Archive for January, 2012

Red Lion Grog House. A bit of the brit, lickity-split, no……………foolin`

Red Lion Grog House

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, it’s nice to head out and catch a soccer game at the local pub. One that I’ve been to several times is the Red Lion Grog house. Established in 2009 at the G. C. Murphy building in Fountain Square, it’s the perfect spot to call home. Nestled in amongst art gallery spaces and right in the hub of  the Fountain Square First Friday gallery walks, it’s the perfect place to kick off the evening with dinner or end an evening for drinks with your gaggle of friends.

Even though there are several restaurants in the immediate area, Red Lion holds its own just fine. The decor really sets the mood for a true English pub experience, and when there’s a soccer game on, you’re as good as there. If soccer isn’t your thing, try out the live trivia on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting around 7:00pm. The last time I played, our group was lucky (not smart)  enough to win a bit o` cash-money! Our winnings provided another round of delicious booze and a healthy tip for our server. And, if your Wednesday evening is free, check out open stage from 8-11pm.

I find it nice to sit towards the front of the place and look out the windows while enjoying good company and a piping hot meal. And if you haven’t already guessed, the signature offering here is the fish n` chips. From their own website: An English pub classic! Fresh Atlantic cod hand dipped to order in a signature batter then fried to golden brown, and served on a bed of hand-cut chips with a side of our homemade tartar sauce and a lemon wedge.The finished product is nice n` crispy and the fish is flaky and meaty. The chips aren’t my favorite style, but they still make a welcome companion for the two good-sized fillets. In addition to the standard ketchup tag-along for your chips, ask for a side of their curry sauce. They have regular, spicy or apple! Oh, and don’t forget the malt vinegar. It just wouldn’t be the same without it. Don’t ya think?

If you feel the need to tuck into a burger, they have 7 different versions of the (not so) American classic. One of them being a hearty selection called the Big Ben. From their own Website: Buyer beware: this burger will pop the button off of your pants. Two 1/2 lb all Angus beef patties topped with cheddar and Swiss cheese, smoked bacon, homemade onion rings, lettuce, tomato, and dripping with our chili. With your choice of sides and extra napkins. I’ve yet to see any of my friends eat the whole thing in one sitting. I’m guessing that YOU are no exception. Hmmmm, that sounds like a challenge to me. Are ya up for it?

Red Lion Grog House

Apart from the great food, they have a nice selection of beers — several local selections and some not so local, but all of high deliciousness. As of this writing, they have approximately 38 beers from which to choose. Chances are good that you’ll discover a new favorite.  Hell, they even have PBR specials on Sunday. That means that you can get near sh** faced and still have enough money for dessert. Such a deal! What, beer isn’t your thing? Ugh, fine, Your Highness, they also have just shy of 10 wines to check out. (Not all in one sitting, boozer!)

This brief review should whet your appetite enough to solicit a trip down to Fountain Square for a round of pints and a little taste of England. Take a couple of friends and show them your slightly international side!

Red Lion Grog House – 1043 Virginia Avenue, Indianapolis, IN 46203 – 317-822-4764


1043 Virginia Avenue  Indianapolis, IN 46203

(317) 822-4764

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


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
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: 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


Hopslam – Bell’s Brewery, Inc.

At last, my beer has come along…….. my sober days are over……..and life is like a song. Please tell me you know what that refers to. Anyway, it’s getting close to that time of year when Bells Brewing releases their LOOOOOONG awaited Hopslam Ale. This bad mother-swinger is a DOUBLE IPA that delivers the  goods in high order, however start saving now, because it’s only available from January to March (give or take a couple weeks). Yeah, you guessed it, this offering is on my top 10 list of favorite beers and since I’ve only ever had 10 different beers, they were kind of a shoe-in (kidding).  Hop-heads everywhere salivate at the mere mention of its arrival. Why? Well, let’s take a look at the write-up from the good folks at Bells:

Bell’s Hopslam Ale!! I’m so happy…..sniff…….

Starting with six different hop varietals added to the brew kettle & culminating with a massive dry-hop addition of Simcoe hops, Bell’s Hopslam Ale possesses the most complex hopping schedule in the Bell’s repertoire. Selected specifically because of their aromatic qualities, these Pacific Northwest varieties contribute a pungent blend of grapefruit, stone fruit, and floral notes. A generous malt bill and a solid dollop of honey provide just enough body to keep the balance in check, resulting in a remarkably drinkable rendition of the Double India Pale Ale style

Now that you’ve read the description, be advised that this beer is NOT for the uninitiated. This guy is up in your face and WAY up into your business! The flavors are big and bold and should not be a “gateway” beer if you’re trying to break into the world of IPA beers. Go ahead, ask one of your beer-geek pals. There are much more subtle ways to get a feel for the taste of hops.

Before you head down to the highbrow liquor store, be prepared for the price tag. A six-pack will set you back $16-$18 American dollars. Now, we routinely pay at least $3.00 for lesser beers at the pub / club and never think twice about it, but since we’re made to pay the $3.00 per beer x6 all at one time, the total just seems more expensive than we’d like. Perception is everything but once you get a taste of this liquid lust, you’ll come to realize that it’s a bargain at twice the price.

In short, this beer is a real gem for those who are somewhat used to the robust flavor of hoppy beers. The grapefruit / malt flavor is up front where the action is and once combined with the high hoppitudes and supporting flavors, this one simply moves to the head of the class. If you’re leery about the strong flavors, ask one of your hophead buddies for a swig or two. But be prepared to get hooked!

Two Brothers Cane and Ebel Beer

In the last few years, with the assistance of co-workers, I have been introduced to local craft beer.  Admittedly, I’m a cheap a** and paying more for beer goes against my pocketbook.  However, the old adage “Ya get what ya pay for” really hits home when it comes to craft beers. When you’re young, broke, and in need of a quick buzz (and eventual blackout), the most fiscally responsible thing to do was to get the Strohs 30 pack (remember? I do, sorta). Now that I have  a few (and I mean, a few) more dollars to invest in renting alcohol, I prefer getting the most for my delicious booze dollar. And what better way than craft beer? What’s more, there are so many local beer producers to support, that it isn’t possible to not find a beer that fits you. Now remember, these brewers are our friends and neighbors, not some nameless corporation with a shi*-ton of cash to spend on advertising to tell us that their product offers superior taste or a particular level of refreshment (when it really doesn’t). Once you taste local brewery offerings, you’ll be kicking your own a**, wondering why you went without for so many years. Honestly, the folks who bring you these beers are MUCH more interested in how their product tastes to their customers than how much money they can make by offering the absolute bare minimum. Now, of course, they have to eat too and I’m sure that they enjoy the occasional vacation but the focus is the beer and how it’s enjoyed. So, let me present……………….Cane and Ebel as made by the good folks at Two Brothers Brewing Co., Warrenville, IL. While not severely local, it’s still in the Midwest, so it’s cool. From what the label tells me, this beer is a red rye ale, brewed with Thai palm sugar! The resulting taste is a little malty and a little sweet.

Now, I’m an avid hop-head but part of the reason is that I like my flavors right up front, where I can keep an eye on them. This beer isn’t n IPA (India Pale Ale) but as the flavors are what I would call dramatic, it makes the cut, with room to spare.

I liked it so much, I went ahead and grabbed a four-pack for home use.

If you are new to the world of craft beers, I wouldn’t start with this one. It’s just too “in your face” for newbies. If you’re a hop-head who is looking for something that is just as full-flavored but not hoppy, this may just be the thing.

Siam Square

Now, as much as I’ve enjoyed Chinese food over the years, there comes a time when you’ve tasted all of the flavors to be had.  So the question remains that once you start to crave the essence of Asian food but you just can’t take another Lo Mein this or Kung Pow that, what naturally follows (or should) is Thai cuisine. The restaurant I make a bee-line to is Siam Square, located at 936 Virginia Avenue Indianapolis, IN 46203 :: 317-636-THAI (8424) :: info(@)siamsquareindy.comNOTE: For the sake of FULL disclosure, I am chummy with the owners of this establishment.

If you’re planning a colorful weekend  in Fountain Square to catch a burlesque show at the White Rabbit Cabaret, or a rockabilly band at Radio Radio, make it a real treat by starting the evening with authentic Thai food! Along those lines, you’ll see that Siam Square’s interior is a fitting backdrop for its menu. If you need to accommodate a larger party, they also have seating upstairs which offers a nice western view in the evenings. And, to make things easier on you after you’ve had a few beers, there’s a bathroom upstairs, too. Now go ahead and order another round for your mates. I’ll have the Sun King Wee Mack! Thanks.

Siam Square, Main Dining Room

Since you’re gonna be out late anyway, skip the crappy energy drink and get the Thai iced tea. If you’ve never had it before, the full, earthy, up-front flavor goes well beyond expectations. It features a dollop of sweetened condensed milk, (some prefer it floating on top, but most like it stirred in), which gives this drink a distinct Thai taste that sets the tone for the dishes to come. If  you’re feeling a little bit country or a little bit rock-n-roll, and in the mood for an appetizer,  try the Firecracker Shrimp (soy-marinated plump shrimps wrapped in a wonton blanket and deep-fried), or the Yum Veggie (fried tofu, tomatoes, lime juice, carrots, scallions, red onions and cilantro.) Although the Yum Veggie doesn’t sound too exciting on paper, the combination of sweet/sour/savory flavors is a taste explosion that you don’t want to miss.

Fried Catfish Filet With Yum Sauce

Now it’s time for your entree’ and aren’t you one lucky SOB? You ordered the fried catfish with your choice of sauces: Yum Sauce, Basil Sauce, Sweet and Sour Sauce, or Laotian Tomato Sauce.  And what’s this, you decided to get the Yum sauce?! Yep, it’s the same sauce that highlighted your veggie appetizer just a few minutes ago. Just to keep things interesting, to the right is an up-close and personal sneak-peak of the fish dish in question. I’m here to tell you that you’ve made the right choice. The fillet is large and uber crispy on the outside and moist and meaty on the inside. The crisp veggies are mostly onions, but since I like onions, that’s cool with me. As before, the yum sauce is delicious, and when you put the two together, it’s a combo that is tough to beat.

Siam Square Pad Thai

Say, what did your dinner guest order? A traditionalist, eh? Let me guess, the Pad Thai noodles?  And what’s wrong with that?  They know what they wanted and had the guts to order it. There’s no shame in that. Let’s break this dish down into its delicious parts. As it is described directly from the menu: This Thai classic roars to life with quick-fried rice noodles, egg, scallions and the crunch of bean sprouts and crushed peanuts. How can you not love it? Choose chicken, beef, pork, vegetarian or shrimp. I couldn’t have said it any better. I suppose you’ll want a picture now. ALAKAZAM, HUZZAH!!

I was even able to go into Kung Food stealth mode and duck in to the kitchen for a bit of recon. Preparation for the evening dinner rush was well underway and I’m sure that Iwas totally under foot but everyone was cool and no Thai hijinks ensued. The smells of Asian cooking are enough to make you want to grab the next flight and hook up with Anthony Bourdain for a whirlwind weekend. Just for fun, here are a couple pics from the kitchen.

A flurry of delicious activity. This could have been YOUR dish!

And before I forget to tell you, I paced myself through dinner and had just enough room for dessert. I don’t think that Asia is as big on dessert as us westerners, which means that the sweets they have perfected over the years are probably things that you haven’t had before.

What did I try? Well dig this, Cat. It was taro ice cream seated next to two sweet sticky rice patties. Yeah, it really happened. Sound interesting? It was. Neither item was overly sweet which is a nice departure from what I had expected. Eaten separately, each can stand alone (with perhaps a little sauce on the rice), but eating them together provides a slightly sweet / slightly salty (from the rice) combo that also has a hint of coconut. I’ve included a picture for your enjoyment.

Taro Ice Cream with Sweet Sticky Rice (and yes, purple is its natural color)

So, in short, you need to get this little treasure on your map, load up the in-laws and head to Siam Square for a little Asian atmosphere and some wonderful Thai cuisine.


Siam Square – 936 Virginia Avenue  Indianapolis, IN 46203 – 317-636-8424



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