BREW NEWS: Three Floyds
Chicago Magazine got some great shots of Three Floyds brewery’s 15th birthday bash in Munster. Check them out here.
When Zing, the small-plates-then-big-plates eatery on Indiana Avenue, closed last May, we knew it wouldn’t be long before someone came along to snatch up this historic, two-story gem of a restaurant location. But we were surprised to hear it would soon be the second outpost of Avon strip-mall Cajun eatery Nawlins Creole Cafe. Hopefully they could do the big, flashier space justice. So when we saw an open sign lit up in the window after the John Waters event at the Madame Walker Saturday night, we dashed across West Street to try it out.
Gorgeous beets of several varieties (the goldens get snapped up fast), ice cream from Lick, crepes from 3 Days in Paris, lettuces of every stripe, fresh eggs, sausages from Smoking Goose (alas, the bacon sold out early, save for the lamb variety), bright Brussels sprouts, bison steaks from Circle L Bison Farm and, oh goodness, just about everything else you might want to eat was on offer this weekend at the Indy Winter Farmers Market, enjoying its inaugural Saturday in the west wing of the City Market. The Star had some great photos of the bin action. But our favorite discovery of the week were the colorful and super-delicious breakfast boxes from Fermenti Artisan: local eggs, veggies, cheese (goat, from Capriole), and sausage griddled up hot, topped with bright Fermenti kraut, and served in a Chinese-food takeout container.
With its famously shifting panoramic view, The Eagles Nest (1 S. Capitol Ave, 317-616-6170) has always been good for a change of scenery. But after nearly two months of renovations, the circular restaurant will have yet another look. Although still under construction, a recent tour of the space revealed promising touches like silver champagne bubble designs on the walls and new carpet (no more maroon). Expect an all-new contemporary, vibrant design—something to capture the glitzy downtown experience the restaurant has become famous for. Signature pieces of furniture are being crafted specifically for the space, which will feature gold satin wall covering, bright artwork against white walls, and industrial silver pendant lighting. Coinciding with this first full renovation in 10 years, the restaurant is bringing in award-winning chef and cookbook author, John Pivar to man the kitchen. Doors are slated to reopen Nov. 17.
Gone are the rustic mailboxes, the grape-vine wreaths, and the weathered tin watering cans. But chef-owner Ryan Nelson, former executive chef at The Oceanaire Seafood Room, has kept a good deal of the woodsy charm of the old Smith and Hawken location for his first solo effort, Late Harvest Kitchen (8605 River Crossing, 317-663-8063), which opened officially to the public on Friday night. We had fun trying to imagine where a bank of shelves might have been or whether we were dining in a former storage room or not (and dreaming of warmer weather to dine in the pergola outside). Nelson has definitely made the space his own, and a cozy bar inside the entryway, a dining room with sweeping ceilings, and elegant dark wood against white walls demonstrate the attention that’s gone into converting this former retail space into the latest seasonally inspired eatery to open in town.
Indy’s restaurant community suffered a tragic loss over the weekend. On Saturday, Ross Faris, owner of vegetable-stand-to-the-chefs Your Neighbor’s Garden, died from injuries suffered in a bicycle accident. IM had featured Faris many times in its pages, including this excerpt from the June 2008 feature on local farmers, Farm Hands:
Fifteen years after retiring from Eli Lilly Credit Union, Ross Faris is a natural fit for farmers markets—on both the agricultural and business fronts. In the late ’80s, he helped restaurateur Peter George—owner of Peter’s Restaurant and a driving force in Indy’s fine-dining scene at the time—organize Indy’s first farmers market in decades. The market, on the sidewalk in front of George’s north-side restaurant, helped spur the markets in Broad Ripple and downtown. These days, Faris uses his talents to expand his own family business, peddling his homegrown vegetables at five area farmers markets and providing a long list of local restaurants with produce from various local growers. His roster of clients includes some of the city’s best places to eat—places that know a superior tomato when they see one. Elements, L’Explorateur, Harry & Izzy’s, St. Elmo, Goose the Market, and H2O Sushi all use his produce in their dishes. Chef Regina Mehallick of R Bistro looks for asparagus from Your Neighbor’s Garden as the first sign of the growing season. “It heralds spring,” she says of the spears she serves with pancetta, local free-range egg salad, and rhubarb dressing.
While some know Sonata Cafe Bar & Art (31 E. Main St., Carmel, 317-844-5551) for its grab-and-go pastries and frappes made with Lavazza, others head to the upper level of this recent addition to the Carmel Arts District for small-plate fare. Designed by Brazilian architect Daniela Kohl, the lofted upstairs is a jewel of a space, with mustard-colored seats and dark wood tables, Chihuly-like two-story chandelier made by local artist Lisa Pelo, and walls adorned with paintings by local artists (hence the awkward addendum to the cafe’s name).
The food-styled Crazy Roll topped with shredded spicy crab and served with a carved-lemon head at Ichiban Sushi Bar & Sammy’s Asian Cuisine (8265 US 31 South, 317-883-1888). Almost too cute to eat. A dense, assertively sweet wedge of chocolate chip pie from Sisters’ Place (215 Terrace Ave., 317-631-0441)—more resembling a chocolate bar
Hundreds of gourmets and gourmands alike braved the cold and crammed the parking lot of the Old National Centre Friday night for what proved to be Indy’s biggest food truck event. Featuring nearly 20 food trucks, local beers and wines, live music, and dj sets, this third monthly First Friday Food Truck Festival showcased a dizzying array of culinary delights, everything from food truck pioneer West Coast Tacos and foodie favorite Scratch Truck to relative newcomers such as Some of This! Some of That! featuring generous po’ boys and comforting red beans and rice and the Big Green Bistro, sponsored by Chef JJ’s Backyard. Chef JJ’s “Bistro Box” was one of the more buzzed about items of this week’s festival, packing in a delectable tomato soup with plenty of late-summer herbs, a grilled cheese with Havarti and bacon from Goose the Market, a taco with meltingly tender 22-hour smoked pork butt, and a pumpkin cream with plenty of fall spices and crunchy nuts on top. Scratch Truck came in with a couple of new sides, including the iconic Canadian beer night food “poutine,” here featuring Scratch Truck’s earthy fries, savory chicken gravy, gooey mozzarella, and chopped rosemary and sage. Mabel on the Move cruised into downtown in its vintage Airstream trailer, serving up “buffalo” mac ‘n’ cheese with a kick of hot sauce and bleu cheese, as well as delectable raspberry-apple tarts. Especially popular trucks included Groovy Guy Fries, serving pizza fries, The New York Slice, and Der Pretzel Wagon, with plenty of Bavarian kitsch to go with their homemade pretzels. Standing outdoors on a chilly fall Friday never tasted this good!
Based on what we know about Madonna’s eating habits (no dairy, nothing processed, and easy on the spices) the Material Girl probably won’t be swinging by Virginia Kay’s Doughnuts on her way to (fingers crossed!) perform in the Super Bowl halftime show at Lucas Oil Stadium a few months from now. Gracious hosts that we are, IM assembled this quick Madonna-friendly guide to culinary Indy. What did we miss?
Indianapolis has no shortage of terrific wine shops, from the downtown Kahn’s Fine Wine & Spirits (25 N. Pennsylvania St., 632-9463), with its basement tasting bar, to the informative social hub of Mass Ave Wine Shoppe (878 Massachusetts Ave., 972-7966). But what wine geek worth his leather-bound tasting journal wouldn’t prefer to uncork his purchase on the spot and share it with anybody within pouring distance? (And then, who thought a rambling three-story house in Old Town Greenwood would step into the breach?)