April 2018 First Bite
Matcha Maker — Flavor of the month
If you like your caffeine minus the jitters, ask the barista for a matcha latte next time. Matcha is a fine powder made from stone-ground green tea, known for its balance of energizing caffeine and calming L-theanine, an amino acid believed to reduce anxiety and focus the mind. It has grassy notes with a mellow sweet finish and dates back to 12th-century Buddhist tea ceremonies in Japan. Unlike traditional green tea, for which the leaves are steeped in hot water and discarded, matcha fans consume the entire leaf, doubling down on the flavor and antioxidant benefits. Today, you’ll find matcha in everything from cocktails to donuts. At Ukiyo, the green powder is sprinkled on top of karaage (Japanese fried chicken), balancing the sweetness of crispy honeycomb bits. Chocolate for the Spirit has a gorgeous white chocolate and matcha bark topped with coconut flakes and pink peppercorns. Soho Cafe & Gallery serves a matcha latte with the silky richness of the traditional espresso drink. And at Asaka, sushi chef Nina Takamure created a matcha Bavarian cream that puts a savory Japanese spin on the classic European dessert. — Suzanne Krowiak
Pinch of Wisdom
“Be patient when you bake, and you’ll get better results. Avoid over-mixing cakes, and don’t be tempted to open the oven repeatedly, which will increase the baking time. Be conscious of what you’re doing, and your baked goods will tell you when they’re done.” — Gwendolyn Rogers, baker to the stars, who’s opening a second Cake Bake Shop, in Carmel’s City Center
Circle of Life — Road Trip
Growing up in Napa Valley, Sal Fernandez watched the sleepy coastal town of Yountville transform into a culinary mecca when renowned chef Thomas Keller opened The French Laundry there in the early 1990s. Fernandez envisions a similar transformation for Greencastle, home to the Bridge’s Craft Pizza & Wine Bar that opened in August under the helm of this CIA-trained toque who has worked with culinary royalty like Top Chef competitor Rogelio Garcia. Fernandez had a good feeling about the project the minute he laid eyes on the dilapidated former coin store and skating rink on the town square. So far, he has brought scratch-made pasta, artisan pizza, and signature dishes like fried ravioli filled with velvety braised beef tongue to this little pocket of Putnam County. And he’s just getting started. “My goal from the very beginning,” says Fernandez, “has been to win a James Beard Award.” 19 N. Indiana St., Greencastle, 765-653-0021 — Julia Spalding
WILD RICE In February, Nebraska-based Blue Sushi Sake Grill rolled out its premium cold sake and a popular happy hour inside the Ironworks Hotel. SOLAR POWER Sun King Brewing plans to open a Fishers brewery with a 3,000-square-foot rooftop patio and event rental space. LAKE EFFECT Scott and Nyla Wolf are plotting their fifth Wolfie’s Grill location. The Geist spot will offer a beer garden and boat parking in the former Lake House Restaurant.