Friday, May 28, 2010

Chain-o-rama: Grand Traverse Pie Company

I've seen and been to other Grand Traverse Pie Company's. Stopped at the one in Terre Haute a few times, and also stopped in up in Michigan as I sometimes visit our office there. I mean, it's pie. Pie is good. Cake is also good. Pie v. cake... man, that's a debate for another day....

Anyhow, 2 GT Pie locations have made their way to Indy. One in Greenwood and one up on Michigan Road by 465. From noticing the Star's pie contest (today is entry deadline), and with it being rhubarb season.... I had a hankering for some pie.... grabbed a strawberry rhubarb and took it home.

Rhubarb is kind of a comfort food to me. And, i love the mix of tart and sweet. This is a good pie, though I wouldn't necessarily say the crust is great. I've had a slice a day for 3 days now, and it is showing its aging process a lot, as there is noticeable taste degradation across those three days. Some pies get better by sitting in the fridge, this one does not. And, I'm not sure it is much better than ones you could buy at lots of local bakeries or even grocery stores. But, it is definitely tasty, and can fix your pie craving.

Now, I haven't eaten at the local GT Pie's yet. From my past times, it is just a lot like a Panera or a Paradise Cafe, with their shtick being pie instead of other baked goods like Panera or Pardises's cookies. I really recommend the Lake Shore Berry at GT, but most seem to be good. One thing I would NOT recommend at GT Pie is that cole slaw. Worst ever. I'm still not sure what they're trying to accomplish with that stuff, but I'd pass on it I were you.

The verdict: 3.5 belly rubs (out of 5). Tasty pie, especially when fresh. Decent sandwiches, avoid the cole slaw.
Anyone have any recommendations for fresh, seasonal pies in town? And, yes, I also feel that a Wick's sugar cream is always in season....!

Product Review: Almond Joy Pieces

A commenter had mentioned that instead of looking for the coconut flavored M&M's, I should skip that chase and go right for the new Almond Joy Pieces.... sounded like a good suggestion, so wandering around the store, I found some and threw in a grab bag worth.

I do like Almond Joy, much better than Mounds. I just like the big almond piece. So, I think going in I was expecting the wrong thing. I was assuming you'd get a big piece of almond with a coating of the coconut, um... nougat?.... and than the candy shell.... instead, the pieces are more the size of a plain M&M or a Reese's Piece... it is pleasing, "fun" to have in this delivery style, and has a good coconut flavor much like the full candy bar. But, the tiny bits of almond are pretty small, and hard to really identify as you plow through a handful.

So, overall, a good tasting candy, but personally I'd prefer a lot more focus on the almond. So, personally, I'll likely stick with the regular Almond Joy bar.

The verdict: 3.5 belly rubs (out of 5)

Idea: you know what I've long thought I'd like to see a bag of? Those rolled, nut-covered raisins from Raisin Nut Bran.... man, give me a bag full of those for regular snacking, or tossing into granola, with yogurt, on a salad... I'm just a huge, huge fan....

Thursday, May 27, 2010

King's Ribs

Ah..... barbecue.... it's almost memorial day, so even though the grill never really gets shut down at the Indy Grub Review's abode, this weekend marks the unofficial start of summer grilling.... With the Better Half's sister and family in town for the long Victoria Day weekend (the Better Half is Canadian), and with the bro-in-law a big fan of slow cooked meat, we picked up some King's Ribs one evening.

King's Ribs only shows it west side location on their web site, but we are closest to the one at 41st and Keystone. And, I also know of at least one other location at Pendleton Pike and 465 on the East side. I can't speak to variation in quality between locations, but based on our most recent visits, I do think there is a little variation within a location.

When it comes to bar-b-q, I mostly think of pulled pork and rib tips. I like ribs, too, but somehow the other items are my favorite. I am slowly coming around on brisket though, despite personal failures in cooking a brisket slow enough at home (yes, I need to break down and get a good smoker). The Indy Grub Review's roommate (The Chemist) for the first two years at Purdue went on to Northwestern to do his grad work. This move was fortuitous in many ways. It helped open a whole new world of food to me based on numerous visits to Chicago/Evanston. And, since The Chemist went for his PhD, it spanned over 4 years. Cubs games, Wildcat football (GO U, N-U) under Gary Barnett, and the food.... so, the bar was set early with bbq from many visits to the fantastic take out stand at Hecky's (its the sauce!). Other local favorites included Buffalo Joe's, Mustard's Last Stand, and Herm's Palace.

That brings us years later back to Indianapolis and King's Ribs. A takeout-only location in what looks like it used to be a car wash? Man, that's 2 belly rubs already! I love the smokey flavor that comes through in the rib tips at King's Ribs. I really like the sauce, and find it really flavorful and not too sweet, not too overpowering. It's great for dipping, and that is precisely why you get that wonderful plain white bread - sop up all the sauce.... I highly recommend that mac-n-cheese, though the cole slaw is pretty pedestrian. I also really tend to rate a barbecue place on its beans - in this case, I'd not say the beans are really all that great at King's Ribs. They seem to mostly be from can, it seems, and they add some sauce and what I believe is, maybe, some salsa. I think the pulled pork at King's is good... not great. It seemed on our last visit to be a bit too wet, but maybe that was from the travel time in the styrofoam and condensation picked up? Still, the pork is good, but nothing exceptional really.

When you look at other reviews for King's Ribs, they mostly seem pretty favorable, but some complaints about quality. I have noticed that in the rib tips, but I tend to think that is a product of the cut of meat more than the restaurant...

Overall - I highly recommend the rib tips and the mac-n-cheese, they're things that you'll crave and want to have at least a handful of times a year.

The verdict: 4 belly rubs (out of 5). Small penalty for lack of quality across the full menu.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


This place is utterly grubtastic!

The Indy Grub Review typically prefers asian food over all others, and most prefers Korean and Thai over the others... spice, spice, baby....

Over on the east side, along Pendleton Pike, you'll find two excellent, locally-owned Korean restaurants. Bando is where we were at on Friday, and Mama's House is also excellent. If you havent' gone, you should. Immediately. The Better Half and I stopped in last Friday, and we waddled out, quite sated.

If you're not fully initiated, you may not immediately get hooked on all of the side dishes that come with a typical Korean meal. But, if you have an adventurous palate, you will love this place.

Most have some cursory knowledge of kim chi. It is a cold, crunchy, spicey, salty, peppery, pickely dish that is just a fantastic compliment to rice. You get lots of side dishes with a standard meal at Bando, and while a few may be somewhat fishy (sea weed salad, maybe some squid), they're all great for variety.

You get a couple of varieties of kim chi in the side dishes. Try them all. Some you'll like, some you won't, but it is a fun and tasty collection.

If you are a first-timer, you may want to stick with the kalbi (beef short ribs) or the bulgogi, which is lean beef. Both are marinated in a simple yet fantastic blend of soy sauce, sugar, green onions, sesame seed, sesame oil.... if you're making an event of the meal (and you're okay with the proper handling of raw meat at your table), get a table with a hibachi and grill your meat over your very own wood charcoal at the table. Tons of fun, great for conversation and a long, casual supper.

This time I got the chicken saute, and the Better Half got the dolsot bibimbap. The chicken saute was a large mound of chicken, juicy, and sauteed, i believe, in a fiery sauce called gochujang. It's fantastic. If you have a gringo mouth, you may not like it, but it is so savory, spicy and just some serious fantasticness.

The dolsot bibimbap is a neat dish that comes in the hot clay pot, so it keeps on cooking as you stir it up and eat it. You can really put anything into bibimbap, and you can make all kinds of crazy varieties at home of any ethnicity, really, since plain rice can carry about anything and be in harmony.

I love this food, I love this place. I hope you'll try it.

The verdict: 5 hearty belly rubs (out of 5).

The two meals and one soda came to $34.50 before tip. What a bargain. And, what it did was kind of annoy me retroactively about the meal we had at Tulip Noir. This was a ton of food, great spice, variety, cooking skill, etc. We left stuffed. This was not just a quesadilla, some veggie hash and pretense. We spent $34 (including tip) at Tulip Noir for the two meals and one tea, and I needed to go home and get a snack.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Chain-o-rama: Firehouse Subs

The Better Half and I tried Firehouse Subs last year on our way to Savannah, Georgia. We were driving, and it wasn't really a pleasure trip, so food wasn't high on the agenda. I kind of remember thinking it was okay, so since 2 locations have now landed in Indy, I guess the time was right for us to say - let's go look for the sub of a lifetime....

I met up with a friend of mine who was game to try something new. Me and the Guitar Man met up at the location near 86th and Michigan Road. Neither of are actually really huge sub enthusiasts. I tend to prefer the reuben at Penn Station, and generally like Quizno's the best in this breed of fast food.

Anyhow, Firehouse Subs definitely plays off the firehouse theme. Subs come "fully involved" when they have the works, and I guess that is fireman lingo that I'm unaware of. I tried the New York Steamer, which was pastrami and corned beef. It was on a pleasant if uneventful white bread roll, not hard, yet not Wonder either. It had acceptable pastrami and corned beef, but was truly designed for the masses and was not especially flavorful. The Guitar Man looked to have a better sandwich in the Firehouse Steak & Cheese. Overall - acceptable. They tout their cherry lime aid, and it seemed like pure syrup from the tap. Maybe you're supposed to add some soda water or sprite. I don't know. But, it seemed like it would have been a really poor decision to try that. If you're hankering for a cherry lime-aid, find a Sonic.

One thing going for Firehouse Subs is that they offer a lot of hot sauces, ordered by "heat" in a simple numbering system. That's good, a little hot sauce always helps.

Still, we both know that the road is long.... someday, we'll find the sub of a lifetime.....
The verdict: 2 belly rubs (out of 5). Acceptable (run of the mill?).

Sunday, May 23, 2010

R Bistro

Well, the week of eating froofily continued.... With it being the Better Half's birthday this week, she picked R Bistro for a night out. I've lived downtown for 8 years, and joined by the Better Half just over 4 years ago. We've been within a mile of R Bistro this whole time, and considered it often, but just never made it. This restaurant is more the confines of Erin's Indy Restaurant Scene blog, but we do like fine dining, too. So, we finally made it.

I'm still a bit self-conscious of taking food pictures, so I just grabbed this one of the menu on top of the very trendy stainless steel tables. I did snap one of my meal, too, but it was too blurry form the iPhone, so....

Anyhow, we had considered Recess or R Bistro for the birthday, but while Recess has some outstanding reviews, we were going out on a weeknight, and I worried about two negative things from the Recess reviews - a really long evening and very small portions. In fact, the worry over portion size (a constant worry of the Indy Grub Review) had me in a pessimistic mood as we entered R Bistro.

R Bistro has a really nice, clean, trendy spot at the far NE end of Mass Ave. I liked the exposed brick wall and the clean tables. The menu apparently changes weekly at R Bistro, and this week was the 9th anniversary of the restaurant. So, they were serving the same menu as they did during their inaugural week in 2001.

The Better Half started with the soup of the day - coconut sweet potato. It was a savory soup, and very tasty, though I was not entirely taken with the coconut. I had the spinach crepe with mushrooms in a mustard sauce. Just fantastic. The mustard sauce was flavorful yet smooth. The mushrooms were earthy and comforting. A fantastic appetizer.

For the main course, the Better Half had the vegetarian entree - eggplant rollatini with angel hair. I liked the eggplant, but I prefer mine more crispy, and once this was rolled with the ricotta (and other cheeses?) it was a little too soft for my liking. But, very good flavor. I had the grilled lamb with mashed potatoes with pesto in the mash. Fantastic. I enjoy lamb, and had it as suggested at medium rare, though I tend to prefer the consistency of red meat just a touch beyond that to medium. Nevertheless, great presentation, great flavors. The dish was topped with crispy sweet potatoe shoestrings, which were a nice addition.

Best of all, the portions were more than enough. The server said theirs are "proper portion sizes" which I imagined as a euphemism for "small". But, I was pleasantly surprised and while not stuffed, I was not feeling shorted. We finished the meal sharing a dessert - rhubarb fool. Now, I do love rhubarb, and this was tasty. And, a food entitled "fool"? I felt like it was designed for me! But, as the Better Half mentioned, it seemed like the Jell-O desserts where you have a cheap and easy mousse. And, I kind of was wondering if I couldn't cook up some rhubarb and blend it in with cool whip... but, it was tasty, slightly tart, and a nice end to the meal.

R Bistro isn't really "grub" as I'd likely define it. But, I don't know if terms really matter. It was a nice night out for a celebration, and very well prepared food, filling, and tasty. We're tee-totallers, so no wine. The meal came to $90, which included what I'd say is a slightly better than average tip. Not something we do often, but it was a nice "event" meal. Since that night's meal would have been $57 per person at Recess, I also was glad we save some money in this choice, too.

And, since we were RIGHT THERE, we also grabbed 4 truffles from The Best Chocolate in Town.

I'm pretty basic on chocolate, preferring milk over dark, and like mine pretty simple for the most part. For truffles, I tend towards the fruit flavors - orange, raspberry, etc. But, one of the four we got was a cinnamon, which was really nice. Now the funny thing is, R Bistro offers a dessert of truffles from The Best Chocolate in Town. Maybe they make special flavors just for R Bistro, but based on the price I figured you'd get 3. But, no, a neighboring table ordered the truffles and out came 2. Now, maybe I'm not clear on the transportation cost to go 2 doors down for delivery, but I'd suggest go pick from all the flavors at the chocolate shop's storefront instead of ordering the truffles from R Bistro.
The Verdict: 4.5 belly rubs (out of 5). I'm just personally withholding the half star cause of the price. Food taste and quality were fantastic, but I can see the point that it may be a bit pricey and therefore doesn't fill my notion that good grub should be a good value.

Product Review: Wickles

You know what I love? A good pickle. I also love a pickled beet.... Anyhow, when it comes to pickles, I am more of the bread and butter variety than dill, but they're all a nice compliment to whatever you're eating.

I also really love hot stuff. So, when I first saw a bottle of Wickles in the store area of a Cracker Barrel, I figured I should give it a try.

[I'm kind of picture-challenged as I just use my iPhone]

Anyhow, we've had several jars full now, and I love 'em. They're pickley heat is a great compliment and nice way to keep your taste buds awake. I've picked them up at Cost Plus World Market, too.

The verdict: 4.5 belly rubs (out of 5). Only draw back is that some aren't really crisp, and I prefer more consistent crunch.

Tip: Good Eats' Alton Brown has some cool recipes for DIY pickles.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sky City Cafe - Eiteljorg Museum

This is a slightly odd week. With it being the Better Half's birthday this week, dining destinations have been a bit more on the froofy side of life. Anyhow, for a mid week treat, we met up for lunch with Mom for a quick birthday lunch. We picked up the Better Half from her office, and parked at the White River Park garage that is for the NCAA Hall of Champions, Indiana State Museum and the Eiteljorg Museum.

The Eiteljorg is a neat local attraction. It is a private museum focusing on Native American art and art of the American West. I've really enjoyed some travelling exhibits there in the last several years, including a show of Ansel Adam's photography and some Dale Chihuly glass work. The restaurant at the Eiteljorg is Sky City Cafe. It's not quite a Wolfgang Puck joint, but it isn't an Aramark institution either.

I had the "pick two" special, with half of a San Antonio Smoke Turkey sandwich and a cup of the Anasazi pork and bean soup. Better half had a grilled chicken sandwich, Mom had a quesadilla with a cup of buffalo chili. Nothing was really remarkable, but it was all pretty tasty. The soups come with an enormous block of cornbread that was moist and had what I believe was green chilis in it. The biggest flaw was that for both of the sandwiches, the bread was just too dense and overwhelming. I had to go open-faced with the sandwich cause it was too much chewing, and the Better Half ditched the bread entirely for the second half of her sandwich. The high note was the pork and bean soup. It was maybe a bit too salty, but it was a great soup, with some really nice flavoring and big chunks of pork, which were lean and not fatty at all. If I was on a wagon train out west, this soup would be a very welcome treat of a meal.

The prices are not bad, maybe a dollar more than what you'd pay for a similar portion of food at Panera.

The verdict: 2.5 belly rubs (out of 5). Nothing spectacular, but tasty nonetheless. I would recommend some new bread selections, though.

Tip: if you eat at the Sky City Cafe, you can take your receipt to the ticket desk and get your parking for free if you park in the White River Park parking garage.

Product review: Ben & Jerry's Boston Cream Pie

So, another pint of a new Ben & Jerry's flavor found its way into the basket while at the former O'Malias downtown....

I do love a boston cream donut, but am not as enthusiastic about the pie. I wondered how they'd pull off the pudding in an ice cream. And, I had more than a feeling I'd not be in love with this one....

I have only tried this ice cream once... tho a lover of ice cream, the rest of the pint sits in the freezer, with no real threat of being consumed any time soon. Is it bad? No. It's just not that good. First off, the ice cream is really yellowy. And, I don't find it a very appetizing color. But, like playing through the pain, you have to be willing to eat through something as insignificant as color. Nevertheless, this ice cream just never hit a high note. The pudding is obvious in the ice cream, and I'm not sure what type of food chemistry magic pulls that off... the cakey bits are there for some texture variety. It wasn't truly mealy, but.... it wasn't smooth either. One big flaw was that there was not a lot of chocolate in this ice cream. Ultimately, it was just flawed. I want ice cream to feel like a real treat, a real indulgence. This was neither.

The verdict: 1.5 belly rubs (out of 5)

Chain-o-rama: LJS Baja Fish Taco

You know what Indy needs? It needs a good fish taco. It needs a Rubios, too. Does anyone even know of a local place that serves a good fish taco?

Since first encountering a good fish taco about 10 years ago out west, I'm always pretty excited to see one on a menu. Around here, I've been typically pretty disappointed.
I'm a flour tortilla guy, preferring them over corn. My favorite fish taco features pico de gallo, cabbage, a spicy mayo-based sauce, and definitely a wedge of lime to crush over it. MMMmmmm. Baja Fresh used to have at least one local Indy location, but it now seems the closest location is Bloomington, and Chicago after that. Theirs weren't as good as Rubios, but were pretty decent.
Anyhow, I've noticed Long John Silver's advertising a Baja Fish Taco, so I had to stop in and try it.

First off, it is a really cheap snack. It is just $1 for the baja fish taco. But, as you can see, it is pretty much just one of the LJS fish fillets cut in half and put on a tortilla. So, if you really like the LJS batter, you'll like this well enough. The batter is just too thick, and doesn't seem to jive with my idea of a fish taco. The sauce, though, had a decent kick for a fast food sauce, so there is that. It had iceberg lettuce instead of cabbage. And, no tomatoes, no lime juice. So, it was really a poor facsimile of a baja fish taco. Ultimately, if you want a cheap meal, you could do a lot worse. It doesn't measure up to my idea of a baja fish taco at all though.

Bottom line: 1 belly rub (out of 5)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Product Review - Late Night Cheeseburger Doritos

Back in high school and college, Doritos were almost their own food group.....

But, I've not paid much attention to the brand, besides some of the commercials come Super Bowl time.... Besides, the Cool Ranch flavor hit such a high note, how could you improve it?

Well, obviously, the flavor labs at Doritos are trying... i noticed a grab bag size of these Late Night Cheeseburger flavored Doritos, and felt I had to try it. Brought them home and shared them with the Better Half... the first thing that I noticed was a bit of pickle flavor hitting the tongue, quickly followed by some sharp yellow mustard.... the flavors then kind of get a bit smokey, and you get the cheese and what must be the burger flavor.... a Dorito is a Dorito, so it is pretty good... you definitely get a feel for it being like a cheeseburger, so I suppose it is a success.... we had a friend stop by, and had him do a blind taste test... he couldn't pick it out, but once we told him the flavor, it all did click.....

The verdict: 3.5 belly rubs (out of 5). Pretty tasty, very inventive, successful execution. I'd still stick with Nacho Cheese or Cool Ranch....

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Flying Cupcake - a love story

What's not to love about the Flying Cupcake?

We live downtown, and we're excited there is now one on Mass Ave. But, the original location on Illinois Street (in Butler-Tarkington) is a much larger place, and is where the actual baking takes place. I've enjoyed all of the cupcakes I've had, and especially like the Koo Koo for Coconuts, the Blueberry Cream Cheese Blues and the Salted Chocolate Caramel.... But, the best of the lot, in name and taste is... the Red Velvet Elvis (awww man, I cannot believe it....).

I typically have not really "got" some people's fascination with red velvet cake. Sure, I love the cream cheese frosting, but typically it seemed like red velvet cake just had food coloring in it.... I'm not sure how The Flying Cupcake makes this one, but it is sweet, moist and fantastic. It is a huge cupcake, not some dainty little thing, so it is worth it's $2.95 (or whatever the exact price is). Best of all, it includes chocolate chips. It is almost too much icing.... wait, never mind, there's never too much icing. It's my favorite baked good in the city (well, I mean, after the Better Half's chocolate chip banana bread).

The verdict: 5 big belly rubs (out of 5)

Idea: If sitcom's spur spinoffs, this is a baked good that deserves one. With the Flying Elvi skydive team out there, maybe there is a potential to make a Flying Elvis cupcake... I'm not a big Elvis guy, but maybe they could throw in some peanut butter and banana but... let's avoid the fried bologna..... much less the tater tots.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

First visit - Tulip Noir

Well, this will be my first negative review of anything. But, we first need to put this in perspective. I am pretty sure that the good folks at Tulip Noir have no interest in ever being considered "grub". But, while I had a less than satisfactory experience there, my complaint really isn't with the quality and taste of the food, it was more with the service.

This was our 2nd attempt at visiting Tulip Noir. The first time, the Better Half and I had arrived at 12:55 on a Saturday. Now, see, the problem is that they close at 1:00 p.m. Obviously, there was no interest in winning over a new customer, because we were told that it was too late to serve anyone, even though there were clearly still several people eating their meals. Since we had such slow service this past Sunday, maybe the staff knew that even though we'd be seated before 1:00, there was no chance they'd actually take our order in a timely fashion so they sent us away. Maybe, too, Tulip Noir has so taken to heart the proclamation that they are the "best brunch in Indy" (on the banner above their signage) that they felt no need to win us over.

Nevertheless, we had some friends visiting, and we decided to go for brunch somewhere new. Now, this restaurant is loud. And, that is fine. Loud can be inviting in many ways. The seating in the restaurant is kind of difficult, because there is a partition between the main dining area and the entrance. In that front area they do have up to 5 small two person tables that they can arrange for customers. We asked for a table for 4, and the group of 11 that had been in the front area weas leaving, so we were to have a table in just a few minutes. I asked if we could be separated and placed at the far part of the front area, away from the door and those waiting. But, the young lady said no, that would be difficult because they also had a group of 7 coming. Now, I'm still not sure what the issue was, because you can separate tables any way you like, and whether the 4 are at one end or the 7, you still ultimately just divide it about the same. So, we were place right next to the door, with the crowds who were waiting for a table. The Better Half is quite petite, and we mostly wanted away from the door so she wouldn't be cold from the door opening and closing, but our request did not matter. We 4 had been there waiting, but this was a situation where the first shall be last, and as they were arranging the tables, one person form the party of 7 arrived (they called in) and that group was seated as we waited and watched. Finally, we seated ourselves because the wait staff continued it's focus on these seven and left the table for 4 cleaned but not set for guests.

After being seated and provided menus, it took almost 5 full minutes for a wait staff member to come to us and ask for drinks. This trend of infrequent notice from the wait staff remained true for our whole visit. The water at Tulip Noir comes with cucumber slices, not with lemon. That is fine, though I do not like cucumber. But, since we did not have much attention from the wait staff, for some reason our table was never provided with a decanter of water, so my 8 ounce tumbler was left without refilling till late in our meal.

So, maybe these are all trifling matters, but they add up in your first experience, and it led to a poor feeling about our visit.

What about the food? It was well prepared and tasty. Was it good grub? No, it failed miserably at that. They offer very small portions at Tulip Noir. I have a big appetite, so I typically finish my plate. But, again, the Better Half is petite, and she completely finished her meal. Of the 4 of us, no one had anything remaining except for a little salad on my plate. But, even the salad was, for me, a point of annoyance. I ordered the special, which was curried vegetables and 2 eggs with whole wheat naan. But, instead of naan I received salad. Maybe I looked constipated? But, there was no explanation upon ordering or receiving our food why I received something that was not part of the menu description.

Better half had the veggie quesadilla, and it seemed tasty, but something that you could have gotten at the Abbey coffeehouse for a lot less money back when it was open. The curried vegetables were tasty, but it was about a cup full of potatoes, onions, broccoli and what I believe was green lentils. Yes, tasty. Not particularly filling. And, for $12, I thought it was a terrible value. I mean, lentils are not expensive. Be a little more generous, folks. At least at any of the Patachou's you get their toast, so you can always fill up on that.

And, not enough pig on the menu for my liking! Sure a few items included prosciutto, but I think I only saw bacon with one item. Brunch NEEDS bacon.

Anyhow, again, it was tasty, but not filling and I felt a very poor value. The Better Half really enjoyed it, though, and I'm sure she'll want to go back. Can I take the fellas here for some good grub before a Colts game, after golf,... um.. anytime? No. Wouldn't even consider it.

But, the day was not a total loss. Upon leaving, we stopped a few doors down and popped in to Babushka's Deli. It's a great stop. I've mostly only picked up some chocolates there, but is a fun little shop that you should visit sometime. We need to go back when we're headed home afterwards and try some of their frozen pierogies.

The verdict: 2 belly rubs (out of 5). Tasty, but not filling, and not a good value.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Donut Shop

Ah, the Donut Shop. Such a simple, direct, clear name - how can you not appreciate that? Now, the odd thing is that The Donut Shop obviously serves a lot more than donuts, but I've only stopped there for donuts. It is at 55th and Keystone, near Glendale.

Donuts are nostalgic and comforting for the Indy Grub Review. Growing up in Denver, I have fond memories of going to a Winchell's Donuts with my dad and sitting at the counter. I remember in particular thinking it was so cool that my dad left a seemingly generous tip after he and I had a donut and something to drink at the counter. My dad always got a cake donut. Indy Grub Review prefers a yeast donut.

Now, everyone knows that Long's Donuts has such a well earned place of notoriety in Indy for donuts, and they're great there. But, my favorite donut is a boston cream, and The Donut Shop has the best, in my opinion.

Indy Grub Review has some tiny spot on the fringe of the local art scene, so I picked up some donuts before heading over to the Broad Ripple Art Fair for the day. And, yes, by the picture, I'm ready to go with that boston cream in the car.... anyhow, what I love most about the donuts from The Donut Shop is the frosting. It isn't the soft frosting like on a cake, but it must be the sugar content that is at one crystallized, but once it hits your tongue it melts and is so sweet. I assume the pudding in the boston cream is just from a can, but it is a great mix with the donut. Big ups for the chocolate dip and the maple dip as well. It's just $5.49 for a dozen, and it is far faster of a line than over at Long's.

Bottom line, the boston cream is 5 belly rubs (out of 5). Overall, 4.5 belly rubs (out of 5).

Friday, May 14, 2010

Product review - Pretzel M&M's

Last night, the Better Half and I went to Target. We divided to conquer... which just means I went and wandered around looking at stuff and wondered where the "ch" sound comes from in the word spatula.....

Anyhow, I noticed a new M&M flavor that I hadn't tried before. Pretzel. So, a bag jumped into my hand and was added to our purchases.

First off, let's set the table. If there is any candy I purchase from a vending machine, it is most commonly peanut M&M's (followed closely by a good old Snicker's bar). Also, previous to this product test, I'd have rated my M&M preference as follows:
  1. Almond
  2. Peanut
  3. Plain (milk chocolate)
  4. Mint
  5. Plain (dark chocolate)
  6. Crispy
  7. Peanut butter
Is there a bad M&M? I'd say no. Did I try the limited edition Strawberried Peanut Butter? Yes. Was it bad? Almost. I've missed out on some of the limited edition flavors, but the wiki page tells me that coconut is still out there, and so I'll have to try them soon.

So, back to the new pretzel m&m's.

They're perfectly round, kind of like a whopper, but with a colorful protective coating, of course. The first bite is.... jarring.... I mean, the first bite felt like a mistake. You get the explosion through the pretzel, and it feels dry and powdery. It is one of the reason's why I don't care for the crispy m&m's. Anyhow, you keep chewing and the salt and the taste of the pretzel soon hits your tongue, and it is enjoyable, but you're still kind of confused by the dry explosion that happened between your molars. But, you persevere and you have a few more. And, immediately, my feeling was... "meh". Okay, not so great. Off I went to the YMCA, and figured I'd do more testing later. When I returned, I returned to the arduous task of taste testing.

Now, on the second try, once you know what to expect, a strange transformation happened. I was ready for the dryness and was now able to really enjoy the salt with the chocolate. In fact, it is very pleasing. Does it jump way up on my list? No, but it likely would come before the plain dark chocolate.

The verdict: 3.5 belly rugs (out of 5)

Now, if i had one suggestion for the people at Mars, Inc., I'd say they might go whole hog and kind of make an m&m out of the peanut butter filled pretzels you can find in various places. Or, you know, cross promote with Ben & Jerry's and have a Chubby Hubby M&M - have a jawbreaker sized m&m with one of those peanut butter filled pretzels within the chocolate and candy coatings.

And, while we're daring to dream - with the bacon rage, how about a limited edition set of bacon m&m's????

I'd eat this....

Sometimes the this is why you're fat blog actually has something that is not just an audacious food expirement but actually shows something that I think I'd want to eat.... the red velvet pancakes is such an item.....

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Product review - ice creams

The Better Half and I had some friends in town for the Mini. Indy Grub Review isn't a runner, not by a long shot (actually, IGR is a road biker). But, we had a good time hosting these five friends. One used to live in Indy, but returned to Seattle. He brought his wife and three friends of his. We cooked a lot this past weekend, and we loaded up on various products from our very nice Marsh downtown.

Indy Grub Review loves ice cream. And, we're definitely of the mindset that the more stuff in the ice cream the better. So, we tried 2 new ones we'd not had before, and a third that is pretty new to us, and definitely a winner.

First, let's talk about Homemade Brand's Black Raspberry Chip.

Sure, it is a total copy of Graeter's famous flavor. And, if you've never made it down to the greater Cincinnati area for some of Graeter's ice cream - what are you waiting for??? Anyhow, Homemade Brand is a United Dairy Farmer's product, and it is good ice cream. This is a fantastic flavor. I didn't do a side-by-side comparison with the Graeter's store product (also available at fine local grocery stores, such as the downtown Marsh). But, it is a great flavor, lots of chips, just something you want more of, and want often.

The verdict: 5 belly rubs (out of 5)

Next, we also tried another Homemade Brand flavor that was new to us - Chocolate Caramel Fusion.

If you really like caramel, this is the flavor for you. I'm not sure what type of chemical magic they mustered, but they have a TON of nice gooey caramel woven through this fine, creamy chocolate ice cream. Again, if you LOVE caramel, it is for you. I liked it, but just a bit too MUCH caramel for me.

The verdict: 4 belly rubs (out of 5)

Finally, we tried one of Ben & Jerry's latest flavors - Milk and Cookies.

I'd read on Serious Eats that Ben & Jerry's had released their new spring flavors, so I was on the lookout. From the review and descriptions, Milk and Cookies was the one I was most looking to dip a spoon into. So, known only to the Better Half, I hid the pint of Milk and Cookies deep in the recesses of the freezer, lest some snooping guest find it in a search for sugar. Luckily it went untouched before the guests left. So, Sunday night, the treat was mine alone.

First off, let's say that it is this reviewer's humble opinion that there has likely never been a more dramatic ice cream innovation since the launch of the original cookies and cream flavor. And, as ice cream geniuses have built on that foundation, it is again my humble opinion that Ben & Jerry's Oatmeal Cookie Chunk is nearly the nirvana of churned, frozen cream.... So, let's just leave it that the bar is set pretty high. On first taste... good.... a bit better than good most likely... it is primarily a chocolate chip cookie that is in the ice cream, but with kind of a slurry or gobs of an oreo-ish mixture as well. On subsequent visits to the pint, it got better, but doesn't quite match the high of a very good cookies and cream (and, hey, even the generic brands are good) nor the symphony of flavors that make up Oatmeal Cookie Chunk. But, it's a solid flavor, though I'm not sure it clears any new territory to truly be made a permanent flavor.

The verdict - 3.5 belly rubs (out of 5).

Thought - you know what I've long thought would be a great flavor? Nutter Butter Swirl. I mean, since we all know that peanut butter and chocolate are two great tastes that taste great together, shouldn't Nabisco cross-promote Nutter Butters into an ice cream? But, you just have to get some chocolate in their somehow... maybe they've done this long ago and I just missed it, but... come on, that's a grub-tastic item right there!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Getting Started - Papa Roux

Over on the east side (10th Street and Post Road) exists some awfully good grub - Papa Roux. What makes good grub from the Indy Grub Review's perspective? Tasty, filling, and wanting to come back for more....

Papa Roux specializes in Po Boys, a cajun sandwich. And, they're fantastic. The spicy sauce, the chewy french bread... the fact that they're wrapped up in butcher's paper just makes it somehow even better. When you dine in, you can get as many sides as you like, and it includes items like bread pudding, cole slaw, etouffee, red beans and rice, creole.... i mean, AS MANY SIDES AS YOU WANT!.... tea is even free if you dine in as well....

Let's review - lots of free stuff, really tasty, very filling...

Verdict: 4.5 belly rubs (out of 5)

Tip: Papa Roux offers an onion po boy. I've not had it solo, but add some onions to your po boy, makes it way better. I've had the pork loin, the shrimp, the cajun sausage but the best to me is the smoked ham. The etouffee is decent, but doesn't compare to a place like Yats. The creole is pretty nice, though.

So... while we're here... let's just get this out of the way.... You have to go to Yats. I won't review Yats, cause what more can really be said? Yats is good grub. Period. It's an institution here in Indy, and if you've been here for more than a year, what in the world is preventing you from going. If you've not made the trek, you obviously don't like good grub. Chili Cheese Etouffee = 5 belly rubs. End of story.

Monday, May 10, 2010


I'm a long time Indy restaurant who likes food. I enjoy it from home, from fancy places, from local establishments and from chains. I'll record some of my thoughts and recommendations on restaurants in the general Indy area, and rate them from my personal view with a belly rub rating... the more bellyrubs, the better the food!

I'll start posting soon and mix in some old favorites with some new experiences.