Bazbeaux Pizza (Broad Ripple)

Some 20 varieties of gourmet pizza, from standard to names like Chilope and Tchoupitoulas. Delivery and carryout available. New building may be slightly less charismatic than the old site, but it’s got to be four times the size. The pizza is just as fantastic and now you can enjoy rooftop dining! Our standard order is the 12” Garden pizza on wheat with side salads and creamy basil dressing. It’s so good that even after trying lots of their more unusual offerings we seemingly always return to the Garden. Who can turn down avocados, artichokes, ricotta and onions? We’ve found that the half-carafes of wine are quite a bargain, as well. Just don’t drink and drive, even if you do only live a few blocks away…

Three Sisters Cafe

Beloved by the Birkenstock crowd. Lots of health-conscious choices on the long menu. Many vegetarian and vegan sandwiches and entrees as well. The Korean selections are definitely worth trying, specifically the bi-bim-bap, which I have the hardest time selecting against. Emily loves the berry cobbler. If you’re dining in the wintertime, order some hot tea, because the quaint olde house can be a bit drafty. Service is very friendly, but can be a bit too leisurely paced if you aren’t in the right frame of mind. The three sisters are beans, corn, and squash, if you were wondering.

Sunday brunch is great if you get there early enough to avoid the long wait, and the pancakes are excellent, as are any of the egg dishes (and the accompanying potatoes).

I would also reccomend any of the homemade soups or salads (the one with cherries and brie and walnuts is the best possible way to make a salad more fattening), and if you’re ordering a side or house salad, go for the creamy seven herb dressing.

Midtown Grill

This is where the official first date took place. All I remember was some fancy martini and the adorable man sitting across from me, but I know the food was enjoyable, attractive, and the beginning of a beautiful thing.

Update 1/2005:
We took some friends here as an official “Last Night Out Before the Baby is Born”, and we enjoyed it once again. Fairly quiet for a Saturday night, we walked right in and were seated. Our waitress was a sweetheart, but came across with a “try me” attitude when asked what beers they have. The boys went easy on her.

Tomato basil soup was delicious, and the salad with cherries, walnuts, and greens was tasty as well.

Chris went for the linguine with meatballs. A mixture of veal and beef made the meatballs “spongy” in Chris’s opinion, but he was a Clean Plate Club member that night, so it wasn’t all bad.

My chicken roulade with spinach and roasted red peppers was delicious, and they managed to even make sauteed red cabbage taste good (secret ingredient not commonly used at our house: butter).

Sara and Rob both ordered the chipotle butter pasta and even though they went home with enough food for three more dinners, they both seemed to enjoy it.

All in all, a decent evening. We watched several people order something that required open flames, and more than once the waitress almost lost her eyebrows, but we enjoyed the meal (although a little pricey), the friends, and the food.

Cath, Inc

Coffee And Tea House. Local art for sale, and a rocking horse for adults. Closes too early, but we make an effort to get there to pick up espresso. The guy who is always working on Alice in Wonderland arts and crafts is pretty nice, too.

Update: Horrors! Cath has closed its Broad Ripple location as of late October 2004. Alas, you can still get your caffeine fix across the intersection at Cornerstone. Fortunately, the City Market location remains open for business.

Mama Carolla’s Old Italian Restaurant

A family-owned neighborhood favorite. Try riding past this place (located right at the Monon and 54th) around dinnertime…good luck. Everything is fresh, tasty, and romantic. A real Italian experience.

The waitstaff has always been friendly (apparently even more so if you’re a smarmy businessman and your waitress is a young pretty thing) and attentive. Ask to sit outside if you go in the summertime…the patio is beautiful.

The carbonara is excellent, and Chris really enjoyed his veal parmesan, even if Emily did give him a hard time about ordering veal.

A half bottle of wine makes for a relaxing and hilarious walk home if you live in the neighborhood, and although we;ve had better tiramisu, it’s always a delightful way to end a romantic Italian meal.

Thai Cafe

Light and tasty lunches and dinners. Bizarre neon and foam brain thing on the ceiling. You can order stuff “Thai Hot” if you want, but you really have to want it; I think it costs a buck extra. The good waiter (the guy who looks like David Spade) seems to be gone, though, and he did a lot to make the dining experience pleasant. We still think it’s a good place to eat, and you run into surprising people sometimes.

The padd thai is always good, and the hot and sour appetizer soup has always been tasty.

Corner Wine Bar

One of the most extensive wine lists in the city (may we suggest the Fetzer Gewürztraminer #251, which is a surprisingly good wine for the price, in our opinion), some of the best food (Bistro Style Chicken, carrot souffle) and some of the best dessert (bête noir and a glass of port). Sit outside on a nice evening, and you’ll enjoy yourself. We promise. The only reason why we haven’t been back recently is that the menu still does not appear to have changed.

Update January 2005: We went back a few weeks ago, and no menu changes apparent. I tried the ginger pork chops, though, and they were tender and juicy. The horseradish mashed potatoes were delicious, and the carrot souffle…why it’s not on the dessert menu is beyond me. Chris had some average pasta, nothing special. The bread could have been warmed up a little bit, and is it me, or is 3 ounces a little small for a glass of wine? We didn’t particular jive well with the waiter, and that’s usually our litmus as to whether we’ll order dessert, so this time we headed out after the meal. To sum up, it was OK, but not as great as we remembered it. A few menu changes and a little perkiness would do them good.

Update February 2005: We received notice from the owner that a new menu is on the way. We’re looking forward to going back and testing it out, and hopefully a more favorable review is on the way.

Plump’s Last Shot

Typical pub food. The salad was brown, and the blackened fish sandwich almost burned my face off, it was so over-flavorful. Lots of neon signs, very few decent menu options unless you’re a fan of porches and domestic beer. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but we think there are better choices in the neighborhood if you’re looking for a dinner.
One redeeming quality, however, is that if you’re out for a stroll with your pooch along the Monon, they allow dogs on the porch. That service isn’t quite enough to merit an higher rating, but it’s nice that there are some canine-friendly establishments in the neighborhood (besides the Three Dog Bakery up the street). Are you happy now, Paul?

Taste Cafe and Marketplace

A new little eatery at the growing-in-popularity corner of 52nd and College, we’ve visited twice for Sunday brunch and have been charmed both times. The baked goods that greet you when you walk in the door are reason enough to eat there, and if you make it past the alluring display of baked carbs, more large dishes of fresh potato, pasta, and fruit salads are chilled and just waiting for you to take them home.

The omelettes come with a cheddar cheese biscuit and potatoes (flavored with fennel and other delightful spices). Chris’s CB&G (cheddar biscuits and gravy) were heavenly, and the fresh-squeezed orange juice is full of pulp…just the way we like it.

The fruit and granola parfait is exactly how you’d expect it to be: sweet, fresh fruit, crunchy, homemade granola, and fresh yogurt. The other sampling was a peanut-butter-and chocolate muffin; need I say more?

Updates: Apparently, lunchtime food is just as good as breakfast food! Hooray! I had (for whatever reason) a hankering for the beet salad, which was delicious, even for beets. A BLT sandwhich had the perfect kind of bacon: thick and crispy, but not too crispy. Plus, we witnessed two grown men fighting over the last chocolate chip cookie. I guess that would be the one drawback to Taste: if you get there too late, your favorite food could already be 86d…

The Jazz Kitchen

Known for lots of live music, this local establishment is a nightclub and a restaurant. Recalling my first and only visit a couple of years ago, I remember fun jazz, pretty good ceviche, and lots of smoke. Since the time of our visit, The Jazz Kitchen has added a lovely patio and a corral to hide the lineup of dumpsters, both of which tremendously clean up the appearance of one of our favorite corners in town, 54th and College. The Jazz Kitchen also now caters to those patrons who prefer smoke-free nights; call or check the schedule on their website for your options. These recent changes warrant the venue a second look. 21 and over only.