The Resurrection of 3 In 1

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Dave’s View:  It wasn’t until two weeks ago when one of our readers told us that 3 in 1 restaurant was back open on West 56th Street in Indianapolis.   Why did they close?   I really don’t know.  I’ve heard many rumors to which none of them had anything to do with the restaurant.  I was deeply saddened to hear they were closed and I was hoping one day they would make a come back.  That day has come.

Andrea and I have seen them at many farmers markets and festivals struggling to sell Pupusas underneath a makeshift tent with a two burner grill.  We always ordered food from them and watched people walking by not knowing what a Pupusa was.  It’s a shame because people are missing out of one of the greatest foods there is, the Pupusa.  Not only that, the family that runs this place is incredibly nice.  So when we heard that 3 in 1 had a restaurant on the West side, we were thrilled.

The line up I had was the Cheese Pupusa, Chicken Tacos, followed by a Rigua.  The Pupusa was nice and firm and when you put some 3 in 1 hot sauce on it, it just makes it all the better.  The taco, again, the chicken was tender and they have a cart with all the topping to customize your taco.  Extreme value for your dollar.  Don’t believe me, here’s their menu:

The menu

The menu (4/2014)

 

The Rigua, which I’ve never had, is a corn pancake.  It is incredibly sweet and I suggest you eat it last, like a dessert.  It was so sweet, it caught me off guard.  Going from a Pupusa to a Rigua will definitely confuse your taste buds momentarily.  The cheesiness of the Pupusa to the sweetness of the Rigua is an adventure I wouldn’t take again.

Now the restaurant, for those who are familiar with the area, is in the same strip mall as Jiallo’s.  The inside of the place is simple.  Four walls painted yellow with a El Salvador blanket map hanging off the wall.  Up in one corner is the El Salvador flag.  Not much else in this place and my thoughts were going back to their old place.

“Where is Jesus?” Their old place was like walking into your dad’s basement church.  It had paneling from the 1970′s, a bar, and a picture of Jesus on every wall.  Jesus on the south wall, Jesus above the gumball machine, Jesus on the mantel.  He was everywhere!  He was even on the front cover of the menu!  You would be eating your Pupusa with Jesus watching over you on every bite, but sadly He wasn’t here.  There were no pictures, the paneling was replaced with fake brick paneling and the bar was gone.  By then I’m thinking to myself, is Jesus really gone?

You see, the owners remind me of the spirit of Jesus.  Distraught and beaten down, they worked hard to be where they are at now.  Earning a dollar at a time at festivals and markets, having people walk on by without notice, having to scrape up enough money to open their restaurant again.  It’s truly a resurrection of the restaurant kind and I think someone might have had His Hand in it.  There are only three words to describe 3 in 1 Restaurant:  Spirit, determination, empathy.  You’ll feel it when you eat here.

 

Food:  9.5  Ambiance:  7  Service:  9    Total:  25.5 out of 30

$15-$20 without adult beverages.  They do not serve adult beverages.

Note:  Really inexpensive and extremely family oriented.  A great place to take your family on very little money.

 

 

 

Andrea’s View:  About two years ago, Dave and I visited a restaurant at 34th and Moller called 3 in 1.  We raved about it.  We told everyone we knew about it.  And then it closed.  And we were heartbroken.  3 in 1 had the BEST pupusas and tacos in town.  I have written about my taco obsession many times, these are the tacos that started it all, and the restaurant literally went up in smoke.

Flash forward to 2014.  After making appearances at farmers markets and festivals for the past two summers, 3 in 1 finally found a permanent home on 56th Street just east of Guion Road.  Dave and I decided to check out the new digs.

The new place is much fancier, and by fancy, I mean matching furniture.  None of the Jesus paraphernalia adorns the new place, the only leftover decoration is a wall tapestry of a map of El Salvador.  But décor doesn’t really matter, it’s all about the food and the service.

The service is excellent, even better than I remember, even if you do order and pay at the counter.  But the food…the food is exactly how I remembered it.  My cheese and loroco (spicy pepper) pupusa was fabulous, my pork tamale was ok (I remembered too late that I didn’t care for my tamale last time), but the chicken taco, OMG, what do they put in these tacos?!  Whatever it is , this is still the best taco ever, hands down, that I have ever eaten.  And I don’t even know why.  They are just fantastic.  So please run, run, run to 3 in 1 and welcome them to their new home.  And please, order a taco.  You’ll be an instant addict.

 

 

 

3 in 1 Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Spray A Fire Extinguisher Into My Mouth

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Andrea’s View:  Dave and  I have managed to avoid Siam Square in Fountain Square for a number of years now.  I’ve put off going to this restaurant based on the opinion of two people.  One of whom I trust, the other I don’t.  The one I don’t trust believes that this is the best restaurant, let alone the best Thai restaurant, in the city.  The one I do trust, when I asked her about Siam Square, responded with, “Well, people like it.”  Now that I have been there for myself, I’m still not sure about it.

Let me start off by saying that my food was fabulous.  The service was fabulous.  The décor is fabulous.  But, it just felt a little too perfect.  The food was perfectly plated, the servers were perfectly hipster without being intimidating, college students with perfect timing and manners.  The décor was thought out to the perfect size and placement of the Thai inspired knickknacks and wall art.  There are no chopsticks on the table, just American silverware.   I just like my food adventures to be a little less than perfect.

Along with the curry puffs, (I’m sure Dave will tell you about the perfect curry puffs, so I won’t repeat) I ordered the pad ped.  This was a chicken dish with red curry and coconut milk, eggplant, bamboo and green beans served with steamed rice.  I ordered mine medium, just as I always do in a Thai restaurant.  My vegetables were perfectly crispy yet tender, the chicken was moist and bite sized, and here is one imperfect fact.  I don’t think that the medium is really medium.  It was just a tad too spicy.  And I like spicy, but this wasn’t the “I’m feeling a little warm and my lips are slightly swollen kind of spicy.”  This was the my nose is running and my eyes are watering kind of spicy.  So maybe Siam Square is just a little less than perfect, not just in they way that I wanted it to be.

 

Dave’s View:  So Andrea and I ventured into Fountain Square to try out Siam Square, known for their Thai Cuisine.  At first glance, you may think the place is a bit small with its narrow length of the building,  but it holds a fair amount of people, plus I believe there is a second level to the restaurant.  The walls are decorated with typical travel pictures of Thailand and a nice combination of orange, red, and yellow paint.   Another added feature is the glass block window which adds to privacy, but really lets in the light.  Andrea and I went on a weekday afternoon and a forewarning, the place gets packed with downtown business people, probably from Eli Lily which is down the street.

For lunch I had the Drunken Noodles( Pad Kee Mao)  which came with a spring roll and a small cup of Thom Yum.  The spring roll was a typical spring roll which was a tad bit over cooked, but pleasant.  The Thom Yum was spicy liquidity with tomatoes, and I wish I had ordered a bigger bowl, because quite honest, it was delicious.  Also, the Drunken Noodles dish scores high marks.  Wide one inch noodles(sometimes, just torn), surrounded with basil, green beans, tomatoes, peppers, onions, egg, and I believe, what looked like bok choy.  This meal was amazing.  It is by far the best Thai dish I’ve had here in Indianapolis.  Now, I ordered mine hot and believe me, the restaurant doesn’t hold back on the “heatness”.  If you normally order Thai food hot, you may want to order it medium, because mine certainly tasted like Thai hot.  Not that it overwhelmed the dish either.  You can properly taste all the ingredients, but still have that red flushed, sweaty look on your face while you’re eating it.  Order a couple of Sun King Cream Ales and you’re set!  I need to thank Andrea for ordering the appetizer, Curry Puffs.  It was a reliever from the spicy pain when the Sun King lost its power.  The green curry potato puff was not at all spicy and complimented the whole meal in itself.  The potato helps to cancel out some of the heat from the Drunken Noodles.  Soft and chewy, you’ll be popping these puffs quickly.  So here’s the equation:  Curry Puffs + Two Sun King Cream Ales + Hot Drunken Noodles=One Good Time!

Service:  8.5  Food:  9.5  Ambiance:  8  Total:  26 out of 30

$40-$50 with adult beverages.

Siam Square on Urbanspoon

Siam Square on Foodio54

I Got Americanized

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Dave’s View:  I got Americanized at Szechwan Garden on Lafayette Road the other day.  Yes, I did allow myself to be Americanized, but deep down in my heart, I just wish I was left alone.  The menu at Szechwan Garden is huge.  You can get about any Chinese item, like tripe, frog or duck tongue.  I could have done the adventure and tried the duck tongue, but I wasn’t in the mood.  I just wanted something simple and easy.  I ordered Chicken with Chili Pepper and I was told by the server that it had bones in it.  Now, I’m not a “bone” type of guy.  I have had many meals with bones and I wasn’t in the mood to navigate around “bones” again.  I was thinking to myself this will be like the spare short ribs you get at a Chinese restaurant.  Short, stout, and not much meat on them. (False images of miniaturized chickens with very little meat were floating in my head.)  So when I heard, they have “bones” in them, I looked down in my huge menu.  The server replies, “We do have Spicy Popcorn Chicken, which doesn’t have any bones.”  I’m thinking, I’m not looking at this menu again, so I said, “Yeah, go ahead and give me that.”  I was Americanized.  How bad was it?  Here you go:

Spicy Popcorn Chicken

Spicy Popcorn Chicken (AKA: Dave’s Americanized meal)

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking.  You’re a dumbass.  Yep.  Can’t disagree.  All I can say it was probably fried in the same oil as the fish because I could taste some remnants of fish in the batter.  It was extremely spicy, with its dried chili peppers, and jalapenos.  Not much of an adventurous Chinese dish.  I’m sorry.  I failed you.

Service is fantastic, just don’t let them Americanize you.  Or, go into the place with an adventurous attitude.  Look at the menu for thirty minutes to two hours(really you would spend two hours looking at a menu?) and pick something you’ve never had before.  As the saying goes, “Don’t be a Dave at Szechwan Garden, you big pussy!”

Service:  8.5  Food:  6  Ambiance:  9  Total:  23.5 out of 30

$35-$40 with adult beverages.

The inside

The inside

Pan Fried Green Beans

Pan Fried Green Beans

Chicken in Dry Pot

Chicken in Dry Pot

The lighting

The lighting

The outside

The outside

Andrea’s View:  This food adventure was “family style” blown to epic proportions.   And I’m not referring to the fact that we were dining with family.  We were.  But I am referring to the huge portion sizes at Szechwan Garden.  So here’s the warning that I would have liked to have had before Dave, my parents, and I all descended upon this restaurant:  They serve the entrees family style, meaning that  each entrée is big enough for a family of four to pass around and share.  When all was said and done, we ended up with two appetizers, four family sized entrees and an entrée sized side of green beans.  The staff was giggling, other patrons were staring, and we were completely clueless.  It was pretty awesome.

I myself ordered the pan-fried green beans (the interweb told me to) and the chicken in dry pot.  I know what you are thinking, “Really Andrea, green beans in a Chinese restaurant?”  But really, these are not just any green beans, these are perfectly blanched then fried in pork fat and garlic, until they are salty, meaty bits of green bean heaven.  I am not exaggerating.  They are the “bomb.”  Now my chicken in dry pot is a kind of misnomer.  It came in an enormous fondue pot, but it was anything but dry.  The fondue pot came complete with a sterno underneath and the liquid inside the pot was boiling.  Along with the liquid lava came chicken, bell peppers, red chili peppers, mushroom, bamboo, and peanuts.  And it was hot.  Not just temperature hot, but spicy hot.  Now, I was warned about that, the dish on the menu had two red chili pepper icons next to it, and our server also re-enforced that this dish was hot.  Neither she or the menu was lying.  But that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy it, it was really good, even if my dad did ask if I was okay because I looked a little flushed.  At least I wasn’t crying.  And I did take it home and eat it for lunch the next day.  Along with the green beans.  I would have fought every single one of them for the left over green beans.

 

 

 

 

Szechwan Garden on Urbanspoon

Szechwan Garden on Foodio54