118 E. Kiowa St., 633-0115, medcafe-co.com
The Med Cafe remains a regular go-to for Indy staff at lunch, having been consistently good for 15 years. Most of us have go-to items we tend to order, as exemplified by my recent meal with two colleagues. One craved a light salad-by-the-pound ($8/pound), loading up a Mediterranean salad mix of marinated olives, mushrooms and veggies over crisp Romaine with a tangy house vinaigrette — smoke-laced baba ghanoush and delightful dolmas on the side. Another grabbed the basic gyro ($6.75), fat with shaved meat slices and fixings plus tzatziki essence on pillow-like pita. I force myself away from the vegetarian platter and opt for a colorful lamb kebab plate ($14). It hosts a yellow bed of basmati topped in perfectly pink, medium-rare meat hunks, which could use more seasoning, but are otherwise excellent dipped in tzatziki, or hummus that accompanies a feta-topped Greek salad of chunk-cut cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes. — MS
Rosco's Coffee House
432 W. Bijou St., 238-1947, roscoscoffeehouse.com
Rosco's turns a year old this month, and the eponymous donkey still appears on select weekends to charm guests. The original and experienced barista staff remains in place too, having slightly expanded offerings (including paninis) and continued to curate and create the necessary ingredients for well-executed drinks.
When we enter, we're hit with sweet maple aromas in the air, as one employee's reducing a simple syrup and adding extract for a house-made syrup. So, of course, we order one iced maple latte ($4/16-ounce; plus 60 cents each for coconut milk sub and the syrup), made with Building3 Coffee Roasters' medium-roasted Ethiopian Yirgacheffe single-origin bean. It's balanced and pleasantly not too sweet. Next comes a strawberry mango lemonade smoothie ($4.18) made with real fruit, which unsurprisingly refreshes on a 90-degree day. If you haven't given Rosco's a deserved visit yet, well, don't be an ass and do so. — MS
Arceo's Mexican Family Restaurant
1605 S. Nevada Ave., 442-2626, arceos.biz
It matters not if you hit the second Arceo's location, off I-25 and Garden of the Gods Road, or this location, where lunchtime prices make a compelling case to be here often. The menu's the same and the deals are dope: starting with $4 mango or peach margaritas and $3.55 Tecate or Pacifico bottles. The latter, poured in frosty mugs, smack perfect after a hike, and though the former don't taste much like the fruits or much different from one another, at least they're boozy and not overly sweet.
Two dense chimichangas ($9) are short on seasoning but hold a nice stewed beef flavor. Two fish tacos ($6.50) with heavily breaded tilapia and a carrot slaw rate OK but forgettable. A fat chorizo burrito ($6) feels more breakfast-y and tastes a bit muddy, with wet egg and cheese. The king is the chile relleno ($5.50), a sad sight for presentation but a stellar bite with big pepper flavor and a non-sogged texture. Overall, we could have gone for some spice, though. — MS