Tag Archives: Sandwiches

Lulu’s Coffee + Bakehouse

10 Apr

Coffee shops. Indy may not be Seattle where Starbucks are on almost every corner. And because of that, we have other great, local coffee shops that we are able to pop in before work. Lulu’s is one of them. Lulu’s Coffee + Bakehouse, formerly named Lulu’s Electric Cafe, has not only changed their name and locations (moved from 86th and Ditch towards Township Line), but also the overall feel of their space.

A casual, slightly artsy type of environment, Lulu’s is a relaxed third space for a group of 10-15 individuals at one time. A few small tables, a comfy couch here, and a little game playing area there behind the coffee beans for sale. I really liked the vibe of the shop. But unfortunately, it was a little before 8am and I had to get to work for the day. Sitting down and enjoying the paper wasn’t an option on that Friday morning.

My co-worker (and friend) and I ordered our drinks from the friendly man behind the counter. He was thoughtful in explaining the different brews available that day as we perused the menu of the items available. Of course, with perfect placement by Lulu’s, I had to grab a cinnamon chip scone for my breakfast nibble. The scone was very light, not dense or heavy like I normally anticipate with a scone. And though it wasn’t what I anticipated, I still enjoyed every bite. Almost like a cinnamon muffin with more fluff. The cinnamon spice was perfect in the baked good as I quickly ate it all. And the coffee, I had ordered their medium roast, was a good cup of coffee. It was hot in temperature, not too strong or light in flavor either. Not to mention, the fancy top kept the coffee in place when driving.

I look forward to stopping in Lulu’s again, especially with the image of the scone in my head. Maybe a sandwich next time?

Lulu’s Coffee + Bakehouse* 2292 W. 86th Street * Indy, 46260 *317.879.1995

Lulu's Coffee + Bakehouse on Urbanspoon

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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

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

Red Lion Grog House

19 Aug

Another Groupon to use, hubs picked me up from the airport after my recent business trip and we made our way to the Red Lion Grog House in the Fountain Square area. I have a few friends who play trivia during the week there, but I had never been.

After parking (watch out for the current construction) we made our way into the establishment to find ourselves as the only patrons. It was a Sunday at 2:30pm so maybe this is normal, I wouldn’t be surprised. It was what I expected – a dark bar/restaurant that had a not so bright feeling of an English pub. The kitchen looked pretty open and the server was quite friendly. I ordered a PBR on special while hubs sipped a Strongbow. We decided to start off with an appetizer of the classic Scotch Egg while I pondered what I wanted as my main.

The Scotch Egg seemed to be overdone. The egg was slightly dry, as was the sausage. Definitely had the spicy seasoned sausage flavor to it (especially with the mayo based spiced dipping sauce) that I expected, but overall, it was just plain overfried. I’m guessing this is not always the case, but I just wasn’t impressed with the starter.

Hubs ordered the classic fish and chips. He though the fish was ‘okay,’ though I thought the cod was good. It was flaky and tender. I didn’t try the breading though, so I can really only comment on the cod. I also enjoyed the tarter sauce, slightly tangy with pickle relish and creamy with the mayo base. Hubs really enjoyed the chips – hand cut fries that were fried perfectly for him. He definitely cleared his plate of the fries, but the fish left him wanting a little more.

I had decided to order the chicken picotta sandwich. It was marked as a specialty which is why I gave it a go. I was disappointed with it overall – the picotta sauce, which is a lemon-caper sauce, was entirely too creamy for my taste. The sharpness of capers were masked by the heavy flour taste of the sauce. The bun was too much so I took the chicken off the bun and ended up eating it with a fork and knife. But once again, the overwhelming taste of flour on my palate left me unsatisfied. But, like hubs, my side of tator tots left me content. They were your basic fried tator tots, but there is something about them that is always a guilty pleasure for me. Salty and full of that fried potato flavor, I almost cleared my plate of the tots.

For grabbing a drink and playing trivia, I could see the Grog House being a great location. For food, I’m still looking for a reason to want to order something else. The service was attentive and our food was quick when ordered. I think I’d give it another try if I was there for drinks and trivia, but I wouldn’t go out of my way.

Red Lion Grog House * 1043 Virginia Ave * Fountain Square, 46203 * 317.822.4764

Red Lion Grog House on Urbanspoon