Monday, April 12, 2010

Oatmeal #9: 3 Sisters

Holy cow*, doesn't that look yummy? I got a new camera for Christmas! So, from now on, you probably can blame poor picture quality on me and my total lack of any artistic ability. But, there is a measurable improvement, yes? Who wouldn't want to eat that? Nom nom nom.

*I have no idea either.

After the Great Indiana Oatmeal Debacle (see City Cafe--at your own risk), I felt I owed it to Indiana to give it another shot. After all, I spent five years of my life there, and some of my closest friends are residents. I'll not have Indiana besmirched in your minds! Or, at least I won't have you thinking it doesn't know how to do oatmeal. (Feel free to take a few moments to silently judge the state on whatever other areas you feel it falls short. (That second picture is actually from a really gorgeous album, the rest of which I highly recommend. I want an 11 x 18 of pretty much every picture there.) But its people are TERRIFIC. The best of all the people!) After the City Cafe Fail, my friend KBD promised to take me Somewhere Special to give her state a chance to redeem itself. So, the day after New Year's (yeah, I'm behind, what's it to you?), KBD (50% more initials than anyone else!), JD (her esteemed spouse), frequent blog guest AL, my "editor" EH, and I all went to 3 Sisters (Dang, what a website! Minimalism is key! No over-stimulation here!) in Indianapolis for brunch, the Best Meal Ever. So, today, on the three month anniversary of this fateful voyage, I shall start writing about it. Most likely, I shall finish writing about it sometime around the four month anniversary.

First thing about 3 Sisters--it was so darn cute. I had to take a picture.

For whatever reason, I have always LOVED the whole "turn an old historic house into a restaurant/doctor's office/office building" idea (Getting a cavity filled is obviously much more pleasant when you're in what feels like your little brother's room instead of some sort of POW holding cell. I mean, my heavens, has anyone ever walked out of that thing alive?**), so I was pretty much sold on the place the second we got there. We were seated pretty quickly, considering that it was a Saturday, in a medium-sized room on the first floor. (I cannot express to you how much I love it when restaurants are spread over various rooms like that.) In order to get the real feel of this place, basically just imagine a restaurant that 3 sisters opened in the lower level of their old, historic house (even though that's not how the place started). It had beautiful hard-wood floors, quaintly mis-matched tables and chairs, brightly painted walls, and really interesting and unique artwork on the walls. I wrote "music" in my notes, so I am going to boldly proclaim that it had good music. Also, the bathroom was the typical bathroom found in anyone's home, complete with a shower.

**A Google image search for "scary dentist's office" resulted in this. Inexplicable. Bizarre. Maybe Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time (So glad they took into account the inevitable sequels when naming this film. Coming soon: Prince of Persia: The Silt of Space.) is going after the "people who are under the influence of sedatives after a root canal" demographic, which is, excepting adolescent boys, the only one that would find this movie remotely not-horrible. I mean, the movie poster admits itself that it will take courage to make it through the whole thing. I couldn't even make it through the whole trailer. (What I did see just made me wonder who gave a green light to what seems to be The Mummy slightly updated with a larger role for sand. This has to be the work of Maeby Funke.) When did Jake Gyllenhaal a) decide to become British, b) start looking like he's trying to be a boy band singer, and c) switch from being the guy who makes thought-provoking indie films to the guy who makes Movies That Will Probably Feature An Unnecessary Appearance By A Rapper? Suddenly, I am depressed. I can only assume he is being blackmailed. Or lost many bets.

Our waitresses name was Maura, and she was lovely. (I think that grammar rules would say I shouldn't be starting a new paragraph here, but I don't want to shove that second footnote hundreds of words from the reference, so we're all just going to have to calm down and deal with it.) Imagine the world's best grandma at age 50, and that was this woman. She called us all various names of endearment, like "dear" and "babies." ("Hello my babies, do you all want coffee?") And she was wearing an Elvis Presley tie-dye shirt (not unlike this magnificent masterpiece), so I can only assume she had a torrid, yet tasteful past involving bobby socks and poodle skirts that took place in a trailer park or commune (hence the tie-dye--that doesn't just happen on its own).

Despite all of my ramblings about quaint decor and matronly waitresses, I am sure you are dying to know if this place actually serves anything worthwhile. I am happy to inform you that it was not all form and no function. (Unlike some people we know...) The menu is rather different because most of the dishes have names generally reserved for non-cuisine things: Ed, Mr. Bob, Gretchen, Mona. As in "I'll have an Ed, please." Kind of fun. There is also a menu item called the "sob." I am not sure if it's pronounced "S.O.B" (that would be strange/an inappropriateness of East Coastian proportions) or like the synonym for "cry." So there's some mystery involved, as well. Anyway, KBD and AL got the French toast (you can see it at the edge of the picture above--yum), and it's been voted the best French toast in Indy for 13 straight years, so no fooling around there. EH got a pancake that was 11 INCHES ACROSS and made of flour they milled themselves. And JD got an omelet with lots of really wonderful stuff in it that he enjoyed immensely. So points for everyone. You should visit this place. But who cares what all those non-oatmeal eaters got? They might as well be eating dust!

  • Price: Well, the oatmeal itself was $3 for a cup, $4 for a bowl. (I got a bowl.) Pretty good for a restaurant price, yes? NO! Because each topping was an extra DOLLAR. What is this, London? NO! It's Indy! A city of a) NO beheadings, b) NO muffin men, c) NO kind of funny monuments honoring animals that died in war, and d) NO EXPENSIVE FOOD. Or at least that is what I'd been lead to believe. I don't think anything in Indy should cost more than $3. Unless it's a car. Maybe a house. Anyway, I got two extra toppings and then apparently other things too, because I have written down that, with tip, my total was $14.49. My guess is that I got coffee and toast and maybe an egg. So pretty expensive, all told. I suppose one could argue that $4 restaurant oatmeal is pretty cheap. However, a) this blog is flagrantly one-sided, and I refuse to entertain outside opinions and b) $1 per topping is so absurd (especially when the toppings are necessary) that it trumps anything else. (3)
  • Size: As I mentioned, there is a cup and bowl option. The bowl was maybe 14 ounces, so a cup was probably 8 or so. (Hey, a cup has 8 ounces, writer. Genius.) The bowl was pretty generously-sized and obviously full, and it's nice that there is an option for something smaller. That's pretty rare for a restaurant. My scoring for this category is completely non-nonsensical. (9)
  • Toppings: Choices were walnuts, almonds, raisins, dried cranberries, and fresh bananas, of which I chose almonds and cranberries. An OK selection, and, as you can see from the picture, they are very generously portioned. I guess they wanted to make sure I got whole dollar's worth of each. They'd better! They also gave me some brown sugar on the side, as well. I believe I ended up using it, both for the oatmeal and my coffee (love brown sugar in my coffee....yum). I would've preferred another fresh fruit option, and I just cannot get over the whole "dollar for a topping" thing. I mean, think of all the totally awesome things you can get at the Dollar Store for ONE DOLLAR (Roll of tape! Scrub brush! Light bulb! LAWN CHAIR!). And then compare that to a handful of dried cranberries. RIP OFF. (A Google image search for "rip off" resulted in absolutely nothing interesting. What are you hiding, internet?!?! (<----INTERROBANG.)) I also have written down "no milk--sad." So I am guessing I wanted to add some milk, and they didn't provide it. I really must work on writing these posts more promptly. (6)
  • Texture/Appearance: It was very, very, very thick. Which isn't a problem, really, until it starts to cool. Because then it just gets thicker and sticky and kind of difficult to eat. And then it get stuck in my esophagus, and then I choke, and then I turn blue, and then all of my friends are too distracted by their rings of Jupiter-sized pancakes to notice I've collapsed in a heap, and then I am No More, and then my STUDENT LOANS GET CANCELED! WELL, if you put it that way...Anyway, it looked pretty. (6)
  • Temperature: My notes say "pretty hot." I am worthless. (7)
  • Taste: My oatmeal was called "brown sugar and vanilla multigrain oatmeal," and I really liked the vanilla flavor. It was a slightly different idea that I hadn't encountered before. However, it really needed the toppings, because it was still not that great alone. Just a bit bland(rew).*** (5)
  • Calories: I don't remember why I chose to add this as a scoring item. That was an error on my part.
  • Intangibles: For reasons I cannot recall, I took the following picture while I was at the restaurant. I feel I would be short-changing you if I didn't share it, because obviously it had some importance at the time. So here you go:
No non-dairy creamer here! Bonus for that! And of course, being a restaurant, there was bottomless coffee. I also will unreasonably and somewhat unfairly give bonus points for the great company of my friends who were with me, despite AL's constant earnest petitions for someone to "say something funny so they make it into the blog." (Note: no one did.) Obviously, tons of points for atmosphere and general niceness of the servers. And points for Indiana, because I often treat it quite harshly, and I feel bad. (9)

TOTAL: 3+9+6+6+7+5+9=45

Well done, Indiana! You are officially legitimate again! Keeping with the Indiana theme, I present to you this "article," written by the esteemed staff at Cracked, one of my favorite websites, despite its crushing inappropriateness. Nicolas Sparks graduated from Notre Dame, so there is a somewhat relevant connection, I swear. I guess this is another subtle slam against Indiana. Sorry. But at least you have one restaurant that serves good brunch!

***Inside joke between the attendees of this brunch. How exclusively rude of me. Some would even say pretentious. That's another inside joke. I guess you'll just have to come next time.


  1. Oh I want to own a barn and sell coffee and oatmeal allll day! This place is too cute.

  2. Oooh, I get three initials! That was fun. Come back! I will say something funny enough to make it onto the blog, I promise.