Last night I went to Indy Monthly’s Best of Indy event. My friend LP sent me the link to a special deal on tickets a few weeks ago, so we decided to buy tickets. I am a faithful subscriber to Indy Monthly and use it constantly as a resource to find new places to eat in Indy. This month’s edition featured the ‘Best of Indy’ and while I agreed with most of the winners, I have offered a few rebuttals below. The event featured the winners in various booths and your ticket included all of the food samples, as well as beer and wine.
They also had the Indy winners from various organizations and shops, such as Silver in the City and Homespun Indy (both on Mass Ave), and the Indy Light Saber Academy. LP and I chatted up the two founders of the Light Saber Academy and we plan to take a class. They advertise it as the best geek workout you will find and I am intrigued. The classes start back up in January and they are on Twitter, so check them out!
After attending other Indy foodie events, I think they could have improved the organization of the booths and provided a directory of the vendors. Dig IN is a great example of an event that continues to get better and better each year, so hopefully Indy Monthly will continue this new tradition of featuring the ‘best of.’ It makes you proud to live in Indy and be part of the community. So many entrepreneurs had a vision to create something unique and share that passion with Hoosiers. As much as I love to travel, you know you live in a great place when you can’t wait to get back and have your go to burger, the ‘best’ donut, really good cheese, and purchase quirky socks at your favorite shop.
I finished the night by testing out the hoverboard ($499 at House of Z, a children’s clothing shop in Carmel) and I think the complimentary wine made me a little fearless. I am happy to report that I did not fall on my face and the spins were my favorite part.
I have also included my favorite salad recipe from Napolese. If Indy Monthly had a salad category, this would be the best. I get their vegetarian double chopped, but the only difference is that the non-vegetarian version has salami. Many of my friends have asked for healthy recipes to help combat the holiday pounds and this is a great, filling meal full of colorful vegetables. I usually add a bowl of the tomato artichoke soup.
The gang’s all here
The fun dance floor that changed colors when you moved
HAND PIES AND DONUTS – GENERAL AMERICAN DONUT (LIBBY:LONG’S)
So, I am not sure General American has competition in the hand pie category – I can think of Ted’s Bulletin poptarts, but that is in DC. They had two kinds – brown sugar cinnamon and blackberry jam. I liked both and you can easily make them using my recipe found here.
As for donuts, I have to go old school and give the award to Long’s. Prepare to be amazed – it is everything a donut shop should be. Located at 2300 W 16th Street (near the Speedway).
BURGER AND BOOZY MILKSHAKE – B SPOT BURGERS (LIBBY: BRU)
It is no secret that I am loyal to Bru Burger. Not only do I live close and the staff knows me by name, but you will not find a better burger or price anywhere. You can get a snack burger for $4 and fries for $2. The ketchup is homemade and while their milkshakes are not boozy, get a Not Your Father’s rootbeer and have them add a scoop of ice cream.
I tried B Spot a few months ago and it was not my favorite. It is in the Ironworks building near Keystone and I do not think the meat is as good as Bru, nor the bun. They also had bologna on the menu a few too many times. However, the slider at the event was good – it was a beef patty topped with pork. Basically, all the meat. Give it a try – I have a few friends that love it, so it might be my biased allegiance to Bru holding me back.
CHEESE – TULIP TREE CREAMERY (LIBBY: AGREED + TRADER’S POINT)
I have never met a cheese I didn’t like, so I do not have a rebuttal for this one. The woman at the Tulip Tree booth let me taste every kind of cheese and each one was delicious! They even had a beer cheese that I could’ve eaten all day. My friend mentioned the blog to her and she gave me information about a cheese making class, so prepare yourself for a ‘Libby makes cheese’ post. I may add artisanal cheesemaker and connoisseur to my resume.
Trader’s Point is also my go to for local cheese at the farmer’s market. If you have not been to their creamery, a trip to Zionsville for a milkshake is a must.
POTS DE CREME – SPOKE AND STEELE
First, I am surprised this is a category. Second, it was so good. No rebuttal and I am adding pots de creme to my list to re-create. I had the lemon pot and was in heaven. It had a dollop of lemon curd on the bottom and was my favorite sample of the night. There were a lot of sweets to choose from, but the lemon pot de creme was just the right amount of tart to sweet. I have been meaning to check out Spoke and Steele (near the Central Library) and now I have no excuse.
LAYER CAKE – CAKE BAKE
Cake Bake : I am not a big cake person and I really do not have a sweet tooth. Helpful for someone that loves to bake as much as I do. I taste everything I make, but I am not someone that eats a giant piece of cake unless it is a special occasion. However, I fully endorse the ‘it is someone’s birthday somewhere’ philosophy. They had two samples – red velvet and a chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. Their layered cake was also featured on the cover of Indy Monthly and I love that they are becoming well known.
The decor of the shop is incredible – it will transport you to a pink Parisian bakery. They have this mystical sparkle powder sprinkled on all of the baked goods, which I could do without, but hey, it’s flair! They also have a lunch menu – cheese plates, a soup of the day, and quiche. I had the chicken chili last month and it was very good!
Check out all of Indy Monthly’s top picks here. I have included the samples that were featured at the event, but not every winner participated.
Onto the recipe! The double chopped salad at Napolese always hits the spot. It has remained consistent over the years, but sometimes it changes ever so slightly. Patachou and Napolese pride themselves on utilizing locally grown produce, so I have had this with edamame and chickpeas and different kinds of peppers. Sometimes it is topped with watermelon radishes, which are beautiful and sometimes it includes beets. So be creative and use whatever you have in your fridge. It has two different kinds of cheese – parm and gorgonzola, but this would also be good with goat cheese (especially with the beets) or feta.
- field greens or romaine finely chopped
- roasted red and yellow peppers
- mozzarella, parmesan, and/or gorgonzola
- chickpeas or white cannelloni beans (drained)
- beets, diced
Toss all of the ingredients together. Napolese serves this with a red wine dressing, but I use my go to fig balsamic when I make this at home. I have yet to re-create the dressing, but here is the one I would try from Food Network.
How I felt after eating my body weight in the best Indy has to offer
Thinking a lot about time lately. All of the people that make Indy the best have had to consciously decide to act on their vision.
I love you, Indy!