Monday, April 19, 2010

Flatwater Restaurant

Sunny, warm weather always beckons the FLOE to the Monon.  A lazy Sunday stroll left us parched and ready to find some new eats.  Our first attempt didn't work out (we'll be back for you, Fat Dan's!), so we moseyed further and stumbled upon the newly opened Flatwater Restaurant on Westfield Blvd.

We were super-psyched to see the awesome deck located in back, right on the canal...lots of scenery for the Oz-man and a serene atmosphere for maxin' and relaxin'.

It was also the location of a momentous occasion - first time in a restaurant high chiar- for our newest member, Miss Stella.

Mommy and Daddy were very thirsty, so the on-draft options had to be addressed immediately.  Libby decided on the Sun King of the least hoppy selections available, and Fred, the Upland Rad Red.  It is obvious the owner(s) favor the hoppy side as the tapped goodies were all pale ales and other bitter varieties -- even the Rad Red was on the bitter side, much to Fred's dismay.

The menu was simple yet had a lot of tasty selections to offer.  We decided to get a couple of things to share...Libby ordered the "Best of the Wurst" plate and Fred, a sliders selection (Hickory Smoked Ham, Hoosier Mini Pork Tenderloin, and Pulled Pork) with house-made fries. Ozzy the mac 'n cheese and there no helping this child?

First off, the beers were good...both Fred and Libby preferred the Sun King, with Fred moving to it for his second pint.  Ozzy was content to watch the active canal fowl and visit the nesting duck in a planter on the deck.  Stella proclaimed her control of the lotion(pictured above) and we all enjoyed a great start to the meal.  The orders came out fairly quickly.

Fred's slider plate looked awesome! And it was.  As soon as he saw them, he knew the fries were perfect...golden brown and delicious.  A deep dark honey color that only comes from a double fry.  The ham had a zesty mustard that actually needed the swiss to cool it down.  The two played off nicely and set the stage for slider #2.  The fried tenderloin had a great coating that again, was extra crisp without being oily.  No mayo, but the bite from the pickle was all it needed.  Last up was the pulled pork.  While it could have used a dash more barbecue, it was incredibly juicy and full of porky goodness. 

Libby was somewhat disappointed that her plate came out with brown edged lettuce and a few rotten grapes, but you can't go wrong with the high quality meats and cheeses.  The nuts, apples, crustinies and raspberries were nice, but it didn't really feel like $13.  It truly was an appetizer...more was in need.  So, instead of ordering a dessert (of which there were none on the menu?!), we went with another appy that sounded awesome, the Pulled Pork Nachos with serrano pepper salsa.

As soon as it hit the table, we were concerned about the amount of red onion --an aversion for both Fred and Libby (immature, we know) as well as the lack of sauciness.  As we started to munch, the consensus was, where is the goo?  the glop that makes nachos nachos?  But, as we continued on, a change came over us...this was good.  Good in a fresh garden nacho kind of way.  Good in a not too cheesy and overly greasy kind of way...what is this?  Do we dare to enjoy a "healthier" nacho?  Blasphemy!!! This is an outrage!  But alas, we actually quite enjoyed the plate before us.  Well played, Flatwater.  Well played.

Ozzy was pleased as punch that his mac 'n cheese was the oh so healthy Kraft variety. Yay.  But he did luck out to get the same delish house-made fries.  He gobbled it all up and was quite pleased by the experience...except he tried to get a little too friendly with the nesting duck and got a nip on the finger to put him in his place. Kids.

Wrap Up
Price-$ - $$$, All over the board.  You can get a good meal for $9 or $20.
Atmosphere-****, While we did not experience the interior, the back deck was fabulous overlooking the canal. 
Service-***, Courteous, timely and friendly.

Fred - B, I would recommend the sliders to anyone.  A steal at less than $10.  But come on guys, not EVERYONE likes bitter beer and it was either that or the domestic swill.
Libby - B-,  Atmosphere, great.  Sliders, awesome.  Nachos, a surprise hit.  But the appy I chose, which took zero cooking and just meant throwing together decent ingredients on a plate, should never include brown lettuce and rotten grapes.  Quality control can make or break a new establishment.  Don't destroy a good concept by letting the little things go.  There were a lot of bells and whistles in that menu description, but the proof wasn't on the plate.
Ozzy- A , Wolfed down his food, loved the freedom to walk up to the fence, look at the ducks, etc.
Estelle- A, Her squawks of delight in loud proclamations were barely noticed and she received lots of smiles from the other tables enjoying the fine evening outside. 

Flatwater Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

La Jolla Mexican

Guess what?  We forgot to take a picture of the food...again.  So, please enjoy the fun Fred and Stella photo from the restaurant instead of one of our yummilicious dishes. 

So, we was a most beautiful spring day in Indy.  We wanted to walk the Monon, but by the time we made it to Broad Ripple, light was waning and we decided to dine some place us.  La Jolla, with it's ample outdoor seating and busy atmosphere called to us, so we answered!  The wait was somewhat lengthy, but we have to say, well worth it!

As it was a Thursday, the hotties and metros were out in force.  Especially at La Jolla.  It was definitely awesome people watching and hearkened Fred and Libby back to those college years...ah, to be young and tartly! ;) 

With an infant on one hip and a 5 year old scaling the half brick wall outside, it was obvious the FLOE was a little out of place.  Regardless, we were here to experience, eat, drink and be merry! 

We were seated at a perfect table on the deck with full view of Broad Ripple Ave and in the middle of the hustle and bustle.  Salsa and chips came quickly and wow, we were impressed by the hot, very flavorful salsa.  Not too shabby for what we thought would be at best, a good hang-out and hangover recovery establishment.

Yes, our server was busy, but he was good to get our drinks to us quickly and even took time to jaw with Ozzy here and there.  The menu offered typical mexican-american fare, but a couple of enchilada, burrito, and taco fillings stood out...chorizo and spinach & cream cheese...que?  Sign us up! 

With combo platters calling to our very grumbly tummies, Fred chose the chorizo taco and chicken enchilada, Libby the chorizo burrito and the spinach & cream cheese enchilada.  Both came with the very standard refried beans and spanish rice. Ozzy went with the cheese quesadilla...yes, there was a kid's menu!

Fred's combination was surprisingly tasty.  The chicken enchilada with green chilis was certainly above average, but the chorizo taco!  Yeah baby!  Pure fatty, hard fried pork with a delightful heat.  This place does not play around when it comes to spice.  Daddy like!  After the extra spicy salsa, he decided a second Negra Modelo was in order to tame the tongue.  His only complaint?  A $12 combo and he would have still been hungry had it not been for the chips and salsa.

Libby's top shelf margarita started the night off right.  Once the dish finally arrived, Libby was most excited to try the chorizo burrito.  Unlike other burritos, the shell had a slightly-baked, almost fried chewy texture.  This stood out from the usual raw flour tortilla burrito.  She had to actually cut it with a knife.  This turned out to be a very good thing.  Lots of texture and flavor.  The chimichanga was an excellent paring thanks to the creamy spinach filling and flaky fried crust.  Both of us agreed the spanish rice was "meh" at best, but the refried beans were a little bit eyebrow raising, giving extra life to anything else that happened to be on the fork at the time. 

Ozzy, of course, macked out on the chips sans salsa.  We had to start rationing.  But after a puny whining attempt, he grudgingly ate half his quesadilla.  Fred had a bite of the leftovers and decided that with a little of the outstanding salsa, he could have finished the whole plate.

Wrap Up
Price-$$, Perhaps a bit pricey for mexican.  But that would not deter us.
Atmosphere-*****, The first 5 we've ever given.  The people-watching and cantina atmosphere overlooking the Broadripple strip was entertainment in itself.  Pure bliss when it's been all-kiddos all-the-time for the past 5 years.
Service-**, They were careful to get drinks & chips to you quickly, but the kitchen could not keep up with the crowd.  

Fred - B+, Certainly above-average Mexican.  Is it better than La Piedad?  No way.  But when you add in the atmosphere, I'd call it a wash.  I'd happily head back any time. 
Libby - B+,  Ditto.  I can't agree more.  What La Jolla lacks in authenticity, they make up in atmosphere.  The spinach & cream cheese is effing genius.  I know it's not Mexican, but that's good *beep*.
Ozzy- A+ , Fun atmosphere.  He was entertained the entire time and even when he got loud, who on earth could have heard him above the crowd?!
Estelle- C+, Distracting atmosphere whose hotties and metros found her absolutely adorable. She handled it well, but this is not a high-chair offering establishment.  Not that we expected one, but it was obvious that they do not exactly cater to that crowd.  School-agers are OK, infants are a buzz-kill.

Addendum:  We're a little taken aback by the poor ranking on Urban Spoon.  Having been by the place often, it is always packed.  Yes, it's location location location, but we're wondering if people just discount it because of the hookup atmosphere..?

La Jolla Mexican on Urbanspoon