliar, this is a decadent French ham and cheese sandwich covered in béchamel and topped with a runny egg. So they use a nice country bread, stuff it with gruyere cheese, ham, and mustard, add the béchamel sauce on top and broil it I am guessing. If you stop there, you have a croque monsieur. But if you want the proper sandwich, you always add the egg.  Why you would ever not get the egg, I will never know. It is a rich sandwich though—I only ate about half. Ok, I ate all the egg, but about half the sandwich. I switched out my salad side for frites based on the recommendation of a friend who had been there (although next time I would just get both because I was sad not to get to try the salad with the lemon vinaigrette as described. I think it would be a nice addition). The fries are very tasty and you have to love a nice black pepper aioli alongside to dip them in. They were good, but not super hot. My friend who recommended them was a bit sad about this. All in all though, I enjoyed my dinner. 

The same friend who recommended the fries got the chicken and andouille sausage gumbo (a nice little selection of New Orleans-style food as well) ($22 + $8 if you want to add shrimp, which she did). She had raved about it to me the first time she had it and also thought it was also a little disappointing this time—she felt it didn’t have as much flavor as the first time. I tried a bite—I had nothing to compare it to, but agreed, it seemed a little bland. It is homemade though, so maybe it just varies with who is cooking that day? Not sure. I would like to try the shrimp po boy though—they are flying in bread from Nola and I have not found a good one since B’s closed. 

Another friend had the burger ($20), which looked pretty tasty, but I didn’t try it. A little thicker burger version, but with quality toppings. I would like to try it at some point. Another friend had the French onion soup and watermelon, arugula and feta salad for her main. She thought the salad was tasty, but very small. The soup was just average in her opinion.

Of course we had some cake (ok, I didn’t take pictures, but it might be the most photographed dessert in Indy, so easy enough to see if you want to). I really liked the Millionaire cake the best (slice is $13). Dark chocolate cake, caramel and vanilla frosting in the middle of the layers and well as shortbread. I loved the crunch of the shortbread and the cake itself seemed moister and fresher than what I have had here in the past. The raspberry Champagne cake ($13) was also a table favorite. 

Décor-wise, the Carmel location is very nice and much larger than Broad Ripple, but it’s a new building and in my mind, it’s impossible to recreate the charm of the Broad Ripple location. But I do like the menu and the food overall was good. I will take the kids one of these days—it is their kind of menu for sure. And like I said, I want to try that po boy (anyone had it? Let me know).

Cake Bake Shop
800 S. Rangeline Road
Carmel, IN 46032
317/257-2253

Monday, September 30, 2019

Common House Supper Club


If you haven’t heard about Common House, it’s a pop-up supper club run by Alan and Audra Sternberg (he was formerly the chef at Cerulean and the founding chef at Field Brewing). Recently they started doing these pop ups (usually at Ukiyo as far as I can tell) and some friends asked us to go. The menu looked good and we bought tickets. If you call it “Simply Summer,” I will have a hard time passing that by. The entire dinner cost about $90 per person (drinks additional).

The first three courses were amazing. Truly. First was a scallop “tamale,” This was so tasty, it was basically a scallop mixture with whole chunks of scallop that was cooked like a tamale (steamed in a corn husk). Loved the texture of this and the delicate flavor, but also the broth underneath with leeks, scallions and corn dashi. This was unique and it was really good. 

Next came grilled squash salad, which if I am honest, was the one I was least excited about, but which turned out to be one of my favorites for sure. There were various types of squash that was lightly cooked with sweet onions and then tossed in a slightly acidic fish sauce-based sauce—at least that’s how I remember it. It was so good—just the right amount of umami. I loved this one.

The third course was tempura skate wing sitting in a tomato butter with powdered ramp powder. I love skate—truly love it. Skate is the wing of a type of ray in case you haven’t had it before. This was the first time I have had it tempura battered and it was fantastic. Super light and crispy. Clearly a great way to do skate. 

The next course was poached chicken with a strawberry miso side, with chicken fat and pine. This one was good but didn’t stand out the way the first courses had. I liked the crispy edge to the chicken though. I also liked the corn stuffed pasta for the next course with octopus slices and tomato, even though by this point, I was getting full and pasta was a tough one!

The next one lost me. I love tuna, but this “ember roasted” albacore with squid ink bbq, carrot and Thai basil wasn’t doing it for me. The preparation of the fish was such that it had a sort of caramelized crust on top, but the fish got so tough that you could really barely cut it. The last savory course was brisket with egg yolk steak sauce and bok choy. Honestly, but this time I was just purely stuffed. I had a bite or two but had to throw in the towel. I did like that sauce though.
The dessert was interesting, but again, I just tasted it because I was so full at this point. It was rice pudding with honeycomb candy, fermented pine honey, and blueberry sherbet. Interesting flavors and I really liked the texture variation from the light, but crunchy honeycomb in the creamy rest of the dessert. 

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this meal. Would I prefer maybe a 4-5 course meal next time? Yes.  I was losing steam toward the end. But I would definitely do a next time. I hope to see a restaurant in this couple’s future. 

Common House
twitter and Instagram: @commonhouseindy






Monday, September 16, 2019

Revisit: Road Trip: Fireside Inn - Enochsburg, IN


A couple weeks ago we met our Cincinnati friends back at Fireside Inn. I know I have written about this place before, but my love of fried chicken makes me need to remind you about it. Plus it was interesting to learn that there is a fried chicken trail in southern Indiana. Who knew? But Fireside Inn is one of our favorites in the area, and we’ve tried quite a few. 


We started with some fried pickles ($5.95) because these are some of the best I have ever had. They are thin and really vinegary pickles, just like you might get on your burger at an old-school burger place, with a really crunchy batter on the outside. They are clearly housemade—nothing overly uniform about these. They gave us some ranch dressing and we were good to go. These are the best crunchy fried items (besides the chicken of course) they have that I have tried. And I’ve had the gizzards, livers, onion rings and fries. The standard sides don’t seem to be made in house and the gizzards and livers just get a little dry. I will never go to Fireside Inn and not get the pickles.

The fried chicken is why you come though, and theirs is very good. We kept trying the other local places between Indy and Cincy, and we have all agreed this is our favorite. The chicken pieces are small, but generally I think smaller pieces stay juicier. A whole chicken here is $14.50 (hubby and I shared one and brought a couple pieces home). A half is $7.50. This chicken just ticks all the boxes. It’s juicy and tender and has a nice crispy and lightly seasoned crust. And they cook it to order so it is hot, hot, hot. I like mashed potatoes with my fried chicken the best, but they only offer them on certain days and it wasn’t the day we were there, so I just went with a baked potato ($2.45). Like I said the rest of the sides seem pretty food service, so I was happy with my choice. 

The atmosphere of this place is well, pretty bare and unchanged since maybe the late 60s. The bar has a better vibe, but only 4-5 tables, but it is where we always sit. The rest is a lot of fluorescent lighting and worn out fabrics. Our server was awesome though. She was hilarious and extremely efficient. She had the kind of personality that alone would make you come back. 

If you want a dive between here and Cincy with great fried chicken and pickles, this is your place. Preferably without the kids so you can sit in the bar. 

Fireside Inn
2174 County Line Road
Greensburg, IN 47240
812/934-4174
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fireside-Inn-Enochsburg/237529667427




Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Four Day Ray Brewing


Recently we went to a concert a Ruoff/Klipsch/Deer Creek and I wanted to try something different. And hubby was traying to maximize the side of the park we came into for parking. I asked around on twitter and we settled on Four Day Ray in Fishers. It’s a brewery and restaurant—the menu looks like an elevated pub menu, and that was intriguing to me.

We met some friends there and started with the loaded fries—they were a big pile of fries with cheese sauce and chopped up bacon and chives. These were a tasty snack, especially right when they came out and were really hot (and they came out fast!). The fries were crisp but quickly became a little soft after sitting under the cheese sauce for a bit. Still tasted good, just needed to be eaten with a fork. Intrigued by the loaded tots though.

We all got some different things for mains and shared bites with everyone. We had some tacos, and a couple of sandwiches. The top picks were probably the burger ($11) and the Nashville Hot Chicken sandwich ($12). The burger is 2 beef patties with two slices of cheese (as it should be), Bomba sauce (which I am thinking was just like a classic burger sauce with some combo of ketchup and mayo as well as some other seasoning) on a brioche bun. This was a tasty burger—not exactly smash burger type patties, but thin-ish and very juicy. It was really good. Hubby chose chips with the burger and they were good too although I am usually a fry person.

The Nashville chicken sandwich was also really good. The chicken breast is brined with cayenne and pepper and then it is fried and topped with spicy hot sauce, shredded romaine lettuce and buttermilk chive dressing. The chicken was very tender and the coating on the chicken, even with the sauce,  stayed crisp. I liked the cool lettuce and dressing to balance out the spicy chicken. Also a really good sandwich. The onion rings were decent too. Battered and maybe a little overdone, but a good flavor. 

The tacos were a bit more mixed for me. I like the random flavor varieties they have, and they were very interesting and unexpected. I liked the poke taco ($5), which had a hard shell filled with marinated tuna, Asian snap slaw, and pickled ginger aioli. The taco had a distinctive flavor that maybe included sesame oil and the ginger aioli on top was really nice with it. This one was my favorite. Next of the ones we tried, I liked the Cubano ($4), which was a vegetarian option that includes fried plantain, black beans, mango salsa and guacamole. It had a slightly sweet taste from the plantain, but still a good savory mix as well. An interesting flavor profile. Not totally sure I would order it again, but it was interesting. The one I was kind of mixed on was the special taco ($5), which was stuffed with smoked chicken thigh, a chipotle sauce (I think) and fried onion straws. It was like BBQ in a tortilla which threw me off a bit. Nothing wrong with any component, bit not my favorite.

Overall though, the sandwiches were the stars. And I bet their tenderloin is good too based on the fried chicken. Oh! And what a cool beer selection. I am not typically a beer drinker, but I really like the refreshing taste of the blood orange blonde. Like beer, but with a little tart kick. It was great on the hot day with the food that had all kinds of different flavors. I also really enjoyed the “Hot Pink” which is a strawberry rhubarb jalapeno blonde. It had a distinct taste of the strawberry rhubarb (which I love) and then just a tiny heat in the back of your throat after you had a sip. Our waiter described it to us perfectly and I would be hard pressed to say which I liked better. Hubby also liked the La Playa Mexican lager—his favorites are almost always the Mexican style lagers wherever he goes. 

Anyhow, I thought this was a really good pub type experience. It’s new though,  therefore packed, so be prepared to wait (although they told us much longer than our wait ended up being). The food is tasty and our service was on point. Let me know what else you have had and enjoyed. 

Four Day Ray Brewing
11671 Lantern Road
Fishers, IN 46038
317/343-0220

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