Archive for the ‘Dining Out’ Category

How my tastes have changed over the years…..

On Friday, one of my oldest and best friends Troy Loyd and I went to lunch together as we do from time to time, and we got on the discussion of  how our tastes have changed so much since our younger days.  When we were growing up when we had zero choice in our diet, it was chicken nuggets, PB&J, french fries, hot dogs, fruit snacks, fruit, and when forced…..some vegetables.  Then in high school and college when we had some choice into what we ate, it seemed like the decision was either taco bell or pizza.  Now as we sat in a Mediteranean Restaurant, we were sitting in front of some really powerful tasting foods.  Olives, Feta Cheese, Hummus, Baba Ganouj, Pita Breads, Shish Kafta and Gyros with Tahini were sitting in front of us.  We laughed as we discussed how there was zero percent chance that we would have touched this stuff in our younger days.  Guess some things do get better with age!  Have your tastes changed over the years?


Fogo De Chao – Part 2

This year for Christmas I decided to give my brothers a different gift this year.  We are all of the age now that we would rather have a great experience than another sweater!  Funny how that happens as we get older.  Anyways, I decided to give them a gift card to Fogo De Chao to see if they would love it as much as I did the first time.  My brothers and I are extremely close and it was really nice to get together last night just the 3 of us like the old days. 

We started the night off with a trip to the world class salad bar.  It honestly has all my favorite things on one wonderful bar.  As you can see in the below picture, I decided on Mixed Greens, Beets, Hearts of Palm, Olives, Asparagus, Roasted Peppers, Assorted Cheeses, Sun Dried Tomatos.  All these foods are so packed with flavor and I love them all!

After nibbling on all these wonderful veggies for a little while, our team of servers brought the side dishes which are all very different and all wonderul as well.  They brought us Plantanes, Grilled Polenta Cakes, and Garlic Mashed Potatos.  (My favorite are the Polenta Cakes)


In the days leading up to our dinner experience, we all decided that it would be fun to rank our favorite meat choices from 1 -10.  With so many choices it would be a tough task, but we were up for the challenge.  We turned our cards to green and on came the meat!

We decided on ten different meats to rank and the following rankings were recorded:

John’s Rankings:

#1  Top Sirloin (House Special), #2  Filet Mignon, #3  Garlic Beef, #4  Prime Rib, #5  Parmesan Pork, #6 Sausage, #7  Flank Steak, #8  Lamb, #9  Ribs, #10  Chicken 

Brian’s Rankings:

#1  Garlic Beef, #2  Prime Rib, #3  Top Sirloin, #4  Filet Mignon,  #5  Parmesan Pork, #6  Flank Steak, #7  Sausage,  #8  Chicken, #9  Lamb, #10  Ribs

Kevin’s Rankings

#1  Garlic Beef, #2  Filet Mignon, #3  Top Sirloin, #4  Prime Rib, #5  Parmesan Pork, #6  Flank Steak, #7  Sausage, #8  Chicken, #9  Lamb, #10  Ribs

We all agreed as we waddled out of Fogo De Chao that it was the perfect restaurant for us and that we would be coming back as often as we could afford to enjoy great food and coversation with each other. 

One Cooks Hidden Obsession – Unveiled…

Well, Johnny is the best cook I know.  I am a simple food person, I could happily subside on baked chicken and white rice for the rest of my life – but not because I don’t LIKE good food, I just don’t have a lot of (ok, I don’t have ANY) food creativity.

So each morning, when Johnny sends me the “What should we have for dinner?”  email – I always provide some variation on chicken and white rice (either that or I say “Um, I don’t know, ham sandwiches?”).

Well, as his blogging grows, I felt that I should share with the world his one true love – Hot Box Pizza.  Sure, he loves to take simple pantry ingredients and mix it up into a fabulous concoction – but his heart belongs with Hot Box Pizza.  I believe his current HBP “poison” is the thin crust option topped with sausage, pepperoni, green peppers and a whole lotta other random stuff (ME? I would order extra cheese and call it a day).

To prove my point, I would like to provide photographic evidence.  With each “Big 10” order, they send drinks.  I just was grabbing a regular glass from the cabinet, and counted 20 Hot Box Pizza cups (this does not count what is in the dishwasher, his car, his office…).

Orange, green, purple, blue - we have cups in every color...

My favorite part? When his latest order arrived, he said: “Oh yellow cups, they have a new color for us to collect…”

Sarah, happily married to ReadyToDine

Where is the best BBQ located?

My favorite food is BBQ.  This is no secret to my friends and family.  I love everything about it.  Combining fire, Meat and Spices has proven to be my kryptonite.  I love making it at home, but my favorite thing is eating at different restaurants in different regions of the United States to see all the different ways it can be prepared.  I have had wet BBQ, dry BBQ, sweet BBQ, spicy BBQ and all varieties in between.  It seems like BBQ is served one of two ways.  It is usually served either wet or dry and served with either Vinegar based or Tomato based BBQ sauce.  I enjoy both wet and dry in different ways and enjoy both Vinegar and Tomato based sauces.  It just depends on my mood.  (I told you I love it all!)  One thing I do know for sure is that I love trying all the different kinds of BBQ and I love going to new BBQ places wherever I am traveling to.

Some of my favorite BBQ staples are BBQ Brisket, Pulled Pork, Baby Back Ribs, Smoked Chicken, Smoked Sausage.  Wherever I go I like to try a combo platter of all the Meats, with BBQ beans, Fries, and Slaw to compliment.

From my travels, I have been fortunate enough to have sampled the best BBQ from Indiana, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Texas.

As a central Indiana guy, my favorite local places are are GT Souths Rib House in Indianapolis and Big Hoffas BBQ in Westfield.  My favorite BBQ from the road I must say was from Arkansas and Texas.  I tried several spots in both states and they were all fabulous.  They definitely know how to do it right down South!

Do you have a favorite type of BBQ?  or Favorite BBQ restaurant?  If so, please share.  I want to try them all!  Please share your favorite dishes as well!

Fogo De Chao

There are certain days in every mans life that they do not look forward to, and turning 30 is one of those days.  Well that day happened for me this Friday.  My wife, Sarah, knew she had to do something to lift my spirits and she knew the one thing that would do that would be a great meal.   So she had her wonderful mother Barbara and step dad Karl come over and take our son for the night so that we could enjoy a night out to celebrate my birthday.  So off we went to a still unknown (by me) destination.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  As soon as I saw where we were going (Fogo De Chao in downtown Indy), I lit up with happiness – I was like a kid in a candy store.  As I walked into the place, I saw men walking around with huge skewers of Beef, Pork, Chicken, Sausage……..It was like this place was made just for me.

You start off your meal with a trip to the Salad Bar, which happens to be the best Salad Bar I have ever been to.  It was filled with so many tasty treats including; Marinated Peppers, Hearts of Palm, Asparagus, Artichokes, Olives, Smoked Salmon, as well as fine Cheeses and Antipasto meats- and all of it is packed with flavor.

Then they issued us our meat card.  If you have your card on red, the servers do not bother you.  If you turn your card over to green, the meat express pulls in and you are offered some of the finest meats I have ever eaten.  We ate everything from Filet Mignon, Top Sirloin, Prime Rib, Pork Tenderloin, Chicken, Sausage….and the list goes on and on.  The quality is what I could not believe.  You tell the servers exactly how you want the meat cooked, and they serve you as much as you would like of all of these fine cooked meats.  This is all served with Garlic Mashed Potatos, grilled Polenta Cakes, and sweet Plantanes.

I was in my heaven.  After stuffing myself to the max (you know we also had dessert- a papaya ice cream for me, hot molten chocolate cake for Sarah), it was time to leave and my wife told me that I had a smile on my face that she had never seen.  I was so happy and content because I just had the best dining experience of my life.  I am just sad it took me 30 years and 1 day to find this place.  I am so glad that I have a wife who knows me so well and I will be going back as many times as I can.  If you ever have the chance to experience Fogo De Chao, I highly recommend going………just don’t forget to call and invite me!

A Visit to the Fishers Farm Market

I have high jacked my husbands blog for the day (that is what he gets for letting me set everything up, I know the username and password)!

But I have taken over the blog to chat about our visit to the Fishers Farmers Market this past Saturday.  Johnny and I have far different experiences at Farm Markets – he searches high and low for the best produce, squeezes tomatoes, asks the proper questions about blueberry season, looks for spots on apples, and stands in long lines for the sweetest, tastiest corn in history.  I watch Christopher dance to the live music and pet puppies, I take pictures of flowers and visit the guy selling chocolate (I also happened to find a lady selling cute baby girl headbands – I left her booth with two new things for Baby Girl Buckner).

As Johnny mentioned before, he was cooking a pre-Thanksgiving dinner for me (it turned out so delicious), and he had to find the proper ingredients for an optimum taste experience.  While he went on his search, I took photos:

Pretty pink flowers... I ended up buying the most gorgeous mums for $5!

Don't these colorful pumpkins just scream "FALL is here!"?

Sweet, crisp apples - I am actually eating one as I type...

Christopher's favorite thing about the farm market? PEACHES.

Peppers & onions & cucumbers - Oh my! I think a few of these found their way into the turkey dinner, it was goooood.

If you see this corn truck - hand over all of your money - you won't regret it!

Sadly, the Fishers Market only goes for one more week.  The good news?  You can visit the Carmel Market through Saturday, October 2nd or the Noblesville Market through Saturday, October 30!

Sarah, happily gaining one pound at a time through Johnny’s experimental cooking.

Pizza King

When I think of great memories as an adolescent growing up, a lot of those great memories involve Pizza King Pizza.  Whether it was going for breadsticks after a high school basketball game, eating Pizza after a big high school or college baseball win, ordering in on a Friday night with my wonderful family, or having a BBQ pizza delivered on a Saturday night with my friends.  Pizza King was always the staple for the best Pizza around.  I have eaten alot of pizza, from a lot of places, and Pizza King still ranks at the top of the list.

After college, I moved to Fishers, IN where unfortunately Pizza King is not available.  Well last night, I really was craving my favorite Pizza, so I decided to test my salesman skills.  It turns out that I still have it.  Well, actually it just turns out that I dont mind giving a guy a huge tip to deliver my favorite Pizza way out of their delivery area!

My favorite Pizza from Pizza King is the Royal Feast.  It has Pepperoni, Sausage, Red and Green Peppers, Onions, Mushrooms and extra cheese.  I get half BBQ Sauce, and half Pizza Sauce, then of course….extra cheese!  Along with this, you must also order their homemade Ranch dip, and Cheese dip for dipping your crust into.

In addition to their fantastic Pizza, they also offer pastas, salads, subs, calzones, and the best breadsticks you will ever eat.  If you ever get the chance to eat at this great establishment, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.  It is the best!