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

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fast Food Review: BK Breakfast Muffin Sandwich

One of my favorite meals to get at fast food restaurants is breakfast.  I love a hot breakfast at times, but I don't always want a lot to eat in the mornings so any breakfast sandwich on a dollar menu is the perfect fit.  McDonald's has some offerings in this area, but if you want meat, cheese and egg on a sandwich for only a buck you won't find it there.  Where can you find it?  Burger King.

Yes Burger King, the forgotten black sheep of fast food restaurants.  Admittedly BK is usually pretty low on my list of fast food choices, but with the BK Breakfast Muffin Sandwich they have won me back at least for now.  Admittedly it's nothing complicated and it's pretty much a ripoff of Egg McMuffin with sausage.  However, I found the sausage to be much better than what they're serving at the golden arches.  It tasted fresher, spicier and less greasy.  I could have used a little more toasting on the English muffin, but you can't beat the rock bottom $1 price tag.  It's also worth noting here that the egg is more of a scrambled folded egg as opposed to what's on an Egg McMuffin.  Everyone may not agree, but I enjoy egg sandwiches prepared both ways without a clear preference of one over the other.

Taste 8/10  An overall good breakfast sandwich with good sausage.  Lack of toasting on the muffin holds this back from a truly exceptional score.
Value 10/10  Tasty and everything I want in a breakfast sandwich at the cheapest price.

Burger King on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chow Down Midtown

Double posting day!  What up!  I know I haven't posted as much this month so I guess this is like brushing your teeth a lot the night before you go to the dentist.  Anyway, I wanted to make sure you all do know about the upcoming event of Chow Down Midtown.  It's similar to the twice yearly even of Devour Downtown where select restaurants offer special deals for a week long promotion.  The difference is that for Chow Down Midtown all of the restaurants are in Broadripple and the surrounding northern areas rather than downtown.  This is especially convenient for those of us on the North side, and especially appropriate for all of the culinary attention that area has gotten as of late.  Some of the restaurants have posted their menus on the website, and some places are having a 2 meals for $30 deal and other more expensive places will be offering other $30 deals.  It's something of which I'm certainly going to take advantage.  Take a look at the menus and see if you see anything that sounds particularly good and if you do let me know.  Chow Down Midtown runs from June 6th-11th.

Hat Tip:  Erin of Food Obsessed In The Midwest.  I found out about it from her quite enjoyable Indy food blog.

Sweet Treat: Yogi Self-Serve Frozen Yogurt

One of the things we love and sometimes love to hate here at RDERF (I'm tryin' it out) are food trends especially those involving dessert.  If you have been eating your way around the greater Indianapolis area you might have noticed one of the newest burgeoning trends, self-serve frozen yogurt shops.  The idea is pretty ingenious from a business model perspective.  You let your customers select their flavor from a bank of various soft serve machines, they fill their own yogurt cup, they add their own toppings and pay a single cashier according to the weight of the yogurt+toppings.  It minimizes the labor and equipment required, but is there a sacrifice in taste or flavor?

When I went to Yogi the first thing I noticed, other than the barebones setup, is that the place was fairly new and certainly popular.  The amount of Fishers trophy wives soccer moms with their herds of children was certainly staggering.  It was almost like I didn't belong.  Nonetheless I soldiered on and got a cup of the cake batter flavored frozen yogurt.  When it came to toppings I thought things went a bit haywire.  The amount of topping choices was a bit overwhelming.  I didn't know what to chose between the various types of dry fruity cereal, chocolate chips, fresh fruit and sauces.  I ended up with fresh blueberries, cheesecake pieces and white chocolate chips.  These were all things I liked, but the flavor combination didn't really work.  Of course that is no one's fault but my own, but it would have been nice to have at least some suggested flavor combinations available.  Also, I found the blueberries really lacking in sweetness.  As far as the yogurt itself was concerned I didn't enjoy it at all.  While allegedly flavored like cake batter I couldn't discern any noticeable flavor whatsoever when I got a bite that didn't include any of my topping choices.  I found this particularly disappointing because I have really enjoyed froyo at other places in the past such as Incredible Yogurt in Muncie, IN.

Yogi's isn't on UrbanSpoon yet so if you want to check it out for yourself it's located at 12660 E 116th St Fishers, IN.

Taste 4/10  Decidedly meh.  It may be worth another shot with a different froyo flavor than cake batter, but I don't see myself rushing back.  People have told me Huddles is a better similar yogurt shop so I may try that.

Value 4/10  I didn't find it particularly expensive, but I would have much rather spent a similar amount on some other ice cream, froyo or dessert.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Memorial Day Eats

Happy Memorial Day everyone!  I know everyone probably has their own Summer holiday traditions, but in my family Memorial Day weekend means listening to the greatest spectacle in racing, the Indianapolis 500, and eating a lot of food hot off the backyard grill.  Sure enough we have stuck to that tradition today.  The combination of brats, hotdogs, hamburgers, deviled eggs and potato salad I have consumed in combination with the exciting finish of the race have practically put me into a pleasure induced food coma.  Nonetheless I wish all the best to you and yours on this holiday weekend and to all of our brave service men and women overseas.  Feel free to chime in the comments with what you are doing or eating over this long weekend.  I'm sorry about the slow blogging month, but I promise to have several new reviews and opinions forthcoming.  Until then, happy eating!

(photo courtesy

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Review: Kabob Korner

A lot of my favorite foods tend to be various types of comfort food.  I know it has become a little cliche in today's food culture, but that's what I grew up eating and have fond memories of eating.  That's why it's such a treat when I get my adventurous side up and try something (usually ethnic food) that I'm not used to enjoying.  It's even more exciting when said meal turns out to be one I quite enjoy.

The place in question is of course Kabob Korner.  It's a little unassuming Afghani restaurant set in the corner of a small strip mall in the Castleton area.  It's one of those places that I enjoy so much because if you didn't know it was there you might miss it.  I myself have probably driven by the location across from the AMC Theater in the Castleton Square Mall dozens of times, but thanks to a suggestion from a co-worker several weeks ago I finally decided to stop in.

As all of you intelligent readers have probably figured out by now the main part of their menu consists of kabobs of various types of meat.  However, the kind of kabob they serve may not be the one you have pictured in your mind's eye.  Instead of getting served grilled meat and veggies on a stick what you get is your choice of meat prepared but not served on skewers, basmati rice with a tomato sauce topping and 2 pita bread pieces with a yogurt sauce.  On my trip I decided to go with the more expensive lamb, but I was informed this was their specialty and they did not disappoint.  The meat was heavily but nicely seasoned and cooked to perfection.  It was juicy and fresh, but in now way greasy.  The portion size was also quite large which I enjoyed.  The basmati rice didn't strike me as anything terribly special, but the homemade tomato sauce on top was quite enjoyable.  I just wished there was more of it to counterbalance the somewhat dry rice.  The pita pockets were also quite fresh and being served warm they were the perfect consistency.  The pitas were good both on their own and as a vehicle for containing meat and rice.

One thing I think you have to be aware of in regards to choosing to eat at the Kabob Korner is that if you judge the restaurant by its location, appearance, decor and plastic eating utensils you might draw the wrong conclusion.  I know I came in expecting something similar to a Chinese takeout experience.  Mediocre food quality at a low price prepared quickly.  What I got was something of much higher quality.  Yes the price was higher  than something you might expect to pay at a strip mall restaurant, but that's why it's important to look at what your eating and not where you're eating it.

Taste 8/10  The lamb was perfectly prepared and delicious.  I'd definitely get this dish again despite the just okay rice side dish.
Value 7/10  I paid just north of 13 dollars for a healthy portion of lamb, rice, pitas and a Coke.  I think that is pretty darn good.

Kabob Korner on Urbanspoon

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Fast Food Review: Taco Bell Beefy Melt Burrito

In recent years Taco Bell has become notorious for coming out with "new" menu items every couple of months and placing them at the below 1 dollar price point.   I admit some of these items are tasty.  All of these items are darn cheap as well.  However, the reason for both of these things is that there is nothing new about any of them.  If you like Taco Bell you're going to like these "new" menu items because they consist of the same basic 4 or 5 ingredients just repackaged in different combinations under different names.  When it comes to the Beefy Melt burrito T-Bell has really outdone themselves on this front.

At a menu price of only 99 cents it's hard to be too upset about anything, but holy S the Beefy Melt burrito is so incredibly bland and boring it was like eating a soccer game.  Granted I would still rather eat these burritos for a week than watch one half (Do they even have halves?) of a soccer game but you get my drift.  The contents of the burrito was shredded cheese, ground beef and sour cream and some crappy rice.  It's simply a worse version of the Beefy Crunch Burrito which I referenced in an old post here.  What happened to the old days when new menu items would include things with at least some new elements like the Chicken Quesadilla or the short lived Bacon Cheesy Potato Burrito?  I guess it just comes down to the business wanting cheap products that can create "buzz" and be a big seller.  I fell for it, and I'll fall for it again.  I love Taco Bell, but I won't be getting the Beefy Melt Burrito again.

Taste 3/10  Not inedible, but certainly bland and not good.
Value 4/10  Hard to bang on the value of something that only costs 99 cents, but at a place like Taco Bell with a lot of inexpensive items your 99 cents would be better spent on something else.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fast Food Review: Hardee's Turkey Burger

Okay, I want to start off by saying that I know I've been slacking a bit on blogging lately.  I apologize, but some extraneous factors have gotten in the way.  No matter because the Random Dude is back with more vengeance than Maria Shriver. 

As you all know I've been trying to cut a few calories here and there and with Hardee's constantly touting their new under 500 calorie turkey burgers I figured it was a really good opportunity for a fast food review.  These burgers were designed with the assistance of Men's Health magazine and consist of a ground turkey patty, toppings and a whole wheat bun.  I decided to go with the Mushroom Swiss Turkey Burger because that was my favorite variety of Hardee's hamburger growing up and I want to see how it translated. 

When I have had turkey burgers in the past I found them to be rather dry so I have to say going in I didn't really have high expectations.  However, expectations aside this turkey burger was just plain delicious.  The patty was of a good size, the 2 pieces of Swiss were nicely melted, it had a fair amount of mushrooms and the wheat bun was soft and pillowy.  I found the burger to be adequately juicy with plenty of flavor.  The mushroom sauce and cheese really helped in that regard.  I got the burger only and skipped the fries.  This kept my lunch at a reasonable 480 calories, and to be honest with you I found it perfectly filling.  I would have no trouble ordering the turkey burger again over the regular burger even if I wasn't considering calories at all.

Taste 8/10  Not just above my expectations, but above average taste overall.
Value 5/10  I at first experienced a bit of sticker shock paying 4 dollars for just a burger, but I quickly  realized it's just a normal price for a specialty fast food burger.  I'm just not used to going the non-combo route.

Hardee's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Pre-Movie Eats Review: Saku Japan Grill

As I discussed in a previous post last weekend The Girlfriend and I decided to go see the superhero blockbuster, Thor.  I was pondering what exactly our pre-movie eats would be.  I thought now would be a good time to do a little update post/review.

I know this is a food blog, but I wanted to at least mention that I thought Thor was awesome!  It had an interesting story, good characters, humor, good writing and good action.  Go see it!  Anyway, what was really important is what and where we decided to do dinner.  Since we were going to a 7 pm show I thought it would be a good idea to grab something before the movie seeing both of us were really to hungry to eat at 9 pm.  We also decided that we weren't really feeling a sit down meal due to timing issues, but we also did not want to just grab fast food.  We decided to find a place to grab some good eats near the theater so we decided on Saku Japan Grill located in the Hamilton Town Center shopping mall.

Going in, I wasn't really sure what to expect.  I was somewhat in the mood for sushi which was indeed on the menu at Saku, but when I arrived I didn't see anyone making or eating it so I rightly or wrongly questioned its quality.  The Girlfriend and I decided to go with the special instead which consisted of a combo of orange chicken and chicken teriyaki, steamed veggies and white rice.  I readily admit that this was not the most exciting or adventurous meal, but I will say this wasn't really your typical mall food court Asian food.  The veggies had wonderful crunch and flavor that I definitely wasn't expecting.  The orange chicken was pretty much every orange chicken you've ever had.  It was sweet and slightly tangy, but I thought it had much better flavor and a fresher taste than say a place like Panda Express.  The chicken teriyaki was surprisingly grilled to order instead of just dished out from a pre-prepared batch.  My advice would be to skip the combo special and just get the teryaki by itself if you're into those sort of flavors.  The portions were also quite large.  Each of us had enough left over for lunch the next day.  One criticism is that having part of the name be "Japan Grill" is a little misleading.  Yes they are doing sushi (maybe?), but most of the dishes seem like standard Americanized Chinese.  Then again expecting authenticity at mall food court is like expecting Kirstie Alley to let you have the last slice of pizza.

Taste 7/10  Not really very sophisticated, but pretty enjoyable for mall food.  It was way better than grabbing burgers before going to see the god of thunder.
Value 4/10  I had a bit of sticker shock when our bill for our 2 "specials" and 2 drinks came to 22 dollars.  The food was good, but not better than I've had a my favorite Chinese takeout.  Also, when we get takeout we get egg rolls and a separate order of crab Rangoon and I still don't need a whole Jackson to pay the bill.  We did get 2 meals out of it, but pre-diet me would have easily ate it in one sitting.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ale Emporium: Pulled Pork Review

I was to preface this review by saying how big of a fan I am of the Ale Emporium.  If you've never been there it's a cool bar/restaurant in a little strip mall on the corner of 86th and Allisonville in Castleton.  They often have live music, plenty of TVs, plenty of tables, a non smoking section, outdoor seating and good service.  I've also had several meals at the Ale Emporium and almost everything  I've had has been top notch.  I think that is what made the pulled pork bbq sandwich I had there such an incredible disappointment.

It was Friday afternoon after a long week and I decided to meet my buddy at the Ale Emporium for one or two or eight drinks.  On this front the bar met my every desire to a tee.  Beer never tastes as good as it does while sitting outdoors on a Friday after work.  However, to go with my barley and hops I decided to also order some food.  I passed up a few of my usual favorite sandwiches and pizza (the deep dish at AE is awesome!) and decided to go with an item on the menu with the ever-attractive NEW!! label next to it, the pulled pork sandwich.  The menu description sounded wonderfully enticing.  Slow smoked pulled pork bbq topped with creamy coleslaw with a side of pretzel crusted fried pickles.  That sounded like the perfect combination of drunk food and late Spring early Summer deliciousness.

When it arrived at my table it was not really what I had envisioned and not what had been described.  What was the first thing I see?  A striking absence of coleslaw and a horrendous  addition of melted cheese on top of my pulled pork.  For shame.  Maybe some of you out there have a preference for that and feel free to make your arguments in the comments, but I'll tell you right now you're wrong.  It added absolutely no flavor or texture and just made it visually unappealing.  The pork itself was also incredibly bland.  It had the appearance that it was sauced, but I was struggling to find any sweetness or tanginess. The pork also definitely seemed more shredded than pulled which isn't my preference and made it seemed more processed than fresh.  The bright spot was definitely the fried pickles.  Fried pickles are a somewhat trendy new item on several bar food menus these days, but these with their pretzel breading are truly unique.  They were the perfect thickness.  Crunchy and salty on the outside yet somewhat soft as you bit into them.  Very delicious, and I'm definitely going to get some the next time I'm at the Ale Emporium.

And speaking of going back let me say that I will be going back to the Ale Emporium and probably will do so with some frequency.  It's just a good bar with good food.  Everybody is entitled to a swing and a miss every once in a while.  I mean some of you are probably Cubs fans and you stick with them despite them being crappy for almost well...forever.  Anyway, my point is stop by the Ale Emporium for a bite and a pint sometime.  Somethings are worth a second ...or 100th chance.

Taste 3/10 The fried pickles were fantastic.  I'd mainline them if I could.  The sandwich on the other hand was one of the least flavorful bbq sandwiches I've ever had and it had cheese on it for Chrissakes.  I probably should have sent it back, but I was willing to give it a shot, and sending stuff back unless it's under or over cooked really isn't my style.  From now on I'm going to avoid bbq unless a place does that as their specialty.

Value 4.5 The value here would be just a little above average if my meal was more enjoyable.  The sandwiches are about what you'd expect to pay for bar food in Indianapolis.

Ale Emporium on Urbanspoon

Friday, May 6, 2011

Movie Eats

Tonight The Girlfriend and I will be going to see Thor in IMAX3D and I was trying to think of what we're going to do for dinner. Fridays are typically a takeout night for us so we'll probably stick to that and grab something before the 7pm show. I wanted to open it up and ask what you all like to eat when going to a show?  Do you do a sitdown meal?  Fast food?  Before or after the film?  Do you like to get snacks at the theater despite it being a huge ripoff?  As for me I think I'm feeling like sushi tonight, and no theater snacks for me thank you. As always happy eatings and have a good weekend!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Restaurant Impossible Filming Nearby

According to Food Network restaurant makeover show Restaurant Impossible will be filming within the next two weeks at a place in Nora called The Snooty Fox. I've never been to the restaurant so I can't speak to it's quality. I have, however, watch Restaurant Impoosible and I can tell you that I think it kind of sucks.  As I've blogged about in the past I think it is pretty much just a cheap ripoff of Kitchen Nightmares, but I do somewhat like Robert Irvine and I wish the owners of the restaurant featured on the show all the best.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Breakfast Review: Ginger's Cafe

Going out to breakfast on the weekends is one of the small pleasures in life that I enjoy the most.  I know that a lot of you might say that breakfast out isn't that special because it mostly consists of simple items you could prepare at home.  This is true, but sometimes dining out is as much about the experience as the food.  Knowing that I slept in somewhat late on a Sunday, went to an awesome diner  and had someone else prepare for me a hearty meal just really makes my day.  There are a couple of places near my residence that tend to fit that criteria and the one I visited most recently was Ginger's Cafe on Conner St. in Noblesville.

As I walked in on Sunday morning I noticed that while all the tables weren't full business was still brisk for being late morning and past time for the breakfast rush.  This is a true small mom and pop place.  There was no hostess so I grabbed a seat at a small table near the door.  The downside of this was that it took several minutes longer than normal to get noticed by the waitstaff that I was indeed there to eat and had just sat down.  The wait gave me time to look around at the interesting decor.  I found it really interesting that the tables and chairs in the restaurant are all mishmash and unique almost like they were donated or purchased at various garage sales.  Even though it meant my chair was slightly uncomfortable I was a fan.  The rest of the decorations on the walls like various old license plates and knickknacks gave it a very homey feel.  Eventually though I was noticed, and I was hungry and ready to order.

The difference between the biscuits is quite clear even in this picture.
I decided to go with the Ginger's Breakfast which was 2 eggs (over medium for me), home fries, 2 pieces of bacon, and 2 biscuits.  Absolutely everything I wanted and nothing I didn't.  This was not a sweet breakfast kind of morning.  My food didn't take long to come out of the kitchen and I was fairly pleased when I dug in.  My eggs were perfectly over medium, which I was most worried about.  The whites were cooked through and the yolks were the perfect combination of custardy and runny.  The home fries were nicely seasoned and tasted fresh.  I have had bad previous experiences were home fries so I was really glad these were a winner.  The bacon was good, but not outstanding.  It was just a little less crispy than I would have preferred and also a little thinner sliced than what I would consider really awesome bacon to be.  The part of the meal that confused me the most was the part I usually most look forward to, the biscuits.  The two biscuits I was served couldn't have tasted more different.  One biscuit was delicious, fluffy and fresh while the other tasted like a rubbery Pillsbury biscuit that had been sitting out a while then reheated.  One delicious.  One practically inedible.  I have no idea what accounted for the difference, but the lack of consistency was slightly annoying.  Really good biscuits are one thing that I can't make at home so I'm further disappointed when I get let down at a restaurant.

Overall though I have to say I love places like Ginger's.  They're local.  They're cozy.  They're kitschy and they're putting out some pretty good food.  Though there were a few problems here or there I definitely plan on going back and you should go try it out too.  Let's make like a Nascar fan's pickup truck and put some numbers on this bad boy.

Taste 6.8/10  I would definitely consider this place above average taste wise, but because of the biscuit I got and the consistency issues going with that I didn't feel like it deserved a full 7. 
Value 6/10  My meal was one of the bigger ones on the menu and it cost $6.95 cents plus an additional 2 bucks for the Diet Coke I ordered.  It didn't seem like either a really good or a really bad value to me.  It was an adequate price for an adequate meal.

Ginger's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, May 2, 2011

Eating More Healthy/Butterball Smoked Turkey Sausage

The Girlfriend and I have both decided in recent days that we are both going to try to drop a few lbs over the next couple of months.  Lord knows I need to and I want to, but when you have a food blog and don't have a crazy metabolism dieting cannot always go hand in hand with interesting writing.  I might from time to time comment on my success or lack there of here, but I know most of you don't come to read a diet or weight-loss blog...I know I sure as hell wouldn't.   While the reviews or sweet treat commentaries may not come quite as frequently as in the past I assure you that I still plan to eat out at least once a week and maybe review a new fast food item or two if the opportunity presents itself.  I also plan on maybe doing some more grocery item reviews or opinion/commentary pieces on some the crappy new Food Network shows coming on the air this Spring/Summer.  April was a successful month here at RDERF thanks to all of you loyal readers, and I hope you all keep coming back. I bid you all good eatings and remember to keep twirling twirling twirling towards freedom!

Tonight's dinner consisted of a little pan grilled turkey smoked sausage and corn.  A lot more delicious than I thought it would be.  If you're a smoked sausage fan go out to the store and pick up some of the turkey smoked sausage by Butterball.  I promise you won't be able to tell the difference.