So… Last week we started discussing my first big road trip of 2021 to the Allegheny National Forest (ANF). We got as far as Cleveland and this time we set off to visit Niagara Falls and Buffalo before heading south into the Forest.
On my way to Buffalo I wanted to swing through Erie, PA to check out the Disc Golf Course (DCG) at Penn State University. While not the fanciest DCG it was well thought out and worked its way through the north end of the campus.
East Aurora is a neat little town that was very busy for a Monday afternoon. The Bar-Bill Tavern was packed at 1:30 pm but I was able to find a seat at the bar between a couple of older local guys who were super friendly. We had a great conversation while we watched the cook behind the bar crank out one sandwich after another. He was like a machine and only broke his stride to help the servers with the occasional table-side delivery.
With a full belly it was time to finish out the day by visiting Niagara Falls and settling down in Downtown Buffalo. I visited Niagara Falls when I was a kid and I don’t remember much more than the falls. The surrounding seems to have built up and has become very commercial with a casino, a lot of restaurants, and hotels. Monday was a great time to visit as the crowds were light and it was a really pleasant experience waking around and seeing the sights.
Having eaten a bunch and walked it all off I was ready to get settled in my hotel in Buffalo and start winding down. It was a nice, and uneventful, drive to downtown Buffalo where I was surprised to see how empty the town was. The hotel I stayed at had very limited on-site parking and with the amount of gear I had in my car I wanted to keep things close and not take a chance on a public, or on street, parking lot. I was able to snag a spot right next to the front so I felt better about leaving my car there overnight, but, this kind of changed my plans about visiting the Anchor Bar to get some original Buffalo Wings, witch was several miles up the road. I settled for a Brew-Pub a few blocks away.
Dinner done, it was time to retire to my room for the night. I was upgraded to a 2-room suite on the top floor so I had no complaints about the accommodations as I prepped for the next day where I would be heading south to the Allegheny National Forest for a couple day of camping and exploring.
Stay tuned for more pictures and tales from the Forest in my next post. Thanks for reading!
We just had 2-3” of snow hit the Indianapolis region last Tuesday evening. Snow, in Indy, in April, is not that uncommon. In fact according to weather.com we have a 10-20% chance for snow in April. The average date for the last snowfall is March 19 and the latest snowfall ever recorded was May 9, 1923
I finally ate at Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery on West Washington in Indianapolis last week. I was out for a lunchtime walk and decided to stop in. They had a decent lunch crowd with a lot of people (at least around me) from out of town. The menu had a nice variety and the service was very good. I enjoyed the Skillet Burger which is an open faced sandwich on Texas Toast covered in house made chili and cheddar-jack cheese. Crinkle fries were included and were cooked and seasoned perfectly. The gentleman next to me ordered the Fish & Chips and they looked amazing (he really liked them too). That’s a reason to go back!
Finally, we had some amazing weather yesterday so I took advantage and drove up to Morse Beach in Noblesville to check out their Disc Golf course. It’s a 9-basket course but they have 2 Tee Pads for each hole for a total of 18 holes. You basically make 2 rounds. It was more challenging than I was expecting and is considered a “beginner” course. Either way it was a great way to spend a few hours outside getting some much needed exercise.
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.
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?
6515 N College Ave
Indianapolis IN 46220
Good morning! I’m starting a series this year called “Best of”. This will be a Top-10 sort of list based on a random subject of my choosing. I’m open to suggestions or requests so if there’s something you want me to cover feel free to post a comment below.
This time I’m going to focus on the weekday lunch in Downtown Indianapolis. None of these are fancy but they’ve proven to be consistently good and are locked into the rotation of places I go on a regular basis (with the exception of one that just got added). These are in no particular order and it’s certainly not a complete list.
Often called an Indianapolis Institution this cafeteria style establishment turns out some of the best pastrami sandwiches around. Their house made rye bread is a great complement to the tender and smoky meat piled high inside. Prices are on the higher end of the spectrum and the staff can be a little abrasive, especially during the lunch rush. This is a place that’s nice to visit once in a while for a filling meal and a little people watching while you eat.
This Indianapolis Startup is turning the food delivery business on its head by offering a large selection of favorites from many area restaurants delivered to your door quickly and efficiently. All of the food is made to order in their central kitchen and delivered only within a 6-minute radius to help ensure your food is hot and fresh when you get it. My only complaint, and it’s not just Cluster Truck, is the bicycle delivery riders are some of the most unsafe riders I’ve ever seen. Running red lights, riding against traffic on one-way streets, and constant close calls with pedestrians in crosswalks. It gives recreational cyclists a bad name with motorists and make it’s unsafe for everyone.
Only about a year old this place is located inside the Flat 12 brewery on Dorman Street (near east side). They specialize in “Authentic Pennsylvania Hoagies”. I’ve had many Cheesesteak Hoagies here and they’re legit. From the house made shaved Top Round to the bread shipped straight from PA this place makes a mean sandwich. It’s been known to cause me to want to take an afternoon nap on occasion.
Ralph’s, like a lot of hole in the wall places, is a little rough on the outside and you’re not going to know what to expect on your first visit. The building has no windows and the parking is a little tricky because of the one-way street the building is saddled up against. They have an outstanding version of creamy potato soup, a hamburger club sandwich, and one of the best slices of coconut cream pie you can get in the city. Service is always fast and friendly and it’s reasonably priced.
The first Sahm’s restaurant opened at 116th and Allisonville in 1986 and they have continued to grow over the past 30+ years. I’ll always remember them for the pasta salad and coffee cake of which only the coffee cake is still on the menu. They have several locations around central Indiana as well as a few spinoff locations called Rockstone and Big Lug a pizza and brewery respectively. The Sahm’s location downtown, just north of the One America parking garage, includes a Rockstone menu and does a great lunch business.
If someone didn’t tell you about Pearl Street Pizza you’d probably miss it as it’s in an alley, aptly named Pearl Street, that’s just south of Washington between Meridian and Pennsylvania. Their lunch special of a speciality pizza slice, salad and drink is one of my go to lunches when the weather is nice for a little walk from the circle. You can be in and out for under $8 in about 15 minutes if you’re pressed for time. As I’m writing this post I learned Pearl Street will be opening a Fishers location in the coming months. I hope they have the same lunch specials as they do downtown!
Truth be told I’ve only been to Subito once but it was a very good experience. It’s a SMALL place with a loyal following. On my visit the owner, Chuck, was taking each order and knew a lot of the customers by name. He was super helpful and you could tell he was putting a LOT of effort to make it not only a good experience but a memorable one. They have a rotating soup selection that I hear is really good. On my visit I had a Cuban sandwich with a side of Macaroni Salad. Both were outstanding. Unfortunately the weather turned cold and I have not ventured down to Virginia Street since. Another visit needs to happen soon because I’m craving that macaroni salad.
I’ve reviewed Wildwood before and it remains one of my top lunch spots downtown. If I could figure out how to open one of these in Fishers I would. They feature a different sandwich daily and I’m not aware of them EVER repeating a combination in the 2+ years I’ve gone there. This is a place I have to hop in the car to get to at lunch but it’s worth it for the food, not to mention the cool little market with a great variety of speciality items. I’ve made my share of impulse purchases to take back to the office. View their daily sandwich creations on Instagram.
When I’m craving a Mission Style Burrito or the cheesiest Chicken Quesadilla you could ever imagine I hit the first floor of the Salesforce Tower and pop into Fast Burrito. The food is fresh, the portions are huge, and the prices are reasonable. This is a true alternative to the other fast casual burrito chains. Their daily specials draw a steady crowd every day.
This chain of sandwich shops has a premier location on the east side of Monument Circle. It’s a very popular place at lunch time often with a line 20+ deep to the front door. They have a decent selection of customizable sandwiches and salads at a mid-level price. A bonus for the location is plenty of outside seating around the Solders and Sailors Monument, especially when the weather is cooperating.
Honorable Mention – Jimmy John’s
I’m not a fan of big chains but when I need something to eat and I need it quickly It’s hard to go wrong with an occasional sandwich from JJ’s. The downtown location can typically deliver a sandwich in less time than it would take for me to walk to the location 3-blocks away. Like I mentioned above regarding Cluster Truck JJ’s delivery cyclists can be reckless and downright dangerous at times so heads up if you’re near Meridian and Washington.
So that’s the first of what I hope to be many “Best Of” lists to be published this year. It was actually kind of hard to narrow the list down to what I did as there are a LOT of great places to eat lunch downtown. I already have a few drafts I’m working on that cover such things as Coffee Shops, Pizza Shops, and Grocery Stores. Look for those in the coming months. Enjoy your week!
I’m always looking for something different for lunch when working downtown. One of the many things I love about Indy are all the dining options. It seems like a new one comes online every week so it’s fun scoping them out and adding to them to the rotation. I had lunch with a foodie friend in Fountain Square a couple of months ago. While driving up Virginia Ave, on our way back downtown, we spotted Wildwood Market and had to stop.
If you’re familiar with Locally Grown Gardens in SoBro you should have an idea what to expect at Wildwood. It’s a similar concept where an old Service Station type building has been repurposed as a neighborhood mini-market. What makes these places different from the chain stores (7-11 or Village Pantry) is they specialize in locally sourced items and products with ingredients you can pronounce.
From a sheer number of items, and variety, this place is amazing. Dry goods, meats, cheeses, frozen items, and fresh bread, this place is a MUST VISIT to get all the goodies for your next picnic. Also a good place to pickup holiday treats for the foodies in your life.
A short while back Wildwood started offering a rotating sandwich and salad of the day for lunch. Priced at around $8.00 each and full of all kinds of interesting flavor combinations it was an immediate hit for me! In fact I’m going out there at least once a week to grab a sandwich and eat it on site (several seating options) or back at the office when things are hectic. Wildwood Market posts today’s specials on their Facebook Page every day around 11am so you have something to think about for the next hour.
Today’s Lunch Sandwich: Pastrami, Peppered Smoking Goose Bacon, Cabot Extra Sharp White Cheddar, Roasted Poblano, Creamy Red Pepper Vinaigrette, Mixed Greens On Rye Bread.
Pair that with a bag of McClure’s Spicy Pickle potato chips and an Oatmeal Pecan Carmel Cookie for dessert you have a great meal for around $12.50 (enough to split with a friend if you’re a light eater).
A word of warning. The sandwiches and salads are first-come first-served and when they’re gone they’re gone. I always try to get there by 12:30pm and have yet to walk out empty handed. I really need to start trying the salads as they have some great combinations as well but I can’t quote get over how good those sandwiches are!
Wildwood is open Mon – Sat 10AM – 8PM. They do a special breakfast dish as well as lunch on Saturday.
Have you been here? What did you think? Post your feedback below.