Monday, May 2, 2016

Jimmy Stix

I met a friend for a quick lunch in Carmel the other day at Jimmy Stix. Ok, apparently it has been around for a bit, but I had never even heard of it. It’s not a chain, so I was intrigued. It’s pizza though, so my hopes were no overly high (so much pizza in this town, so little that really stands out).

They have a bunch of lunch specials that are really good deals—most are around $5-$6 and include a combo of pizza with something else (a couple of breadsticks or a salad or a drink, etc.). I went with what I thought was a slice and a drink for $4.99 and a couple of breadsticks on the side ($2). I mean, if they have “stix” in their name, you have to try the breadsticks right? Anyhow, it ended up being two slices of pizza, so an even better deal. They aren’t huge pieces, but still.

Honestly, the “stix” were probably my favorite part. The breadsticks were soft and just a bit chewy with a little bit of garlic flavor on them. But what was really addicting about them was the garlic butter dipping sauce. It was quite delicious. A bit on the salty side, which I really liked with the breadsticks. I can’t say it was truly butter, but I can say we couldn’t stop eating it. Great for dipping the crust of the pizza in as well.

The pizza itself was perfectly fine. Nothing that made it really stand out to me, like I said, typical of pizza in Indy. I liked that you could order whatever toppings you wanted on your slice (they simply add them to cheese slices and warm them) and I got my classic red onions and mushrooms. The proportion of the toppings was pretty good, getting some of them with just about every bite. I can see this place for a quick, cheap lunch in Carmel. It’s not a place I would seek out, but it was perfectly fine. I had a bite of my friend’s Greek salad as well (hold the potato salad??)-- it wasn’t bad either. I appreciated the amount of cheese and olives, and the tomatoes weren’t horrendous. It was served with balsamic vinaigrette, which again, was fine.

If you’re eating in, it’s definitely not a fancy place—the interior feels borderline fast food. But it is definitely fast and you can be in and out quickly. And it will serve your pizza craving. Just be sure and get that garlic dip. I’m all ears if you have any other suggestions for pizza places that maybe I haven’t heard about? Know any little one-offs that are your favorites?

Jimmy Stix
720 Adams Street
Carmel, IN 46032

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Flemings-Bar Menu

Hubby and I ran into Flemings the other night after an event—it was Saturday and it was late, so we figured our best bet in the area was a bar. I have always wanted to try their prime burger from the bar menu ($10 during their “Eight Nine Ten” happy hour from 8:00-10:00 in the bar). And we also got the tuna tartar tacos, which are $9 during the special menu times). 

The burger is pretty straightforward as far as the toppings go—there’s cheese and bacon on top and ketchup, onions, tomato and lettuce on the side. I will say, the meat itself is delicious—what you would expect from a prime burger at a steakhouse. We asked for it medium rare, and it was really probably more rare, but it was so fresh and tender, we were okay with it. I do kind of like the fancified sauces that some restaurants put on burgers, and if this one had one, I would have really, really liked it. But it was a very high quality burger. And the fries that come with it are also delicious. Thin and super crisp. Again, ketchup is pretty boring, but what are you going to do? Bring me some aioli or dijonaise anytime. The bones of the dish are very well done though, even if in a perfect world, I would alter the accompaniments.

The tuna tacos, though? No. They were not good. I guess there was some ahi on there somewhere, but between all the other stuff—radish and jicama slaw and “Thai vinaigrette,” you couldn’t even taste it. And it had a very distinctive sweet flavor that I just wasn’t into. I liked the little crunchy shells—and if they were filled with some nice acidic flavorful tuna with just a bit of accompaniments, they would be interesting. As they are, they are not worth ordering.

The burger definitely is good though. Next time I’ll at least ask for some mayo.

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse
8487 Union Chapel Road
Indy 46240

Monday, April 25, 2016

Pioneer - Revisit

Hubby and I had an opportunity to go back to Pioneer the other night. We were walking around Fountain Square trying to decide where to go. We were going to try Thunderbird again, but they were full, so we walked across the street to Pioneer. The nice thing about this place, while it was doing a good business, because it’s so big, they could seat us right away. We asked to be in the bar, because it’s cozier, and they happily obliged.

We wanted to try different things this time from the last time so we started with the pork rillettes ($11) and the frisee and endive salad ($12). Man, they know how to do salads here. They may only do one on each menu, but so far, they’ve been totally worth ordering. Last time we had the butter lettuce salad and loved it. This time it was the frisee and endive lettuces topped with some shaved fennel, hearty chunks of blue cheese, toasted pumpkin seeds and “Austrian” ranch. Really good. The lettuces certainly have a touch of bitterness to them, but they were so nicely balanced with the creamy cheese and dressing. Loved the salty, crunchy kick from the pumpkin seeds as well. I would try any salad they offer. I find well-balanced, properly dressed, interesting, salads to be a struggle to find at many places.

The rillettes were not bad—they certainly know how to toast a piece of (Amelia’s) bread with a bit of oil just perfectly, but the pork itself was a little bland for me. I longed for the stronger flavor of the chicken liver mousse we had the first time. We did get the proportions of meat and the whole grain mustard served alongside just perfect though. The key was to spread a little mustard on the bread and then put the meat on top so you didn’t taste the mustard first---otherwise it tended to overwhelm the pork a bit.

For the main part of our meal, we had two more small plates, the pork belly ($14) and the potato pancakes (Kartoffelpuffer) ($10) and then the spatzle ($13). The pork belly was very good—two nice pieces of pork belly that weren’t too fatty, sitting on top of purple cabbage puree, pink oyster mushrooms and garnished with curry pickled mustard seeds. This was a lovely and tasty dish—although it was small, it was extremely rich. The spatzle was probably our favorite thing of the evening—the little spirals of hand cut pasta were so tender and cooked just perfectly. The creamy Comte Mornay sauce was so rich and cheesy. And the bits of spinach in there were a nice variation. This would definitely be a recommended order, and I know when we go back, hubby will insist on it. 

The potato pancakes were good—but so large and filling and not as interesting as the other things—they were basically like chunky mashed potatoes that were pan-fried and served with a bit of bacon jam, mustard crème fraiche and chives. That bacon jam was delicious for sure. Every bit of it got eaten, even if all the potato part did not. I recommend this as a good share for more than two people.

You definitely see certain themes on this menu—a lot of pork and a lot of mustard. Luckily we like both of those things a lot. Your vegetarian options are more limited, but the two we had (the salad and the spatzle) were actually the best two dishes of the night. So there you go.

I feel like this place flies under the radar a bit with everything that’s opening up right now, but it’s totally worth a visit. I can’t wait to see what the next salad is.

1110 Shelby Street
Indy 46203

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Ramen Ray-Quick Revisit

Hubby wanted to try out Ramen Ray since I had gone with girl friends for my inaugural visit. And I was interested to see how the new opening hours would affect the wait time, etc. They now open at 11:00 for lunch, and we got there about 11:25 and walked right in and ordered right away. There were other people there, but not a lot. I have a feeling this change will greatly benefit the crowding issue.

I was also happy to see some additions to the menu. They have added a few new flavor combinations as well as the option of adding some ingredients. Hubby got the shio with the yuzu option and I got the spicy miso option with an extra egg (they give you a whole egg when you get an extra one, so I gave hubby half so we both ended up with one entire egg in each soup.

I really, really liked the spicy miso better than any of the first versions I had. It was, well, spicier. And just overall more flavorful. I also liked being able to add more egg, because that is my favorite bite—a bite of noodles with a little bit of the egg. And this broth was just more interesting. Not burn your mouth spicy at all, just more going on.

I was torn on hubby’s yuzu shio. I enjoyed the addition of the citrus flavor from the yuzu, but it was pretty subtle. And it seemed like this time the dish had a lot of seaweed in it, giving it a bit of a fishy flavor. He really enjoyed it, but it was a little dominating for me. I’m not sure if they add more with the yuzu variation or it was just a fluke, but I know what I would order on my next visit, and it’s the spicy miso. For sure.

Glad to see they are getting a handle on the business and offering a little more options and flexible hours. I know a bunch of you have been here—I’ve seen your pictures on instagram. So tell me what you think.

Ramen Ray
5628 East 71st Street
Indy 46220