Friday, June 24, 2011

TIme Flies...and it's Friday!

   I can't believe it's already Friday again, and it's been over a week since I have last posted.  I have lost 15 pounds, just kidding, despite my lack of posts, I have been eating!  Don't worry :)  Of course, Fridays get me thinking about the weekend.  I am thinking about doing a weekly post on Fridays about good places to go for weekend, most likely, brekky grub.  We usually go out at least once for some sort of breakfast treat on the weekends, whether for a real breakfast, or just for some coffee and a pastry.  This is a popular place in Indy that I'm sure a lot of you have heard of or been to...Long's Bakery!

The Place

 This is a local joint!  It's a real city bakery located on the Westside of Indy.  You are likely to see a line out the door and wrapping onto the sidewalk on the weekends.  It is a VERY popular place and we were lucky enough to have one of our friends from graduate school who is from the Indianapolis area introduce us to Long's a few weeks after we moved here.  So, if you're new to the area, or just passing by, this is a place you just might want to hunt down...if you like hot, fresh, yeast glazed donuts, that is.

The Goods, baked ones

   Now, don't anyone get mad when I say this, try to hear me out.  I want to compare this place to Krispy Kreme, because, frankly, there are a lot of KK lovers out there and there are comparisons to be made!  The most coveted menu item are Long's glazed yeast donuts, which KK's glazed are also very popular.  They both turn on a light indicating when you can stop in for hot treats.  Okay, so here's what I like more about Long's.  It's the real deal.  You know you're supporting a long standing family business.  You get to stand on line and chat with all the other donut lovers that have made their way out on a lovely Saturday or Sunday morning.  It's real service for real people!  Also, they have tons, and I mean tons, of other baked goods if you want to try a crazy bear claw or a pie or whatever your sweet tooth desires.

   You can be like me and not get another treat in lieu of the yeast donuts, just add some other treats on!  I grabbed myself a maple glazed cake donut too.  You do not want to miss out on the soft, creamy taste of their signature yeast donuts.  Especially when they are warm, they literally melt in your mouth and go amazingly with a nutty coffee to zzzzzzhhinnng you up for the day.  You will be zzhinged my friends!  

What's up?

   I really like Long's.  I love the experience and the donuts are good in a devilish sort of way.  You can get extras and heat them up in the microwave after and they are yummy all over again.  It's definitely worth a trip from wherever you reside in Indy to get a taste of this bakery.  I hope you enjoy some tasty, local brekky treats this weekend!

Long's Bakery on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Recess at ChowDown

   I know that Recess is a very coveted spot to go, and I could see from the posts on the ChowDown page on facebook, that this is a place tons of people were wanting to try out during the event.  It's also very popular with the food bloggers, so needless to say, I have been dying to mange, mange a la Recess.  I thought what better time to do so than during the ChowDown event.  It was pretty crazy getting a reservation here too!  I called the first night of ChowDown to make one, and my options were 5 PM or after 9:15 PM on almost all the night....BUT they did have one reservation for last night at 8:15.  That's still kind of late for a random Wednesday, but we usually eat that late anyway.  We like to pretend we're 22 :)  I've been thinking about it all week, and I didn't even care about having to make the reservation without knowing what would be on the menu!

The Place

   For those of you who don't know about Recess, if there are any of you still out there, it's located on the up and coming corner of 49th Street and College Ave. in SoBro.  It's quite a trendy little joint, but not stuffy, pretty much just how I like it.  They have these cool cafeteria style chairs and roughed up concrete floors.  Some cool art on the walls and very interesting light fixtures fancy up the place.  The thing about Recess is they make it easy for you.  Easy to like the place, easy to order and very, very easy to eat their amazing food.  So let's get on to it, shall we?

The Delectables

   The menu changes every night, you can check online for Chef Hardesty's nightly creations.  Typically, they serve four courses, but the menu was slightly altered for the event and only includes 3 courses for the $30.  If you want to get a feel of how it normally works, they give you the option of adding the extra course in the middle for an additional price.

We got started with salads.  There were two on the menu (easy peasy), so we each got one.  I ordered the tomato salad with vidalia onions, maytag bleu cheese and celery see vinaigrette.  Another thing they make easy is for me to take pictures of their beautiful food.  Beauty aside, this simple tomato salad was really good.  The tomatoes were sweet and complimented well by the maytag bleu cheese.  The cheese was pungent and moldy...and delicious.  The dressing was perfect and the whole thing just lovely.
Hubs thought pretty much the same about his mixed green salad with fennel, basil, parmesan cheese and sherry vinaigrette.  He chowed down! I also loved that this salad was served with a piece of crusty bread...mmmm carbs.  The parmesan was freshly shaved into bog slices on top of the greens and Hubs mentioned that the dressing was also delightful.

We had the option of wine pairings with our meal (2 for the ChowDown and 3 for a regular meal).  We decided that sounded awesome, and I not only was trusting their pairings, but was excited to see what they chose for us.
The salad course was served with a bubbly rose, the Chateau Moncontour Cremant de brut rose to be exact.  I would not usually choose a rose, which is why the idea of a pairing was great.  If it were up to me, I would have missed this!  It was really good...and totally awesome with the salads.  I even scored a picture of Hubs through my bubbly.

After taking a bit of time with the salads and our rose, we were ready to move on to the entree.  We couldn't come to an agreement to both choose something different, so we both got the salmon.  It was a choice between Maine cod accompanied by fingerling potatoes, bacon and swiss chard OR Kodiak red salmon with crushed new potatoes and sugar snap peas served over a brown butter mustard jus.  Ummm...yum.  Yeah, so we got the salmon.

Does this look amazing, or what?  And it totally was.  It was so good.  The salmon came out hot and was cooked perfectly.  It was coated with a crispy and salty topping, and despite my salt aversion, it was so good.  They just get it with the flavors.  The fish over the potatoes, sugar snaps and jus went together like Jenny and Forrest.  I was a little leery about the mustard jus because I am not a huge mustard fan, but it was great for a few reasons.  It was not overwhelming at all, which I think can easily happen with mustard flavored things.  It was also so complimentary to the entire dish.  It calmed the salt flavor and allowed the fish and it's accompaniments to melt right in your mouth.  I have personally never tasted such delicious snap peas by the way.  I know, you may think I am crazy now for raving about snap peas, but these were so fresh and crisp and sweet I want to eat them every day.  On top of this outstanding salmon dish, we were served an 08 Domaine Jean Fournier Cuvee Saint Urbain Marsannay, Bourgonge from France.  Whoa, that was a mouthful, but I wanted you to know the real name in case you ever wanted to find it.  I know I do!  Favorite light bodied red ever.  It was fruity and a little bit dry, but nothing overwhelming.  The perfect red to drink on a warm night.  I'm going to stalk this out and get myself a bottle for home, so good.
  Another nice thing about our first experience at Recess was the timing.  They game us ample time to enjoy our course.  The didn't rush us and let us drink and chat a little before bringing out the dessert.  And bring it, they did.

We enjoyed this tasty treat of buttermilk panna cotta with strawberry compote for our final course of the evening.  After those first two courses, I went into dessert feeling in just the right desert mode.  I don't know if it was that we had fish, or that they were normal sized portions, but I felt great.  Not too full to enjoy my dessert...and I did!  Everything was fresh and exactly what you would expect from seeing this picture and hearing about the rest of our food at Recess.  They didn't do a think wrong, in my opinion.


Places like Recess make me wonder why I spend my money eating out at any other establishments.  Hell, it makes me wonder about the food I eat, in general.  Sure, it's pricey, but instead of eating out every Friday, I could skip one, eat out twice a month at Recess and I'd be content.  I could eat here for the rest of my days.  I expected it to be great food, but I really enjoyed the whole experience.  This is what dining out is all about!!  Hooray for Chef Hardesty for his refreshing take on the food experience and thank you Recess.  Can't wait to go back...totally going to be my birthday dinner, yeah, yeah!

Recess on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hoping for a great weekend? Perk Up!

     On the weekends I have a hard time relaxing.  I am always about "doing something."  I don't care what that something is, but I know there are things going on out there, and I want to be a part of it.  I don't know, that's how I've always been, no time for sitting around and missing out, am I right?
     As always, I am looking forward to the weekend and constantly trying to convince someone (mostly Hubs these days :)), to participate in my shenanigans.  This is what we did for a couple hours last weekend, and it was so cool!

   Hubs found this little flea market, Syd and Harper Recycled Style.  They happened to be set up right behind Perk Up here in Broad Ripple.  I thought, what a great idea, flea market, Hubs loves, coffee and something new to try, I love.  We scored.

     If you peek into the back parking lot you can see where they had their little flea market set up.  They had all kinds of cool things to look at and buy.  Some really unique items and some awesome nostalgia pieces, like old school desks (no, really desks that were from a school, and old) and lockers that reminded me of being back in high school.  How cool would it be to have lockers in your house for storage instead of ugly totes?!?  I love it.  Definitely check out their website and see where they will be displaying the goods next.  It's a nice outing for anyone who loves unique decor and interesting people.

     Doesn't this iced coffee look so delicious with the cute little bendy straw?  I cannot resist a beverage with a bendy straw, Perk Up wins my heart with this one.  The coffee was really good too.  I didn't get a picture of the blueberry muffin we grabbed on a whim to split.  We just wanted a little something to eat while we had our coffees.  The muffins are baked on site, and man, they were really good.  Probably the best muffin I've had in a long time.  I wasn't really expecting anything out of the ordinary, it's a muffin, you know, but it was so buttery and decadent.  I love this place.  It's very cute inside, with a nice deck outside that overlooks the Monon.  A great place to sit and relax...if you can.  We didn't sit for too long...there were other things to explore on this beautiful weekend day!!!

Happy weekend, enjoy it!

Perk Up on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Tata Cuban Cafe

     As you might already know, we are in Indianapolis via Florida about 6 months ago.  So, our tastes for food of the cuban variety have been shaped by that experience.  That's a lot to live up to, I expect!  I thought a little bit about that when trying out our first Cuban restaurant in Indy, but I also wanted to just live in the moment and think about what we really thought of the food at the Tata Cuban Cafe (cute name, huh?).
     Of course, I read some reviews about what to expect before even considering this restaurant.  The reviews looked promising, so we decided to try it out before the first IMA outdoor movie last Friday, which was Mommie Dearest and was pretty cool if you haven't been to one of these.  I love summer!!

The Place

     After finding a place to park downtown, something we are admittedly not too skilled at yet.  I always like to have the in on the free parking in a place...we'll get there :)  We had to walk a little bit to Tata, but no worries.  There was some not so pretty looking sidewalk construction right outside the restaurant (not pictured) and some tiny iron chairs and tables in front.

     We decided to sit inside since we would be outside for the movie and the atmosphere outside didn't seem too relaxing just then.  Inside, it was fancier than any cuban restaurant I have been to, not fancy on the fancy scale, but not a hole-in-the-wall cuban place.  I usually expect some little joint, kinda greasy, with a sandwich press and some latino tunes bumpin', but that is not the case here.  We were the only people there at first.  It was pretty dark, I almost forgot it was only like 6 PM!!  The waitstaff was very nice though, and patiently waited and brought drinks as we perused the menu.

The Chow

     Now, I mentioned that I did read some reviews, but I guess I didn't pay attention to the pricing very well, because Hubs and I were still pretty surprised by that.  For Cuban food, we thought this place was a little pricey.  I remembered I was not trying to have my preconceived notions about the place, but we just always think of it as being a really cheap and filling's hard to pay $16 for Ropa Vieja.  I would've liked to try that staple, it's always good to judge your first impressions of a place by the thing you usually love from that genre, right?  But, I just couldn't do it.  We both went for cuban sandwiches.  A good thing to judge by, and a little more reasonably priced, $9 for a sammy and fries.

Not the best picture of a cuban sandwich ever, you can't see what's in it!!  Don't worry, I will tell you :)  This was your typical cuban fare, a pressed ham, pork and swiss sandwich with mustard, hold the pickles for me.  I am aware this may alter the experience, and that pickles are probably an important part of a cuban, but I just can't do it.  Sorry.  Moving on.  Looks good from the appearance.  I was happy with my order.  I decided to try it out.  It was pretty dang good.  The bread was pressed perfectly, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.  The whole combination tasted really good.  We liked our sandwiches and were glad we didn't spring for the expensive entrees.  My only, not so much a complaint, more of a craving and hoping for, was that my sandwich had pulled pork on it.  I expected the pork to be pulled, so that may have been my first mistake!  Okay, obviously, I am not doing very well with this no expectations thing!!  So, that ham and the pork were both sliced, pretty thickly and very tasty.  Without my preconceptions, this sandwich would've been perfect.  Very pleased.  The fries were on the side, but the sandwich was huge and I didn't want to spoil my appetite with them because they weren't my favorite.  They were a little soggy for my taste, although notably, Hubs liked them quite a bit and ate all of his.

Final Thoughts

     We liked it.  It was good to have some Cuban, although the experience did make me nostalgic for a few of my favorite Cuban spots in Gainesville.  My sandwich was so big, I actually was able to have an entire half of it for lunch another day.  So, I  guess that's 2 meals for $9...not so bad.  I wish the entrees were a little cheaper, but I think one of these days we will probably go back and spring for some ropa vieja just to give it a try.

Tata Cuban Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 6, 2011

Backed up Blogger

Holy!  I have so many things to blog about, seriously.  I could not eat for weeks and still have food stories spewing from my fingertips...and ChowDown MidTown start today!!!  This is going to be a busy week, I think.  So, good, let's get started.

I'm going to consolidate all my meals last week into one post.  It's going to be kinda crazy, but we'll just see how this works.  I will try to be short and sweet, but there is just so much good food going on out there right now, I don't want anyone to miss out on it.

I'm not going to talk about the weather too much, but it's been awesome.  Super Florida-like, and I love it.  Everyone else in Indiana hates it as far as I can tell, but it makes me want to do some grillin' and chillin'.  Some swimming would be nice too, but hey, you can't have everything, right?  So, grillin' and chillin' we've been doing a little bit of.  I am still LOVING my Green B.E.A.N. delivery, despite all of the Farmer's markets happening, they are still hookin' me up with things I can't get there.  I got these beautiful tiny sweet peppers and some delicious citrus to boot.  Being that for 29 years of my life, I was never a pepper lover, I have officially converted.  I can eat them raw, semi-cooked, cooked, kinda charred on the grill, whatevs.  I'll want to eat them all day long, so good.  I got some ribeyes from the Fresh Market, which is also a staple of mine these days.  Although I can't find one place to get all of my grocery items, I am very pleased to say, I have found everything I want at all of the places I want, and I am okay with going around to each of them for all my super yummy treats.

We grilled these 2 inch ribeye puppies up with salt and pepper on our castiron hibachi (aka the most adorable grill ever).  I oiled up the pepper and slapped them on there too.  So easy and soooooo satisfying.  It's not often we indulge in a really nice steak, so that was a treat in itself.  To me, it's more important that you cook the steak well, which in my opinion, is medium rare, than try to get all fancy with marinades and such.  When it was all cooked perfectly, we squeezed some of the citrus juice all over it and chowed down.

Last week was the first Wednesday of the Broad Ripple Farmer's Market, so Hubs and I hopped on our bikes and rode on over there to check it out.  He hadn't been before, so it was a fun little trip.  It's a quaint little market with quite a bit of eat-there food.  I haven't partaken in any of that yet, because I am usually there to get food to cook at home.  Which is what we did, I picked up some pasta from Nicole-Taylor's stand.  I am never eating dry pasta from the store again, by the way.  Theirs is to die for.  And, we also picked up some hummus from a cute little stand with all sorts of interesting chickpea and gazpacho delights.

This is what I ended up with.  I had some heirloom tomatoes that I really wanted to use in a light pasta dish and some fresh basil.  I sauteed up some garlic and oil and tossed it with these orange-pepper noodles, tomatoes and basil.  Voila, a great summer dish.  The heirloom tomatoes are from Fresh Market, but are seriously my favorite.  They are so sweet, I want to know why I never had these as a kid.  I would've been in love with tomatoes from birth, I think.  Then, on the side, my signature summer salad of spinach, strawberries, blueberries and walnuts...all from GB delivery.  The perfect hot weather food!

And lastly, I had some portobellos in the fridge and these beautifully colored fingerling potatoes arrived at my door, so we had a meal.

I grilled up the portobellos on my grill pan with salt, pepper and worcheshire (magic ingredient!!), baked the fingerlings with garlic, oil, s & p, steamed up some fresh broccoli.  We ate it all with a salad using up the last of my heirlooms and had another yummy, refreshing summer meal.  I know the portobellos may not look to appetizing, I usually serve them burger style, but they actually were pretty good.  They were very tasty and may look prettier served over a bed of spinach or lettuce.  Give 'em a try if you haven't already...they really are one of my favorites, and a nice idea for a vegetarian meal night.

So, as you can see, admittedly, I am not some crazy, awesome chef.  But, I think we did a pretty good job last week.  We ate some decently healthy and well balanced, EASY meals and enjoyed eating them too!  Hope you liked them, wipe the drool off your chin, and have nice lunch!

Happy ChowDown!  See you out there :)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

More Food Events!

Seems like there are so many food and drink events coming up I can hardly keep up or keep them straight, especially as an Indy newbie!  Nonetheless, I will try and I will also try to let you all know about them.  I don't think I'll be able to make it to all of these, but it's awesome to have all of these options!

This weekend (Sunday):

Meals on Wheels is sponsoring a fundraising event called "Wheels for Meals, A Taste of the Monon."  They are encouraging bike riders (or walkers or drivers) to make their way into the BR and sample some yummy foods from local restaurants, including 3 Sisters, Al-basha, BRICS, Brugge and many more!  It's supposed to be an awesome weekend, so get out and enjoy it with some food and exercise.  You can't really go wrong with that combo, can you?  No, I'll answer for you.  Oh yeah, and it's for a good cause too...extra points.

Have an awesome weekend full of Florida weather and don't forget your sunscreen likey.
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