Indy – Northside Kitchenette

I’ve wanted to try this place out for a while now and had the opportunity to go 2-days in a row over a recent weekend.   Northside Kitchenette is owned by the same people who run the next door Northside Social (one of my favorite north-side restaurants for a date night).

The first day we went around lunch time I had the “kitchen’ette’ sink” ($12) which features a 1/2 order of Biscuits and Gravy topped with breakfast potatoes, bacon crumbles, two eggs over easy and cheddar cheese.   This was a really good play on the type of skillet dishes you can get at other places but this was in a bowl with enough gravy and sauce for 2 orders.   I really liked this dish. It was rich and filling enough to leave me full for most for the rest of the day.  I totally spaced taking pictures but it’s worth checking out if you’re hungry.  My son ordered the same as me and the girlfriend ordered the Eggs Benedict ($11) (sauce on the side).   Everyone was happy with their dishes and each said they would order the same again.

The next day we had the opportunity to return, and we did!  This time I went for the Eggs Benedict (also sauce on the side because a bad sauce can ruin an otherwise delicious dish) and my date ordered a half-order of their brioche french toast ($6).  A couple of libations were in order and we tried the Raspberry Bellini ($9) and Hibiscus Mimosa ($10) the latter of which  included a delicious candied hibiscus flower in the bottom of the glass.  Both were well balanced and very refreshing.

Eggs Benedict, with perfectly poached eggs, Pork Belly, and Avocado
Raspberry Bellini


Hibiscus Mimosa

Just about all of the dishes come with roasted, and quartered, potatoes.  While delicious in the “kitchen’ette’ sink” (because of all of the sauces) they were strongly seasoned on their own.  We definitely tasted cumin and, I think, rosemary.  I appreciate the aggressive seasoning, which is unusual in most potato sides, but it was a little much on their own so I opted for fruit on the second visit.  The fruit cup was delicious and contained a great mix of pineapple, grapes, and berries.

I’m really happy with the quality of the food at Northside Kitchenette.  Everything tasted fresh and the portions were just right for my appetite.  Being able to get seated right away on a weekend is a BIG plus in my book.  They had a steady rotation of customers and the service on both occasions was attentive and just right.  I’m happy to drive down from Fishers every once in a while to enjoy a nice breakfast/Brunch/Lunch at this place.

What’s your experience with Northside Kitchenette?  Any other places I should be checking out on a Sunday morning?

Northside Kitchenette
6515 N College Ave
Indianapolis IN 46220
http://www.northsidekitchenette.com

Weekend of Activities

If you know me you know I have a lot of hobbies.  Some would say I have too many…

This past weekend I took the boy to Ohio and introduced him to Briarwood Sporting Club in Bellefontaine and a really amazing  Loose Meat sandwich at the original Maid Rite sandwich shop in Greenville.

Briarwood is located on almost 500 acres of immaculately cared for property and offers 16 lakes with 11 different fish species as well as hunting opportunities in the fall.  I was the lucky winner of a discounted 1-year membership at a Ducks Unlimited auction last fall.  It’s not a cheap membership but after spending some time there I think it’s going to be a place we escape to many times a year.

Greenville Ohio is the home of Kitchen Aid and it has an amazing store that carries just about every make, model, and color the company currently makes in its factory down the road.  It also has a little museum in the basement that helps tell the history of the infamous mixer the company is known for.  I always have to stop in and usually end up bringing a new product or accessory home.  This time around I picked up some replacement parts for my stand mixer as well as a cold-brew coffee maker (future review in the works).

The Maid-Rite restaurant is about as old school as it gets.  Loose Meat sandwiches, chips, and drinks are the only things on the menu.  Somewhere in its history people started sticking gum on the building and after all these years it’s practically covered in it.  A little gross but it’s a tradition evidently.

Although the weather wasn’t the most cooperative we really enjoyed our day-trip to Ohio and are looking forward to the next one!

Indy – Nick’s Chili Parlor

After visiting Saraga the other day we worked up an appetite and needed to fill our bellies.  I fired up Google Maps on my iPhone and looked for any places in the area that I might have starred as something to check out.  It just so happened that Nick’s was on my list and right down the street!

Nick’s is different in a lot of ways.  You order cafeteria style, which makes a lot of sense since you can slap together a chili dog and a bowl pretty quickly.  Fried items and burgers appear to be brought out to the table once prepared.  The dining area is open and bright from all the windows.  The menu has items other than chili related fare.  Some notable mentions are fried tenderloins, burgers, and tamales.

Nick’s tagline is “home to the ‘Not Yet World Famous’ 5-Way chili”.  Since that’s the way I like to get mine at the Cincy chains I thought I would give it a try for comparison.

We ended up ordering a couple of 5-way Chili bowls and 2 chili dogs with everything.  The 5-way is served in a deep bowl and is mostly chili with a little pasta in the bottom.  It’s also a lot easier to eat than the competition because of this configuration.

The Chili Dog was a full sized hot dog served in a steamed and quite substantial.  A couple of these would be a meal.

The Chili itself has a nice depth of flavor.  I thought it needed a little salt and a few dashes of hot sauce and after adding that it was quite delicious.

The service was fast and friendly and the restaurant was very clean.  I don’t spend a lot of time in this area of the city but I wouldn’t hesitate to come over here from downtown for a chili dog.

Nick’s Chili Parlor
2621 Lafayette Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46222
http://www.nickschiliparlor.com

Indy – Saraga International Grocery

I decided to take the boy on a little trip to the NW Side of Indy to check out a place that’s been on my to-do list for a while.  We’re HUGE fan’s of the Jungle Jim’s stores in Cincinnati and visit often when in the area.  Until now I haven’t really found anything remotely close in comparison in Indianapolis.

Nothing can really beat JJ’s but we were pleasantly surprised with the Saraga experience.  The store is mostly grouped by country of origin and it has a nice selection of cooking equipment too.  While waiting in line we saw a couple of people carrying out a multi-tier wedding cake, I didn’t expect that at all.

The produce, meat, and seafood departments were VERY impressive and they were the most crowded areas of the store.  The produce department was awesome and everything looked fresh and clean.  The seafood area had HUNDREDS of seafood selections both fresh and frozen.  Finally, the meat department had hard to find items like whole pork shoulder, pork belly, and sliced short ribs.  Next time I fire up the BBQ I’m going to visit Saraga for the meat.

Along the back part of the store are rows and rows of refrigerator and freezer cases stocked with items from all around the world, especially asian foods.  If you’re looking for a speciality ingredient for a recipe there’s a good chance you’re going to find it here.

We got caught up in all the snacks from different countries and ended up with a handful of favorites and new things to try.

Saraga International Grocery has a lot of online reviews and was a very popular place on Saturday afternoon.  If you’re into checking out foods form around the word it’s worth checking out Sagara.  If you’ve been there or end up going there let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Saraga International Grocery
3605 Commercial Dr, Indianapolis, IN 46222
http://saragafood.com/main/store-locations/

Review – Baileys Almande

It’s tough being a self-described foodie and suffer from lactose intolerance.  In my case it’s pretty easy to manage the symptoms with over the counter supplements as long as you remember to take them early in the dining process.  It’s not a fun experience to digest dairy and realize you don’t have a Lactaid available to counter the future “effects” of your poor decisions.  Milk products are in a lot of things you might not expect so it’s important to be prepared.

As someone who loves Baileys Irish Cream over ice, especially in the winter time, I was excited to learn they made a dairy free version.  Evidently what’s available now is the 2.0 version.  Version 1.0 was released in 2016, labeled as Vegan, and contained Bees Wax (a big no-no in the vegan community).  Hands were wrung, Birkenstocks were kicked off, and the Paddington Bottling Company (maker of Baileys) was taken out back and scorned for their misgivings.

The 2017 2.0 release is now “certified” vegan and gluten free to boot!  I’m not really interested in either claim but the dairy-free aspect piqued my interest so I bought a bottle to try out.

I’m not going to sugar coat it, Baileys Almande is pretty nasty.  From the appearance, to the smell, to the taste, it’s NOT a substitute for the real thing.  I’m not sure what they were going for with this product but I think they need to go back to the drawing board.

I’m going to fix a small glass over ice right now, just for you, and try to explain what it’s like:

Appearance – Baileys Almande is very watery, similar to plain almond milk.  Maybe that’s what the beeswax helped improve?  It’s almost thinner than water!

Smell – Slight almond smell that’s not entirely pleasant or natural.

Taste – The first sip is the worst.  You’re expecting that warm and creamy mouth feel that comes with regular Baileys.  You don’t get any of that here.  It’s like a clammy limp-wristed weak handshake from a mortician at a funeral.  Yeah I’m sorry for my loss of $20 too.

Aftertaste – OK it seriously gets worse after you swallow.  You’ll experience a bitter taste followed by what I can only explain as chalky and slimy.  It lingers way longer than you want or expect.  Another sip only amplifies the first experience and the aftertaste builds upon itself.

I’d love to know how many people make a subsequent purchase after their first experience.  I know I’m staying far far away from this stuff and I’ll take my chances with the original.

Have you tried Baileys Almande?  What was your experience?