Eat Random

The idea for this blog is to blog about everything I think about food and food culture. I'll tell you what I like to eat, where I like to eat it and if I thought it was good or if I thought it was crap. My thoughts about food could go anywhere. Hey if you don't like it go blog at

Random Dude Eats Random Food Indianapolis restaurants

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Random Food Thoughts: Indiana Seafood

Last night the girl and I went out for her birthday dinner.  At her request we went to Red Lobster and had a nice meal with very good service.  However, this got me thinking about our choices for quality seafood here in the hoosier state.  Unfortunately, the short answer is that there aren't many. 

Because of Indiana's geographic location if you want to go out for seafood your choices are mostly limited to chain restaurants most often with premium prices or low quality fare.  Most Hoosiers probably don't even know the difference.  Many of the people I know either don't like seafood at all or only like it when it doesn't taste "fishy" or is deep fried.  I would probably feel the same if my family hadn't taken yearly vacations to Florida and Mississippi when I was kid.  Down there it's a different world.  Fresh seafood choices abound at almost every restaurant big or small, chain or independent.  Your shellfish is more likely to come broiled, boiled or grilled rather than fried.  The flavors are more sharp and sumptuous.  In fact there was once a place here in Castleton that was an offshoot of a Tampa based restaurant called Shell's and it was the closest thing I've had in Indiana to coastal seafood.  However, there were closed less than 2 years after we discovered the place.  I don't know the specific reasons why, but I'm guessing it was due to both lack of a customer base and the inability to sustain a successful business with fresh seafood at lower prices.

The purpose of this post isn't to complain about the seafood choices in Indiana.  I'm just missing something I used to have.  Then again considering all the snow coming down outside at the moment maybe I should just head south. 

Friday, December 3, 2010

Britton Tavern

I live on the far North suburban side of Indy, and as I am wont to do I often seek out places to enjoy a good cocktail and music with friends that doesn't require traveling to downtown or Broadripple.  That place often ends up being Britton Tavern (14005 Mundy Drive, Fishers, IN 46038).  It's a big modern upscale bar with ton's of TVs, good live music, and with $2.75 23 oz. Coors Lights on Saturdays it has the best weekend drink special around.  Up until a couple of weeks ago one think I had not experienced though was their food.

I was there on a Saturday night with my friends to see one of the best local bands around, Through Being Cool.  I was hungry and I decided the time was right to expose my palate to a taste other than that of The Rockies.  I had the Patty Melt with my choice of side being tater tots.  The girlfriend got the bbq wings of which I sample a few as well.  I apologize in advance for not having very many pictures, but I didn't think about doing a review until I was done eating.  The patty melt was pretty much what would expect when ordering this dish.  The burger was flavorful and juicy and cooked through without being dry.  The cheese was melted and delicious and there was just enough caramelized red onions to add a little kick but not overpower the meat or take away from the texture.  It was also served on an interesting kind of marbled rye toast that had a sturdy texture that held up to the meat without becoming soggy.  Where was the sandwich lacking?  The dressing.  Maybe I'm alone on this one, but every good patty melt deserves it's fair share of 1000 Island dressing as a topping.  It was barely noticeable at all on my sandwich.  Maybe they think most people prefer it that way, but not me.  Now about the tots, I really thought they drove this dish home.  Britton is the only place I've ever heard of even having tater tots as a non-breakfast side item, and it was nice to have something different in texture than just fries.  The tots were fried very crisp and you definitely get a big portion of them.  Thumbs up all the way.

The wings that the girlfriend got however are a different story entirely.  My initial reaction to them visually was that they looked great.  Their size was above average and they gave you plenty in a single order.  However, my first problem with them was that when they were served they were right out of the fryer and way too hot to eat.  Normally that would be okay, but after we let these wings cool down the skin became soggy and not crisp which is a texture with chicken I can't get past.  As for the flavor the bbq sauce they put on the wings was so cloyingly sweet it was impossible to have more than 1 or two wings.  That is saying a lot coming from a guy that typically loves his bbq more on the sweet side.  As you can see from the picture, with the girlfriend and I both eating we still failed to finish the plate of wings.  This is something that NEVER happens with wings.  Anyway lets get to my ratings for this excursion.

Taste:  8/10 for the burger, 3/10 for the wings
Value:  10/10 for the Saturday beer special, 7/10 for the patty melt.  I can't comment on the wings since the gf paid for those on her tab and she didn't tell me anything about the price, but I'm guessing they were fairly pricey and you could do better with all the wing specials around at various places with better wings.
Randomness:  I'm giving points for this place being a non-chain and for them having tater tots, but this place is pretty well known on this side of town.  6.5/10

Britton Tavern on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 2, 2010

McDonald's Biscuit and Gravy

I'd first like to start off this post by saying how much I love McDonald's breakfast.  Nothing makes me happier than skipping out on my break from work to pick up some good eats off the dollar menu.  I thought I had tried everything that McDonald's had to offer for breakfast.  I was wrong.

The other day I was jonesing for some biscuits and gravy, but even though they are a popular breakfast item in this part of the country you can't get them just anywhere especially when fast food is concerned (didn't have time to get to go from a sitdown place).  I did have some choices such as Hardee's, but I think for the most part their breakfast and especially their made-from-scratch biscuits are a known entity.  As is the style of my blog I wanted something a little more out there.  That's where the B&G from MickeyD's comes into the picture.  As you can see from the photo above this was pretty standard fare for the affordable price of $1.29.  You get 1 biscuit which you have to split and pour the sausage gravy over.  First of all let me say I'm not a fan of that.  Just give me 2 damn biscuits.  Also, the taste here left much to be desired.  The gravy was watery and bland and more or less ruined what I consider a better than mediocre biscuit.  If I hadn't gotten hash browns in addition to this it would have been a very disappointing breakfast.  Now for the ratings.
Taste:  Incredibly sub-par.  I would venture to say maybe the worst fast food B&G on the market.  Go anywhere else.  If you're in Muncie go to Mac's.  Theirs comes highly recommended.  Score: 2/10
Value:  Obviously I can't complain too much here since it was only $1.29, but the problem is the dish itself is pretty cheap everywhere.  Also, you only get one biscuit that is on the small side compared to other restaurants. 4/10
Randomness:  Okay, so overall McDonald's is about the least random of a place that you could possibly eat.  However, how many of you even knew they had biscuits and gravy?  7/10.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

I Wish I Was Tailgating

As I sit here on my couch this Saturday afternoon watching college football games from around the nation I can't help but think about how much I miss tailgating for games during my time at Indiana University.  Even though it was always exciting to out and support the championship contending Indiana Hoosiers it was more fun to hit the tailgate fields with your friends and have the only kind of party that is worth a damn at 8 am on Saturday morning.

There are 3 things that are important must haves for any tailgating experience: friends (preferrably one with a truck and or grill), booze, and some good outdoor eats.  For my circle of friends items 1 and 2 were never a problem, but I'll be quite honest our tailgate food left a little to be desired.  We mostly cooked cheap hamburgers and hotdogs.  They were good for soaking up the booze, but not much else.  Of course being in college that wasn't really where our priorities laid.

It's too bad none of us really get the chance to go tailgating any more.  After watching people that really do it up right I'd be ready to get out there and make some wings, ribs, sausages, sandwiches and desserts.  One of my friends has floated the idea of maybe buying a bus to set up for some awesome IU tailgating, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.  If it ever happens I'll be there ready to chow down...oh and drink some booze..plenty of booze.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mac's---Sketchy but awesome

Today's post is a guest blog from my two co-workers Laura and Claire reviewing one of Muncie's more peculiar fast food stops.  Enjoy.

So if you have ever spent any time at all in Muncie then more than likely you have heard of Mac’s.  Mac’s has 3 Muncie locations...each in a building that used to be something else…like the location that we visited was an old Rax, so this is no chain restaurant.  Inside is very basic not much going on but maybe a few old timers in the corner drinking coffee and reminiscing about old times. On this visit we choose to drive thru, since it was breakfast time and we were on break from work. 

The Menu is very basic but not normal flair for a fast food joint.  You can get anything from Chicken Fried steak to Grilled Cheese to Beef Manhattan to a western omelet.  Since it was 9 am it was not a good time to order the Grilled cheese which is a favorite of ours. What we did order were things that you can’t get at a McDonald’s.  I, Laura, chose to go with the Veggie Omelet, which is of course egg, green peppers, onions and lots of melting cheese. The omelet combo comes with hash rounds and a biscuit. The Omelet is huge as you can see by the picture.  It is filled with a lot of veggies and cheese. The biscuits are made fresh and are moist yummy goodness. The hash rounds are your basic bag hash round but are perfectly cooked to have that nice crunchiness.

Also on the agenda were the French toast sticks.  I, Claire, happen to be something of a French toast fiend, and enjoy it in all of its forms.  The sticks come 5 to an order and are delightful pieces of crispy carbness.  They come with syrup for dipping which is good, but could be better if it was more maple-y.  In addition I enjoyed the Egg and cheese biscuit.  As you can see, Mac's biscuits are square, a bit on the dense side, unlike their fluffier counterparts found at other fast food stops.  This texture enables them to stay warm longer and crumble less, definite plus's in my book.  The egg is super thin and fresh and they do not have a problem with it not fitting completely on the biscuit.  It looked it may have been able to fly but I saw no problem with this.  Overall, a lot of yum for a little coin.
Taste: If we have to compare it to the Chain fast food restaurants then 8/10. The freshness of the food is a 10.  You can’t get the biscuits this fresh at other chains, plus the eggs are fresh and light as well as the veggies.
Value: 10/10. My (Laura) omelet combo was $3.99; I added a medium drink, so my total with tax was $5.92, a great value for the large amount I received.  For my counterpart, she had the French toast sticks and Egg and Cheese Biscuit for $3.87 with tax. YOU CAN’T BEAT THAT!!
Randomness: 10/10. This is a unique place, from the people that work there to its clientele, I mean where else can you go and have someone serve you that has summer teeth and piercings but it doesn’t matter because the food is great and so is the service!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Hardee's Hand-breaded Chicken Tenders or How I stopped worrying about bringing my lunch to work and started eating awesomeness

So a couple of days ago I found myself in a predicament that thrusts itself upon me from time to time.  I had brought my lunch, Thai peanut noodles(perhaps to be covered in a future blog), but I wasn't terribly interested in eating them when lunch time rolled around.  In the past in an effort to save money I have swallowed my pride in these matters and choked down whatever mediocre food item I had packed in my lunchbox plastic Wal-Mart bag of awesomeness.  However, on this particular day due to working some substantial overtime I had a little change in my pocket and I decided to go out for lunch.  Man am I glad I did.

I was in the mood for some tasty fried chicken.  KFC was out due to my personal vendetta against them(definitely to be covered on another day) and trying to access the McDonald's on  the other side of 82nd St at lunch time is more effort than I wanted to put in.  That left Hardee's and their new hand-breaded chicken tenders.  Much has been written about these on various other food blogs around the interwebs with mixed reviews, but my opinion being that Hardee's generally puts out a fairly high quality product I decided to try them out for myself.

The first thing I noticed was the cost.  The combo with 5 tenders, fries and a drink was around 7 bucks.  Even before tasting the food I thought this was more than reasonable and comparable to almost any other fast food restaurant's chicken tenders.  However, the thing that I simply could not believe was the quality of the product.  I decided to start this blog after having ate the meal so I apologize for not having a picture, but the tenders were quite sizable, juicy, and fresh in both taste and the amount of time they spent out of the fryer before being served.  The color was a nice golden brown and the breading was light and crispy being more similar to KFC's Original Recipe than the frozen strips that you would get at someplace like DQ or Arby's.  This allowed for the juiciness of the chicken to come through more.  I chose to dip these in their honey mustard sauce, but even if they had forgot to put the sauce in the bag it still would have been a tasty meal.  The bottom line...Hardee's promises in their commercials that their chicken tenders will taste better than their fast food competitors' because Hardee's are fresh and not frozen.  I wholeheartedly agree.

Taste:  If I'm comparing with other fast food joints these are a 9 or 10 on scale of 10.  If I compare them to most fast causual places they probably still rate an 8  or 9 only losing points because of the smaller portion size.
Value:  10/10.  I was fuller, more satisfied and no lighter in the wallet if I had bought a comparable product.
Randomness:  7/10 It wasn't exactly fried chicken bought out of some guys trunk in a gas station parking lot, but come on it's Hardee's.  Most people probably don't even know they still exist as a chain.