Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Ballreich's Potato Chips - Sour Cream and Onion

I'm continuing on my quest for the perfect chip. Well, chips. I don't have to have just one #1 you know? I'm making up the rules as I go!

This time I ordered a jumbo pack of 7 different flavors from Ballreich's chips, of Tiffin, Ohio. Ballreich's has been around since the 1920s, and I can see why. Their chips have really great flavor and texture and crunch. They have a very interesting history. Their chips are 'marcelled', which was a new term to me. Marcelled is the name of a popular wavy hairstyle from the 1920s.

I started out with sour cream and onion flavored chips.

These chips are insanely good. The salt level is just right, the crunch is great (those marcelled ridges really make for a great chip), and the flavoring is spot-on. And you can still taste the potato, an important thing in chips!

I love these chips. Of all the Ballreich's chips I tried, these are definitely at the top of my list. Not that the other flavors aren't good, it's just I think they really nailed it on the sour cream and onion variety. And the big bags are perfect for family get-togethers.

I'm looking forward to trying the rest of the flavors I ordered!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Smashburger, Hamilton, Ohio

Oh, we love a good burger, and boy did we find one. I was reading somewhere the other day that Smashburger was one of fastest growing hamburger chains, and that they have a very dedicated, almost cult, following. So, I went to their website, and lucky happy me, there's one not too far from Jungle Jim's International Market where we just happened to be going yesterday.

So off to Smashburger we went. The one in Bridgewater Falls is in a little strip mall in front of an outdoor, open mall. You order at the counter, and they bring the food out to you. Service was fast and very pleasant.

Anita ordered classic burger (American cheese, lettuce tomato, ketchup, onion, pickles, and smash sauce on an egg bun) with a fried egg on top and a side salad.

I also ordered the classic, but got it 'big' and a side of flash-fried veggie frites.

Smashburgers are made from 100% fresh Angus, smashed onto a hot griddle and cooked perfect. The toppings were all very, very fresh, as was Anita's salad. I absolutely loved my veggies. They are fried really quickly, hit with some sea salt, and served with a dipping sauce. They were really outstandingly good.

The burgers were messy, drippy, yummy, great. If I close my eyes while I'm eating, you know I'm enjoying it. Anita really liked hers too. She commented several times as to how fresh everything was.

I wish there was a Smashburger closer to Indianapolis. I think there will be soon since they are adding stores all over. I'd like to try the rest of their menu as everything on it sounds great! (Oh, and they also have beer... )

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Italian Pasta Salad

I've been on a pasta and potato salad kick lately. It's been really hot (and dry) here in Indiana. The beauty of salads is that I can make them in the morning when it is still cool out. Then, there's no additional work at dinner time. Perfect!

I found the original recipe for this salad here. I made a few minor changes.

Makes: 8-12 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 pound dry pasta (I used farfalle, but bow-tie would also work well)
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 2/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced
  • 1 medium green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 cup balsamic vinaigrette salad dressing (I used Paul Newman's)
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper

1. Cook pasta per package instructions. Drain well and let cool. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. Add the tomatoes, mushrooms, olives and bell pepper to the pasta and fold to combine.

3. Whisk together the salad dressing, mayo, and sugar. Add to the pasta mixture and fold to combine.

4. Season with salt and pepper. You may have to add a bit more dressing the next morning after the salad sits in the fridge.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Classic Pasta Salad

Nothing beats a good, old-fashioned pasta salad. I particularly like this one. You can add whatever else you want, like bacon. Or diced ham. Or cubed rotisserie chicken.

The addition of the minced sweet peppers really adds a lot to this salad. Don't leave them out.

Makes: 16-20 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 pound dry elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 small red onion, diced
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1/4 cup sweet piquanté peppers, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

1. Cook the pasta per the package instructions. Drain well and let cool. Place in a large bowl.

2. Whisk together the mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, and sugar. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

3. Add the remaining ingredients to the pasta and fold gently to combine.

4. Add in the dressing and fold to combine. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hot Dogs with Onion, Chili, and Slaw

I was drooling over Chris' Tennessee Smoky Hot Dogs posting over on Nibble Me This, and thinking... boy, that sure sounds and looks great. But, I was in a bit of a hurry, so I changed it up to be a bit easier. It's not the same as Chris', but the inspiration is there!

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 sweet onion, cut into 1/4" rings
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon BBQ rub (or use Creole seasoning)
  • 1 can favorite chili
  • 1 14oz bag coleslaw mix
  • 1 slaw dressing (I used Marzetti's)
  • 8 premium beef hot dogs
  • 8 hot dog buns
  • Handful sharp cheese, shredded

1. Preheat grill.

2. Put onion slices on a sheet of aluminum foil. Top with the butter and seasoning. Seal and place over indirect heat on the grill for about 20 minutes or until the onion gets soft. Remove.

3. Warm the chili.

4. Mix coleslaw vegetables and dressing. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

5. Grill the dogs and toast the buns as desired.

6. Serve dogs topped with onion, chili, cheese and slaw.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Baked Creole Onion Rings

No, they are not deep-fried onion rings. Face it, you can't beat deep-fried onion rings. But, sometimes you have to do them a tad bit healthier. Like these baked Creole rings.

Panko bread crumbs are a wonderful thing. They make everything good and crunchy. Throw in some spicy Creole seasoning and these rings are actually pretty good. Almost addicting, really.

The original recipe came from Pam's Midwest Kitchen Korner.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 12-20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons Creole seasoning, divided (or more, to taste)
  • 2 large egg whites, beaten lightly
  • 2 cups Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large sweet onion, sliced into thick rings (or 2 onions if they are smaller)

1. Preheat your oven to 450 F.

2. Spray two baking sheets with non-stick spray.

3. Arrange 3 bowls in a row. In the first bowl mix the flour and half of the Creole seasoning. In the second bowl place the egg whites. Finally, in the third bowl combine the bread crumbs and the remaining Creole seasoning.

4. Separate the onion into individual rings. Dip them into the flour mixture first. Shake off the excess.

5. Next, dip the rings into the egg whites. Shake off the excess.

6. Last, dip the rings into the bread crumbs.

7. Arrange rings on the baking sheets and spray lightly with non-stick spray. Bake for 6 minutes

8. Gently flip the rings and bake another 6-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pasta Salad with Dill and Ham

'Tis the season for pasta salads, and the more, the merrier.

A co-worker of Anita's gave her a Food Network calendar last Christmas. Each day has a different recipe. This one came out quite good. It's a fairly traditional pasta salad. Double the recipe for a big grill-out party.

Makes: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 8 ounces pasta (elbow macaroni, etc)
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 medium red onion, minced
  • 6 ounces cooked ham, cut into small cubes
  • 3/4 cup frozen baby peas, thawed
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons milk

1. Cook pasta per package instructions. Drain well and let cool slightly. Transfer to a large bowl.

2. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and mustard. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while whisking.

3. Whisk in the sour cream and season with 2 teaspoons salt and pepper, to taste.

4. Add the onion, ham, peas, celery and dill to the pasta and mix. Add in the dressing and fold to coat the pasta. Season with more salt and pepper as desired.

5. If the pasta is a little dry, add some of the milk. You may need to add more the next day if you keep the salad overnight.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Spicy Grilled Chicken Tortilla Soup

This soup turned out absolutely great. It had kick, some coolness from the pico de gallo and sour cream, and great smokey flavor from the grilled chicken.

The original recipe came from Patio Daddio's blog, one of the best grilling-related blogs out there. The original recipe calls for making your own vegetable stock, which I did, but if you don't have the time you can substitute pre-made stock.

Makes: 6-8 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2 large grilled chicken breasts, chopped
  • Vegetable broth (see below or use 2 quarts of pre-made)
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon (or lots more) Mexican-style hot sauce
  • 2 cans (10 ounces) Ro*Tel diced tomatoes and chiles (mild or hot)
  • 1 can (15 ounce) black beans, rinsed (I used dried beans, soaked and then cooked and rinsed)
  • 1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
  • Corn tortilla strips (see below)
  • sour cream
  • pico de gallo (see below)

1. Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large Dutch oven or pot.

2. Add in the chicken, garlic, and hot sauce and cook for 2 minutes, stirring often.

3. Add in the canned tomatoes, black beans, corn and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for 10 minutes.

4. Serve topped with sour cream, tortilla strips and pico de gallo.

For the vegetable broth:

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours


  • 10 cups water
  • 1 small yellow onion, rough chopped
  • 1 carrot, rough chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, rough chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon fresh cracked peppercorns

1. Place all ingredients into a large pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 2 hours. Strain.

For the corn tortilla strips:


  • 8 corn tortillas
  • Oil, for frying
  • Kosher salt

1. Heat about 2" of oil in a Dutch oven or deep fryer to 350 F.

2. Cut tortillas into 1/2" strips. Working in batches, fry strips until golden brown. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle with salt.

For the pico de gallo:

Makes: 2 cups
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes


  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded, minced
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • 1 green onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Combine all ingredients. Cover and refrigerate at least 30 minutes before using.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Homemade Baguettes

We've subscribed to Saveur magazine for some time now. It always has great articles on food around the world, along with fantastic photos and recipes.

A recent issue had a great article on breads. You couldn't help but drool over all of the breads. So, that inspired me to make the baguette recipe in the magazine. This recipe takes a while, but the end result was absolutely great. Everyone raved about how good this bread tasted.

Makes: 3 loaves
Total time: 4 hours
Printable Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups water at 115 F
  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup ice cubes
Note: You'll need a baking stone (I used a large rectangular pizza stone).

1. Place the yeast and water in a large bowl. Whisk together and let sit for 10 minutes or until foamy.

2. Slowly add in the flour. Stir with a fork until just combined. Let set for 20 minutes.

3. Lightly flour a work surface.Take dough from bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Knead for 10 minutes, adding more flour (in very small amounts) if needed to prevent sticking.

4. Wipe out the bowl you were using and lightly grease it with olive oil. Add dough to bowl and put into cold oven for an hour or until doubled in size.

5. Lightly flour your work surface again. Take the dough out and flatten it into a rectangle that is 8" x 6". Fold the sides over, then fold the other direction (like you're making a little dough packet or envelope). Put the dough back into the bowl, seam side down, and and back into the cold oven for another 45 minutes to an hour or until doubled in size. Remove from oven.

6. Heat the oven to 475 F (remember, remove the dough first!). Place your baking stone on the top rack and a cast iron skillet on the bottom rack.

7. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll them out like thin rope, about 14" long. Place on parchment paper on rimless baking sheets. Pull the parchment paper up about an inch between the loaves, and place rolled up kitchen towels along the outside dough ropes. You want to support the dough on both sides. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise another hour.

8. Remove plastic and towels and flatten the parchment paper. Using a very sharp knife, cut 4" long slits in 4 places at 30 degree angles on the tops of the dough.

9. Place the ice into the cast iron skillet. Slide the parchment paper and dough onto the baking stone. Bake 20-30 minutes or until browned and crispy.

10. Let cool 30 minutes before slicing.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Grilled Smoked Sausage with Mango Salsa

Grilling season is in high swing here. Well, I say 'season', but I pretty much grill year-round and, often, twice a day. Nothing beats the flavor of grilled food.

This salsa is great on a grilled dog or sausage. It also works for dipping chips. I think I might try it on burgers next time for an extra twist.

Sometimes it's hard to find a decent bun for a large sausage, so I just French bread instead.

Makes: 6 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2 cups fresh mango, chopped
  • 1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 6 sausages or hot dogs
  • 6 hot dog or sub buns, split

1. Combine mango, beans, onion, cilantro and lime juice. Season with salt, to taste.

2. Grill hot dogs as desired. Serve on buns topped with the salsa.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Chicken Sauce Piquante

This is a simple, very tasty dish. I found that it was even better leftover the next day, and absolutely fantastic the day after that.

I found the original recipe here. I substituted boneless skinless thighs for whole cut-up chicken.

Makes: 8 servings
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Creole seasoning3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups yellow onions, chopped
  •  3/4 cup green bell peppers, chopped
  • 3/4 cup celery, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 cups plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped (you can sub 2 cans of diced tomatoes)
  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) hot sauce
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or pot over high heat.

2. Season chicken with salt. In a small bowl, combine 3/4 cup of flour and the Creole seasoning.

3. Working in badges, dredge the chicken in the mixture, shake off the excess, and place in pot. Brown on both sides and remove.

4.Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, a 1/2 teaspoon of salt, red pepper flake, cayenne and bay leaves to the pot. Stir and cook until the veggies start to soften.

5. Sprinkle the vegetables with the 3 tablespoons of flour. Mix and stir, cooking until the flour is cooked, 1-2 minutes.

6. Stir in the tomatoes, chicken stock, Worcestershire sauce, and hot sauce. Add the chicken.

7. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 15 minutes.

8. Remove the bay leaves. Serve over rice, garnished with green onion and parsley.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

This is a great, herbaceous dressing from Six in the Suburbs, a really great blog full of great food ideas.

You can find fruit pectin in the canning section of your local grocery store.

Makes: About 1 cup
Prep time: 5 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 2 tablespoons powdered fruit pectin
  • 2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (more or less, to taste)
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

1. Place all ingredients into a pint jar, seal, and shake to combine.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Triple XXX Family Restaurant, Lafayette, Indiana

If I was a student at Purdue University, I'd probably eat at Triple XXX a few times a week. Not because it's gourmet dining. Not because it was on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. And not because of the ambiance (although, it is a cool old diner). The food is fast, and in the case of some of breakfast dishes I saw come out of the kitchen, the portions are big.

This was my second time eating at Triple XXX. I decided that Anita needed to try it out, too, so we stopped there before heading out to a local antique mall, The Leaping Leopard.

So, we both ordered the Bernie Flowers All-Pro burger with all of the toppings. The burgers at Triple XXX are ground on the spot - I saw it with my own eyes, and cooked up on a hot griddle. Topped with onion, lettuce, tomato and Miracle Whip, all on a toasted sesame seed bun. I liked the texture of the burger, and the toppings were fresh. But, the burger wasn't seasoned at all. After adding a bit of salt and pepper, I chowed down on it and enjoyed. Anita felt the same way - the burgers just needed seasoning.

I had onion rings on the side. Good, yummy, onion rings. I could have eaten two sides of onion rings. They were good.

Anita had curly fries on the side. Though good, she felt that there weren't that many on the plate compared to the size of the orders of regular fries we saw around us.

You know, I'd go back to Triple XXX again. I'd like to try their breakfasts. Everyone around us was enjoying big plates of biscuits and gravy and eggs and... well, it all looked good.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Butter-Garlic Oven Fries with Herbs

Ok, I admit it, I watch The Next Food Network Star on TV. I'm not really so much into food competition shows as seeing what foods the contestants crank out. This last year's winner, Jeff Mauro, makes some great sandwiches (and other things, like these fries).

Jeff's show, Sandwich King, highlights some great sandwich places in Chicago. I like his approach to food. I hope he stays around.

These fries are like candy. They will disappear before you know it. I doubled the garlic from the original recipe because, well, we love garlic! You can substitute dried herbs if needed, just cut back on the amounts. We're lucky this year in that our herb garden came out very early so we have plenty of rosemary, oregano, parsley, catnip (not for us!), thyme, and other things right out our back door.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 3 large russet potatoes
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh garlic (I used minced)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (or sub 1 teaspoon dried)
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh chives (or sub 1/2 teaspoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped (or sub 1/4 teaspoon dried)

1. Rinse the potatoes and cut into wedges (you'll get about 12 wedges per potato). Place into a large bowl of cold water and let soak for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 475 F.

3. Drizzle a baking sheet with 2 tablespoons of the oil. Sprinkle the oil with salt and a generous amount of pepper (to taste, but we used a lot of fresh cracked pepper).

4. Place potatoes in the pan, with a cut side down, and drizzle with the remaining oil. Sprinkle with some more salt and pepper.

5. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 10 minutes.

6. Remove the foil and bake another 10 minutes.

7. Flip the potatoes onto the other cut side and bake, still uncovered, until golden brown, 10-15 more minutes.

8. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a small pan. Add in the garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

9. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Pour the garlic butter over the tops, and add the herbs. Mix well and serve.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Firehouse BBQ and Blues, Richmond, Indiana

Anita and I were antiquing in nearby Centerville, Indiana, when we drove the few miles to Richmond to grab lunch at Firehouse BBQ and Blues.

Firehouse BBQ is located downtown Richmond, in an area that seems be revitalizing itself. The building is the longest standing firehouse in Richmond. There's a restaurant side, and a bar side, and a stage area for live music. From their website, it seems they keep a pretty full band schedule. If we're ever in the area in the evening, we'll swing on by for some good BBQ and music... and beer.

The old firehouse walls are exposed.

I had the brisket sandwich with a side of green beans. The sandwich comes pre-sauced, which I'm not usually a fan of, but in this case, it was good. Very good, actually. And the beans? I could've had a few more helpings. They were quite tasty. Anita had the (very good) pulled pork sandwich with a side of the cheesy potatoes, from which I stole several bites. We also ordered a banana pudding dessert, which was really great. So great that I just sort of duplicated it at home tonight. I'll be posting it soon.

You can't go to Firehouse BBQ without also admiring the painting on the south side of the building. It is very well done.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Slow-Cooked Bacon Bourbon Beans

These beans are unbelievable. They take a long time to make, but they are very much worth the effort. The taste is outstanding. I was worried that the bourbon would overpower them (I'm not a big fan of bourbon), but it didn't at all.

These beans get even better the day after they are made. And although I made them in a large Dutch oven, you can also use a crockpot set to low.

The original recipe came from the How Sweet It Is blog, one of my favorites. Pay them a visit and browse around at all the great food!

Makes: 12 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 24 hours
Printable Recipe


  • 1 pound dry navy beans, sorted
  • 10 slices thick-cut bacon
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 cup barbecue sauce (I used Blues Hog Original)
  • 1 cup loosely packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground mustard
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

1. Place beans in a large pot and cover with water. Let soak overnight.

2. Drain beans. Add to a large pot of boiling water. Reduce heat to a simmer and let cook for 40 minutes or until starting to get tender. Drain.

3. Meanwhile, cook the bacon. Drain. Crumble.

4. Reduce heat to low and add the onions to the bacon grease. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring often, making sure to scrape up any bacon bits and let them mix with the onions.

5. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes. Turn off the heat.

6. Add water, bourbon, brown sugar, BBQ sauce, ketchup, dried mustard, vinegar, molasses and Worcestershire sauce to a large crockpot or Dutch oven. Stir well.

7. Add the beans, bacon, and bacon fat and onions to the pot. Cover and cook on low for at least 12 hours, stirring every hour or so.

8. Turn off heat and let beans sit for up to 2 hours until beans get thick.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Garrett's Smokehouse BBQ, Indianapolis, Indiana

I'll eat anything that's been cooked low and slow. As a big fan of BBQ done right, I was happy to finally make it down to Garrett's Smokehouse BBQ, which is not too far from our house.

Garrett's is located in a little strip mall. We showed up on the hottest day of the year (and almost the hottest day ever in Indiana). They have a full BBQ menu - pork, chicken, brisket and even turkey. We decided to get our meal to go.

Anita ordered the pulled pork sandwich with a side of mac-and-cheese. For her sauce, she went with the mild. I had the brisket sandwich with a side of spicy slaw and sweet BBQ sauce. I was already happy since the meats weren't pre-sauced. You just never know when someone might be trying to hide poorer quality smoked meat under a sauce. Not the case at Garrett's, that's for sure.

The meats were smoked perfectly. You know how sometimes you get BBQ and only the first 1/2" or so has a smoke flavor? Garrett's BBQ had a nice (but not overwhelming) smoke flavor throughout. Both sauces were great. Really great, actually. I'm going to pick up some extra sauce next time for my own smoked ribs.

Besides the meats, the sides were also excellent. They were both made from scratch. Anita's mac-and-cheese was smooth and cheesy. My spicy slaw was definitely spicy. I love homemade slaw - there's such a difference between it and store-bought. I'm looking forward to trying their other sides.

We had a good meal from Garrett's. We'll be returning soon! It's great to see local restaurants turn out great food like Garrett's. Support your local chefs and cooks.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bacon Potato Salad

Bacon goes with just about anything. And it definitely makes this salad pop even more.

This is almost like eating a baked potato. In fact, I think the next time I make it I'll add some cubed sharp cheddar cheese.

I kept the skins on the potatoes. I think it adds to the flavor (and makes it even more like a baked potato!). You do have to be careful (gentle) folding the ingredients together or you'll lose most of the skins off of the potatoes.

I found the original recipe here.

Makes: 10-12 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 1 1/2 pounds red potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 1/2 pounds yellow potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon
  • 6 green onions, sliced
  • 2 ribs celery, diced
  • 1 small jar pimento peppers, drained
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Salt and pepper

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add potatoes and boil until tender, 15-20 minutes. Drain well and let cool. Place into a large bowl.

2. Cook the bacon until crispy. Drain and chop.

3. Add the bacon, green onions, celery, and pimentos to the potatoes. Gently fold to combine.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayo and sour cream. Fold into the potato mixture. Season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Grill 2, McCordsville, Indiana

Anita and I headed up to Pendleton, Indiana, to do a little antiquing at the Heritage Antique Mall, a small place but one where you can occasionally find some pretty interesting items. We decided to stop by the Grill 2, on Pendleton Pike, for lunch. I'd heard through an ex-coworker that the food and service there is good.

I ordered the Reuben sandwich with onion rings. The Reuben was good, with plenty of dressing, and served on a really good bread. The corned beef was tender and tasty. The big winner, though, was the onion rings. These hand-breaded jewels were to die for, and you get a big ole serving of them to boot. They were good. Really good. I'll definitely order them again.

Anita ordered the breaded tenderloin with fries. She loved them both.

Service was friendly and prompt. We'll be returning, that's for sure, to try some other items on the menu (though I'm going to have a hard time ordering a side other than the onion rings...).

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Creamy Grilled Corn Salad

My favorite time of year is when fresh corn is available at the Farmer's Market. Nothing beats the taste of fresh-picked corn.

I found this great recipe for an easy corn salad over at the Hungry Couple blog. I grilled fresh corn for this salad, but you could use frozen or canned, too.

Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes
Printable Recipe


  • 4 medium ears fresh corn, husked
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 - 1 lemon, juiced (to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Grill the corn on all sides until lightly charred. Let cool slightly and cut the kernels from the cob.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, milk, lemon juice and onion. Add in corn and the remaining ingredients and fold to combine.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Boogie Burger, Indianapolis, Indiana

Boogie Burger has been on my to-eat list for a long time. We had this week off, so we decided to give it a try. Many of my friends have raved about it.

We both ordered the Boogie Burger with cheese.

Easily the best burger I've had. The seasoning was spot-on perfect. I really should've ordered a double. Or maybe a triple. It was just that good and it was embarrassing how quickly I ate it. I admit it. I woofed it down and moaned in happiness the entire time.

We also shared an order of garlic French fries. The fries are very addicting. They are tossed with garlic and parsley. Yes, you'll have garlic breath (and lips) when you are done, but it is sooooo worth it.

It's going to be difficult for me to return to Boogie Burger and order something different that we did this time. The burger and fries were just so good. This place is definitely going onto our normal eating rotation (and at the top at that).