Tuesday, December 26, 2017

45 Degrees

Sushi quest. Day 342. Hubby and I had an event downtown and decided to try 45 Degrees beforehand to continue our ongoing search for our new favorite sushi. This place has been around forever and it was about time. 

The first thing about it is the interior—I really like the funky, modern feel of it. It has a nice atmosphere for sure. Our server was also very friendly and quick. We had drinks quickly to enjoy while we looked over the menu. We started with an order of the tuna nachos ($14). These were an interesting concept and were quite tasty. Possibly my favorite item of the evening. So there’s a layer of wonton chips and they are topped with chopped seared tuna, pico di gallo, Mexican cheese, wasabi mayo, and a mango habanero glaze. There was a lot of tuna on there, and I enjoyed the various flavors that were mixed in, especially the acidity from the pico. I was worried the cheese would be weird with the tuna, but it worked. Even though it was pretty big, we managed to eat the whole thing.

For sushi, we ordered just two rolls since we had the nachos. We had the spider roll ($15) and the piranha roll ($15). The spider roll was fried soft shell crab inside along with some fresh crab and avocado (we had them hold the cucumber). It’s wrapped in soy paper and then the whole thing is drizzled with spicy mayo and ell sauce. This was a tasty roll for sure, and I really appreciated the addition of actual crab. It was nice to even see real crab as an option. Not many sushi places do this. The rolls were also not so ridiculously big, which if you’re a regular reader; you know is a pet peeve for me. I don’t want to have to cut a piece of maki in half in order to be able to eat it.

The other roll was interesting. Inside it had shrimp tempura, avocado, and cilantro (again, cucumber held) and it was topped with yellowtail, Sriracha and serrano pepper. It was served with a side of ponzu sauce.  It was an interesting combo and I liked the touch of heat and the sweet and slightly acidic ponzu. Both rolls had the combo of crunchiness I like from the fried seafood inside as well as the fresh fish richness. And avocado. Whenever there’s avocado, I’m just a little happier. I like that they have a lot of variations on rolls and that they all don’t have the stuff that I don’t like. I feel like some places we go stick cream cheese in every roll, and I just don’t believe cream cheese belongs in sushi.

Overall, I think this place meets my need for good sushi rolls. And we really enjoyed the tuna nachos. I would like to try some of their other non-sushi items as well. If it wasn’t so far, it might qualify for a regular place. Again, I also like the modern feel of the place. What do you guys think? Have you been there?

45 Degrees
765 Massachusetts Ave
Indy 46204

Monday, December 18, 2017


A lot of people have been asking me about Provision so here it is!  Let me start off by saying we had dinner here the first time within like a week of it opening, which isn’t something I normally do, but friends asked us to go and I will rarely turn down such an invitation. That first visit we tried a lot of the appetizers and there were some that really shone and some that were kind of stinkers (the beef tartare for example was very bland). I am not going to write a full review of that visit, because it goes against my regular rules, but I wanted to let you know that the second meal was influenced by it because we ordered things based on that first visit that we knew were better than others. Thus, we crafted a very good dinner, but based on the first visit, there are still some food kinks to be worked out. And service. Woo. That first visit we had pretty bad service, but like I said, it was new and the place was packed.

So on the second visit, we took the kids and sat outside on one of those glorious fall evenings we had awhile back. I like the outside because it isn’t so crazy loud like the inside can be. To start, they brought us a nice amuse of salmon on top of a multi grain type of crouton and a creamy sauce. It was an extremely tasty bite. We then ordered the tuna appetizer ($22) and the seafood cocktail ($20). Again, both choices made based on our first meal. It’s funny, because the seafood cocktail isn’t something I would typically order because while I like shrimp cocktail, how boring can you get right? But this one is unique because the shrimp is dry rubbed with seasonings and then lightly charred. The shrimp are large, but nice and tender and have a wonderful smoky flavor. They also serve it with some hunks of king crab and avocado and a curry red sauce underneath. A nice combo of flavors and we enjoyed it both times. The tuna is also quite tasty. They give you several pieces of seared tuna drizzled with spicy mayo and a crunchy rice cake alongside. I really enjoy the variation of textures in the dish and the flavor from the mayo. You know I love seared tuna and this is a tasty one. We also got the bread plate ($5), because if there is one, and my kids are with me, this will be required. They do a nice job giving you Blue Dog bakery baguette, which is the best local-ish (from Louisville) baguette you can buy, a homemade soft pretzel and some house made pita. They give you butter and a yummy flavored dipping oil. The oil is particularly good with the pita.

I knew I would get to eat some of everyone else’s food, and I was intrigued by the crab toast appetizer ($36), so I got that as my main dish. So wow, this dish had so many different things going on. First of all the bread was so flakey and buttery—almost like it was a croissant underneath. It was topped with big hunks of the crab, jalapeno, Thai basil and a slightly spicy beurre blanc (butter sauce). I liked the combo of the rich, but light and flaky bread and the rich crab with the slight spiciness and acidity of the sauce. A tasty dish for sure. Probably better as a starter to share with someone else though.

Hubby had the special of the evening, which was snapper on top of risotto. It was very well prepared and he really enjoyed it. My daughter ordered scallops ($35) with cilantro gnocchi, spinach and basil-chile beurre blanc. The scallops had the perfect seared edge and were cooked very nicely. She seemed to enjoy them, although couldn’t finish it. My son’s Angus filet ($38) with Robuchon potatoes though was outstanding. And my daughter kept trying to steal bites of those buttery potatoes. All of our dishes were very good. If I had lucked into this as my first meal, I would have been so excited about this new place. As it is, I am still excited; I just know that there are also several items on the menu that aren’t quite as good. I am also looking forward to seeing how they mix up the flavors as the seasons change. I typically really enjoy the new restaurants that Cunningham opens with Layton Roberts in the kitchen. So far Provision is solid, although not as impressive as Vida was when it first opened. It just doesn’t yet seem to have the finesse that Vida had. Maybe that’s not what they’re going for though, who knows.

I have heard many mixed things about this place, so I would love to hear your thoughts.

2721 East 86th Street
Indy  46240

photos from that first dinner

Monday, December 11, 2017

Pioneer - Revisit

My family has really enjoyed Pioneer in the past—and when given the option, the kids chose to go back. They have changed up the menu bit and our last visit was probably the best one yet. I also recently had the pleasure of a private wine dinner there and had a really good meal as well. It’s a place you should definitely check out if you have not already.

We started out with the everything pretzels ($8) with dill cream cheese and tomato olive schmear. I liked the play on an everything bagel, with the seasonings on the pretzels and the cream cheese. They are soft pretzels, but have a nice crusty crunch to them with the spices on top. As long as they’re on the menu and I am with my kids, I am pretty sure they will be ordered.

My daughter is also obsessed with arancini, and we had an order of these ($9). They have had a version of them in the past, but I think I preferred the lightness of these the most. They are rice balls that are seasoned with saffron, lightly fried and served with parsley aioli. Hubby wanted the meatballs ($12), and no one objected so we had those too. These were very tasty, even for meatballs. They were served with a rich red sauce and crostini. If you’re a meatball person, you should get them.

Hubby and I also ordered the frisee salad with a “fried” egg, guanciale, and fingerling potatoes. The only bad part of the meal was that they forgot to bring this until after we had already gotten our entrées, but we decided to eat it anyway, and I was so glad, because this is so good. I will certainly order this each and every time if it’s offered. The frisee is nicely dressed and acidic to balance the richness of the egg, which is barely poached and then breaded and deep-fried. It remains yolky and delicious. This is the perfect thing for me and I would happily eat this as my main dish—as it was I basically ate it as a dessert, which was fine by me.

Pictures from the wine dinner
Oh man, though, the star of the meal was the beer brined half chicken ($21). My son and I split it. Normally I don’t order chicken out, but this may change this practice. If you have ever been to San Francisco and ate the “chicken for two” at Zuni Café, this is very reminiscent of it. Pioneer does a bread salad underneath with greens—there’s a good amount of acid in the salad and it is so good with the extremely tender chicken. The chicken was just so good—it sort of fell off the bone and even the breast meat was tender and delicious. I highly recommend this dish.

Hubby and my daughter both had linguine and clams ($21). They both enjoyed them but agreed that other things were the stars of the night (hubby thought the salad and chicken were his favorite things and my daughter would say the pretzels). They use nice smallish clams and give you a decent amount of them. The sauce is flavorful, but could use maybe a little bigger punch of red pepper. 

Overall, this was a great meal and it’s a great place to remember when you want a nice local meal in Fountain Square.

1110 Shelby Street
Indy 46203

Monday, December 4, 2017


There’s a new place in the new hotel in Ironworks that’s serves breakfast/lunch called Rize. It’s also run by the Cunningham Group like Provision upstairs. I like the looks of the menu because it’s a little more interesting take on breakfast. I met a friend for a late breakfast the other day to check it out.

I was torn between a couple of things, but luckily the friend I was with was willing to give me a couple of bites of hers as well, and she got one of the things I was debating. I ordered the egg tart ($11), which is sort of like a really light egg custard in a crust—like a lighter version of a quiche. But instead of having the veggies mixed in, they sauté them and put them on top. I can see how this makes good sense as far as easily changing up the seasonality of the veggies and keeping he base tart the same. There is Gruyere cheese in the tart and it is very light and fluffy—and the crust was nice and flaky. I really enjoyed it.  I especially like the swath of hibiscus mustard and the pickled onions—they really made the dish. A bite with all of the parts of it was really, really good. The veggies on top were fallish—there were mushrooms and sweet potatoes and broccolini. I would get it again. I bet in the spring and summer it would be amazing since I prefer those veggies in general.

My friend had their version of a frittata ($12). They do a similar thing—they put the veggies on top rather than inside the eggs. It actually comes across more of a very loose omelet with lots of veggies on top. There are really nice caramelized onions and a harissa and crème fraiche type sauce as well. They also serve a little salad along with it, which is a nice touch of acid. I would happily order this one as well.

Overall, I really enjoyed both items and would love to try more of the menu. It feels like a healthier breakfast place because there’s so much emphasis on veggies, which is nice. There are a lot of nice chef touches on the dishes as well, making it stand out over a lot of the more basic breakfast places. Who has tried something else really good here?

2721 East 86th Street
Indy 46240

Monday, November 27, 2017

Biscuits Café - the Chilaquiles edition

I am happy to say you guys were right! A few posts ago, I wrote about a couple of different places where I had ordered chilaquiles only to be disappointed by what amounted to what I called breakfast nachos. Several of you guys told me to try the version at Biscuits, and I did. Several times. In fact, my entire family is now addicted to chilaquiles ($12.00 + additional for meat) at Biscuits and request it to the point that I have tried it with just about every type of meat offered as well as no meat.

So here’s how they do their chilaquiles. They cook the chips in the ranchero sauce, which is their slightly spicy red sauce. You can get them in a verde sauce too, or in a milder red sauce. They mix the chips up with the sauce and meat, cover them with cheese and then add two eggs on top cooked how you like them (over easy for me). When you break into the eggs, you get this amazing tasting dish that will make you addicted. And while you get some texture from the chips, they are cooked a bit so they aren’t super crunchy. As far as meat goes, we have tried the chicken and the carnitas and I have even tried them without meat at all. Overall I think my favorite is the chicken, just because it’s a bit heartier. I was hoping when I got it without meat, I would get more of the chips part, but I really didn’t. For some reason, they carnitas didn’t really do it for me or hubby, even though we really like carnitas in general. But I’m telling you, there’s just something about this dish. You need to try it. Oh, and it’s not on the menu, but it has always been on the special board when we have gone, although I have heard even if it isn’t, they will always make it for you. The dish also come with beans and rice on the side.

I also usually get a side of hash browns, fried crispy (sometimes they come out pretty soft). They are really tasty, and even though you probably don’t need them on top of the huge platters of food you get, I order them anyway.

I also tried the migas ($7.95) on one visit, which sounded similar, but have the eggs scrambled into the chips.  They don’t use the sauce though, and these come across as dry and bland. I am telling you, once you have the chilaquiles here, that’s all you’ll want to order. We’ve also tried the breakfast burrito ($7.95), the breakfast quesadilla and taquitos. All were decent, particularly the quesadilla, but none measure up to the chilaquiles in my mind. Other times relatives have ordered more basic breakfast menu items and didn’t seem overly thrilled with them.

The only downside to this place right now is that they have recently expanded. While the new part of the restaurant is cute and well done, I don’t think they have added additional staff and we’ve notice a sharp decline in service since the new addition opened. It takes a long time to order and sometimes items come out a bit cold. It’s great they have more space so you don’t have to wait to get seated, but you will sit at your table and wait quite awhile to put in your order.

Anyway, if you love chilaquiles, check it out. Just be patient or go at an off time.

Biscuits Café 
1035 Broad Ripple Ave
Indy 46220

Monday, November 20, 2017

Mississippi Belle - Revisit

Quick little update you guys. Don’t forget about Mississippi Belle—still probably some of the best fried chicken in town. The family had a craving the other day and we went and picked it up for dinner. I always just order when I get there, because they are so fast putting it together. 

My favorite pieces will always be thighs and legs, but they do a good job with the white meat as well. And if you ask for mashed potatoes and mac and cheese for four, they’ll give you enough for 7-8. I don’t know what it is about their mac and cheese, but it is so addicting. It’s simple, but has some pepper mixed in and just tastes really good.

I also ordered one side of sautéed cabbage because I like it (and no one else in my family does) and it is tasty too. It’s a vegetable, but it is nowhere near healthy from what I can tell. My family likes the cornbread muffins, although they aren’t my favorite. A little dry.

The chicken though—it’s really good. I’m am always amazed at how many people who are fried chicken afficianoadoes ask me about my favorite and have never been here. Just go—you’ll understand. And bring cash. They don’t take credit cards.

Mississippi Belle
2170 East 54th Street
Indy 46220

Monday, November 13, 2017


Continuing on my sushi quest, even though it’s nowhere near my neighborhood, we took the kids to Mikado downtown. This is another example of when a restaurant’s social media is working. I kept seeing posts on Instagram that looked delicious, and particularly since I have been on a quest lately, I chose it for our family night out.

It’s right downtown near St. Elmo and all the chain restaurants. It’s a pretty big place, and has a more upscale interior, although it’s old enough that it is starting to look a little worn. It also wasn’t super busy, but there were a decent amount of people in there.

We started with several appetizers and got slightly less sushi than normal. We ordered tuna tataki ($16), edamame ($6), shrimp tempura ($10) and my son wanted gyoza ($7) for himself because he was having a small entrée. The tuna tataki was great. The tuna was exceptionally tender, and the ponzu sauce on the bottom was some of the most flavorful I have had in recent memory. Hubby even ate all the spiralized radish underneath just because he liked the sauce so much. It wasn’t a huge portion, so each of us only got one or two pieces. I could easily eat this on my own and happily would.

The edamame was also really well done. Lots of chunky salt on the outside to give you a nice salty taste when you sucked out the beans inside. Everyone was quite happy with these. The gyoza (the tiny bite I was allowed) were also tasty—stuffed with pork and then pan-fried. The only disappointment appetizer-wise was the shrimp tempura. It just fell a little flat—it wasn’t quite hot or light enough. 

For sushi, my son wanted a simple shrimp tempura roll  ($7.50) and hubby and I chose two rolls—the “Fire in the roll” ($15.95) and the “sumo” ($14.25). My son’s shrimp tempura roll was nicely done for a simple roll—they included a little bit of cucumber and some pea shoots to jazz it up a little, as well as just a touch of spicy mayo. The shrimp in his roll was better than the appetizer shrimp.

The “fire in the roll” was made up of spicy tuna and avocado in the middle and was topped with sliced tuna, jalapeno, cilantro and spicy tobiko. This roll had a fair amount of heat for sure. It was well done, and the ingredients were all good. I ended up taking the jalapeno off mine because it was that hot. The “sumo” roll was filled with spicy shrimp and avocado and then topped with sliced salmon. There was a little dash of spicy mayo on the plate, but I would have liked a drizzle of sauce on the rolls themselves. They were both very good and exactly the right size to easily pop into your mouth. The only thing I missed was just a touch of crunch—but then I like a little texture variation in my rolls.

My daughter ordered the nabeyaki udon ($16) for her main dish because lately noodles are her thing.  I’m not sure that she was the biggest fan of this version. She isn’t overly familiar with udon and I think she prefers the skinnier noodles like in ramen (as do I). The egg was also much more raw than they usually are in soup dishes, which I think was a bit of a turn off. She liked the tempura that they served on the side to eat with the broth, and strangely, her shrimp tempura was also better than the one we had as an app. Not sure why. I think if we went back though, she would return to one of her classic teriyaki choices. I appreciate that she ventures out though.

Based on the quality and size of the rolls, and most of the apps though, Mikado is a place I would frequent if it were nearer my house for rolls. I might just get those same rolls and ask them to throw a little crunch in. Anyone else been here lately? Is it a big downtown lunch spot?

148 Illinios Street
Indy 46225

Monday, November 6, 2017


I have heard a fair amount of opinions about Convivio—overall most have been positive. It’s in Carmel, so we don’t often do a family dinner night up there, but we finally decided to give it a try. We had a reservation, but were a little early. They thought we would have to wait awhile for our table, but as it turned out, we didn’t, which was nice (a pet peeve of mine when they take your reservation but then seat you late).

It’s a nice looking, busy place with a menu that is certainly more appealing that most Italian places in the Indy area. They also make all their pasta by hand, which is pretty awesome too. It’s a pretty large menu so it takes a bit to go through it. We decided to start with the fritto misto ($12), which included not just calamari, but also shrimp, octopus and zucchini. It was served on top of a marinara sauce and with lemon wedges. It wasn’t bad, but there was nothing that made it stand out from others, except that it included more types of seafood than you normally see. The octopus was quite good and remained tender. The shrimp however were a bit tough. I probably liked the zucchini the most of all of it, because it was nice and tender and a nice seasonal veggie (it was still summer when we were there).

The other appetizer we had was very good—and something you don’t see very often around town—the crostini Toscana ($9.95), which was grilled slices of bread topped with chicken liver pate. It was something we ate a fair amount in Tuscany, where it is extremely popular and we were happy to see it on the menu. The kids weren’t really into it, but hubby and I really enjoyed it. The pate is really earthy and rich, but this one wasn’t over the top and the lightly dressed arugula from underneath eaten with it was perfect.

For main courses, hubby and I ordered a pasta and a pizza to get to try both. We had the rigatoni funghi salsicca ($18.95) and the porcini pizza ($14). The pasta was a bit heavy, but tasty, and the homemade pasta was great. The sauce on it was a creamy sauce and it had wild mushrooms, pancetta, goat cheese, sausage and Parmesan cheese. It was very heavy on the sausage, which overpowered everything else a bit. I would have enjoyed more mushrooms and a little lighter sauce. I was hoping for a little more tanginess from the goat cheese than I tasted.

The pizza highlighted the mushrooms more, which I enjoyed (hubby and I both love mushrooms), but again was a little heavy on richness. It had Porcini mushroom spread, Taleggio, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses. We both really enjoy the distinct earthy taste of Porcinis, which are also rare to see on local menus, but I got more cheese than anything on this. The crust had a nice flavor too, but needed to be crisper.

My daughter had the gnocchi al telefono ($17.95), which were very large pillows of gnocchi served in a fresh tomato basil and sauce with mozzarella. She seemed to like it fine, but thought the gnocchi were a little bigger than she normally likes.

The star of the meal though was my son’s steak, which was a special. We tease him about ordering filets a lot, but he beat us all this night. He ordered a roasted filet that was flavored with rosemary, topped with Gorgonzola, and served with roasted potatoes, asparagus and mushrooms. I’m not sure how they did it exactly, but the roasted flavor on it was amazing—including on the veggies. And you could really taste the rosemary and blue cheese. If we went back and they had this, we’d probably have to get at least two of them to share. It makes me more intrigued to try more of the meats on a future visit.

And although not everything we had were winners, I do think we will return to try other things. Like I said, I would like to try more of the meat dishes and I am still impressed with the fact that they make all their pastas in house. I would like to try some of the other options in that area too. 

Have you been? What did you have that you loved?

11529 Spring Mill Rd #300,
Carmel, IN 46032

P.S. Their website says they're opening another location in Zionsville soon.

Monday, October 30, 2017

John Adams Catering

Recently, some friends and I decided to have John Adams cater a dinner for us. In case you are not familiar, John has cheffed at a lot of my favorite restaurants throughout our fine city. I met him at H2O sushi (RIP). He left there to open Bluebeard and eventually also worked at Plow and Anchor and most recently Marrow (RIP as well). And for the moment, he is doing private catering. A friend of mine had used him for a special dinner party she was planning and raved about the food, so several friends and I decided we needed to plan something as well.

I loved the menu from the moment he sent it to me and I was not disappointed. We started with a beautiful salmon tartare with capers, cucumbers and tomato ponzu. It was artfully wrapped with cucumber as well and topped with a Parmesan crisp. It was really light and tasty and reminiscent of those H2O days. I could have eaten a bowl full.

The next course was a Vietnamese pancake (also one of my favorite things). It was a crisp, light crepe filled with shrimp, green papaya, and bean sprouts and topped with crushed peanuts. There was a great tangy lemongrass broth underneath it and the whole dish was full of wonderful acid, one of my favorite flavor profiles. I was impressed watching him whip up individual little pancakes for everyone.

The main course was seared Loup de Mer with roasted sunchokes, chard and a shallot and sunchoke soubise—which is a creamy sauce made with cream as well as the shallots and sunchokes. There was also a red wine jus on top of the soubise. The fish though, that fish was delicious. It had skin on it, but it was seared so well, the skin became the star of the dish. It was so crispy; it just sort of exploded when you bit into it. 

The savory courses were definitely the strength—he joked that he’s not really a pastry chef, and we enjoyed the bananoffee pie, but I enjoyed the other things much more. The first three courses were so perfectly executed and balanced, it just made the pie look ordinary. Still tasty, just not as exciting.

I loved having Chef Adams cook for us, and would love to be able to have it more often—am going to have to organize some more dinners. As much as I liked it though, I’d still rather see him in the kitchen of a local restaurant where more people can enjoy his food. I think he is exploring several options and I look forward to see where he turns up. In the meantime though, if you’re looking for a local chef to cater a wonderful dinner, he’s your man.

Chef John Adams

Monday, October 23, 2017

Sakura - Revisit

Ok, continuing on the sushi quest, we decided to go back to Sakura. I know a lot of you guys like this place best, and it is the oldest sushi place in Indy as far as I know. The things that keep me from coming here more often are the crowds and the slow service. This time we went on the early side on a weeknight and the crowds weren’t too big yet. Our service was fine too, although as soon as it starts to get busy, it slows down.

Anyhow, we took the kids so we could all determine whether it would or could be our new go to spot. We had the standard miso soup to start, which was standardly good. Nothing unusual to mention. Hubby and I ordered several rolls—the Gabe ($6.70), the soft shell crab roll ($9.50) and the Crunch roll. The Gabe roll is their version spicy tuna mixed with some roe both inside and out of the roll. They also mix in green onions. They use nice fairly large pieces of tuna here, and it comes across like a tuna tartare roll. It’s a good choice and is probably one of hubby’s faves. The soft shell crab roll was fine. Again, it’s a lot of fried bits with spicy mayo and it gets kind of boring after awhile. The crunch roll was shrimp tempura and avocado inside I believe and crunchy bits outside. All were good—none were particularly memorable for me. We also had some ahi tuna nigiri ($4.40) as well as albacore nigiri ($4.30) and both were very good. I like the way they lightly sear the albacore and then serve with ponzu and bonito. It’s very tasty.

My daughter ordered chicken teriyaki ($12.75). They give you a TON of meat here. I like that there are lots of little pieces of the meat and that it includes dark meat. I thought the flavor of the sauce was also very good. My daughter was less of a fan. She likes a leaner piece of breast meat and not quite so much sauce. We brought a lot of it home.

My son had the chicken cutlets ($12.75), which were exactly what he likes—pounded chicken breast meat lightly breaded and fried. It was very good—and the dipping sauce that went along with it had a little deeper flavor than most. It did not come off as just sweet, like many do.

It’s a solid choice for sushi, but it’s still not luring me back in with anything that was really, really good. But everyone was pretty satisfied, so my guess is we’ll be back more frequently than in the past. If you’re a fan, tell me your favorite rolls....

7201 North Keystone
Indy  46240

Monday, October 16, 2017

Canal Bistro - Brunch

I had a brunch meeting on a weekend with a small group, and we decided to try Canal Bistro because they take reservations. On the weekends, I just don’t have the patience to wait an hour to eat. I had never been to Canal Bistro for full on brunch, so it was almost like going to a new restaurant.

They have a very large menu of choices for brunch, although there are several areas that are variations of similar items—various breakfast sandwiches/pita wraps takes up half of the back page for instance. It’s nice to see some interesting things on there though. I ordered the Mediterranean frittata ($11). It is described as a frittata with leeks, roasted tomatoes and spinach topped with feta, sundried tomatoes and basil. So I sort of pictured a frittata that had the first three ingredients mixed in and the other stuff baked on top. This was more of a (huge) piece of frittata with everything baked inside. It wasn’t bad, but I didn’t really get much of the cheese flavor. The whole thing was decently moist, but just a little on the bland side. They should throw some olives in there. It’s huge though. I also ordered a side of bacon, which was crispy and delicious.

Oh, and if you like a mimosa or bloody Mary with your brunch, they were $5. And you can get your mimosa made with a range of various juices. I had a mango one and it was very nice.

My daughter had “The Classic Fool” breakfast plus one egg (she got it sunny side up, but you can get it however you want). This is a bowl of slow-cooked fava beans mixed with olive oil, tomatoes, onions, parsley and fresh lemon and then topped with the egg. The egg was cooked nicely and she enjoyed the dish. It was nice that it had a touch of acid to it.

All in all, while the dishes didn’t blow me away, this is a nice spot to sit outside and have brunch. The menu is quite large, and I look forward to trying something else next time.

Canal Bistro
6349 Guilford Ave
Indy 46220

Monday, October 9, 2017

Vida - Revisit

Hubby and I had a date night on our own and decided to go back to Vida—we hadn’t been since my birthday in December. I made a reservation (one of my favorite things about this place is that you can book it ahead) and asked to sit in the bar side. We had never sat there and I really enjoyed it—the tables seem spaced a little better and it has a more relaxed atmosphere. It’s a pretty room too.

They first brought us a amuse bouche that was quite delicious. It was a cube of sticky rice topped with a little bit of spicy tuna, kimchi and wasabi. It was a great little bite. Loved the way they made the rice into a cube.

They have changed the menu a bit since I was there and now you can get a four-course meal for $65, or you can order a la carte.  We kind of picked a few from the various sections and shared. The first course section is really just a few bites—not really meant for sharing. We did though.

I ordered the tuna ($18) for my first course and hubby the guanciale ($15). You guys know I love my tuna dishes, but this was one of the best one I’ve had in awhile. It was just three slices of wasabi-crusted tuna with a little mound of buckwheat soba noodles topped with honey sesame vinaigrette and some pickled red onions. Wow—I loved the crunch of the wasabi peas (I think that’s what they were) that were crushed up and used as the crust on the tuna—they gave it crunch and a kick of flavor. I also really loved the noodles on the side—the vinaigrette gave them a really nice acidic flavor. Just a really well put together dish. My stomach is growling writing about it and I had a hard time giving hubby a piece (but I did).

His first course was also really delicious and really well crafted. It was toasted focaccia bread topped with thinly sliced guanciale (which is jowl bacon) and really equally thin slices of manchego cheese. The bread was topped with tomato herb butter and on top of the meat and cheese was some frisee and fig mostarda. Really good.

For the next course, we split the heirloom tomato salad ($12). This was also very good. There were nice chunks of tomatoes, large pieces of burrata cheese, some focaccia croutons, red onion, several herbs and a parmesan crisp. This was also well composed, and had a nice refreshing flavor. The croutons were a little hard to cut because they were so crunchy, but other than that, it was very good.

Speaking of croutons, the complimentary bread basket (which seemingly comes at random times at different tables from my observation—ours came after apps but before salads) is always good at Vida. This night they had little brioche loaves and blueberry friendship bread. And nice and creamy, spreadable butter. Both were delicious.

For our main dishes, I ordered the tortelloni ($24) and hubby the lamb chops ($38). My tortelloni was outstanding. There were several large tortelloni filled with mascarpone and alongside little crispy fried potatoes, asparagus, candied red onion in a sage brown butter sauce and topped with lots of shaved truffles. As soon as I walked into the restaurant and smelled the truffles I knew I was going to have to order whatever it was. It was such a cool combination of flavors. The only bad part of the dish was the asparagus, which was really thick and really woody. 

Hubby’s lamb chops were served with fire roasted cherry tomatoes, green beans and a tahini sauce. The flavor of the dish was really good—you got a real nicely roasted flavor. The chops themselves were a little fatty (and therefore chewy) for me however.

We ended up splitting one dessert. Vida has a great young pastry chef and it would almost feel wrong not to get something (yes, I am giving you an excuse about why you must order something when you’re there). We went with the ricotta doughnuts at hubby’s choice (I think they’ve had some version of this since opening) and we were certainly not disappointed. They had a bourbon maple glaze; candied bacon, maple cream and brown butter ice cream alongside. This was like the flavors of pancakes and bacon for breakfast taken to an amazing level. So good. They also have one of the best (if not the best) dessert wine lists by the glass of any restaurant in Indy if you’re into that sort of thing (I am).

So if it’s a nice meal you want with excellent food, this is one of your top choices right now in Indy. Really good.

601 East New York Street
Indy 46202