Monday, July 22, 2019

Freddy's Frozen Custard and Steakburgers

Recently I asked people to give me a list of favorite burger places and a couple of people mentioned Freddy’s for smash burger. It intrigued me—even though it’s a chain, I was feeling smash burger-ish and was with the kids (no Workingman’s Friend for me) so we decided to give it a try.

So it sort of reminds me of In-N-Out Burger on the inside—all red and white and you go up and order at the register and they call your number when it’s ready. However, food-wise, it is more in the style of Steak ‘n Shake (wow, I just noticed the coincidence of the use of “n” in both names). Flat griddled patties with crispy edges, skinny fries and battered onion rings.  They do shakes too—but they are simpler and made with custard. They also have a large menu like Steak ‘n Shake but I think are more successful because of no table service (and the potential of bad service). The food comes out pretty quick too.

The burger was really good—I had a single with their standard set up, which is mustard, pickles and onions. I added a bit of ketchup to it as well. It was really good ($6.49 for single combo meal with fries and drink) . The meat had the crisp lacy edges but was still nice and tender in the middle. My kids both had double cheeseburgers ($7.69 for combo) and were happy to see that they added the extra slice of cheese that they used to have to ask for at Steak n Shake. I liked the long cut thicker pickles as well. The skinny fries were pretty identical to Steak n Shake and served their purpose (Freddy’s gives you a more generous portion though). Freddy’s stands out for its special “fry sauce” though—so I think it is sort of like a special sauce of mayo, ketchup, pickle juice and their burger seasoning—which is a seasoning salt. I really liked some of it on my burger as well as my fries—guessing this is why they don’t put ketchup on the burger since it has ketchup in It (by my estimate anyway). My daughter thought it was distinctly pickle-y, but I really liked it. But I love pickles. Kind of surprised they call it fry sauce though instead of using it as special sauce on the burgers. 

We got some onion rings as well ($2.29) and they tasted pretty good. Again, very similar to Steak n Shake, although these were cooked quite dark. They may have felt a little over done for me, and could have been hotter, but not bad. I am not sure if they are supposed to be cooked like this, since I have never been before, but I would prefer them a little lighter. My daughter got a chocolate shake ($3.79) which she liked, but it wasn’t as interesting as others—it seemed like it wasn’t a hand dipped shake, that it likely came straight out of a machine the way it was. But I don’t  know for sure. They do make sundaes, and Blizzard-like drinks as well.

Overall, this is a very good option for a crispy-edge burger. I am not sure why they are so far only out in the outskirts of Indy, but especially with all the Steak n Shakes closing, they would probably do themselves (and all of us) a service opening a more central location. And Steak n Shake could learn from them and probably be more successful ditching table service. 

So yes, it’s a chain, but yes, I will be eating here again. It’s a solid crispy-edged burger.

Freddy’s (multiple locations)
2740 E. 146th Street
Carmel, IN 46033

Monday, July 8, 2019

U.S. Adventures: Detroit

A few weeks ago I took my daughter and her boyfriend to Detroit to see Ben Platt perform—who they are both obsessed with. Anyhow, I was excited to take the opportunity to check out some restaurants in Detroit, since I have never been there other than in the airport. 

The first day we grabbed a slice of pizza from Supino Pizzeria. There was over an hour wait so we grabbed a slice to go instead and sort of ate it on the fly. They only offer a couple of choices by the slice to go, but we were all happy—they had a slice of cheese each ($2.75) and I had the special slice of the day with artichokes, pancetta, onions and feta ($3.75). These are huge foldable slices with crispy crust, but just soft enough to be able to fold it. I really liked the crust here and the toppings for the day’s special were perfect for me—being someone who appreciates mostly veggies on my pizza. I would certainly be frequenting this place if I were from Detroit. And it raises the question about why good NY style pizza is such a challenge in central Indianapolis. Anyway, let’s move on.

Before the concert, we had dinner at Shewolf. We had not been able to get a reservation a few weeks in advance but were advised they have a large bar that is walk in and that’s what we did. We arrived right when they were opening and were seated right away (it got crowded really fast though). This is “modern Roman” restaurant and seems to be hugely popular. They make several types of pasta in house. My daughter’s boyfriend sort of let us order everything and we all shared. We started with a little freebie amuse bouche of a homemade cracker with a fairly light cheese spread. These were great. Next, we ordered the Lombardia focaccia ($6) and the carpaccio ($14). The focaccia was really good.  It had a whipped gorgonzola spread on the side, that had just a kick of blue cheese, but wasn’t too overwhelming for people who don’t love blue cheese (as I do). The focaccia had potato and rosemary on it. It was very well done and we all wished we had more. We also had the carpaccio, which I was torn on flavor-wise. The beef was really tender and good, but there was almost too much going on for me. There was hazelnuts, capers and Parmigiano, as well as a Nebbiolo dressing (a light red wine vinaigrette). I think the nuts may have been the set me over the top. I liked it, but it was almost too busy.

For dinner we split several items. The favorites were the rabbit roulade on polenta and the halibut with herbed breadcrumbs and artichokes. My daughter’s boyfriend had never had rabbit and described it as tasting like “chicken, but really good!” Both of these dishes were extremely well prepared and were seasoned with fun interesting flavors. The one let down I thought was the Roman pasta carbonara ($18). I was surprised at the shape of the pasta—large rings. They were a little al dente for me, and the “sauce” was more like a dollop of cream. I just didn’t feel the carbonara aspect of the sauce—it was too gloopy for me. And the bits of black pepper were too large and dominated the flavor. The desserts were great—they had little fried Italian doughnuts (zeppole) ($9) and this giant dish of dark chocolate gelato ($9). Both great but even better together. The doughnuts were ricotta based and covered in salted caramel sauce. So good. All in all this was a fun restaurant and had some great flavor combos for sure. I would love to try some other menu items.  

On our way out of town, we just had time for a brunch and we checked out Selden Standard. They serve lunch and dinner every day, but brunch on the weekend. The kids wanted the morning pastries ($5 each)—one was a chocolate cherry pastry and one was a blood orange cake. The kids really liked the cake. The chocolate pastry was good as well—very rich and chocolatey with some large chunks of cherries in it. I had their version of chilaquiles ($12), which were good, but I wished the chips were a little more integrated into the dish. The flavors were good—I liked the dark almost mole like sauce—it just all felt like it sat on top of the chips rather than being a part of the dish, which is my preference. The kids shared yet another sweet dish—the lemon poppy seed French toast ($12) which was actually really good. And I liked the way the chunks of rhubarb on top added a tartness. It also had lavender cream and almond. All in all, this was a really interesting menu (that changes frequently) and they do a nice job. Again, another place I would be interested in trying multiple times and check out seasonal menu items.

Have you guys ever spent time in Detroit? Eaten anywhere good?