Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Milky Way (Lebanon)

I'm back! For a minute anyway. I’m writing this one with just my left hand pretty much so it’s gonna be short and sweet (I know, you’ll all really miss my wordiness right?). Me and my son went to Lebanon to meet my friend @indyfoodswap and her sons to see about a certain milkshake. It was all in the name of research. It didn’t pan out as we thought (long story, but don’t ask for a chocolate and BBQ potato chip milkshake.)

But we had lunch—we ordered a bunch of stuff and shared. The main dish, described as a hand-breaded pork tenderloin sandwich ($5.73) was a disappointment. I am not so sure it was hand breaded. If so, maybe it was awhile ago and then frozen.  

What was really good though? The onion rings ($2.95). They were easily my favorite item of the lunch. They were thin cut onion with a super crunchy (I mean SUPER crunchy) battered coating. Really fresh and hot and just the right amount of greasy. These could be a problem for me if I lived closer.

Also strangely addictive were the fried rolls ($3.99). Ok, so I am pretty sure they were some kind of dinner rolls that came refrigerated in a tube and were then cut and thrown in the fryer. But serve ‘em with little packets of apple butter and I was happy and so was my son. These things were super tender with just the nice crisp exterior.

The Milky Way’s extensive menu heavily focuses on various dairy products (shakes, sundaes, soft serve, etc. etc.). The kids all partook of the goodies and enjoyed it. It’s a cute little old fashioned kind of divey place and it’s pretty reasonably priced. Oh, and get the onion rings.

Look for another guest post from my friend @wibia on Monday! I'll be back full time soon.

The Milky Way
836 Indianapolis Ave
Lebanon, IN 46052
Lebanon Milky Way on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 28, 2014

Guest Post: Road Trip: The Exchange, New Albany, IN

Guess who’s back, back again…   say it like Eminem at least for that line.  Best wishes to a speedy recovery to my pal Erin. 

My wife and I enjoyed a weekend trip to Louisville and decided to commit to the major hipster music festival called Forecastle.  It is a great 3 day music festival that is run well and very approachable.   At roughly $150, you get a ton of good music and the grub is not that bad.   The first band that we wanted to see on Saturday was started at 2:30, so we had a little time to explore.   We took a trip back over the river to the Horseshoe Casino where our casino winning streak ended in a blaze of glory.  Stupid roulette and stupid red 17.

The Eater hot list is my first go-to list when visiting a city that I am not extremely familiar with.  On the top of the list, The Exchange in New Albany.   On Saturday, they open at 1:00 and it is the dinner menu only, which was more interesting to me anyway and I didn’t mind spending the extra dough as money and calories do not count when on vacation (note: red 17).  There were a few other patrons knocking down the doors at 1:00, so I was hopeful that the locals knew a thing or two and this was a good place.

The interior is quite nice.  They spared no expense.  The tables are reclaimed wood from the renovation and the steel beam trusses give it a warm but industrial look to it.   The restaurant itself is quite nice actually.  The menu is a modern gastro pub which is a significant as natural food labeling, but to me is just means – let's try to fancy up bar food and charge $2 more on everything.    

We started off with roasted red pepper hummus ($7) and roasted corn chowder ($6).   I realized after ordering the hummus, am I ever blown away by hummus? No.  I actually enjoyed this dish quite a bit and I liked the Klaus’ soft pretzel crostini.  Though it seems like an obvious fit, this is the first time that I had pico on hummus and I thought that it added nice texture to the dish.  The corn chowder was a disappointment.   For having bacon in it, I could’ve used a little more salt and pepper.  The soup wasn’t served hot enough for my liking and the green chile crema didn’t add anything significant and I didn’t care for the lukewarm soup and really cold crema combination.  Back to the drawing board on this.

My wife ordered a grilled cheese with white cheddar, green chiles, pickled onions, dijon mayo and brioche bread ($12).   She enjoyed this quite a bit, but I can’t say that I felt the same way.  The big issues here for me is that the bread and cheese proportions where out of whack.  More bread than cheese that is.  The pickled onions added a little bit of crunch that tasted out of place here.  Again, my wife liked it, I didn’t – it is probably a matter of taste.

I ordered the rock shrimp gnocchi ($20).  Cream, parmesan, red fresno peppers, asparagus, and bread crumbs.  I liked this quite a bit except it suffered the same fate as my corn chowder where a little salt and pepper could help this dish.  I didn’t get a lot of notes from the fresnos, but they added a lot of asparagus in the dish.  The gnocchi was just a bit soft for my taste, but I have had a lot worse.  The bread crumbs added texture to the dish and I have to say that this was a winner.

The Exchange was a nice surprise. There were a few issues here and there, but it was an overall strong effort for a young restaurant.  I enjoyed exploring New Albany and it was worth the 10 minute drive from downtown Louisville.  It’s a great space, the food showed promise, good beer and bourbon list, and I wouldn’t have any reservations in going there or recommending it. 


The Exchange
118 W Main
New Albany, IN

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Guest Post: General American Donut Campany

by: Gwen 

When it comes to donuts, Indy is a city divided.  There are die-hard Taylor’s Bakery fans, Boyden’s Bakery devotees, and east coast transplants who will only eat Dunkin’ Donuts.  And don’t forget about Long’s Bakery, whose donuts have an almost religious following.  But the folks at General American Donut Company hope to unite the Circle City with their creative take on breakfast goodies.  

General American Donut Company is Indianapolis’s first craft donut shop.  Their menu features inventive varieties like Peanut Butter & Jelly and Crème Brulee, classic flavors like the Raised Glazed, and The Bennie—GADCo’s version of the “cronut.”  But the initial draw for me was the Stumptown Coffee.  This rich, flavorful java hails from Portland, Oregon and tastes great as brewed coffee, espresso, or bottled as a “Cold Brew.”  The cup I drank had a rich, smooth taste that did not disappoint.

I may have come for the coffee, but I quickly realized that the donuts were worth sticking around for.  I wasn’t alone—on their opening day, the line to reach the glass bakery case stretched out the door.  Patrons who braved the almost hour-long line were rewarded with warm, melt-in-your-mouth treats.  I ordered a Salted Caramel donut, a S’mores donut, and a vanilla Bennie.  With a medium coffee, my total came to just under $10.  While this seemed a little steep for three donuts, these pastries were substantial and much larger than most donuts—I only ended up eating about half of each one, leaving me with a terrific late-night snack.

The S’mores variety had a cake donut base filled with homemade marshmallow fluff and topped with a thick chocolate icing and a graham cracker.  Talk about decadence!  The Bennie had buttery, flaky croissant layers but was glazed like a donut.  My absolute favorite was the Salted Caramel.  This yeast donut was topped with subtle caramel icing and beautiful flaked sea salt.  I go gaga over anything salted caramel, but this was absolute perfection.  The caramel had a rich flavor, but it didn’t overpower the delicate flavor of the donut.  

If there is an area where General American Donut Company missed the mark, it was in décor and ambiance.  The bakery is located in what appears to be an old garage that has been painted a bright white inside.  The furniture is a hodgepodge of old tables and chairs, many of which looked rickety and uncomfortable.  The walls were scantily decorated with kitschy Americana deer.  I normally love this shabby chic style, but if you’re going to do it, you really have to commit.  A handful of paintings from your grandmother’s basement and a deer statue don’t cut it.  I couldn’t see myself cozying up here to study with a cup of coffee.  

What General American Donut Company lacks in atmosphere it makes up for with an outstanding product.  Unlike craft donuts I’ve had in other cities, these didn’t feel gimmicky or as if the donuts themselves took a backseat to crazy flavors.  GADCo got basic donuts just right, then dressed them with innovative but crowd-pleasing toppings and fillings.  Indianapolis may just have a new favorite donut.  

General American Donut Company
827 S. East Street
Indy 46225

Monday, July 21, 2014

Guest Post: Bearcats

Hi Indianapolis Restaurant Scene readers!  I am Megan from the NapTownDiva Blog.  I am filling in for Erin today who is taking some time off to let her wrist heal.  Poor thing!  No fun to have a broken bone in the middle of summer.  Lots of well wishes headed your way, Erin!

Just like Erin I love to eat at local Indy restaurants.  I live/work downtown and consider myself an expert of eateries in this area.  A hidden gem I would love to share with you is Bearcats.  It is located just south of 11th St. and Senate Ave. in the historical Stutz Building.  Quick history lesson for you if you haven't heard of the Stutz Building.  Harry Stutz owned and operated Stutz Motorcar Company here from 1911-1919.  It was here he built the 'Bearcat' which raced in the very first Indianapolis 500.  Talk about history!  Now the building is home to all kinds of businesses including Bearcats Restaurant.

I frequent Bearcats as it not too far from where I work.  Only a block east of the canal.  They are open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and have a nice bar area.   They have a variety of food such as soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, and burgers.

I would say their pork tenderloin sandwich ($7.99) is their specialty.  It is big enough to make 2 sandwiches!  My friend enjoyed this feast and had plenty of leftovers.  I have had this sandwich before and it is the best tenderloin in town!

I decided to try one of their new sandwiches, the Grouper Po' Boy ($8.99).  Oh man was it delicious.  So fresh and that breading is out of this world!!!  It was topped with chipolte mayo and onion straws.  It just was amazing!  And those sweet potato waffle fries.  They really topped the meal off.

Another one of my favorites here is their Endless Soup and Salad.  For just $7.99 you get a bottomless bowl garden salad with all the fixins.  You also choose from one of their 3 soups which change daily.  My co-worker and I like to go here when we are in the mood for a good soup.  Their onion rings and breaded mushrooms are heavenly.  I'm telling you anything batter dipped here is going to make your taste buds dance.  Their bar offers 16 beers on tap including some from Indiana.

If you decide to give Bearcats a try, let me know what you think. Please connect with me at NaptownDiva Blog. Happy Eating, Indy!

1055 N. Senate Ave
Indy 46202

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Guest Post: Antojitos Domis

by Krista

We celebrated our honeymoon in beautiful Cozumel recently and this week, I woke up craving a torta (Mexican sandwich with deliciously crusty bread and your choice of meats). I hopped in my car around lunch time the other day and found myself in Indy's NW side.

Antojitos Domis caught my eye, located next to several Mexican supermarkets. The menu is primarily in Spanish, and really, they offer only a select few items -- tortas, tacos, burritos, and chilaquilles. The place was busy, and everyone was ordering tacos! The restaurant is very small and clean, and I felt welcome despite knowing only a few Spanish phrases.

I ended up ordering 3 tacos and a side of guacamole. All the tacos at Antojitos are meat-heavy with onion and cilantro on top. If you've only eaten tacos smothered in cheese and sour cream, try this more authentic version next time. Each taco was a reasonable $1.99.

The first taco was chorizo; it was salty, fatty, and quite delicious. Chorizo is often served at breakfast time, and as such, it wasn't listed as an option for tacos. The server was happy to accommodate my request, luckily. The second taco was pastor (pork), but wasn't nearly as juicy or as flavorful as I have had elsewhere. Though the menu said pineapple was mixed with the pastor, I couldn't find any. Pastor is my absolute favorite thing to order in a taco, reminiscent of shawarma meat. Last, the chicken taco was quite good -- lots of smoky flavor and very tender. All the tacos were served in freshly made corn tortillas with lime on the side.

Antojitos brings two salsas in squirt bottles (smart!!) - one green and one red. These were sensational -- spicy and full of flavor. The guacamole was freshly made, but I suspect mixed with mayo or sour cream as it was very creamy.

Three tacos made to order with a heaping portion of guacamole was less than 9 bucks. I'll definitely be back to try a torta sometime soon. No complimentary chips and salsa offered on my visit -- but with prices this low and servings so large, I doubt you'll go hungry.

Antojitos Domis
7940 Michigan Rd, 
Indianapolis, IN 46268
(317) 471-8455

Monday, July 14, 2014

Eggshell Bistro - Revisit

This is a brief one, because I only had the one thing, but it had been awhile since I had been to Eggshell Bistro and it seemed worth mentioning. This place is always hard for me to make a decision, because almost everything is egg-based and as you probably know, eggs are one of my favorite things.

After toying with choosing a menu item, our server read off the specials and I quickly was convinced to try the special tart. It was a light flaky crust and was filled with all kinds of good things—artichokes, pancetta, fresh herbs, capers, olive tapenade, eggs and Gruyeye cheese. This thing was super delicious. I liked it because it is light inside, but also thin. I hate it when you get a piece of quiche and it’s huge and way too dense.  This was the opposite of that. And the ingredients gave it a depth of flavor that I find is often missing in egg dishes like this—the olives, capers and the artichokes have that briny, salty, taste that stand out on their own, but there's enough hearty pancetta and cheese to make you feel like you are splurging a bit too. I appreciate the portions here, because they are just right for me, but can see some feeling like they are on the small side. The side of fruit I had was beautiful as well –and I love that it wasn’t full of melon, which I consider the filler fruit (partially because it is one of my least favorite of the fruit varieties).

If this place was closer to me, it would certainly be in my regular rotation although it has some issues about the place that I could see become annoying on a regular basis. For one thing, even though it is never full when I am there (in this instance we were the only ones here), it takes a long time to get your food. Like, a pretty darn long time. I am also not sure how they maintain on the amount of business I see in there, but my friend assured me they are quite busy on the weekends. Also, they do this thing where they put menu items on the menu in lighter font and with an asterisk saying they are “under development.” Which means basically, they are not available to be ordered. Why put them on the menu? Are they trying to convince you to come back to try said item? I just felt frustrated I couldn’t get that tuna sandwich that sounded so good. I noticed this on my first visit as well. I say, don’t tease. If you want to test it on a few days make it a special. If you aren’t going to serve it, don’t put it on the menu. Just my two cents. But I do wanna try that sandwich….

Eggshell Bistro
51 West Carmel City Drive
Carmel, IN  46032

Thursday, July 10, 2014


Hey all-

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know I usually post twice a week. Last week while on vacation, I was in an accident and broke my wrist--of course it was my right (dominant) hand. Needless to say, typing is slow and painstaking (as is eating, cooking and just about everything else). And unfortunately, it will get a little worse before it gets better because I am having surgery next week. So I am not posting another new post this week, but I do have a previously written post for Monday. I will do my best to get back into the swing of things as soon as possible, but I would love to have some guest posts for the next couple of weeks if any of you have been somewhere to eat in Indy you would like to write about and share. Please submit them to me at Pictures too, if you have them. If you could get them to me by Monday, there's a much better chance I can get them up before my wrist goes through its next trauma!

In the meantime, here's some links to some of my "best of" posts from the past (keep in mind, these were written awhile ago so may not reflect some of the newer places in town). I will be back with new posts soon!

Here's my guide to some of my favorite places: Best Restaurants

Here's a few of my favorite dishes from Indy restaurants: Favorite Dishes

Monday, July 7, 2014

The North End

I have ventured over to Ryan Nelson’s new place, The North End, a couple of times since it opened—the first time for lunch and the second time for dinner. First of all, judging by the Monday night crowd at dinnertime, this neighborhood has been desperate for somewhere like this to go. It’s nice not to have Nora continue to be such a desert of independent, casual restaurants. So much fast food in this area.

At my lunch I had the Carolina pulled pork sandwich ($8), which came with 1 side. I went with potato salad because that is usually my go to with barbecue. The pork was okay. It’s the kind of pulled pork that has a lot of the crisp “bark” on it. So it kind of depends on whether you like that or not. They serve 4 sauces—a sweet molasses based sauce, a classic BBQ sauce, a spicier version and a vinegar/mustard-based sauce. You needed the sauce for sure to get the pork juicy. The sandwiches also come dressed with a house made cole slaw, which is a bit creamy and has a bit of vinegar. It was nice with the meat and sauce I thought.  Was it my favorite pulled pork? No, it’s a tad dry for me. The potato salad is a write off though, it was also super dry and bland. Just seemed liked chunks of potato with a bit of mustard. Needed some creaminess and some more zip.  I appreciated the wedge of boiled egg to mix in, but still could have used a little more pizazz. On both visits, I had the cornbread as a dessert ($3 as a separate side). It’s very sweet and topped with a nice mound of maple Bourbon butter. I really enjoyed it as a small dessert though (and so did my son). The first time they served it in a little iron skillet, which gave it a little more crisp edges, which I liked. They didn’t on the second visit. 

At dinner, we were with another family, and took the opportunity to try a bunch of the appetizers, which all sounded very appealing. Probably my favorite was the smoked Alaskan salmon dip ($8)—it was a creamy dip with lots of salmon in it as well as capers and chives. It was seasoned well and was served with thick housemade potato chips. A great combination. And when I squeezed a couple of lemons from the broiled oysters on top, it was perfection.

The oysters  ($12 for 6) themselves weren’t bad. They were small oysters (my favorite) but were almost overwhelmed by the amount of broiled parmesan cheese on top. The cheese had sort of hardened into one large piece of cheese on top on some of them and a lot of the garlic butter had spilled out of the oysters before they were served. For the price point, I think I would just stick with the salmon dip.

Based on several recommendations, we also had the house battered onion rings with remoulade ($7). These were my biggest disappointment of the appetizers. These are the really big kind of onion rings, which don’t tend to be my favorite kind anyway, but if they have a really nice crunchy batter, I won’t care. Here, the batter wasn’t crunchy at all—very soft. I liked the drizzled remoulade that was on them (although didn’t help with the softness) and asked for some more on the side. I don’t know, maybe it was just an off night on these because like I said, a lot of people have recommended them to me.
For dinner, I wanted to try something new and went with the chicken ($15). It is a half roasted chicken and was spectacular. The smoked meat was so tender--it was amazing. The skin on the chicken was crisp and seasoned. Dipping the meat in the sauces was barely even necessary, but I enjoyed all of them. A bit of classic mixed with spicy is probably my favorite, but I went back and forth with the mustard sauce because I liked the acidity of it. After my son had eaten half his pulled pork sandwich, he tried my chicken and then proceeded to pick it to the bone. Every time we drive by now, he asks when we will go back and get more of the chicken.

For sides this time (the entrées come with 2 sides), I had the mac and cheese and the collard greens. The collards were good. Tender with the right amount of porky bits and vinegar. The mac and cheese is also very good (probably my favorite side if I were choosing). It was creamy and topped with a slightly sweet, slightly smoky, rib jam that gave it extra texture and depth. Although my son had the fries as his side, which were tossed in bone marrow butter and jalapenos and they were quite delicious as well. Decadent, but good. They were certainly hubby’s favorite side.

Speaking of, hubby decided to go with another of the appetizers as his main dish, the shrimp and grits ($10). He figured he would eat off our plates, and he did. The shrimp and grits were good as well. The shrimp wasn’t overcooked and the grits were cheesy with white cheddar mixed in. There were some hunks of tasso ham and some fresh tomatoes as well. It was a large appetizer for sure. 

All in all, I think now that I have been a few times and found a couple of things we all really like, it will be a nice family-friendly place to put in the rotation that is near us. I can tell you what my son and I will be splitting—that chicken. Delicious.

The North End
1250 E. 86th Street
Indy  46240

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Café Korea -- Revisit

Thanks to my friend @AngieSix being more on top of things than me, she noticed that @indianapolisamy had posted about Café Korea and had talked about how much she liked the dumplings there—knowing that I have been on a dumpling quest, Angie suggested we go.  I have been a couple of times before, but had never had the dumplings ($4.99).

Of course, that is what we started with, and they were delicious! There were five, and they were a good size—at least two bites each. They were also smokin’ hot. They were filled with minced meat—pork I am guessing? They were seasoned nicely with some veggies and ginger and were lightly pan-fried. I liked the soy and vinegar based dipping sauce to add further variation in flavor and additional moisture (and heck, just to cool them off a little bit!). I would totally get these again.

I also had the lunch version of dol sot bi bim bop ($8.99). I had this the first time I came here (and the first time I reviewed this place) and enjoyed it, but I don’t know, this time it just didn’t get me going. Even with squeezing a fair amount of the hot sauce they served along with it, the dish just didn’t seem to have a of of flavor. The dish is composed of rice on the bottom topped with various shredded veggies, beef and a sunny side up egg. I still like the way the rice crusts up a bit on the bottom because the stoneware bowl is so hot, and the way it sort of turns into fried rice when you mix the egg in there. But it just needs something else. I put some of the lightly fermented bean sprouts from the banchan, or side dishes, which helped a bit, but I still wanted more. I ended up drizzling a bit of the dumpling sauce in there just for a bit of saltiness. Either my tastes are changing or they’ve changed the dish.

They do give you a fair amount of food between the main dish and the banchan and a little salad with a ginger dressing as well (pretty good but standard). And the service is pleasant. I would like to go back and get the dumplings and maybe experiment with the menu a bit more. What else have you guys had that you really liked?

Café Korea
7262 Fishers Crossing Drive
Fishers, IN 46038

Cafe Korea on Urbanspoon