Indy – The Donut Shop

In 1997 Nuvo Magazine* said The Donut Shop Bakery & Restaurant on North Keystone had the best omelet.  In 2005 it was awarded the “Best Chocolate Iced Cake Donut”*.  

An old Indianapolis Monthly article* mentions the area used to be a rare and ancient peat bog that was drained in the 60’s as well as a 385-acre dairy farm and part of the Freedom Trail.   I was unable to find an exact year it opened but I assume The Donut Shop has to have been around since the early 70’s.

Photo from Yelp

Let’s just say this place isn’t new. And it doesn’t feel new when you arrive, which is OK with me. It’s clean and well kept for sure (except for that squeaky kitchen swing door) and that says a lot. I stopped in on a workday while making my way downtown and the crowd was light but steady.

I’ve been driving past this place for a long time and only really noticed it about 2-years ago. I must have been looking at all the car lots that used to be across the street in the area.

Photo from Yelp

After being really disappointed with the last few places I’d stopped for breakfast (looking at you Wild Eggs & Yolk with your $13+ disappointment platters) I thought I’d see if a so-called greasy spoon could fill the void. I’m not asking for much. Scramble some eggs, crisp up some shredded potatoes and do more than partially cook some bacon. Toast or a biscuit is a nice addition but don’t call it homemade/scratch when it’s clearly previously frozen and delivered on a truck twice a week.

Upon arrival at The Donut Shop I was promptly seated, had a menu in hand, and coffee on the table in about 30-seconds. Oddly the napkin wrapped flatware only contained a fork and knife. No spoon for my single pack of sugar & container of half and half. I made the fork pull double duty today.

My #2 Combo

This place has a nice list of breakfast combos & I choose the #2 consisting of Two Eggs; Potatoes; Choice of Ham, Bacon, Sausage, or Turkey; and Toast for only $5.25 I picked Bacon & Rye toast this visit.

As I waited for my food I noticed this place seemed to have a lot of regulars eating in and carrying out (food and donuts). The phone was pretty busy too with call in orders.

After about 5-6 minutes my breakfast arrived and it looked great. The bacon was very thin and crisp and the hash browns were about as perfect as you can get. The eggs were scrambled nicely and the toast nicely buttered. The potatoes were probably my favorite closely followed by that toast. It was a proper rye bread that was cut on the thick side which I like.

That Rye Toast…

This was a solid meal for the money and I was out the door for under $10 with coffee and tip (CASH ONLY). I hear this place is crazy on the weekends and I can totally see that. Not sure where everyone parks as the parking situation is pretty sparse. I’m sure people get creative and “entitled” (don’t get me started on how people park around Indy).

When I have the time and if I’m in the area I’ll happily stop back in and I look forward to trying out some other combos on the menu.

The Donut Shop
5527 N. Keystone Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46220
317.255.3836
http://www.thedonutshoponline.com

*Info from the Donut Shop’s website – http://www.thedonutshoponline.com/buzz#

Indy – North End BBQ

I’ve had a craving for that Kentucky staple called a Hot Brown for the past week and the closest place to get one in Indianapolis is at North End BBQ in Nora.

The Kentucky Hot Brown is made up pf the following:

  • Bread
  • Turkey
  • Tomato
  • Bacon
  • Mornay Sauce

The order of the ingredients often changes but when assembled you get something that looks like this:

Hot Brown at North End BBQ in Indianapolis, Indiana

This dish checks all the boxes for me. It’s rich and salty and the turkey is moist and smoked just right. The thick cut bacon has some chew and the Mornay sauce is something you want more of, even through the dish is covered in it. This is one of those meals thats best ate on a cold or rainy day and kind of defines comfort food for me.

For my side I choose Mac and Cheese topped with Bacon Jam. I was pretty underwhelmed with this side. It was very bland and somewhat dry. The Bacon Jam was a nice addition but it could not save it. I’m usually disappointed with the Mac and Cheese I get when I’m out and I’m not sure why I even ordered it this time! It’s not like I needed any more starch or carbs with this meal. The bottle of Lone Star beer I ordered went really well with this dish.

Mac and Cheese at North End BBQ

My son also ordered the Hot Brown and opted for the hand cut fries covered in smoked bone marrow butter. They fry thin slices of jalapeños with the fries for a nice little bit of heat. These were delicious and will be my side of choice when we return to satisfy our next Hot Brown craving.

Hand cut fries covered in smoked bone marrow butter at North End BBQ

North End BBQ serves up some really good food. Their pulled pork and brisket are some of the best in the area and their Moonshine cocktails are delicious. If you’re a Bourbon fan North End BBQ has an amazing selection and even offers flights if you want to sample multiple spirits.

If you’re in the area and in the mood for some great BBQ you should check out The North End BBQ!

1250 East 86th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46240
http://thenorthendbbq.com


Apple Watch Take 2

Having long-ago fully adopted the Apple ecosystem in my daily work and personal life it was only fitting that I started getting the itch to try the Apple Watch again.  I’ve gone down this road before but after reading numerous reviews about the new and improved Series 3 I thought I should give it another try.

My first go around in early 2016 was less than impressive.  Being a 1st generation device I expected some hiccups but there were more than I could tolerate.  Another issue was the inability to see the screen clearly.  The vision issue was totally on me and has since been corrected with a different type of contact lenses.

The 2018 version of the experiment is already leaps and bounds ahead of where it was 2-years ago.  The Series 3 Apple Watch is so much faster than before.  A lot of the processing is taking place on the watch vs the phone as in the earlier models.  Battery life is more than double of what is was before too.  I’m getting almost 2-days worth of use between charges which is twice as much as I was getting with the first generation unit.

Apple offers the Series 3 watch in 2 sizes (38mm & 42mm) and 2 configurations (GPS and GPS+LTE).  The LTE version acts like a stand alone phone, costs an additional $50, and requires a cellular plan.  I opted for the GPS only version since I didn’t see the need for the cellular option.

I’ve completely changed my mind about the usefulness of the device and find it extremely useful for day-to-day tasks. From answering quick text messages to checking calendar appointments to controlling the AppleTV this thing is extremely capable.

If you’ve thought about purchasing an Apple Watch it’s really worth looking into the latest version.  I really wish I hadn’t waited so long!

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/