Mmmmmm…goes the subtle hum of the freezer inside Patties of Jamaica as it beckons you to a bag of tasty patties. If you look up you’ll see a sign welcoming friends to the traditional Jamaican pastries whose flaky yellow shells smile up at you as if they can’t wait to tell you their secret, “Psssst … I’m filled with delicious ground beef and zesty Jamaican spices!” You can take a frozen bag of these eleven treats home, spicy or regular, for $11.00 (that’s only $1.00 each!) Or, stay and eat them fresh out of the kitchen along with some other traditional favorites like Curried Goat or Chicken Stew (only $4.00!). The Caribbean jerk wings sell out everyday so get there early!
Don’t be fooled by the meager atmosphere and the two tables; it’s all about the patties which are traditional to Jamaica, just as burgers are to America. It’s a quick fix and a tasty deal, especially if you’re on a budget. Say ‘hello’ to Stefan while you’re there. His parents moved from Jamaica to be here in Indiana with his mother’s family during the economic hardships of the 1970s – and of course humbly brought with them the patties of Jamaica. And we’re glad they did!
Biscuits & Gravy typically don’t come to mind when one thinks of first date possibilities. A second date, perhaps – and only if you are lucky (but now I’m just being cheeky…and refraining from innuendos). But seriously, I can’t remember the last time I cleaned my plate. I mean scraped it until there was nothing left…
Anyway, I found myself on a nice evening stroll through Fountain Square when I discovered one of the district’s newest, and possibly sexiest little nooks: the Thunderbird. Even the name sounds enticing. Like I half expect to meet a ‘bad boy’ who offers to order me the Slapped Actress cocktail (which consists of Tito’s Vodka, Lairds Apple Brandy, lemon, lime, sugar)…and then whisk me away on his motorcycle into the sunset where we… oh …um…sorry…where was I? Oh yes, Biscuits & Gravy.
The Biscuits & Gravy are very desirable; with warm, succulent duck gravy and a fried egg on top. The portion is of just the right amount to hit the spot… and yet leave you wanting more. This irresistible, Southern-inspired food is not the only thing to be desired. Their imaginative cocktails will whet your appetite and satisfy your cravings. Feeling rebellious? Grab a Sleeveless Jesus – a boozy, T-Bird original.
Going back to its 1950s roots when the Thunderbird Night Club was where rock n’ roll artists would hang, it’s easy to see how the “rabble rousers” vibe carried over to inspire this rustic, chic atmosphere with exposed brick, bare wood and naked lights. It’s the perfect place for an impressive first date or if you’re looking to add some spice to your night. Get ready to let your creative and imaginative side go wild. (Just don’t forget to order the Biscuits & Gravy!!!)
1127 Shelby Street
Indianapolis, IN 46203
“It’s the little moments that make life big,” I read on the wall as I sipped my morning coffee, waiting on my half-order of biscuits and gravy with a side of cheesy hashbrowns (which came out surprisingly quick by the way). I’ve never been a morning person, but I do love a good dose of morning inspiration to start my day. And you’ll get just that when you visit Just Judy’s on East 62nd Street…along with your very own pot of coffee. I continued reading the plethora of inspirational wall hangings and thought to myself; I might like to meet this Judy lady someday, although, part of me felt as if I already had.
The welcoming morning sun spilled in through the large windows, bouncing off the bright yellow walls and illuminating the small diner with happiness – which was the smell of bacon and eggs sizzling in the background. There was a slight feeling of nostalgia. It was like a scene that I thought only existed in my childhood movies. I half expected a director to waltz in, as if the tables full of guests were really the extras and we were all waiting on the main talent to show up. Perhaps they were still in makeup and running late…perhaps they too needed a large pot of coffee.
As I finished surveying the scene, I sensed that this mysterious Judy character must be a strong woman who has encountered much adversity in her lifetime. However tough those times became, she didn’t let it take her spirit or her gift of hospitality. Maybe someday I’ll sit and chat with her and find out the story behind why she calls her restaurant Just Judy’s. Perhaps it was once a pot of coffee that got her through a terrible day. But, for now, I’ll finish my half-order of biscuits and gravy, my side of cheesy hashbrowns, and my pot of coffee while I sit and reflect on the wall hanging by the window that reads at the bottom, “This is your life, use it wisely”.
5018 E. 62 Street
Indianapolis, IN 46220
A friend of mine talked me into lunch one day at Long Thanh, a Chinese and Vietnamese Restaurant near 71st and Binford. Before I say anything else I’m going to save you some headache; the menu is quite extensive and you may find yourself overwhelmed with the amount of options… get the soup. (You’re welcome.)
Luckily for me, my friend who’d made a weekly ritual of Saturday afternoon soup wasted no time and ordered for me. I took one sip of my heaping bowl of piping hot chicken and rice-noodle soup and immediately felt as if I was suddenly becoming Superman. Yes, it’s well-known that chicken soup is good for what ails you, but this had something extra special. Perhaps it was the handful of bean sprouts, which I learned contains more vitamin C than an orange.
“Oh my goodness,” I exclaimed to my friend, “How did you find out about this soup!?”
He let me in on a little secret that I will now and forever carry with me when I go out to explore new cultural restaurants:
“Ask the old men what they’re eating…that’s what you want to get,” he explained.
I took a look around the restaurant. Everyone was eating the soup. There are 16 different soups to choose from, but I recommend the chicken soup (#20 on the menu). In it you’ll find the magical ingredients of chicken, rice noodles, onions, garlic, cilantro and parsley. Basil, jalapenos, bean sprouts and limes come on the side – so you can play around with it and make it your own. (Yes, as an adult I’m saying you should play with your food. No judgment.) Add the jalapenos and a bit of sriracha if you’d like to spice it up!
This soup is of a generous portion. If you’re able to make it to the bottom of the bowl, you’ll find a beautiful piece of cultural artwork. If not, don’t forget to ask for a to-go!
5707 E 71st St.
Indianapolis, IN 46220