Three Days in Indy, Three Sandwiches

I had a couple of meals planned for my trip to Indianapolis.  I did some research ahead of time as well as emailed a couple of locals.  It was by total accident that I discovered Shapiro’s Deli.  A colleague of mine and I had taken a grounds tour of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and had to get back to our hotel to set up for our convention.  Not leaving us much time, I “yelped” sandwiches so we could get something quick for take away.    Not expecting much, I was pretty amazed when I arrived.  There was a cafeteria on one side and the deli take out on the other.   It was a kosher deli and they made their own rye bread.  I even got excited when I saw they carried Dr. Brown’s sodas, which are also kosher.

I ordered the salami sandwich on their famous rye bread.  I have to say that their sandwiches hold about 3 inches of meat.  It had me at bread.  I have never cared too much about rye bread, but this one was off the charts.  The salami was okay, but they sure were generous.  For folks that like a lot of meat, you’ll like Shapiro’s!  My colleague who lives and works in Southern California had the chicken salad sandwich and couldn’t stop raving about it. 

The next day, I couldn’t help but go back and pick up a chicken salad sandwich on rye.  My colleague was right.  This was so tasty.  It had cubes of white meat chicken mixed with celery, walnuts, and plump red grapes that were blended with mayonnaise.  For me, it was a bit too much mayonnaise, but nonetheless yummy. 

I was leaving Indianapolis at noon the next day.  That morning, dreading the long flight back to Cali, I knew Shapiro’s could make it better.  This time I ordered the roasted turkey sandwich to go.  The woman sitting next to me on the airplane, engulfed her Subway sandwich before we even took off.  I waited until we reached 10,000 feet before I carefully unwrapped my Shapiro’s sandwich and slowly consumed it.  It was fantastic.

The rye bread was so good that I even bought two loaves to take home and share with family.  In addition, Shapiro’s has awesome black and white cookies.  It was a new item on their menu.  They were very good and I liked the size, about 4 inches in diameter.  Normally, they are about 6 inches and much more dense.

Three sandwiches in three days at the same deli is a record for me and quite unusual.   It’s not all that Indiana has to offer.  I also had decent pizza at Pizzology in the town of Carmel in Indiana and enjoyed hanging out at the basement of Goose the Market and meeting friendly people including Chef Chris Elie.  I think I know why I kept going back to Shapiro’s.  Besides Saul’s Restaurant and Deli in Berkeley, I can’t think of any good New York Style Deli’s in the Bay Area.

Kwik Way Revival

Tonight is the first time I stood in line at Kwik Way in Oakland’s Lakeshore District.  It took me 40 years to eat here.  This retro fast food burger joint first opened in the 1950’s.  Restaurateur Gary Rizzo is behind this revival and has made a number of changes.  They still have burgers, fries, and shakes, but you can also find things like barbecue pork sandwich, pizzas, and cobb salad.  They did however lose the drive through and added outdoor seating.

The lights were on at the Kwik Way, so my friend and I decided to stop by since it was pretty late with few options for late night eating.  Since I couldn’t have the beef, I went for the veggie burger.  My friend ordered the regular burger with cheddar cheese.  We shared an order of fries and onion rings.  I couldn’t resist ordering the coffee milk shake.

I am not an expert on veggie burgers.  I’ve eaten a handful in my lifetime.  After biting into the patty, I found it to be very smooth like mashed potatoes, and I’m not saying it in a good way.  It tasted like a Boca Burger.  I added some of their homemade spicy ketchup to give it a little more flavor.  My friend thought her burger was very tasty, not like a fast food burger at all.

The onion rings were flavorful and crispy, but fell apart as I bit into them.  I really enjoyed the french fries as their version has parsley flakes.  And that homemade spicy ketchup makes it even better.

The coffee shake was the winner for me.  I was watching the guy making it and he loaded it with a lot of ice cream.

Having opened less than 48 hours (I think), I think Kwik Way is testing the waters.  If they are open to feedback, please add a turkey burger.  It makes more sense than pizza or a pork sandwich.

I do think it is cool that Kwik Way has reopened.  I hated walking by and seeing cobwebs and graffiti.  It’s good for the City of Oakland and it’s good for late night eaters.  Maybe someday soon Guy Fieri will come by to feature Kwik Way on his show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.  It does have that je ne sais quoi!

Coffee Oakland

Coffee in the morning is a ritual that I cannot do without. When I’m not making my own nonfat latte with my espresso maker in the morning or having a cup at work, there are a few shops I like to frequent.  When I’m feeling like an Italian coffee, I go to Cafe 817 in Old Oakland because they use Illy coffee.  I feel like I’m in Italy because it’s creamy and comes in a bowl.   This photo is from having lunch at Cafe 817 with a colleague awhile ago.  There food is also nom nom nom.

A coffee shop that I like to stop by on my way to work is Modern Coffee in Downtown Oakland.  Modern is located in the historic Tribune Building and the owners were former Peet’s Coffee employees.  Robert and Kristen are awesome.  They are friendly and make a point to get to know their customers and remember their usual drinks.  In my case, they also remember that I must have my jalapeño bagel toasted with cream cheese.  It’s as close to a New York bagel you can get on the West Coast.  Nom nom nom. 

Blue Bottle Coffee roasts and serves quality coffee.  I was excited when they moved their plant to Jack London Square in Oakland in October 2009.  Blue Bottle uses organic, pesticide free beans that serves coffee within 48 hours of roasting the beans.  I was pleasantly surprised that they had a coffee cart at the Temescal Farmers Market because I really needed it one Sunday morning.

My favorite coffee shop is Cole Coffee on College Avenue in Oakland.  It’s where I get my fair trade Mexican organic coffee beans.  I learned the importance of Fair Trade Coffee after watching the documentary “Black Gold”.  The film focuses on paying coffee farmers a fair price for their beans.  It’s a shame when Starbucks can charge $4 or $5 for coffee and pay farmers pennies for their beans.  But Cole’s coffee is so fragrant and bold in flavor that it’s difficult to turn elsewhere.  It is the only place I get my beans.  I think I’m spoiled because even my work purchases their beans. 

Got coffee?  Where do you go?

Zero Zero Doesn’t Reflect a Rating

Arriving early to a restaurant has its advantages.  As I waited for my Food Companion (FC) to arrive to Zero Zero in San Francisco, I perused the cocktail menu.  I immediately settled for the Pisco Sour remembering a similar drink at Restaurant Camino in Oakland that I enjoyed.  Pisco Sour is a cocktail containing pisco, lemon or lime juice, egg whites, simple syrup, and bitters.  The bartender has to shake this drink intensely in order to get the egg white to foam.  I thought he did a great job as I watched.  He even decorated the Zero Zero logo using the bitters on top of the foam.

Zero Zero got it’s name from the flour used to make pizza in Naples, Italy.  It refers to how finely ground the flour is.  Zero Zero uses this type of flour to make their pizza and pasta. 

My FC and I agreed to do the sharing thing.  We started with a salad with arugula, beets, avocado, blood orange, radish, in a citrus vinaigrette dressing.  This was simple and began to wet our palettes.

The wood oven roasted baby fava beans came out next.  This dish really shows how hot the wood oven can get since you can eat the shells.  It was topped with breadcrumbs and gremolata, a mixture of flavorful herbs.  It was another good starter.

The sweet pea agnolotti is the pasta dish we agreed on.  It is basically a thin ravioli that is filled with sweet pea and topped with a sauce made of pancetta, Meyer lemon, more sweet pea, and mint.  This was amazing.  The agnolotti was so delicate and basically melted in my mouth.  Must be the zero zero flour.

Our pizza came out next which was the Margherita extra.  It is a normal Margherita with the extra something something being buffalo mozzarella.   The crisp and chewy crust and the flavors of these basic toppings are harmonious.  I didn’t mention that Zero Zero is owned by Chef Bruce Hill who also owns Pizzeria Picco in Larkspur. 

Just like at Pizzeria Picco, you can get Strauss soft serve at Zero Zero.  But here they’ve turned it up a few notches.  You can build your own soft serve sundae. 

We chose vanilla ice cream, a date coffee cake as a base, caramel and toffee toppings, and a side of chamomile poached strawberries.  I was in heaven. 

Between my FC and I, four thumbs up for Zero Zero.