Sunday, May 31, 2009


After a wonderful afternoon at the Imax watching Under the Sea 3D (which we highly recommend) followed by a bike trip up and down the canal, FLO was in the mood for something a little decadent. We decided to try Indy's only small-plate restaurant, Zing.

How small-plate differs from tapas, we aren't quite sure. But our waiter assured us there was, indeed a difference. It's the exact same idea.... small servings of tasty dishes meant to be ordered in bunches and shared. Heck, they even had 2-3 of the same dishes as Barcelona! Different my hat!

Since it was a gorgeous day, we decided to sit outside and enjoy the sun. Libby ordered up a yummy, if tart, pomegranate soda while Fred chose one of his favorites, a Robert The Bruce ale. It took us quite a while to decide on our entrees, but we settled on the special of the day(cheese grits with shrimp and a cajun butter sauce), bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with chorizo, warmed goat cheese with tomato sauce, and finally pork tenderloin wrapped in capocollo with a mustard ale sauce and a savory asparagus bread pudding.

Unlike Barcelona (wait!! did we actually find the difference?!?), Zing staggers their small-plates rather than bringing them all at once. First up was quite simply the star of the evening. Four bacon-wrapped medjool dates stuffed with chorizo served on a bed of chunky tomato sauce heavy on the roasted red pepper. The dates were so soft and sweet with a hint of spice from the chorizo and pork fat from the bacon. Yowza. Never would have put these tastes together, but we will from now on! On the way home, we both mentioned that next time we must order 2 servings.

Next came the warmed goat cheese with a bed of a completely different tomato sauce served with toasted garlic bread. This was another hit. Not to belittle this dish, but Barcelona serves essentially the same one with an even more succulent sauce. Be that as it may, Zing's version is very good and we would certainly order it again.

Our next entree was the cheese grits with shrimp and a cajun butter sauce. While we both felt the flavor was good, this dish needed some work. The shrimp and cajun butter were very good, but the consistency of the grits was much too thin. It was very hard to eat with a fork and no spoon was provided. We attempted to sop it up with the bread, but the two carbs together didn't really work right.

Finally the tenderloin arrived and again we felt it was a little off the mark. The capocollo worked very well with the tenderloin, which itself was cooked perfectly. The issue was with the sauce. It was missing the pow. There was pepper and dry mustard, but not enough to drive the flavor. It seemed like it was just begging for "Zing"! We felt that this dish could and should have been outstanding and perhaps we should order it again to see if the sauce was just not right tonight. On the other hand, the pairing of savory asparagus bread pudding was superb. The bread pudding with the sauce definitely worked and could have stood up as a dish on it's own.

For dessert, we were unsure if the small-plate serving size would apply. Therefore we ordered two. Well, next time perhaps one would be better. Oh darn! Libby decided on the almond cheesecake with fresh fruit and whipped cream. Fred was drawn to the 3 berry shortcake. Both would have been more than enough to share.

The cheesecake was sublime. Libby says, "Order it. It was good." and refuses to elaborate. (Libby turns into Ozzy when desserts are involved)

The 3-berry shortcake was also quite yummy. Our only suggestion would be to wait a few minutes after it's served before enjoying it. The shortcake needs the time to soak up the wonderful berry sauce and is very dry (by design) without it.


Wrap Up
Price-$$$, $7-12 per plate and you'll need 2-3 per person depending on the size of your party. But yummy little tidbits they are!
Atmosphere-***, A grown-up sophisticated interior and a more laid-back balcony seating.
Service-**-***, Although our server seemed to be nursing a hang-over, we observed another who was very careful to explain how small-plate menus work. Here in the midwest, this is definitely necessary as we observed two confused tables, one insisting they should be called apetizers.

Fred -B+, I feel like I should return and perhaps try the totally separate and extremely yummy-sounding lunch menu.
Libby -B+, The dates rock my world. And I look forward to trying some of the chef's other creations.
Ozzy -C- While he was totally welcomed outside, we would not have felt it appropriate for kids inside. Also there is no kids menu (not that we would expect one). If the patron has a child with an adventuresome palate, then go for it. Ozzy, instead, insisted on emptying every complimentary bread basket that was brought to the table. "That's mine!"

Zing on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Goose The Market

While not a restaurant per se, FLO had heard that this place is considered by many to be the best deli in town. Located in a yuppie oasis just north of downtown, Goose The Market serves a niche in high-end meat, cheese, bread, wine, gelato and sandwiches.
First step is to get through the door. So, don't feel too strange if you can't get the door open on your first try... Not only did both Fred and Libby have problems the first time, we noticed several other people having the same issue.
Once inside, talk about a foodies paradise! An amazing selection of Indiana grown meats, some unique seasonal Indiana produce, gourmet cheeses, perfectly crispy baguettes, and not to forget the wine and groceries downstairs. Your first question will be...what should I get?

For some odd reason, Ozzy was allowed to indulge in one of the gooiest brownies evar followed by a lovely vanilla gelato. Fred and Libby decided to go savory with one of their specialty sandwiches. Fred, the Batali, with spicy coppa, soppressata, capocolla, provolone, tomato preserves, hot giardinara, marinated red onion (hold please!), mayo, and romaine. Libby, the Porter, with peppered ham, gouda, and morels with spring onions (held, of course) on toasted baguette. And to top off Libby's experience of feeling like a grown-up again(missing wine at 6 months prego), they had Vignette non-alcoholic wine spritzers that were the perfect compliment to the inspired lunch. Fred chose the Chardonnay, Libby the Pinot Noir.
Two totally different and amazing sandwiches! After ordering, we noticed that the Batali has actually been written up in Bon Appetit magazine... and WOW. Now we know why! The meats are just SO tasty and the tomato preserves and giardinara meld perfectly with them. And where do they get those baguettes? Of course, they sell them. So I guess we can be happily ignorant.

The Porter had top quality ingredients and that toasty baguette was a simple-genius texture addition. Libby's only complaint would be a lack of some sort of melding sauce when comparing it with the pow that the Batali had...perhaps some aioli? They sell that downstairs by the way!

The most fun part of this market and the small sandwich menu is the creativity it inspires! Immediately after finishing our little bits of heaven, we were excitedly discussing what we wanted next time and how we would dress it! With the arrays of meats (duck salami, anyone?), cheeses, condiments, and the like, you can purchase your ingredients and watch them create your dream right in front of your eyes!
Another beautiful feature of this market other than a freezer case full of meat treasures(lamb tongue, venison, buffalo, ground veal, whole rabbit, oxtail...) is the real sense of pride and love you feel from the homegrown quality. Visit their website to get the whole story, but this couple brought Indy something it desperately needed and in a way that says, respectfully...this has been missing and we are doing it right.
Oh, and just to make them way too cool, they offer exciting features like "the bacon of the month club." The stars of this show are an array of Indiana cured, smoked, or spiced pork tasties! Or how about the "picnic basket" special that runs at $35 for a bottle of wine, baguette, sliced meat, cheese, olives, almonds, and a couple of oatmeal cookies to end it...sweeeet. FLO is so pleased to see a steady stream of customers that will hopefully guarantee a long standing Indy attraction!

Wrap Up
Price-$$-$$$, $6.95 for any sandwich. Not shabby, considering the quality of ingredients.
Atmosphere-*** Clean, well organized. Seating inside and out.
Service-****, Polite. Happy to serve and very knowledgeable.

Fred -A, Only thing holding it back from an A+ is that they're closed on Sundays!!
Libby -A+, Everything I was hoping for and more. We'll be back far too often.
Ozzy -B+, Excellent deserts. He's already asked to return.

Goose the Market on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 18, 2009

Monical's Pizza at Traders Point

Do you ever just want to go out to dinner on Sunday? For some reason, this became the bane of FLO's existence yesterday. After traveling to 7 different restaurants, searching for something new to experience and being disappointed by "closed for special event" or no Sunday hours, FLO finally stumbled upon Monical's Pizza. Never having heard of it, this sounded like a perfect spot to settle in and fill our belly's.

Located at Traders Point shopping center off of 86th street, it actually has a bit of contemporary homeyness to it. As soon as you walk in, you know it is a chain from somewhere. Far too polished and "designed" to be a mom and pop. After perusing through the menu, we saw it was out of Illinois and had been around since 1959. There are four locations on the north side yet it somehow eluded our radar until now.

Being elated to finally find some place open that was new to us, pizza sounded perfect! Ozzy luckily had a few pasta choices and went with the kid's spaghetti with marinara and breadstick. Fred and Libby each decided to go with their "Individual Pleaser." This came with an 8 inch personal pizza, a salad, and drink. Fred decided thin with steak and hot pepperoncini and Libby the pan with ground beef and green olive.

Although there were some service issues, the general feel of the place made it easy to settle in and being surrounded by some good looking pies didn't hurt. The salads were no frills: lettuce, carrot, tomato, cheese and they brought out a whole squeeze bottle of the dressing of your choice.

Ozzy's pasta, which arrived first, really wasn't up to his high expectations. He gave it a shot, tried to drown it in parmesan, but alas, it was just the breadstick for the boy...and he really dug it! Fred's pizza came first and was light on the steak, heavy on spicy pepperoncini, but the overall effect was two thumbs up. The thin crust was perhaps the thinnest we have ever had, but held up well and still maintained a good flavor. The steak, although sparse, was well seasoned, and made us curious about that Italian Beef we had seen on the menu...maybe next time?! Libby's finally arrived and had the same interesting affliction...again, light on the well seasoned ground beef, and a little too heavy on the green olive. A good pan crust, not too greasy and a little doughy. Happy tum-tums.

A nice surprise for those in the neighborhood...they deliver! This would certainly be a step above any delivery place on our side of town.

Wrap Up
Price-$, Very reasonable...our total was under $20.
Atmosphere-***Clean, easy, comfortable. Design felt private even though it wasn't. Very kid friendly.
Service-**, Not a good day for our server, but he was taking it in stride and good to communicate with us about it.

Fred -B+, The price really boosts this rating from a B- to a B+.
Libby -B, Pretty happy with the quality and overall flavor...definitely would come back for more.
Ozzy -B-, Pasta, a big no, but they definitely seem to know their breads.

Monical's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Sunday, May 17, 2009


For Mother's Day, FLO headed up to Abuelo's Mexican Food Embassy. Fred had attempted to get reservations, but in a strange twist, they do not take them on holidays. Wouldn't that be the one time they would want to accept them the most? Regardless, we decided to give it a go.

Upon arrival we were delighted to be seated immediately. While on the way to the table, Ozzy was stopped in his tracks by the wishing well at the entry way to the dining room. He would only budge after we promised to give him some coins after dinner.

The dining room reminded us immediately of Vegas. It was very well decorated with lots of faux architectural elements and a vaulted ceiling painted to look like the sky. But the real icing on the Vegas cake was the clientele. What's up with the north-west side? Since when is it appropriate to go to an upscale place in ripped t-shirts, overalls (seriously?!) or cut-off sweatpants? -- On Mother's Day of all days! For dinner? On Sunday?

Regardless, we sat down and were greeted by a very tasty chips and salsa. The chips were much lighter and thinner than the norm and went very well with a nice thick, but not too chunky salsa. These were another huge plus in Ozzy's book.

After a few too many chips (damned bottomless bowls!), Libby decided on "the picture on the menu" -- three enchiladas: Shredded Beef with chile con queso; Cheese with chile con carne; and Chicken with sour cream sauce. Fred settled on the Chile Manzanillo: Crab stuffed into a roasted poblano, covered with shrimp, scallops, mushrooms and red peppers in a creamy lobster sauce. (pictured above) Ozzy opted for the kid's chicken strips and fries.

The enchiladas, although a very well-known combination, were quite delicious. The meats were well prepared and the sauces all equally mouth pleasing. The sides of re-fried beans and the papas con chile, a house specialty, could stand alone. Talk about a fun, mexican variation on mashed taters! This creation consisted of mashed red potatoes, four cheeses, red and green peppers, sour cream, garlic and jalapeno...woah. To be honest, it was almost too much after the very heavy enchiladas and peppery re-fried beans, but it was a most satisfying belly bomb.

Fred's seafood was excellent, if a bit too mild. He would have preferred a bit more punch, but it was a tasty alternative to the usual Mexican fare. All the shellfish was well cooked and went nicely with the poblano. The rice and broccoli were perfect for sopping up the sauce and each added some much needed spice to the dish. We were unable to define the seasoning on the broccoli, but regardless, it worked well.

Ozzy's meal was sufficient. The fries were batter dipped!(oh yeah!) and the chicken looked like the nugget variety. He chose to do the total carb thing, once again, by sticking with the complimentary chips and those delicious fries.

Even though, both Fred and Libby couldn't stop verbalizing the agony they were experiencing from too much of a good thing, Libby couldn't entirely skip dessert on Mother's Day!? The menu showed three classic mexican desserts, a flan, a dulche de leche cheesecake and, (drum roll) the tres leches cake!! Instead of pushing it over the limit, the tres leches cake was ordered to go! Um, and somehow was able to disappear on the drive home...such a simply sweet, layered cake with fresh cream and strawberries. The perfect summery dessert!

Wrap Up
Price-$$-$$$, There was something to suit every pocket book, especially considering the daily lunch specials.
Atmosphere-****, Clean, fresh, and open feel with beautiful artwork and murals floor to ceiling added a cultural element. The fountain with statue was a great kid magnet!
Service-***, Our waiter was especially good with Ozzy. Very quick with re-fills and a great sense of humor.

Fred -B+, Possibly my favorite chips and salsa in town. Next time, I think I'll stick with the more traditional dishes as mine didn't feel like what this gringo considers "Mexican."
Libby -A-, Very pleasing enchiladas. Had to finish them all. The re-fried beans had a distinct peppery flavor, and those papas con chile were really great. I can't even say enough about the cake!
Ozzy -B+, Insistent on sticking to his boring carb choices, but most excited about the amigas muy bonitas hangin' by the fountain. He was most happy to share his wishing coins with a few!

Abuelo's on Urbanspoon