Fionn McCool’s

We didn’t feel like cooking and we wanted something casual (that seems to be the trend these days) so we decided to try one of the newer places that’s gone in along 116th St in Fishers over the past year. Christopher had a hankering for a beer, and I figured I could find something that wasn’t breaded or wrapped in a pork product, so we gave it a shot.

I was really pleased… Our waitress was very friendly and seemed willing to accommodate us, especially since David was in tow (of course).

Though we normally skip appetizers, the bacon-wrapped bananas sounded intriguing, and after the first bite, I added yet one more way I can tolerate bananas… wrapped in a pork product, it seems. The bites were served with an interesting fruit salsa and mango chutney. It’s certainly not your typical Irish pub fare, but it was worth it.

I opted for a salad for dinner (after the appetizers, it was a good thing) and ordered the spinach salad, sans red onion. The spinach was fresh and since I got dressing on the side, it wasn’t too overwhelming. Everything else (the egg, mushrooms, and bacon, called mashers) were just what I had been in the mood for, apparently.

I also had a cup of the vegetable beef soup, and while it was very good, what was even better ended up being the whole wheat Irish soda bread. I’ve made soda bread before, but this was nutty and delicious, and I loved it. Go figure.

Christopher went for the red pepper penne with chicken. He was assuming it was going to be spicy and was a little disappointed to find that it was more sweet than anything, but it was good enough. I’m sure he’ll order something diferent next time (Shepard’s pie, anyone), and I’m sure there will be a next time.

While we walked right in and sat down (it was a Thursday evening), I’ve heard that it gets packed on weekends. A good lineup of live musicians (usually Celtic music) is scheduled for Saturdays, and there are several drink specials during happy hour. Get off work, meet some friends, and enjoy. My only complaint was that there was smoking permitted (just in the bar) that wafted over to our table. Sigh. If only everywhere could be smoke-free…

Deano’s Vino

Alas, I had such high hopes and expectations for Deano’s Vino. We’d purchased wine, cheese, chocolate, and ground buffalo from them when it was still just a wine shop, and frequent newsletters and event postings made me eager to finally sample the food.

I was so totally disappointed, it just breaks my heart to give them one star, but I call it as I see it. However, if a simple lunch is going to take two hours (30 minutes to get my order taken, and the dining room was not busy at all), I should be able to enjoy it. I did not.

I ordered the bison burger, expecting something gourmet (or the least bit fancy). The patty was obviously mass-produced (it had the straight edges indicative of being flash-frozen and separated from other patties by a square of wax paper) and overcooked. And if Deano’s version of “served open-faced on Texas toast” means “grease soaking through half of a split-open Wonderbread hot dog bun”, then so be it, because that’s how it arrived. The pasta salad that accompanied the sad burger was nothing more than penne, chopped purple cabbage, and some flavorless olive oil. All for the bargain price of $8. I would have been more satisfied had I gone to Burger King, to be quite honest.

My dining companions were equally underwhelmed, I think, and we all spent the last 45 minutes of the meal looking nervously at our watches, knowing that we were all missing meetings and wasting time. Not only did the waiter (who was a little too nice) bring one friend the wrong order, he also gave $21 in change after another friend paid with a $20. That was the highlight of the meal.

Other reviews have made mention of the delicious food, but i’m not sure I’m willing to risk the time and the money to come back and give something else a try. So disappointing.

Sky City Cafe

Located inside the Eiteljorg Museum, I’d heard good things about this surprising museum restaurant.

I wanted something on the light side, so even though the Monday soup selection of chicken corn chowder sounded excellent (and the quesadilla and soups offerings change daily), I opted for the potato and white onion with epazote and red chile. It was a bit zesty, but not heavy at all… just what I was looking for. The accompanying cornbread was tasty, too (but then, I’m a sucker for corn and for bread, so what better combination?)

Again on the lighter side, I chose the Painted Desert Roasted Red Pepper salad, and was not expecting the salad to be as enormous as it was. I had asked them to go easy on the Monterey Jack cheese (since I’ve resigned myself back to Weight Watchers) and they obliged. The red pepper vineagrette dressing was not overwhelming, nor was there too much of it, and the lettuce was crisp and green (no iceberg here!).

This is definetly a cut above your average museum cafe. The menu begs a repeat visit, since it changes daily. The desserts on display would be worht the return trip alone! The atmosphere was bright and clean, the staff was friendly, and the food was flavorful, creative, and unique. Lucky for me it’s just a short walk across the river!

Mi Tierra

After seeing a write-up about this new bakery and restaurant in the Fishers local paper, we decided that refritos and something wrapped in a tortilla was in our future. Though there is an abundance of Mexican restaurants in Fishers, Mi Tierra takes it a step beyond and offers other central American (particularly Guatemalan) dishes.

Because they opened quite recently and the main dining room is still under contruction, we only got to order from an abbreviated menu. Both of us enjoyed our pupusas revueltas de chicarron, frijoles y queso (a masa-type pancake stuffed with pork, cheese, and beans). We also enjoyed broiled yucca root and fried pork meat, though the pork was very fatty and I ended up leaving half of it on my plate.

Chris also ordered a tamale guatemalteco (stuffed with pork and steamed in a plantain leaf), which ended up being the most flavorful of all our food. Guatemalan food by nature, apparently, is not nearly as spicy as the Tex-Mex we’re acustomed to, so it took some reminding that it’s not all going to taste like hot sauce.

Although it was a bit on the bland side (the rice and beans were pretty dull, too, and the leftovers will definitely get a sprinkling of chipotle), the food was good, quality homemade food. Plus, it was very inexpensive and you can order almost anything a la carte.

The owner assured us that the soon-to-be-expanded menu (along with the soon-to-be-expanded dining room) would boast many more features, including seafood. They also would begin serving breakfast, much to the luck of the thousands of people who pass by the bustling intersection of 116th and I‑69.

In addition to breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Mi Tierra also serves up freshly-baked breads and baked goods…one of the only shops in town to do so. Plus, everything in the bakery case is $.65! You simply cannot do better than that!

The warm and friendly service (I got to practice my Spanish) and the promise of a wider variety of foods is enough to convince us to give them another try in a few weeks. If you’re looking for something a bit beyond your typical Mexican fare, here’s your place.