Sunday, October 21, 2007

Three Latest and Best

Broad Ripple Farmer's Market: Ahh, the bounty of the Broad Ripple farmer's market on Saturday morning. It was a crisp, cool morning and every stand had plentiful, colorful fresh peppers, purple, ripe eggplants, the last of the fragrant basil, wonderful colors and shapes of squash, pie pumpkins, carving pumpkins, and even wonderful Asian greens, herbs, and zucchinis. There was a long line at the Royer meats stand which ought to tell most small, local meat producers that there are a lot of people who want to buy your product. I made out with a pound of fresh shitake and oyster mushrooms. (I smell risotto in my future.) Next weekend will be the last Saturday.

Lunch at Oakley's Bistro: While it didn't seem up to their usual standards, even a sub-par lunch at Oakley's is better than 90% of the other restaurants in town. The butternut squash maple soup was great (although instead of the usual lovely diced veggie bits, something in mine was a bit soggy), the pork scaloppini was delicious (although not as tender as its veal counterpart can be), and the dessert crepe was a tasty peach treat (although we had to skip the overly sticky candied walnuts after the first bite.) I still love this reliable old standard and the menu is pretty much exactly the same, even if you haven't been there in a year. Don't forget their three-course tasting menu for $29 every Tuesday and Wednesday evening.

Pho at Sandra Rice and Noodles: Saturday, popped out for lunch at this delightful little place out on Pendleton Pike. With a lighter, updated Vietnamese menu, we enjoyed traditional fresh spring rolls with shrimp, cold spicy chicken spring rolls, chicken satay with a light peanut sauce, and then a flavorful cooked pork on rice noodles along with perfectly elegant pho. In a world where too many people think Asian food has to be a greasy, brown mess, this comfortable Geist-area bistro was a modern, light, and inexpensive treat.

Two Minute Warning: Speaking of a brown, nasty mess ... well, I had a pasta dish at Puck's for dinner the other night I can only describe as just plain screwed up. While nothing at Puck's is spectacular, it's rare at any restaurant for me to find something so bad I would send it back. However, I was with a larger group of very gracious and polite non-foodies as a guest, I didn't feel it was appropriate to make a scene. The manager said the pasta for the mushroom and asparagus linguine was fresh -- made by the pastry chef that day. If so, it was either too wet before cooking, or just cooked incorrectly. (Woe to the pasta station line cook who doesn't know how to handle fresh pasta differently from dry. Boil the water, dude!) As soon as it arrived at the table, it smelled great for 30 seconds, then solidified into a gooey ball of pasta dough that both tasted and looked pretty grim. (This happened to two of us.) I left half of mine and ate part of a bowl of mashed potatoes from my neighbor's chicken instead. The desserts were pretty uninspiring despite raves from the staff about this amazing pastry chef. For the price, I'm not sure I'd consider a few bites of mashed potatoes and chocolate ice cream for dinner a success.


scubachef said...

Specifically about Puck's.

I came across this great rant about Puck's on another food board (the Mon Oct 22 post, near the end of the thread). Thought others might get a kick out of it.

braingirl said...

Oh, man, I *love* that rant. And he's *so* spot on about the attitude. I feel so vindicated that I'm not the only one who's been treated that way. (Too bad it happened to me when I was with a Sr. Editor and dining reviewer from Monthly who later went back and encountered yet *another* reservations screw up.)

We had that *exact* same thing -- totally empty restaurant and yet we couldn't get a table for bunch for 2.5 hours.