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

Monday, May 7, 2012

Mudbugs Cajun Cafe Doesn't Exactly Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler

It's an institution.  That's a phrase I've heard people use when describing their love of the local Cajun restaurant Yats.  It's quirky, local, has delicious food, cheap, and fast.  Everything that I love about restaurants.  I had never experienced Cajun food in Indianapolis outside of Yats until The Girlfriend and I recently took a trip to Mudbugs Cajun Cafe in the Carmel Arts and Design District. Did Mudbugs live up to my Yats expectations? Well at least Mudbugs was local.

The Girlfriend and I decided one evening to take a trip to Carmel to walk around and find food inspiration in the Arts and Design District after our original dinner plans fell through.  While there are several options in the District some of them struck us as a little more expensive than what we were looking for on this particular evening.  We wanted something very casual that wasn't bar food.  We settled on Mudbugs because I was jonesing for some etouffe and I talked The Girlfriend into getting a Po' Boy.  When we first walked in I was encouraged.  It had a lot of the Yats feel.  Order at the counter, get your own drinks, menu in chalk on the wall, and a cozy local feel.  I even enjoyed seeing an expanded menu.  However, after we ordering was pretty much the time to stop being excited and start getting frustrated.

I ordered the 3 dish combo (3 small portions of jambalaya, crayfish casserole, and shrimp etouffee) and The Girlfriend got the Chicken Po' Boy.  With 2 sodas the whole meal totaled almost $24 or about $10 more than it costs for what we get at Yats.  That in and of itself made me unhappy, but we were trying some new things and I thought there was room for redemption.  I was wrong.

Even though it seemed to me that everything we ordered should have been served up quickly due to being prepared ahead of time (no one is making jambalaya a la minute) it took almost half an hour for our food to be brought to our table.  When it finally did arrive it was definitely not anything to celebrate. All three of my dishes were incredibly bland. If you're making Cajun food that should be a cardinal sin. The best part of the meal were the shrimp in my etouffee.  They had good flavor and were cooked nicely, but there were so few and so small they were hard to find.  The casserole had rubbery crayfish, and there was absolutely nothing at all memorable about the jambalaya other than the color was rather unappetizing.  My meal was also served with a piece of toasted French bread which was nice, but definitely not as good as I've had at Yats. The Girlfriend's Po' Boy was also pretty disappointing.  It was fried chicken strips that were obviously frozen and not hand breaded. All in all not a great experience and I doubt we'll be going back any time soon.

Taste 2/10 Normally I would consider giving bland food maybe a 4 or 5 as average, but damn this is CAJUN food.  It's supposed to be all about flavor and spice. When there is none it deserves an extra penalty.  Also frozen chicken strips on the signature sandwich? Come on man.
Value 0/10 The goose egg is harsh I know, but it deserved the whole way. Disappointing food, a ridiculous wait for food, and higher prices than a better competitor are the perfect storm.

Mudbugs Cajun Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Your Favorite Burger

I've probably written on this blog more than once that food can be a highly personal thing.  We each have our own likes, dislikes, and preferences and certainly this blog is an outlet for my opinions on all those things.  However, if I ask you what you're favorite hamburger joint is and you tell me 5 Guys  you are objectively wrong. Sorry. Of course that's not really a slight against 5 Guys Burgers and Fries which I do enjoy. It's a slight against you for not going out and exploring your local restaurants and food scene enough to know what a truly awesome medium rare burger with perfectly crafted toppings (see: The Local) tastes like.  Ladies and gents burgers are NOT just fast food anymore.  Tons of local restaurants are elevating the concept to another level. Are there still problems with not cooking the meat to the right temp or even *gasp* using frozen patties? Sure there are, but explore what's around you.  You'll probably be pleasantly surprised that for the same 10 bucks you spent to get a burger, fries, and drink from 5 Guys will buy you a burger that is just a little more special and definitely more tasty.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Product Review: Lean Pockets Mesquite BBQ Chicken

Saying Lean Pockets does bbq is a little like saying your deadbeat cousin who plays Guitar Hero is actually a musician.  Truthfully it's a hackneyed imitation of bbq that ventures into self-parody when cliched phrases like "mesquite" are used in the description.  Did any of that stop me from trying out this new product though? Of course not.  Let's be honest here. I'm pretty sure any modicum of high brow disdain for certain types of foods on this blog went out the window with the McDonald's Biscuit and Gravy review from a while back. But let's get down to bidness.

The humor in these Lean Pockets doesn't just start with them being ridiculously labeled "mesquite", but also from the fact that each pocket is supposed to contain chicken and "roasted red onion".  If that wasn't enough these ingredients are stuffed inside of a pretzel bread pocket.  In each instance this product over promises and under-delivers.  The term mesquite is a type of wood used for smoking meat, but there was absolutely no smoke flavor in either the chicken or the bbq sauce.  In reality it was just sweet on sweet.  Not necessarily bad when you consider it's a Lean Pocket, but you can't say it was good either.  As for the onion I couldn't even tell it was there at all.  I was a little concerned because red onion is one of my least favorite flavors.  I suppose it was somewhat of a blessing in disguise that it was almost non-existent on my palate.  The pretzel bread was even more of a let down.  It bore absolutely no resemblance to any type of pretzel you could imagine in terms of flavor.  It might have an appearance that looks somewhat pretzel like, but the texture and flavor what traditional Hot Pocket all the way.  Also who thought bbq+pretzel was a good idea?

Taste 3/10 I love trying new products.  I love some flavors of Lean Pockets.  I  think their pizza varieties and chicken bacon dijon are quite good. My best advice?  Stick to those.  This bbq version is a waste of time.

Value 3/10 While not particularly expensive this flavor of Lean Pocket is lacking enough to be a bad value even with good 5 for 11 sale at Kroger.  I could have bought one of the pizza varieties I like a lot more.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Eating and Blogging and Fried Pickles

Hello faithful readers. I know I posted recently that I planned to do a lot more blogging, and certainly that is still the case. However, I have been saddled with some technical issues with my laptop and blogging like this from my phone is difficult. Don't worry though I have a new computer coming in the mail so I should be able to get back on the horse soon. In the meantime I wanted to say a little something about a fried pickle appetizer I had at The Mill Tavern in Westfield.

Now I have reviewed their Jellystone burger before and found it playful and unique.  Their take on fried pickles is similar in that regard. Instead of the usual chips these pickles were cut lengthwise. I thought this allowed the pickle flavor to stand up to the breading a little better. And speaking of the breading I much preferred their lighter cornmeal crust to the usual thick batter.  All in all very enjoyable, and a good value at only $4.50 for a large portion.