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Trisha Brand

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Video Recipe: Bourbon Popsicles

Michael Gray of Plat 99 shares a simple idea for a frozen grown-up treat—made with Indiana bourbon.

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Q&A with Tyler Herald of Napolese

He has free reign over the menu at Napolese, a pizza empire that grows by one more when Martha Hoover opens the restaurant’s third incarnation this month at Keystone at the Crossing. But success has not diminished chef Tyler Herald‘s sense of adventure. Here, the Portland-trained chef with the locavorian spirit reflects on his growing season.

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Indy's 25 Best Restaurants 2013

From The Libertine to Recess and Oakleys to Bluebeard, Korean to Latin and sushi to steak, our critics chose the cream of Indy’s dining crop,. Who’s at the head of the table? Read on to find out.

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Foodie Glossary

F is for Foraging: Top chefs are joining the search—often in secret locations—for wild edible plants plucked straight from nature (as opposed to cultivated). Tyler Herald of Napolese and Craig Baker of The Local Eatery & Pub are known to incorporate foraged goodies—like wild ramps and dandelion greens—into their seasonal dishes.

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Lost and Found: Indiana Road Trips

When city-dwellers dream of the simple life, what they imagine are the petite gems of Indiana’s countryside. And it turns out these places are even prettier, the people friendlier, and the autumn leaves more colorful in real life. It’s honest-to-God Americana—only small. You have to look for it (as we did on these five trips). But don’t worry, you’ll find it. Just be sure to drive slowly, or you might blink and—well, you know.

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Track Survival Kits

In 2012, Sun King donated $10,000 in product (wholesale price), and recently the company decided to add something a little different. They’re partnering with other like-minded Indiana businesses to create gift packs for various holidays and special events, starting with this weekend’s Indy 500.

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ROAD TRIP: Spire Farm-to-Fork

Located inside the Legacy Hills Golf Course’s clubhouse, Spire Farm-to-Fork (299 W. Johnson Rd., LaPorte, 219-575-7272) proves that small-town Hoosier dining can aspire to something more than gut-busting tenderloins and grandma-style pies. In the restaurant that opened in September of 2012, chef-owner Brad Hindsley prepares meals completely from scratch, using only fresh ingredients—never processed, packaged, or frozen—from farms within a 150-mile radius. On a recent visit, the menu touted 16 local produce vendors; nine meat, egg, and dairy farmers; and even five specialty vendors supplying such basics as sugar, flour, and honey.

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NEW IN TOWN: Jack's Donuts

A wall-sized case holds 35-plus different offerings—rings, cake, yeast, twists, fritters, holes, sticky glazed, sprinkle-coated, cream-filled, chocolate-glazed, peanut-coated. And they’re 99 cents apiece.

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Recipe: Mint to Be

Mint Condition: This hardy herb—which grows rampantly all over Indiana—can add a refreshing flavor to springtime meals.

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Foodie: Valerie Vanderpool of Zest

“I have a hard time corralling myself, because I get excited,” she says. That boundless enthusiasm will come in handy as she debuts her cocktail-bar project, Twist Lounge, this month. “It’ll be Zest’s sexy sister next door.”

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Flying Colors: TFC Raw

Sweet treats get plenty of attention during the spring and summer party circuits. But ask for a gluten-free or dairy-free cupcake, and you’re bound to be let down by dry, fun-free substitutes. Not for long—The Flying Cupcake (TFC) has a plan for Celiac disease sufferers and nondairy doers. Starting May 1st, Indiana-based baking entrepreneur Kate Bova Drury will reopen her Illinois Street spot (5617 N. Illinois St.) as TFC Raw, devoted to gluten-free and dairy-free cupcakes. Using a special blend of flours containing tapioca flour, potato starch, and brown rice flour (and, in some recipes, almond meal), allergy-trained bakers will devote all of the ovens and an entire display case to 5 to 12 varieties of cupcakes (and even a flour-free peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie).

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Q&A with Matt Meinema of PEARings Frozen Yogurt & Beyond

Frozen yogurt spots are taking over the city and suburbs, but first-time restaurant owner Matt Meinema believes he’s on the right track to offer something slightly different. Meinema filled us in on what we can expect at PEARings Frozen Yogurt & Beyond (6 W. Washington St., 317-608-6456).

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RECIPE: Good Morels

INGREDIENTS

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New in Town: Plat 99

Chic snacks like oysters, sushi, and cheese and meat boards are served at the bar, along with short-rib paninis, pork arepas, and foie gras profiteroles. And a spirit of historical authenticity guides the cocktails. General manager Michael Gray (formerly of The Libertine) has made sure of that, with a timeline-themed menu based on the year the libation was invented. Feeling Victorian? Order an Absinthe concoction, served with a sugar cube and water. Or go back to the 1980s and slurp on a tart Cosmopolitan. If you were going to dress the part, though, we’d prefer to see petticoats and crinoline, not spandex and Aqua Net hair-poufs. 333 S. Delaware St., 855-200-3002.

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PREVIEW: Bakersfield Mass Ave

Nestled in the former Bazbeaux space downtown, Bakersfield Mass Ave. promises Mexican fare, late-night dining, and a country-rock soundtrack this spring. Expect the Prada-gonia set camped out at the bar picking on pretty little handmade corn-tortilla tacos with achiote-braised pork, pickled red onions, habanero salsa, and cilantro and washing them down with Mason jars filled with fresh-squeezed margaritas. The menu will offer seven different street-style tacos, two tortas, two salads, and a few appetizers and soups. But Bakersfield will be as much a bar as a restaurant: This rustic-style joint will also offer 100 tequila and bourbon choices and vintage cocktails alongside $2 PBRs (served in a glass boot). If the second location of Bakersfield is anything like the original Cincinnati spot, anticipate crowds and long waits. 334 Massachusetts Ave., bakersfieldmassave.com

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