Tag Archives: Mediterranean

Aesop’s Table Cafe

30 Jan

Hubs and I were downtown running a few errands and found ourselves on Mass Ave looking for a place to dine. I had walked by Aesop’s many times, even had plans to dine there with friends once only to cancel. Thought it would be perfect for a casual dinner on Thursday night. We bundled up and headed into the cafe for dinner.

Once we were inside, we were immediately greeted by the host. The restaurant only had one other table dining at the restaurant, so I wasn’t expecting slow service by any means. And fortunately, the service was never delayed from start to finish. We grabbed a seat towards the back of the restaurant and took a look around. It definitely represented a Greek style third space: a place of casual tables and chairs, nothing fancy, but clean and open for business. It was slightly chilly, but I couldn’t help but think how comfortable it would be with warmer weather. Hubs ordered a Dutch beer and I grabbed a glass of Malbec while we reviewed the menu.

We were both quite hungry, so we opted to order an appetizer.Despite being served a basket of warm bread when seated, we opted to order more bread and selected the dipping plate. Warm, crisp and tender slices of pita were served with thick slices of tender french bread. Crusty on the outside, but soft on the inside, the breads were perfect for the trio of dips. We were served hummus (hommous, however you opt to spell), tzatziki, and a sun-dried tomato and feta dip. The hummus was smooth,  a perfect blend of chickpeas, tahini, and olive oil. The tzatziki, a cucumber yogurt dip, was heavy in mint. I appreciated how light and refreshing it was compared to the heavier dips. The sun-dried tomato and feta dip was a little dry, but still had good flavor of robust tomatoes and sharp feta. I just wish it was a bit more spreadable and not as dry on the tongue.

For dinner, we each opted for a sandwich. A good idea considering we both ate way more bread than anticipated as a starter. But first, we received a basic salad of romaine, tomatoes, onions, mozzarella and a basic vinaigrette. A clean starter. Nothing special, but I appreciated the lightness of the salad.

Hubs opted for the gyro, which he jazzed up by ordering the ultimate. Essentially, that means added feta and mozzarella cheese to the traditional sandwich. It was a large, thus very messy. It was a combination of pork and lamb, plus an addition of dijon mustard. I took a bite and thought the meat was a little dry (maybe from being broiled for the cheese to melt?), but still had the good traditional flavors of a gyro despite the addition of ingredients.

I opted for the chicken souvlaki, listed as a chicken sandwich. A combination of sauteed peppers and onions were the dominant flavors of the sandwich. But, I didn’t mind that considering the chicken was dry and lacking flavor. There was tzatziki and diced tomatoes on the sandwich as well in the slightly toasted, warm pita. I can’t rave enough about the pita – I just loved the texture and taste. But, due to the dipping plate, I opted to really only eat the chicken and veggies on their own. It was just too much food for me.

Overall, the food was simple like the environment. For about $11, the sandwich and salad were more than enough food. The service was definitely friendly, personable and attentive despite our server also acting as the host. It would be a solid place to lounge with friends, grab a drink and few appetizers over conversation while strolling Mass Ave. Just like the people in the Mediterranean – they know how to relax and Aesop’s environment invites that same philosophy.

Aesop’s Tables Cafe * 600 E. Massachusetts Ave * Downtown Indy, 46204

Aesop's Tables on Urbanspoon

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Cafe St. Tropez

29 Nov

I love it when Groupon has a deal for a restaurant that 1) I’ve never tried and 2) is down the street from my house.  I know that I’ll be trying it eventually and Groupon just makes it easy sometimes. With Groupon in hand for breakfast, hubs and I made our way to Cafe St. Tropez located in downtown Carmel. It is tucked in the new Sophia Square on Main Street which faces the Monon Trail.  When it is warm outside, I can imagine some nice tables outside for sipping coffee and enjoying the afternoon.

All the tables were full, so we took a seat in two of the comfy leather chairs to wait our turn. We were encouraged to enjoy coffee while we waited; the restaurant has the self serve coffee station where you can grab a cup and fix it anyway you choose. There was quite a variety, but we decided to hold off until we sat down. Though convenient, it was your basic coffee and I was craving a latte while hubs was looking for a Turkish coffee. Our wait was short, but I could see how someone would have to wait quite sometime if the timing wasn’t in their favor. There weren’t many tables, maybe 7 at most, and my impression is that this is the kind of environment where you are encouraged to relax, sip your coffee and enjoy the paper. If you arrived with a large group, the chance of getting a table quickly is slim to nothing.  The set up was so casual and inviting to relax, it seemed odd the restaurant even offered entrees, especially plated.

The breakfast menu was limited with a sandwich, crepes, oatmeal and an omelet. Hubs settled on the egg and bacon sandwich. He chose sourdough to sandwich the over medium egg, bacon and cheddar cheese. The bacon didn’t have much flavor, not adding much to the sandwich. The sourdough would have been good to soak up the egg, but honestly, hubs thought it was a little dry. He did like the variety of fruit in the cup, but mentioned that it was a basic and not memorable.

I had settled on the St. Tropez omelet. Compared to hubs sandwich, I clearly had selected the better option. The omelet was much bigger than I anticipated.  The eggs were surprisingly fluffy and enveloped all the classic Mediterranean flavors I was anticipating. The feta was crumbly in texture with the slight briney flavor, adding the perfect level of salt to the eggs. The spinach was slightly wilted, the tomatoes warmed, and the crisp red onion brought everything together. I enjoyed the omelet – it was light but filling all at the same time with all the flavors working together. Hearty slices of wheat toast were served on the side but the omelet was filling enough that I didn’t eat them. I, like hubs, enjoyed the fruit and the lack of the typical honeydew or cantaloupe to take up space.

The service was slightly slow, though the owner was very friendly and checked in on all the tables while we were there. Price wise, it was a bit more than I would have anticipated. Without the Groupon, the meal would have set us back $27.

I really enjoyed the laid back environment, rich colors on the walls and deep brown leather chairs for relaxing. But the atmosphere reminded me of a coffee bar; a place to hang out with friends and have a conversation. I wouldn’t have expected them to serve food, let alone plated meals. Though my meal was good, I wouldn’t go back for a meal. A cheese plate, hummus, cupcake or scone with coffee or champagne would do. I’d rather kick up my feet, enjoy the latte (which was delicious by the way) and read a book or enjoy an afternoon with a friend.

Cafe St. Tropez * 110 W.Main Street * Carmel, 46032 * 317.581.9559

Cafe St. Tropez on Urbanspoon