Archive for February, 2012

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