Sunday, October 30, 2011

Joy's Pattaya Thai - Richfield, MN

I was nearby in Richfield for an afternoon meeting, so I decided to stop by Joy’s. I’m pretty sure I’d been to this building before when it was another Thai place – the Kalico Elephant, or something. I had also been here before with EnyaFace! and Trash and M.Giant, I believe. My memory is a little fuzzy on this place. I remembered liking it, though, and that’s all that mattered.

I dropped in. I already knew I was hungry for fresh spring rolls, so I ordered those, also got an order of Pad Kee Mow (Drunken noodles). The service here is pretty quick, but it also might have helped that it was raining and it wasn’t terribly busy inside. It doesn’t matter, the food was fast.

The really nice waitress brought out my spring rolls and I smiled at how they were presented. Like little towers with trees in them. Very classy. Also delicious. The sauce that was with it was the sweet and tangy thin sauce that you find at many Thai places. It is delicious and I never know what it is. But I’m always happy when they cover the top with a layer of crumbled peanuts. This combo is brilliant and I think that Joy does a great job with it. The cilantro trees are a little difficult to eat, so you kind of have to work around that, but once you do, the rolls are fresh and tasty. Excellent start to my meal.

The Pad Kee Mow showed up right as I finished my appetizer and looked delicious. Great color and aroma. It also comes with an fried egg roll, so I started with that. It came with a different sauce that I thought was quite good. This one, more of a sweet and sour chili sauce with some carrot shavings thrown in. The egg roll was clearly fried, but didn’t feel greasy or heavy. It was light and filled with fresh ingredients. So far, spring rolls and egg rolls were hitting the spot. The entrée was no different. Great flavor with just the right amount of kick to it. The chicken was really tender and tasted like chicken. Not a single piece of gristle or fat, so I was thrilled. The noodles were cooked well, but not floppy or slimy. The tomato flavor came through, as did the bell pepper and basil. I know this is made with egg, but I think it’s just a thickening agent, since you really can’t taste the egg in it. I think this is a fantastic meal and I’m a big fan of Joy’s. I hope to have more meetings over in this neck of the woods in the near future. It’s worth a trip, in my opinion.

Top 5 things about Joy’s Pattaya Thai
1. Pad Kee Mow
2. Fresh Spring Rolls
3. Quick service
4. Really friendly wait staff
5. The lunch menu has a ton of things on it, so you don’t even get a restricted list! The dinner menu is enormous!

Bottom 5 things
1. Be aware, if there’s one pepper next to your menu item – you’re already at medium spice. Order accordingly.
2. There is construction right now, limiting parking and getting anywhere near the restaurant.
3. I really want to go back and try a ton of things I didn’t get to (I know this isn’t a bad thing)
4. It’s a small place, so if you’re there during the lunch rush, you may have to wait. Please do.
5. I’m bummed I didn’t try the Pad Macaroni Chicken!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Bourbon St. Distillery - Indianapolis, IN

Quick review – While I was in Indianapolis for the North Central Regional Roller Derby Championships, I met up with some friends at Bourbon St. Distillery. R2, Fluzzi, Garrison, Skully, and I needed some sustenance to help us power through the evening. Plus, the Distillery is right behind the hotel where all the skaters were staying, so it wasn’t out of the way or anything. For being downtown, it’s a very neighborhood bar kind-of-feel: relaxed and fun. We sat on the upstairs patio overlooking the streets of Indianapolis.

After a quick scan of the menu, I went with an old stand-by that I hadn’t had in a while anywhere. Nachos. Boring, yes, but something I know I can eat that will make me full and tired enough to pass out in an unfamiliar bed (my hotel bed, not anything shifty, I assure you). We had a really fun waiter who mocked us appropriately for our drink order (mainly mine, since I order girly drinks), and he kept our drinks full.

The food came pretty quickly as we chatted the night away. The Nachos were pretty substantial. A serious heap of chips, cheese, meat, tomatoes, beans, sour cream, and jalapenos – lots of jalapenos.

The dish was delicious and filling. I was a little bummed to see they hadn’t multi-layered the chips and cheese. That’s where you do a half stack and then cover that with ingredients and cheese and then another stack of chips and ingredients on top of that. This ensures sufficient chip coverage even as you work your way towards the bottom of the pile of chips. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but I did end up eating the last layer of chips without much in the way of toppings. I should have asked for some salsa to dip things into, but I didn’t. The jalapenos and tomatoes were fresh though, so I didn’t feel like I was eating a big slop pile. It was just a pile. Hahaha. I loved it. Make fun of me all you want for eating nachos at a random bar. I’ll make fun of you equally for eating the same menu item at the same restaurant you always go to. I’m not bothered.

I liked Bourbon St. Distillery. It had a good feel, good servers, and good food. What else do you want?

No top 5 for this review.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Teppenyaki Grill (Supreme Buffet) - Minneapolis, MN

EJens had a coupon for Minnesota’s largest buffet – Teppenyaki Grill and Supreme Buffet - so he graciously invited me to come along for the experience. I initially showed up at the wrong buffet on Lake Street – the absolute other end of Lake Street, in fact – and had to phone him to figure out where he was hiding. Turns out, he was hiding at the proper restaurant and I was so excited that I had gone to the wrong place. Teppenyaki Grill is located in a strip mall complex surrounded by a liquor store and a grocery store a handful of other smaller mom and pop shops. The building housing this restaurant looked pretty substantial.

EJens and I strolled into the place and were amazed at how large it was. You walk into what amounts to the buffet area – there are 10 separate buffet stations in the middle, and then there’s a sushi bar in the back, along with a separate Mongolian grill area. This place is enormous and I would guess it could possibly be the largest buffet in Minnesota, as they have advertised. There are at least three separate huge dining rooms all filled with people. This place does a lot of business. I was stunned, amused, and horrified when I walked in and saw two different demographics of people represented here: Really large people leaning back in their booths like they had just consumed 15,000 calories and were about to die, and then a noticeable ton of old, dirty, creepy white guys with their younger, prettier, and skittish Asian wives. The kind of people I used to get smacked for saying “mail-order bride” too loudly near, when hanging out with easily embarrassed people. Yes, there were other demographics represented: Hispanics, metal guys, first dates, motorcycle guys with no sleeves, and of course, now two innocent and doe-eyed white chaps (that would be EJens and I).

EJens had a plan for this place – one plate for every buffet station. This was his strategy for eating every one of the (claimed) 250 items this place had to offer. My strategy was much more customized: eat small amounts of everything I could recognize and be willing to put into my body. As it turns out, there was a surprising amount of American food on the buffet. I assumed it would be Chinese food as far as the eye can see, but it was a ton of traditional American food.

I won’t be able to go into detail about every item I ate, but I’ll give it a decent shot, just so you know. There will be some highlights and some lo-lights included.

The black pepper chicken turned out to be surprisingly good - I was off to a good start. The Teppenyaki Chicken was mostly good, a bit of gristle in this and some fatty stuff. Beef and broccoli ended up being a little slimy, so NOT good. I had opted for some sushi from the sushi bar. The California roll was a bit mushy, but edible. The spicy tuna roll was actually good. Some random unnamed tempura-ed roll had a really sweet goo on it, but was overall good. The lo mein was extremely sub-par and the fried rice was incredibly onion-y.

It was clear after plate number one the caliber of food we were dealing with. It wasn’t good, I’m unsure how long some things had been sitting there, and I’m already wondering how these giant people in the booth across from ours look like they ate enough to feed the entire country of Zambia by themselves. Nothing to do but power through.

The pepperoni pizza was some of the worst I've ever had. The kielbasa was awful and very smoky. The sweet corn was somehow clear and flavorless. The baked potato was covered in onions and unidentifiable cheese and was floppy and flavorless. The mac and cheese was flavorless but actually looked really good. The Hong Kong chicken was decent: some sort of sweet and sour flavor on it. The roasted chicken pieces were very gristly, and had a lot of skin (I hope) on them, but had good flavor.

EJens commented that he wished he had a map, so he could A) figure out a better strategy for food priority and order, B) check things off the list to ensure he had eaten everything, and C) use a treasure map in a restaurant. EJens should be commended for eating at least one more plate than I did. I began to slow down when my body realized it was being filled with sub-State-Fair-caliber food-like substances.

The egg roll had no cinnamon flavor in it, which I thought would be good, but it had been sitting too long and was soft and flavorless. The fried spring roll was almost clear from the amount of frying that had occurred and it was also extremely cabbage-y. The cream cheese puff was also clear and there wasn't enough cream cheese, but it was edible. The steak and cheese stromboli was NOT good. The chicken nugget was bad even for a chicken nugget. Oddly, the pig in a blanket was delicious. Also, the buffalo wing was delicious.

I went to the mongolian grill area and fixed up a plate for myself. I also forgot to take a photo of this particular plate - sorry. There aren't a lot of toppings and ingredients to add, and there's no sauce for you to put on to lubricate the stuff while it's on the grill, so you get whatever watered down soy sauce the cook squirts on your food while he's cooking it. The food from the grill wasn't bad, though it did taste a bit burnt (flavor from the grill, I'm sure).

This is an octopus that EJens tried to eat, but couldn't power through more than a tentacle or two. At least it wasn't moving. Also: gross.

The donut was flavorless but was covered in sugar, so that helped. The sparerib (yes, I threw a sparerib on a plate of fruit, jello, and pudding) was extremely gristly. The honeydew, which I am a huge fan of normally, tasted and chewed JUST like a carrot, uggh. Ding ding ding: the canteloupe was surprisingly really good. The red jello and the orange jello were actually very good for buffet jello - no skin and not watery at all. The vanilla pudding actually turned out to be lemon pudding, which was a terrible shock to my system.

That, my friends, is a meatball with a shrimp shoved in it. EJens assured me it wasn't the most awful thing he ate, but it was verrrry fishy and I'm unsure how it could have cooked all the way through - either of those ingredients. Despite EJens pointing out how much I love food stuffed with other non-related foods, this wasn't my favorite thing. Also, notice the fancy chef swirl next to the small piece of prime rib I got. That's not fancy, that's grease. It was close to stopping time at this point.

Thankfully, we finished up with enough room for ice cream at the ice cream station, which shares its toppings with the incredibly weak salad bar (so weak, I didn’t even notice there was salad here). So if you want gummy bears, sprinkles, sunflower seeds, bacon bits, and croutons on your ice cream, you can do that (don’t think I wasn’t tempted). I got a bowl with strawberry, vanilla, and birthday cake ice cream. EJens did some experimentation and got some nasty ice cream he wasn’t expecting. I like to think it was fish ball and lemon ice cream, but that’s simply in my own head because I think it would be hilarious. That flavor, to my knowledge, does not exist.

What’s odd about this buffet experience was that both EJens and I left NOT feeling like we were going to die. We had certainly eaten enough to be full, but not enough to be stuffed to bursting. Yes, I was sweating grease and probably smelled of fish soup and hopelessness, but I have done far more damage to my body at just about every other buffet I’ve been to.

I would not recommend eating here. Not even if you’re a giant person or have ordered your wife out of a catalog. The food was not appealing to me and had I heard the comments from my friends when they heard where we went BEFORE I ate there, I might have given it a second thought. I apologize to those whom I offend with this review, but I won’t be back there. Ever.

Top 5 things about Teppenyaki Grill
1. Black pepper chicken
2. Spicy tuna roll
3. Pig in a blanket
4. Jello
5. Ice cream

Bottom 5 things
1. Pepperoni pizza
2. Baked potato
3. Beef and broccoli
4. Spare rib
5. Atmosphere

Teppenyaki Grill
2216 Lake St. E.
Minneapolis, MN 55407

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Santorini - Eden Prairie, MN

D.Rough and I are headed to Santorini (the island) for our honeymoon. So we thought we’d get into practice by eating at Santorini (the restaurant) in Eden Prairie. She met me there for lunch, since we had a major coupon type deal from one of those places that emails you ridiculous coupons if you buy it that day. I can’t remember which one I bought it from, but it was worth it.

We wanted to try a couple of things, so we got a couple of appetizers and split an entrée. It’s difficult to decide what you want here, since so many things sound fantastic on the menu. Santorini has a lunch prime rib buffet, but I’m assuming they don’t have a lot of those in Greece – we ordered off the menu. We opted for the dolmades (stuffed grape leaves) and a hummus and pita sampler. Then we got the lamb and beef moussaka (like a Greek lasagna).

The restaurant isn’t the fastest place on earth, even for a late lunch when it isn’t busy at all. Fortunately, the hummus and pita plate came out first. We had decided to get Spicy Feta, the Roasted Red Pepper hummus, and the kalamata olive and goat cheese tapenade. Surprisingly, there were tons of pita pieces for us to eat. We expected maybe 6 or 7, but there were plenty. The pitas were extremely soft and little bit warm. Really quite good. My favorite dips (in order of preference) were the spicy feta, the roasted red pepper, and the tapenade. D.Rough listed her favorites in the exact opposite order, but we both loved it. We’re glad we got this to start things off.

The Dolmades came out next and were excellent. Grape leaves stuffed with seasoned ground beef and rice and then covered with a lemon cream sauce. I’ve always been a big fan of these, except when the lemon sauce is overpowering. This was just about right. I ate most of these, so D.Rough could focus on her tapenade.
The Moussaka arrived shortly after we finished our appetizers and looked delicious. It came with a side of orzo and some grileld vegetables - which I loved (and ate most of). Moussaka is sort of like a layered pasta dish (like lasagna), but has eggplant, potato, beef, and lamb in it. Very tasty with just a hint of cinnamon in it. The tomato and béchamel sauce was delicious, as well. No complaints with this entrée at all. It was the right choice and I’m hoping they serve me lots of this in Greece. I will be a very happy honeymooner.

I like this restaurant. It isn’t my favorite, nor a go-to place, but they have pretty good Greek food. It’s a little out of the way for dinner, but it is walkable from work for me if I get the need for some good Greek cooking – which I do sometimes. I’ll come back here again, but not if I have a short lunch break. It’s more of a relaxed eating environment – unless you get the lunch buffet, I suppose. ..which is weird…

Top 5 things about Santorini
1. Lamb and Beef Moussaka
2. Pita and hummus sampler
3. Dolmades
4. Comprehensive menu with a variety of different options
5. Great patio and an amazing happy hour specials

Bottom 5 things
1. A little slow on service
2. I’m curious how authentic it is, you know, since they have a prime rib buffet
3. Seemed like they had one person working the inside dining room and one person working the patio
4. There are sooo many signs in the entryway of the restaurant touting food, drink, buffet, happy hour, and brunch specials.
5. We were incredibly stuffed after this meal. Be ready for that…

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Squealer's BBQ - Indianapolis, IN

While I was in Indianapolis, I kept going back and reading this food blog - Indy Restaurant Scene - that had great reviews of places to eat. I found mention of a BBQ place that this lady’s husband raved about. I decided I needed to get there any way possible. I called a cab and gave the guy him the address. He told me it was quite a drive, but I told him I didn’t mind. He asked if I had cash and I assured him I did. How far was it anyway?...

$44 later, I found out.

It’s on the outskirts of town, nowhere near downtown. At this point, I was committed, I might as well enjoy it, right? The guy said he’d stick around and have some lunch himself at a nearby place so I didn’t have to call another cab and wait for it. Super nice guy, honestly.

I rolled inside and got a table. I already knew what I was going to eat, but I found a drink menu that had some appealing things on it. I ordered a Colt Kicker. It’s a Long Island Iced Tea but dyed blue for the Indianapolis Colts. The drink was like Windex with some lighter fluid in it. Not appealing at all and burn-y, but I sucked it down. I also ordered a half slab with some sides. BBQ beans, and mac and cheese (kind of a staple for me). The thing also came with two deep fried biscuits. Yes. Deep fried biscuits. What’s not to like with that?
The food came out quickly and I dug into the biscuits first. Holy cow. These are the best biscuits I’ve ever had in my life. They’re a cross between a biscuit and a donut. They’re also served with cinnamon apple butter, which was mind-blowing as well. Did I mention there were TWO of these things. Amazing. The Mac and cheese was really quite good and not cafeteria-like that you’ll find at a lot of places. The BBQ beans had shredded pork in them and a little bit of spice to it. Some of the best beans I’ve had in a while.

I went for the ribs next. These ribs are served with a dry rub, rather than sauce. You’ve got to try them without sauce before you know how much sauce you can put on them. They were fantastic. I know why the blogger’s husband raved about this place. Perfectly cooked. They fell off the bone, but still had a lot of texture to them. They weren’t sloppy and crumbly. Just meaty and juicy. The rub on them was salty, just to warn you, but I’m a salt addict, so I absolutely loved them. The waitress had asked what kind of sauce I’d like when I ordered – I got the sweet and spicy combo. This was the way to go: perfect amount of sweet and perfect amount of kick to them. Really delicious sauce.

I ate it ALL.
The waitress, Laura, was extremely helpful. She checked back on me to make sure I was doing alright, but not often enough to be a bother. And I will tell you this, I licked my fingers cleaner than I have in a really long time. I didn’t even want to use the wetnap they brought me for fear of losing a tiny bit of the dry rub or sauce that was still stuck to my fingers. I haven’t tried every rib place in Indianapolis, but this place honestly has some of the best ribs I’ve eaten.

Now if we talk about how much the meal actually cost me, there might be some questions. Remember, the $44 cab ride? Even with the discount the driver gave me for the ride back, it was still a hundred dollar half slab of ribs. But they were incredible, so I won’t complain at all. I’ve spent more money on crappy food than that before. It’s time to take a nap now…

Top 5 things about Squealers BBQ
T1. Amazing Baby Back Ribs
T1. Deep-fried biscuits with cinnamon apple butter
3. BBQ Beans
4. Mac and Cheese
5. Super awesome staff

Bottom 5 things
1. Cost of a cab ride to get there was higher than expected. Significantly higher.
2. Colt Kicker wasn’t awesome
3. I wish HotGirlsBrother and Low-Vee were sharing the experience with me
4. I wish there was some sort of napping cot for after meals like this. (I wonder if I should start that sort of restaurant niche…)
5. I can’t even find a fifth thing that was bad. The place is worth the trip.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Experimental Food Night #4003 - Minneapolis, MN

As often as we can, I get together with M. and Trash Giant for dinner. Very special dinners. M.Giant and I like to find unique and multicultural (some might use the term experimental or multi-horrific) dishes to trick Trash into making. Somehow, she doesn’t usually complain about doing the cooking of these things, since usually we try to keep it in the crock-pot or minimal maintenance realm of cooking. M. and I don’t actually mind cooking, but if a vegetarian is willing to touch things which formerly had parents and whip up a big batch of gross, then we’re all for letting her. To her credit, she does an amazing job and the snide remarks, fake complaints, and heartfelt hatred, add a flavor to the dish that no spice will ever be able to recreate.

This time, we had a special guest! Trash and I’s boss was in town from Louisville and had heard us talk about Experimental Food Night. She wanted in. So, we began the hunt for something extra weird and challenging. Like the red beam of light from the Staff of Ra in Indiana Jones, I came across what could only be described as miraculous.

I give you…. Cheesy chicken, bacon, and tater-tot crock pot bake.

Basically the name of the thing tells you what's in there. We were all a little bit scared of it, but we all plopped a serious portion of this thing on our plate. Well, not all of us – the vegetarian who actually assembled the thing in the crock pot took a very small portion and kept picking out the bacon pieces. Hahahahaha

It ended up being exponentially better than we all anticipated. You could taste all the flavors, and if you wanted to, you could use ketchup on it for your tater tots, if so inclined. This was one of the better meals we’ve had at experimental food night.

I wonder if we should change the name to something snappy like Tribbiani Tribute (to reference the Friends episode where one of the girls makes trifle with roast beef and Joey Tribiani loves it).

Thank you again, Trash. You continue to impress me. I’ll see what I can find on the Intarwebs for the next Tribbiani Tribute!

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Golden Trail Salad (aka Freakshow Salad) - Eden Prairie, MN

I got a salad a few weeks back from our office cafeteria. I got it because of the name and it turned out to be delicious. The first time I ordered it, I read on the little card in front of it, “Spicy Thai Peanut with Rice Fruit Salad.” Yes, all of those things. Then, I asked the guy behind the counter to tell me which was better: the Quinoa salad I was pointing at or the first thing I said. He said, “I’m not much for spicy food, but for my money, I’d go with the (and then he sounded out every word deliberately and slowly as if it were a required script from headquarters) Spicy Thai Peanut with Rice Fruit Salad.” I’m glad I did. It was delicious. It was so delicious that I wrote an email to the corporate chef and told him it was the best thing I’d ever had in the work cafeteria and the next time I saw it, I would be buying a larger portion and forcing coworkers to eat it. Again, I’m NOT kidding.

I emailed my friend Trash and she couldn’t believe the ingredients I rattled off. She thought I was joking, especially when I said how delicious it was. I wasn’t joking.

A few days later, I mentioned the salad was amazing to the regular guy behind the counter and he let me in on a little secret – the salads are on a three-week rotation. They do three salads a day and rotate them every 15 days – seriously, they do 45 different salads. Amazing. I backtracked the date I originally got the salad (thankfully, my sent-mail still had my note to the chef), and figured out the next day it would be in the cafeteria. In fact, I put an Outlook reminder on my calendar to remind me to go get it every third week.

That third week rolled around today. DING! DING! DING!

I already told you it was delicious. And, based on the original descriptive name of the salad, you might be able to guess about a tenth of the ingredients they had in there. But today, it was different. And better. They had changed the name of the salad to “Golden Trail Salad”. Well played, Aramark! MUCH more user-friendly and much less scary sounding. That’s customer insight in action. I ordered up a double portion and headed back to my desk with a smile.

And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for…. The ingredients in said salad:

golden and purple raisins
red peppers
marinated cucumbers
asian cabbage/slaw
wild rice
tortilla strips
mandarin oranges
almond slivers
unidentifiable something orange (possibly mango)
something that gives it spice - I'm assuming the dressing-type thing that its covered in
...and, it is covered in tortilla strips for some crunch

This thing looks like a culinary monstrosity, but is honestly one of the best salads I’ve ever had. So many flavors, so many textures. If I could figure out the dressing/sauce they put on the whole thing, I’d make this thing at home. I know – you never thought I would be raving about a salad on this meat-iful blog, but I am.

This is a game-changing salad.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Big Daddy’s Bar and Grill – Indianapolis, IN

I did what I normally do before I go check out a city I hadn’t been to in a while. I hopped online and did some food research. I ended up finding this amazing blog - Indy Restaurant Scene - that had some great recommendations. I scrolled down until I found a listing for breaded pork tenderloins (the national dish of Indianapolis, unless you’re from Indianapolis). It suggested we go check out Big Daddy’s for a serious-sized tenderloin. In fact, I tricked a couple of roller derby significant others to come with me and have lunch before the derby action got started. ZackTorture, Slam, MommasBoy, and I piled into the car and headed out to gorge ourselves.
When we arrived, there wasn’t a single car in the parking lot – uh oh. Fortunately, when we tried the door (which claims a two drink minimum – seriously), it was open.
We headed inside and grabbed a table. It’s a nicely lit bar and not at all scary, like we had suspected. There are all sorts of interesting household items made into guitars hanging on the walls, so those of us whoe were musicians were pretty amused by it all. The really nice waitress came over and took our drink orders. I asked about Strongbow cider and she told me they didn’t have it, but they had this other new kind of cider. She handed me a table tent thing with an ad on it. It looked like it was being marketed to 6 year old girls. REALLY. So of COURSE I was going to try it. I love girly drinks. I got to choose between peach, strawberry, watermelon, and original flavors. I went with original.

She came back with the drinks and the guys started mocking. Really mocking. I had to admit, it was pretty wussy-looking in its metal bottle with cartoons all over it. It even said “apple wine” on the side of the bottle. REALLY wussy. I tried it and was not impressed. It was amazingly watered down – even lighter than Crispin cider, which I think is almost undrinkable. Very little flavor and no texture at all to it. I was going to drink this as fast as possible and get something else. It’s pretty clear this drink was designed by creepy old guys to lure underage girls into getting loaded and needing a “ride home”, since it has the same ABV as regular cider.

She took our orders and we explained we had heard about these giant tenderloins. She put three of us down for them and told us she’d be right back. ZackTorture had already eaten lunch, so he was just going to drink straight through. The waitress returned pretty quickly with our food.
The food is gigantic. Epic. Colossal. And any other big words you can think of. The tenderloin is beaten really thin and breaded with Corn Flake crumbs to make it sweet. But it is also served on a platter on top of two buns you have to hunt for to utilize. Yes, served on a platter, not a plate. It’s BIG. One of the most hilarious things about this is all three of us ate our pork-T’s differently. MommasBoy folded his in half, threw it on the bun, and went for speed.
Slam went with a tri-fold (I’m not kidding) on a bun, so his was triple thick and triple crunchy. I left mine on my plate and pulled chunks off around the outside until I hit the bun, then I put the single-thick portion that was left on the bun, heavily ketchup-ed it, and finished mine off.

I had also finished my children’s cider, so I ordered a straight Jack Daniels. The guys said it almost redeemed me in their eyes to drink such a manly drink. That was all I asked.

I know the review I had read online complained a little bit about the tenderloin being dry, but mine wasn’t at all. It wasn’t juicy like the one I had the previous day, but it was moist and had a great flavor and crunch, especially for how flat they had pounded this thing. It was reallllly thin. The hand-breading is what makes this thing. It’s breaded with corn flake crumbs which makes it just the slightest bit sweet and VERY crunchy. I really liked this breaded pork tenderloin a lot. The onion rings are also enormous – well, they’re very thick, anyway. They’re not freakishly large onions or anything, they’re just cut thick and battered really well.

MommasBoy and I finished our sandwiches. It was a struggle, which is saying something since I can eat a lot of food. Slam did some damage to his, but was unable to finish it up. And in case you’re wondering, yes, this IS very heavy food and you’ll want to take a nap immediately. You will NOT feel up to going to roller derby, painting your face, jumping up and down, and yelling for the next four hours. …Sigh… we did it anyway.

Big Daddy’s is a fun place and we were treated really well there. I’m really very curious as to something on the menu called the “Tenderloin for Two”. Was it twice as large as the single one, or is it just served with two sets of buns? I should have asked. Either way, the menu is pretty extensive and you really can’t go wrong with a breaded pork tenderloin. I’d recommend it!

Top 5 things about Big Daddy’s
1. Giant breaded pork tenderloin
2. Onion rings
3. Enormous menu
4. Really awesome staff
5. We capitalized on the two drink minimum

Bottom 5 things
1. Oliver Bean Blossom Hard Cider
2. You can still smoke in here (thankfully no one was)
3. Indescribable food coma
4. No Heinz ketchup in this town anywhere
5. I only got four onion rings and I couldn’t finish them… weak

Big Daddy’s Bar and Grill
2536 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery – Indianapolis, IN

I recently wet down to Indianapolis for the North Central Region Roller Derby Championships (where D.Rough was skating). It’s always a good time, where I get to yell really loud for a few hours each day, sometimes without a shirt on, sometimes covered in chest paint. I don’t apologize. While D.Rough is in tournament mode, I get to find my own interesting and horrifying food, since her body doesn’t like surprises on bout day.

Fortunately, D.Rough helped out with my pre-trip food research and found out that Indianapolis is known for its breaded pork tenderloins. So I made some calls and emails to people I know that lived/lived in Indianapolis. Not a single one knew about this city-wide claim to fame. In fact, while I was in Indianapolis at the tournament, I asked local fans about this claim to fame and none of them had ever heard of it. I told them to look it up since it’s all over the Internet – Indianapolis, famous for breaded pork tenderloins. [Note: every restaurant I went to in the area (aside from a drunken late night trip to Steak N Shake) highly recommended their pork tenderloin as one of the best things on their respective menus – I’m NOT kidding.]

I was determined to get a breaded pork-T, since I grew up on the things and hadn’t had one in a while. I’ve got a few local favorites back in Illinois, but I honestly don’t think I’ve had a pork-T since I moved to Minnesota. Weird.

I had some time to kill while waiting for roller derby to get started, so I hit the streets. About two blocks from the venue, I stumbled across a little pub called Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery. There was some sidewalk seating, so I thought I’d go check out the menu. At the very least, I’d get a drink. I didn’t want to be rude.
I walked inside and was greeted by the bar tender. Nice guy and very helpful. I ordered a jack and coke and asked for a menu. Then I asked him what was good here at Loughmiller’s. The very first words out of his mouth were, “We sell a lot of breaded pork tenderloins here. Second only to burgers.” Ding! Ding!! Ding!!! How do people in Indianapolis not know they’re known for this?! I told him that I had heard the area was known for good pork tenderloins and I would be happy to try one out. Then we made fun of this really odd looking pink stuff behind the bar. He mocked it heavily and said it was like some sort of strawberry baileys type drink. I didn’t have the heart to buy the bottle from him right there, but I will track it down eventually. That sounded delicious.

I went outside to grab a seat and the waitress chatted me up after I got settled and checked my email on my phone. The meal came out pretty quickly and I was happy they hadn’t done anything weird to an old favorite of mine. This looked really good. I started with the fries. They were really crispy, without being burnt and were pretty darn good. I was letting the sandwich cool down, so I finished almost all of the fries before I even got started on the sandwich.
The sandwich was delicious and generously sized. Thicker than many I’ve seen, which means it retained a lot of juice. Scalding hot delicious juice (or grease – call it whatever you want, treehugger). The breading was good and thick and there was no gristle at all inside, however, the whole thing could have been cooked a slight bit longer. The breading could have had a touch more crispiness to it. I’m a fan of this breaded pork tenderloin – not that I had any doubt. I might be a little biased, however.

A few people walked past my table on the sidewalk and asked if this was a good place for lunch. I told them I wasn’t from these parts, but the sandwich I was eating was top-notch. They immediately went inside. I’m happy to give a resounding review when warranted. The sandwich may not make any national rankings, it was absolutely what I needed and a delicious way to start my time in Indianapolis. Thanks, Loughmiller’s!

Top 5 things about Loughmiller’s Pub & Eatery
1. Breaded Pork Tenderloin
2. Crispy fries
3. Really awesome staff
4. They have some sort of strawberry alcohol behind the bar
5. Really nice atmosphere – it says “neighborhood bar” on the outside and that’s what it feels like

Bottom 5 things
1. They don’t have Heinz ketchup – only Red Gold. I’m very loyal to Heinz because it’s the best
2. Indianapolis has a lot of riff raff downtown. They’re very...uh…talkative while you’re eating
3. I didn’t actually order any of the delicious-sounding strawberry stuff behind the bar for fear of mocking
4. I keep forgetting you can still smoke in bars in Indiana
5. The breading on the tenderloin could have been fried a little more (of course I say that about SOOO many things…)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rocka Leta – from Mexico

(M.Giant scored me some delicious candy from a friend who lives in Mexico. I’m going to review a bunch of the stuff he gave me. This is only one of a handful I swiped from the foreign-language-candy-box.)

For those that don’t know, Mexico passes a lot of things off as candy. They will dip a plastic spoon they found on the road into some chocolate, let it harden, and they’ll sell it as candy. Just like the Chaca Chaca, this doesn’t inspire high hopes for this thing.
I had no idea what a Rocka Leta was, so I translated the words on the front of the package using Babelfish – this site comes in handy for translating all kinds of foreign candy inscriptions. There is a photo of a red ball wearing sun glasses and his hair appears to be on fire. Despite my lack of knowledge of international iconographic representations, this indicates to me that this thing is hot. Whatever this “thing” is. The other picture on the package looks like a thermometer is stuck inside a Gobstopper, so I assumed that’s what I was going to get. Then, I pulled up the translation for “paleta con goma de mascar” on Babelfish. It told me it was “trowel with rubber to chew”. Really? Trowel? Rubber? This was going to be interesting.

I unwrapped whatever this thing was and it squirted red goo onto my hand. And, of course, that red goo smelled like tamarind. Ugggh. Awful. I HATE tamarind. The Rocka looked like a green gumball of sorts with a thick layer of tamarind goo on the outside. This experiment wasn’t going to be easy. I gave it a lick and almost gagged – the tamarind was sooo overpowering. I figured there’s only one way to figure this thing out – BITE it. Expecting the worst (broken teeth, acid, an eyeball, etc.), I bit the thing really hard. Of course I got a boat load of tamarind flavor in my mouth, but also some tingle. There was definitely something spicy in there.

Texturally, the thing bit in half like a cross between a soft jawbreaker and a stale gumball. It’s a multi-layered deal with each level progressively grosser than the previous one. I’m still not sure what exactly was spicy, but I didn’t keep this nasty thing in my mouth long enough to figure it out. The tamarind was killing me.

This is one of the worst lollipops in the history of mankind. Again, Mexican parents should be brought up on charges for giving their children toxic ass-flavored goo on a stick and telling them it is candy. That’s just cruel.

I’m done with this Mexican and Brazilian candy experiment. I give up. I will call it a loss in the record book, just make it stop. I’m going to find a Butterfinger ASAP. I’m also going to napkin off my tongue to get this tamarind taste out.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

La Sevillanas Glorias – Dulce De Leche Decabra con Nuez – from Mexico

(M.Giant scored me some delicious candy from Brazil while he was there. And by “there”, I mean at a Brazilian steakhouse for his anniversary dinner. He got a bunch of candy that came straight from Brazil. I’m going to review a bunch of the stuff he gave me. This is only one of a handful I swiped from the foreign-language-candy-box.)

The La Sevillanas Glorias, like its brothers the Cajeta-filled cone and the Jesus-wafer-sandwich, is not actually from Brazil, upon further study of the package. It’s from Mexico. For those that don’t know, Mexico passes a lot of things off as candy. They will dip a plastic spoon they found on the road into some chocolate, let it harden, and they’ll sell it as candy. Just like the everything else I’ve eaten from this “care” package, this doesn’t inspire high hopes for this thing.

I unwrapped the red cellophane wrapping around this soft caramel roll-thing. It’s much bigger than a tootsie roll nd is about an inch in diameter and maybe 2 inches long. Wait, is Mexico on the metric system? Hell, I don’t know. Frankly, I’m convinced this “candy” is a joke. It actually looks like feces. There are nuts in it and what appears to be sand. I have no idea how this is considered candy and, in fact, I don’t even want to put it anywhere near my face, let alone my mouth. This thing looks terrible. It smells faintly of caramel, but that’s about all it’s got going for it.

I pressed on and actually took a bite of this thing. It is gooey soft and absolutely disgusting. Sadly, I could taste the walnut pieces I managed to get in my mouth, but the gritty texture might be cinnamon in there. I can’t even tell. It’s GRIT. Enough said. There are other indecipherable thing inside, but I didn’t give it another taste to verify what they might be. It was just too bizarre, both texture and taste, to continue. Please kids, don’t attempt this at home. It’s a turd. Plain and simple. And I ate a bite of it.

Thank goodness I’m almost at the end of this pile of ass-flavored candy M.Giant so “kindly” brought back for me. I can hear you laughing from here, jackhole.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

La Sevillanas Mini Oblea Con Cajeta De Leche De Cabra – from Mexico

(M.Giant scored me some delicious candy from Brazil while he was there. And by “there”, I mean at a Brazilian steakhouse for his anniversary dinner. He got a bunch of candy that came straight from Brazil. I’m going to review a bunch of the stuff he gave me. This is only one of a handful I swiped from the foreign-language-candy-box.)

The La Sevillanas Mini Oblea Con Cajeta De Leche De Cabra, like its brother the Cajeta-filled cone, is not actually from Brazil, upon further study of the package. It’s from Mexico. For those that don’t know, Mexico passes a lot of things off as candy. They will dip a plastic spoon they found on the road into some chocolate, let it harden, and they’ll sell it as candy. Just like the everything else I’ve eaten from this “care” package, this doesn’t inspire high hopes for this thing.

I unwrapped the cellophane wrapping around this disc-like object, and what laid in my hand made me start laughing. This is a Jesus-wafer. …As in, the Holy Eucharist found in most Catholic Churches – something people of Mexican descent take very seriously. Until now. I’m not kidding. This is a Jesus-wafer-sandwich with caramel on the inside. Someone was actually sitting in Mass one day and thought to himself/herself, “I bet I could make these flavorless wafer things really bitchin’ if I slapped some cheap caramel in the middle and made a sammich (or torta, in Spanish).” Brilliant plan. Poor execution.

The wafer, like everything else wafer-like in Mexico, is soft and stale and flavorless. I tried to like this one, but I absolutely couldn’t. The caramel is that realllllly cheap stuff that isn’t smooth, nor does it have a good flavor, but I’m sure wouldn’t be useful as some sort of industrial building material. It’s barely edible. I’m not going to be a big promoter of these Mexican candies, and I’m beginning to wonder if I’ve somehow angered M.Giant and this is his Minnesotan passive-aggressive revenge.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

La Sevillanas Cajeta Filled Cone – from Mexico

M.Giant scored me some delicious candy from Brazil while he was there. And by “there”, I mean at a Brazilian steakhouse for his anniversary dinner. He got a bunch of candy that came straight from Brazil. I’m going to review a bunch of the stuff he gave me. This is only one of a handful I swiped from the foreign-language-candy-box.

The La Sevillanas Cajeta Filled Cone, as it turns out, is not actually from Brazil, upon further study of the package. It’s from Mexico. For those that don’t know, Mexico passes a lot of things off as candy. They will dip a plastic spoon they found on the road into some chocolate, let it harden, and they’ll sell it as candy. Just like the Chaca Chaca, this doesn’t inspire high hopes for this thing.
I unwrapped multiple packages of cellophane wrapping to get at this thing, but what you have is an ice cream cone filled with caramel. Sounds pretty simple. This one didn’t sound half-bad. I was wrong.
The cone is soft and stale and flavorless. I wanted to actually like this one. And I’m thinking a fresh cone would do wonders for this thing. The caramel isn’t top notch or extra smooth or anything, but it’s tolerable. But the cone isn’t. It actually ruined the whole thing. I’m not a fan of this cajeta filled cone.

But for the record, these cones are exponentially better than the Chaca Chaca was.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Chaca Chaca – from Mexico

M.Giant scored me some delicious candy from Brazil while he was there. And by “there”, I mean at a Brazilian steakhouse in Hopkins, MN for his anniversary dinner. He got a bunch of candy that came straight from Brazil. I’m going to review a bunch of the stuff he gave me. This is only one of a handful I swiped from the foreign-language-candy-box.

The Chaca Chaca, as it turns out, is not actually from Brazil, upon further study of the package. It’s from Mexico. For those that don’t know, Mexico passes a lot of things off as candy. They will dip a plastic spoon they found on the road into some chocolate, let it harden, and they’ll sell it as candy. That doesn’t inspire high hopes for this thing.
I translated the writing on the package: “Dulce de Frutas con Sal y Chile”. This means “Candy of Fruits with Salt and Chile”. I’m beginning to see where this is going.

First bite… OHMYGODGETITOUTOFMYMOUTH!!!!!!!!! After like 3 chews, I spit it into the garbage can. Absolutely disgusting. It’s tamarind, and I hate tamarind with every fiber of my being. Tamarind is barely a fruit, it’s more like a rancid raisin flavor with a little spice to it. This Chaca Chaca bar is a tamarind fruit roll-up covered with salt and chili powder. It seriously looks like it’s a breaded fruit roll-up. The brown coloring is nothing other than chili powder wrapped around a soft fruit gel that tastes like crap. So you have the fire in your mouth immediately after biting into a soft squishy moldy raisin bar. There is nothing good about this.
I spit the only bite that I could stomach out into the garbage can. Disgusting and now I’ve not only got the nasty taste of ass-flavored raisins in my mouth, but it is permanently infusing itself into my tastebuds through the mechanism of fire. The chile stuff is hot, not painful hot, but really hot. Enough to make your eyes water. And did I mention gross?.... It’s gross.

I’m beginning to think this is Mexico’s solution to the obesity problem. Give children horrifically disgusting candy and they won’t want to eat it ever again. They may be on to something…

Have I mentioned this is GROSS?!?!?