My best friend in DC visited this weekend for a much needed reunion. After a rough two weeks, it was the perfect pick me up and I needed that quality time in person. Our daily text messages keep me sane and it meant the world to me that she flew to Indy for the weekend. I picked her up from the airport late Friday night, we opened a bottle of Malbec and chatted until 4 am. Needless to say, we didn’t make it to yoga in the morning, but we did muster the willpower to get to Patachou. If you were to ask me what my comfort foods are, I would choose the entire Patachou menu. The hippie with a Benz omelette, toast, and familiar faces makes it a Libby approved happy place.
Then we spent the rest of the afternoon perusing Silver in the City and Homespun Indy for quirky, fun, Indiana themed gifts. It was gorgeous outside and I chauffeured us around town with the car windows down in JANUARY! Add our loud rap/rock/alternative music blasting from the radio and you have a visual.
Devour Downtown is currently in progress and if you enjoy good food at a reasonable price, it is not to be missed. This week I went to Spoke and Steele with my friend Franz. It is located in the old Canterbury Hotel, now the Le Meridian, and the decor is a mix of modern, retro, funk. I’ve been told that their cocktails are amazing, but we went at noon, so I cannot confirm the beverage situation.
The menu is small, but at great price points. There is an obvious pig theme, so if you are a vegetarian, you are going to have to modify the selections. Luckily, my friend and I fully support the use of bacon and had no complaints. You make your selection with the pen and paper provided on miniature clipboards. The smaller portions are $5 and the larger portions are $10. I went with the hashbrown, bacon, sunny side up egg dish for $10. It was really good, but almost too much bacon, if that is possible. It was a heavy meal and the rest of my day was shot. I would definitely go back and while this bacon filled menu was specifically created for Devour, I’ve heard rumors that the items might become permanent features. I also appreciated that Spoke and Steele decided to offer really affordable options instead of the typical $30-40 three course options that most restaurants offer for Devour. I don’t always want dessert and would rather have the main meal for a reasonable price.
Update: I went back to Spoke and Steele for dinner with my friends Ali and Lauren to experience the Devour Downtown dinner menu. I had devoured at Adobo Grill the same day for lunch and had eaten my body weight in guac and tacos, so I was there to taste test the dishes and order something small.
My friends went with the salmon and the pot roast for the main course and got fried potato popper balls of happiness for their appetizer. For dessert, they got little mason jar pots of custard – cherry chocolate and a chocolate espresso. I taste tested all of the above and you cannot go wrong.
The salmon portion was a little small and it was a very orange plate with the carrots and salmon combo. The pot roast fell off the bone and had an amazing gravy on top, along with mashed potatoes to soak it all up. I got a beet, endive, goat cheese salad with spicy and sweet pecans. The total was $30 for the three courses of your choice.
My beet salad
cherry chocolate custard pot
This is the portion of the post that some of you may tune out because lentils are weird, unappealing brown legumes. I don’t blame you, but I will admit, I am a lentil fan. I had my first lentil experience in Paris the summer after I graduated from college and have been hooked ever since. You can enjoy them hot or cold and in so many different ways. They are packed full of fiber, so you have been warned – take inventory of how your system works before you load up on lentils like it is your job. They are extremely healthy, filling, and I enjoy them with salmon and frequently as soup. I don’t buy too many packaged items at the grocery store, I try to stick with the perimeter of the store, but I do stock up on Progresso’s lentil soup when it is on sale. $2 or less is a great price and it is my favorite canned soup.
I realized I had a bag of lentils in my pantry, so I did some googling and decided to make my own. I ended up getting crafty and merging two recipes into one, but I credit Epicurious for the inspiration and then I diverged from there. I only had chicken stock, but you could use vegetable stock too. Also, feel free to halve the recipe unless you really like lentils and plan to eat this for a week. I froze a large mason jar full of soup to enjoy another time. I am sure making lentil soup is much more cost effective. I didn’t do the price per serving breakdown because I was a Political Science/History major and that’s not what I am here for, but it is safe to say that making it is cheaper. I did salt to taste each mug of soup that I had. No surprise, but the canned version had more sodium than mine. Blend as much of the soup as you like – I blended most of the batch since I prefer a chunkier soup consistency.
Coat the bottom of a pot with olive oil
1 white onions, chopped
2-3 cloves of chopped garlic
About 1 cup of celery, chopped
4-5 carrots, chopped
4 cups (one carton) chicken broth
1 1/4 cups lentils, rinsed and drained
1 14 1/2–ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
Heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic; sauté until vegetables begin to soften, about ten minutes. Add broth, lentils, and tomatoes with juice and bring to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes.
Transfer portions of the soup to your blender and puree until smooth. Return puree to soup in pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper.