Friday, April 29, 2011

Stuffed Peppers and Baked Sweet Potatoes, of course :)

     I can't believe it's Friday already!  This week flew by for me.  I feel like I was posting about last weekend's food all week...and I still have a post stashed in my back pocket that I didn't get to.  A little treat for a day I decide not to eat for some crazy reason...not like that has ever happened, but it could...maybe, probably not.
    Well, here's a little post about the other night when we did eat.  I decided to whip up a little treat with a lot of stuff I had already in the fridge.  Red and yellow bell peppers (because they are pretty and sweet) stuffed with quinoa, onions, garlic, salt n' peppa and apple chicken sausage.  My dad used to make stuffed peppers when I was kid and I remember everyone always raving about them.  I never touched one, of course, because I was unaware that there were children starving in Ethiopia.  No, wait, I was completely aware of that, as I am pretty sure that's how my parents tried to get me to eat often.  The real truth is, I was ridiculously picky and I mean seriously averse to most foods normal people eat.  Not sure how I survived without getting scurvy.  Well, eating skittles every once in awhile probably staved that off.  Sadly, I don't think I ever purposely ate a pepper until I was 25.  Hard to believe for someone that can't stop eating these days!  But, here I am now, and since I have no idea how my dad made his stuffed peppers, this is my version.  I will have to ask him about his later and try that next time, because stuffed peppers are delicious and we will certainly be devouring them again very soon!

Food on muh plate.

Don't forget the sweet potatoes, they are superfood!!  Happy weekend everyone and happy eating :)  My mom is coming next week and I am excited to show her all the Indianapolis foodie spots I have found.  Suggestions are welcome, I always like to try a new place!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More Food Truck Adventures!

Coincidentally, there was another easy opportunity for food truck eats this past weekend.  The West Coast Tacos truck was parked outside Cardinal Fitness on BR Ave. for dinner on Sunday night.  I guess this was a good idea on their part considering there were a whole bunch o' drunk people that had been doing a bar crawl for cancer for the previous 7 hours!!  That only made our walk to the truck that much more interesting.  Great people watching!

The Place

Well, just because we ate at Duos on Friday, it will be hard not to compare the food trucks and what they have to offer.  The West Coast Tacos truck is definitely bare bones.  There's no "gourmet" attached to this truck!  After our eventful walk down BR Ave. and through the drones of drunkies lining up for tacos, we got a glimpse of this truck actually open.  We have been walking by it parked there at Cardinal Fitness all winter and wondering when we would be able to get a taste.  I guess it's been building up some anticipation, so we were kind of excited to finally find out what these tacos are all about.  Has the presence of this truck been taunting you all winter too?

You can see the website for this truck is  I guess we'll have to discuss that one real quick!

The Tacos

There were just a few choices for tacos.  3 for $5 for steak or spicy pork and I think 2 for $5 for chicken teryaki tacos.  They also offer burritos, which I do have a super soft spot for, but I thought for my first trip to West Coast Tacos...I should try the tacos.  It just needed to be done.  For some strange reason, Hubs and I both ordered the same thing, steak tacos.  We didn't think about it until after we were eating them on the ledge by Jimmy Johns that we probably should've ordered different ones to share.  Ooops.  6 steak tacos we had.  I have to admit, upon looking at my tacos, I wasn't too impressed.  No cheese!!!  Now, I know it's a food truck and I am assuming this is the style of tacos in LA, but I am a cheese girl.  It was just a taco, with some stringy, luiquidy steak and onions.  At least the onions were cooked and I am okay with no lettuce, but, no cheese, it's pretty much a sin in my book.
So, with the disappointment looming, I took a bite.  I wasn't expecting much at this point.  I figured this is clearly an after bar stop, which I had already somewhat honed in on.  BUT, they were actually kind of good.  The flavor was a bit sweet and really kind of tasty considering the lack of toppings.  The corn tortillas were pretty good actually.  I was pleasantly surprised, but not completely bowled over.  They were messy to eat, but that just made it kind of fun :)  If I was out and hungry for some quick, cheap eats, I might hit this truck up again.  I have no idea what they would put on a burrito at this place!  If they have cheese in that truck for burritos and refuse to put it on the tacos, I might have to sneak in there and steal some!

Wrappin' it up

West Coast Tacos may look like a drunk truck, but my assessment is that these tacos can be consumed even when beer has not been.  It isn't pretty, but if you want some pretty tasty, messy, cheap street food, check them out.  If you're like me, and I'm totally serious here, you might want to BYOC (Bring your own cheese!!).  The only thing that would've made these better, obviously, is some cheese, some queso, amigos!!  Come're killing me WCT!  I do understand that this may not be the style of the taco...but in my humble should be.  Period.

West Coast Tacos (Mobile Food) on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 25, 2011

Food Truck Friday...and beer tastings, oh my!

Well, hello!  Hope you all had a nice Easter weekend.  Hubs had Friday off, so we got our weekend festivities started early.  We spent the day hunting down reclaimed barn wood that my handy hubbers is going to build a bed with!!  Yeah, he's pretty amazing.  So, after that big day excursion, we were hungry, of course.

The Place
I heard a little bit about a food truck called Duos, through the grapevine.  I know this food truck thing is all the rage in some of the bigger cities, but I think it's making it's mark in Indianapolis, so I wanted to check it out.
Friday, they were parked outside the Flat 12 Bierwerks (which was also a new stop for us).  Double whammy!  It was pretty drizzly out, but we decided to venture anyway.  When we arrived, everyone in and around the truck was super welcoming and so friendly.  The customers seemed loyal and excited to be there hanging around the truck, despite the sad weather.  One visitor informed us of her vegan status and the skillz Duos has in catering to her dietary preferences.  Always nice to have veggie and vegan choices.  The truck is cute, have a look!

I also really like their slow food fast slogan, and practice.  I have been to restaurants that claim to cater to locovores, but their menus never change!!  This is not the case with Duos, and I appreciate that.  Their menu changes and they serve local food...and pretty fast.  It may have been faster had the truck not run out of gas right as we stepped up to order, but I'm not complaining.  It was still fast and Chef Becky kept us chatting while we waited for her son to deliver the gas to cook us up some food...yeah, on the spot.
The Flat 12 Bierwerks allowed us to hang and eat in their tasting room, which I thought was awesome.  Especially because they gave us 10 free tasting tickets as we walked it, so we were able to beer taste with out food truck treats.  The guys pouring the beers were friendly and informative if you wanted to know anything about the beers.  I received some friendly sarcasm about my questions, but I can dish it back!! The place has a really large tasting room and a very small bar where they fill growlers.  You can get pints here, but it's mostly for tasting as far as I could tell, so that what we did, we ate, we tasted.


I ordered the corn cakes, because, frankly, that sounded delicioso.  They came with the cup of gazpacho on the side, which I was a little confused by, but I rolled with it.  I dipped corn cakes in it, Hubs dipped his food in it, we ate it plain.  It was very fresh tasting and had a nice, cool flavor.  It was all really good.  You can see my corn cakes had this yummy spicy mayo drizzled over the top making it look pretty, but tasted good too, nice and crunch on the edges with big corn chunks reminding us of the freshness.  Looks pretty good for being served out of a truck on the side of the road, huh?!?  
Hubs got the cajun meatloaf, which I also tasted.  He liked, it, but he wasn't in love.  In his words, "it didn't change his life."  Haha.  I thought the meatloaf was really good.  It had great flavor and it kind of melted in your mouth, but I'm with Hubs for one reason.  That is the bun, I'm a bread fanatic, and this bun didn't do it for either of us.  It was distracting and too much.  Now, I can look past the bun and say that the substance, which was the meatloaf, was good, so sans bun = yum.  The fresh cut fries for me were so so.  By the time I tried them they were cold, but also a little soggy.  We'll try them again, I won't give up on this food truck :)

You can also see in the picture a sample cup of the half cycle IPA from flat 12.  We went inside the tasting room to eat our food and taste some beers.  It was strong!  And very, very IPA.  We tried almost all of the beers they had on tap in the tasting room because they gave us 5 free tasting each.  This was our first taste and both of our favorites.  I also like the Puppet Show Pale and the Amber.  They had some interesting special brews, like the Glazed Ham Porter, which had some fruits added to it and was cool to taste, but kinda, I'm not a big porter fan, so maybe you shouldn't take my otherwise outstanding opinion on this one :)  (I kid!!).

The Wrap Up 

Well, on this twofer one night, we did a pretty good job, I think.  We both had never eaten at a food truck before and I think this experience was a good first.  Friendly people make me happy and I love their enthusiasm and outlook on food.  Duos serves lunches and dinners around the city, check out their website or facebook page for details.  We also are big craft beer fans, so to be able to eat our food truck food at the Flat 12 was a nice little treat.  I have to admit though, not too many of the beers super wowed me.  I did like the Half cycle, and we bought a growler, but it was a little pricey, like $14 or something.  Not too sure how the growler will work in our house too since you have to drink it so quickly.  I might just rather have a six pack of a nice beer that won't go flat if I don't drink it all in 2 nights...  We'll have to see how that goes.  Stay tuned for another food truck adventure from this past weekend.  

Duos on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Bunny Day!

Hope the ham is aflowin' and the egg-laying bunnies are plentiful in your house this Easter Sunday!  We'll be traveling over to the O-H, I-O for some family times.  Don't forget that it was Earth Day on Friday too, let's carry that momentum into the new week or as far as you can take it.  Hubs and I scored us some free coffees from Starbucks on Friday for taking in our reusable mugs...nice, and yum!  To top it all off, there was a whole bunch of eating out and trying new things for us this weekend, so enjoy the rest of yours and stay tuned for our adventures!

Bunnyday...get it, en francais = Bonne idee = Good idea!
I always think of that whenever I say Bunny Day...takes me back to high school French class :)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The truth about my Chicken Pot Pie

This is one of the staples that we have every so often in our house, mostly because it's dang good.  Also, it's a bit of a fridge cleaner-outer.  I know, you're thinking that I just did that the other day.  Apparently, I have things to clean out of my fridge, okay!?!  Maybe, we just like to eat, I don't know :)  At any rate, I made this chicken pot pie and I made a huge mess while doing so.  But, sometimes, that's just what cooking is all about, no?  I try to clean while things are cooking because I dislike few things worse than having a nice dinner and a full tummy and then walking into a kitchen that looks like a food bomb went off.  It's just not my idea of a good time and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one!

So, forgive me, this does not do this pot pie justice...but Hubs encouraged me that I could not be the Fox news of food blogging, I must post the good with the bad.  I'm working on it, hence I present my space aged, saucer-looking, very poorly lit chicken pot pie.  Tada!

Haha!  Worst pot pie picture ever!
My chicken pot pie is a slightly modified version of this one.  It always turns out, no matter how badly I try to screw it up.  I used local chicken from Gunthorp Farms, purchased through Green B.E.A.N., of course.  I also included carrots, peas, onions, broccoli and made the sauce according to the recipe with chicken broth, flour, salt, pepper and celery seed.  2 deep dish pie shells and...shabang.  Hint from me to you to avoid aforementioned huge mess, the recipe calls for just a little too much stuff to fit in the pie shell (despite it's claim to be deep), and your liquid will overflow if you are awesome like me.

Again, I attempted...a few photograph a pretty, cut piece of the pot pie.  Here's what we got.  You get the idea, right?  Making your mouth water yet?!?  I swear, it's super yummy, you won't be disappointed.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Quinoa vegetable medley

Veggie night!  This is a great way to use up all the veggies in your fridge.  I sauteed up some red pepper, broccoli, portobello mushroom and yellow squash in olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper to taste.

It could've used a sauce of some sort, but I didn't feel like doing an asian sauce, so I went without.  I guess that made it even healthier!  Also, make sure you don't overcook those retains the nutrients and flavors and veggies with a little crunch are so refreshing and delicious.  The quinoa was topped with the veggies and, voila, dinner is served.  I also wanted to use up some strawberries (it was a night of fridge cleansing, I guess!!), so we had those on the side.  It was kind of a little dessert, except that I still had a brownie later :(  No willpower when there are brownies in the house!!  Hopefully you all had a nice, healthyish start to your week.  Sometimes those weekends can be so gluttonous, it's nice to have a little Monday cleanse!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Los Chilaquiles - A little bit of Mexico in Indianapolis

Erin's rating: ★★★★★

Let me start by saying, I LOVE Mexican food.  I aspire to do a bunch of international travel, but my adventures have only just begun on that road.  However, I did make an amazing trip to Mexico about a year and half ago and did it up right.  My best friend's husband is Mexican, so we saw that place and ate that food the way Mexicans do it.  It was beyond awesome and I can't wait to go back for the most amazing hand ground blue corn tortilla quesadilla with cheese and cactus flower anyone has ever eaten (made by an indigenous woman after we had been on horseback up the side of a volcano all day...what?!?)!  All the food was so ridiculously awesome and fresh, I drool about it when I sleep, well, that's my excuse for drooling anyway :)

Cooking blue corn goodness at the volcano Paricutin

The Place

So...all of that being said, if you can't make it to Mexico anytime soon, we have a little piece of it here in Indy!  Get excited, because Los Chilaquiles will blow your tastebuds off.  They have a quote on their menu that says something about "life's too short, eat good food, you can always buy a new shirt."  Truer words haven ever been on a menu.  This place is situated in an unremarkable plaza on the Southwestish corner of Lafayette Rd. and 38th Street.  There's tons of orange barrels blocking your way to get in there, but don't be deterred.  We have been a few times and every time has been just as awesome as the last.  Once inside, it is modest and clean.  The waitstaff are pretty friendly and the owner is super friendly!  She loves this place and will talk to you all day about if you want.  Pretty interesting lady and definitely takes pride in her restaurant and her food.  The menu is well thought out and includes so many things you rarely see on Mexican restaurant menus in the U.S.  The owner even has a secret recipe of her Grandmother's in El Salvador (which I am aware, is not Mexico, but is where the owner is from).
Check out this quaint inside...

...on to THE FOOD

Well, to put it short and sweet.  This is, without hesitation, the best Mexican food I've had outside of Mexico, and we just moved from Florida.   Not only is this place authentic, it's creative and thoughtful.  They start you with fresh made salsas and chips, no watering down those salsas for the gringos!!  They are kinda spicy, but no worries, they serve 'em with a little crema to help with that.

Then, you get to try to figure out how you will choose what to get.  Everything sounds so delicious and there might be some things you haven't heard of.  Just ask, they will be happy to help you figure out what things are!  I can't help it, they have Sopes, which I have never seen in a Mexican restaurant outside of Mexico or outside of my friend's house when her husband makes them by hand.  I order them and let Hubs worry about the menu exploration.  

He orders something different each time.  But, for me, the beet dyed onions topping the handmade corn sopes with shredded chicken, beans, lettuce queso blanco (which is so delicious) and a little salsa are where it's at.  These are so tasty, a little messy to eat, I just picked mine up and chowed down last night!!    And, how pretty are they?  The beautifully colored green rice on the side is actually really awesome as well.  The rice is no filler here, if you have room for it, or want to scrape it all up with your sopes, you won't be disappointed.  It's really good rice, with a great flavor and texture and some little corn pieces in it.  Since when does a restaurant with an $8 dinner worry about presentation?  You guessed it, Los Chilaquiles does. 

Hubs, keeping to his menu tour, tried something we haven't had from here yet.  He order chicken mole.  I tried a little, although, I have to admit, mole is not my favorite to begin with.  As far as mole goes, this one was good.  Little hints of chocolate, and a really nice texture, the chicken was really tender.  It's a fresh made mole, so if that's your thing, I think you'll be pleased.  Beans and rice with this one too topped with that delectable queso blanco...mmmmm.
Even though, I was so terribly full, I couldn't forget the flan.  I ordered it to go, although, if you decided to order in, you'll see how gorgeous it is when it comes out.  You can split one, it's okay :)  They drizzle it with chocolate sauce, it's got a firm, but creamy texture with a pop of coconut.  It looks like it came out of a kitchen at a 4 star restaurant.  Even the to go flan was pretty!  Is this place for real?

One last treat that we did not get this time, are their fresh squeezed juices.  The apple juice is to die for.  If you take kids, they will love it.  They puree the entire apple, nothing added, it comes out this frothy beautiful green drink that I have never had anywhere else before.  It's a must try...

The Wrap Up

This is my favorite Mexican restaurant ever, not just in Indianapolis.  It might be one of my favorite restaurants period.  There are so many things we haven't tried on this menu, but I look forward to going here a lot.  I really hope you decide to check this place out, even if it's a little out of your way.  It will be totally worth it.  You have to give props to the owner and her vision.  Being able to serve such fresh food and presenting it with such pride is not the cheapest way to go, but she does it, and her prices are a barely higher than other Mexican joints (Not by much!!, this place is still VERY economical).  I think she could place this in the foodiest of cities and people would be crazy for it.  But, for now, I'll keep it for myself, I guess, you.  Go forth, my friends, and Salud!

Los Chilaquiles on Urbanspoon

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Taste Cafe and Marketplace

Erin's Rating: ★★★★★

Okay, first, I have NO PICTURES!!  Second, I am aware that this makes me the worst food blogger probably ever.  Normally if I didn't get any pictures, I just wouldn't review it, but I really want to review this place!!

The Place

It was my first time at Taste in SoBro, for lunch today.  Now, this place might not be for everyone, but let me tell you, it was for me, and it would be for you too if you know what's good for you.  It had the whole package really.  A spectacular outdoor seating area with lots of stylish people lunching.  Inside, it was modern and cute and HOLY MENU!  They had a huge board of daily specials and tons and tons of other menu items ranging from salads to sandwiches and so many delicious looking desserts I almost abandoned lunch all together.  While you wait in line to order, they entice you with all these very fresh foods, roasted beets and blueberry tarts, foods in all the colors of the rainbow.  Just pretty.

The Food (minus my attempt at pretty pictures)

As I mentioned before, the menu is pretty huge!  I only wish I could've gotten a better look at it.  It was pretty busy, the line to order was quite long, but you couldn't really see the menu until you got close to ordering.  And there was too much on the menu (I always have trouble with menus posted too high and far away for me too see them anyway) to have to be so rushed!  Despite this, I did my best.  I scanned the specials, because they were closest to me (you can't find them online, I don't think).  Wowsers, I went with the sundried tomato, broccoli and cheese quiche, but it was a hard choice.  I saw someone being served a beautiful piece of salmon on my way in and there and spied some really mouth watering salad and soup of the day choices as well.  But, since Hubs hates quiche and he wasn't there, I ordered the heck out of it.  My friend who suggested this place recommended we split the frites.  Yum.  Can you say, basil aioli dip??  Yeah, I can, and I can eat it too!  So good.  These frites were cooked perfectly and seasoned with just the right amount of salt and fresh herbs.  The quiche was also super tasty (haha, tasty quiche, at Taste...weird).  It was really creamy and the crust was flaky and buttery.  A nice portion too and served with fresh fruit or a salad, I opted for fruit.  Grapes and pineapple and granny smiths, oh my!

The Verdict

If you read the rest of this post, I think the verdict is probably obvious.  If you just jumped to this point...please get over to Taste immediately.  You won't be sorry and you will have a lunch or brunch from deliciously fresh foods and maybe you can convince yourself it's okay to have one of the amazing desserts.  I might just have to go for dessert next!  This little area of SoBro is so cute and I love the feeling.  It felt a little more grown up than BR and really tickled my foodie side.

Taste Cafe and Marketplace on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Spinach fettucini with grilled portobello mushrooms and broccoli in a garlic cream sauce

Whoa, that's a mouthful!  In more ways that one :)  I made this with fresh spinach noodles from Nicole-Taylors Pasta Market.

I grilled up some portobello mushrooms and steamed some broccoli florets and mixed them into a sauce I made with 1/2 and 1/2, parmesan cheese, butter and seasoned with salt and pepper.  Maybe not super healthy, but I think this was my best attempt at this type of cream sauce yet!  I didn't measure anything, just winged it and tasted it.  It melted in my mouth and, wait for it, Hubs even liked it!!  Pasta isn't usually his faves, but this one bowled us both over.  Super delicious!  So, watch your portion size on this one, but definitely try it.

Nicole-Taylor pasta is super yummy and it as well as all the other fresh ingredients came from Green B.E.A.N. delivery!!  Go Green B.E.A.N., Go Green B.E.A.N.!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Easy weekend beans n' carrots

Just a quick post about a yummy...and pretty...beans n' carrots concoction I made for a cookout at a friend's house this past weekend.

We had leftovers, so I served them up with a grilled tuna and cheese.  Don't say it, I know...I am a modern day Julia Child!!  Seriously though, these fresh green and yellow beans with some carrots cut up with them were really good.  I sauteed them all with two cloves of garlic (lots of garlic), olive oil and some salt and pepper.  I got the idea from our outing to the Usual Suspects the other weekend.  Yummmm.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring has Sprung at Boogie Burger

Erin's Rating:  ★★★★ 1/2

It was an amazing day out yesterday and would couldn't think of a better thing to do than ride our bikes over to Boogie Burger in the BR and nosh on some burgers and fries.  Well, truthfully, I would've liked a cold, delicious sandwich, but we haven't found a good sandwich place yet.  That's always a tough find for me, I'm kinda picky about my sammiches :)  It's not that Boogie Burger isn't awesome, because it is, it was just super HOT out and it's hard to eat hot food in the hot sun, am I right?!?  Not that I'm complaining...I am soooooo not.  We were outside almost all day yesterday just enjoying the sun...we both got a little burned too.  No surprises from Hubs being so Gingerific and all.

The Place

So, delicious burgers and fries and some outdoor seating fun drew us in.

The current Boogie Burger location on Westfield Blvd. soon to be MOVING to a Broad Ripple Ave. location.  I am not sure whether this location will be closing completely, it is quite small, but really, really quaint and has character for a burger joint...and it's in the heart of the BR.  I'll update when I know more about that situation.  Right now, they sport a very tiny inside, lately with a line out the door for ordering.  Not a soul sits in this cramped little space these days because they are outside, lounging on the deck.  It's a big deck, but not a whole lot of shade yesterday.  They could definitely use some umbrellas (please refer to the previous paragraph where I mentioned my Ginertastic Hubby)!  You hang on the deck and wait for them to call your name from the little window on the side of the building (trying not to burn you winter white skin...come on, it's Spring, you're with me:)) to retrieve your bag o' burgers n' fries.

The Foods

BB has lots of options, but burgers are obviously their thing.  I wanted to show you guys what a good bleu cheese burger looked like, so I went ahead a ordered my usual.  Hubs and I split the fries because they are super yummy, but way too many in one order for one person.  Even splitting them we have leftovers!  

The burgers are just plain good, maybe not the best burger ever, but for a fast food kinda feel, the whole package does it for me.  Mine was a little overdone for my liking, but add bleu cheese to that and we are winning, big time.  I know that's my personal fav, but you might have another.  Well, they have plenty of burger options, from your run of the mill cheese burger, double and triple burgers to many more creative options...check out their menu.  Of course, they have other things for the non-burger lover, or if you just want to try something else.  Chicken sandwiches, veggie options and garlic fries.  The garlic fries seem pretty popular, although Hubs and I haven't gotten them yet...they smell REALLY garlicky.  I always see lots of people devouring them when we go.  Also, they have homemade milkshakes, malt and smoothies, which I have no idea why I did not consume the heck outta one of these yesterday.  Totally eluded me, but would've been just about the best idea ever.  Alas, next time, I will not make that mistake, and I will let you know.  
I suggest you check this place out, on a nice day works, but I would be lying if I said that Hubs and I didn't trudge out there in shin deep snow this winter to get us some Boogie Burger.  We squeezed right up in there...and we were NOT the only crazies.  The BB and BR keep it busy no matter sun or snow!!

Boogie Burger on Urbanspoon

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Binkley's Kitchen and Bar

Erin's Rating: ★★★★

The Place

Friday date night was at Binkley's Kitchen and Bar this week.  This place is close to our house, has outdoor seating AND we hadn't been there yet.  I read some reviews on Urbanspoon and checked out the Binkley's website, as I often do before venturing to a new place.  The menu looked pretty normal, steaks, pasta, burgers, fish, but it looked like they had a nice list of specials that put a little spin on the average.
This place is on the corner of Kessler and College and has been at this location since the 1920's when it used to be the community drug store serving up fountain drinks to the neighborhood kiddies until the 70's.  What a cool little history, and now it's Binkley's Kitchen and Bar :)  When we walked up, the patio was pretty bumpin'.  It was around 8 PM, so that's a good sign.  People looked like they were having fun eating and drinking.  We went inside and it was a pretty cool place, dark and a nice atmosphere for a date or drinks with friends.  We didn't sit on the patio because we were hungry and there was plenty of seating inside, although I am sure that would've been a treat.

The Food and Libations

It's was Friday, so we started with some beverages naturally.  I guess I'm going to be on a martini kick, because that's where my eyes went first on the drink menu.  I chose this tasty sounding Raspberry White Chocolate deliciousness.  The waitress brought it and we all commented about how yummy it smelled and could smell it form pretty far away!! 

For me, that as far as the goodness went, the taste was not as good as the smell.  It was the instant heartburn you get from bottom shelf liquor.  It was white and creamy from the creme de cocoa I'm guessing.  It was mostly like a really harsh white russian, but not as good...but for $7.50, I drank it!  Hubs had to help me a little or it might have taken me all night!

Rocky start, but the food fared better.  I ordered one of the "Spring Seasonal Picks," chicken cannelloni and had the choice of soup or salad with my dinner. PS- I will always choose soup, particularly when the soup of the day is beer n' cheese soup....ummmm, yes I will take it!

I thought the description of the entree sounded amazing!

Chicken Cannelloni     15.99
House rolled cannellonis filled with roasted garlic, spinach, goat’s cheese, and chicken. Served with our house made marinara sauce, spicy andouille sausage, and a touch of parmesan.

It came out looking pretty amazing too!  I was excited to dive into this treat.  It was true, it tasted as good as it looked.  Served with some nice, crunch and warm french bread, pretty dang good.  Success with this menu item.

Hubs also ordered from the seasonal special menu, he chose the coffee crusted New York Strip after a little convincing from me to not order a burger.  He always likes a burger when we go out, so I'm glad I convinced him otherwise.

Coffee Crusted New York Strip     18.99
A 12 ounce New York strip rolled in our secret coffee rub and grilled to perfection. Finished with a touch of brown sugar and caramelized sweet onion butter.

For his sides, he decided on the seasonal veggie, which was bourbon glazed carrots and garlic mashed potatoes (always a safe choice, especially with steak).  I tasted his dinner, so I could blog about it, of course, and the steak was really good with a tasty hint of coffee flavor.  It was not at all overwhelming and the taters were really creamy and garlicky...mmmmm.

Summin' it Up

In summary, this place was cool, we liked it.  The seasonal menu makes things a little more interesting because the regular menu is not too out of the ordinary from other restaurants of this type.  The food was good, they had a nice drink selection with a decent number of craft beers on tap, outdoor patio with people enjoying the nice night, good service.  We ordered some pricey selections, but there is certainly stuff on the menu that can make this a more economical night out if you wanted.  I'd go back and try some different things from the menu, but I definitely won't be having another Raspberry White Chocolate martini, no matter how yummy it sounds!

PS- I don't know why everything is underlined!!  It must be important, so thanks for reading :)  Have nice weekend...Mange, Mange!!

Binkley's Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 8, 2011

Slow food week :)

It's been a slow food week around here!  It's not that we haven't been eating, we just haven't been eating too many interesting things to blog about.  I mean, do you really want to hear about my lame, quick dinners of chicken-apple sausages??  I think, probably not :)  I promise to be back this weekend and kick my butt in gear for a super fantastic weekly menu, since I just got my Green B.E.A.N. delivery with lots of yummies in it yesterday.  Hope you had a splendid weekend and are looking forward to some food adventures!
Happy Foodie Friday!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Green Slime Smoothie

Doesn't sound very appetizing?  Well, you got that wrong!  I have been whipping these up a little bit the past month or so because of the availability of fresh spinach and strawberries.  2 cups of frozen spinach, 2 cups of strawberries, 1 banana, ice and a little bit of honey in the food processor, and voila!  Green slime smoothie ready to draaaaank!  Pretty sure you could throw just about any mix of this stuff in here and it would still be delish.  I am thinking some carrots might be a good addition as well.  Enjoy...but don't get the brain freeze!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Usual Suspects

Erin's rating:  ★★★★

The Place
We pass by the Usual Suspects a lot, but had never been in.  We got a recommendation for it the other night, so I thought what the heck, let's check it out.  I didn't even go online at all to look at reviews or anything, we just winged (wung, no? wang?, no, that's not right either) it!!  Anywhoo, we went in, and it was kind of swanky feeling, dim lights, nice tables, people our age (let's just say not 18-24, and leave it at that :)).  Not very many people, so we sat quickly.  They sat us a a really tiny table first and Hubs didn't think he could fit in the tight squeeze of a spot, so they moved us to a better table, no problem.  Happy us.

The Food and Drink
Time to start feasting.  I got things started with a martini.  A Pear-y Mason concocted of Absolut Pears, Pama and cranberry juice.  They have a nice drink selection, $8 for a martini, pretty standard.

I actually liked it a lot.  It was really good, kinda strong, without being overly sweet, which can be hard to do with these fruity liquor beverages.  Hubs went with a Sam Adams, safe bet, not too exciting, just always dependably good.

The menu looked pretty good and the prices were really reasonable for the nice atmosphere and the menu selections.  I decided to go with garlic-herb encrusted walleye ($12.75...doesn't get much better than that).  I was craving a nice piece of fish, I feel like we have been eating tons of beef and burgers lately!  We didn't get any appetizers and no bread to snack on while waiting for our food, only drinks, I wasn't complaining :)  When the food came, it looked really good, and we were pretty hungry.

My dinner was a nice portion size, no leftovers would remain, but enough to fill me up.  The fish was accompanied by seasonal garlic with some green beans and carrots...seriously, there was a crap ton-o garlic, but they were super good!  I really liked them and devoured every bite.  Also on the side were potato wedges, cooked well and seasoned nicely, nothing too fancy.  The fish was pretty good, a little bit bland, but cooked perfectly, flaked apart really nicely and with little crunchy edges, which I personally love...yummmmm.

Overall, I liked this place.  It was a nice place to go out for a date, without being too pricey or stuffy to be able to enjoy yourself.  You're not going to run into too many college kids here, which is nice to know if you need a break from that scene.  We'll definitely go back and try some of the other menu items.  Beware though, the menu online doesn't really match up with the in-restaurant menu and our waiter had a hard time telling us the actual specials they were offering...kind of odd, but we rolled with it and just ordered from the regular menu.  Online, some of the menu items sounded really tasty and I would've liked to see some more specials like they advertised.

Usual Suspects on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 1, 2011

Butter chicken with couscous and naan

My friend Megumi made this for dinner over the holidays and it was amazing!  Then, she was so sweet and sent me the spice packs and instructions in the mail to make it myself.  So, now, three months later, I am just getting around to making it myself!!  Just a slight delayed reaction :)

First, Frank and I were out and about in BR last night and swung by the India Garden to order out some naan.  I had to do it, because it is seriously awesome.  I haven't actually eaten at this restaurant, only ordered naan to take home when cooking Indian.  You can't eat Indian food without delicious naan, right?!?  If the rest of their food compares, I am looking forward to devouring some of their other food treats.

Then, I broke out my spice packs, which I am told are acceptable for use by native Indian cooks, particularly if you don't happen to have all sorts of Indian spices lining your spice cabinet.  If yours looks anything like mine, I have way too many spices that I use twice a year already, so if I can get spices in a packet, bring it on.  Below are the ones I used for this recipe, Tandoori chicken for marinating and baking and Butter chicken for serving on top of the baked chicken.  Available at your local Indian market, which I must admit, was a little hard to find in Indy (but, I am wicked resourceful and Google rocks)!

On to the cooking...I bought chicken legs and thighs for my recipe, although I might use something different next time.  Might be better with some boneless chicken pieces??  I marinated the legs/thighs following the tandoori chicken spice pack for a couple of hours and baked 'em.  While they were baking, I sauteed some onions in butter and then added the butter chicken spices with water to them until the spices dissolved and cooked up some couscous (basmati probably would've been yummier, but I forgot to cook anything, so I needed something quicker:))  Oy, it's always something when I am in the kitchen, I'll tell you what.  Finally, after the chicken was baked, I added it to the butter chicken mixture in the pan on the stovetop and heated it all together for a few minutes.  Voila!  Done and done.  Plate it and serve it.

Regular and cheese naan.  Not homemade by me, but oh, so good.
Tonight's date night, yessssssss.  Happy Friday Fools :)  I don't really think you are fools, it just that it's April know!
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