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Katie Davis

@PopCultureCuisine

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Archive for the ‘Sandwiches’ 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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Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew017CHyNDM

 

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.

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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.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKf50teTiy4

 

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.

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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.

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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’

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Tuesday, January 17, 2012 @ 08:01 AM

Well another year has come and gone and Pop Culture Cuisine is officially a two years old!  This year our lives have changed dramatically in many ways, including the addition of a new family member.  We also may not have traveled as far as in the past, but Adam and I still love finding new ways to seek out culinary hot spots wherever our travels take us.  We have compiled a list of some of our favorite and not so favorite spots to share with you with links so you can read our reviews for yourself.  We STILL love food and hope to continue to share lots of great finds with you all along the way.

Signature Dish:

086

1. Al’s Beef’s “Italian Beef Sandwich” – Chicago, IL

2. Kim & Scott’s Café Twist’s “Twist Your Own” – Chicago, IL

3. The Varsity’s “Chili Dog” – Atlanta, GA

 

Taste:

175176

1. Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL

2. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

3. The Depot American Diner – Chicago, IL

 

Ambiance:

15

1. The Walnut Room – Chicago, IL

2. Slow’s Bar-BQ – Detroit, MI

3. Lynn’s Paradise Café – Louisville, KY

 

Service:

1. Tufano’s Vernon Park TapJoe and his staff – Chicago, IL

2. KouzzinaJohn – Orlando, FL

3. Emeril’sSpencer – Orlando, FL

 

Price:

126

1. The Varsity – Atlanta, GA

2. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

3. South Side Soda Shop – Goshen, IN

 

Overall Top 5:

094

1. Al’s Beef – Chicago, IL

2. Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL (A VERY close 2nd place)

3. The Walnut Room – Chicago, IL

4. Kouzzina – Orlando, FL

5. Emeril’s – Orlando, FL

Top 5 Biggest Letdowns…Not worth the Hype:

085

1. The Whale’s Rib – Deerfield Beach, FL

2. Brennan’s – New Orleans, LA

3. Camp Washington – Cincinnati, OH

4. Graeter’s – Cincinnati, OH

5. The Loveless Café – Nashville, TN

Best of the Rest…Honorable Mention:

011

Most Fun Kim & Scott’s Café Twist – Chicago, IL

100

Most Memorable Kouzzina – Orlando, FL

151

Most Worth the Wait Hot Doug’s – Chicago, IL

098

Most Outrageous Dish Bub’s Burgers – Carmel, IN

048

Best Excursion Epcot International Food and Wine Festival – Orlando. FL

352353

Best Sandwich (Burgers Included) The Depot American Diner – Chicago, IL

030

Best Sweet Treat Emeril’s – Orlando, FL