Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Birthday Dinner at Sensu

Here's the thing, it was my birthday, and of course, I wanted to try somewhere new...somewhere with sushi in particular.   I don't know what my obsession is with finding good sushi here, I mean, I know we are in the Midwest and my chances are slim.  But, I just keep holding out hope, that with this diverse and interesting restaurant scene here in Indy, I will find my sushi mecca...other than to go sushi from Fresh Market, that is. 

I did my usual online researching, asked some friends and decided on Sensu.  It opened not too long ago, I remember reading about it in NUVO or Indianapolis Monthly or something.  Either way, it was in the back of my mind for awhile.  On Friday, we went, with 6 of us.

The Place

Let's just start out by saying it was dark, and by dark, I mean too dark to snap ANY photos.  Also, for reasons I'll explain later, photos likely would've been more of a hindrance than at all fun.  Other than being dark, we walked in to a giant, and I mean, pretty giant, and empty club space.  It was early, like 7:30, so no club-goers yet.  It definitley had a trendy and swanky vibe happening.  We went upstairs and hung out at the bar while we waited for a couple more of our party.  They had cocktails and beer and a lighted, bubbling tank thingy that we quickly decided was very retro 80's. 
The upstairs is a restaurant that looks down on the club downstairs.  I guess the idea is that you have dinner and then you can stay to club later.  That wasn't our plan, but I have read in the article about them, that it is their concept.  The restaurant wasn't packed and we didn't really need the reservation I had made, but it's always better to be safe than end up eating at Qdoba or BW3s something for your birthday dinner, right?
Okay, so it's established, the place is dark and swanky and downtown.  It was a nice night out if you want to get a little dressed up :)

The food

The most important part...the food.  Let's start with the menu.  I think talking about the menu here is warranted because it's quite different than what I am used to and played a large part in our entire meal.  It's big and our server explained to us that idea is for us to order items from the menu and share them with the table.  It made things a little confusing and crazy with six people.  We worked on figuring it out, but I'm not going to lie, we sat with those menus for a long time!!  We are some college educated people at this table, and we had a helluva time figuring out how the heck to work all this out.

First, we just decided to kind of wing it, and with a little (or a lot) of guidance from our server, we ordered an appetizer...edamamme, of course.  I was starving, so I just needed something.  It was delicious as edamamae always is, you can't really screw it up.  The six of us hossed it pretty good.

Next, we decided to order the middle part of the meal, which consisted of your choice of tapas style entrees of either meat or fish.  We had no idea how many people each of these courses would serve, but they were about $25-30 each, so we thought we would get 1 meat and 1 fish order for the table.  We knew sushi would be next, so we didn't want to eat too much.  We got seared Kobe beef...ummmm totally straying from veggie lifestyle, but about the best way I have had beef EVER.  It was amazingly delicious!  The only downside is that I had to share it with 5 other people.  Now, I like sharing, but I wanted it all for myself!!  The other middle entree we ordered were the lobster tacos.  This usually comes with 5, but the server hooked it up and included another one for use to accommodate our 6th person.  He seemed to be very laid back about how the menu worked and insisted that everything could be ordered or done to suit your needs and wants.  It worked for us, we each had one lobster taco.  It was served cold and looked beautiful and tasted pretty dang good too.  Large chunks of lobster with a little spice to it...again left me wanting more.

Finally, we got to the sushi.  We ordered a four rolls for the table I think.  We had a variety of stuff from raw to veggie and fried rolls (my personal, yet bastardized version of sushi, favorite).  They were all pretty delightful.  I was pleased.  The presentation of everything was really nice and the food tasted good.  No complaints.  The sushi tasted pretty fresh and they had some interesting choices.  We did not have any sashimi, as I know this can be a real test of the quality of the sushi, but I was pretty stoked about the rolls we got.  I think everyone else was too, because we cleared the plates in about 3 minutes flat!

The sushi wrap (haha...get it?!?)

Sorry, I'm a big dork.

1.  Excellent food.  Delicious sushi and interesting mid-meal dishes.  Very pleased and would definitely devour this again.

2.  Great service.  Our waiter was patient and helped us figure out a fairly confusing menu and style of ordering.  Although, he wouldn't have had to be if the menu were a little more clear about how many people each dish was meant to serve.  A simple serves 2-3 next to each dish, would suffice if this is how they want patrons to order.  It would've helped us spend a little less time staring at the menu and little more time being able to talk and enjoy our meal.

3.  Because we had 6 people, they did not split the bill.  Not a big deal, but always something to be prepared for, particularly if you are ordering a bunch of stuff family style.

4.  I wish it wasn't so dark, so I could show you all of the amazing food we consumed!

5.  Oh yeah, someone at my table (not naming names), spilled the beans that it was my birthday...then they brought out a half-baked (literally gooey and not cooked fully) white chocolate macadamia nut cookie in a pan with a humongous sparkler atop it.  The cookie was AMAZING...I mean it.  So hella good.  The sparkler was a bit crazy...and the singing well...thanks guys!  It was embarrassing, but did take it to the birthday level for sure.

6.  If you went here with two people, I think there would be way more than enough food.  You'd pay for it, for sure, but I don't think you'd leave hungry.  Unfortunately, our unfamiliarity with portion sizes, our hunger level and whatever else contributed, I think some of us left kind of hungry.  So, for a party of 6, at about $30-40 a person, you can have some awesome food, a couple of cocktails and leave wanting just a little more.  If I went again, I would have a better idea of how much food to order.  Just something to think about for all you out there who haven't tried Sensu yet, but are thinking about it :)

Mange, mange, my friends.

Sensu on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 22, 2011

What I've been cookin' and we've been eatin'

Remember when I said we were going veggie?  Yeah, that was awhile ago in "I'm going to be a vegetarian" terms.  It actually been going quite well.  I haven't eaten any meat since then, and it's not been nearly as hard as I thought it would be.  In addition, it's been kind of fun.  I'm spending more time thinking about eating and preparing for eating than before, for sure.  But, I feel good, and Hubs is pretty into too.

So, here's a little taste of what we've been chowing down on at home lately.

Mostly, we've been keeping it simple.  Eating real food, without much fuss.  There are tons of fresh fruits and vegetables out there right now at the Farmer's Markets and grocery stores, so it's been easy to do it that way.  

Here we noshed on some baked sweet potatoes (with cinnamon), some fresh sweet corn and a salad topped with cherry tomatoes from our garden, grilled portobello mushrooms and walnuts.  A yummy natural strawberry balsamic dressing topped it off.

A close up of the delicious salad with fresh greens...oh yeah, and let me just add again, sweet and fresh from the vine cherry tomatoes from the garden a la Erin and Hubs. :)

Getting a little more veggie, and maybe going a little too far for some of you out there...a tofu veggie stir fry.  I started with a firm tofu (this is the first time I have ever cooked it).  I decided to pan fry it in oil first because every time I have eaten tofu, I tend to like it more firm and little crusty rather than having a soft, creamy texture.  I thought it was perfect.  I actually even enjoyed the tofu and the squash, green beans and red pepper over quinoa are super healthy, right!?!  Green, red and super healthy grains...score!  This one was nice and filling too.

Another delicious and filling veggie dish we had were these Boca crumbles tacos.  These were awesome!  Now, I'm trying to make something taste like meat when it's not meat, or maybe I am, I dunno.  These boca crumbles are a really good ground beef substitute, for sure.  I seasoned them with some Frontera seasoning (see below, because this stuff is amazing, and it doesn't even have that many ingredients).  It's helps flavor and give some good juiciness to this dish.  Add on some avocado, sour cream and some more o' those tomaters from ze garden...and voila!  Don't forget the corn tortillas...they are not to be done without.

Good stuff!

Lastly, and admittedly the least veggie is this easy peasy salmon meal.  Again, the sweet corn, because it's out there and it's fresh and Hubs loves it.  Some pineapple deliciousness goes nicely with the fish.  The salmon is wild Alaskan King Salmon, which costs about 3 arms and a leg.  I usually get the farm-raised salmon because it's so much more reasonable priced, but because I was veering slightly from my vegetarian week, I decided to get the super good for you stuff.  Not sure I can do that all the time, but I do love some salmon.  And, it's good for you, so why give up something that's good for your body, right?  I think we'll probably be sticking with eating fish sometimes and not feeling like we're cheating.  The point of all this is to eat better, feel better and to change out diets in a positive way.  So, crazy strictness isn't our bag.  That being said, onto the weekend.  Hubs parents are visiting, so time to try some "new" restaurants.  Or, at least they'll seem new because I'll be ordering from all new menus...the veggie sections.  Wish me luck!

PS - I made some gluten free zuccini bread too!  It turned out really good, super moist and springy. We ate it for breakfast all last week.  Heated up with a little spread...mmmmm.  It was probably the prettiest thing I cooked all week, so of course I didn't take a picture of it :)  Check out this link on the Gluten Free Goddess blog for the recipe.

Happy Eating Foodies!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Our last hurrah...or not, but maybe.

A semi-large decision has been made.  Hubs and I are going to get serious about being kind of vegetarian. about non-committal.  "Hey, I'm Erin, I'm a kind of vegetarian."  Yeah, that's how I roll.  Anyway, so that's how my week started.  It's something we think about and talk about quite a bit and certain documentaries (Forks Over Knives and Food Matters) and thinking about what we need to do to be's what we've come up with...kind of vegetarian.

For someone who is going to become kind of vegetarian, you have to have a last hurrah, right?  Well, I didn't know it would be a last hurrah at the time, but it seems it was.  We revisited 10-01 Food & Drink after a pretty decent visit not too long after it opened.  We were in the area, and something made me want to go back.  I wasn't sure if I was going to blog about it, but upon eating, I decided heck yes.

The Place

I won't rehash all the place business from my first's still the same.  Although, we did sit on the patio this time and it was cool.  I thought it might be loud out there being so close to Broad Ripple Ave., but it wasn't a distraction at all.  I recommend getting out there before you can't anymore!

The Food

This is what made me want to reblog this place so soon after my first visit.

I'm going to mostly let the fact that this is homemade mac n' cheese topped with the most delicious bacon ever accompanied by duck chili, speak for itself.  Yeah, I said it, duck chili and yummy, yummy bacon.  Neither of which are you may be able to see where I am going with the whole last hurrah bit now.  Both of these dishes I ordered off the starters portion of the menu.  I went with it and decided to order what sounded good and didn't worry about getting  a complete meal.  Maybe some of you do this all the time, but often I feel some weird pressure to get a meal when I go out to dinner...especially if I'm going to blog about.  But, since I've already been to 10-01, I think that pressure subsided a bit...and am I glad it did.  That duck chili was to die for!

The wrapness

I was super happy with my second visit to 10-01.  My favorite parts of this visit were the bombtastic duck chili and the mac n' cheese was not at all shabby either.  It was a good last meat meal for a little while.  Also, this cannot be overlooked, our service was awesome!  Our waiter was super friendly and actually stood out as one of the best waiters I've had in awhile.  10-01 is getting it right with the whole package...I'll go back...for some salad, I guess :)

PS - Look out for all the creative things we are going to be up to with our new diet.  I will be posting more meals at home, I think, and definitely getting a new perspective on some old and new restaurants.

10-01 Food & Drink on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 2, 2011

Al-Basha Broad Ripple

There are all of these little hole in the wall joints all around in Broad Ripple, from chinese to burgers to sandwiches and gyros.  We really have not tried any of them since we moved here because we are always so wrapped up in all of the restaurant options.  And, I think you know, there are MANY options to partake in.  Before we moved here we had a go to gyro place that never disappointed, but was a total hole in wall that also sold hooka pipes, mediterranean canned goods and some kick butt baklava.  Random, I know, but it was good.  Gyros Plus...we do miss you, but we must move on.

The place

Moving on for now is Al-Basha on Broad Ripple Ave.  It looked hole in the wallish enough to consider, so we gave it a go.  Surprisingly, masked by its shopping strip facade and its location next to a head shop, a running store, a breakfast place and a chinese take-out restaurant, it was MUCH cleaner and nicer than our old stand-by Gyros Plus (in Gainesville, FL), ever dreamed of being.  So, good start.  I don't mind eating at not-so-clean places, sometimes the food is just that good.  But, I'm not gonna fault a place for being clean and having nice tables to sit at!!

The food

I of course had to order what I ordered at my old fav, just for comparisons sake...and I think it's pretty well established that when it comes to my favorite foods, I find it very difficult to stray.  I very typically find my most favorite things to order at each restaurant I go to and will only order that item at that place.  It's comforting, and there are rarely surprises that way.  When I'm hungry, I get grumpy...I have to like what I eat or there are troblems (= troubles & problems).
I digress, the food.  Hubs and I both ordered the falafel sandwich combo.  Falafel sandwich, obvs, french fries and a beverage.

My bad, I totally forgot to take a picture before I started devouring.  Although, in hindsight, I think this may have worked out better so you can see the falafel??  I mean, it looks chewed up, but you get the idea, right?  So, pretty casual.  The falafel was really good though.  It had some really cool mediterranean seasonings that I haven't really tasted in my previous exposures.  The falafel were big and tasted really fresh. The flavors were not overwhelming, but made it a little more sophisticated than falafel that might be a bit bland without being doused in mediterranean sauces.  Hubs really liked his too.  The fried were also excellent.  They were cooked just the way I like them and they looked pretty sprinkled with paprika.

The run down

All in all, this was an easy meal.  It was cheap and good and fresh.  I will definitely be going back here for my falafel.  Yum.  Maybe if I figure out what any of these spices are for in cooking, I could go back for some of those too.  Have you ever seen such good looking shelves?!?  Somebody at al-basha is very organized!

Al-Basha on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I am a total sucker for Mexican cuisine and I'm pretty sure I could eat some version of it almost every meal of my life.  Venturing into Fountain Square quite a few times in the last month or so, I have passed by Revolucion and had been very curious.  I wasn't too sure what to expect because they don't have too much info online.  That's good, sometimes no expectations can make things a little more interesting, right?

The place

When we walked in on a Friday evening after work, I think we were all thinking margaritas, por favor. 

There were not very many people when we arrived.  I guess that's good.  No waiting :)  We weren't sure what to do, I just wanted to check the place out.  They have some interesting decor, it's very Dia de los muertos.  It has some really cool potential.  It was missing a little something for me in terms of atmosphere though.  I don't know if it was that it was a bit quiet or what, but the place didn't fit the energy.  However, if you want a little change of energy, you can make your way out to the tiki bar in the back.  At first, we thought the tiki bar was the loading dock (if you go there, you'll see why!!).  But, a nice patron noticed my confused look and directed me to the actual tiki bar, which is a bit hidden.  Now, the tiki bar is where the party's at.  It doesn't really fit in at all with the look or themes of the inside of the restaurant, but they have a tiki bar, picnic tables and live music, so it's definitely a fun atmosphere!

The food

You have to order at the bar, which took us a few minutes to figure out.  I'm not sure why, it seems like the kind of restaurant where someone would come to your table and take your order, but that is not the deal.  No problem, we did it.  The menu is heavy on the tacos, which I think everyone at our table ordered in some capacity or another.  I scored myself some pork tacos...mmmmm.

The tacos are LA style from what I can tell.  They kind of reminded me of the tacos from the West Coast Tacos truck.  They put a good amount of pork in 2 soft corn taco shells.  Eating them was kind of mess, I'm not gonna lie.  My tortillas fell totally apart and my paper carton came in super handy at catching all my taco mess.  The pork tasted really good though.  I was a fan.  It was really simple, but good.  Hubs had some chicken tacos.  That's how we usually roll to tell you the truth, I'm pork, he's chicken, that's it.

I think you can see it was the same idea with the chicken tacos.  Nothing fancy, for sure.  These things are bare bones and served as such.  They have other sides too, like chips and guac, chips and queso etc.  They also have a bunch of beers on tap inside, but outside at the tiki bar, the beer choices are less exciting.  You can check out their facebook page to see what beers they have on tap.  I think this is really the only place on the web, besides urbanspoon, that you can go to try to get an idea of what's happening at Revolucion.

The wrap up

Okay, so a few things I like about this place.  I love their Dia de los muertos feel.  They have some really cool artwork and the location is awesome.  The food tastes really good and the margaritas (although admittedly, I'm no margarita connoisseur) were quite delicious.  They have some good beers on tap and the tiki bar makes you feel like you are as close to a beach as you can be in Indianapolis :)  However, I do think something is lacking.  I think there is potential for this place to be a really cool restaurant, but is soooooooo super casual.  They really could be serving this food out of a hole in the wall of the building they are in.  They give it to you in paper cartons and you order it at the counter....from a pretty cool bar I might add.  It's confusing to me.  I would like to see a more diverse and interesting menu and for this space to be as cool and hipster and Fountain Square as I really, really want it to be.  That being said, I like it, I will tiki it up again and definitely nosh on summa dem tacos!

Revolucion on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Gray Brothers Cafeteria

Well, this was one my many vacation food stops (ps - I've been on vacation and then continued to be blog lazy...sorry :(  ).  During said vacation, my cousin and Aunt were visiting Indy for the first time all the way from Raleigh.  My cuz happened to see a Man v. Food episode featuring this particular restaurant, Gray Brothers, and let's just assume that it might have been the only reason he made the 12 hour trek with his Mom to visit his old, lame cousin :)  Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't...either way, he mentioned he wanted to check it out and the kid doesn't ask for much (except this and some fresh Nikes for the new school year), so neither could be missed.

The Place

I guess you probably caught by the name that this is a cafeteria-style restaurant.  I have to admit, I haven't been to one of those since undergrad at a mall in Wilson, NC where people still smoked inside.  Yeah, it was a little while ago.  I was up for it though, we took a family trip out there and stood in the SUPER long line.  I never mind that either, more time for chatting and checking out other people's food :)

Check it out though!  This photo doesn't really do it justice either, that thing went through the doors and just kept wrapping around, I thought maybe I was at Disney!  At least they didn't charge people $15 to go to the front of the line...that's a win in my book.

We waited in line, maybe for 45 minutes.  We checked out the food and gasped at the sights, the portions the smells and the craziness of it all.  By the time we were ready to order, I was ready to eat, which I guess is a good thing because I think they were ready to feed us, and maybe the entire continent of Africa for a couple of days.

The very large portions of Food

As you are waiting in line, it is your time to decide what you want.  I thought I had it all in my head, but when I got up there with my tray, I kind of drew a blank.  I stared at the food and the ladies with tongs to serve it to me and had to make some rash decisions.  This is mostly because the food they have is displayed a la carte style on a board, but it's not anywhere on the food when you are looking at it.  I forgot what things were!!!  So, I just kind of winged it and started grabbing stuff and asking for stuff.

I think the same thing happened to some others in our group.  There's so much to choose from, and so much of it is huge.  It's hard not to have your eyes be bigger than your stomach.  Here to the right you can check out the entire spread!  That is alotta food, eh?  I guess you could call this Midwestern comfort food, but I had a feeling I wasn't going to be too comfortable after consuming this.  Erin's stomach v. Fried Food = Erin loses...every time.  I tried not to get too crazy though, and although I did order the fried chicken (it looked wicked good) and mashed potatoes with gravy, I also got a small bowl of cottage cheese.  That's healthy, right?  Okay, maybe not super healthy, but I could've gotten the banana cream pie, and I didn't, unfortunately.  I think I am still having dreams about how amazing some of their homemade pies looked.

Here's a little shot of my food.  I prefer dark meat and that is what I got.  It was juicy and salty and yummy.  I felt like I was at KFC, but with real food.  Don't you just love their cute "gramma's old china" thing they have going on too?  It really makes you feel like you are eating some down home cookin'.  The waitstaff was really good too.  They will bring you drinks and hooks you up with extra food if you somehow went through that whole cafeteria line and didn't end up with more food than 10 people could eat.

The only other meal I took a picture of was this tenderloin because it was seriously as big as the plate and I thought it was a pretty amazing sight to see.  Accompanied by some mac & cheese and a nice little fruit cup.  I didn't hear anyone complaining about their food.  I think everyone enjoyed themselves.  It was a good family experience, with good food and good service.  It's a little hike from Indy and I can't see Hubs and I venturing out there to stuff our faces once a week or anything, but I think when my Mom and stepdad are visiting we just might have to make a little trip back.  Something tells me Bill might think this place is the bees knees?!?

The wrap

This place was a good place to get some home cooked food.  I will not make the mistake of passing up the homemade pies next time...I'll share my entree if I have to, but I HAVE to get some of those pies in my belly.  The only complaint I have is I wish that it was a little more clear what foods are in front of your face when you are ordering.  Obviously I know what mac & cheese looks like, but there were a couple things I just didn't know what they were while I was standing in front of them...and that place is busy, you gotta keep than line movin'!  It's a very good place for a family outing, unless your kids don't like standing in line for too long...make sure to bring some toys to entertain them.  I think we'll be back...after I do 200 crunches. :)

Gray Brothers Cafeteria on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 13, 2011

I'm back! Food Truck Frenzy :)

Sorry I've been away for so long...not time to dwell on that now.  I'm off to the Food Truck Frenzy!!!  Looks awesome...come and check it out until 3PM in Broadway Park today in Broad Ripple :)

Food Truck Frenzy!   Check it out on NUVO and join us!

See you there.

Be back soon...promise.
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