The Tamale Place (And now, for something completely familiar)

StorefrontFamiliar but not ordinary. Sure, we’ve all eaten tamales over the years but chances are, they were the type that would fit in the palm pf your hand with a thin whisper of filling. Well, you’re in for a nice big treat. I was advised to try this swingin’ joint a couple weeks ago, so the wife and I went ahead and made it a quest. If ever I received some good advice, this was it. The store front is very unassuming (hint: it’s the one with the stripped awning) but much like the mild-mannered Bruce Banner who becomes the Might Hulk, you’ll find that once you get inside to see the inner workings, there is flurry of tamale activity.

The inside houses limited seating but look closely and see how much room they require to churn out their varied offerings. It becomes clear that in-house dining isn’t the focus. The real interest here is, of course, tamales and brother, the folks have brought their “A” game! As a little bonus, in case you aren’t a meat eater, there are at least four tamales from which to choose. All things considered, that ain’t bad. On the flipside, meat filled treats make up the remaining varieties. Check out the menu (you may need to visit their website for a better look)!

IMG_3317[1]

Click on the photo to get to their website (neat, huh?). So great, now you know what your choices are but now comes the hard part. What do you choose? If I were you, I’d grab a half-dozen of your closest friends and assign marching orders. Everyone picks a different tamale and once tha’s done, sit down and make it a communal dinner (better yet, take them home, pop in your most loved El Santo movie and enjoy the mayhem while you munch). But hold it, just one tamale each? How is this a meal? If you remember the beginning of this post, I described the tamale of yore was slight of build with slightly less filling than was expected. Fear not, these bad daddies are way more robust than the aforementioned variety. Now to be reasonable, we all know that a certain amount of masa is necessary to make a tamale what it is. These cuties are no exception. I believe that the actual filling is more than ample and the amount of masa is appropriate for acommodating the amount of filling. That said, these dudes are indeed sizeable. And what goes with tamales (and everything else)? Salsa, of course. We tried the mild and the spicy variety and although they were both passable, I wouldn’t say that they were anything to write home about.

Now granted we have yet to try the lions share of yummies but from what we did try, it’s well worth another trip out. Say, if you happen to plan a visit yourself, can you pick us up a couple?

The Tamale Place 5226 Rockville Road, Indianapolis, IN 46224

317-248-9771

KUNG FOOD MASTER RANK: GREEN BELT WITH TWO STRIPES.

Taqueria El Bohemio (I hope I spelled that correctio)

FrontUnless you’ve been out of town for a few years, you’ve no doubt seen a rise in the number of food trucks around Indy. They show up at city events and surrounding burbs, and the offerings are all over the map, from savory to sweet and various levels in-between. Although Taqueria El Bohemio isn’t a truck, it does have wheels, which should be close enough for anybody. Ok, it’s really a taco stand. Happy now? Anyway, I’d been passing it by for months, always heading for more established, er, establishments and  finally took the plunge a few days ago. It was a pleasant experience and, although  I only had the time and the appetite for a quick taco and Coke (a-cola), my short order hit on all cylinders and kept me rolling for the rest of the afternoon.

The menu features a nice little handful of yummies from which to choose, and as soon as I get a translator, I will try a few more treats in true Mexican style. Menu

For now, I’ll comment on what I tried — the chicken tacos and Mexican Coke. But wait, what the hell is a Mexican Coke? Let’s ask Wikipedia: “Mexican Coke, also called “Coca Cola de Mexico,” “Coke de Mexico,” or, informally, “MexiCoke,”[citation needed] is Coca-Cola that is made and bottled in Mexico[1] in a thick glass bottle. Although intended for consumption in Mexico, Mexican Coke has become popular in the United States because of a flavor that fans call “a lot more natural tasting.[1] The primary difference in flavor between Mexican Coke and the American Coca Cola recipe is that Mexican Coke is sweetened using cane sugar.” If you’re a Coke drinker from years ago, (and I mean several years ago), you may recognize the flavor. Next time you’re in the “hood”, try a MexiCoke instead and see how it stacks up against the corn-syrup version.

Chicken Taco close upAs for the tacos, check out the picture to your left and tell me that you won’t be tearing the house apart looking for your keys and wallet. (Say, have you seen my keys and wallet?) Oh, one warning: I don’t know what type of chilis they serve with the tacos, but I got a little lit-up after the first bite. It would serve you well to tread lightly around it or just remove it altogether if you don’t prefer the heat. Sauce n stuffBut then, what’s a taco without a few little extra flavor boosters? Well, it would still be awesome, but now it’s a taste explosion! A few radishes, cucumber slices, lime and a little salsa verde round out the whole scene, Daddy-o. Still not convinced? Well, go grab a few chums this Saturday and take a little road trip down East Washington way. Be sure and wear your work shirt to catch the drippings.

Taqueria El Bohemio- 4002 East Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN

KUNG FOOD MASTER RANK: ORANGE BELT WITH THREE STRIPES.

Sesame Chinese Restaurant

Now tell me, who doesn’t like Chinese people foods? Well?! Gimme a name!! That’s right, nobody doesn’t like Chinese people foods. Sure, Chinese restaurants are a dime-a-dozen and around every corner. You may even find a couple in the back of your garage. Go ahead and look, I’ll wait. You found one, didn’t ya? What makes this one different? Nothing, but it’s the one I go to and have indeed found a few little menu gems. It’s run by a couple of nice ladies who are always around to help out, fill a water glass, high-five the customers, etc.  As you already know, I don’t do beef or pork, so get that right out of your mind. That still leaves plenty of yummies to enjoy. Now, let’s face facts, this ain’t the Ritz. It’s a strip-mall Chinese restaurant. Please take that into consideration when you read over this review. Let’s start slow and build. The soups are the standards: Hot ‘N Sour and Egg Drop. No surprises here. They’re both what you’d expect and that’s cool. I’d hate to be surprised by a big steaming bowl of “what the hell was that?”  The one caveat is that it comes out so friggin hot that once it cools off,  you’ll be eating it for dessert. Mmmmm…..dessert soup.  Just like other Chinese joints, the soup comes with those weird little fried Fu Manchu toenails. They’re basically there for the crunch factor. Wanna see a picture? There, check it out.

You’ll notice the little bowl of yellow death in the middle, off to the right. If you’re able to use this stuff for anything other than to vanquish your enemies, you’re a better person than I. Of course, Chuck Norris gargles with it and uses it as a zit cream.

Anyway, I gravitate to the same handful of lunch items including the shrimp with mixed vegetables. A tasty little selection with a name that tells it like it is. It comes with an egg roll and steamed or fried rice. I’ve never really cared for either but I’ve taken one for the team and had a bite or two of each. Again, standard fare and if that’s what you like, go nuts. Hell, you can even have mine. You’re welcome.

The shrimps are plenty plump and there are more on the plate than you’d expect for the price. The veggies are in the proper proportion to the shrimp, which makes for a happy plate indeed. Athough, I’d gladly swap the rice for more shrimpy/veggie goodness, but these ladies don’t roll like that, yo.

Another choice selection is the shrimp with broccoli. I always ask them to cook it with their white sauce, because the one they usually use is just too greasy (hint, hint — get the white sauce.) The good thing about broccoli is that it acts as a flavor sponge for the sauce. It’s a tree-shaped taste explosion! The photo to the left shows all of the available add-on sauce options, including soy sauce, which adds a little flavor boost to an already flavor-packed dish.

As with the shrimp and veggie dish, the shrimp and brooccoli are plentiful and, in concert with the proper sauce, makes a nice little lunch for a work weary soul (much like myself.) Be sure to bring along your laptop or other electronic device of choice to watch your favorite Kung Fu movie whilst dining. I don’t mean to stereotype; I just like Kung Fu movies. And why not, they’re awesome!

Lastly, one of my favorite dishes is the fish soup. The bowl that it comes in is quite sizeable and it’s filled to the brim with broth, noodles, veggies and tender fish. Just like the other soups they serve, it’s NASA-hot so you’ll have to make some phone calls or play a few rounds of Angry Birds before you can even think about taking a slurp. But wait, if I remember right, you like your foods just a touch on the spicy side. Am I right? Today is your lucky day! Just ask for the chili sauce and plop some liberally into your bowl. You won’t be sorry you did. Wanna see a picture? See the snapshot to the left. To me, this soup is the perfect fall afternoon lunch. Plus, it’s got everything a body needs: delicious Chinese food goodness. Just look at that bowl, brimming with, um, stuff. Why the hell would you not order it? Anyway, if you’re up in the 86th and Meridian area, stop in and see what tickles your Asian fancy.

KUNG FOOD MASTER RANK: GREEN BELT WITH FOUR STRIPES.

Southern Tier Mokah. (Imagine combining Godzilla and Bruce Lee!)

There, I said it and I’d say it again too. If you were smart enough to try the Southern Tier Choklat and the Jah-va singularly, (what do you mean you haven’t?! You march your hinder into that kitchen and crack one open this instant. MARCH!), then just imagine the marriage of these two unstoppable flavor juggernauts! If your taste buds had heads, they would surely explode at the mere anticipation of the impending beer-gasm and so should yours. Now that it’s plain to you that this beer is über full-flavored, you should likely avoid introducing your light-beer swilling brother-in-law to the world of craft beers with this selection or any of the “Black Water” series. They’re not for the faint of palate. You’ve been warned, so let’s move on.

In case you’re interested, here is the official Wikipedia entry for a brief definition of what an imperial stout is:

Imperial stout

Imperial stout, also known as “Russian imperial stout” or “imperial Russian stout,” is a strong dark beer or stout in the style that was brewed in the 18th century by Thrale’s brewery in London, England for export to the court of Catherine II of Russia.[8] In 1781 the brewery changed hands and the beer became known as Barclay Perkins Imperial Brown Stout. When the brewery was taken over by Courage the beer was renamed Courage Imperial Russian Stout.[9] It has a high alcohol content, usually over 9% abv.”

There, now you can speak beer with your chums of lesser sophistication and come out the hero. But don’t get too cocky or they won’t include you in the next round and we can’t have that. So, now that we’ve gotten today’s lesson out of the way, I invite you to try this little gem after a light dinner this weekend. Think of it as your coffee and dessert all together in one handy bottle.  Isn’t it nice to know that Southern Tier has taken the work out of the after-dinner experience? You can thank them by trying all of their fine offerings.

Southern Tier Imperial Choklat Stout (The delightful marriage of candy and booze)

After recently falling for porters and stouts, I’ve moved even further into the genre by trying out some selections that exhibit either a coffee, vanilla or chocolate flavor, right up front. This particular offering is, as the name suggests, all about the chocolate. Let me just emphasize again that this beer is ALL ABOUT THE CHOCOLATE!!

This is one of Southern Tiers’ “Blackwater Series” imperial stouts. (You can read up about the company here.) Per their website, the chocolate goodness comes in part from chocolate malt and bittersweet Belgian chocolate.

I’m here to tell you that this beer delivers the goods in high order! The smell alone will have you reaching for your insulin booster shot.

Your first sip will set the bar for which all other chocolate stouts will be measured.  And at 10% ABV (Alcohol By Volume), the whole ride is going to be a smooth decent into lusciousness. However, given its robust flavor, this is by no means a session beer. You should nurse this baby around the fireplace with your sweetie to set the tone. (She/he can get their own!)  Add some of Barry White’s greatest hits on vinyl and……you’ll get a great nights sleep. Isn’t that nice?

Unfortunately, it’s only a winter release and I neglected to stock up. Be sure to check their website to see what seasonal flavor they currently have available. Truth be told, I had never heard of Southern Tier or their offerings prior to last winter. I have a habit of walking into a liquor store and grabbing whatever catches my eye. I guess marketing departments count on guys like me. Oddly enough, the line, “less filling, tastes great” never sent me running to the corner store to stock up.

Hoaglin To Go (to my belly).

One of the most bestest things about Saturday mornings is breakfast, however, one of the most worstest is the dirty dishes. But wait, I just got paid. Why not go out for yummies instead? And what better place than, you guessed it, Hoaglin to go. Just take a look at the menu. I dare ya, I double-dog dare ya. It’s chock full of kicked up dishes without making too much of a show. Sure, you can get the usual bacon ‘n eggs but you didn’t come here for the usual. Dude, did you even look at the menu that I dared you about earlier? Ok, I’ll wait for you to go ahead and do it now……………..Times up. So, what sounds good? Most everything, right? Just like anything else in life, not every choice is a winner but the odds are stacked in your flavor (please tell me you caught that).

The (smoked) Salmon Benedict with Pommes Anna GratinPersonally, I have a couple of favorites that I tend to stick with. What are they you ask? Just have a look. This little cutie would be the Salmon Benedict with Pommes Anna Gratin (Cheesy taters). As you can see, there’s plenty of food to share but that ain’t gonna happen. Don’t reach towards my plate, don’t talk to me and don’t make eye contact until I’m done.

Now, while you’re savoring your breakfast, take the time to absorb some of your surroundings. Local artists’ works adorn the brightly colored walls and most, if not all, are ready for purchase.

You can surprise your sweetie with a nice wall hanging and some delicious to-go selections. What? You didn’t check out the tidbits in the glass case? Remember what I said about your surroundings? And to think that you might have walked out and not gotten at least a sweet treat and a coffee to go.

Ok, if this brief review has aroused your interest, stop reading and get down there for some kick-ass breakfast goodness.

 

 

 

 

 

Hoaglin To Go-448 Massachusetts Avenue  Indianapolis, IN 46204-317-423-0300

KUNG FOOD MASTER RANK: BLUE BELT WITH TWO STRIPES

Ripple Bagel & Deli. It doesn’t take an Einstein.

I prefer to avoid chain eateries but like the occasional bagel sammich. What to do? I head for Ripple Bagel & Deli. In my opinion, it’s way more hip than the “other place” and the choices of ingredient combinations are way more diverse. And what’s even better, they have at least eleven dedicated veggie sammiches from which to choose and fifteen bagel types! Math nerds, please feel free to calculate how many possible yummy combinations are available. Ready……….wait for it…….GO! For those of you who don’t care for the math, here’s a link to the menu.

My most recent choice was the “Weekapaug”, along with a giant pickle.

The Weekapaug

You’ll have to ask them just what the hell that actually means, but what it meant to me was a kick-ass lunch! What’s on it? Howz about a stack of spinach, cream cheese, smoked cheddar (mmmm, smoked cheddar), sprouts, lettuce and honey mustard. All of which is lovingly placed on something called a bialy (basically, it’s a chewy yeast roll, somewhat like a bagel.) Like most bagel sammiches, this is a messy undertaking, but the one thing that makes it a little more so is the fact that they steam their bagels in-house, which makes them very chewy. I’m not really sure how I feel about this, since I wind up using 30% more napkins and a possible shirt sleeve. Even so, this is no reason to stop trying all of the veggie combos.

Don’t feel like a bagel today? One of my chums went with a Chicago Style hot dog. Now, some folks have a different idea of what should go on a dog of this type, but essentially, your dog is “run through the garden” and celery salt added for that little extra something.

The Chicago Style Dog

Back in my meatier days, this style was just the best. I used to go to a little dog stand in NW Indiana and devour two with everything and wash it down with a big ol` grape drink.  Even if your favorite dog version is different, it’s likely you’ll still enjoy this one. Just take a good look and tell me what you think. If you can finish two of these babies, you’ll have my gastronomic respect. As soon as they offer a veggie-dog version, I’ll be first in line, but until then, I’ll just watch you stuff your mug.

Sweet Treats : )

After you’re done with the savory, go ahead and pick up a homemade sweet treat for the drive back to work (ugh).

If you want to support local business and still enjoy bagel fare, this is the place for you. They are, in most ways, superior to their competition with the brainy namesake. Go ahead, stop by for lunch and  see what your favorite is. Oh, and don’t forget the enormous pickle.

Ripple Bagel & Deli – 850 Broad Ripple Avenue  Indianapolis, IN 46220

317-257-8326

KUNG FOOD MASTER RANK: GREEN BELT, WITH TWO STRIPES

TATA Cuban Cafe`. If you try to order a taco, I’ll slug ya`

If you’re a fan of Latin food but the standard taco or burrito has lost its luster, perhaps it’s time you try a culinary trip to Cuba.  Are you doing some urban hiking downtown and need  to pull over for a break? Why not pass on the burger or sub and tuck into something a little more hearty and stick-to-your-ribish? Tata Cuban Cafe’ may be what you could use.

Just what is Cuban food like? In short: (from Wikipedia) Cuban cuisine is a fusion of Spanish, African and Caribbean cuisines. Cuban recipes share spices and techniques with Spanish and African cooking, with some Caribbean influence in spice and flavor.  At TATA, that translates into plenty of the a fore mentioned hearty dishes. Many of which are accompanied by rice, beans and/or plantains.

Fried Yuca and Onion Rings

I had some friends along for the ride and we started out with a couple of  appetizers before settling

The dining room is colorful and cozy

into our lunch items. We chose the fried yucca and an order of onion rings to start, both of which were served with a mojo sauce. You can think of fried yucca as….wait for it….french fries. However, haven’t you had enough standard french fries to last you the rest of forever? If given the choice between the two, I’d take the yucca every time. Just look at those golden brown, thick cut little cuties.  Although traditional mojo sauce isn’t  thick enough to stick like ketchup would, dipping will give you enough taste to make it worth your  while.

The onion rings were not what I expected and were just average.The mojo helped ’em out, but it may be a while before I get them again. I’ll stick to the fried yucca for now.

Unfortunately, for a guy who steers clear of beef and pork, there aren’t many lunch menu items that I can enjoy, however, one of the folks who joined me was only too glad to order the traditional Cuban sammich. Now this guy is a particularly hearty individual who has a “wide” experience with food (do I have to spell it out?) From what he tells me, this is the BEST Cuban sammich he’s ever had. A ringing endorsement indeed!

The Veggie Cuban Sammich

I went for a veggie version of the Cuban sammich. When you take into consideration that Cuban food leans towards meaty goodness as the focus, the fact that they had a veggie version of anything was commendable. I can’t say that it was my favorite flavor combo, but it was indeed tasty enough.

All in all, Tata Cuban Cafe’ is a decent diversion. When faced with choosing between a host of national chain restaurants, it’s nice to know that there are a few cozy little mom-n-pop joints to frequent instead.

 

 

Tata Cuban Cafe’ – 137 West Market Street  Indianapolis, IN 46204 – 317-686-0855

KUNG FOOD MASTER RANK: GREEN BELT WITH TWO STRIPES

La Parada, Taco in the box.

La Parada. Small place, big taste.

Let’s face it, Mexican restaurants are ten centavos a dozen, no matter where in the country you reside.  However, it’s not always easy to find good Mexican food. Thankfully, I was curious enough to stop in and try La Parada, even though it had been less than a mile from my old casa since I’d lived there for years. Just imagine all of the yummy tidbits that I missed out on because I had made my decision not to visit based on outward appearances alone.

La Parada’s storefront isn’t something that would make you jam on the brakes in traffic, but sometimes ya gotta be a gambler and roll the dice once and awhile. Just like my early dating career (therapy wasn’t working).

Grab a seat and strap in.

Hopefully, you brought a friend, so go ahead and grab a booth before the joint fills up.

Given the size of the kitchen, you’ll be surprised once you open up the menu. How can they churn out so many different dishes without the cooks getting an elbow in the ribs all afternoon? It’s kooky talk, I tells ya! And yet, they crank out tasty plates all day long. While you’re reading the menu, the chips and salsa will keep you from passing out and may even pep ya up some. (Is salsa an energy “drink” of the ancient Aztecs? Of course not, bone head. Why would you even suggest that?)

Ahhhhhhhh, Chicken Soupy Goodness!!

A couple of my favorites here are the chicken soup (especially back when chicken was one of my staples.) They toss in two plump pieces of dark meat, (which to me is superior to white meat), veggies and white rice. The broth is flavorful enough on it’s own, but if you like a little extra punch, it also comes with a couple of lime wedges, (awesomeness in soup), chopped white onions, cilantro, (even more awesomeness in soup), and whole dried chilies. If you’re going to add the chilies, be sure your contacts won’t need any adjustment for awhile. To round out the experience, I like to go with the corn tortillas and a big ol` Mexican Coke. In case you aren’t familiar with the Mexican variety of Coke, just click on the link for a shot of knowledge. Don’t believe what you read? Ok, go ahead and order one. You’ll see.

Shrimp Tacos

Another favorite of mine is the shrimp tacos. Once again, corn tortillas are called in to yummy action, but this time they’re all crunchy n` stuff. Nothing too elaborate, but really, is that why you came here? For elaborate food? Believe me, this simple dish delivers. Squeeze on a couple of lime wedges, spoon on some of their homemade salsas, crank up a Mexican Wrestler movie from the 1960’s-70’s on your iPad, and you’re good to go (pssst, they also have wireless but ya gotta ask first)!

Still not enough food for one sitting? Ok, how about a nice ear of corn to go with your tacos? WAIT! I haven’t been very up-front with you about the corn suggestion. It’s not an “ordinary” ear. As you know, Mexican food is flavor-forward and they don’t (or shouldn’t EVER) do bland. In that spirit, the corn cob in question (an elote) is slathered with mayonnaise, rolled in Mexican cheese (most likely queso fresco), sprinkled with chili powder AND spritzed with lime juice! This bad mother-finger is a slam dunk, and if the corn were grilled first instead of boiled, we’d both be fat and drowsy on the stuff right now.

Ask for the Elote` (that’s the kicked-up corn)

So, how’s that for temptation? If this review is enough to get you in the door, you’ll find that this little gem is square, firm and fully packed with delicious Mexican people food goodness.

1638 East New York Street, Indianapolis, IN 46201 (317) 917-0095

KUNG FOOD MASTER RANK: GREEN BELT, WITH TWO STRIPES

3 Floyds Brewpub (Oh, by the way, which one’s pink)

Your ticket to beeradice.

The next time you’re in northwest Indiana for whatever reason, you need to do yourself a HUGE favor and head over to the 3 Floyds Brewpub, 9750 Indiana Parkway, Munster, IN 46321, 219.922.3565 . I wish I had learned about this place 15 years ago when they opened but, although I’ve been drinking their beer for years, my first experience with the actual pub wasn’t until November of 2011. Yeah, a few months ago. While putting our names on the 45-60 minute waiting list (which is typical, no matter when you get there) I peeked in and saw that they were showing a 1970’s Kung Fu movie on the back wall !! Well, that hooked me and whenever I get up to the area, I make it a point to stop in.

Although I was hungry when I got there, I decided to lean back with a choice adult beverage while watching a Gamera movie on the rear wall. My choice? An IPA of course, with the name Cimmerian Sabertooth Berzerker.  At 100 IBUs and 9% ABV (alcohol by volume), this is a high intensity little cutie. The flavor is difficult to describe and the menu description didn’t help. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t really warm up to it, as much as I wanted. It was plenty hoppy but the overall flavor put me off. Now, that’s not to say that I didn’t finish it, because I did. It just ain’t kosher to waste booze. Dig?

The fish is mild but the slight grill char added a nice “earthy” element and the citrus salad really gives this dish a superb brightness that was unexpected. (Mostly because I was watching Gamera and wasn’t paying attention to the food.) The sliced jalapenos were just “sauce for the goose, Mr. Savik”. It isn’t a gut-buster portion, not by any stretch, but as I’ve mentioned before, when excellent ingredients are used in tandem with good recipes and a staff that give a sh** about the results,  it’s worth the money. This ain’t the Taco Bell  value menu. Thang Gawd. To compliment this dish, I tried a much less robust beer, Pride and Joy. From their website: This beer is 3 Floyd’s American “Mild” Ale. With a more assertive hop profile than British Milds and a relatively low alcohol content this is a great session beer that still has Pale Ale characteristics. Pride and Joy is a golden color with a fruity nose and a light caramel sweetness to balance the crisp finish. A truly refreshing ale that drinks easily. In case you aren’t familiar with the term “session beer” I have included a brief definition from the Beeradvocate website: Session beer
n.
Any beer that contains no higher than 5 percent ABV, featuring a balance between malt and hop characters (ingredients) and, typically, a clean finish – a combination of which creates a beer with high drinkability. The purpose of a session beer is to allow a beer drinker to have multiple beers within a reasonable time period or session without overwhelming the senses or reaching inappropriate levels of intoxication. (Yes, you can drink and enjoy beer without getting drunk.) Here is a link to a website with a much more in-depth definition: http://beeradvocate.com/articles/653 So, in short, 3 Floyds is the basement man-cave I’ll never have but will ALWAYS want. The beer list is extensive, eclectic and another word that starts with an “e” that would work super well here but at the moment, escapes me. And just as cool is the menu. You’re bound to find just the right food to go with your beer. Please, the next time you’re there, drop me a line and tell me what movie is on! Thanks in advance.

Three Floyds Brew Pub – 9750 Indiana Parkway-Munster, IN -46321 – 219-922-3565

KUNG FOOD MASTER RANK: BLUE BELT WITH 2 STRIPES

LA REVOLUCION

La Revolucion

In case you haven’t yet noticed, Fountain Square is fast becoming the next Broad Ripple without all of those pesky drunk college types doubled over depositing their evening  along the curb.  My guess is that visiting Superbowl patrons will make it a destination.  One of the more mod/rocker restaurants to pop up is Revolucion, a cantina and hipster hangout. NOTE: For the sake of FULL disclosure, I am chummy with the owners of this establishment and their employees. Although the storefront blends in with the other business fronts, once the door is open, the first thing to jump out at you is the decor. Bold colored local art, Mexican wrestler masks, sombreros and other Hispanic eye candy outfit the walls.

 

If you’re really paying attention, as well you should, you’ll notice that the music is NOT top 40 bubblegum nonsense or the standard Muzak we’re accustomed to. They’ve assumed that you’re much more savvy and sophisticated than that and have made adjustments to the music stream. All at no cost to you!

Kick A** Guac! Nuff Said.

Since you’ve planned ahead and gotten there early, go ahead and grab a seat, but not before checking out the chalkboard menu at the far end of the bar. And lucky you, this is the same section of bar space you’ll place your order. Is there nothing they haven’t thought of?  On the left side of the hanging menu, ya got “pinchos” (Spanish, literally, thorn or spike. Snacks typically eaten off toothpicks at bars while hanging out with friends). On the right are a handful of delicious taco variations. And what’s a bar without a burger? No, really, what is it? As of this writing, you have 3 burger choices. Two are meaty and one is vegetarian-friendly 🙂 (I’ve recently heard from a little bird that new vegetarian friendly dishes are in the development stages!).  As I won’t be trying the critter versions, I will comment on the veg-friendly burger. This is a black bean variant that does a body right. For those who are doing the town with carnivores but still want to hang with the cool kids, you won’t be disappointed with this offering.  Plus, the fries that go along with it are all crispy n stuff. Pass the salt, please. Thanks. If you’re burned-out on french fries, try the “Patatas Bravas” for a touch of heat. Oh, not hot enough? Ask your bartendress (yeah, that’s not a real word)  for one of the of the three or four homemade hot sauces . The guacamole is also homemade and you’ll appreciate this if you’ve ever had the store-bought variety.

What I hear from my carnivore friends is that the Tijuana Torpedo is rife with grilled jalapenos and the legendary heat that goes with them plus pepper-jack cheese! The Lardy Laddie burger comes with the standard accoutrements, lettuce, tomato, onion, plus bacon. Here’s a little inside info: the burgers are made with both beef AND pork. Mmmmmmmm, I guess, beef AND pork.

And, as if the food choices weren’t enough, they have a SH**- ton of tequilas! BTW, this translates to over 70 brands! Focus your gaze under the Tucan Sam piñata and “Children of the Corn” style crucifix if ya don’t believe me.  See? Told ya. SUCKA! In case you plan on missing Sunday services, you can always say a few words before the Virgin Mary located to the right of the beer taps (from the customer side of the bar, fool.) Too blasphemous? Then why are you at a bar? Sinner!  Speaking of sin, check out the host of bartendresses . Are they something, or what?!  Say, check out the, um, shoes on that one. Please pardon my pig-ish observations. I was wired this way. Luckily, my wife is a forgiving and kind soul. Right honey…..hello……..?

Since it’s winter and no time to be out-of-doors, you won’t be able to visit the tiki bar out back until spring. Yes, tiki! They’ve got Hawaiian statue face dudes, table umbrellas and everything! No sh**, lickity split!  Like I said earlier, it’s a hipster joint. And what better place for kitsch? If I had one wish to make a change to Revolucion, it would be to show Kung Fu / Hercules/ b-movies on an outside wall while I drink and dine.  This may sound too awesome for most people, but I think it’s a nice addition to any home or business.

Ok, I’ve made you wait long enough for pics of the goods. Prep for maximum droolage:

In short, this cantina is the epicenter (a focal point of activity) of south-of-the-border hipness, with a pinch of the kitsch geek in all of us.

The owners of this establishment also own Radio Radio, a music venue/bar, right across the street. However, a write-up on this place will have to wait for another time.  Adios for now, cats and kittens.

 

 

La Revolucion – 1132 Prospect St – Indianapolis, IN 46203 – (317) 423-9490

KUNG FOOD MASTER RANK: BLUE BELT, WITH 1 STRIPE

Heavy Seas Mutiny Fleet – The Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale

IMG_6394[1]In as much as porters and stouts easily lend themselves to the fall and winter seasons, ales also play a role this time of year.  Heavy Seas Mutiny Fleet – The Great Pumpkin Imperial Pumpkin Ale is a solid selection for this time of year.  The attractive redish-gold color helps to put you in the mood to watch the colors of the leaves change. The flavor is a little sweet, but not overly so, and the pumpkin flavor is mellow without slapping you in the face.  If you pay attention, you can even taste a bit of bourbon (cha-ching!) and vanilla, as well as the standard pumpkin spices. Not that “standard” is a letdown, you understand. In fact, it’s the tasty initial flavor upon which many of the other flavors are based. If you don’t mind sitting outside in multiple sweaters on a chilly afternoon with your friends, this ale is the perfect choice while sitting around the campfire and forgetting the day’s toil. Cheers!

Southern Tier Warlock

Blog shotFall is just about my favorite time of year, mostly due to the big selection of richly flavored pumpkin beers. This is the first time I’ve tried Warlock and I have to say I’m very impressed. Southern Tier has a list of rotating seasonal beers known as their Black Water Series, and I think these are their flagship effort. There’s no doubt that the ingredients are premium and the brewing methods meticulous. Their efforts pay off in a major way with Warlock. From what I’ve read, this Imperial Stout is meant as a counterpoint to their other fall beer, “Pumking”. (We’ll have to save that one for another blog post.) In brief, Warlock is a little less pumpkin-flavored than others and has a little more spice. Now, that’s not a bad thing. There is indeed subtle pumpkin flavor lurking about, but the taste of roasted malt is more up front here. Actually, I should say malts — 4 types of malts, in fact, which all shine through and provide a nutty finish that really leaves you feeling warm and cozy. This beer is best served when the cold winds are howling outside and the fire is blazing inside. If you haven’t invited your sweetie to cozy up with you and your Warlock yet, now would be a good time. Cheers!

Southampton Publick House Pumpkin Ale

IMG_6172 FIMG_6167all weather has been making its appearance of late and along with it has come several fall-fashion beers. The great majority of these are, of course, pumpkin beers. There are a ton of them out there and I’d like to make it my mission to try as many as possible and use this knowledge to help you make a more informed decision (I didn’t say the RIGHT decision). The choice I made today comes from the good folks at Southampton Publick House.  Now, it’s possible that I’m spoiled but after trying so many different offerings,  I’ve come to the conclusion that I prefer my beers with a ton of flavor right up front. For me,  “session” beers don’t have the same luster as they once did.  However, I’m not averse to them by any stretch. Let’s not lose our heads here! In case you forgot, a session beer can loosely be described as a beer that has a low alcohol content, around 4.5%, so that you can enjoy several in a session. The times between 11:00-3:00 and 7:00-11:00 have, in some circles, been blocked off for prime drinking sessions. Also, the low alcohol content means that you can have several rounds with your chums without getting overtly drunk. Since I don’t care much about keeping my drunkenness a secret, I define a good session beer more in terms of drinkability and flavor, regardless of alcohol content. Now, there are several beers that are so full-flavored that more than one or two would just be overwhelming. Think about how delicious your favorite dessert would taste after a light dinner. Now imagine eating eight of those desserts. Things would start to get really gross, really fast.  Southampton Public House Pumpkin Ale is definitely good as a session beer. It has nice, yet mild, pumpkin flavors and scents, with notes of pie spices such as nutmeg and vanilla. The color is attractive and lends itself to the whole autumn drinking experience. You could serve this beer with Thanksgiving dessert and it would enhance the experience without overpowering it. I recommend this seasonal ale as a first step if you’ve never had a pumpkin beer before and wanted to take the plunge.