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Archive for the ‘Indiana’ Category

Thursday, September 12, 2013 @ 09:09 PM

RESTAURANT: Jersey’s Café (Carmel, IN)

Featured on Food Network’s “Diner’s, Drive-Ins, and Dives” Jersey’s Cafe boasts some large and charge dishes that rival those personalities the Garden State and its surrounding areas are known for. Specifically known for their steaks, hoagies, and rippers, this local hot spot north of Indianapolis has been getting rave reviews from New Jersey natives and Indiana locals alike.


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SIGNATURE DISH: While not necessarily known for any one dish in particular, it is their large hoagie, cheesesteak and ripper creations that keep the folks coming back. From standard combinations to their unique take on Jewish type deli fare, their menu is quite expansive. I am not kidding when I say LARGE either, each of their sandwiches have so many toppings that it is hard to even open your mouth wide enough for a bite.


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TASTE: Now we have mentioned in the past how much we LOVE a good sandwich, so a place that has literally 2 full pages of options was pretty exciting for the two of us. I also was coming off the really nasty norovirus , so after having not eaten much that whole week, my appetite was ready to tackle a huge sandwich. While both of us enjoyed what we ordered, I have to admit I wasn’t really blown away by any of the dishes that we tried. While the sandwiches we each got were for sure large and loaded with ingredients, they really weren’t huge on flavor, which was disappointing.


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AMBIANCE: Located in a small shopping center right off the highway, I was a little bit disappointed with the overall appearance and décor.  While not dirty or anything like that, it rather just didn’t have a whole lot going on aside from some generic posters along the wall.  Not to sound harsh, given its reputation as being a “New Jersey Deli” I just was hoping for a little more wow factor is all, instead we got run of the mill shopping center feel.


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SERVICE: The night we visited they happened to be a bit short staffed, however we didn’t have to wait extremely long to place our order or receive our food. However, that being said I would hardly call the service we received exceptional, but you might have a very different experience on your own visit.


PRICE: The average price of their dishes is roughly $10, so probably more than you would pay picking up a sandwich from your local deli, but given the amount of toppings that are piled on these puppies, I would say that their prices are definitely reasonable.


Something to keep in mind if you are going to be in the Indy area and want to stop in and check Jersey’s out, if you are trying to visit near any major holiday they will likely be closed. We tried stopping in 2 other times on our way home from Louisville or Nashville and unfortunately they were not open either of those times, so it just pays to call ahead.

We were happy when on our third try they were indeed open and we finally got to check out these spot, we just had possibly built it up a little too much in our head.  While we did enjoy our sandwiches, we just didn’t feel like they really were anything out of the ordinary or even have that much flavor given all that they had going on. But as always we invite you to check out Jersey’s Café for yourself, but in our humble opinion they get 2 1/2 Little Piggies.


Thursday, April 26, 2012 @ 08:04 AM

005While I often poke fun at my new home state, Indiana has truly become a place I am proud to call home; and I’m really enjoying learning many of the little quirks that are unique to this part of the country. But if you are like me and didn’t grow up here, there’s probably a lot of “traditions” that would be new to you, including a culinary staple in these parts…the breaded pork tenderloin sandwich.

This particular sandwich is something that people from around here RAVE about and I for the life of me had never heard of it until moving here. I mean it really isn’t anything all that complicated…, a piece of pork, pounded EXTREMELY thin, battered, fried, and placed upon a bun; and as simple as they seem, everybody has their own way of dressing them up from mustard, to pickles, and cheese. And while they are on almost every diner menu in the state, there are certainly places that do them better, most certainly bigger (some so large it is comical!), and ultimately more notably than others. One such place, and this week’s PCC feature, is Edward’s Drive-In, a popular root beer stand on the outskirts of Indianapolis.

We first saw Edward’s on an episode of Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food,” and seeing it featured like that coupled with Adam’s love for the sandwich, I knew I would be trying this soon.



The thing is, we have plenty of places in town that serve their version of the sandwich…and some are downright yummy! (nod to Miles Lab in Elkhart) Still, none of the local favorites have been featured in popular culture, so I guessed that Edward’s must be legit. So, on a trip down to Louisville just after our daughter was born, we figured a drive-in was the way to go (with her asleep in the car) and opted to hit up perhaps the Hoosier state’s most famous tenderloin spot.

While Edward’s is like your typical drive-in (something I also found are more popular in Indiana than anywhere else I’ve ever lived), they also have a restaurant you can dine in. Still, we opted to eat outside in the car for experience sake and with the baby it was a lot easier.



Having seen how large these tenderloins were, we decided splitting one and an order of onion rings would be a smarter choice and it ended up being the perfect amount, even more than enough. This thing was no joke…the bun looked ridiculous on this huge piece of meat! However, with the first bite I knew this was not really my cup of tea. While I wouldn’t say it was bad, it was just really bland to me, and nowhere near as good as one of our local favorites version of the sandwich (once again a nod to Miles Lab…whose thicker peppery seasoned version has become what I measure all others by). Adam explained that that is typically how traditional tenderloins are…, very very thin and mostly relying on the flavor of the pork.


I realized then and there that this “traditional” version is not my favorite. I ate a few bites of my half, but instead honed in on what were truly delicious…, their onion rings. Perfectly crispy yet with one bite the coating didn’t all pull off, and a nice sweet flavor from the onions and batter made these truly delicious; and as much as I love onion rings, I’d come close to saying they were some of the best I’ve ever had!

Adam, who’s had a few tenderloins in his day, said he enjoyed it, but admitted it was far from the best he had ever had. He agreed it wasn’t bad, just didn’t rank up there as the BEST (so far we both reserve that for Miles Lab version). However, we both also agreed that the onion rings were pretty fantastic and would order them again in a heartbeat!

SIGNATURE DISH: While like any drive-in Edward’s has many other basic American classics, their pork tenderloin sandwich is the big attraction and true to its Indiana heritage.

TASTE: While we both agreed it was edible, and Adam enjoyed it more than I did (he’s a true-blue Hoosier), neither of us were sold on this being the best. We are certain there are better versions of this, so for one featured in popular culture as being a standout in this category, we just weren’t all that impressed.

AMBIANCE: This was another area I was a little bit disappointed with. Edward’s is in a very industrial section of town and it just wasn’t as nostalgic as many of the local drive-ins I’ve come to enjoy. It seemed to have gone through an update within the last few years, so it just felt too new for me. I know that sounds nuts, but part of the thing I love about going to a drive-in is it feels old timey, like something you did 40-50 years ago and that is the feeling you want to get when you visit.

PRICE: For at sandwich as huge as this one, costing less than $5 is a deal! And their sides are all less than $2, so we were able to split a meal for around $7…, quite a deal if you ask me.

SERVICE: While I wasn’t necessarily sold on the flavor, we received really great service; fast and very friendly.

Overall, I was a little disappointed with my first “traditional” tenderloin experience and can’t believe this is the best my new state has to offer. Even my Hoosier husband agreed that this sandwich was not his favorite; so with that I give Edward’s Drive-In 2 ‘Little Piggies’


Tuesday, January 24, 2012 @ 07:01 AM

148This week’s post is a little out of the ordinary for what my average readers are used to, and some may even say doesn’t fit. However, if we are talking about the essence of ‘Pop Culture’ cuisine, then this next spot it more than worthy because it started a culinary revolution that transformed the way we eat…regardless of whether or not you’re “one of theirs.” That’s right folks…I’m referring to White Castle, the 1st restaurant to be credited with the moniker of “fast food.”

So…is fast food ‘pop culture’ worthy? In most cases I would say no, although they are fairly synonymous with our American culture. Still, why I’ve chosen to feature THIS chain is because it’s the 1st and started a whole new genre of food. That’s pretty famous if you ask me!

White Castle was founded in 1921 in Kansas City, as the first fast-food hamburger chain. They were the first to sell a million and billion fast food burgers respectively, which I think is pretty impressive. They also created quite a stir with their signature 5 holes in their patty, cutting down on the time it took to cook the burger and eliminating the need to flip it over…thus the ‘fast’ part.

While I would hardly call White Castle a monumental culinary discovery, it truly did launch a revolution when it comes to the idea of serving something as American as a hamburger, economically and fast; and while that may seem pretty normal and regular by today’s standards, in 1921 this was a very new concept for food. Back in that day these “sliders” (as they were dubbed) were a measly 5 cents, and I have to believe not sold in crave cases as you can find them now. White Castle also stood out in its ability to franchise itself across the country as it gained popularity, another fairly new concept for that time.

I often find of all the fast food places, although it’s the oldest, White Castle is one of the most divisive as far as peoples’ opinions go. Even I went for many years thinking I hated White Castle even though I’d never even tried it! I’m not sure really why I thought I wouldn’t like it…but the whole concept of a slider at the time seemed sort of gross to me. But a few years ago we had to make a stop for lunch after getting home from a family trip, and since Adam’s whole family are fans, we stopped into one on the south side of Chicago. So I decided then was as good of time as any to try one…and let’s just say…I’m now “one of theirs’” So this past summer when we were passing through Indy on our way home from Louisville, and since there aren’t any in our area, we decided to fulfill the craving.



That best thing about White Castle is the size of the burgers…the original ‘Slider; and since they are small, so you can have 1 or 2 and be satisfied without feeling stuffed. So that is just what Adam and I did, we shared a few burgers and fries. Sure…like most in the fast food world, their menu has grown to offer a variety of options. However, although I haven’t really tried many of their other items, I recommend sticking with what made them famous and created an entire menu item…the “slider.”




However, be warned…White Castle sliders are cooked in a bath of chopped onions, which some people site as their reason for not liking them. On the other hand, this is what I love about them. I think this gives them a unique flavor you don’t find in other fast food.

In the end…sure… these aren’t a culinary masterpiece like some of the other dishes we have tried here at PCC. But they are delicious in their own right and still hold a place in history.

SIGNATURE DISH: The ‘Slider’ – a tiny burger typically consumed in 2-3 bites. It has spawned many imitators but IT is the original!

TASTE: While I might be flogged for saying so, I happen to enjoy a White Castle burger, and I would say don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. They would hardly fall into the same category as some of the “gourmet” burgers we have tried around these parts, but for cheap, easy, and tasty they sure are good!

AMBIANCE: We weren’t visiting the real deal 1st ever White Castle, which I’m sure does not even compare to the local franchise we stopped by, but it feels just about like any other fast food joint…not overly fancy, booths and tables, greasy and fluorescent! Winking smile

PRICE: While no longer 5 cents, these burgers are still nowhere near as expensive as some of their fast food counterparts have become. At less than $5 for a fill you up meal, this is very reasonable.

SERVICE: It is a bit hard to rate this seeing as we just ordered at the counter and picked up our food, but as far as fast food service goes, nothing bad…nothing too spectacular.

So feel free to disown us for including a fast food restaurant in our culinary adventures. However, know that nothing says ‘Pop Culture’ like White Castle. It started a craze that is still a major fixture in our eating habits…good or bad. Plus, the original ‘Slider’ is pretty hard to beat; and for that I award America’s 1st Fast Food Chain 3 ½ ‘Little Piggies’