Twist, and shout, and let it all out

Wait, it would appear I’m mixing up not only my songs, but my musical genres… oops. My bad.

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Last night, a girlfriend and I paid a visit to the new Twist Lounge, an offshoot of the ever-popular Zest! Exciting Food Creations in SoBro. (One of my brunch go tos — crème brulee French toast and bacon. Need I say more?)

This place is swanky with super fun décor. You enter the lounge through a swinging chain curtain that immediately made me think of the Brady Bunch episodes where Greg had his own groovy room in the attic with the beaded curtain over the door. Am I showing my age, here? Anyway, Twist is very dimly lit, which prompts me to preemptively apologize for the quality of my phone pics.

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There’s a whole array of seating to choose from including tall stools along the bar, a private-ish room full of plush couches by the front windows, a couple of booth/tables with padded leather seat backs and funky clear plastic chairs, and even hanging swings. Oh, and a disco ball. !!!! There should be more disco balls in the world, if you ask me. How can anybody hate a disco ball? Fun fact – did you know that 90 percent of the world’s disco balls are made in Louisville. True dat. But I digress…

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I’d heard a rumor that Twist does a mean house Manhattan made with an Indiana-produced rye, so that’s what I ordered without even first looking at the menu. This baby arrived in a large water tumbler-size glass garnished with a skewer of those great gourmet cherries (not those artificially red grocery store numbers). They are not messing around here. Jess, our friendly bartender, really seemed to know what she was doing, and this was a damn fine drink. Once I did scan the menu and saw the list of other craft cocktail offerings, I was almost sorry I hadn’t branched out and tried something called a Blood and Sand or a Spicy Little Tart, but I am a bourbon girl, first and foremost. You stick with what works, ya know? My friend ordered a mojito and seemed quite pleased with her selection; Jess told us she’d personally picked the fresh mint that evening. One of those small details that makes a big difference.

At 7:30 p.m., we were the first patrons to arrive for the night, and although several other drinkers slowly rolled in, the place never did really fill up. I get the feeling this is more of a weekend or late-night hang. We did see a couple here on a date night, but it’s more the kind of hotspot you hit with a group of gals. I can’t imagine many single guys stopping by for a post-work scotch of their own accord.

After sucking down our first round of cocktails probably faster than we should have, we knew we needed food. The full dinner menu is available both in Twist and in the flagship restaurant attached. I’ve eaten dinner at Zest before, and love, love, love their three-napkin burger, but they’ve added some new temptations to the menu since the last time I was here. After strongly considering the chicken and waffles, I instead opted for the chile rellenos, and was quite glad I did.

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These were no ordinary chile rellenos. For starters, I only found one small pepper on the whole plate, but no matter. With rice, penne pasta, black beans, sauce and a showering of crunchy tortilla strips on top, there was plenty going on here to fill me up and keep my mouth entertained.

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My friend ordered some sort of grilled romaine wedge salad that looked beautiful and delicious. We also each got a pint of local beer to go with our dinners; there’s a solid selection here to choose from.

I really liked Twist, and would definitely put it near the top of my destination considerations for a girls’ night out. (As a side note, I don’t know what they put in that chile relleno, but I had the craziest dreams last night…)

For more info:
www.zestexcitingfood.com.

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Boogie wonderland

I’m a big proponent of healthy eating, but I also believe in enjoying all foods in moderation and sometimes I just want to sink my teeth into some meat. I start daydreaming about a big, drippy, beefy cheeseburger and nothing else will do. Finding a favorite burger can be a fickle undertaking, though. I’m hopelessly devoted to In ‘N Out and praying fervently to the gods of all things ground beef that they will someday open an Indianapolis outpost. In the meantime, I have encountered several local sandwiches that deliver a solid burger fix.

I’ve recently been turned on to Five Guys Burger and Fries, and Zest! Exciting Food Creations knocks out a gourmet knife-and-fork burger worthy of a romantic date night. But for my money, Boogie Burger is the destination of choice these days.

Having recently relocated from its Westfield Boulevard spot in the heart of Broad Ripple to the former Tin Star Café building just a short distance east on 62nd Street, Boogie Burger seems to be settling into its new digs nicely. The space is bigger and brighter, although the old, more cramped place did have a certain charm in my opinion. Happily, the food remains the same. Good.

Boogie Burger’s new digs

The menu offers all the standard burger configurations, and a few unexpected ones like the Maui Wowee, topped with ham, Swiss, teriyaki sauce and a slice of grilled pineapple. Or perhaps you’re in the mood for a Disco Inferno, gussied up with pepperjack cheese and grilled Serrano chili peppers. If you’re really feeling decadent (or slightly insane), you can order a Cluck and Moo, a monstrosity of a sandwich that marries a beef patty and a chicken breast all on the same bun. You can even choose to slather your burger with peanut butter if you so desire. I know some people really like this (yes, Lafayette Triple XXX fans, I’m talking to you), but the thought of it makes me shudder.

I’m more of a purist when it comes to burgers, although I can occasionally get down with the addition of blue cheese (i.e. the Blue Moon), or a Wild Wild West with cheddar, bacon, onion rings and barbecue sauce. More likely than not, though, you’ll find me ordering a straight-up Boogie Burger with American cheese, lettuce, tomato, ketchup and mustard (hold the raw onion and mayo, thank you very much).

a classic Boogie burger with cheese, lettuce and tomato

These manly chargrilled burgers are 1/3-pound Angus beef beauties — big enough to satisfy, but not so big that you feel sick with regret after snarfing down the whole thing. At $4.50 for a basic cheeseburger with the usual adornments, Boogie is a little pricier than fast food, but totally worth it for a much better quality sandwich.

the Blue Moon with bacon

The fries are yummy, too, but be forewarned, the one-size-fits-all serving ($2.10) is ginormous. Between hubby, the toddler and I, we still can’t finish a single order. (If you want to scare off vampires, get your fries tossed with fresh garlic and cheese.) Hubby once made the mistake of ordering two servings of fries and we ended up with tons leftover. Don’t ever throw these babies away! I looked like a rockstar the following night when I brought them back to life by throwing them onto a baking sheet, sprinkling on some herbes de provence, and re-baking them until hot and crispy.

Boogie’s single order of fries. Told ya.

Boogie Burger does have a handful of other sandwiches and a few salads you can order, but why would you? Trust me. A burger is what you want here, and a great burger is exactly what you’re going to get.

 For more info:

http://www.boogieburger.com/

Boogie Burger on Urbanspoon