Monday, May 18, 2015

Visiting a few places to enjoy meals, drinks

For this, my second post of miscellaneous pictures, or another photo potpourri, I bring you images of food and drink (and about establishments selling food and drink) that I've visited and photographed in recent months, again ... all with my iPhone. As usual, click on any image to bring up a larger, sharper version.

Leading off (both in the text and with the photo at the top of this post) is a place in my neighborhood, the Garfield Eatery & Coffee in Indianapolis, which I have frequented often since it opened late last summer.

The Garf, at 2627 Shelby St., opened in late August 2014 and is owned by Garfield Park neighborhood residents Dan Sassano and David Sanchez.

The place has undergone a bit of change in staff and its hours of operation in its nine months. Among these are the kitchen help (chief chefs) and the baristas, the source of baked treats sold at the counter, the hours when breakfast items are available; and the introduction of nighttime music and art -- first on First Fridays, then on Saturday evenings, and now there is a miscellaneous "open mic" on Thursday nights.

The addition of beer and wine to its offerings this year made keeping the establishment open later in the day (it closes at 5 p.m. most days) an appealing option once the weather turns warm, but it hasn't happened yet.

In case you're wondering, I really like the food here -- my favorite breakfast item is the ultimate breakfast (eggs; choice of meat; cubed potatoes; and choice of toast or pancakes). Breakfast is served all day Saturdays and Sundays and until 11 a.m. Tuesdays through Fridays. I have several favorites from the lunch menu, including the tenderloin, Garfield club and corned beef and Swiss sandwiches. The Reuben was good, too, when I tried it in one of my early visits, but I haven't had it for a while. My son Benjamin loves the breakfast burrito.

The cafe Americano is my beverage of choice, but I tried a few of the lattes in my early visits last year (the pumpkin caramel was particularly good). The eatery uses coffee beans sold by Liberation Roasting in Fountain Square and cheesecakes made by Lisa Laflin.

Above, a spaghetti dish from the early weeks of the Garf's opening, when the eatery would offer a "special" dish not on the regular menu. The spaghetti was OK; my favorite "special" -- a grilled skinless chicken cutlet served with mashed potatoes and a scrumptious brown gravy -- I saw offered only once. Below, a delicious pumpkin and cream cheese muffin, which makes periodic appearances. Lisa Laflin bakes many of The Garf's bakery offerings these days.  

Above: David Sanchez has worked the kitchen -- as a backup to the chief chefs, and as the primary chef in the transition periods. One day in January, when I was feeling ill from a cold and when a cream chicken "soup of the day" didn't appeal to me, he went out of his way to make a serving of regular chicken soup just for me, and it was a delicious, and welcome, surprise.

Above and below: Two staples on the Garf menu: Above, a half-club sandwich and soup (French onion), served with seasoned fries, and below, a tenderloin and seasoned fries. Non-seasoned fries are available also.

Above: Not long after the Garf obtained its license to serve beer and wine, it heralded the additions by serving mimosas on a Saturday when a new artist's work was displayed on the walls. I sampled one mimosa (these are cranberry juice and champagne; a traditional orange juice mix also was available) along with a Cafe Americano.  

Next up is Dooley O'Toole's in Carmel, Ind., which I visited for the first time on Feb. 19.

Dooley O'Toole's in Carmel dates to August 1985 and offers traditional pub fare, getting its best reviews for the chicken velvet soup and tenderloin and Reuben sandwiches. Dooley's prides itself on its meats, cut fresh daily at Joe's Butcher Shop and Fish Market in Carmel, and on the fact that it offers a soup of the day in addition to the chicken velvet, Irish stew and chili. The soup of the day was corn chowder the first day I was there.

It has a full bar that includes several local craft beers on draft. I had a Sun King Cream Ale.

Above: A look at a portion of the bar at Dooley O'Toole's, 160 E. Carmel Drive in Carmel, Ind. 

Dooley's heralded chicken velvet soup (above) is a delicious comfort dish before a meal. Below, a look at its chili, also very good.

Above, a half-Reuben sandwich and side (fries). The half-sandwich and soup comes with chips, which can be substituted for an extra $1. The Reuben is served with the traditional Thousand Island dressing on the side. Below, a look at the mini-tenderloin sandwich with chive fries. The tenderloin, which is pretty filling, also was served as part of a half-sandwich and soup or salad entry on the menu. Dooley's is known for its tenderloin, and it offers the small version (pictured) and a larger, "full" size, although the mini is plenty filling with all the toppings.  

Next up is Sisters' Place, which at 215 E. Terrace Ave., recently began operation under its second owner at this site, its second on the Southside of Indianapolis. 

Sisters used to be in much smaller quarters in the 2400 block of Shelby Street, on the southwest corner of Shelby and Hervey streets. It moved to its current site under its previous, longtime owners about 10 to 15 years ago. They closed the business last year, and it reopened under the same name but new ownership within the past six months or so.

I'd been to Sisters two or three times under the previous owners, and enjoyed both a breakfast and lunch items. My first visit to Sisters under the new ownership was on March 4.  

Above: A salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. The salad was OK, but a few of the lettuce pieces look a tad wilted.

The Jack Daniels burger (above) -- bacon and cheese with a barbecue side sauce -- and liver and onions with green beans and mashed potatoes and gravy (below). Both main fares were more greasy than dersirable. 

Above: Simply a sign that made me smile at the growler dispensing station at the bar of Fountain Square Brewery, 1301 Barth Ave., on the south end of Fountain Square. 

Since spring of 2014, I'd come to enjoy periodic visits to Chateau Thomas Winery's location in Fishers, where I got to know not only the staff, but also fellow customers. 

It was a Friday or Saturday night in April last year that I dropped in there one night and first saw bluesman Gary Applegate performing, and I very much enjoyed the show. He was there almost monthly for a while, and it was at a July 5 performance that I took the picture of him (below) at the Fishers winery, on stage with harmonica player Joe Rock. Applegate is from Seymour, and plays most of his gigs in and around that area. 

Not long afterward, the Fishers store halted live entertainment because of a problem in which the winery had neglected to pay royalties to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) for songs many of the entertainers had been performing at the Fishers store. That loss was a huge disappointment to me ... and it put a dent into the store's weekend traffic. I did see Applegate once in October at Chateau Thomas' store in Nashville, Ind., which apparently did not have the royalties issue the Fishers store had. 

Live entertainment had returned to the Fishers store for only a short while in early 2015 when Chateau Thomas decided it would close the Fishers location at the end of February, apparently because it had not been profitable for some time. The two images below this paragraph were taken on Jan. 17, one of the last times I was there before the store closed for good after a run of five years. There was a very nice crowd there that night, many of them regulars who spent a good chunk of time huddled at the tasting bar to commiserate about the upcoming closure. 

The performers that night (second photo below) were Two For the Show, a duo normally consisting of Bruce Lucas and Jim Harris, but one of guys was unable to make it that night, and a young guitarist sat in instead and did a very nice job. 

While we're on the subject of food and drink, these beverages (in my favorite glasses at home) were a knockoff of Ruby Tuesday's Ruby Relaxer -- coconut rum, peach schnapps, vodka, pineapple and cranberry juice, and a splash of grenadine. Yummy.

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