Discovering Indianapolis

Despite its proximity to Ohio, I had never ventured west to Indiana, bizarre as that may seem. But when a close friend moved to Indianapolis, it was the perfect opportunity to discover what the city had to offer. It was a quick trip, and I was really just looking forward to two days of nonstop gossip, and yes, drinking. We didn’t waste much time, as we immediately headed to brunch after I arrived. Broad Ripple, an adorable hipster neighborhood, was our destination, and my friend took me to the amazing eatery Petite Chou by Patachou. The wait was long, but we knew what would make it more bearable – Mimosas! From the long list, we selected Lavender, and we gripped our pitcher tightly as we crouched in the corner by the door. Once we got a table, the amazing menu was even more daunting, but I was very pleased with my Ratatouille Crepe Provencal selection. Fantastic!
After some casual window shopping in Broad Ripple (and a purchase of two colorful champagne flutes!), we headed back to my friend’s house (which is adorable, by the way) and uncorked a bottle of 2003 Alovini Armand Aglianico del Vulture (Basilicata, Italy, imported by Specialty Wine Company, $24). It tasted better after it opened up a bit and was a lovely, rich, complex wine with some great herbal and earthy flavors. It may have been a bit much after the Mimosas, but heck, I was on vacation!
For dinner, we had hoped to go to Ball and Biscuit, but the website basically lied and said it was open on Sundays when it actually wasn’t. Nevertheless, we ended up having a great time at St. Elmo in downtown Indy. Being a steakhouse, it wasn’t ideal for me culinarily (is that a word?), so I focused on the wine and the company. 🙂 We shared a 2008 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley, $81 at the restaurant). While certainly not a bad Pinot, I don’t think its $40 retail price is justified – it just didn’t have the complexity or elegance that I was looking for. I guess I’ll have to spring for the higher-level “Laurene” bottling to find out what Drouhin’s real chops are like. 🙂
The following day, as I dragged around my rather massive hangover (my fault, I know!!), we entered what is basically my paradise – an amazing wine store, Vine and Table. Similar to West Point in Akron, they had both an extensive wine section as well as gourmet food. The most impressive part was the Burgundy and Bordeaux collection that they keep under lock and key in the climate-controlled room which also includes other high-end bottlings. A case of La Tache, anyone? By then I was feeling better and definitely ready for lunch, so we headed to a fantastic little place, Blu Moon Cafe, which had several kinds of gourmet sandwich and a dessert display to die for. My sandwich was yummy – Brie, roasted pears, and spinach – but dessert was what we were both looking forward to. It was a tough decision – especially with the homemade ding dongs staring us down – but we opted for the Orange and Kumquat Cheesecake with a gingersnap crust. It was delicious, to say the least, and perfect since it wasn’t too sweet. The kind server thought she was doing us a favor by cutting us a gigantic slice, but even with two of us hacking away at it, we barely made a dent. Somehow, however, I managed to consume most of it on the drive home…
It went by two quickly, but I had a wonderful time in Indy… the food and wine certainly helped, but it’s friends that make it worthwhile in the end! 🙂

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