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October’s First Bite

New In Town:
Sun King Spirits
351 Monon Blvd., Carmel, 317-843-6250

When Sun King Brewery introduced its two-story, 15,000-square-foot boutique distillery along the Monon this summer, Carmel locals didn’t just gain a new spot for cocktails and craft beer. They also tapped into a few of Indy’s most beloved food concepts: Oca meats and cheeses from Smoking Goose, food-truck fave Pi Pizza, Fountain Square standard La Margarita, and Fortville’s FoxGardin Kitchen & Ale. Guests can order food—a textbook muffaletta or well-dressed sausage, a Figgy Piggy pizza on a light-as-air crust, a tortilla stuffed with Sun King Wee Mac–braised brisket—at the landmark brewery’s third location, Sun King Spirits. Its open-concept hipster food court debuted with the promise of Sun King’s own artisan gin, rum, vodka, and barrel-aged brandy in the months ahead, and, in the meantime, some bona fide stand-ins (Cardinal Spirits, Hotel Tango, 8th Day Distillery, and Louisville’s Copper & Kings). Sip an ice-cream–crowned Sunlight Dreamsicle, with Bird Royale spiking the brewery’s popular Sunlight Cream Ale, and enjoy the trailside views as your own spirits rise.

Pinch of Wisdom

“When you’re slow-cooking meat, give it a rub with some good salt and pepper. Literally rub it in, because you want to melt that salt down to more of a liquid form. That will create a seal on the end of the muscle fibers to maintain the moisture content.”—Rob Ecker, owner of Lizton’s Rusted Silo Southern BBQ & Brewhouse, which opened in April

Discovery:
Tandoor & Tikka
805 W. 10th St., 317-653-1457

Pizza, wraps, and chicken tikka masala may hail from very different corners of the globe, but at Tandoor & Tikka, the bright new fast-casual Indian restaurant near IUPUI, those far-flung flavors reside on a single plate. Owner Himan Garg has cooked up a counter-service concept that’s as clever as it is quick. First, you select a format—from a traditional rice bowl to pizzas and sandwiches on housemade naan. Then the fun starts. From a delectable list of meats, veggies, and curries, choose tandoori chicken, rich masala lamb, or paneer scented with mint and basil. After a dollop of a flavorful sauce such as creamy korma or fiery vindaloo, dishes are finished with crunchy, aromatic garnishes like green chilies and pickled onions. Crispy samosas, homemade chutneys, and craft beers round out the menu. For maximum fun, grab a booth fashioned from vintage rickshaws.

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A graduate of IU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, Terry Kirts hails from a town in Illinois so small it didn’t have a restaurant until he was in the 8th grade. Since 2000, he’s more than made up for the dearth of eateries in his childhood, logging hundreds of meals as the dining critic for WHERE Indianapolis, Indianapolis Woman, and NUVO before joining Indianapolis Monthly as a contributing editor in 2007. A senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poetry and creative nonfiction in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Gastronomica, Alimentum, and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, and he’s the author of the poetry collection To the Refrigerator Gods, published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2011.
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