I rolled into Indianapolis ready to find the good eats. They had to be here somewhere, right? I know that when one thinks of fabulous food, one doesn’t necessarily think of Indiana (sorry, Indiana). Let’s face it: Indianapolis is known for race cars and basketball and not much else.
I spent my first two days asking for recommendations every chance I got. I was staying in a chain hotel, and the concierge made chain-hotel style recommendations, pointing me towards the usual bland American fare that most tourists probably love.
I, however, am not most tourists when it comes to eating. I’m willing to walk as far as my feet will take me to find great craft cocktail bars and foot-to-table restaurants. I struggled to find both in this town. My first night, a local shop owner pointed me towards a nearby burger joint and there I went, resigned to what I assumed would be a week of mediocre meals.
I admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the place. I enjoyed a local IPA, recommended by the
|Burger, Fries, Beer. It was fine.|
I did strike up a conversation with a woman at the bar. I noticed that the bartender knew her by name, implying that she was a local. She was. Her name is Julie, and she had some great recommendations for me.
Her number one favorite place is Milk Tooth. She raved about this place. It’s a farm-to-table style diner and there is usually a wait. Score! I went there for lunch today and had what might be the best
|Ridiculous iced coffee with|
carrot and lemongrass.
My meal was even more unusual and yet comforting at the same time. I enjoyed a Spanish manchego & grapefruit dutch baby pancake with shaved brussel sprouts, shallots, hazlenuts, and sherry vinaigrette. I had no idea what a dutch baby pancake was, and I didn’t care. I had to eat this.
I knew it would be too much food but couldn’t resist adding a sour cream and maple roasted sweet potato biscuit, topped with cranberry butter and pomegranate seeds.
I still can’t believe I got to eat such wonderful, delicious food. The only downside to the meal is that
|Maple sour cream sweet potato biscuit|
with cranberry butter, and that dutch
baby pancake. I ate every bite.
The next day, after my conference was done was for the afternoon, I hit the streets. The sun finally came out after three days of rain and I couldn’t wait to walk the 1.3 miles to Julie’s second recommendation: Blue Beard. This is a farm to table style restaurant featuring craft cocktails with a menu that changes daily. I got there right when they opened and took a seat at the bar.
The next thing I know, the woman sitting next to me was my new best friend. She offered to let me
|Steak tartare and the best cauliflower|
I've ever had. Note the blueberry
Chatting with my new friends was delightful, and after Ramona and
I said our goodbyes, a couple sat down in her place and were lovely as well. I don’t know if it was the venue, the city culture, or that I’m getting better at getting out of my introvert box, but I don’t recall having such delightful conversations with folks at a bar pretty much ever.
And – the food. I enjoyed roasted cauliflower that was heaven in a bowl, and steak tartare that easily rivals the tartare I had in Paris. I washed that down with a house-designed blueberry cocktail and then a Bee’s Knees, which might be my new favorite drink.
|The restaurant has a Kurt Vonnegut theme,|
and it was Good Friday. My check was
presented inside the front cover.
That's my credit card peeking out on
I happily walked back to the hotel, quite pleased with myself. I knew the good food was here somewhere. I just had to find it.