Saturday, March 26, 2011


Ever had Indonesian cuisine before? FLOE neither...until Garuda! The new SoBro Indonesian Restaurant off of College and 52nd is tucked behind Taste and is very muted in its outward appearance. We had no idea what to expect. Once inside, some minimalist decor showcased a small dining area open to the very busy kitchen.

The hostess was a bit awkward(not sure what to do, more nervous than accommodating), but we'll chalk it up to being only open about one month at the time. Our server was very polite, but again, awkward. We were glad to see a small menu---makes it a little easier to pick new things.

We noticed a lot of satay(skewered meats), some curry, and rice and noodle dishes with island flair. We decided to start with Lumpia, Garuda's Indonesian spring rolls. Fred had to have the Kare Opur(Indonesian Curry) with chicken and Libby the Beef Randang. Ozzy opted for a side of rice and Stella would sample from the lot.

Beverage orders were never requested, but we were brought water to drink. Hm. The menu also stated we could specify how spicy we would like our dishes and that never happened either.

The Lumpia came out pretty quickly and was just delightful! Visually very familiar, there was something different. The fried outside was thick like a chinese egg roll and had a hidden sweetness, while the inside had some curried tofu and mixed veggies that were more reminiscent of a spring roll. It was fried perfectly, nice and crunchy outside with a warm, tender inside. The pineapple chili sauce on the side was a great touch. Even Stella approved!

Entrees took a little longer, even though there were only two seated tables in the whole place and an army of folks in the back. Finally, they arrived and they were beautiful! And in appropriate proportions. Not the mega-size so many of us have become so accustomed to.

Fred's Kare Opur was so aromatic! It was quite mild with incredibly well blended spices--- the flavors had melded in the pot. It was familiar yet different in it's subtlety. Definitely a dish worth coming back for!

Libby's Beef Randang was actually the Beef Satay dinner. This was suspected, but not confirmed until after dinner when a quick look at the online menu checked out. Rather than a slow-roasted meat in coconut milk and indonesian spices, it was skewered beef with a side of rice and acar(a vegetable salad with cucumbers, pineapples and carrots marinated in a ginger-shallot lime sauce garnished with cilantro). One bite was all it took to see the value in these simple plates. Tender, flavorful, and so tasty it made Libby regret her earlier thoughts that less is more! More! More! The rice on the side and the acar worked better together than on their own. The yellow rice was again very mild in flavor---the acid from the veg was necessary. So, even though there was a bit of ordering confusion, Libby was very pleased with her surprise dish.

Finally, we had to try the Pisang Goreng--- more well known as fried plantains. Yummy. This version had coconut and rice-flour battered plantains, fried and sprinkled with coconut over a nutella and caramel sauce topped with coconut ice cream. This flavor combo was truly pleasing and the perfect sweet ending to a most satisfying dinner. Again, subtlety was the art of this dish. Lightly battered, lightly sweetened and even the coconut ice cream was more milky that sweet. One suggestion we would have is to have thinner slices. Plantains are naturally a bit bitter and the thicker slices caused the bitter plantain to compete with the already light sweetness. Otherwise, it was just de-lite-ful!

Wrap Up
Price-$$-Well priced for delicate, international cuisine.
Atmosphere**, Nothing exciting, but we're expecting it to flesh out over time. We did quite enjoy being able to view all of the chaos in the back!
Service*,- Very polite but GREEN. These guys need more experienced help to pay attention to detail and be on top of customer needs. There was a hostess, two servers, and what appeared to be two owners around, not to mention 4-5 chefs in the back. If they are struggling with only two tables filled, we cringe to think what a busy night would be like!

Fred- B-, I'd give the food more of an A-, very good. But the service was so poor, it weighed down the overall experience. I would like to go back to see if it's improved. If not, then that would be a huge red flag.
Libby-B+, Wonderful food, but the service was just bad. The kind of service where you know they are trying and can't seem to get it right. There's nothing worse than feeling sorry for your servers when the chefs are doing their part in the kitchen.
Ozzy- C+, Ozzy was not too impressed with his yellow rice, but he ate it and very much enjoyed the plantain sauce, rather than the plantain itself.
Estelle- B, Stella sampled from everything and preferred the acar, the curry, and the rice. The meat may have been too difficult for her to chew, but she seemed content overall.
Garuda on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Three Sisters Cafe

On our short list, Three Sister's Cafe made the cut a couple of weeks ago when Libby had a rare Saturday night off. A roadtrip for breakfast Sunday morning was on the agenda! FLOE was well aware that one of our food-porn heroes, Guy Fieri, had sampled some eats and we couldn't wait to try it our for ourselves!

Located in the heart of Broadripple, Three Sister's is situated in an old house with all the antiquated charms---creaky wooden floors, large windows, small rooms and quaint architectural details. We didn't realize it at the time, but we were super lucky to be seated immediately. Within 20 minutes, the line was out the door.

One very fun and friendly type of seating they do for small groups is "family" seating. If there is one large table, you could get seated with other guests...some may scoff at this, but we found it kinda cool. Could be good to meet some new people. :)

With a newly printed menu after triple D's visit, Libby decided to sample one of the show's featured items, the raspberry corn cakes with lemon curd. Fred had to try the omelet with calico potatoes. Ozzy requested the bear banana pancakes and Stella indulged in her own entree as well, the french toast. And can we just say, their coffee was FABULOUS. Nice and bold, not for the Folgers crowd.

After a fairly lengthy wait, the beautiful plates arrived! We were more than a little excited. Libby, being the lucky tester of the corncakes, was completely satisfied with her choice. The corncakes were bursting with raspberries...but let's not mince words---it's all about that lemon curd. OMG, this was pure lemon heaven. Breakfast? This was a straight up dessert! Beautifully simple and totally indulgent. Fantastic! A must have from now on, whenever we get back.

Fred's a 5-ingredient omelet with a side of calico potatoes and an order of sourdough toast really hit the tastebuds front & center. The mixture of exotic mushrooms, kalamata olives, brie, spinach and basil was to die for. Creamy, briney, mushroomy goodness with enough green stuff to make you almost feel like it's healthy. Of course any mistaken notion of that went out the window with the pound of melted butter on the very sour sourdough. Not that Fred was complaining!

Unfortunately the calico potatoes may actually have been healthy. They certainly tasted like it. We wanted to like this mixture of white & sweet potato hash browns. They had some spice to them, but they just tasted. . . . healthy. Perhaps it was just a lack of salt, but there just wasn't the depth of flavor that we were expecting. Sadly, they looked a lot better than they tasted.

The kids were not on the same page with their meals. Ozzy was a little disappointed with the banana-i-ness of his choice. Apparently, he didn't connect the whole banana-in-a-pancake concept and said he would prefer them sans bananas. There was still plenty that he would like there, but this was not his dish. Stella, on the other hand, was happily munching away on her french toast and had little to complain about during our entire stay. She was in a good place.

Wrap Up
Price-$-$$,- Comparable to any chain breakfast place. But this sure ain't Bob Evans!!
Atmosphere***, You could feel the love. It was Grandma's house with a little Broadripple flair.
Service***,- The wait for the food made it seem like something had happened in the kitchen, but the server was very attentive throughout.

Fred- A-, Now I'm on my 3rd killer breakfast spot in Indy. Between Zest, Hoaglin To Go and 3 Sisters, who can decide where to go?!? I'll give you a hint -- it won't be Denny's. A little more salt on the calico potatoes during cooking would have pushed it into A territory.
Libby-A+, If I were in a hurry, this rating might be different. But the fact is the coffee was delicious and my corn cake with lemon curd was "City Hall in Flavortown".
Ozzy- C+, While he was having problems with both the wait and his chosen meal, Three Sisters had plenty of other options and the atmosphere was very conducive to a loud 6 year old.
Estelle- B+, She had the best seat in the house for people watching and her french toast was more than deserving of the adult menu.

3 Sisters Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

New Bethel Ordinary

Having heard that one of the best pizza's in town was actually not in town, we drove out to Wanamaker to visit the New Bethel Ordinary (NBO).  Upon entering and seeing the scorched wooden tables and an incredibly small town vibe, we immediately felt at home.  There's no pretense here.

The NBO could be found in any small town in the midwest complete with 1950's style plastic letter wall special advertisements to an original antiquated main street building to a bit of confusion around import beers.  With no set beer menu, our waitress was unable to provide us with a full listing of their beers.  When we decided on a Guiness, she offered a frosty mug, we declined, she then just brought the cans...?

We perused the menu, knowing we were getting a pie, to see if an appy was appealing.  Since we were worried that Stella really is not a pizza person yet, we thought we would maximize our chances with an appy sampler---the fried onion rings, fried cauliflower, and fried cheese sticks.  The pie we chose?  We decided to go ultra simple since the ingredient list wasn't blowing our skirts up---half cheese(for Ozzy) and half pepperoni.  Simple should suffice, right?

The sampler came out quickly, and looked like it came straight from the bag---maybe the onion rings were done in house, but there is NO WAY the cheese sticks or cauliflower were made within 500 miles of the place.  Not really very good.  Stella tried some of everything and Fred was so happy to see she is not an onion person either. ;)  Ozzy made a valiant attempt at a cheese stick, but as it got gooey, he vetoed the effort.  Fred and Libby quite enjoyed the cauliflower, but all in all, it was a bust.

At this point, other diners started rolling in and it was obvious, pizza was the star of the menu.  This was both heartening and foreboding in that everyone was ordering 4-7 toppings...did we mess this up?  Well, showtime, here came the pie...TONS of cheese!  Ozzy looked a little apprehensive.  A nice touch, the demarcation made with a green herb and was a great concept-- something we would like to see on other pies.  It was obvious where one side stopped and the other began.

Unfortunately, the great first impression soon fell incredibly flat.  The mounds of cheese that were so obvious at first glance were in fact, straight mozorella on a not so exciting sauce and an overwhelmed, underdone crust.  One side sitting in a pool of unappetising pepperoni grease.  You can't pick up this pizza, a must use the knife and fork.

We soon found that where most places would put a single pepperoni, the NBO stacked three or four.  This was obviously done in an attempt to provide abundant toppings, but doesn't work well with buried pepperoni.  As other pies started coming out with mounds of toppings on them, we recognized our fatal flaw...NBO doesn't do simple.  But what pizza place can't make a pepperoni pizza?!?!?!?!

Only a couple of weeks ago we had outstanding cheese pizza at Thr3e Wise it really so hard?

Really?  Fred and Libby immediately went into a diatribe of how they were pretty sure that that one time they were weak and tried a Sam's Club Pepperoni pizza, that it was better than this! How is that possible?  A pound of mozzerella does not a good pizza make!  How can the crust cook right with a layer of insulation on top?  Why didn't we order 5, 6, 7 toppings?!  *sigh*

Having only eaten one to one 1/2 slices each, we decided that it simply was not worth ingesting anymore.  We left, not satisfying our hunger, but still feeling that there was a ball of mozzerlla stuck in our gullets.  Both of us fantasized of purging roman style and going to get, perhaps, some Brozzini's.  Ozzy on the other hand, could not be disuaded of his "pretty good" rating.  And Stella, while she didn't really eat much, certainly enjoyed her experience and was welcomed warmly by staff and the other customers.

This brings us to the final tally, where Fred had some serious sticker shock.  $44, before a good tip, as the service was fine for a 16 inch pizza, a mediocre fried appy, and two (not exotic!) beers.  Huh?!  An example...last night at Oaken Barrel---which is arguably very inexpensive and amazing for the price--two dinner entrees, a kids entree, a dessert, and 5 WAY better beers came to a grand total of $36.  Explain that to us!

In our diner's remorse, we dialed a friend who loved the place.  He explained, it's about the massive number of multiple toppings.  So, a word to the wise...don't do it.  Don't try to be simple, get the mother load and maybe it's a whole new ball game.  But as far as FLOE is concerned, we won't be trecking to Wanamaker to give it another chance.

Wrap Up
Price-$$-$$$,- Apparently, Guiness charges a shit ton to go to Wanamaker.  There was a special to get a 16 inch and a bucket o' domestic for $30...yet somehow two Guiness and an appy added up to almost $45? Oy.
Atmosphere**, Small town, comfortable, homey, in a historic-ly ancient building in town.
Service***,-  Other than a little beer-snobbery on our part, the service was fine. :)

Fred- F, I understand it's a toppings place, but what pizza place can't do a pepperoni pizza?!  And if you're a toppings place, then you need to up the ante on the toppings---nothing extraordinary or interesting here .
Libby-D-, I have never only eaten one piece of pizza in my LIFE!  This was not good.  It was depressing that so much cheese was going to see the dumpster.  The only saving grace for me was the fried cauliflower--don't know if it was from the bag or not, but it was all I was all I had.
Ozzy- B, The boy took every ounce of cheese off but ate up his crust.  He insisted it was "pretty good."  Alright son, whatever you say.
Estelle- B, Content to snack and soak it all in.

New Bethel Ordinary on Urbanspoon