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

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Product Review: Kettle Sweet Onion Potato Chips

Bad breath in a bag. Kettle brand Sweet Onion potato chips might have been named that if marketing departments focused on truth telling and  Now, I haven't done a product review here in a while so don't let me muddle my point.  Kettle Sweet Onion flavor chips are delicious.  It's just that things can be successful while also having aesthetic or other draw backs.  I mean look at all the success Sarah Jessica Parker  has had in her career.  Let's dive into the details of these chips a little bit.

First of all you could guess from the name that these are kettle cooked potato chips which are by far my favorite.  Some may disagree, but I find the snap of the more sturdy kettle cooked chip much more satisfying. In regards to flavor Kettle isn't afraid to be aggressive.  These sweet onion chips are not missing out on any flavor, but it's pretty unique and I'm not sure what I could compare them to.  The onion flavor is definitely present, but it's not like eating a raw onion by any means.  The hint of sweetness is there to balance that out while still having the overall  taste be more salty than sweet.  As a side note Kettle's bbq variety is also among the most intensely flavored and best bbq chips I've had in a long time. 

Taste 8.5/10 The Kettle chips are my go to brand right now for potato chips.  They have a lot of different flavors beyond the standards we see from Lays or Ruffles, and the texture is awesome.  I will buy these again despite being located in the crappy "hipster food" section in Kroger.
Value 7/10 Kroger had these on sale for the price of 2 large bags for 6 bucks.  I really like these chips so I consider that a pretty good deal.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Dog Even Mitt Romney Wouldn't Leave On Top Of The Car: Zacky's Hot Dogs and Smokehouse BBQ

There has been some discussion on the Twitters lately about what one should order when trying out a place they haven't eaten at before.  Should you order what are the consensus strengths of the restaurant's menu, or is it ok to be the guy who orders stir fry off of the pub's menu because hey if they put it on there it should be good right? Truthfully I'm not sure there is a good answer to that question, and I tend to think the answer varies based on what kind of place your dining at and other factors (See my first post about pulled pork at the Ale Emporium).  I bring this up because Zacky's is a small yet popular little place in Carmel that specializes in hot dogs, but they also have some bbq options such as pulled pork and ribs.  As you probably know I love me some bbq, but I decided in this instance to go with one of Zacky's specialty hot dogs and leave the bbq for another day. 

Zacky's has several specialty hot dogs, and if you prefer to eat like you're a 5 year old you can even get one plain. The hot dogs are Vienna Beef and have different preparations along with different toppings.  In order to satisfy my lingering desire for bbq and smoke I decided to go with the ZQ Dog.  This was a deep-fried hot dog, bacon, cheddar cheese, and bbq sauce.  I made mine a combo with fries and a drink for an extra 2.99. If you're so inclined you can swap out fries for various other sides including sweet potato fries.  I might have done just that except there is something you should know about Zacky's.  If you go on a Saturday afternoon the atmosphere in the place is a bit manic.  It's fairly small, and there were a lot of people wanting to get their grub on including quite a few kids.  Such a secenario doesn't give one the time to peruse the menu that otherwise might be available.  Also, the number of tables is somewhat limited so beware of that if you aren't getting takeout. 

Despite the busy surroundings our food was ready in a prompt manner.  I was wondering if one hot dog was going to be enough to placate my hunger, but luckily it was a good sized dog and the portion of crinkle cut fries was more than adequate.  This was my first time ever having a fried hot dog, and while I didn't find it as rave-worthy (cool points for made up words!) as other people I did like the texture.  The flavor was just what I was looking for.  The smoky bacon paired well with the cheddar and the sweetness of the bbq sauce.  Also, the flavor of the hot dog wasn't lost under the toppings.  While the fries weren't of the fresh-cut variety I always dig crinkle cuts served in a basket.  That's 'murican right there. 

Taste 8/10 Exceeded expectations for my first visit in spite of the fact that hot dogs usually aren't a go to lunch for me.  I can't wait to go back and try some of their bbq offerings.
Value 6.5/10 Zacky's is putting out some dang good hot dogs, but they are a bit pricy. A hot dog combo ran between 6 and 7 bucks.  An above average value for sure just not by a lot.

Zacky's Hot Dogs & Smokehouse BBQ on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fast Food Review: McDonald's Chicken McBites

In the last few years it seems more and more like the old standby fast food places are always trying to give us something new, different, and "lighter" to keep us coming in the door.  This is of course despite the fact that the reason most of us go there in the first place is to get old standbys that we're used to from long ago.  This is especially true when it comes to chicken products.  Burger King already had chicken tenders on the menu when they introduced the more-or-less terrible chicken fries.  Now it seems that McDonald's has had a similar idea. 

McDonald's has had their famous Chicken McNuggets on the menu since as far back as I can remember.  They have more than their fair share of detractors, but they've always been a personal fave for whatever reason.  The appeal may be more nostalgic than taste related.  Nonetheless McDonald's has introduced a "new" chicken product called Chicken McBites.  I put new in scare quotes because other than just being added to the menu there is nothing new at all about them.  This is popcorn chicken plain and simple.  And guess what?  It sucks.  Popcorn chicken always sucks.  It's small.  It's dry. There's more breading than chicken.  Oh but it's portable they tell us.  Yeah so it almost everything on  Mickey D's menu.  Popcorn chicken is ok I guess if you're 6 years old, but they are marketing this to adults. I guess some will fall for it, but I'll probably stick to the dollar menu.

Taste 2/10 Hey they didn't make me vomit so they've got that going for them.

Value 0/10 The Girlfriend picked these up on the way home from work one night to try them.  I don't really know what she paid or how much they cost.  It doesn't matter.  Whatever it is is too much.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Review: Kobayashi Sushi and Asian Kitchen

"I don't believe in unwinnable scenarios." That's what James T. Kirk said in response to cheating on and winning the Kobayashi Maru exam at Starfleet Academy.  What does that have to do with this restaurant I'm reviewing other than the first part of their names are the same? Absolutely nothing, but I felt like showing off some of my nerd cred and I wanted to throw a bone to those lonely souls I may have insulted in my Valentine's Day post.  Chin up sparky. Some day some girl will let you set her phaser on stun.  In any case Kobayashi Sushi and Asian Kitchen is a relatively new restaurant on the scene in Noblesville.  At the corner of Greenfield Ave and Highway 37, it inhabits what used to be a Dick's Bodacious BBQ.  In fact when you go in, despite their efforts to redecorate, you can definitely tell this was not always a space intended for an Asian dining experience. That being said when the food comes out of the kitchen there won't be any doubt what experience you're about to have.

The Girlfriend and I went in on a Saturday night and there was a decent crowd for a place that I assume people in the community had just started hearing about.  While sushi bars may seem to pop up like Starbucks in some far Northside locales that really isn't the case in Noblesville so I thought if the food was good Kobayashi might have something here.  We decided to start off with an appetizer of gyoza. They are little wonton dumplings that are stuffed with a pork mixture and pan fried.  We have had them at several places and the quality varies, but they are still one of our favorites.  Here at Kobayashi they knocked them out of the park.  Not only was the flavor of the filling wonderful, but the texture on the outside was perfect, just the right mix of crispy and chewy.  If you go I highly recommend them.  The problem The Girlfriend and I run into when we go to these types of places is the issue of the entrees.

Sushi is something that is meant to be shared.  If you are sharing you can order more and try a variety.  This is an issue with us because even though she has tried it The Girlfriend is not becoming a sushi fan (any variety) any time soon.  We solve this issue by her ordering off of the other menu while I probably get enough sushi for 2 people. (No judgements) She ordered her go to chicken with broccoli which ended up being a healthy portion with a lot of fresh stir fried veggies in a lighter brother than what I was used to.  I tried a little bit, and it was very good.  If you want to go here and have people that don't want to get their "roll" on (ha!) they won't be disappointed. I ordered the basic tuna roll and I decided to order a special roll as well called the Golden Roll. The tuna roll tasted good and very fresh.  Basic, but for only $4 I wasn't complaining.  The Golden Roll was smoked salmon, avocado, and cream cheese with a light tempura fry on the outside and a drizzle of spicy mayo and eel sauce.  I know people tend to have very divergent views on both smoked salmon and cream cheese, but if you're a fan like I am you would have to say that this was pretty awesome. The creaminess balanced nicely with the crunch on the outside, and the flavors were very good even if I was expecting a little more hint of smoke on the salmon.  Overall, expectations exceeded.

Taste 8.5/10 The appetizer was very good and so were our main courses.  In my opinion it rivals any sushi I've had in the area.  The only one I could think of enjoying more was the Maui Roll at Naked Tchopstix.
Value 9.5/10 The Girlfriend and I got an app, 2 sushi rolls, and an entree and the meall still was under $40. Try doing that at a lot of other sushi places.

Kobayashi Sushi & Asian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chocolate Pez and Valentine's Day Sweet Treats

Happy Valentine's Day even though it's probably going to be the 15th or later when you read this. (If that's the case just read this same post next year and that opening greeting will be relevant.)  Anyway, I thought I'd do a little quick post tonight based around candy, specifically candy that you either got for or received from your significant other for the holiday.  If you were alone this Valentine's Day you should have still got yourself some candy. It washes down great with lonely tears of infinite sadness.

My favorite candy to give or receive for any holiday are Lindor truffles.  The milk chocolate and white chocolate are absolutely fantastic.  Nothing better than cracking through the brittle chocolate shell and getting into the soft middle (like the Colts pass defense!).  The Girlfriend and I gave these to each other, and we were both happy with that.  However, I was feeling whimsical so I also got The Girlfriend a little V-Day Pez dispenser with chocolate, yes chocolate, Pez.  I had never had this before so I asked her for a taste.  In a word it was disgusting.  Despite my general rule that candy always tastes good when coming out of the throat of a plastic animal I'm declaring that Pez should stick to fruit flavors only. 

If you're so inclined leave some comments about your favorite candy or what you received for this Hallmarkiest of holidays.

Review: Asia Bistro

Hello dear readers...those of you that are still here after my lazy ass hasn't posted for over a month anyway.  Well, for those of you that have stuck around I wanted to take a little time today to share with you a review of one of my favorite types of cuisine, take-out Chinese.  I've written about it on here before, and you might remember that my unabashed favorite is Hong Kong Cuisine at 126th and Highway 37.  Sometimes though when you see a new place open up it's at least worth trying to shake things up a bit.  That's what I did with Asia Bistro.

Asia Bistro is located in the plaza at 116th and Allisonville between Marsh and Little Caesars.  I believe the shopping center is Fishers Station maybe? One of you feel free to correct me in the comments if I'm wrong. In any case I decided this place was worth a go for Chinese takeout because it is on my direct route home from work, and if it was as good as Hong Kong it would be endlessly more convienient for me when picking up dinner.  However, I knew that was probably going to be a tall order.

When I walked in I saw the usual setup.  Depiste having "bistro" in the name it was more or less the same as every takeout place you've ever been to with the same menu.  To keep consistent and to make good comparisons I ordered my usual dish, chicken with garlic sauce, while opting for an egg roll as my side along with fried rice.  I also picked up an order of steamed dumplings.  The first thing I noticed when I opened up my container was that it more or less looked like the same dish I get from Hong Kong, but the awesome garlicky smell wasn't there.  Unfortunately, the lack of smell carried over to lack of flavor.  When I order something with "garlic" in the name I expect to be punched in the mouth with the flavor of it.  Here it was barely noticeable at all.  There was slightly more heat (not very much) than the same dish at Hong Kong, but it didn't really translate to more flavorful food.  The veggies and chicken were cooked alright, but without the sauce being right it just wasn't enough.  The fried rice was also inferior.  While not as stale and "neon yellow" as I've had at other places it wasn't better than my standard.  The dumplings were good.  The meat inside was juicy and the wrapper on the outside had a good texture, but Chinese takeout places around here have yet to even come close to matching the delicious dumplings served at First Wok in Muncie, IN.  They just do them better, and their dumpling dipping sauce has a big kick.  Not just soy in the cup.

I have to say I was really disappointed here.  I so badly wanted this place to exceed my expectations so it could become my new go-to.   Also, I believe they deliver which isn't something any other Chinese places in the area are doing.  Unfortunately I don't think the food was good enough to ever make me go back.  Ratings time
Taste 5/10 Not great.  Not horrible. Not worth going back.
Value 3/10 With food that isn't as good as my favorite and similar prices the value score has to suffer a bit.

Asia Bistro on Urbanspoon