Tag Archives: Indianapolis Restaurants

Dig In Celebrates Hoosier Food

31 Aug

I was lucky enough to attend the second annual Dig In event this past Sunday courtesy of my good friends at Yelp! Indy.  More on that in a minute.  First, I have to deal with a bit of business.  Last week’s Eversave giveaway yielded ZERO entries!  So obviously it didn’t appeal to my readers.  If anyone has any comments, I’d love to hear them.  Now, back to Dig In.

Dig In at White River State Park

Dig In is a farm to fork event–in other words, Indiana chefs, food producers and farmers come together to celebrate Indiana food.  If that isn’t cool enough, the event took place at White River State Park , a great setting on such a gorgeous day.  There were 27 chefs, 11 breweries and 9 wineries offering samples as well as many more producers offering products for sale.  I was determined to taste everything, but had to call it quits after visiting 13 chefs, and even at that I only had a bite or two of many of the dishes.  It simply isn’t possible to leave this event hungry!

A Selection of Tarts by Chef Greg Scheisser

Here are some of the highlights.  My favorite dish was a tie between the pulled pork with baked beans and bacon foam by Chef Brendon Cheney from the JW Marriott and the applewood smoked lamb with grilled peach and poblano relish and corn, wild rice and goat cheese fritter by Chefs Braulio de la Torre and Ryan Evans from the Severin Bar & Grill.  Another stand out for me was the smoked turkey and ginger sausage by Chef Chris Eley of Goose the Market.  As for the sweets, I really enjoyed the peach and frangipane tart by Chef Cindy Hawkins at Circle City Sweets and the toasted salted caramel marshmallows from 240Sweet.

Pulled Pork w/ Baked Beans & Bacon Foam by Chef Brendon Cheney

There were so many more foods I loved, as well as many beers.  And there were so many more things I didn’t get to try!  I’d like to hear from those of you who went–what were some of your favorites?

Save the Date!

Murder Mystery Dinner Giveaway!

26 Aug

I recently partnered up with Eversave to offer daily deals to my readers.  In case you don’t know about Eversave, it is a deal site that offers daily deals or “saves” in Indianapolis and other major markets throughout the country.  And they are allowing me to give today’s Indianapolis deal for FREE to one lucky reader!


Occasions DivineToday’s Save:$25 for a ticket to a mystery dinner and wine tasting with Occasions Divine ($50 value)

Expires 11:59 PM – Aug 28, 2011

Here are some more details about today’s save:

  • Dinner and the murder mystery show takes place at the historic Propylaeum and lasts about three hours
  • Tour the Victorian club house located in the Old Northside neighborhood
  • Choose French, Continental or Cajun cuisine as your culinary theme
  • Buy multiple Saves to dabble in your crime-solving detective skills with friends

You can buy today’s save by clicking here.  But how can you win it?

First, follow me on Twitter (if you don’t already).  Then, use this link to do the following before midnight on Sunday, August 28:

  • Become a member of Eversave
  • Become a Fan of Eversave on Facebook
  • Follow EversaveIND on Twitter

Then tweet this blog post and mention both @tweet2tj and @EversaveIND.  Want to increase your chances of winning?  Each additional tweet before midnight on August 28th is worth one additional entry.  Winner will be chosen by random drawing on Monday, August 29.

Good luck!

Devour Downtown Starts Today!

8 Aug

Last time Devour Downtown came around, I posted that while I appreciate the prices, it isn’t my favorite way to enjoy a restaurant.  That being said, there are some restaurants who really do Devour well, with great menus and great service that is too good to pass up.  In general, I think the steakhouses do a great job.  Fogo de Chao offers the full experience (including dessert!) for $30 which is a steal.  And I have had great experiences at both St. Elmo and The Capital Grille during Devour Downtown.

This time I’m looking forward to trying Sensu and Turner’s.  How about you?  What do you think about Devour Downtown–love it or leave it?  What restaurants do it well?

Artistic Fare Oakley’s Bistro

1 Aug

Oakley's Bistro Suckling Pig Starter

Oakley’s Bistro is the restaurant equivalent to a trophy wife–so beautiful you believe it’s worth every penny.  The dining room has a french country feel and the food presentation is beyond artistic–it’s stunning.  You really can’t help but “ohhh and ahhh” over the plates as they come out.  But the over-the-top presentation and menu prices caused me to have very high expectations.  While the food and overall dining experience was good, I left feeling disappointed. Continue reading 

Mississippi Belle Feeds the Soul

13 Jun

There’s a place where I go to dine in shame and fat pants.  Not because it’s a shameful place.  Because the food is so good that you can’t help but stuff yourself in a truly shameful manner.

Mississippi Belle Pork, Sweet Potatoes & Fried Chicken

I’m talking comfort food at it’s best.  There’s nothing fancy about Mississippi Belle, they don’t take credit cards and don’t serve alcohol.  But what they do, they do well: soul food that will make your eyes roll back in your head. Continue reading 

Tacos at Monon Food Company

10 Jun

Tacos at Monon Food Co.

I’ve been hearing about the tacos at Monon Food Company for quite some time.  So I finally decided to see what all the buzz is about.  In case you haven’t been to Monon Food Company, you should know they do a heck of a lot more than tacos.  Their dinner menu features sandwiches, salads, pizzas and entrees like salmon, meatloaf, ribs and mac and cheese.  They also serve brunch on the weekends.  But this visit was just about the tacos. Continue reading 

Appetizers at Harry & Izzy’s

9 Jun

I met some friends recently for a late dinner at Harry & Izzy’s.  We decided to do appetizers and salads as no one was in the mood for a big meal.  So I guess I’ll have to go back sometime for a more complete review!

Harry & Izzy's Shrimp Cocktail

Although I had never been to Harry & Izzy’s, I had an idea I would like it.  It’s owned by the same people who own St. Elmo Steakhouse and I’ve always been a big St. Elmo fan.  Harry & Izzy’s has the same classy feel as St. Elmo, yet is more comfortable and relaxed.  They also feature the famous St. Elmo shrimp cocktail: jumbo shrimp with a blow-your-head-off, painfully delicious sauce.  This really brings meaning to “hurts so good”. Continue reading 

Review of Tegry Bistro

14 May

Ok, I admit it.  I’m a little spoiled.  Not in the traditional sense.  Well, okay, that too.  But what I’m talking about is Asian food.  I lived in Seattle for six years, a city with a large Asian population and and amazing food.  So when I go out for sushi, I turn into a total snob.  I’ve been anything from underwhelmed to disgusted by the sushi offerings in Indianapolis.  But there are a few restaurants that can make me happy, and Tegry Bistro is one.  Continue reading 

Dinner at Donatello’s Italian Restaurant in Carmel

13 Apr

What’s better than a home-cooked meal?  When someone else does the cooking!  That’s what dinner at Donatello’s is like.  And for good reason.  Donatello’s is family owned and operated by mom, dad and son and they cook up grandma’s recipes daily.  Like grandma’s house, it isn’t very big, so be sure to make reservations.

My friend and I started with toasted ravioli, which they call “a Midwestern take on an Italian comfort dish”.  As it turned out, that meant large, filled with a generous amount of creamy cheese and served with a homemade red sauce.  This is without question the best fried ravioli I’ve ever had.  Period.

Donatello's Toasted Ravioli

The rest of our meal didn’t disappoint either.  Continue reading 

Fine Dining at 14 West

14 Mar

14 West Lobster Rabini

They say good things come in small packages, and at 14 West fine dining comes in a small, intimate setting.  Chef Tracy Lemmonds presents beautiful, well-crafted dishes, while the elegant atmosphere and service round out the dining experience.

Sesame Crusted Ahi

From the appetizer menu, my table enjoyed Sesame Crusted Ahi, Tempura Battered Calamari, and Lobster Mac-n-Cheese–three distinctly different dishes that represent the somewhat eclectic menu.  The rare Ahi was complemented by a wonderful combination of flavors and textures–spicy, sweet and salty flavors of mango, wasabi and soy glaze with the crunch of sesame seeds and tender, toothsome soba noodles.  Yet despite all the flavors and textures, the steak-like rare Ahi was still the star.

Without question, the calamari was the best I’ve had in recent memory.  Too often, calamari is overcooked, giving it a rubbery texture.  But this was tender, and I liked the combination of the asian-style tempura batter with the tangy apricot chipotle sauce.

Tempura Battered Calamari

The Lobster Mac was everything macaroni and cheese should be.  Think rich, creamy and decadent, then add perfectly cooked lobster claws.  And just try to save room for the rest of your meal!

From the second course offerings we chose the Iceberg Wedge Salad and New England Clam Chowder.  The wedge salad was more flavorful than most, with a Maytag bleu cheese dressing that had an assertive dill flavor and a garnish of chopped red onions.  Personally, I loved the combination, but some at my table thought it was a bit much.  We could all agree, however, that the chowder was excellent.  The texture was just slightly less thick than traditional clam chowder, but no less creamy, and it had a wonderful smokey bacon flavor that while noticeable, did not overpower the sweetness of the crab.

Lobster Rabini

When the Lobster Rabini entree arrived at the table, I was worried that the flavor would not stand up to the magnificent (although phallic) presentation.  I had nothing to worry about.  Tender lobster tail, jumbo shrimp, sherry caper sauce.  What’s not to like?  Nothing.  It was perfection.

And although the presentation of the Lamb Shank (locally grown at Viking Farms) was less elegant, it was no less impressive.  There’s something about a huge plate of bone-in meat that just makes you want to put your face in it.  But I managed to show some restraint and use my fork (no knife necessary, this was fall-off-the-bone tender).  The lamb is accompanied with a corn risotto that really works with the strong wine and lamb flavors.

Viking Farms Lamb Shank

The Chilean Sea Bass was the only disappointment of the evening.  Although the menu says “seared” it was battered and fried.  What a terrible way to treat such a lovely fish!  It tasted fine, but sea bass should never be “just fine”.  I did enjoy the complexity of the red wine risotto that it was served atop, however it was slightly undercooked.  Another minute or so in the pan would have created risotto perfection.

Chilean Sea Bass

Of course no meal is complete without dessert.  If you read my earlier post about Tavern on South, you know that I have very high standards when it comes to sweets.  14 West did not disappoint.  The carrot cake with Grand Marnier frosting is quite simply the best carrot cake I’ve ever had.  I would challenge even carrot-cake haters to find fault with it.

Grand Marnier Carrot Cake

The creme brulee was traditionally prepared and had the perfect not too thin, not too thick texture.  And our server even noted that it was my birthday and dressed the plate accordingly.

Creme Brulee

For superior service, great ambiance and impressive food, I give 14 West on overall rating of 3.0.  Here’s the breakdown:

Price = $$$

Deliciousness = 3 (Excellent)

Ambiance = 3 (A Feast for the eyes)

Service =4 (Staff is proficient in fine dining service)

Bang for Your Buck = 2 (Overall experience justifies the price)

Overall Dining Experience = 3.0 (Excellent/Superior)

Click here for an explanation of my Restaurant Rating System.
14 West on Urbanspoon

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