Monday, January 10, 2011

Three Years and Counting...

I can’t believe it has been three years since I started this blog.  It has turned into something way more than I thought when I started it, at least for me (I started it as a personal catharsis actually).  I have learned a lot about Indy restaurants and different cuisines and am grateful to all of you for your ongoing recommendations, comments and just general support (and of course letting me know on those rare occasions when I am wrong about something).  Because of this blog, I have eaten at so many places I never would have tried otherwise.  It motivates me to not get trapped in a rut of only going to the same few restaurants over and over. 
Here are a few random observations I have made along the way:

1. It's always the posts that I think no one will care about that get the most response (of course sometimes it ends up having nothing to do with the actual restaurant being reviewed, but who cares?);
2. If I want to get yelled at, I post a review of an Asian restaurant;
3. My Dad and I have different taste in restaurants; :)
4.  Steakhouse reviews rarely get much feedback (which I find ironic since we have SO many of them in this town);
5. When you as for a server's recommendation and s/he gives you a list of the most "popular" items, ignore the suggestions and get something else; and
6. Always bring a sweater, whether it is winter or summer, because most restaurants in this town are cold.

Ok, those are for fun (although true), but really I have appreciated learning just how many people care about our Indy food scene.  There are a lot of people very passionate about it, and about their favorite places.  I love this.
Now, of course, as always, keep sending me your favorites for me to add to “the list,” but I would also love to hear your critiques of this blog—what would you change and how would you improve it? What annoys you about it?  C’mon, I can take it (I think).  And many of you have privately made suggestions about ideas to add posts that aren’t just reviews.  What do you guys think about this? Love it or hate it? Are there things you would like to see covered? Of course, you would all have to promise to participate… J  But c’mon, let’s hear it!
Cheers! And here’s to what is hopefully, a great food year!


  1. I really appreciate your reviews. And I wish I was able to go out to eat as much as you!
    My hands down favorite Indy area restaurant is Amber Indian, in Carmel. Favorite dish is Chicken Mahkni. And I prefer their plain naan to the garlic naan.

  2. Happy Anniversary! I don't comment very often, but as someone who eats out often I love reading your blog and check it several times a week. Keep up the good work!

  3. Congrats Erin,

    I really enjoy reading your reviews and am often appreciative of your insight in a restaurant and it's menu before I go. Keep up all the good work.

  4. Love the reviews. One thing that I would really appreciate seeing is prices. Many of us are on a budget and can't spend unlimited amounts when we go to dinner. If you can't remember prices for specific entrees, then at least an overall "our bill for 2 people with an app, 2 entrees, and 2 glasses of wine came to $x" or "the entrees at this restaurant are in the $x-$x range" would be helpful!

    I do check the restaurant websites when possible but they don't always list prices, so in those cases it would be extra helpful to have an idea.


  5. All, thank you so much for your kind words. I truly appreciate them!

    Beth, I have been asked to do this before, and have randomnly remembered to put the prices in. I will try to be better! Not sure why I have such a hard time remembering this!

  6. It's interesting to see another person's perspectives on the restaurants in Indy. There are many I still would like to try but when we finds ones we like we return.

  7. Congratulations, well done!

    You also forgot to mention:

    - never review Scottie's again (but you've got to try the cheeseburger soup)

  8. I think your blog is great, but have you considered a rating system? Like a 5 being 'Love it' and a 1 being "never eat there again'.

    Just a thought.

  9. Chicago Pete- hahahahaha!

    Travis- I have thought about it but haven't done it for various reasons. One, it is hard to compare restaurants that are completely different and at different price points. Two, I feel like if I have a star rating or something like that, people may just ignore what I say and scroll down to read the rating and skip all the rest... :) That would make me sad. Plus, a lot of times, there are certain aspects that may be varying tastes...

  10. Erin,
    I enjoy getting the inside scoop on Indy restaurants. Friends and I have a monthly dinner club and I like knowing things to expect from different places. Also there have been some places I have wanted to go that my husband has been wary about and I have been able to persuade him using what you have shared.

  11. Congrats Erin and keep up the good work. I usually agree with your opinions and think that you offer a great commentary on the food scene here in Indianapolis.

  12. I really appreciate your blog, Erin. I do think prices would be helpful. Your comment #2 is pretty funny; and my wife completely feels #6.

    I think you do a good job of having a specific "mission" and sticking to it. That said, it is your blog, and I think that if you personalize it more, you'll find people more drawn to it. But, personally, please don't stray into posting recipes you've found... that is the bane of all blogs in my personal opinion!

    In my own blog, I was purposefully trying to stay in a range of places that were pretty affordable (cheap), and while you mix it up some, it seems you do trend towards restaurants where entrees are $20 or more. I'd recommend hitting even more lower price point places. I think it is the local-and-cheaper alternatives that people seem to have the most heart-felt opinions about (instead of all the steakhouses).

    My biggest complaint isn't so much a complaint specific to you as much as it is about the difficulty of finding indigenous food and styles here in Indy (and I say that as someone who loves Indy). It seems that sugar cream pie, breaded tenderloins and persimmon pudding is about as specific as we get here! Anyhow, I find it kind of boring, in a sense, as you go to nicer and more expensive restaurants. I feel like a $$$ or $$$$ level restaurant in Indy will look and taste a lot like one in Cincinnati, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Nashville, St. Louis, etc. And, that makes sense since most culinary schools push a similar (French) style of preparation, and food trends get pushed down through the country so fast. But, to me, I find that the more "cuisine" oriented the food is, the more similar it all actually becomes. It seems to me at that level while the skill is high, the "sense of place" is incredibly low (even if they tout "local" ingredients). Take a picture of a nice meal in any of these cities, they'll all look and likely taste pretty similar (but, very good). Anyhow, that is likely a boring philosophical feeling about food. But, all that said, while the number of indigenous foods may be low here, there are lots of the $ and $$ level places that do have a sense of place that I hope you can keep looking for and finding (like, if you love fried chicken, go to Gray Brothers).

    Also, it seems the south side of the city is incredibly under-represented... but, throwing in extral travel with a family is always hard.

  13. Thanks Claire and Wibia.

    Indy Grub: Thanks for your feedback. You are not the first to tell me I should inject more of my charming personality (haha) into the blog..I guess all those years of legal writing have made me boring... Have to figure out how to work on it.

    I do try to do a variety of price points, but it is true that I get a lot of feedback on the lower price points. Talk about burgers and pizza or fried chicken and people are happy. And I like all these things, it is just hard for me to eat them ALL the time.As for as southside places, I am a northside girl, so it is a little more challenging. For instance, Gray's is about 45 minutes from my house one way, which turns it into an all day thing if I am going to do it while the kids are at school, etc. And taking them, well, that would just be crazy. :) But it is certainly on the list.

    I hear what you are saying about the local cuisine thing too, although I do think some of the higher end restaurants do a pretty good job of using local products to make many dishes. But it isn't necessarily a regional dish per se. But we also have to be so grateful for all the non-regional places we have these days too...when I grew up here, things were much more limited...

    But you know, you mention all the French influence on chefs, but funny how we barely have any French restaurants... anyway, just rambling now...

  14. Go Erin, Go. Keep outing lower end, poor quality restaurants that subsist solely on restaurant supply food. (Anyone who had Chef Gates' *real* potato skins will never order them in a restaurant again knowing 99% of them are from a freezer bag.

    Keep covering fine dining -- we need it. If we only keep asking for and wanting to dine in "just good enough" places, we as Indy diners will get what we deserve. There are a couple of really exciting new restaurants slated for the summer from chefs we know who do *amazing* work -- and not one of them will send the staff out to tell you know you don't know how you want your meat cooked. (That read like a moment from Kitchen Nightmares! I would have loved to have seen your hubby's reaction!)

  15. braingirl,

    don't worry, I will never give up fine dining...:) And yes, Brad Gates has the best damn "potato skins" in town. And you can get one version of them at Ball & Biscuit...

    And let's just say, hubby was "restrained" in his reaction. But when he refuses to eat anything, I knew he was done with that place.

  16. Enjoy reading your blog. For someone who likes to eat, you don't seem to be an adventurous eater (usually order cobb salads, nachos, sandwiches, etc). You may think otherwise, but just an observation.

  17. Chubby, Over 250 reviews and I honestly don't remember once reviewing nachos. Just an observation.

  18. I love your blog, erin! your critiques are honest and spot-on. as for "growth edges," i'd love to see more high-quality pictures of the food. i spend time on some recipe/cooking blogs (smitten kitchen, wednesday chef) purely to look at the amazing pics. just a thought :) keep it up!

  19. Hey Katy-

    Yes, I wish my photos were prettier, for sure. I love a good food shot too! But honestly, I try really hard not to be overly obvious when I am taking the photos and don't use a flash, etc. which means the photos aren't the best...

  20. As a server, when a guest asks for our suggestions and then going a completely different direction, it's slightly annoying. And tells us that our opinion doesn't really matter to you and you've wasted our time. And if you're already planning to order something opposite of our recommendation, why ask at all?
    -Jessica, downtown server.

  21. Jess, I think you misunderstood my point. When I ask for a recommendation, I want the server's opinion, not a recitation of what is "popular." The Cheesecake Factory is "popular," but I don't want to eat there. I DO really value the honest opinion of the server who has actually tried the food and often follow those recommendations.