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Best of Indy: Dining

Egg-Topped Burger

Fried eggs crown burgers at takeouts and bistros all over the city, but none gets such pure treatment as Boogie Burger's Rise & Shine. A juicy, deliciously messy third-of-a-pounder is smothered with cheddar, and the oozing yolk makes all the sauce you need. Because this is practically breakfast, better throw on some bacon. 1904 E. Broad Ripple Ave., 317-255-2450, boogieburger.com.

Locally Made Granola

Any granola can be crunchy. But soft and moist, too? BeeFree Bakery’s BeePrimal Warrior Mix pulls it off with just the right amount of sweetness. Another feat: All four flavors are gluten-free and paleo-friendly, meaning sans grains. We heart the original and berry flavors; there’s also chocolate and spicy chocolate, which gets its kick from cayenne pepper. Beefreegf.com for local stores and farmers markets.

Iced Coffee

Eggshell Bistro’s New Orleans iced coffee is its unsurprising bestseller. After all, who could resist the chic little chocolate-and-cream–swirled straw? But that initial (and edible) enticement is the gateway to getting hooked on a sublime blend of organic French chicory, organic whole milk, and Sugar in the Raw. The coffee is steeped over-night to keep it high-quality and highly caffeinated—sip slowly, buzz quickly. 51 City Center Dr., Carmel, 317-660-1616, eggshellbistro.com.


Twenty Two Mobile JuiceryNon-Food Truck

We’ll toot the horn of any mobile biz that steers us toward trying something nutritious over a bad decision in a cardboard boat. Twenty Two mobile Juicery’s vintage Shasta camper works like magic. The fetching setup can entice even the most dedicated junk-food addicts to sip leafy greens through a straw. Once you get hooked on the hearty, smooth Shasta La Vista (kale, spinach, orange, pineapple, banana, and coconut oil), you’ll be happy that Twenty Two is opening a City Market stand this month. Mobile schedule at twentytwojuice.com/#location.

Vegetarian Sandwich

Indy’s non-meat–eaters haven’t exactly been starved for modified versions of their favorite sammies—they can find a decent burger, Reuben, Philly, and even banh mi. But a substitute for that most Hoosier of sandwiches—the breaded pork tenderloin—has remained elusive. Until now. Upland Brewery’s Seitan Tenderloin, long available in Bloomington, debuted in Carmel this year. Created by executive chef (and former veg) Chris Blinde, it begins with raw seitan—a wheat-derived protein—that’s simmered in savory vegetable stock, breaded, and deep-fried to a crunchy golden brown. Then not one but two of the thick, chewy patties are thrown on a fresh Kaiser roll with tomato, lettuce, and onion. Make sure to ask for a side of the tangy Beer Mustard, made with Upland’s own Helios Pale Ale. 820 E. 116th St., Carmel, 317-564-3400, uplandbeer.com.

Tick Tock Lounge Bloody MaryBloody Mary

Overly adorned tomato-juice cocktails bring the Bloody Mary police out of the woodwork; too much garnish is often a cover-up for an inferior pour of vodka or botched seasoning. But at Tick Tock Lounge, all of the components come together in one glorious hair-of-the-dog beverage. It begins with two potent house-infused vodkas (bacon and jalapeño) and a rich Worchestershire-spiked tomato juice flecked with black pepper. The vessel: a pint glass rimmed in seasoned salt and decked with several skewers of charcuterie, plus pimiento-stuffed olives, a slice of bacon, celery, and a pick loaded with tater tots. Expect a wait if you want one when the place is busy—those tots are dropped to order. 2602 E. 10th St., 317-634-8625.

Savory Cake

Marvelous in its simplicity, Black Market’s Rosemary–Olive Oil Cake isn’t a dessert that comes with a laborious description of locally sourced, mint-infused teardrops—it merely stands on its delightful moist texture and side dollop of house-whipped cream. The olive oil cultivates a more-flavorful slice than traditional yellow cake made with butter, and the addition of rosemary lends an herbal note; the result is a refreshing treat without the regrets or toothaches. This only pops up as a special once—maybe twice—a year, so be sure to seize that day and count calories later. 922 Massachusetts Ave., 317-822-6757, blackmarketindy.net.

Tea Room

Pots of flowers and ornamental grasses set an outdoorsy mood at Rita’s Backyard, which doubles as a garden center and tea room. Make a res to indulge in flavored butter that melts atop fresh-out-of-the-oven scones, a selection of crustless sandwiches, and a spread of desserts, all lovingly prepared by an English cook who knows her stuff. It’s served up in a circa-1904 barn—a bit more down-home than Downton Abbey, but the British flavor is there indeed. 2244 E. 116th St., Fishers, 317-842-0235.

Boxed Water Is BetterTrendy Thirst-Quencher

Bulky bottled water is so last season. Hipsters are gravitating instead toward Boxed Water Is Better, indinvidually sized recyclable cartons of H20 produced by a Grand Rapids company that touts environmental conservation. Its product is fashionable at music festivals, like Lollapalooza, but to see what all the fuss is about here, you have to be in a buttoned-up mood. The clever containers are available locally only at the IMA, Eiteljorg, Indiana State Museum, and Palladium cafes.

MORE: Discover the seven best dishes you've never tried, and get to know the girls of Indy's best beer club. Plus, six great ways to enjoy pork belly plates, the city's best trendy ingredient.

Dinner Hack

You could fill a grocery cart with the ingredients for that entree you ordered last week. Or you could buy everything (save the protein) for under $10 in Fresh Artistry Meal Prep Kits, clever single-serving boxes that will get you cooking in the time it takes to heat a pan. The work of IU grad Tom Blessing and Black Swan Brewpub chef Nick Carter, these shortcuts include all the produce, spices, oil, and butter needed to whip up, say, chicken piccata or Hungarian beef stew. Moody’s Butcher Shop, 11145 N. Michigan Rd., Zionsville, 317-873-1800; Joe’s Butcher Shop, 111 W. Main St., Carmel, 317-846-8877; freshartistry.com.

PEARings Frozen Yogurt & BeyondFroyo for Grownups

Pearings Frozen Yogurt & Beyond doesn’t look like your typical Hello Kitty–inspired soft-serve shop. Slate-gray walls, the crisp metropolitan angles of a stained-maple countertop, and plenty of boxy black-leather chairs under sculpted glass pendant lights make you feel as if you are spooning up Zeusberries Greek yogurt in the lobby of a high-end hotel. Pre–dessert hour, the space serves as a coffee bar and cafe, offering steel-cut oats, breakfast crepes, a cereal bar, and the coolest servers, who remember exactly how you like your fresh-brewed cup of Arabica. And then, evening hours and the big windows looking onto West Washington Street’s bustle inspire late-night people-watching downtown—with or without sprinkles. 6 W. Washington St., 317-608-6456, pearingsyogurt.com.

Ladies' Lunch Spot

The brown-rice wraps might as well come with a side of estrogen at breakfast-and-lunch cafe Tulip Noir, where a yoga-panted clientele noshes on compote-topped sweet-potato waffles and eggs Benedicts in a celery-hued dining space as crisp as an IKEA showroom. An annotated tea list includes more than 50 sips (from tisanes to oolongs), and the French-press coffeepots arrive with tiny hourglass timers for proper plunging. The menu changes seasonally, which means berry cobblers topped with dollops of scone dough and homemade Earl Gray ice cream in high summer, and fennel-apple soup in the fall. 1224 W. 86th St., 317-848-5252, tulipnoircafe.com.

Revolucion, Fountain SquareTropical Escape

The luchador masks and Frida Kahlo color scheme draw you to Fountain Square’s flamboyant tacqueria, Revolucion. But don’t grab a table. Instead, continue through the swinging doors in the back, where the watering hole takes on a surf-shack theme with glossy boards, grass-thatched walls, and plenty of bamboo. (In season, there’s also an outdoor bar that looks like an altar to the tiki gods.) The Revolucion, Fountain Squarespacious area has its own cocktail menu of fruity concoctions, including a punch-based Naptown Tornado Siren (Revolucion’s answer to the Hurricane) and a passion-fruit margarita, complete with the requisite paper umbrellas. All that’s missing is the sand. 1132  E. Prospect St., 317-423-9490.

Gluten-Free Sandwich

It may seem sacrilegious to tamper with one of the state’s most iconic sandwiches, but after 108 years, we should trust that Shapiro’s will never plate up a subpar Reuben. Baker Kathleen Isom makes sweet, delicate gluten-free bread in-house, and the thick, griddle-crisped slices do little to upset the equilibrium of this legendary stack of silky corned beef, kraut, and tangy Thousand Island dressing. In fact, they may let the gooey filling shine through even more—a boon for gluten-intolerant sandwich-lovers dying to get their Dagwood on. Call ahead for availability. 808 S. Meridian St., 317-631-4041, shapiros.com.


(L–R) Dave Colt and Clay Robinson of Sun King BrewingCreatively Flavored Craft Beer

The recipe for Sun King’s Malus Pi sounds like something from a James Whitcomb Riley poem—the brewing process can’t start until the first frost sets the sugar level in crabapples. The sweet-tart fruit is a key ingredient in the seasonal brew (along with oats and cinnamon), and Malus Pi not only pairs well with holiday desserts—it could stand in for them. Watch for the release between Thanksgiving and Christmas; nature will give you a sign. 135 N. College Ave., 317-602-3702, sunkingbrewing.com.

View for Dinner

Old-school classics (steak au poivre, trout amandine) at culinary-school prices may be the allure, but Ivy Tech’s Courses Restaurant will linger in your memory for its dazzling vista. The view from the 13th story (that’s the penthouse) of the bygone Stouffer Hotel captures an unobstructed, straight-on portrait of Indy’s skyline. And the lunch-and-supper club looks as good inside—it features ornate woodwork and stained glass from the mansion that occupied this plot of land before the hotel was built in 1965. 2820 N. Meridian St., 317-921-4638, ivytech.edu/indianapolis/courses.html.


Froyo Alternative

Proving that soft-serve isn’t the only way to deliver innovative frozen dairy treats, Wyliepalooza Ice Cream Emporium, which opened two locations this year, has a playful menu with taro, avocado, and Scotch-ale ice creams as well as a coffeecake sundae with warmed Taylor’s Bakery pastry, vanilla ice cream, and espresso. Make time to sit at the counter and watch one of the staffers assemble an elaborate shaved-ice dessert called halo halo, a traditional Filipino parfait layered with evaporated milk, jellies, and candied fruits. 5535 E. Washington St., 317-351-0275; 1022 E. Main St., Brownsburg, 317-350-2467; wyliepalooza.com.

Eclair from Kim's Kakery, Bakery and CafeEclair

Just because eclairs are eaten with wild abandon does not mean they should
be prepared that way. At Kim’s Kakery, Bakery and Cafe, these frumpy Parisian zeppelins honor the traditional recipe with a classic, airy pate a choux dough case that puts up the slightest fight before the chewiness gives way to chilled French pastry cream. A free-form smudge of chocolate fudge on top seals the deal on a treat big enough to share. 5452 Madison Ave., 317-784-5253, kimskakekreations.com.

See more Best of Indy picks here.

This article appeared in the December 2013 issue.