Trish’s Red Bird Cafe’, Dayton, Indiana

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This week afforded a double opportunity for me–the chance to visit a town I’d never been in before  (Dayton, Indiana) and visit with a friend I’d been wanting to catch up with for quite some time.

Trish’s Red Bird Cafe’ is located in Dayton, Indiana, roughly 50 miles north of Indianapolis, just outside of Lafayette.

The building itself has some wonderful history to it.  It was one of the original garages/repair shops in town, dating to the early 1900’s.  In 2017, it was extensively remodeled and repurposed as the current cafe’.

It’s a pretty large, airy place, and the atmosphere is definitely small town and welcoming.  Our server, who’s name I neglected to get, was prompt, friendly, and professional. Since I was catching up with an old friend, I appreciated the fact that she kept our drinks filled, but was unobtrusive and allowed us to visit at our leisure.

The menu is heavy on comfort food, as one would expect in a small town diner.  Meatloaf, soups, salads, and several kinds of burgers. The tenderloin had been highly recommended to me, so I knew in advance that was what I wanted.

It’s offered two different ways, hand battered or grilled.  I, of course, chose the hand battered.  

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Friends, this is one of the best tenderloins I’ve had in a long time.  The batter was nice and crispy, and the meat itself was quite tender and moist.  Everything was cooked perfectly, and the crispness of the batter stayed for the life of the sandwich.  No doubt in my mind, this sandwich rates 5 out of 5 bites. It’s priced at $8.99 including a side, and I chose the tater tots, and they were done perfectly, also.

I have a particular fondness for small town diners, and I enjoyed this whole experience, from the service to the food, as much as any I’ve had.  I highly recommend a visit.

Trish’s Red Bird Cafe’ is located at 696 Walnut Street, Dayton, Indiana.  You can find them online at www.redbirddayton.com and they also have a Facebook page.

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Between the Bun, Southport (Indianapolis)

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Between the Bun is a sandwich restaurant located in Southport, on the south side of Indianapolis.

When I first pulled them up on the internet, I thought the address looked familiar, and, upon arriving, I realized it was in the location of the former Teddy’s Burger Joint.

There have been a few changes from Teddy’s, perhaps the most notable being that instead of ordering at the counter, they now have table service.  You enter, a host/hostess seats you. I’m a fan of this change!

The menu features mostly sandwiches, heavy on the burgers, with a few salads and other items, also.

To my knowledge, they’ve not had a breaded tenderloin on their menu before, but I saw online that there were doing a limited run this weekend, so I decided to give it a try.

First off, this isn’t what I would call a traditional breaded tenderloin, there are a few things that set it apart.  That being the case, I’m not going to rate it on my typical 1-5 bite scale like I do for traditional tenderloins.

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It’s the size of sandwich that I prefer.  It’s a hearty sandwich, but not pounded out to hubcap size.  I prefer sandwiches that are hearty but not overwhelming, and that’s certainly the case here.

The meat was tender and moist, and I enjoyed it a lot!  The breading wasn’t traditional breading. I’m not quite sure exactly what it was.  But, it was nice and crispy, and stayed on the meat instead of flaking off. The meat had a distinctive flavor, and I’m not quite sure exactly what it was.  Holly and I both agreed it reminded us of corn dog batter. That’s not exactly what it was, but the flavor did remind us both of that.

The sandwich was dressed with typical dressings–tomato, lettuce, etc, but also had something they called “Appleheat” sauce, a sweet and spicy BBQ sauce.  I’ve never had a breaded tenderloin with any kind of barbecue sauce on it, but the sweetness of this sauce along with the uniqueness of the breading really worked quite well together.  If you want a really traditional tenderloin, this isn’t it. BUT, if you’re adventurous, and want to give something new a try, you’ll likely enjoy this. The sandwich was $7.79 with fries. Would I get it again?  If I were craving a non traditional tenderloin, sure, but, in all honestly, I really want to get down there and try one of their burgers.

 Please note, this is not a regular menu item for them at this time, so if you want to try it, check ahead to make sure it’s available.

For her lunch, Holly had their regular side salad and added grilled chicken to it.

 Between the Bun is located at 2222 W Southport Road in Indianapolis.  Their website is www.btbindy.com and you can also find them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram,

Hav a Bite Diner, Metamora, Indiana. (Revisit, new ownership)

I reviewed Hav a Bite a few years ago, but they’ve undergone at least 2 ownership changes since then.

Hav a Bite is a typical rural diner, located in Metamora, Indiana, right on highway 52. Like many small town diners, breakfast appears to be king here.

I’ve mentioned that they’ve undergone at least a couple of ownership changes over the past few years. Metamora is a tourist town, and many of the shops are only open during the warmer months, and at Christmas for their famed Christmas Walk. The restaurant business is challenging enough as it is, I can’t imagine the work it takes to keep a restaurant open year round in a town that’s not only seasonal, but heavily weather dependent for traffic. Metamora can be quite crowded on pleasant, sunny days, but on rainy days, it’s tough.

Hav a Bite is certainly a local hangout, and that works to their advantage. We know quite a few folks down in that area, and we always run into several of them when eating there.

One change to the sign with the new ownership is that it proudly proclaims “Hand Breaded Tenderloin”. We’d been in town doing a show the night before, and decided to stay over, and have breakfast before heading back the next day.

We arrived late in the breakfast hour, just before the changeover to lunch, and they gladly fired the fryer up to make a tenderloin just for me.

This is a hearty sandwich, without being overwhelming. It’s fairly thick, which is my preference. I’m not a fan of those that are pounded out so thin they look like a hubcap. I know there are a lot of folks who prefer those, but they’re not for me.

While I wouldn’t go so far as to call this a stellar tenderloin, it was really pretty good. The edges were just a tad overdone (I suspect they wanted to make sure it was done all the way through) but the flavor was good. The meat was tender, had a nice flavor, and the breading was seasoned well enough to give it a nice flavor without overwhelming the meat. It was served dressed as requested, on a standard bun. I’m going to give it a 3.5 out of 5 bites, above average. I’d not hesitate to order it again, although I think I’ll try one of their burgers next time.

The Hav a Bite is located at 19121 US52 in Metamora, Indiana. I was unable to locate a website for them.

Elm Street Brewing Company, Muncie, Indiana

The Elm Street Brewing Company in Muncie had been in business for a bit over 3 years, but we only recently became acquainted with it.

Housed on Elm Street, just north of Wysor, it’s in a former ice warehouse. That building had been empty for as long as I can remember, and it’s really nice to see it being used.

It’s a HUGE space, and the seating capacity is over 300.. It’s broken up into a front dining area, a back dining area with a bar, and a very large outdoor area where they host live music and other events. It’s a VERY fun place.

The menu is typical bar food, with a bit of an upscale twist. You’ll find your typical burgers, pizza, and such on the menu, but there are a few surprises on there also.

I’d already decided before ordering that I wanted to try the breaded tenderloin, which is made in house.

One of the challenges of writing a blog like this is to not be swayed by how much I like the atmosphere, owners, or location, but to remain factual in my review.

As much as I liked everything else about our experience, the tenderloin was average at best.

There were a few issues with the sandwich. First, it appears to be quite overdone, bordering on burnt. The breading was nice and crunchy, but with it being almost burnt (as you can probably tell by the photo), the taste was not that great. The meat itself had a decent taste, but was a bit on the dry side, which I attribute to being overcooked. In addition, I ordered my sandwich with ketchup, mayo, and onion, as is my tradition, and it was served with lettuce,tomato, pickle, and mustard. That lack of attention to detail was a bit troubling.

Overall, I’ll give it 2 out of 5 bites. We have since returned, and had a very good experience, but I’m reviewing the tenderloin I ordered.

For her meal, Holly chose the cauliflower bisque – and it was simply outstanding! We actually found ourselves back at Elm Street a week later and she intended to order it again, but they were sold out – and understandably so… because it was incredible!

Elm Street Brewing Company is located at 519 N Elm Street in Muncie. You can find them online at http://www.elmstreetbrewing.com

Christine’s Firehouse, Kansas City, Missouri

We recently took a trip to Kansas City to take in a Royals game, eat BBQ, and sample a breaded tenderloin that had been recommended to me by folks in the. Pursuing Pork Tenderloins group on Facebook. By the way, if you’re a Facebook user, that’s a very active group and well worth checking out.

Christine’s is located in North Kansas City, in what appears to be a historic downtown area. There are a number of restaurants, shops, a movie theater, and other businesses in an area contained to a few blocks.

Christine’s has a neighborhood bar feel to it, and it’s obvious there are a lot of regulars known by name there. It’s also all ages, which is a nice bonus. The decor pays homage to firefighters, a very nice touch for me.

The menu is pretty typical bar food, but I knew in advance I wanted to try the tenderloin.

Make no mistake, this is a HUGE sandwich. Holly and I actually opted to split one, and I couldn’t even finish my half, it really is that big!!

The breading is VERY good. It’s well seasoned, and quite peppery. If you’re a pepper fan, you’ll really like it! It’s also nice and crisp, and retained that throughout the life of the sandwich.

The meat was tasty, but I found it just a touch on the dry side. Not terribly so, but it may have been overcooked just a touch.

Still, it’s a very good sandwich, well above average. I will give it four out of five bites and would not hesitate to order it again.

Christine’s firehouse is located at 2012 Swift St., North Kansas City, Missouri. I was unable to find a website for them, but they do have a Facebook page.

Trailhead Brewery, St Charles, Missouri.

I’ve been wondering if microbreweries were as popular in other parts of the country as they are where we live (Indianapolis) and it appears they are! We made a whirlwind stop in St Charles, MO on our way to Kansas City.

In historic St Charles, there are a number of restaurants and breweries. It’s really a nice town to wander around and explore. We highly recommend it if you’re in the area!

Trailhead brewing has been around for a few years. It’s located just off the KATY trail, a wonderful hiking/cycling trail that runs along the Missouri River. Trailhead is a quite large building, and it appears they have several different dining rooms and looks like it would be a great place for a group outing.

We were seated and I saw that they brew their own root beer, a huge bonus for me! I asked about it, and our capable server told us it’s not your typical root beer…it’s not carbonated. That’s something I’ve never heard of before, but I REALLY liked it. It’s got a nice, distinctive vanilla flavor, with a more subtle root beer undertone. If you’re used to more traditional root beer, it’ll be a change, but, again, I liked it, and wouldn’t hesitate to order it again.

I didn’t know there was a tenderloin on the menu until we arrived—it just looked like an inviting place to eat. Their menu shows a “Fried Pork Sandwich”, described as a “Seasoned, beer battered tenderloin served on a wheat hoagie, with a side of bbq sauce”.

I REALLY liked the batter. It was extremely crispy, and reminded me of the batter on KFC extra crispy chicken. The sandwich was a nice size to make a hearty meal without being overwhelming. I’ll make note of the wheat hoagie bun–it was tasty, but, honestly, a bit “dense” for my taste. Although I enjoyed the sandwich, I think I’d enjoy it more with a more typical bun.

Since it’s not a typical tenderloin, I’ll not rate it on my typical 1-5 scale, I’ll just say, yes, I’d order it again, but I’d opt for a more traditional bun.

For her dinner, Holly had the smoked chicken quesadilla appetizer (four pieces) and a side salad. She also tried their seasonal beer – Mango Berliner Weisse.

Trailhead brewing is located at 921 S Riverside, St Charles, MO. You can find them onlin at http://www.trailheadbrewing.com

30 Hop, Coralville Iowa

30 Hop is a fairly new local chain in Eastern Iowa. They have a location in Coralville, Cedar Rapids, and one opening soon in Des Moines.

On their website, they feature craft beer, cocktails, and new American fare.

We visited the Coralville location, as we were staying there for our trip to TrekFest.

This location is located in an area known as Iowa River Landing. Bordered by the Iowa River, it is kind of an open air shopping mall with a number of local/regional restaurants as well as specialty shops and some national stores.

30 Hop has a huge dining room, and outside patio, and a rooftop garden. The day we visited the rooftop garden was not available, probably because it was extremely hot and humid.

The decor is a little more than casual, but I wouldn’t call it classy…. it’s a nice, comfortable, if somewhat upscale, place.

The menu features a lot of really interesting choices, from appetizers to sandwiches to salads. I had heard good things about their tenderloin and decided I wanted to give it a try.

I knew going in that this was not a traditional breaded tenderloin, which is my preference. This particular tenderloin is panko breaded, features pickled onion, jalapeño, pickle slices, and something called “dynamite sauce”.

The meat itself was moist and tender, and I really enjoyed the panko breading. It had a very distinct crunch to it and stayed crunchy throughout the life of the sandwich. This was a little bit of a concern at first, because I was afraid with all the sauces and toppings it would become soggy but I’m happy to report that it did not.

The dynamite sauce had a bit of a kick to it which added another level of flavor to the sandwich. Add to it the pickled onion and jalapeño, this sandwich is a little bit on the hot side, but not unreasonably so, at least to me. I will be fair, and say that I tend to enjoy my food a bit more spicy than a lot of folks seem to.

Since this is not a traditional tenderloin, I’m not going to rate it on a 1 to 5 scale like I typically do. I’m simply going to say that this was an outstanding sandwich, and it was my favorite meal from our trip to Iowa.

You can find it 30 Hop online at www.30hop.com, and also on Facebook and Twitter.