Monday, November 28, 2011

G.T. South's Rib House

Back on the BBQ quest, we finally got around to trying GT South’s. It is literally like 5 minutes from our house, and we had actually eaten there once before, but it was years ago, pre-blog, so we thought it our duty to check it out again.  Instead of carrying out, like we often do with BBQ, we took the kids and ate there.  It is an extremely casual place (ok, it is a little low on atmosphere), and totally kid friendly.
On our current quest, we tend to order the same things in general, not just because they are the things we tend to like, but because it is sort of easier to compare places if you get similar things.  Hubby got the baby back rib dinner ($12.50) and I got a combo plate with pulled pork and pulled chicken ($11.50) (you don’t see that everywhere and I liked the idea of it).  Both dinners came with a cornbread muffin and 2 sides.
They have several sauces—basically mild, hot, 911 and a North Carolina vinegar sauce.  You can either get your food “smothered” with the sauce or you can do it yourself at the table.  I figured I would just get mine dry and try all the sauces.  And I asked for some of the vinegar sauce on the side, because I had never had it before (that one is not out on the table).  So the chicken was like pulled pork—shreds of meat that was described as a mix and white and dark meat.  It was pretty heavy on the white meat on my serving, which was a little disappointing because it was dry and didn’t have a lot of flavor.  Even after pouring the sauce on, it just wasn’t really worth eating.  The pork was much better—more flavorful for sure, although still pretty dry.  When mixed with a bunch of the sauce, it was ok.  I actually thought I would like the vinegar sauce because I tend to like vinegar based things, but I really didn’t care for it.  It was very thin and was quite hot. It tasted like there was quite a bit of hot sauce and cayenne in there.  The vinegar was kind of lost in the heat for me.  Probably my favorite of the sauces was the mild—the hot wasn’t crazy hot, spiced up with pepper flakes, and not a lot different.  But the mild just had a nice rich flavor that I enjoyed.
Hubby’s ribs were also just fine.  They were a little tougher than we tend to like them—quite a bit of force was required to pull the meat off the bone.  And the bites I had had a fair amount of fattiness.  They certainly did not live up to his memories of Squealers’ ribs.  The sides were kind of a mixed bag.  The mac and cheese was basic—it seemed homemade, but there was nothing about it that made it stand out.  It was pretty much noodles and cheddar.  A little bland.  We both probably liked the potato salad the best—it was a mustard and mayo- based dressing with red-skinned potatoes and not sweet at all.  It wasn’t amazing, but better than most I have had lately and the best thing we had as a side.  Hubby had mashed potatoes and gravy, and they were pretty standard. Homemade? Not so sure about that.  The kids were happy though as mashed potatoes are one of their favorite things.  He also had cole slaw which was pretty standard as well.  Similar to KFC.  I should say though that while none of them were amazing, as a whole, the sides were better than a lot of BBQ places we have had.  The cornbread was in a muffin form and was extremely dry and crumbly.
Pulled chicken & pork with sauce

It was kind of funny though because my son ordered ribs and my daughter a grilled cheese off the kids’ menu and she ended up liking the ribs and he wanted her grilled cheese, so basically they ended up switching.  Typical. We saw they had cobblers for dessert and asked if they were made in house.  Our server told us “they are warmed up in house…” We passed.  They do carry seasonal pies from a local bakery and my son was happy to see they had pumpkin so he and hubby split that.
All in all, I would say G.T. South’s is not going to be at the top of our list for BBQ.  Hubby has found ribs at several other places he prefers and nothing I had made me want to go back.  Too bad too that one of the places so close to us wasn’t our favorite (or even close). But our search continues….
G.T. South’s Rib House
5711 East 71st Street
Indy  46220

G.T. South's Rib House on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Twenty Tap

I have been hearing a lot about Twenty Tap from various people and was intrigued to try it.  Ok, I will just get it out of the way right now, I am not a beer drinker, so this is a food review (as are all of my reviews) so please don’t yell at me.   Yes, this place is a bar/restaurant specializing in lots of different local and regional beers and serves appropriate grub to go along with.  The kids were on fall break and I sent a quick tweet to see if they were kid friendly.  I got lots of responses emphatically telling me yes they were welcoming of kids; that they have a separate dining area where kids can sit, that they have a kid’s menu and that they are in fact non-smoking.  We were good to go on all accounts (and that non-smoking thing is nearly a requirement for me with or without kids anyway).
When we sat down and looked over the menu, I knew I must order the fried cheese curds ($7)—never having seen them on a menu before.  I don’t usually go with a big appetizer for lunch, but like I said, I couldn’t pass them up!  They were quite good and strangely addicting.  They are little cheddar curds, that are soft and somewhat salty and then they were tempura-type beer batter, with seasoning in it.  You got to choose from two of their housemade aiolis to dip in—we choose the roasted garlic and the chipotle (both could have used a little more zip I think, especially the garlic).  Nothing like dipping fried cheese into what is essentially mayonnaise.  Hubby and I had a difficult time not eating all of them…although it is a very generous portion so we didn’t finish them all.  And even not being a beer drinker, I am pretty much sure that they may be the perfect pairing with beer. 
For my lunch, I had heard good things about the burgers, and there are several varieties on the menu.  I went with their version of one of my favorite combos, which they called the “wake up” ($9.00).  It was a burger with cheddar cheese, chipotle aioli, bacon and a fried egg served on an English muffin.  I enjoyed it pretty well. The beef was pretty tender and very juicy, although I would ask for it medium rare next time (to be fair, it states on the menu that they do medium unless you ask otherwise).  It was certainly medium, if not a little beyond.  My biggest peeve though was I specifically asked for my egg to have a runny yolk, and it was totally fried hard.  I am sure that is how they normally do it, but I thought if I asked, I could get it that way (and my server didn’t tell me otherwise).  I liked the English muffin part of it too, making the bun less bulky.  I hate it when burgers are so big they are hard to eat.  The kids both had cheeseburgers off the kid’s menu ($5 each) and really liked them.  My son ate half of his and then ate the other half for dinner (it re-heated very well I might add, and I appreciated the non-styrofoam containers that they give you to go).  We all had fries as a side and they are the battered-type of fries that are quite tasty, especially dipped into the aioli, although I would doubt that they are made in-house.  Hubby had the Indiana brat ($8), and seemed to enjoy it, but honestly I think he was a little jealous of all of our burgers.  The brat was served with beer mustard, pickles, onions and roasted peppers.  I can’t speak to its taste, because I didn’t try it.  I can see again, how this would probably be a good pairing with beer (duh, beer and brats right?).
Anyway, it was an enjoyable experience—we all had a good meal and I appreciate that while they are obviously going for a beer place with somewhat familiar comfort type food items, that they are putting a twist on things and are not afraid to venture a little out of the mind-numbing options that seem to appear on so many pub-type places.  They have several interesting burgers and several interesting salad and sandwich options that are not just like everything else you see at other places.  The service was very friendly (although slightly absent a lot considering there were only a few tables there at the time) and while I bet in the evenings it is more of an adult crowd, it was a good place for a family lunch.  Nothing totally blew me away, but everything was good. Tell me what you have had, and what you think.  And hey, if you want to tell me what beer you like with those fried cheese curds, maybe I’ll even order it next time.
Twenty Tap
5408 College Ave
Indy 46220

Twenty Taps on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

The Turkey Is DoneImage via Wikipedia
So I hear some of you are looking for places to go out to eat for Thanksgiving—so I have compiled a list of restaurants that are open for Thanksgiving for you.  I have tried to check into most of them, but do me a favor and call them to verify they are open (and to check the hours) if you plan on going. 
I wish you all a great Thanksgiving—how can you go wrong with a holiday that is centered around eating?
P.S. Let me know if you know of other places and I will add them to the list!
120 West at the Hilton 120 W. Market Street 972-0600

Bella Vita Circle Center Mall 822-9840

Buca di Beppo (all locations) 35 North Illinois Street, 632-2822; 6045 E. 82nd Street, 842-8666

Champps  Circle Center 951-0033

Chef Mike’s Charcoal Grill, 7102 Woodland Drive, Indy, 295-9490

Claddagh Irish Pub 234 S. Meridian St, 822-6274; 3835 E. 96th Street; 569-3663; 2539 Futura Park Way, Suite 150, Plainfield, 838-9917

Conrad Indianapolis 40 West Washington

Fleming’s Steakhouse, 8487 Union Chapel Road, 466-0175

Great American Grill at the Hilton Garden Inn (also at the Airport location) 10 E. Market St. 955.9700

Grill 39 (Marriott), 11925 North Meridian, Carmel, 814-2550

Hilton Indianapolis Hotel and Suites 120 W. Market St. 822.5914

The Jazz Kitchen, 5377 North College, 253-4900

Kincaid’s, 14159 Clay Terrace Blvd, Carmel, 575-9005

Palomino 49 W. Maryland St. 974.0400

One South at the Hyatt  1 S. Capitol Ave. 632.1234

McCormick and Schmick’s 110 N. Illinois St. 631.9500

Osteria Pronto (JW Mariott) 10 South West Street, 860-5777

Pullman’s at Crowne Plaza 123 W. Louisiana St. 236.7470
The Propylaeum 1410 North Delaware Street 638.7881

Rick’s Café Boatyard, 4050 Dandy Trail, 290-9300

Scotty’s Brewhouse/Thr3e Wisemen (no Thanksgiving dinner, but regular menu from 4-9) 3905 East 96th
Street, 1021 Broad Ripple Ave.  574-0101, 255-5151
Severin Bar & Grill restaurant - Omni Severin Hotel 40 W. Jackson Place 396.3623

Weber Grill Restaurant  10 N. Illinois St. 636.7600

Turner’s Restaurant at the Canterbury Hotel 123 S. Illinois St. 634.3000

The Capital Grille 40 W. Washington St. 423.8790

Shula’s Steak House in Westin 50 S. Capitol Ave. 231-3962

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Road Trip: The Bristol-Chicago

On our final night of our last trip to Chicago we went to the Bristol after getting several recommendations for it from people whose judgment I generally trust when it comes to food.  Again, it is another place that doesn’t take reservations, and we got there shortly after opening to find it still empty. So we strolled the neighborhood a bit and came back.  It was pleasantly full, but we still got a nice table.  By the time we left, it was heaving.  And it was a beautiful night and they had the front windows completely open. It was completely lovely (with the exception of a bunch of guys sitting at the communal table wearing backwards baseball caps. I mean, it is a somewhat casual restaurant, but have a little respect for meal time. I’m not asking for a jacket or tie, but baseball hats at dinner? It annoyed me a little.)
So we sat down and were told that we needed to put in our entire order at once, but they would bring out things as they were ready. But we could order a snack course to munch on while we looked over the menu and made our decisions.  We were down to the monkey bread (which I had read a lot about) and the duck fat frites (how could you go wrong there?).  At the advice of our server, we got the monkey bread ($5).  It was served warm with a dill butter sauce and had dill cooked throughout. Ok, I had heard a lot about this bread online and was intrigued. But honestly, I wasn’t a huge fan—the bread was a little dry even with the butter. And hubby confirmed something that he already knew; he is not a fan of dill in many things.
We quickly flagged down our server and added some frites to the order instead (we had already placed our order) ($7).  Now these are great. Fresh cut fries that are medium sized, perfectly crispy, with the extra rich taste from the duck fat.  They were served with housemade ketchup and a garlic aioli.  I loved the aioli, it was nice and garlicky, but I was surprised at how much I also liked the ketchup.  Usually I am not a fan of ketchup with fancy type frites, but this sauce had more of a unique flavor. It was tasty.
One of the other things we got at the same time we got the frites was a plate of head on prawns that were sliced in half long-ways, grilled and covered in an anchovy butter sauce and tarragon ($19).  These were the best prawns I have had in a long, long time. Seriously. They were so good. You could taste the seared flavor, but they weren’t blackened all over, and the salty butter sauce was so good to dredge them (or maybe a rouge frite) through.  You could suck the little bit of head meat out too, giving that extra fatty bit that you rarely get in regular prawns that have been de-headed. The light tarragon flavor (slightly like licorice) was also a great accent.
The raviolo ($12) was good as well, although nothing was as good as those prawns.  The raviolo was a large piece of homemade pasta filled with ricotta inside as well as a runny egg yolk.  It was covered in a brown butter sauce.  When you cut into it, the yolk made a luscious rich sauce when combined with the ricotta.  We also had the roasted bone marrow ($14) at hubby’s request—one of his favorite things.  These were nice because the bones were sliced in half, making the marrow easier to get to.  It was served with toasted sliced bread and a wonderful shallot jam—it was slightly sweet, and slightly tangy, making it perfect with the insanely rich marrow.  And I liked that they gave you a little dish so you could use it in whatever proportion you wanted.
Our least favorite savory item by far was the flatbread (I know, what is WRONG with me? Why do I keep ordering flatbread?) ($11).  It was a crispy whole wheat crust topped with braised kale, white anchovies and a mild white cheese.  The kale was too strong tasting and the anchovies were too fishy.  We have had white anchovies other places and I always imagine them as the super fresh, not fishy tasting ones I have had before.  Sadly, these were not those. And I don’t know that I have had good white anchovies since Europe.  I also really like kale, but this was just too much bitterness. For me, this dish just did not come together. We barely ate any of it.
Dessert though—whoa, was it good.  They did their homemade version of nutter butter cookies with a chocolate sabayon to dip them in ($8).  The cookies were so good—the crunchy parts of the cookies were so light and studded with some little bits of peanuts.  And in proper form, they were filled with peanut butter cream.  The sabayon was a rich dark chocolate—almost like a hot fudge consistency, only it wasn’t hot—it is basically like a custard. I couldn’t decide if I liked them better together or apart—the cookies were the star for me though.
All in all, this was a great dining experience and wrapped up what was an awesome, but insanely filling, weekend in Chicago (which is how it should be right?).  I would (and have since) recommended The Bristol to others and look forward to returning myself at some point.  Especially when they start taking reservations!
The Bristol
2152 North Damen
Chicago, IL  60647

Bristol on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mug n Bun

Hubby and I ended up at Mug n Bun the other day because frankly, we were trying to go somewhere else and it was out of business.  I knew Mug n Bun was nearby and it had been on the list for awhile (admittedly the part of the list I often just ignore a lot of the time).  It was my first time, and I didn’t realize this is a true drive-in still.  They have picnic tables and in your car service.  There is also a little building they have added next door, but literally, they make the food at the drive-in and carry it across the parking lot.  Luckily it was a decent day, so we sat out at the picnic tables.  Neither hubby nor I are particularly keen on eating in the car.
So I have read a lot of positive things about this place, and I appreciate the fact that this place is a kind of a legend and it has been around forever, but let’s face it, they are serving pretty much everything straight from the freezer.  I even asked, and was told by our server that the only things made in house are the onion rings, the root beer and the chili sauce for the dogs.  So why would you drive across town for a frozen tenderloin you could get a million places?  That’s my question.
Anyway, we got the root beer ($1.50) and the onion rings ($2.90) because they are the specialty and made there.  Hubby ordered the tenderloin (everyone else seemed to be ordering it around us) ($3.60) and I got the special burger ($3.30).  I did enjoy the root beer. I haven’t had a root beer in probably 20 something years and it tasted good. Served in a frosty mug with no ice, I can appreciate the appeal of something like this.  The order of onion rings was huge! So glad we just got one to share and not the “family size” hubby was contemplating.  I can’t even imagine how big that would have been.  So the rings were battered in a tempura-type batter and, while they weren’t bad, I can’t say they really wowed me either.  The batter was a little too doughy and there was a bit too much of it.  And honestly, they could have stood to have been a little warmer.  I can see how if they were done perfectly, they could be very good. Too bad they weren’t.  I also wonder about the huge list of other fried side items they have on the menu and why they can’t make some of them freshly as well.  They had mushrooms and zucchini among other things and I bet they could taste pretty good fried in that same batter.
So the tenderloin was one of those kinds that you just know is pre-made and frozen even without the server telling you so because it is so uniformly round.  It was fine. As in, not bad for basically a fast food tenderloin.  But when I recently heard of someone from out of town wanting to base their tenderloin experience on a Mug n Bun sandwich, I pleaded with them to try a different one.  There are so many great ones, and this is not the one to experience a tenderloin for the first time (speaking of which, where would you tell someone who has never had one to go?).
My special burger was a burger patty with cheese and bacon served on toast.  Sounded good to me, and again, it was fine, in a fast food kind of way.  What can I say about it?  It was your basic burger--the bacon was pretty good.   If I had to choose between the two, though, I would say hubby’s tenderloin was probably better. But honestly, neither stood out for anything.
So I can see how this place could be fun in the summer sitting outside—even though the place is a little  run down honestly.   It is more about an old school atmosphere I think than it is about the food.  I should say there were quite a few people there, even in the not so warm weather.  And I guess if you lived nearby, and wanted fast food type food, at least it is locally owned.  And our server was very very friendly.  But I find it sad that the place has basically turned into a restaurant that just takes stuff out of a bag and fries it.  I bet once, when it first opened, everything was made fresh, and I bet it was tasty. 
Mug n Bun
5211 West 10th
Indy 46224

Mug-n-Bun Drive-in on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 14, 2011

H2O - Revisit

****H2O is CLOSED********
So it has been awhile since I reviewed H2O, and while I know I have done it before, I felt like it was time for an update. And I actually got some sushi this time, and since, ahem, a few people have gone completely insane over the fact that I have reviewed this place without reviewing the sushi; I figured this was a good time.  We were in the mood and got a couple rolls. We also had my sister and her husband with us, so we could order a little more than we usually do.
But first, one of my favorite go to dishes at H2O is the tuna tartar appetizer ($14).  I think I have even discussed it before in my review, but it is yummy and something I crave on a regular basis.  It is tuna with chives, cilantro, and radish and marinated in lemon, soy and ginger.  The fish is super fresh and the marinade and seasonings give it a nice texture variation as well as a light, but distinctive Asian flavor.  They serve it with crispy wonton chips and I just love it. I could eat it all the time.
The next thing we had were the rolls.  We had the serpent roll ($13.50) which was a special. It was delicious.  It had a lot going on, but an impressive combination of flavors.  Inside it was spicy tuna, romaine and crunchy onions and it was wrapped with eel, avocado, spicy sauce and bonito.  It was more of a gooey type of roll, which is probably not truly traditional, but I really enjoyed it. I liked the spiciness from the tuna and the sauce, the soft eel and avocado on top and the little crunch from the onions and lettuce.  I would get this one again.
In contrast, the other roll we had was much lighter in flavor. It was the seafood delight ($13).  Inside the roll was shrimp, jalapeno, cilantro and avocado and it was wrapped with crab and super thin lime slices and topped with a ginger sauce.  While totally different,  I enjoyed this one too.  I really liked the fresh citrus kick from the lime and the slight spice from the ginger and a little kick from the jalapeno. If I had to choose, I probably liked the decadence of the serpent roll the best though.  
We then had tacos—one is a regular on the menu (and a regular for us) and the other was a special.  The carne asada tacos ($12) were the special and they were really tasty.  It was marinated Wagyu flat iron steak with salsa, queso fresco, radish, onion and cilantro.  They were served with a side of pickled veggies that were really nice to put on top for a bit of tanginess.  There were pickled jalapenos, carrots and onions. I really liked the onions.  There were two tacos served in doubled up soft corn tortillas.  The beef was flavorful and really tender—not cooked to death.   You could really taste the meat through the other things, because the toppings were not over the top.
One of the carne asada tacos

 The other tacos we had were the grilled shrimp tacos ($10). While similar in theory, these had different fillings and are one of our perennial favorites.  The shrimp are perfectly grilled and not tough, and they are inside a soft flour tortilla that is also filled with shredded cabbage, guacamole, radish, cilantro, sour cream and a yuzu adobo sauce.  They have a slightly smoky flavor and are much creamier than the beef ones because of that cream, guacamole and sauce.  But they still have a bit of crunch from the veggies.  I have had them several times and have always thoroughly enjoyed them—they are also 2 to an order.
Of course we had to have “the cookie” for dessert served with the espresso whipped cream.  This is still one of the best cookies I have ever eaten—a rich, warm, chewy oatmeal type cookie with pecans and even a bit of coconut I think.  If you go to H2O for the first time, these are a requirement.  It was a first visit for my sister and her husband and while they enjoyed everything, they really seemed to love the cookies. 
This has been one of my favorite places to eat in Indy since I first went, and continues to be.  If you haven’t been, and even if you don’t like sushi, you should give it a try.  The sushi is great, and so are all the other wonderful things on the menu.
H2O Sushi
1912 Broad Ripple Avenue
Indy 46220
317/254-0677  (P.S. So happy to see the updated website and the daily menus.)

H2o Restaurant & Sushi Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tony Sacco's

We found ourselves at Clay Terrace the other day and I saw there was a place we hadn’t tried there yet, and I always of course feel it is my duty to try them all (well, usually anyway). We had our son with us, so pizza seemed a good option. And I don’t think hubby would ever turn down pizza.
The place was pretty empty when we got there on a Saturday for lunch—it is pretty large inside.  Our server was really nice and very attentive.  We ordered the garlic rotoli to start ($5).  This is a bowl of 8 garlic rolls.  They are basically like dinner rolls that are sitting in a basil flavored olive oil and topped with parmesan cheese and fresh basil.  The menu described them as coming with a “basil dipping sauce” but what they mean is the oil in the bottom of the bowl, not a separate dipping sauce (we asked).  They serve them with marinara and nacho cheese sauce.  I guess I was sort of hoping for a garlic knot experience, but these are much softer and we were missing the garlic butter with them.  They were ok, but nothing special.  Not sure you really need a dipping sauce, but the ones we got were pretty average. And if you got too much of the oil, well, they were just oily.
I like that this place states that they don’t freeze, fry or microwave anything, and that they make their marinara daily, and I was excited to try the pizza which is cooked in a 1000 degree coal fired oven.  According to the menu, cooking the pizza this way gives it a unique flavor, but honestly, I didn’t really get much of a high heat flavor—the crust was not singed or blackened at all.  We ordered a small (12 inch) pizza with our classic-- mushrooms and red onion on top ($13.50).  This is a good sized pizza for a small I thought.  The crust, while not really apparent that it had been cooked in any unique way, wasn’t bad—it was chewy and crispy at the same time.  But honestly, there was nothing about the rest of the pie that made me have any desire to want to go back.  The mushrooms are supposedly roasted, but came across with a slightly slimy texture, like the canned type.  And I would think roasting would add some extra flavor, but the mushrooms just didn’t seem to have a lot.  The onion was fine, nicely sliced very thin, but the cheese (which the menu says is a mix of mozzarella and Romano cheese) didn’t have a lot of flavor, and was super stringy and a bit rubbery. 
So this was not a repeatable place for us-- there was about this place that stood out in a good way.  I’m curious if you guys have been here, and what you thought about it.
Tony Sacco’s
Clay Terrace Blvd, Suite 150
Carmel, IN 46032

Tony Sacco's Coal Oven Pizza on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 7, 2011

Road Trip: The Purple Pig-Chicago

Continuing on our all reservation-free eating binge in Chicago, we hit Purple Pig one day for lunch.  They open at 11:30 for lunch and if you get there right around that time, you shouldn’t have a problem. Well, we didn’t although the outside patio was open as well.  The place does fill up quickly.  I like that it is a good restaurant located right on Michigan Avenue, as it can often be hard to find a good meal in that area—and since so many of the hotels are there, we often find ourselves there.

The theme here is “cheese, swine and wine,” and with a name like purple pig, we knew we had to have some of all of those things. It is also a small plates/sharing kind of place, and we were excited to try lots of things. Hubby instantly declared a need for the fried pig’s ear dish ($8).  The dish was slivers of crispy fried pig’s ear with crispy kale, pickled banana peppers and a lovely sunny side up fried egg on top.  This dish was spectacular.  The pork was crunchy and salty, the peppers vinegary, and the kale added a nice lighter, crunchy kick and slight bitterness.  Of course adding a runny yolky egg on top is only going to make it better.  This was a perfect combination.   This would be an absolute must order if we go back to Purple Pig.
We also had a nice plate of sliced Serrano ham ($8). It was good—not the best I have had and certainly not the worst.  How to describe it other than it is a nice salty cured ham.  I really did enjoy laying slices of it on top of the fried Manchego ($8) that we also got.  Now that was a nice flavor combo.  I liked the way our server described the fried cheese as “swanky cheese sticks” and she was right.  Manchego inherently has more flavor than mozzarella and the insides were really liquidy.  They were served on top of a sweet fruit preserve made from quince.  A bit of the cheese with some quince and then some of the Serrano—well, that was great together.

We also ordered the fried Brussels sprouts ($6).  This was the other really outstanding item we had.  They were the leaves pulled off individually and deep fried (not breaded, just the leaves themselves).  They were light and super crispy and tossed with chili flakes, lemon and thyme.  Wow. Simple, but so so good. And there was just the right amount of lemon to give them the right balance of acid with heat from the chili and every now and then you would get just a hint of the thyme. I would insist on ordering these again as well if we go back and they are on the menu. 
Our least favorite item was the olive oil poached tuna with large white lima beans ($8).  The tuna was cooked through, but was still tender and had the moistness from the olive oil and lots of seasoning from fresh herbs.  The beans, well, I don’t know, large beans like this often tend to just seem bland to me and these were no exception. Actually, the entire dish, especially compared to the others, just seemed bland. It didn’t have the amazing balance of varying flavors that made many of the other things stand out.

I had also read about this dessert that another blogger was talking about, so I really wanted to try it. It was a Nutella Panini ($6).  It was basically a sandwich made with Nutella, marshmallow, and banana.  It was heavily dusted with powdered sugar. I should have known better, but it was way way too sweet for us.  I had a couple bites, but that was enough to satisfy my sweet tooth for quite awhile. Well, at least until dinner.
The Purple Pig
500 N. Michigan Ave
Chicago, IL 60611

The Purple Pig on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 3, 2011

La Paix Café

I noticed this place the other day after hubby and I had lunch nearby—it is a little strange with its combo of crepes, smoothies and tons of frozen yogurt (self serve).  So, I was interested in the crepes, but I am just curious, what is deal with the re-birth of frozen yogurt places?  I love that people think they are eating something healthy after they have added a pound of candy and toppings to it.  Also reminds me of that Seinfeld episode about  “fat free” frozen yogurt. Anyone ever see that one?  We all know that “fat free” does not equal healthy anyway right?
It is also a little strange for the plasticized versions of the food on display in the window.  I haven’t seen that since Japantown in San Francisco. Never really found plasticized versions of food appealing, but maybe I am just too picky.  But even with all these warning signs, I was really hopeful about have a possibility of a good crepe close by my house. I will say the staff is exceptionally friendly—offering free samples of lots of different things.
So I had the Parisian crepe which was cheese (mozzarella I believe), ham, mushrooms and I had them add an egg (of course) and they even agreed to cook it sunny side up.  The crepe itself is quite big, and they fill them and fold them into a triangle so that I guess in theory you can hold it and eat it without a knife and fork.  You know me, that’s not my style, so I unwrapped it (as did the BFF who was joining me) at ate it on a plate.  I liked that it wasn’t overfilled, but it was maybe a bit unevenly filled—the edges had really little filling and were mainly just the crepe part.  And the fillings?  Well, they were just average.  The ham on mine (and the turkey on the BFF’s) was just plan, basic lunch meat.  It wasn’t even particularly good lunch meat.   There weren’t many mushrooms, and I am thinking they may have been canned.  They really didn’t add any flavor.  The cheese was also bland.  The egg was fine, but heck, I had added that to their combo.  This crepe lacked anything interesting about it.  I like mushrooms that are sautéed with a bit of seasoning and maybe an upgrade on the cheese and meat.  To me, this was just a fast food version of a crepe.
We also split a dessert crepe.  Again, I was underwhelmed. We had nutella and strawberries.  Even the strawberries weren’t fresh—they were in that weird gooey pie filling kind of stuff.  And there was not a lot of nutella on it.
I don’t know, maybe the draw here is the 15 or so self serve frozen yogurt dispensers.  But since I am not into that, I don’t see myself back at this place anytime soon. But I honestly still don’t get the frozen yogurt thing.
La Paix Café
8487 Union Chapel Road
Indy  46240

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