Indianapolis is quickly becoming one of the hottest food cities in America. A destination for true foodies who are interested in everything from fine dining to food trucks. This column will put the spotlight on one of these local hot spots to help get the word out and share in the love of all things food.
Review by Dustin Heller (@eatindywatchindie on Instagram)
Let’s start this week’s Spotlight with a little game of “Indy Foodie Word Association” (that’s actually not a real game, I just made it up). I will say a word and you tell me the first thing that comes to your mind. Shrimp Cocktail -- that’s a gimme, right? What about the word “brunch”? That one would definitely get a broader range of answers. Last one, “Goose”. If the first thing that comes to mind is a bird, I might have to revoke your Foodie Card. When I hear the word “Goose”, I think of the delicious meats from Smoking Goose Meatery, the unique market and butcher shop that is Goose the Market, and lastly the Goose and Sun King collaboration that is Oca. Oca means goose in Italian if you didn’t know.
Oca is an eatery and sandwich shop that has two locations in the Indy area: Oca SKB (Sun King Brewing) is located downtown at 135 North College Avenue and Oca SKS (Sun King Spirits) is located in Carmel at 351 Monon Trail. Why the partnership between Goose and Sun King? Well, I guess it’s the fact that beer and sausages are a match made in heaven. Oca then decided to move in with Sun King, and now they’re both living happily ever after.
The menu at Oca is mostly made up of sandwiches and sausages that feature the amazing Smoking Goose meats, but they also have some other great items along with a kid’s menu and brunch on Sundays. Make sure to check out their daily specials for an even better deal on some of their tasty treats. I can’t wait any longer -- let’s get straight into my four “can’t miss” items from Oca:
The Tour: As the name might suggest, The Tour is a the best way to experience what Oca is all about. The Tour is simply a selection of charcuterie (meats), cheeses, pickled vegetables, preserves, mustard, and bread all on one mouthwatering plate. Charcuterie boards are available all over the city, but what makes this one so special is the quality and freshness of every single item placed in front of you. This is Smoking Goose after all, so no one should be surprised. Another great thing about The Tour is that you might not ever get the same one twice. The plate selections are solely up to the person creating it and which items they are feeling that day. When visiting Oca -- take The Tour!
Batali: From what I can gather, Armandino Batali is famous for three things: 1. He’s the father of famed New York chef Mario Batali. 2. He’s the founder of the famous salumeria and restaurant in Seattle aptly named Salumi. 3. Perhaps most importantly, he’s the namesake of the amazing Batali sandwich on the Oca menu. Well, he might not be as proud of that last one as I would be, but it’s still pretty cool to have a sandwich named after you. Let’s take a closer look at this glorious concoction starting with the meats. It is piled high with Coppa, Soppressata, and Capocollo Di Dorman giving it a ton of delicious pork flavor along with some nice heat. The sandwich is then finished off with provolone, lettuce, tomato preserves, giardiniera, pickled red one, and mayonnaise. The Batali is truly a sight to behold and experience!
Hinkle: The Hinkle is another sandwich in the Oca arsenal and is a tip of the cap to the legendary fieldhouse on the Butler campus. I guess you could say that the Hinkle is Oca’s take on the Cuban sandwich, but it has that little something extra. The sando is made up of roasted curtido pork loin, city ham, salame cotto, Swiss cheese, pickles, and Indiana’s own Batch No. 2 yellow mustard. The smoky, salty flavors of the meats pair perfectly with the acidity of the pickles and the slight bite from the mustard. In my opinion, this Hinkle should be an Indiana institution just like the building it’s named after.
Simple Dog: Let me start by saying that there is nothing “simple” about this dog! Perhaps the name was meant to be taken tongue-in-cheek, but I wanted to make sure you knew that this isn’t just some plain hot dog. The “dog” component in the Simple Dog is Knackwurst: a German sausage that is highly seasoned and surrounded by a casing that pops when you bite into it. I love that! The Simple Dog is served on a poppy seed bun and topped with green relish, onion, sport peppers, pickle, and Batch No. 2 yellow mustard. Of course, this dog doesn’t come with ketchup because we’re all adults here.