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Taste of Carmel – Recap (Special Event)

6 Mar

I hope some of you were able to make it out to the Taste of Carmel event this past Thursday evening at the Ritz Charles. For those who weren’t able to join us, you missed out on a tasty, and completely reasonably priced, evening. Even without the deal that was promoted, $25 allowed a guest to enjoy over 40 restaurants, caterers, wineries and breweries. I meandered my way through the crowd with hubs and two friends as we filled our stomachs with some great food and drink.

We didn’t get to try everything. A few things I easily passed because I knew what exactly what I would get, like Jet’s pizza. Not that it was necessarily bad, but I just knew what I would be getting from the bite (or in that case, the whole slice of pepperoni pizza). The portions weren’t small either: full sliders, half an enchilada, half glasses of wine. Even if you wanted to go back and get more, there was plenty for you to nibble on.

Here is a recap of a few of the things we ate:

The best thing of the evening was from a new found favorite, The Local. A crisp beet chip with the sharpness of bleu cheese finishing the bite; a tortilla chip with tender, rare sirloin and spicy serrano pepper bringing the bite all together; and a bite of salmon with creme fraiche (though this was a bit lackluster). That beet chip was so fantastic: crisp and creamy, earthy yet sharp. It was a great bite that the whole crew agreed upon.

My second favorite of the night was from Pizzology. One of the reasons I loved it so much was that they featured something other than their pizza: polenta. The polenta had a creamy bite to it, working perfectly with the rich pulled pork that was on top. A sprinkle of Parmesan on top brought a perfect saltiness to the dish.

Though Happy Everything Catering didn’t have the chicken salad I love, they did have other simple foods on hand. A great hummus and tabouli combination (though a few more chips would have been helpful to finish eating the dips), a tortilla Mexican wrap contained cream cheese with basic Mexican flavors, and then a really great meatball. Not dense in texture, it had a rich sauce that was so subtly sweet. Sunny Chinese Kitchen was also there, showcasing her cooking talents with demonstrations, leaving us to have all the great bites that were produced, including this great potsticker. Pan fried on the outside left a crisp crust that was stuffed with a great mix of veggies and meat – not to mention, made to order as it was steamed and fried on-site.

A few other items we tried included Bub’s Cafe & Season’s 52 desserts, Eddie Merlot’s rich and creamy pasta, Cooking Greek’s Mediterranean collection (mmm, cinnamon rice pudding – see above), Taste of Sensu’s sushi, Sullivan’s lobster bisque and cheese steak egg roll (shown above, bottom right), Woody’s Homestyle BBQ pulled pork and brisket, and Daddy Jack’s Asian coleslaw with shrimp (top right). We also sampled wines from The People’s Winery, Cooper’s Hawk Winery, Harmony Winery (sparkling wine shown with Kincaid’s dish), Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co., and Sun King Brewing.

Among all the food, there was also entertainment from Shane Rodimel, chair massages by Rangeline Chiropractic, and of course, the silent auction that included a variety of packages. It was a tasty evening with good friends and a fun environment. Kudos to all the men and women who made this event possible; I hope Orchard Park benefits greatly from the event (I’m sure they will!) I’ll definitely be heading back next year, and maybe you can join me! If you were there, what did you like best?

Northside Nights: Spring Edition (Special Event)

2 Mar

It is that time again – another restaurant week is approaching. Northside Nights, a version of Devour Downtown but on the North side, will be up and running March 8-18 for the Spring eating edition.

There are quite a variety of restaurants available; almost all are local or local chains. I’ve been to most, but for a few, it has been quite a while. I think I may have to try to the restaurants I’ve never been to, including some chains, like Ruth’s Chris. Yup, never been. Here are the others I may need to try:

  • Bella Vita
  • Hellas Cafe
  • Ruth’s Chris
  • LA Cafe
  • Michael’s Southshore

I’m most curious about Michael’s Southshore as I haven’t heard of them prior to this. From a quick look at their menu, I really wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up there. Though, I did discover this 2 for $57 deal which also included wine. This does leave the debate of ‘wine vs. dessert’, but another option to consider.

Another great thing about Northside Nights? Daily giveaways. Be sure to register to win gift certificates – and you can do so everyday!

Save the date for these other events this year too:

  • Devour Downtown: July 30-August 12
  • Chow Down Midtown: June 11 – 24
  • Northside Nights & Savor the Southside: September 11-23

Where are you looking to try, or where will you return to? Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts!, as well as how your experience was.

The Local Eatery & Pub (Return)

29 Feb

I normally don’t return to restaurants this quickly, but there is something about The Local that I adore. Is it the casual gastropub atmosphere? The local ingredient love? Maybe. But it could also be because their food is unique, home felt, and good. Hubs and I, despite not falling fast for the food from our first time, did in a weird kind of way anyway. I haven’t really felt that way about a restaurant in quite sometime – thus, our return so quickly. We were on our way to a movie, just going to grab something casual and quick. But then we drove by The Local and our heads nodded towards one another in silent agreement.

It wasn’t busy at all unlike the last time. But it was also a Monday after the Super Bowl. The one woman working the front of the house was fast and friendly – she was fantastic. Our order was taken, our drinks were delivered, and we got comfortable. This time, we were seated on the bar side. I still loved the atmosphere and feel of the restaurant from this angle.

From a few other Indy food bloggers, I threw down and said we had to order the goat cheese. I wasn’t messing around since I’m a lover of all things cheese. And I have to say, I am happy I threw down. The goat cheese was phenomenal. At first, we scoffed at the large amount of bread supplied with the cheese, but I have to say, there wasn’t any left when we were done. It was the perfect vehicle for warm, creamy cheese. I was wondering how a bath of warm olive oil would compliment this, and it did. It gave another level of creamy texture. And the roasted garlic spread like soft butter – robust and earthy in flavor as it complimented the lemony flavor of the thyme. I loved every bite and could have left happy after that.

For our entrees, I wasn’t feeling a sandwich so I ended up with fish and tots. Yes, I substituted the chips for tots and there were no complaints on my end. I barely ate any of them though due to the large portion of white fish I was consuming. The batter was light, the fish sturdy in texture and subtly flavorful. The fish is from Lake Michigan – I have to say it was interesting to have something different in this form. The dill in the tarter sauce was perfect for the fish, which I squeezed lemon all over to give it a bit of light flavor over what can usually be a heavier dish. I liked it – thumbs up.

Hubs ordered the lamb burger, which was exactly what I expected out of a lamb burger. The focus was on the meat, not anything else that could have been incorporated into the meat. It had good flavor, but I thought it was just a bit too heavy for what I wanted out of the burger. I was slightly disappointed with the rosemary tomato jam – only because I wanted to have more. Only a small dollop was served on the bun, and that flavor would have carried the sandwich very well if there was more (hindsight – I get that we could have asked for more, but alas.) The sandwich also came with sauteed peppers and onions, which hubs ordered on the side and didn’t really incorporate. A good, but slightly heavy, burger. Next time – I want to try the Elk.

We definitely shared our meals and had much happier results this go around. Not that they were bad by any means last time. Quite delicious for sure. But I want all of you to know that you definitely need to give it a go. I see us heading there more often now, maybe becoming a staple for our frequent goers club (we don’t really have one. But if we did, this would be on it for sure!)

The Local Eatery &  Pub * 14665 Gray Road * Westfield, 46062 * 317.218.3786

The Local Eatery and Pub on Urbanspoon

Park Street Pub & Pizzeria

9 Feb

When our schedules permit, I’m sometimes able to meet hubs for lunch during the work week. This usually means a drive up to Westfield, and also means we need to dine at a casual and slightly speedy restaurant. The last time around, I opted to dine at a bar that I always pass on my way to pick him up: Park Street Pub & Pizzeria.

We grabbed a table in the subtle smokey atmosphere, which was easy to do as there weren’t many people there on the Friday afternoon. It was what I expected of a local bar. Nothing fancy, expect for the few signed photos around the restaurant of local and national celebrities and athletes. Mostly, beer posters and things you would expect to see on the walls of a bar. A few patrons sat at the bar, we were the only at a table. The bartender was not only the bartender, but also our server and cook. And she accomplished all of this with a friendly smile and speedy service.

We ordered fried pickles as our starter, and then I the special of the day, a chicken sub. Hubs settled on philly cheese steak. The fried pickles were pretty quick. A little dark from being over fried, they were hot to the touch, and pipping hot with the interior. They were spears, not chips, which is something that I prefer. They weren’t anything special – a simple batter that didn’t have a lot of flavor. But really, I anticipated that in the atmosphere we were in. A simple ranch dressing was served on the side, which was fine by me.

Hubs said his sandwich was good, but I didn’t give it a try. He did comment that the bread was good – whether it was made in house or bought from someone (which we both assumed.) It was slightly crunch on the outside, Vienna style, and tender on the inside. Melted mozzarella cheese was broiled on one side, while the other was piled with the fillings. He ate it all and said it was good bar food.

My sandwich was lack luster. I was debating on getting fried chicken strips, which I should have gotten rather than the sandwich. Because that is exactly what my sandwich was – three fried chicken tenders with lettuce, tomato and pickles. It was, once again, standard bar food. But, the bread that hubs had, I also had and it was quite filling. I enjoyed it with the fried chicken – nothing exotic about it. But it was what I expected, so I can’t really complain. We also received a large basket of fries since our sandwiches both came with them – I’m sure it was easier for them to be served that way. Nothing fancy, straight edge fries from a fryer.

Pub food was exactly what I expected, and exactly what we got. Cheap eats, cheap drinks and friendly atmosphere and staff. It was good for what we wanted it to be. I’m sure it is a great local hangout for the people of Westfield to enjoy – sounds like they were having a band and other fun things planned for the community. A quick bite to eat, simple and nothing fancy. There were a lot of pizzas listed, so I’m wondering what they would be like…

Park Street Pub & Pizzeria * 515 West Park Street * Westfield, 46074

T.K.'S Westfield Grill & Bar on Urbanspoon