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 24, 2011

Merry Christmas From The Random Dude

Merry Christmas dear readers!  On these holidays where being with family is so important I just wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for continually shunning social interaction with those very family members so you spend time at your computer reading my blog (and if you're a homeless guy in a library probably looking at porn).  All kidding aside though I just wanted to say I hope all of your have a very merry Christmas and to make sure you eat enough food and sweets over today and tomorrow to almost induce a coma. 

As far as Christmas traditions around our house Christmas Eve is usually an informal gathering with my immediate family with a gift exhange and usually some ordered in pizza.  I have a feeling we're not the only ones that take that route on Christmas Eve.  On Christmas Day all the family comes over and we eat a big traditional meal which I am very much looking forward to. 

I know we don't always get tons of comments here at RDERF, but if you are so inclined feel free to leave one saying what your holiday traditions are, what you'll be eating, or if you got any badass kitchen/cooking stuff as a gift this year.  Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Quirky With A Side of Breakfast Review: Best Bet Breakfast and Lunch

I think one of the main reasons that people choose chains over local places is because people have a tendency go with the safe familiar pick over something quirky and new despite the fact that the "safe" pick probably isn't as good and certainly isn't giving you anything special.  However, if you are reading this blog I imagine you might be the sort that revels in quirky local restaurants like I do.  If that is the case then you need to get your ass over to Noblesville for some grub at Best Bet Breakfast and Lunch.
Image courtesy of
Best Bet is a small diner-esque place that is situated on the end of a stripmall.  On the inside there is a counter, a handful of tables and chairs, and holy crap TONS of poker/casino themed crap EVERYWHERE! I mean even the cash register looks like a casino cage.  The menu items even have kitschy poker names like "the flop".  In my opinion all of this amounts to awesomeness before even tasting one bite of anything.  One thing you should beware of though is that Best Bet is small and they do get busy on weekends.  There isn't exactly a lot of room to wait for a table.  But if you're patient the owner will probably bring around a basket of house-made cinnamon sugar donut holes while you wait.

After The Girlfriend and I were seated we overlooked the menu while munching on our toast from Best Bet's signature endless toast basket (like a churrascaria just turn the card to green when you want more).  I decided to go with a traditional savory breakfast called The River with 3 eggs, bacon, sausage, and Best Bet's signature Ava Potatoes.  I asked for my eggs over medium and they came out perfectly.  If you are touting yourself as a breakfast place you better nail the eggs obviously, but actually its the other little things that Best Bet does that makes it special in my opinion.  The bacon was thick and delicious just like bacon should be. However, the sausage at Best Bet is actually grilled fresh and not frozen.  They actually take a ball of local pork sausage and smash it on the flattop. How many chains are doing that?  Not many.  The result is breakfast sausage that just plain tastes better.  The other thing that stands out to me are the Ava Potatoes. More than just homefries, these potatoes are cooked in a pile on the flattop with onions and seasoned well.  They have a lot more flavor than your average hashbrowns.  A lot of people, including myself, often say that they don't enjoy going out to breakfast because it's basically the same stuff they can make at home.  At Best Bet that just is not the case.

Taste 10/10 This is place is tied with Rosie's in downtown Noblesville for my favorite breakfast joint at the moment.  As far as I'm concerned I couldn't think of a single thing I was served that I didn't like. Try it out.

Value 8.5/10 I'll be honest.  At Best Bet you're not going to get the ultra-cheap breakfast that you can get at other places.  However, what you do get is more than worth the price, which is still in no way prohibitively expensive. It's all about bang for your buck here.

Service comments: I forgot to mention that the uniqueness of this place goes right down the service. Best Bet is the only restaurant I've ever been to ever where the server doesn't just tell you their name, but asks you what your name is too.  It's a small thing, but it's nice and memorable. Also, it seems as if the servers are enjoying their job, and service has  always been friendly and prompt every time I've been there.

Best Bet Breakfast & Lunch on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fast Food Review: Hardee's Steak and Egg Burrito

If you have read this blog for awhile you probably know that I make no secret of the fact that Hardee's is one of it not my favorite fast food restaurant.  They were a company that used to be an absolute loser of a chain with bad service, bad food, pretty much bad everything.  But here's the interesting thing.  They recognized that they sucked and totally turned the corner.  They downsized and focused their remaining stores on doing more food fresh and from scratch than any other fast food chain in the business.  The results are pretty tasty.  If you don't believe me go out for lunch today and get their chicken tenders.  However, even before their revamp Hardee's was known for their breakfast menu.  They're still putting out favorites like from scratch biscuits, but when I saw they were promoting a steak and egg burrito I figured, in the interest of science, it was worth a try.

As you can see from the picture (I used the pen to give perspective) that the burrito is a nice size.  It's bigger than the dollar menu sausage burrito from McDonald's, but smaller than a Qdoba monstrosity.  Certainly nothing to be disappointed about.  However, when I cut it open I was at first a little bit alarmed at the lack of steak I saw in relation to the amount of scrambled egg, but when I took a bite I discovered that there was actually more steak in the burrito than I really even expected.  It just seemed to be hiding out in the back and in the folds of fluffy egg.  The steak, while a little on the chewy side, also had a nice flavor.  It was as though it had actually been seasoned!  Also present were a melted cheddar cheese and a queso cheese that was a nice surprise.  In the words of Anthony Bourdain I'm a total egg slut so I was also happy with the warm fluffy folded eggs inside that were present in a generous portion.  However, you might notice that one or two things are missing that would make this a really great breakfast burrito.  I think some salsa (which is only available if you ask I found out later) and maybe an extra element of potatoes or hashbrowns inside would have made it a little bit better.

Taste 7/10 Definitely an above average breakfast burrito that you can get quickly on your way to work in the morning.  It might be missing some elements, but let's be honest it's not trying to be the giant Qdoba breakfast burrito here.  It's trying to be Hardee's, and in that regard I think it does it's job quite well.  If you're someone who likes a good breakfast burrito give this a shot. Maybe pick one up in the morning on your way to a holiday celebraish, you guys.

Value 8/10 At $3.63 with tax it is not the cheapest thing on the Hardee's breakfast menu.  In fact depending on if the special is running you might be able to get 2 bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits for less. How is it a good value then? Well #1 it's steak, and it's not a total ripoff like Taco Bell's steak items, #2 it was pretty tasty and a lot cheaper and quicker than going to Qdoba, #3 I'm not a big eater in the morning, but I would venture to guess that people would think this filling enough.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

In Search of A Good Burger Review: The Stacked Pickle (Fishers)

Ok, I know I'm kind of late to the party on this one being that The Stacked Pickle has already been an existing restaurant in Carmel for some time and even the newer Fishers location has been open for quite a while now.  Even though I drive by it every day on my journey to and from work I have never once been inside.  I'm not sure why that was the case.  It's new and relatively close to my house.  Usually that alone is good enough for me to give it a try.  I think far too often that when we're deciding where to eat I have a tendency to forget about new places and fall into going to the old ones like warm comfortable blanket.  It is also the case that I have been pretty down on bar/pub food lately.  The last few of these establishments I've been to the food really hasn't been satisfactory.  I was really hoping to pull a Staind  and break the cycle (OMG late 90's pop culture!!) this time.

The Stacked Pickle in Fishers is located in an expanding strip mall on the corner of 116th and Allisonville.  It's conveniently located and has ample parking which is always nice.  My buddy and I went for lunch on a Saturday afternoon prior to a hellish fun day of Christmas shopping.  I was surprised at how empty the place was considering all the people that seemed to be out and about.  When we walked in there was no hostess in sight and no sign indicating what we should do so we grabbed a table.  It felt somewhat awkward when the hostess finally showed up and gave us our menus after we were already seated.  The interior is done in a lot of stained wood and the bar is featured promiently.  I have a feeling it's a pretty fun place to go at a later hour on a weekend. But since the reason for this journey was grub and not partying like a certain college basketball team that is undefeated and beat #1 Kentucky let's focus on the food.

The menu was pretty much what you'd expect.  Standard offerings of wings, sandwiches, and burgers.  I had a little trouble deciding, and considered ordering the breaded tenderloin, but I decided that I was in need of some cow in a bad way.  My buddy got the tenderloin, but I chose the patty melt with the standard side of battered fries.  When my food arrived I was definitely pleasantly surprised.  The swiss cheese was nicely melted, the onions perfectly grilled as to bring out their natural sweetness, and my burger was perfectly medium just as I had asked.  I'm so used to being asked how I want my burgers cooked and still getting a well done patty I almost went into shock when seeing that it was cooked correctly.  Furthermore the patty was very juicy and tasted incredibly fresh.  Even the rye bread that it was served on was incredibly tasty.  It was thick cut and had that distinct rye flavor that added a nice extra element.  The only mistake was that the Thousand Island dressing that was supposed to come on my sandwich was left off, and it took me a while to flag down our server to request a serving on the side.  The fries were just what the menu stated they were.  Standarded battered fries.  Nothing special here, but they were tasty.  If they had some sort of special seasoning it might bring them up a bit.

Normally I would just go into the taste and value ratings here as I don't often comment on service, but in this case I feel compelled to make an exception.  Now make no mistake our orders were taken, our food was brought out, and our drinks refilled in a reasonably prompt manner, but one of my pet peeves (especially in a not-that-busy restaurant with multiple servers) is not getting our checks when we're ready to go.  My friend and I waited an extremely long time after we had finished eating to get our checks while our server was having a lengthy animated conversation with the hostess.  Our server then walked right by us with our empty plates, and she was not prompt in returning.  Certainly didn't put a damper on the meal per se, or even prevented me from going back (definitely going back for the tenderloin) but it was annoying and fixable.   Alright enough of that.

Taste: 9/10 Not just a good patty melt, but a great one in my opinion.  Some special fries away from a 10 I would say.  I was kind of annoyed at the lack of TI on my patty melt, but it was supposed to be on there and the server did address it even if she was a bit hard to flag down.

Value 8.5/10 Of course I opted for a Diet Coke instead of a beer which kept the cost down some, but the meal was right around 10 bucks.  There was plenty of a food, and it was delcious.  I've paid 10 dollars for much worse meals in the past. 

Stacked Pickle on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 16, 2011

I Should Have Asked For Fried Coleslaw: Muldoon's Review

Every once in a while I get a certain craving for dishes that are on my list of lifetime faves: bbq pork, pizza, fried chicken, fish and chips.  These aren't things that I always crave or always sound good, but when I want them I want them and I will always try to search out the best.  I will also not be afraid to travel a little bit to get it.  A few weeks ago the urge for a plate of fried goodness in fish and fries form hit me like a ton of bricks.  I've had some solid F and C at various places before (B-Rip Brewpub, Claddagh), but I was looking for a new restaurant in place I don't often visit.  On a Saturday night in late fall that place was Muldoon's in the Carmel Arts and Design district.

When I arrived at the restaurant I was surprised that it was actually a little bit easier to find parking than I thought it would be on a weekend night.  This is a good thing because a lack of available parking has a tendency to make me impatient.  As I went inside I had good feelings due to the fact that I love any place with an Irish pub type atmosphere and lots of hardwood and hard drinks.  Call it the Ron Swanson factor.  The restaurant was quite busy on a Saturday night, and luckily my friend and I were able to snag a couple seats at the bar.

There was little need to look at the menu since I had my mind set on fish and chips.  However, there was one glaring absence on the menu that should be mentioned here.  The fish and chips at Muldoon's is not served with coleslaw.  I know some of you might be saying so what, but to me coleslaw is something that should ALWAYS be served with fish and chips.  Even just a little side of coleslaw is a great way to break up the fried fish and the fried potatoes.  Also, I just love the stuff.  To Muldoon's credit the bartender heard me lamenting the lack of coleslaw and asked me if I'd like to order it as an extra side.  I did because I wanted it, but it was an extra charge.

The meal itself I would say was not the best fish and chips I've had, but certainly not the worst either.  The portion size was very nice with 3 nice sized cod fillets and a healthy portion of fries.  The cod was flaky and nice, but the batter on the fish seemed to slough off easily which made it hard to eat with my hands as I prefer. The fries were not a standout, and if you read my blog you know that's a frequent criticism I have. Likewise the coleslaw was not particularly memorable, and it would have been nice if it was just a little more tangy.  I definitely wouldn't mind going back to Muldoon's again, but I think experiencing the fish and chips once was enough.  I've heard good stuff about their tenderloin so maybe that's the direction I'll go on a revisit.

Taste 6/10 A tick above being completely average. I have a feeling there might be better things here than the F and C.
Value 4/10 After adding the extra (overpriced) coleslaw to my bill it was fairly expensive. However, the price for the fish and chips seems to be inline with other restaurants in the Indy area. However, since I didn't enjoy it quite as much as what I've had elsewhere the value score suffers a bit.

Muldoon's Irish Pub on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 12, 2011

Burger King Still Sucks: New BK Fries Review

I don't know if I've ever voiced this opinion explicitly on this blog, but Burger King flat out sucks and has for a while.  You might be saying, "Hold up it didn't make your list of overrated fast food restaurants. What gives?" I'd say you're right it didn't.  To be overrated there has to be some perception out there that it's good.  Burger King is long long way from that.  Every time I go there I see dirty restaurants, few customers, slacking, poorly dressed employees who aren't even wearing clean cohesive uniforms, long waits in the drive thru and burgers that have shrank more than Obama's approval ratings.  It's so sad because I remember BK being one of my favorite places in fast food when I was a kid.  The charbroiled burgers were always especially enjoyable.  I think BK management has recognized their company's slide, but are there efforts enough to reverse the trend?

If I had to answer that question with one word I would say no. Their most recent effort the new BK fries are trying to be presented as some kind of savior for the company. I understand why they are trying considering how bad their old fries were, but in my opinion there just isn't a lot new or enjoyable about these.  The only, and I mean ONLY, discernable difference was the size.  They are slightly thicker than the old fries.  There you have it.  That's it.  They could have gone with new seasoning, fresh cut, the appearance of fresh cut (Wendy's), but they didn't do any of that at all. Burger King seems to think that the idea of being new also means better.  I assure you this is not the case.

Besides the fries I decided to try one of their new BK Toppers burgers.  I went with the cheeseburger that comes with bbq sauce and onion rings, The Western BBQ Cheeseburger.  It was honestly one of the worst "new" menu items I've ever had. The cheese was not melted, the onion rings were cold, the bbq sauce was barely there and had no flavor.   If the burger had 2 patties or if it was a dollar cheaper I may not have hated it as much, but as it is I consider it a total ripoff. 

Taste 0/10 I will not be going back to Burger King again. Period. Unlike Hardee's they have shown me nothing that proves they are really trying to improve their brand.  They have bigger problems than just the menu or the food, but considering they haven't solved those yet I see no way they can pull off a top to bottom overhaul

Value 0/10 Even if it was free I don't think that would be good enough.  Too many other choices in fast food that are competitively priced with much much better quality.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Commendable Service at Chili's In Noblesville

If you were to ask me how often I eat at places like Chili's or Applebee's I'd answer by saying almost never.  There are far too many restaurants with better food and better value that are locally owned to waste time eating at places like this.  The only time I will ever order anything from there is if I'm part of a larger party that decides that's where they want to go or if I have in some way acquired a giftcard for one of those places.  The latter was the case today when I tried to get some chicken tenders to avoid the bane of my existence, the grocery store, for one more day.  Unfortunately when I presented my giftcard to pay for my meal it was rejected due to not being properly loaded when it was purchased from a 3rd party retailer.  I was upset because I'd have to pay out of pocket, and The Girlfriend's grandparents who gave me the card for my birthday wasted their money.  Surprisingly, the manager offered to give me the food for half price despite the fact that she was under no obligation to do so.  If she hadn't done this I wouldn't have been upset.  After all the issue was not their fault, and they had prepared my food in good faith.  I thought it was very nice of the manager to do this for me without any needed complaining on my part, and I thought it was worthy of a little shoutout here at RDERF.  Moral of the story here if you are purchasing giftcards of any type from a 3rd party retailer for Christmas gifts beware that they might screw it up.  When you're buying Christmas gifts in a tough economy like this every dollar should count.

P.S. The food isn't really worthy of comment, but if you're curious the tenders in the honey chipotle sauce weren't bad.  The chicken was juicy.  The coleslaw wasn't bad, but definitely nothing special.  The fries were borderline awful as they usually are at Chili's.  No excuses for that.