Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The place is really cool-looking. Super-clean, a little modern, very interesting. I loved this wall they had:
There's also an assortment of Colts gear for sale:
You can see there are big-screen TVs (3 in all). There are also a few tables inside and seating outside along the Monon:
There really isn't too much service here, as you do everything yourself. You grab a (huge) cup and get in line. Then you serve yourself as little or as much yogurt you want from one or more of 10 yogurt dispensers along the wall:
After you get your yogurt, you move on to the toppings bar where you also serve yourself. This can be crazy if you have kids with you, they're eyes get as big as saucers when they find out they can put whatever they want in their cups. After you select your toppings, you get your cup weighed and you pay. That's it. There were a few employees around to help direct and so on, they were all helpful and pleasant.
These yogurts are really good. They have a changing menu, including premium, sugar-free, non-fat, and sugar-free/non-fat. I've tried the peanut butter/cookies & cream swirl (it's delicious, these must've been premium flavors as they were decadent) and the cake batter/red velvet cake swirl (these had to be premium, too, also very delicious). I tasted a bit of my friend's mountain berry and it was insanely good. I would do just that next time.
The toppings were what you would expect, an interesting thing I saw were self-serve (of course) dessert syrup topping bottles (in several flavors including caramel, key lime, vanilla, chocolate, etc.). Also, they had red velvet cake as a topping.
I forgot to take a picture of mine until I'd eaten a bit:
As you can see, I have a waffle cone bowl (which you can find where the line starts). I had the peanut butter/cookies & cream swirl with crushed Oreos/marshmallows and caramel syrup. I couldn't finish the waffle bowl and I wouldn't get it next time as the yogurt is really the star of the show.
You pay by weight at Huddles, $0.45/ounce. The waffle bowls are $1 extra. The size of the bowls are HUGE so it can be really easy to over-serve yourself. Take less than you think you want, you can always get more later because you're paying by weight. Ounces add up quickly!
The yogurts are awesome, the toppings are good, it's a lot fun of getting everything yourself and making your own concoctions, and there's Colts gear in the room. I love it. Huddles is definitely going to become a dessert stop for me.
Monday, July 26, 2010
The space is very large, spare, with plenty of bar-height and regular tables, plus a couple of booths. It was nicely done, not too much, I felt it kept with the idea of simplicity that the owner is trying to project.
Pure is a place where you place your order at the counter and then grab your utensils/napkin and get a seat (similar to Taste Cafe and Marketplace). Your food is brought out to you when it's ready. Everyone was friendly and someone did come to check on a couple of times, too. The place was not too busy so that may have been the reason for the extra attention (that and the fact that they are brand new to the scene).
Here's a view of their menu board (these change so they may not be the same if you go there):
My friend and I both ordered the Caponata Flat Bead (marinated eggplant, red onion, roasted red peppers, and provolone on flat bread). We chose different sides (for a small extra charge). I got a asparagus salad, my friend got the gazpacho.
The sandwich was pretty good, though a little bland. Both my friend and added salt and pepper to it. The ingredients seemed nice, but nothing out of this world. The asparagus salad was a disappointment, especially after being recommended at the counter. It was too vinegar-y or acidic, and not balanced well. The asparagus didn't have much going on either, so they didn't bring much to the party. I ate a couple pieces and couldn't finish it.
My friend's plate:
The standout of the day was the gazpacho. It was well-seasoned, wonderfully flavored, fresh, and light. If Pure can manage to create more dishes with the verve of the gazpacho, they'll do well.
The sandwich, side, and a drink set me back about $13.00 (incl. tip). I don't think that's outrageous, but it wasn't a steal either.
Pure Eatery is doing upscale sandwiches and sides, kind of like Taste when they first opened. I felt wholly underwhelmed by the experience. If I want a good sandwich, I'd go to Goose The Market or Taste Cafe and Marketplace first. All in all, I'm glad I tried it, but I probably won't go back until someone tells me they've really upped their game.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Picture a wide expanse of gently sloping lawn which has this at its base:
The sun sets behind the grand stage and I can honestly say that I feel I am somewhere else completely.
Here's a shot of people hanging out right before the music started:
One of the most fun things is that people come early and bring wine, beer, and food to have picnics during the event. Here's PART of our spread!
My friends and I went to the John Denver tribute a couple weekends ago and I can say that I was blown away. The music was masterful and expertly played. The singer (John Curry) that came to sing the John Denver songs was almost a perfect vocal (and physical!) match. It was a magical evening.
Check out this link for the Symphony on the Prairie for the rest of the season's schedule and ticket/venue information.
Trust me, this is a summertime event worth checking out. It's one of the nicest things Indy has to offer.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
And I am really glad I did.
The Indianapolis International Film Festival which lasts from July 15 - July 25 (so you still a few days to get out to see some of the films!) is being hosted at the IMA (which is a wonderful place just on its own).
My friend and I saw Fish Out of Water which was wonderful. My brief synopsis is that it is documentary exploring the way the Bible (specifically seven verses from the Bible) are used to repudiate homosexuality and the validity of those claims. Very interesting stuff. I came away with a much more lovely understanding of Jesus Christ, Christianity, and the Bible than I had going in. As a person who likes to study world religions, it was fascinating for me in that regard.
Unfortunately, this film is no longer being aired, but it looks there are still several great ones on the schedule.
Tickets for the time we went (3:15 pm) were $5 for students and $10 for regular admission.
Check it out! I think you'll enjoy it.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
We got in on Saturday afternoon and after settling in to our hotel, took a walk to the World's Fair grounds (it was held in Knoxville in 1982). Here's a picture I got from http://www.city-data.com/picfilesc/picc20965.php
It was a hot day, but the walk around the grounds was pleasant. Their canal area reminded me of Indy's Canal Walk downtown. I am not at all biased when say that Indy's is much better. Knoxville has several of fountains that shoot up from the ground. There were lots of kids (and adults!) enjoying the cool jets in the hot weather.
Knoxville has a rather small downtown area, but they did have a really cute little square called 'Market Square':
There were lots of very cute little shops and some really good restaurants. We ate at The Tomato Head and La Costa and really enjoyed them both. I am a vegetarian and I loved that there were several great vegetarian options at both.
There was also a small Arts Garden by Market Square that's dotted with interesting sculptures. It has a pond with a small waterfall and it's a pleasant place to walk through or sit for a bit.
All in all, we had a great time in Knoxville. It's charming and has just enough to offer for a couple days away.
And here's the doglet on the way back from Knoxville:
Monday, July 19, 2010
Sorry for the dark picture, but you can see the place is fun, very spacious, areas to hang out. The owner encourages people to write on little pink hearts and leave messages on the walls. There is also a wall of magazines, plus comfy couches, and free wi-fi to encourage people to stick around.
I've never had anything but kind service here. The owner and staff are happy to let you sample the flavors and explain the process. They also allowed me to take pictures in the restaurant (I always ask).
The yogurt was not screaming chocolate, but very subtle. It's a sugar-free, fat-free yogurt so it is a but watery and thin and there's little richness to the mouth feel. But it's pleasant. Certainly, if you want a decadent, creamy ice cream experience, this isn't the place for you.
I ordered a small with three toppings for about $4.15 after tax. As I have a smaller appetite, I generally share this size with my husband. I find it in line with other ice cream and yogurt places for this size and amount of toppings. Not cheaper, not more expensive.
A fun place, nice for hanging out, decent yogurt, great toppings. If you're right there and are looking for a sweet treat that's not going to be a calorie bomb, it's the place for you.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Here's the restaurant front:
Pleasant, you'll see some of the typical Thai restaurant hanging fabric art and the cat with the waving paw. Not exceptional, not terrible. It was clean and tidy, and I'm happy with that for a strip mall restaurant.
Pretty fast, attentive service. I've been to Jasmine Thai probably 10 times and service has never been an issue. All the waiters and waitresses are pretty good. Drinks are refilled quickly and they seem to accommodating, but then, I've never had any really odd requests beyond, "Can I have some salt?"
The lunch menu is a smaller version of their evening menu and all entrees come with a side of your choice of spring roll, salad, or soup (Thom Yum). The lunch entrees are priced at $6.99-$7.99 and feature the more popular Thai dishes (such as the curry dishes, the popular noodle dishes like Pad Thai, and others such as Pad Kra Prow). I am a pretty light eater, so the lunch portion of the red curry with extra vegetables I ordered is enough for 2 meals. I also had the spring roll (1 is served with a bit of sweet and sour sauce) as the appetizer.
The flavor is very good, not overly sweet like some curries can be. It's not the best red curry I've ever had and I felt it was lacking some essential ingredient that I couldn't put my finger on. It was almost there...but not quite. I ordered medium on their 5 point scale (mild, medium, medium hot, hot, Thai hot). The veggies were cooked to the point of being crisp-tender, and I liked that. As for the spring roll, it was a little rubbery. I wondered if had been pre-cooked and then re-heated. It had some shredded cabbage and carrots in it and was pleasant at best. I'd go with the Thom Yum soup next time.
I ordered a diet Coke with lemon along with my meal and the total was $9.53, $12.00 after tip. I felt that was reasonable for the amount of food I got.
Since I've already told you I've been here about 10 times, you can bet I'll be here again. This is my second favorite Thai restaurant in Indy and it's the closer one to my home (My favorite is Thai Spice across from the Greenwood Mall). I would say it's very good Thai food.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I’ve had some great experiences this summer in Indy. Visited the IMA for the Summer Nights series, went to Symphony on the Prairie, had many wonderful moments with wonderful friends at great area restaurants (more on all these later in future posts). But probably the most fulfilling thing I’ve done all summer is participating in a Silent Auction inspired by a 6-year-old boy’s desire to help with the Gulf Coast efforts.
As you can see, the auction raised a whopping $850 for the Ocean Conservancy!
Monday, July 12, 2010
It's located at 4709 North Shadeland in Indianapolis in a little strip mall. I have to admit, there's really nothing else around but a church across the street. They've been open two months and I hope they get a bunch of word of mouth traffic cause foot traffic is going to be hard to come by.
Very basic, recently brought up to snuff. It is a rather small space, probably seats 15-20. Nothing to write home about, but not dirty or anything. Lots of light (which I like).
The service we received was really fantastic. Everyone was friendly and welcoming. We were the only two in the place at the time, but I still think the owner/chef went beyond his duty to be a good host. I'm a service snob so when I get it, I like to acknowledge it.
The menu is pretty basic, offering a few daily specials (there was a lobster ravioli, a sausage lasagna, a meatball sub, and perhaps another item) and pizzas, subs, house salads, and some Italian dishes (such as spaghetti and meatballs, ravioli, lasagna, manicotti, stuffed shells, tortellini and some dishes with their alfredo sauce--which is supposed to be outstanding). There are also a few desserts, a couple of which are imported (bomba and canolli) from Italy.
I ordered a small salad (basic, but very fresh and tasty) and the stuffed shells ($7.99 for dinner portion + $1.00 for salad):
My picture is not the greatest (I'm looking at new digital cameras as we speak, if you have any recommendations, please send them my way!), but the food was nicely presented in a very "home" kind of way (note the dinnerware). The sauce was fresh and light, slightly sweet, not acidic at all. There were herbs and larger pieces of tomato, which I liked. The shells were hand stuffed with fresh, creamy ricotta, also well-studded with fresh basil and oregano. The bread sticks were fluffy and a bit crisp on the outside (and dusted with parmesan and oregano, as you can see). I was able to eat one shell and one breadstick. I probably could have eaten more, but I'd already eaten a salad and was anticipating dessert, so, I decided to take a to-go box.
My husband had a small salad and one of the specials of the day: the sausage lasagna (~$8.00 for the dinner portion + $1.00 for salad).
He loved it and said "it was robust in flavor and very fresh and home-style." I trust he's telling me the truth cause he polished off his entire plate. 'Nuff said.
For dessert we actually ordered both the imported desserts (the Italian Canolli--which we brought home and have stuck in the fridge 'cause we're stuffed, and the Italian Exotic Bomba): both were $3.75
This was a "bomba" of passion fruit sorbet (the lightest color), mango sorbet (the orange-y one), and raspberry sorbet enrobed in white chocolate, drizzled with dark chocolate. We had the owner cut it in half for us cause they are huge. The sorbets in this dessert are some of the nicest I've had. The passion fruit was tart/tangy/sweet just like passion fruit should be. The sorbet was so creamy I almost wondered if there was any cream in it, but there wasn't. The mango was a touch floral and had a very bright and true full-on mango flavor. The raspberry portion was very small, but it did have a nice raspberry flavor. If I closed my eyes and tried each flavor, I'd definitely be able to tell you what they were.
On the whole, the pricing here is more than fair for the portion sizes and quality of the food. We spent $35 for the both of us including a couple soft drinks, salads, entrees, and desserts. My husband tipped about $8 on the bill because the service was just so good--friendliness goes a long way! So really, about $27 including tax. Not bad at all. AND I have lunch for tomorrow!
A place I'd visit again. There were enough vegetarian options and the people were so nice. I'd love to see them survive and thrive in this wretched economy. Was it the best Italian food I've had? No. BUT, it was certainly very good, very fresh, and very well-priced. Give it a shot. Invite me.
A year and a half ago, however, my husband got the chance to live in Geneva, Switzerland for 6 months. We went and had a lovely time traipsing around Europe. But let me say this, I missed home and Indianapolis more than I can ever explain. I realized I LOVE America, I mean, really LOVE America. And more than that, I loved Indianapolis. The people, the gentle but vibrant Midwestern culture and sensibility, the accessibility.
I made a trip back to Indy during that sojourn in Switzerland, and in the airport on my way back to Geneva, I saw this (written by Norbert Krapf, Indiana Poet Laureate):
I swear my heart almost expanded out of my chest. That was exactly how I felt. This place that I lived I loved more than I knew.
And so this blog is a dedicated to my efforts to do all that I missed the first seven and half years that I've lived here. I've now had so many wonderful experiences in Indy, and done great things, eaten great food. I am going to use this blog to write about restaurants, places, and events in Indy. I want to convey the awesomeness that is Indy. A lot of people malign this place (formerly, ME), but it's a wonderful place, and I want to tell you all about it.