Thursday, June 22, 2017

U.S. Adventures: Austin, Texas

For spring break this year, the family and I headed back to Austin to see our good friends who moved there a couple years ago. If you’re a regular reader, you will know our last trip last May didn’t go too well—hubby broke his arm and I didn’t get to go to my number one choice of restaurant because we headed home early. 

That restaurant was Uchiko, and it was fabulous. One of the best meals I have had in awhile for sure. I love the small plates concept because you can try even more things. And we certainly did. They do sushi, but a ton of other Japanese options as well. Probably one of my favorite dishes of the evening was the take nabe ($18). It was like a soft porridge with dashi and lots of different mushrooms and a runny egg. I loved the intensity of the flavor of this one. Loved the hama chili as well, which was sashimi of yellowtail with orange, thai chili and ponzu ($18.50). Hubby thought it was a bit bland, but if you ate it with the pieces of orange, it was fabulous. Delicate, but really good. The table all loved the fried caramelized Brussels sprouts with fish sauce, lemon and chili. I don’t think I have ever tasted Brussels sprouts that tasted so rich. And they remained crispy despite everything going on. And wagyu on a hot rock with ponzu ($17)? You can’t really go wrong. You barely sear it and then eat it. The special nigiri was great as well. One of the sushi rolls was tasty, while one was weird and my least favorite thing. The “shag” tempura roll ($14) with salmon, avocado, sundried tomato and sumiso was great. The ham and egg roll ($10) with pork belly and egg custard was not so good. It fell flat. The tempura grouper that was a special was fine, although just didn’t stick out. The desserts on the other hand were as tasty as they were beautiful ($8-$9 each). We really didn’t need three of them, but we ordered them anyway. Just look at them. They were great. I want to go back tomorrow.

The next meal we had was at Home Slice. Why oh why can’t we have pizza like this is Indy (outside of Brozinni, which is awesome, but so far away from me)? It was a great place to take the kids, even though we ended up eating lunch at like 3:00 p.m. because that’s how long it takes to get in EVERYWHERE in Austin. This city is clearly over-peopled. Anyhow, my daughter wanted an antipasti platter ($14.75) and the kids pretty well devoured it. Like I said, it was like 3:00, so it was a good call, because it came out fast. A nice mix of Italian meats, cheeses and my favorite, olives and artichoke hearts. Oh yeah, and those garlic knots. The platter came with a couple and then we got a bunch more (4 for $4.50). They are soft and garlicky and delicious. They come with marinara, which although I prefer Bromine’s garlic butter, was very tasty. The pizza though? The pizza was awesome. The best part was the mushroom and red onion (which was my choice). Just the right amount of each ingredient, and that crust was awesome. It might even be better than Brozinni. The kids ordered a clam pizza ($21.50), and while it was good (you gotta squeeze the lemon on top), it was very, very clammy—those are all chopped clams. I think about half as many would have made it better. It had a white olive oil type sauce instead and lots of garlic and herbs.

For lunch we ate at Top Notch. I mean look at that sign and tell me it doesn’t make you want to eat there? It was cool, a drive-in from way back. The inside was all wood paneled. Their sign advertised fried chicken, so who am I to say no? It was fine chicken, but honestly the burgers the kids ordered were better. The onion rings were quite tasty too and the milkshakes were handmade and delicious. And check out the canned wine. Fancy.

Our last meal was also really good. Still waiting on an Italian place like this in Indy. The restaurant is called Red Ash. It was one of those really hip, popular and LOUD restaurants, but the food more than made up for any noise discomfort. The bread service ($2 pp) alone is delicious. And you have to pay for it, but after that they will bring you free refills. This was garlic and cheese bread and the bread itself was delicious too. We also got an app of roasted clams ($16) and they were the smallest I have ever seen in the US. They were delicious. My family was fighting over them—they were cooked in white wine, herbs, garlic and topped with breadcrumbs. We also ordered beef carpaccio ($14), which was prepared wonderfully as far as the meat was concerned, but it was covered with a lot of horseradish, which isn’t really my thing. You couldn’t really taste the meat anymore. We also had a wonderful fresh halibut crudo ($16) that was seasoned perfectly and it was as beautiful as it was tasty. It ad avocado and lemon, radish and celery. So bright and fresh.  This place definitely excelled the most at apps though I think. Our entrées were good, but the risotto with bone marrow ($36) hubby and I split with hubby was so over the top rich, it was hard to finish. My daughter’s gnocchi ($15 for the small portion) with gorgonzola cream, speck, and fresh cream and was my favorite of the entrées. It was light and creamy and had some nice fresh herbs in it as well. The desserts we all shared (there were 9 of us) were very tasty as well. Dulce du leche ice cream, tiramisu and filled doughnuts with chocolate and blackberry jam (all $9). 

All in all, this trip went much better than the last one that’s for sure. We kayaked and the kids all rock climbed and we ate really, really well (there was some BBQ in there too, don’t worry but I wrote about the place we went (Rudy’s) last time, so I am not covering it again). Austin is a great city, but seriously, it is a bit overpopulated. The traffic was insane and the waits for restaurants were as well. But the food (and the company of course) made it worth it. And hey, if you  have recommendations for other places I am sure we will get back there one of these days.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Elena Ruz Cuban Cuisine

First of all, Elena Ruz is actually located within the building that holds Black Circle Brewing. It’s on 46th right near Keystone, in the back of the old Double 8 foods building if you know the one I mean. It’s sort of hard to realize there’s a Cuban place in there unless you just know. You go into the bar, order drinks at the bar (lots of beer choices, and even a record player) and then order your food from a doorway nearby. Sort of food truck style.

You can’t take kids in there obviously though, since it’s a bar. And we live in Indiana. They do have some limited outdoor seating though. Anyhow, my friend Suzanne and I wanted to try a variety of things so we got the Cubano sandwich ($8.50), the beef empanadas ($6.99) and ended up with a side of tostones ($3.99) because they were out of the plantain chips. 

I thought the best things were the empanadas. There were three of them, and they were filled with super juicy and flavorful beef. A pet peeve I have is when an empanada is all dry inside and these were the opposite. At one point the liquid from the thing was running down my arm. The fried pastry was nice and crisp and held everything in. The cilantro cream sauce was the best. There is no need for other sauces, this stuff was so good, and I wanted to dip everything in it.

The Cuban sandwich was very traditional—layered with roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. I like Cuban sandwiches because; duh, pickles and mustard are two of my favorite things, but also because they are inherently flat and easy to eat (I know, I am weird). This one was solid, although I would have liked a couple more pickles (the ones that were on there were nice and thick though). It’s totally worth getting, or doing what we did, and splitting it along with something else.

I did not care for the tostones. They were really dense and didn’t have a lot of flavor. The garlic sauce that came with it was interesting—pretty much just like crushed garlic in oil, but it wasn’t the right mix with the tostones. I liked them better with the cilantro cream, but even then, not my favorite. 

There are a lot of good sounding things on the menu though—I’m intrigued by the rice bowls. And it’s a great place to have in the area, that doesn’t have a lot of sit down independent places to grab lunch. They’re not open Mondays or Tuesdays though, so plan accordingly. And let me know what you get and what you think.

Elena Ruz Cuban Cuisine 
(Located in Black Circle Brewing Company)
2201 East 46th St, Suite 207
Indy 46205

Monday, June 12, 2017

Pho Real

Pho places seem to be springing up everywhere…well, at least more of them are becoming more central to my location, which I appreciate. There are two or three new places I have been waiting to try and this was one of them. The BFF and I headed over there for lunch and laughed because we knew this strip mall from our very young days, as we grew up nearby. Don’t let the scary dark wood/slightly run down vibe of the outside scare you away; they have done a nice job on the inside of this place. It’s cute and very clean. The menu is big and has Thai and Laotian food as well as Vietnamese.

But, when your name is “Pho Real,” you kinda have to try the pho right? At least on your first visit. But since it was a new place, and we were kinda in the mood, we also ordered some appetizers. We ordered the dumplings ($7.75) and the fried tofu ($5.95). I really liked the fried tofu. It had a nice firm, yet crispy crust that you had to break through to get to a very silky (and hot!) interior. It was served with a very mild sauce to dip in, but it had a slight acidic flavor and I liked it. I also ended up dropping them last piece or two into my pho and that was really good too. They kept their shape even in the broth. The dumplings were pretty tasty too. They were stuffed with pork and a bit of shrimp and served with that vinegar/soy sauce. Maybe not as tender as I would like—the filling was pretty dense—but they had a good flavor.

I ordered the rare beef pho  (Pho #1) ($9.99), which is my classic choice. It’s a deep beef broth with thin rice noodles, cilantro, scallions and it was seasoned with some black pepper it seemed. Oh, and the rare beef of course. I always squeeze my lime in there too from the fresh side plate, as well as throwing in a couple of the slices of jalapeno to steep and spice up the broth. Then I put in the basil and bean sprouts for a bit more flavor and texture. I tend to add a bit of chili sauce—here the only choice was Sriracha, so that’s what I used. I put a bit of soy in as well. Anyhow, that’s how pho is—you kind of doctor it up to your taste. But the thing that makes or breaks pho (or puts it on the just ok list anyway) is the broth. And this broth was very good. It had a very deep flavor and this is up there with my favorite bowls of pho in town so far. Mine also had nice, tender thin slices of beef that seemed a little more flavorful than many, even my favorite, Pho Tasty. Like I said, I also liked throwing my tofu in there as well. 

My BFF had the veggie pho ($8.99) and she seemed to really like it. I was too busy eating all of mine to even try it, but she said it was definitely one of the better vegetarian broths she has had in town. She didn’t love the big hunks of bok choy, because they were almost impossible to eat. If you don’t have a knife, I do believe food should be in bite-sized pieces.

Overall though, this was a great find. And they have lots of great sounding Thai dishes I would be interested to try as well. They also have beer and wine.

Pho Real
9611 N. College Ave
Indy 46280

Monday, June 5, 2017

Asaka Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar

Sadly, I have been a little disappointed with the quality of my sushi place lately, so hubby and I are on the quest for our new (close) sushi joint. I had been to Asaka years ago, and had been recently told by two people in two totally different circles that they really liked Asaka, so we thought we would give it another go. Plus, the only female sushi chef in town, which is pretty cool.

First of all, miracle of miracle, it’s in Castleton, which is notoriously awful for restaurants (although it is certainly getting better). It’s right next to Hooter’s in fact, if that demonstrates my point. It’s a cute little place inside—it has more charm and atmosphere than many, and even some little private rooms in the back where you take off your shoes and sit on the floor.

And here’s something some of you will really like—they do a “happy hour” everyday between 5:00-7:00 where they offer certain items at a reduced rate. I have included the happy hour menu with pricing so you can see what I mean. This post is about two different visits—the first time we weren’t there during happy hour and the second time we were. 

The nigiri is actually my favorite thing here, although I have enjoyed some of the rolls as well. They give you a really long, thin cut of the fish on the rice with the nigiri, and the fish is very good quality. Several of our favorite items (the tuna, the yellow tail and the salmon) were offered on the happy hour menu, so we got several pieces both times. I will say, for some reason during the happy hour visit, the fish was really, really cold, which was a tiny bit off putting to me. I’m not sure if this had something to do with the happy hour angle, but I just let it come to temp a little before eating it.

We tried several rolls on both occasions. On the happy hour menu, we tried the special roll ($5), which on this day was spicy tuna with a layer of yellow tail and some scallions. It was good, and a great deal, but had a little bigger pieces than I like. The other time we went, we had the Hoosier roll ($5.50), which was spicy tuna and avocado. It was a good basic roll. I like that their spicy tuna is nice pieces of recognizable tuna (this was true for the special happy hour roll as well). There were several other rolls as well—not sure of their exact names, but one had spicy salmon and spicy salmon on top, one was basically a shrimp tempura roll and the other was a spicy roll with jalapeno, salmon and avocado with some spicy mayo and eel sauce. They were all pretty tasty, although this is one place where I think I like the nigiri better; it was just so silky and high quality. The menu here features A LOT of rolls with cream cheese, which is not my favorite thing in a roll.

Both times we also had the shrimp shumai ($4.95)(these prices may be a little off, because the online menu doesn’t seem to be totally up to date) and the soft shell crab appetizer ($7.95). The first time we really enjoyed the soft shell crab, it was crunchy and delicious. The second time it was mostly batter and not a lot of the crab. Somewhat disappointing. The shumai were good both times though—I love a good dumpling. Our friend on our first visit just ordered a sashimi dinner and it was beautiful (it came with a bowl of rice).

The second visit (the happy hour visit), we were with the kids. My son got chicken katsu and really enjoyed it. I liked that it wasn’t just white meat and had some flavor. He inhaled it. My daughter got the shio ramen, and while it wasn’t the best I’ve had, it was certainly decent. We all ate some of it, and she seemed to really enjoy it. Again, the online menu doesn’t even show these particular items, so I am not sure of the exact prices. And in general, they have a lot of non-sushi items on the menu, so just about everyone can find something they will like.

Since it seems like I am basically going in reverse order of the pacing of the food, let me tell you about the salad they bring with each entrée. The ginger salad dressing on is super gingery and doesn’t have any creaminess to it. I could pretty much eat that stuff by itself. Just ginger and acid. It’s delicious.

Anyway, it’s a good place and will likely be a regular stop for us in the future, although I will lean more toward sashimi and nigiri here. There are some other rolls I would like to try as well. And there are a lot of appetizers that sound good. I would love to hear your thoughts on what you like here as well as other favorite sushi joints on the northeast side-ish.

Oh—and a super helpful tip, particularly for happy hour—they do take reservations, although not many make them. You can walk right past all the people waiting and be seated if you plan ahead a little.

6414 East 82nd Street
Indy 46250

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Road Trip: Bread Basket Cafe and Bakery--Danville, IN

My sister and her husband recently moved from Avon to Danville just to be a little further away from me (just kidding)…but for real they did move to Danville. And she has been after me for like a year to try the Bread Basket. We kept trying to do a weekend family thing but it never seemed to work out. So recently she and I just met up on a random weekday when we were both off.

So yeah, it’s about an hour from me, but I can see why she really likes it. It’s super cute first of all, located in an old house. You enter through the back door, and literally walk through the kitchen to the dining room. Talk about homey. You walk through a gauntlet of homemade breads and pastries and the smell in there is like my house on baking day at the holidays. So good.

It’s pretty much a breakfast/lunch place, with some additional options on the weekends for brunch. It was a weekday, and still during breakfast hours, so that’s what we were choosing from. Apparently on the weekends, you can choose from either side of the menu at any time (they’re open til 3:00 pm Tuesday through Saturday). I ordered a half order of the biscuits and gravy with two fried eggs ($4.99 + $2.99). They are homemade biscuits and were flaky—from what I could tell under all that gravy. Let’s face it, they are really just a vehicle for the sausage gravy, which was well seasoned and a good consistency—not too runny or too floury as it can be sometimes. I like a little egg with mine and ate them together. They eggs were cooked well.

My sister had the breakfast sandwich ($7.49) and it was delicious. The star was the homemade honey oat bread, it was soft, yet had nice texture throughout. And it had just the right amount of egg to cheese to bacon ratio (you can get sausage or ham if you want). She loves the roasted potatoes that she got as a side ($2.79), and they were nice roasted potatoes, but weren’t getting me super excited. 

She had mentioned how many of our family members loved the cinnamon rolls and cinnamon roll French toast ($11.49), so I decided I needed to get one to go for later (just the roll, not the French toast). I also got a piece of outrageous chocolate cake for my kids. I can’t really do sweets like that in the morning, but it made for a nice decadent dessert after sushi that night. Seriously, that was one of the best cinnamon rolls ever. Tons of cream cheese icing. It was truly addictive. It’s really a good thing they are not closer to me, or I might develop a problem for those rolls.

It’s a great family run place and I can see how it could become a regular place if it was close by. I would like to try their lunch sandwiches sometime—I bet they’re really good on those breads they make.

Bread Basket Cafe and Bakery
46 S. Tennessee Street
Danville, IN  46122

Thursday, May 25, 2017

U.S. Adventures: Miami Beach, FL

A few months ago some friends from Texas convinced hubby and I to meet them in Miami for a long weekend (ok, it was February, it wasn’t hard). Here’s a little run down of where we ate.

Watr at the 1 Rooftop (it’s at the top of the 1 Hotel on South Beach). We had all just gotten in and didn’t have specific lunch plans, so we took our concierge’s advice and hit up one of the few rooftop/beachside restaurants on South Beach, and we could walk from our hotel. It was beautiful and the weather was superb. The menu is kind of eclectic, with a lot of small plates, but I really enjoyed everything. Here’s a sample of what we had: assorted dim sum ($16). Only four dumplings, and they were all different, but delicious. I could happily eat this on my own. Sweet and sour wings with tamarind glaze ($19). Meaty and I loved the tanginess of the tamarind. They had a bit of heat. Kimchi tuna ($19). I loved this dish and wished I had it all to myself. Lots of chunks of tuna in a creamy sauce, with kimchi and garlic chips, set on top of quinoa. I want to eat this now. We had a couple of sushi rolls as well, the salmon roll ($16), with asparagus, salmon, avocado and black sesame, and the shrimp tempura roll ($16) with shrimp, avocado, cucumber and spicy mayo. Both just perfect. Finally the beef bulgogi lettuce wraps, with pickled cucumber and cashews ($19). Very good. Things were pricy, and a bit on the small side, but delicious. Very nice cocktails as well. And a great view of the beach as well as the Miami skyline.

Next we headed to dinner at Yardbird, based on a friend’s recommendation. We all loved this choice, even though one of my friends mocked me for choosing a fried chicken place. We started with the deviled eggs ($11 I think), which I really enjoyed because they had lots of dill and chives and tasted sort of pickly to me…my friends didn’t like them as much though for the same reason. We also had the little fried green tomato BLT appetizer ($14). This was the biggest letdown of the night. It sounded good—a fried green tomato with pimento cheese and bacon, but the tomato was way too thick and everything just slid off. It just came across and really dry and hard to eat. Skip this one. The fried chicken ($26), which they are known for, was very good. And man, the mac and cheese ($10)? Yes. Five kinds of cheese and herby topping. We also had some biscuit sliders and the shrimp and grits that were both pretty tasty, but overall the chicken is the star. Oh, and those little beignet type doughnuts. Delicious.

Randomly, the next morning, an old high school friend had replied to one of my facebook posts that he was also in Miami, and was eating pretzels at the Hofbrau Haus. Once I knew that existed, we had to go have a beer and pretzels as an appetizer before our next lunch. The pretzels weren’t as good as the ones in Munich, but it was fun anyway. And giant steins of beer always provide good photo ops. After that, we kind of wandered down the street until we just decided to grab a slightly healthier second course at Sushisamba. We had lots of little things. The tuna tataki ($15) was my favorite with the asparagus, hearts of palm and avocado and a fresh citrus soy. They had their own version of basically a bang bang shrimp, which was tempura rock shrimp ($17) with a spicy mayo and some black truffle vinaigrette. Strangely addictive. The samba dromo roll ($19) (lobster, mango, tomato, chive, crispy rice and peanut curry) was a miss. But it was a nice light lunch to follow our giant pretzels with cheese.

So our next night, my friend absolutely insisted on going to Joe’s Stone Crab. He absolutely loves this place. They don’t take reservations, and I will spare you the amount of complaints I have about this fact, but we waited over 2 hours for our reservation and I got progressively crankier. Luckily we found a table outside and had drinks and ordered some appetizers—they have a special bar menu you can only get out there. The popcorn lobster bites ($16.95) were quite delicious actually. Strangely there were actual pieces of popcorn mixed in, but regardless, the lobster was yummy and I liked the mustard sauce. We also got a jumbo crab cake with green tomato remoulade ($14). This was a miss. A giant fried ball of something that supposedly contained crab. Into the second hour, we added the crab and onion dip ($12.95) and this stuff was fabulous. It was cold, which sort of deterred me at first, but man, it was good. They served it with homemade potato chips, which were also delicious.

When we were finally seated at like 10:00 or something, I was barely in the mood to eat, but we had to get the signature items. I will have to say, as grumpy as I was, this was good food. The stone crab bisque ($9.95) was really tasty—really rich and decadent. I was glad I split a bowl with hubby though because it was soooo rich, I couldn’t have eaten it all. Then the stone crab claws. They were certainly the best I have ever had—I have never honestly had any that I thought were worth the price. These were (and they are expensive for sure, market pricing depending on size) and I enjoyed them with the creamy mustard sauce.  The key lime pie ($8.95) was also delicious, even though I think I was about to fall asleep on my plate by this time. The place was still heaving with people though.

Our last meal was at Larios on the beach, which is an upscale Cuban place owned by the Estafan family. I don’t even want to go on about this place. Nothing we had was good. It just was very bland and forgettable. And quite possibly the worst desserts I have ever tried. That’s all I am going to say about that (I did add the pics though). I just don’t have the energy. I think this place has seem better days for sure.

So that’s Miami in a nutshell. It was fast and we had some tasty things. Some day I would like to go back to Joe’s with a better attitude. Maybe on a Tuesday at 4:30 or something.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Gallery Pastry Shop

I met my friend Suzanne the other day at Gallery Pastry Shop for lunch. I have been hearing (and seeing) lots of good stuff on social media about them and was excited to try it—and crepes! Plus I had been gifted with a gift certificate from a friend for Christmas and I needed to use it.

Well, we went during the week for lunch, so….no crepes. Apparently they are only offered for weekend brunch. The menu during the week is pretty limited as far as savory items, but we found a couple to order, as well as a few sweet treats. I ordered the croissant sandwich. You pick your meat and cheese from their offerings (they do charcuterie and cheese platters as well) and then you can add a sunny egg if you want (no brainer) ($15). Their meats are from Smoking Goose. I went with City ham and Tulip Tree beer cheese. And the egg. The croissants are quite good. Really good in fact—super light and flaky, with just the right amount of crunch. And the sandwich was extremely tasty. The ingredients are superb and I thoroughly enjoyed it. They serve it with a light salad with peppers and tomatoes. A nice touch, if maybe slightly underdressed.

Suzanne got the quiche ($12). This version had various veggies as well as sausage and cheese. They serve a little individual quiche rather than a slice, which is very cute. The crust on this thing—again, flaky and buttery and just the right amount of crunch—is the best part of it. The filling was tasty, maybe a little dense. Same greens on the side. 

We also bought them out of macarons, which I have to say, were incredible (I only had the chocolate caramel version, but they were wonderful).  They’re $2.50 each, so not cheap, but a nice splurge (and they have a weekly special where they sell them for $1 on certain days I think). They didn’t have many available for purchase though, and several people after us didn’t get any because we had gotten them all.

Actually, one of my biggest complaints about the place was the service. I was on a limited time frame (had just over an hour) and it was a struggle getting in and out of there in that time, even though there were only three tables seated in the place while we were there. Considering the quiche is already made, it made me wonder what was going on. Although it wasn’t just waiting for the food, getting the bill wasn’t much faster. I would love to try it for weekend brunch, but I have heard it gets quite crowded—it makes me wonder how long it takes to eat then. But the food is good. Very high quality ingredients and many, many delicious looking pastry items to try for sure. And at some point I want to try one of those crepes. I am still looking for my dream crepe in Indy.

Who else has been? What are your favorite sweet treats?

Gallery Pastry Shop
1101 East 54th Street
Indy  46220

Monday, May 15, 2017

La Margarita

Hubby and I took our son to La Margarita the other night. I haven’t been there since they have been in Fountain Square (that’s a really long time) and we were looking for something casual and where my son could catch some Pokémon.

We had to wait a bit for a table but not too long. There were a lot of families there, which is a nice thing to see. Before we were seated, hubby and I ordered a margarita while we waited. Oh boy. That was not a good margarita. I mean, there’s hardly a margarita that is terrible, but this one was pretty close. It was so sour it was hard to drink. After being seated, we switched quickly to something else.

We ordered the chile con queso ($6) to start. My son loves queso dip and loves to compare them. This one is actually made with real cheese giving it a gooey, stringy experience. It was really good. There was red salsa mixed into it (but a very liquid type of sauce, not chunky at all) and it gave it really nice flavor. This was probably our favorite item of the night. We ate every bit of it. They also give you a nice portion of chips with three different kinds of salsa—loved that one of them had chunks of avocado in it—you can always win me over with avocado. All the salsas were pretty good. The chips were kind of disappointing. They’re kind of generic. Honestly, the Kroger brand tortilla chips are better (seriously, they are pretty darn good, have you tried them?)

I was excited to try the chilaquiles ($12) because they are typically one of my favorite Mexican food items. They are chips mixed with cheese, chicken, salsa and you can add an egg for $1 (duh). I chose the red salsa (you can do red or green). I was kind of disappointed in this—it didn’t have the casserole kind of feel that my favorite versions do. This tasted almost more like nachos. The chips were still fully intact and just topped with the cheese and salsa and the egg was plopped on top. It didn’t taste terrible, but didn’t wow me.
Hubby felt similarly about his chile relleno ($11). It was one poblano pepper stuffed with cheese and chorizo and topped with a chili sauce and sour cream. He thought it was good, but nothing about it that made it really stand out. My son was happy with his chicken and cheese quesadilla, but loved the cheese dip the best.

Overall, it’s not my favorite Mexican that’s for sure. It’s fine, and it’s a nice family friendly place in Fountain Square that’s pretty approachable to all tastes. A nice outside area in warm weather. Bummer about the margaritas though.

La Margarita
1043 Virginia Ave, Suite 1
Indy  46203

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Turf Catering & Kitchen - Revisit

I have been back to Turf a couple of times since my last post and I really like this place still. The first time back I got the turkey club ($10) and wasn’t really expecting it to blow me away or anything, because hey, it’s a turkey club right? To date, this is my favorite sandwich at Turf. It’s got turkey obviously, but this turkey is heavily smoked and has a really unique and delicious flavor. It’s also topped with bacon, Swiss, lettuce, tomato, onion and black pepper mayo. It’s just right and that mayo gives nice flavor and moisture and the right amount of gooey-ness that I like in a sandwich.  I got the onion rings as my side this time and they weren’t my favorite side—they’re really big and a little too soft and doughy for me. That sandwich though…

On that visit, my lunch companion had the short rib grilled cheese with red onion jam and butterkase cheese ($12) which I talked about in a previous post. This is always a favorite as long as you don’t mind a touch of sweetness in your sandwich from the jam. A side of au gratin potatoes were tasty.

On another visit I had the special, which was a chicken melt with roasted chicken, diced tomatoes, cheddar cheese, bacon, chopped red onion and honey mustard ($10). I loved the chopped red onion so you got a little of it in every bite and not just one big mouthful.  I also liked the way they chopped the chicken up too so it wasn’t a giant brick of chicken breast the way most chicken sandwiches are. The honey mustard was a nice flavor, but I was craving a bit more gooey and asked for a side of the aforementioned black pepper mayo to add. Then it was perfect. Okay, still not quite as good as the turkey club, but darn close. I just went with the pimento cheese as my side this time, because let’s face it, it’s my favorite. I still like spreading on their homemade chips.

My friend tried the “Pete’s Pride” ($13), which has five different kinds of pork on it, celery slaw, mayo/mustard mix, and pickles. It had a somewhat similar flavor to a Cuban sandwich, but the celery slaw had a very distinct celery flavor. If you like celery, and a lot of meat, you will probably like this one. It was a little on the heavy side for me, but that’s why I didn’t order it.
I really like this place and I haven’t taken anyone there yet who has not agreed. It’s a big lunch (or a nice lunch and dinner later with your leftovers) and it may seem a little on the pricey side, but for what you get, it’s worth it. And one of the few gems in Castleton.

Turf Catering & Kitchen
8155 Castleway Court, Suite C
Indy  46250