Tag Archives: Take Out

Toppers Pizza

12 Apr

Hubs and I took it easy this past weekend by watching a lot of Downton Abbey and Mad Men. During the marathons, we had to eat. Found ourselves needing food late Saturday evening and hubs gave me the option to pick (I know, we were real exciting on that Saturday night). I decided that we should try the newly opened Toppers Pizza. The national chain from Champaign, IL, recently opened on North Meridian Street. I figured it was time to give it a go and this evening provided the perfect opportunity.

For about $30 prior to tip, we prdered and received a 12 inch pizza, cheese breadsticks, 6 buffalo wings and a 2 liter of soda. I wanted to try a variety, so that is what we got. I had ordered online and really got to peruse the menu before placing the order. I was impressed with the selection, but confused with one item: quesadillas. Yup, the pizza place sells quesadillas. I have to wonder how they are, considering that if I wanted a quesadilla, I wouldn’t think of ordering it from a pizza place. There has to to be a story behind that…anyone know anything?

Anyway, I digress. Let’s begin with the buffalo wings. There is the option to order boneless or wings. I assumed the boneless were just frozen nuggets of chicken (don’t get me wrong, I have a sweet spot for those things), so I decided to try the bone-in. I was really excited, so I’m sad to say I really disliked them. A lot. I couldn’t get over how mushy they were due to the breading being soft. They had been baked, but it seemed like they could have been baked longer. We had ordered buffalo, and though I anticipated the spicy flavor I adore, I didn’t get any of that. I barely ate one and would stay clear next time. Hubs on the other hand thought they were what one should expect from delivered wings. I just wanted something of higher standards – he thinks maybe it would be better at the restaurant. I raise my eyebrow at that and we agree to disagree.

As for the pizza, I was slightly disappointed here too. We ordered the hand tossed and though the crust was good, it overwhelmed each bite leaving me wanting more toppings and sauce. As you can tell by the photo, it seemed like all the toppings migrated to the middle and stayed put. The sauce was just there and didn’t stand out by any means. I did like the sausage as it had good flavor, seasoned well with being hand pulled rather than frozen sausage. The pepperoni was standard and the mushrooms barely there. I would have liked more mushrooms (and all other toppings to be dispersed better) and for their flavor to be fresh and more apparent with each bite. I would order it again, but next time I’ll go with thin crust and look at one of their specialty pizzas, like the taco. I felt like I missed out on ordering this pizza, like I knew there was something better and I just picked the wrong one.

The main reason I’ll return to Toppers? Those cheesy breadsticks. I loved every single bite of them. The bread wasn’t soaked in grease, but you knew you weren’t eating healthy with the heavy dose of cheese and garlic butter soaked into every bite. Despite the photo and appearance of grease, it wasn’t soggy by any means. I don’t go for bread sticks that are limp because they are soaked with butter. These had substance and stood on their own with each savory bite. I’d like to point out we got the original, but you can get triple cheese as an option. I can’t imagine what the cheese is like on those, because I had plenty of ooey goodness with each bite. And the nacho cheese, which we ordered on the side for $.75 I believe, wasn’t necessary as they really stood on their own.

Overall, the price seemed a little high for the buffalo wings, but everything else was standard. I’d probably pick up next time to avoid the delivery charge and stay clear of the buffalo wings. Who else has been there? What are your thoughts, and would you order again?

Toppers * 12545 N. Meridian St. * Carmel, 46032 * 317.569.6031

Toppers Pizza on Urbanspoon

Mark Pi’s China Gate

14 Feb

To recognize the Chinese New Year, I wanted to celebrate with food. A quick shake of the Urbanspoon app had us standing outside Mark Pi’s China Gate. Located off North Meridian, hidden in a strip mall like so many Indy restaurants, I hadn’t noticed it despite living close. From outside, it looked like it was busy, so I was excited to give it a try.

We were greeted with a warm smile and friendly service. However, rather than being seated, we opted to order take out from the bar. Along one side of the restaurant, we found that though the tables were full, the bar was empty. Overall, the atmosphere is comfortable yet slightly upscale. It isn’t your basic take out Asian, but fresher, more inviting. We decided to grab a seat and order a roll to share while enjoying a beer and waiting for our food.

With only two beers on draft, we each ordered one to compliment our rainbow roll. After watching the sushi chef at the end of the bar (behind the sushi counter), we were presented with a beautiful plate. It was a bit more jazzed up than a normal plate, adding a bit of flair. I haven’t seen lemon served on top of sushi before, but I liked that just by touch alone it helped freshen up the fish even though it wasn’t needed. The fish was fresh and vibrant in taste. The rice was clean in flavor, sticky in texture and a great vehicle for the avocado, crab, and crisp cucumber. It was quite a large portion as rainbow rolls normally are, so I was happy that we split it. As we wrapped up our appetizer, our entrees were delivered. We paid our bill and made our way home.

I didn’t get to try hubs entree, but he enjoyed his pepper chicken saying it had a nice kick without being an overkill in spice. I opted for the classic hunan prepared with scallops. The gentlemen who took our order gave us a great piece of information – they use fresh peppers. So when you ask for spicy, or for them to hold off, it isn’t quite something they are able to do. It all depends on the peppers that they have, rather than creating different levels of spice with prepared peppers. I liked the fresh approach and was hoping to have some spice to the hunan. Success  – with my first bite there was some heat, but not overwhelming. The mushrooms, baby corn, and broccoli were cooked perfectly, crunching with crispness and vibrant in color. There was great flavor to the hunan sauce without a hint of being overly salty, which I sometimes get. The scallops, bay scallops, were small but tender, cooked well. I would have liked a bit more out of the seafood option, but appreciated that it was at least an option rather than the standard chicken or shrimp. I substituted brown rice, and was disappointed it was an extra charge, but still was cooked properly.

Serving size was large, as I expected, and made great leftovers the next day. It was a bit more pricey than I was anticipating for the evening, but they are going for an above average Asian concept. The service – all friendly and personable. I enjoyed speaking to the owner while we enjoyed our sushi and waited for our dinner. I also appreciated that he was honest in that they haven’t advertised too much, because he wants his staff to really understand the food as they continue to build their menu. There were flairs of Korean food, and I could tell how passionate the food and culture. He doesn’t just want his guests to enjoy the food, but understand the flavors. I’d return to continue to sample items off the quite extensive menu and the sushi they continue to develop.

Mark Pi’s China Gate * 12297 N. Meridian St. * Carmel, 46032 * 317.848.1888

Mark Pi's China Gate on Urbanspoon