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Food & Drinks

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NEW IN TOWN: Late Harvest Kitchen

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.

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A Farewell to Ross Faris of Your Neighbor's Garden

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.

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Mini Review: Sonata Cafe

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).

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Swoon List: 5 Things We Adore Right Now

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

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First Friday Food Truck Festival

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 […]

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Meat the Press

Chris Eley’s Smoking Goose Meatery got a mention in a piece in The New York Times on The Lost Art of Buying from a Butcher.

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Like a Vegan: Madonna's Super Bowl Food Itinerary

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?

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NEW IN TOWN: Vino Villa

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?)

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Swoon List: 5 Things We Adore Right Now

The nectar-like Black Cherry Guava Mojito, with a muddled mint base and rummy kick, at Bonefish Grill (4501 E. 82nd St., 863-3474; 1001 N. State Road 135, Greenwood, 884-3992). The Hula Dog, topped with pineapple relish and grilled onions, at the new

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Time After Time

The Times. It is a Changin.

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Review: The Libertine

Of all the experiments chef Neal Brown has conducted, whether in his kitchen laboratoire or the culinary free market, none has come as close to successful alchemy as The Libertine Liquor Bar, his shrine to the cocktail in a Washington Street storefront downtown. A shot of Scandinavian austerity, a jigger of pre-Prohibition American frontier swagger, and a dash of orange bitters dosed from eyedroppers by Brown’s exacting barkeeps, The Libertine is a study in contrasts—some logical, some forced—that all mingle, dazzlingly. Take “The Last Word,” one of several clever coinages on Brown’s drink menu. It mixes Bluecoat gin, lending its distinctly piney profile, with Luxardo maraschino and green chartreuse, haute liqueurs as opposite as stop and go. A bracing hit of lime merges these improbable comrades into a restrained elixir that cleanses the palate at the same time it sweetens it, a beguiling medicine you’re all too glad to take.

Flavor of the Month, Indianapolis Monthly, November 2011
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Flavor of the Month: Let's Talk Turkey

1470 E. Schacht Rd., Bloomington

812-824-6425

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Seasonal Disorder?

Okay, Pumpkin-Flavored Seasonal Treats. You think you can just casually pop back into our lives after all this time–an entire year? Who do you think you are, The McRib?

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NEW IN TOWN: Mama Irma Restaurant

Fountain Square’s new Mama Irma Restaurant (1058 Virginia Ave., 317-423-2421) is a tribute to the diverse cuisine of Peru. Dish titles are in Peruvian Spanish, but the plates have Spanish, Japanese, African, and Italian influences. Diners can get a taste of that diversity in dishes ranging from citrus-soaked ceviche (the Peruvian national dish) to the native favorite lomo saltado, a warm toss of steak, veggies, and French fries. (And everything tastes better with a dollop or dip of the smooth Peruvian yellow sauce that swaddles the papas a la huancaina and a number of other plates.) The sheer expanse of flavors that Peruvian cooking incorporates is obvious from the seafood feasts, sticky tallarin noodles, fried rice, and battered Yucca root that emerge steaming from the kitchen. 

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Coming Soon: Tini

Small is the new big at Mass Ave bar-in-the-works, Tini, scheduled to open in early December next to Chatham Tap. True, it will be a martini bar, but the name speaks to more than the featured beverage. At only 1,200 square feet, this space maxes out at 50 people. Don’t be deterred by the size. The theme is Vodka and Video, with a full bar boasting more than 50 vodkas–including some local and organic labels–and six 40-inch flatscreens showcasing music videos. “Part of the whole concept is to bring back what I consider a lost art of music videos,” says owner Brad Kime, who envisions themed weeknights (such as a One Hit Wonder Night or Lady Gaga Night), with corresponding beverages. “It’s going to be a little more fun,” adds Kime, an Indy native and long-time local barfly. This is his first venture in bar ownership. “I know about the business from sitting on that side of the bar,” he says. “Now there are a lot of things I’m going to learn on this side of the bar.”

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