Restaurant: W.G. Grinders
Address: 33 North 9th Street, Columbia MO
Check Constraints: Short-order
- Spicy Chicken Grinder ($6.50)
- Tomato Basil Soup Combo ($2.75)
The sandwiches are good, though. Like most sandwich shops at this point, the grinders are made as you order, and toasted. The spicy chicken was "spicy" in the sense that it had spices on it, but definitely not "spicy" in the capsaicin sense. Also, I wish I could convince sandwich shops to avoid using a leafier lettuce on hot subs, since those have a tendency to wilt and generally clutter the sandwich with an unpleasing texture. That said, it was a pretty darn decent lunch. Good bread, acceptable chicken, and a good melding of flavors. The soup I could have done without, as it tasted like someone had taken Campbell's tomato soup and dumped fresh basil into it, but that's what I get for trying to avoid fried stuff.
Restaurant: Exotic Thai
Address: 1295 S. 3rd St,Terre Haute, IN
Check Constraints: Unknown.
- Thai Rolls ($3.95)
- Kang-Dang (red curry) ($7.95)
The Thai Rolls here are thin eggrolls, pretty much like a fried spring roll. They're delicious and served with a very good sauce, which has a sweetness to it that matches very well with the crunchy goodness of the rolls. The insides are filled with cabbage, other vegetables, and pork, pretty much like any other eggroll you might encounter. The curry can, like a lot of other thai places, be customized to your heat level - I went with a "four", a raise of two above what they claim the curry's at originally, and it was good. I could have gone hotter, but that raises the risk of gastrointestinal distress, and that's not good for a road trip. The curry itself is fairly simple - peppers and other assorted vegetables, chicken (or tofu), in a red curry sauce with a very heavy taste of coconut milk and a lot of other delicious spices. It's served with steamed rice, which works well as a mix-in if you decide you've ordered the curry too hot for you.
Everything they do here is made with fresh ingredients, and I've eaten around the menu enough to know it's pretty much all delicious. If you think Terre Haute couldn't possibly have good ethnic food, this place alone proves you wrong.
Restaurant: Scotty's Brewhouse
Address: 3905 E. 96th St, Indianapolis, IN
Genres: burgers, american
Check Constraints: Unknown.
- Diet Coke ($2.25)
- 7 Tidals Buffalo Chicken Dip ($8.75)
- Atomic Mo'Fo' Burger ($8.75)
Having never had chicken in a dip form before, the 7 Tidals dip intrigued. It was a combination of chicken, buffalo sauce, and then cheddar, blue, and cream cheeses. It had the perfect dip consistency, very firm and solid on the corn chips it was served with, and it tasted fantastic. The chicken was pulled, and there were large chunks of it in the dip. It was, at heart, the congealed essence of a buffalo chicken sandwich smothered in cheese. Without that pesky bun. It's definitely pricy, but it was well worth it.
The burger was less gratifying. It may have just been eclipsed by the dip, but I found it to be about on a par with an "upscale" burger chain - falling somewhere over Fuddruckers and somewhere under a hand-made sirloin patty grilled over hickory wood. It came with jalapenos and what is supposedly their spiciest sauce, and it was tasty enough, but didn't feel like anything special, especially when considering what I paid for it. It came with waffle fries, which merely served as another vehicle for the dip.
Given the expanse of the menu, I'm certainly willing to bet there could be hidden gems there. It may be worth another try, though I imagine when I'm back in Indy I'll have other restaurants to visit. I should also mention Hardy graciously picked up the tab, and I was so tired I actually let him do it. This means I probably have to bathe his cat (Badger, the World's Angriest Cat) sometime.
Address: Multiple, check site
Check Constraints: Short order.
- Chili-Cheese Crawfish Etouffee ($5.50)
- Extra Bread ($0.50)
Let me say this with absolute and utter clarity. Two days old and barely warm from the shitty hotel microwave, this was still the best Cajun food I have had in my entire life. No, I've not been down to the actual source of the style yet, and I'm certain if you've visited Louisiana you know someplace down there that's better. That's awesome (and tell me where it is, I would like to go someday). But Yats is located in Indiana, and if you are ever going through Indy (or by their new location in West Lafayette) you need - you are required, you have a moral imperitive - to eat there. The menu at each location changes daily, but the pricing runs as follows: half orders are $4.50, full orders are $5.50, and getting half and half of two things will run you $6.50. Extra bread? 50 cents. And you will want extra bread. It's coated with a spiced butter that is absolutely fantastic, and there is actually no better tool for eating the meal itself than the bread.
The dish I had, the Chili-Cheese Crawfish etouffee, is almost indescribably delicious. All the dishes at Yats blend together into a solid flavor - this one has the barest hint of cheese, some good chili flavor to it, and a solid backbone of crawfish (it could be actual crawfish or just shrimp, it's hard to say). It's served on rice, like most of their dishes, and it is magnificent.
But it doesn't matter what you get. I will almost guarantee that if you like the ingredients listed in the name of the dish, you will enjoy the best damn cajun/creole food you can get outside of the actual state of Louisiana. My only regret that there is not one in Omaha.
So that was the trip, or at least the one my stomach made. Hopefully we'll get to go again next year, and we can experience some new places along the way.