Thursday, June 19, 2014

GRANITE CITY FOOD & BREWERY - Fun place to eat and drink and just be merry.


Where can you find lively conversation, high energy and good food?  Granite City Food & Brewery that’s where to go for a fun time and good meal in Indianapolis.  I only wish there was a location somewhere in California.  It would be worth the drive.

Granite City’s atmosphere is fun and relaxing.  There is even a smaller restaurant at the Indianapolis International Airport.  The food at the airport venue is freshly made but utilizes a condensed menu.  If you are in the airport looking for food and spirits before that long flight definitely grab a snack before boarding at Granite City’s Airport Location.  But on to the really thing….

The staff is honest with its opinions of food served at the establishment.  The small plates very from Asian Grilled Shrimp, Vodka Mussels, Pretzels with Cheese Sauce or Boneless Buffalo Wings.  The wings can give Santora’s in Mission Viejo, California a run for their money.  The wings are spicy but sweet.  A mix between a BBQ and an authentic wing sauce.  You will not be disappointed, these are not synthetic like Buffalo Wild Wings.
 

Try the Idaho Nachos made with waffle-cut fries topped with Colby jack cheese, The Northern queso, bacon, tomatoes, and sour cream and green onions.  It’s a party in your mouth.  Full of flavor but I warn you if you eat this you will not eat “that”.  Pair it with one of their custom made Ale’s and you are in for a treat.

The menu is as diverse as our great nation but remember it is a brewery so there is plenty of hearty meat dishes, after all we are still in Indiana.  The Grilled Garlic Butter Sirloin is tender and moist.  The Candied Pecan Pork Chops are never overdone and finished with a caramel sauce.  Sweet but delicious.  The BBQ Ribs are slow roasted with Granite’s own BBQ sauce.  Juicy sweet and the meat falls off the bone.  It gives Weber’s Grill a run for their money.  It is a must paired with The Northern an American handcrafted golden pale ale.  Granite even serves up its version of Meatloaf on ciabatta bread with a bourbon onion sauce.

If you are in the mood for a taco try the Crispy Shrimp Taco Trio glazed with a spicy Asian sauce topped with lettuce, pico de gallo, cilantro and Santa Fe cream sauce.  Again another spicy sweet treat.  The shrimp is cooked to perfection.  There is so much flavor in just one little bite.  They also serve a Fish Taco Trio which includes blackened Tilapia if shrimp is not your bag.  The Tilapia is topped with a sriracha ranch sauce, a bit hot a bit cool.

The Granite City Food & Brewery was one of my favorite restaurants’ in Indianapolis. Again inexpensive.  You do get your money’s worth.  Great for a cold or hot day just pair with a drink and you are ready to go.

 
 
The service friendly and spot on.  My drink was never empty my service was always with a smile.  There were no dumb questions, just a lot of facts. This place rates 3.5 Forks Up.  I cannot wait for one to open on the West Coast.

49 West Maryland St., Indianapolis, IN (317) 803-2025

 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

THE EAGLE’S NEST – Perched on top a building looking below to the streets, what a view!


The Eagle’s Nest is Indianapolis’ 360 degree view of the city restaurant perched on top of the Hyatt Regency Hotel.    One can view the whole city as it turns 360 degrees.  Every table allows a view of the sky line, most romantic time is as the sun sets over the horizon.  This place is famous as you never know who you might see.  This is Indianapolis’ see or be seen place to be.  However it is not pretentious as so many places where the city celebrity hangs out often is.  The word to describe The Eagle’s Nest is simply comfortable.  Everyone is treated like they are someone.  You are not left feeling inadequate.  So sit back, relax and enjoy the view.

Appetizers range from Shrimp Cocktail Two Ways – grilled jumbo shrimp or spicy cocktail sauce.   However, if you are more adventurous try the Baked Peaches prepared wrapped in prosciutto with basil, salted walnuts and a balsamic glaze.  The chef likes to experiment with flavors that just seem odd but work.

The French Onion Soup is traditional with a rich aroma broth.  Slightly crusted on top with provolone and gruyere gratin adds that little something special.  Forget a salad have the soup it will please your palette.

The entrees are ecliptic as they range from beef, poultry to vegetarian.  The Crab Crusted Halibut melts in your mouth.  The crab is rich and sweet.  The halibut is served our baby spinach and roasted potato with a Lemon Beurre Blanc sauce.  The halibut was a little overdone and lacked in sauce.  If halibut is not for you try the Cajun Spiced Grouper with shrimp and crayfish sweet potato chowder.

The Paella and Marinated Pan Seared Quail is done just right.  It is prepared with shrimp, clams, lobster claw meat, chorizo sausage, peppers and onions with Saffron Rice.   I must say I was impressed with the amount of seafood.  Most Paella’s are more rice than seafood.  It’s a definite must try.

Do not be discouraged there is plenty of meat dishes.  For the meat eater in you try the Herb Crusted Prime Rib, or if Lamb is more to your liking try the Seared Lamb Rib Eye is tender and moist.   The Eagle’s Nest has Sous Vide Bison Short Ribs with Red Wine and Molasses Glaze.  I will say though that the Bison Short Ribs were a little too tough.  The sauce is delectable perhaps it was a bad night. 

 Once again the service was outstanding and friendly.  The prices were reasonable and less then I budgeted.        The food was not exceptional but you need to go if for anything the view is worth it.   2.5 Forks Up.

One South Capitol Ave., Indianapolis, IN (317) 632-1234






Friday, June 13, 2014

Pearl Street Pizzeria and Pub – Dorothy we are not in New York but….


 Nope you are not but you are in the taste of New York.  The inside is set up like a relaxing pub.  Dark tables, flat screen TVs and a dart board.   The staff is friendly like everyone I met in Indianapolis.  The waitress stopped and chit chatted for a time without hesitation offering her points of interest for the city.  She was proud of her Indianapolis heritage and the fact that all the sporting venues where in walking of distance of each other. 

The location is hard to find.  At first you feel like you are walking down a “mugger’s alley” but that is not the case.  It is an alley but it is safe.  It is right in the heart of the restaurant district.  During the weekend this place can get packed but it’s well worth the trek to find it.  The drinks flow and the food is good.

My recommendation is the BBQ Chicken Pizza made with tender grilled chicken, red onions, mozzarella, fresh cilantro and zesty BBQ sauce.  Warning, warning Will Robinson….the zesty BBQ sauce is not “zesty” it is HOT!  I did not know any better and ordered it the Ghost Pepper Jack Cheese.  That was my mistake for you add the Ghost Pepper Jack on their version of zesty marina sauce and my mouth was burning.  Those of you whole like jalapeno peppers will not be deterred but the rest of mankind will need something to numb the pain.  This pizza defiantly needs to be paired with a smooth logger. 

Do not waste your time ordering a salad it is just not worth it.  Spend the money on the alcohol. 

This establishment carries, pastas, sandwiches and wraps.  Again do not waste your time with a sandwich or wrap.  Choose wisely and choose the pasta or pizza.  This place is known for its sauces and that is where all the flavor is so give it a try.  I promise you will not be disappointed.  The price is reasonable.  In fact, all the food prices in Indianapolis are reasonable and the service is superior. 

This place gets a 3 Forks Up. The price, the service and the atmosphere.  I only wish that the location was easier to find.  Even the cab drivers needs to be directed. 

65 East Pearl Street, Indianapolis, IN
317-638-3110

 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Palomino’s Restaurant and Bar - I do not mean the track.




 Food and a throw back in time.  Remember the velvet booths and dark mood lighting? Of course not you were not even born then and for the record neither do I. But I do remember I Love Lucy and the night clubs that were featured on the show.  Then you will know what I mean about nostalgic and a simpler time. A time of big bands and nights out on the town.  That is the atmosphere you will experience when you walk into the Palomino. 

The menu invites a sample of everything although if you log onto Yelp it says Medititrraen flare which I disagree.  It has something to tame everyone’s taste buds.

Try the Pumpkin Seed Pesto for an appetizer it is well worth the fantasy it invites in your mind.  Prepared with granny smith apples, fresh basil, clover honey, jalapeño, and served with grilled pita.  Its fruity but not over whelming with a hint of spicy.  It is a must.  I never had anything quite like it before and mind you I have been Turkey and throughout Europe.    However, if it is not for you then they always have the “old” staples of Crispy Calamari, Crab Cakes or French Onion Soup.  I must give a thumb up for the French Onion Soup full of flavor and little oil which is a feat in itself.  The melted cheese is gooey and gives the impression that the cheese was made on premises it is that fresh.

Entrée’s range from small plates typical of a Spanish style restaurant to Pizzas and Pastas.  But don’t forget what the name implies this place is a meat lover’s dream come true from the tender Braised Lamb Shank to the Roasted Prime Rib In Rock Salt.  Nothing is left off the menu for you discriminating palate.   

There was a toss-up between Chicken Marsala and Tuna Puttanesca so again I deferred to the waiter for his expertise after all restaurants that want to succeed have the staff taste everything.  His suggestion was the Chicken Marsala as the Tuna Puttanesca was a little too fishy for his liking.  I will be forever grateful for his recommendation it was by far the best Chicken Marsala.  The chicken was tender and moist full of flavor.  The roasted mushrooms and sauce was just sweet enough not to be overbearing. 

I looked around and everyone was enjoying the pizza so of course I had to give it try.  There is nothing like eating to experience life.  The Salsiccia Fresca was prepared with marinara, housemade mozzarella, caramelized onions, and hot Italian sausage.  Again the mozzarella was superb.  You can always taste fresh mozzarella once you have experienced it you will never buy cheap store bought again.  Fresh mozzarella is with the drive to your local Italian Deli.

The dessert menu is a creation by itself.   The Sicilian Donuts are the “bomb” I have not had them since Nana was alive.  They are served with mascarpone cream and warm nutella chocolate sauce.  Simply incredible.  Palomino’s also serves Warm Pear Bread Pudding, Palomino Tiramisu and Crème Brûlée.

There is a full bar with specialty drinks that include good old fashioned martinis that include Elderflower Lemon Drop, Ginger-pear, and Lavender Cosmopolitan.  It’s a throwback to times past and a welcome change to today’s constant commotion. 

The Palomino’s prices are not expensive not compared to some other fancy establishments.  The service is excellent and staff are always egar to help each other out.  I can honestly say that the service is on par to Emeril’s restuarants in New Orleans it is that GOOD!  This throwback in time rates a 4 Four Forks Up just because it made me smile without hurting my wallet. 

Although I experienced the Palomino in Indianapolis they have locations in Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angles which I will be experiencing in the near future.  Mind you there are others so log on to Palomino’s website at http://www.palomino.com/locations.php and give one a try.

Indianapolis – 49 West Maryland St. (317) 974-0400

 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Weber Grill Restaurant – Big taste in a little city.

Do you like barbeque? Do you like steak, ribs and chicken?  Well there is a place in Indianapolis that you can get a mouthwatering meal with full flavor.   Where is this place you ask?  A place where the meat is so tender it falls off the bone.   It is in Indianapolis!  The name you ask? Weber Grill Restaurant is the name and meat is the game.
The atmosphere let’s simply call casual.  Jeans are strongly recommended as you do not want to be out of place.  You cannot miss the door as a Weber Grill hangs outside ready to usher you in to a world of old school BBQ.   As you enter a life size bronze statue of your father working over a charcoal grills welcomes you.  This brings back memories of summer’s past.  If the food is not enough to entice you then just the memories this place brings back should.
The prices are inexpensive compared to other establishments in other cities.  This place will not break your wallet.  So sit back and enjoy.
The BBQ Combo is recommend so you can sample a huge bit of everything.  You have your choice of 2 succulent entrees including, Hickory BBQ Ribs, Grilled BBQ Quarter Chicken, Pulled Pork , Black Angus Meatloaf, House Smoked Sausage.   The rib meat fell off the bone.  The chicken was moist and plump like it took a bath in water.  The BBQ sauce is a party in my mouth.  Truly an exceptional experience.  The cornbread is top notch.
If you prefer something different the Tuscan Brick Chicken was a combustion of flavor.  A semi-boneless half chicken with lemon thyme jus served with sautéed spinach and roasted garlic mashed potatoes.  The lemon thyme jus sauce had a tang that was addicting.  The chicken required more sauce but it was juicy inside where it needed to be.  I do not typically eat roasted garlic mashed potatoes but I could literally not stop eating them, they were that fabulous.  “Fabulous” a strange word to describe potatoes but hey go with it.
The service in Indianapolis was the best service that I have had in a long time.  My water glass was always full.  My server had a constant smile on his face.  He was honest about what to order off the menu when I asked for recommendations. 
This establishment was wonderful surprise.  With a name like Weber Grill I expected prepared food reheated with an overprice menu.  This was far from the case.  Weber Grill was exceptionally priced, friendly service, and a comfortable atmosphere.  The food was spot on tender and juicy which is hard to do when grilling.  This place is definitely a 3.5 Fork Up.  When in Indianapolis do give this grilling establishment a chance you will not be disappointed even the locals hang out at the bar.
10 N. Illinois Street
Indianapolis IN 46204
317-636-7600
 



Monday, June 9, 2014

Indianapolis – The biggest small town in America.


Indianapolis, Indiana is one city you can view from your hotel window.  The whole city can literally be fit in the palm of your hand.  Although small the people have the biggest heart in America. 

You can see the whole town in just a few days but you cannot taste all the differences in town in just that short time.  This town is an active town filled with sports.  From football to basketball the town vibe is one filled with activity.  Act lively you are part of something bigger here even the children love there sports.





Don’t walk run to the nearest event.  The Indianapolis 500 held in May is the car event of the year. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum is a walk through a time machine.  The original Hall of Fame Museum opened in 1956.  There are approximately 75 vehicles on display at one time.  There are more than 30 winning cars from the Indianapolis 500 throughout the years.  Some cars on display are:

  • The four cars driven to victory by A.J. Foyt Jr., including his 1977 machine that represents his record-setting fourth Indy 500 win.
  • The Duesenberg #12 Murphy Special, the only car ever to win both the Indianapolis 500 (1922) and the French Grand Prix at Le Mans (1921).
  • Dave Evans' #8 Cummins Diesel Special, the first car to complete the Indy 500 without a pit stop in 1931.
  • The 1965 Le Mans-winning Ferrari 250 LM.
  • A 1954/55 Mercedes-Benz Formula One car.
  • A 1957 SSI Corvette.
  • A 1998 Stewart-Ford SF-2 Formula One car.
  • A rare 1935 Duesenberg Model JN four-door convertible passenger car, of which only three were built.
  • An equally rare 1925 McFarlan TV6 passenger roadster.

The people are some of the friendliest I have met and I am comparing them to the Canadians who have always had my heart.  So be warned do not come with an attitude as you will not be welcome. They may be friendly but they do have pride.  Pride you will experience in your walk about town.  But for now I will just leave you with this thought….”Indianapolis the biggest little small town in America.”