Welcome to Indy Foods. My name is RJ, I am a central Indiana resident who likes to eat good food at some of the great restaurants around here. So, at least once a month I like to try to hit the town and have a nice evening with my fiance. It doesn't always turn out the way I plan, but I'll be on here every time telling you how my experience went, hoping to give you an idea what to expect if you visit the same place. My goal here is not to rip these places apart, just give other diners a heads up before they decide where to spend there money. Some places are great, some are not so great, but I will break them down for you. I'm always interested in feedback, so please don't hesitate to tell me what's on your mind, or let me know where you would like me to try next.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Olive garden. Fond memories, almost let down.

     The Little Slice of Italy in nearly every town. The Olive Garden is a place where I have many fond memories. I love Italian food, so naturally it's been a good place to eat through out my past. Now-a-days, I've branched out to new Italian dining, but Olive Garden has always been a bit nostalgic for me. So this trip had some pretty big shoes to fill.

     Upon our arrival, the parking lot was FULL, so I naturally anticipated a long wait, but this was not the case. We, actually, had been seated rather quickly. It was a nice table, back in the corner of the restaurant, somewhat secluded. We ordered our drinks and begin to scour through the menu for something appetizing to eat. Finally, we decided. She went with the Parmesan Crusted Bistecca (that she ordered mid-well), and I just had to try the Tour of Italy. The salad came out first, in the traditional big bowl, family style serving. We always put a little cheese on it, but the salad was already over dressed. The bits on top weren't bad, but anything more than one helping was soggy and soaking wet in dressing. So, I can't sing any high praises there.

     Our entrees did take a long time to come out, and when they finally did, I had discovered why. Instead of being cooked mid-well, the steak in the Parmesan Crusted Bistecca was well done. But we started to chow down anyway.

     First up, the Parmesan Crusted Bistecca. The steak came out really well seasoned, and tasted really good. It wasn't drowned in grease, nor was it totally dry. The mashed potatoes left something to be desired, without mixing it up in the steak sauce, then they were okay. As far as the asparagus goes, nothing really spectacular there, just asparagus. All in all, it was a pretty good dish, I tasted a bit of it, and she enjoyed the rest.
     Next up is the Tour of Italy. I had some really high hopes for this piece, because it has about everything you could want in an Italian dish. However parts of it were cold, and dry. I could tell that my dish had died on the hot plate waiting for her steak. I can't prove it, but I think they made my food before hers even though hers would take longer than mine, Big mistake. the fettuccine noodles were stuck to the plate, the food was cold, the chicken in my chicken in my chicken Parmesan was hard as a rock. If that was the tour of Italy, I think I'll stay home for my next vacation. to make matters worse was the fact that the marinara sauce had already begun to crust over, and the chicken tasted as if it had been cooked the previous day then reheated. What a disappointment, I don't know what was going on that night. But the food wasn't consistent at all. All in all, I would probably give them another chance, but be sure not to order two different types of foods. Clearly the kitchen isn't capable of multitasking.

Olive Garden on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Applebees New Menu, probably should have stuck with the old one.

Where do I begin? Applebees has recently launched a new dining menu, boasting a fresh start. Over 80% of the menu has been either Improved or brand new to the restaurant; it's such a fresh start for them, they are also changing their slogan to "see you tomorrow." So my fiancé and I decided to give it a shot, big mistake. The service as we arrived was very friendly and prompt, we were seated immediately and served drinks. As we looked through the menu, there were many good looking new items on there. On this visit, we chose to skip apps and head straight to the entrees, I ordered the Shrimp & Parmesan Sirloin with mashed potatoes and sided with vegetables. My fiancé got the Fajita chicken wraps with French fries. They both looked so appetizing on the menu, but it ended up being one huge let down after another. The wait for our food was short, but I actually wish they would have taken a little more time on it. When our food first arrived, it looked good enough for a restaurant of this caliber (it is applebees after all), but upon further inspection, we were shocked at the utter lack of tender loving care our dishes had received. As I cut into my steak, I discovered that it had been over cooked; I ordered it mid-well, it came out well done. But that wasn't all, I had also discovered a massive pool of grease under neath the steak, so much so that it was seeping into the potatoes and veggies. Gross. And, trust me, I wish it stopped there. They must have spent so much money putting salt and pepper on all the dining tables, that they forgot to stock some in the kitchen. There was no seasoning, none at all, on my steak, potatoes, and even the veggies. Everything was bland. The shrimp was the only thing on my plate with any taste what so ever (and with all the grease, I wondered if I should even eat it). The vegetables that were present were some of the most boring vegetables one could put on a plate all by themselves, and yet there they were, Broccoli, carrots, and squash (again, no seasoning or anything to compliment them, just there and warm). As for the potatoes, they were the best ingredient on my plate, but there was no care, no seasoning, nothing special, just potatoes. Had I known that was acceptable in some places for a chef, I would have become one long ago. I can heat things up and put them on a plate, I choose to eat out for something different than that, something at least a little special, there was none of that to be found here, just bland, greasy, tasteless food. And I haven't even started on her dish yet.
The wraps were done in a uniform manor like you would find at a marsh deli. The “Mexi-Ranch Dipping Sauce” was bland and tasteless, the wraps have inside them chicken and lettuce, LOTS of lettuce, and to make matters worse, soggy lettuce. So much so that it drowned out everything else in the wrap. And the melted cheese was just atrocious, like something you would find on a taco bell one dollar menu, except I like taco bells better. She could only eat half of one wrap before feeling ill, so she turned to the fries. The chef must have done the fries last and suddenly found the salt because the fries were simply marinated in it. They weren't French fries as much as salt sticks. It was disgusting. Between the grease on my plate and the salt on her fries, there slogan was crumbling. “See you tomorrow...” yea, if I don't suffer a stroke or cardiac arrest first. There wasn't a single thing on either plate that I could recommend to anyone. It might have been okay if it had a McDonald's price tag with it, but no, you'll pay more for this food than you will at even some higher class restaurants. My advice, avoid applebees altogether. If you find yourself in the mall, go to Fridays or Johnny Rockets. You'll be much happier. I will not be seen in this restaurant unless they get serious about the food they serve. The only saving grace of this place is the service. Awesome job guys. The service was warm, and friendly, and I never felt neglected, if only the food measured up.

Applebee's (Greenwood Mall) on Urbanspoon

Italian 4th of July

First of all, I have to say yes, as the title says, we went there on the 4th of July. It was very busy, and the waits were long, but there isn't much that any restaurant could have done to help that; however, being told that we were 15 minutes away from seating on arrival, and being able to just look around myself and know that wasn't true (with no restaurant experience I might add) is a little insulting. It took us an hour and a half to be seated, which was fine for my fiance and I, I just would have like to have been told that up front. And it was clear that other guests felt the same. If anything makes a customer hard to deal with or a hosts job difficult, it's when you make a promise that even you know you can't keep. Once we finally got seated things got better, if only a little. Our waitress, we could tell was either very shy, or very worn out. Nice enough girl, but she practically mumbled her way through the presentation of the menu and that night's specials. If there was ever a night to be heard in the dining room by guests it was that night. Not only was it quite loud, but with how busy it was, I'm sure there was at least one menu item the kitchen was low on. If customers can't hear you push anything, then they won't order it. Beside the point, luckily my fiance caught enough of the conversation to fill me in. We both ordered spaghetti but got different kinds. She got the plain traditional (marinara) and I ordered the meat lovers, we both got the salad with ranch. First thing is first, the salad was delicious. Perfectly dressed, not soggy and not dry, and neatly presented in both cases. We both enjoyed the salad.
Next up is the spaghetti, they both came out together which was nice. Mine came with an Italian sausage and two meat balls; the way it was presented on my plate was almost obscene, use your imagination, I'm not going there. I would have figured they would have diced the sausage and mixed it in the sauce before serving besides leaving something that resemble genitalia on my plate, but I digress. After dicing up the sausage myself and mixing it in, the meat lover was actually quite good. Well seasoned, cooked beautifully, however I dared not mix in the meat balls with the amount of grease left under them on my plate, but they were not bad either. Her spaghetti, on the other hand, was quite dull and lifeless, though not very expensive. Her plate looked as if some one had poured half a jar of ragu on a massive pile of pasta. It was under sauced. When she tasted it, she told me it was bland. To give you a little back ground on her, she comes from a house where her step father is totally spice intolerant, a pinch of red pepper on a steak is too spicy for him. Consequently, the food there is BLAND. So for her to tell me the spaghetti was bland, I knew something wasn't right. I tried it, it was bland. Almost no seasoning at all, which was disappointing because mine had been so delicious despite the presentation. I had her try some of mine and she liked it quite a lot more. After that we received complementary ice cream. It was vanilla ice cream, nothing spectacular there, but it wasn't bad. All in all I would definitely be returning to the old spaghetti factory as it was only about 26 dollars for both our meals. Not bad for the price you pay, but some very simple steps can be taken to make this place the best around, and give guests that classy experience that they crave at a place like this.

Old Spaghetti Factory on Urbanspoon

Oaken Barrel, Great Apps, I'll pass on the Sheppards Pie next time.

My fiance and I live about a quarter mile from oaken barrel, but never tried it until just recently. We didn't try any of the beer this time, Maybe next time. The wait was long for a table, but that was understandable. Every time we go by that place it seems really busy. Once we were seated we ordered our appetizers, we got the home made chips with the bacon dip, which was delicious. We both thought the Sheppard pie looked good on the menu so we ordered one for each of us, big mistake.

One thing I can say about the Sheppard pie was that it was consistent for both of us, consistently bad. The rolls on the side seemed hard and stale as if they had been made another night, reheated and stuck on our dish. Trust me, I wish I could say that was the worst of it. Next to it was this mess of a "Sheppard's pie" in what looked like a coffee mug. Me and my fiance both went through the utterly unappetizing, soupy, greasy mess that was in front of us first noticing how unevenly cooked it was. It was like someone had plopped the meat, grease, veggies and broth in the mug and microwaved it. It gets worse, it even tasted like it had been microwaved. Piping hot on one end of the mug and surprisingly cold on the other end, and this was the case for both of our dishes. I have had food at gas stations that tasted better than that Sheppard pie. It was really disappointing because as I looked around everyone else seemed to be enjoying other menu items, but I noticed no one else had ordered the Sheppard pie, now I know why. It was also disappointing because it was one of the more expensive items on the menu. Neither of us finished our meals. We bagged up the chips and brought them home. Threw the Sheppard pie away; I didn't even feel right letting the geese outside eat it. All in all, I would probably go back to oaken barrel, assuming I can convince the Mrs. To come back, but I'm definitely not ordering that Sheppard pie again.

Oaken Barrel Brewing Company on Urbanspoon