Lafayette, IN and road chow across the state
I'm moving back to Lafayette. What is good? Is anything new? I was so broke when I lived there a year ago that mostly all that I ate was scraps of bread from Pocket Full of Rye. I do kinda miss digging through the bag to find the pieces of veggie bread though.
Also, where can I get decent groceries? I have bread under control, and the farmer's market will be open for three more months, but where can I find decent meat? I think D&R is the only local grocery with a butcher, and I was not impressed. I'd be willing to travel to a nearby town. I also need good cheese.
I'd be regularly traveling to Michigan City and Bloomington. I know what is good in those two cities, but is there anything between? I take 43 to 421 to Michigan City, and 231 to 46 to Bloomington. I'll probably take 65 to 37 to Bloomington sometimes, but that is an entirely new thread.
I just had the buffet lunch at "Bombay"--next to "Potbelly Sandwiches" and kitty-corner to Starbucks on/in the levee. Speaking as someone who has eaten many lunches at Indian restaurants all the way to India, this one was really top notch. The naan (bread) wasn't put out for some reason but brought out to tables on request and looked as if reheated in a pan (seared in spots, coated with ghee...so does that make it not a naan but a kulcha?) but was soft inside/crispy outside and very good in its own way, Nice environment and service too. Stay away, on the other hand, from another Indian place called "Khana," and I mean at all costs. This place has to be a front for something other than cooking. All the buffet items appeared and tasted as if cooked from pre-made frozen or canned foods, the paneer (cheese) and the potato paties, for example. On top of that, the place is the most extreme practitioner to have practiced on me the notorious dirty trick of the all-you-can-eat business--salting the food so much you fill up on the gallons of water you feel compelled to drink along with it, if you can even palate the food at all. Tables even have as their centerpiece a giant pitcher of water. As I paid my tab, the cashier said something like "I trust you enjoyed your meal" and I replied that I was very disappointed, citing the salt and the pre-made ingredients. She categorically denied that anything was premade but said she would pass on to the chefs my comment about the salt, which she said was the first she'd heard. She said this totally straight-faced and with concern. So these people are hard-boiled. Summuglers? Slavers? Or just seasoned restaurantuers?
We had a pretty good lunch at Taj Mahal, in a strip mall in Lafayette right off I-65. The rogan josh didn't taste much like rogan josh, but it tasted pretty good. In general, the vegetarian dishes were better than the meat. Not a priority stop, but a perfectly good place to get lunch if you don't want to go too far off the highway and don't want Subway.
On the 231 to 46 route to Bloomington unless you can find something in Crawfordsville you are pretty much SOL. Some people like the Hilltop in Spencer but the one time my local board of Realtors (Bloomington) had our monthly meeting and luncheon there is was pretty poor. Instant mashed potatoes and canned veg.
We have taken that route only once. 65 to 37 is not much better between Lafayette and Bloomington. We have stopped in a diner in Lafayette for lunch on occasion on our way to Chicago,I think it was called Nirvana and they had a really good patty melt and a good Greek omelette when we stopped for breakfast on the way home from Chicago.
Unfortunately, there are no new big grocery stores in Lafayette, and now there are even less choices now that Smitty's on Northwestern has closed. I don't know what your definition of 'decent' is, so I can't help you there. I had heard rumors that Trader Joes was looking at locations in the Laf/WL area, but that never panned out, unfortunately...I still have to go to Indianpolis to get really good cheese (and I"m from Wisconsin!). AS for decent meat, the best in town *is* D&R. Again, you'll need to go to Indy for anything higher quality.
As for ethnic markets, there's a european market on the corner of Yeager and 52 in WL called Spacibos (which I haven't been to yet), and there's always Hana Market and Asia Market. There's also a new Phillipino/thai market behind the D&R which has take-put philipino food.
As for restaurants that are new, there's been a lot of new construction near campus and several new restaurants, including Softa (turkish), Bombay (INdian, which was in LAfayette but moved back near campus), Blue Nile (middle eastern), Basil Thai, Puccini's smiling teeth (the best pizza in this sad cardboard-like-pizza wasteland called Indiana), Dick's Bodacious BBQ (texas-style), a new restaurant in the old Smitty's on the levee owned by the guy who used to own Utopia, Scotty's Brewpub, Brother's pub, and coming in the next few months a Chipotle, an Irish pub, and a new Korean/Japanese place.
Watch out going through town, the corner of HWY 26 and Creasy is a mess, they're building a new mall on the corner in front of Caterpillar which used to be grass and cornfields. They're putting in a TGI Friday's and a Chuck E Cheese. I swear, you can't spit in this town without hitting a chain restaurant!! OH yes, in LAfayette on HWY 38 by the Pier 1 there's also another Thai restaurant which is pretty good, and there's a old folksey-style texas eatery on 18th and 350 South which has great catfish.
IN addition to the Downtown Farmer's market, there's also a West LAfayette farmer's market on Wed. afternoons (on Salisbury just North of 52). If I think of any more new places I"ll post again!
i went to sofra with my mother, neither of us were impressed. it seemed to be mismanaged, which in my experience as a server means very bad things. The temp was kinda off on the food and it didn't seem so fresh.
I had a yellow curry at Basil Thai... it was tasty. No complaints. The service was good, despite how stoned the waitress was.
Puccini's pizza was ok. I thought it was similar to mad mushroom, but better quality. My pizza taste of more of the midwest pizza type... toppings out to the edge, thin, cut in squares.
I haven't gotten a chance to check out the local stores much. Its been poached chicken, oatmeal, peanut butter sandwiches, and random veg from the farmer's market on with this limited time/budget.