Wednesday, December 31, 2008

WYA!'s New Year's Eve tradition


= a happy New Year's Eve
We hope that whatever traditions you enjoy on this day, you have a wonderful one.

We're not sure that we agree with all of NY Magazine's "Top Ten Albums of 2008" (we evidently don't love disco enough to get into Hercules and Love Affair) but we are digging TV on the Radio's Dear Science.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

TCM Remembers 2008

Mrs. WYA! knows that she tends to lean toward the nostalgic, sentimental side but the end of the year TCM Remembers montages bring tears to her eyes every year. This year's features the beautiful but melancholy song God Only Knows by Joe Henry.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Great Yoga Class to ring out '08

Mrs. WYA! is beside herself with excitement that one of her all-time favorite yoga teachers will have her traditional New Year's class on December 30th from 7:00- 8:30PM at Invoke. Gina doesn't teach a weekly class anymore so this is a real treat. Mrs. WYA! can't implore you enough to attend this class. Gina will enliven every muscle in your body and raise your spirit at the same time. Since it is a special event, there's no awkwardness of walking into an established class with the feeling that all of the regulars know each other. What a perfect way to balance out the zaniness of the holidays and ring out the year.

By the way, the shirt pictured is one that Santa brought for Mrs. WYA!. It is a great yoga shirt; long and snug enough so that she doesn't flash anyone in downdog but not constricting. It's available from Yoga Direct.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

We just learned about the woman who wrote the book that one of our favorite Christmas specials is based on, The Year Without A Santa Claus. Phyllis McGinley was known for her glowing poetry about 1950s/60s suburbia. Here's an interesting article about her which explains how her poetry is a sharp contrast to the representations of the era given to us by Mad Men and the new movie Revolutionary Road (which is opening in Indy when????).

Thursday, December 25, 2008


We almost went to see Eartha Kitt perform the last time that we were in New York but we didn't and now it's too late...

Would you rather live in Pottersville?

Do you watch "It's A Wonderful Life" every year? Here's an interesting article examining the darkness of the film and how the alternate reality Pottersville looks like more fun than Bedford Falls. Beyond that, the town might be in better economic shape today if it had kept the gambling instead of the manufacturing jobs. Hmmm, something to ponder. Mr. WYA! always says that Pottersville looks like more fun but Mrs. WYA! thinks it looks a little trashy and sad. Also, is it depressing that George never made it out of Bedford Falls or would all of that roaming have felt empty to him? Do we really know what will make us happy or do we just need to pay attention to the events of our life to realize when we feel enriched and recognize the value of life's lessons along the way?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

More links to things to watch in case you need to escape to the Internet when you just can't spend anymore time with your relatives. Here's a great guide to You Tube Classic Christmas shows (because we'll bet that you haven't watched the Mr. Ed Christmas episode yet).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Don't you love it when you remember something from your childhood and, voila, there it is on You Tube? We were so happy to find Bedtime for Sniffles where cute Sniffles the mouse tries to wait up for Santa. We are so grateful that our hometowns' respective local stations showed Merrie Melodies when we were growing up (and we feel sorry for kids who are missing out on them nowadays).

Monday, December 22, 2008

We have several of the Christmas specials that we love on DVD but not all of them. We aren't always on top of finding out when the specials are on TV but this site has a pretty good collection of not only the classics (and we would be remiss if we didn't mention that The Year Without a Santa Claus should be on "The Essentials" list; c'mon Snow Miser and Heat Miser are icons) but also Christmas episodes of sitcoms (Ozzie and Harriet- SWEET!), cartoon favorites like Scooby Doo and Justice League, music videos, Christmas commercials, and other miscellaneous yuletide goodies.

We were in New York City at Christmas time last year so believe us when we say that this is a much more blissful way to watch the skaters at the Rockefeller skating rink. We think it is lovely enough to leave on in the background during your holiday parties.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

We tend to avoid Castleton Mall like the plague, especially at this time of year. However, it is worth noting that one of the kiosks in the Sears' corridor, Just Dogs Gourmet, has some great treats for the pooches in your life. Our favorite holiday cookie is the peanut butter blossom and Just Dogs Gourmet has adorable canine friendly versions that we had to get for our Pomeranian and the other furry friends on our Christmas list.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Embassy Theatre- Fort Wayne, IN

The Embassy in downtown Fort Wayne is a stunner. They also get great Broadway shows and concerts (and now, for the 2008-2009 Broadway season, you can enjoy fine dining in the Indiana Hotel Lobby before the show). Mrs. WYA! is a Fort Wayne native so she's been there quite a bit but still gawks at the beauty of the place. It started in 1928 as the Emboyd with The Indiana Hotel attached to it. In 1972, with only 2 days to spare, enough money was raised to save it from the wrecking ball. We can't begin to express our gratitude to everyone who works to save places like this and then keeps them going.

The Festival of Trees was going on when we were there last but you can still see how exquisite the lobby is. You can also see how beautiful the Grande Page Pipe Organ is.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Burger King released a body spray with "a hint of flame-broiled meat"?????

Wine Blog

If you feel overwhelmed by choosing wine (perhaps you're not a wine drinker but hosting a holiday dinner with wine drinkers coming), be sure to check out The 89 Project blog for ideas.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

There's an interesting article in The New York Times today about that most crucial holiday baking ingredient- butter.

Santorini's- Indianapolis

We are going to endeavor to write a post about a Greek restaurant without using the cliche word "opa" (D'oh! We just did). We have by no means tried every Greek restaurant in town but we just can't stop ourselves from coming back to Santorini's. We love an excuse to go to the Fountain Square area and the food is just so darn good. This past weekend, we chose a couple of sampler options to get as many different tastes as we could. Mrs. WYA! made a meal out of a cup of delicious lentil soup and the "Combination of 3" appetizers. The appetizers she chose included Spanokopita and Tiropita because we just can't visit a Greek restaurant without getting these little phyllo dough pieces of heaven. Spanokopita is our favorite but, if you aren't a spinach fan, the tiropita is creamed feta so it is quite good too. The third appetizer was hummus with so much pita bread that some had to come home with us. Mr. WYA! chose the "Santorini Special Combination" platter. As you can see from the last picture, it is a ridiculously generous amount of food. It's a great way to get a taste of several of their dishes including moussaka, pastitsio, and gyro. Their menu explains what everything is in case you aren't familiar with Greek food (and you can click the menu photos for larger images). It's a pretty, festive place and, inevitably, we have fun watching someone get the flaming cheese while we are there. We had particularly good service when we were there this past weekend. If you are lucky, you'll get the extremely polished and helpful Bill to wait on you.
Santorini Greek Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Happy birthday Scrabble! That brings back great memories for Mrs. WYA! of playing with her Mom, Grandma, and sister at her Grandma's house (and, inevitably losing).

Do you have a "third place"?

We just heard this interesting story on NPR about Gregory Rodriguez's column, The Economy and Us. He writes about America's diminishing civic engagement and the importance of that social interaction that is more likely to take place in a coffeehouse than in an organization with "a common purpose or agenda". He refers to sociologist Ray Oldenburg's term "the third place" that is neither work nor home where you can interact with people who you have no common thread with aside from the fact that you are both in that space. As the economy becomes more bleak, we need this places more but it is these hard times that means they might not be able to stay in business. We can't really think of a third place that we have and we wondered if our readers have one.

Chestnuts at Trader Joe's

We love to get chestnuts this time of year. In the past, we purchased frozen ones at Trader Joe's. Last week, we didn't find those but we found steamed ones in a box for $5.49 that were already peeled. Well, these are brilliant! Maybe purists will flinch, but we didn't miss at all burning our fingertips as we tried to pry the shell off of the meaty chestnut. Also, these tasted so much better than any other ones we've had. They had a sweetness to them that we hadn't tasted before. After just a few minutes in the oven, we were enjoying them as we watched Christmas in Connecticut by the fire. Perfection.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Cafe Heidelberg- Indianapolis

Cafe Heidelberg is one of our happy places. We've always had great experiences here so now it has that Pavlovian effect on us that as soon as we walk through the doors, we feel good. Celebrating their 40th year, they offer meals (see their menu page) but we tend to visit it more as a dessert cafe. There are glass counters filled with cookies and pastries. We do wish that their items were labeled but we just inquire with the employees to find out what everything is. Since it is that special time of the year, we chose springerle cookies on our recent visit. We hadn't had those before because, knowing that licorice tasting anise is a main ingredient and not our favorite flavor, we didn't think that we would like them much even though they are as cute as can be. However, the folks at Heidelberg have wisely added another springerle option for those of us not crazy about anise. The pink cookies are cherry flavored instead, but still made in the cute molds. We liked those better. We really liked the other dessert that we chose. We don't know what it is called but we usually see if when we go here. It is shaped like a jelly roll and is cake with a smooth, chocolate layer rolling through and it is divine. We had some good coffee with it and it was just the perfect combo for a chilly afternoon.

Aside from the great desserts, the ambience is warm and cozy. Tables and chairs are scattered throughout all kinds of German merchandise. There are beautiful nutcrackers, beer steins, exotic candies, German greeting cards, cooking ingredients, and all kinds of goodies stuck in every nook and cranny. You feel so enveloped by it all that you are completely transported from Pendleton Pike to a little German village. Yes, Pendleton Pike is a major headache right now with construction but, yes, Cafe Heidelberg is worth it.

Heidelburg Haus Cafe & Bakery on Urbanspoon

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Remember to check out Indiana artists and crafters on Etsy for your holiday shopping. You can support Hoosiers while giving a really unique gift. We have fond memories of Jenny Elkins' store that used to be on Mass Ave (if memory serves us correctly) and we think that we even went through her studio during a Cottage Home Neighborhood Tour. Anyway, she has a page here. We also really like Fort Wayne's Todd Young's paintings which can be purchased for only $10!! Another Fort Wayne artist, has some beautiful photos for $28. Pink Grapefruit Style has all kinds of fascinating goodies including some vintage stuff that we love. These low prices eliminate that "original art is too expensive to buy" excuse. These are just a few of the sellers; there are 10 pages that come up for Indiana. Just go to Etsy's homepage, click the "buy" tab at the top, click the "shop local" box that comes up in the list, and then type in Indiana to see how much talent and creativity our state has.

Friday, December 12, 2008

We were sorry to hear that Bettie Page died.

Make your gifts- they'll appreciate your effort

We keep reading about how handmade gifts are making a comeback this year because of the economy. We have always loved getting handmade gifts. Mrs. WYA! was in charge of beverages for her work holiday get together and she thought about how she could put her creative spin on that. She thought about fancy spiced hot beverages and mocktails but then she decided to focus her creativity on the glasses. Meijer is a great source for cheap, plain, clear wine glasses, champagne flutes, and coffee mugs. She picked up a set of flutes and came up with a design using colors of the Plaid Folk Art Enamels paint that she already had. These paints are great. You just clean your glass with isopropyl alcohol (which you can also use as an eraser if you make a stroke that you don't like), paint your design (there are usually workbooks near the paints at the store if you need inspiration), bake the glass in the oven to set the paint, let them cool and you're ready to present a unique present. On the back of the paint bottle it says that the glass can even be put in the top rack of the dishwasher. Don't worry about making it perfect- any machine can do perfect. It's the handmade touch that will appreciate.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hey, here's a great reason to head to Mooresville; Zydeco's is having a "Bailout Special". For the rest of December, all Louisiana Beers (Dixie and, our favorite, Abita) are $2.75 each. Also, for every $50 in gift certificates, get a $10 dining certificate free. Believe us, anyone would love gift certificates to Zydeco's for the holidays.

Binford Christmas Market

We took a quick gander at the Binford Farmers' Market's Christmas Market last weekend. We didn't know what to expect and thought that there might be some produce along with the gift items. We were hoping for some more fresh Brussels sprouts but we didn't find any. There were meats, sweet treats, a great array of Willowfield's products, some artsy cards, handmade soaps, Arbonne, jewelry and purses among other things. No purchases for us but that is what you can expect if you head there this Saturday.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Holy cow! Mrs. WYA! actually won one of the prizes from Allure Magazine's month of Free Stuff that we blogged about back in August and it just came yesterday. It is M Lab's Anti-Aging Treatment Cream that is valued at $260! Now, the question is whether to use it (and potentially fall in love with an expensive product that she would never buy or, worse, it would disagree with her skin) or post it on Ebay. Still, it is way fun to win stuff! Thanks Allure and M Lab.

The Rathskeller Restaurant- Indianapolis, IN

Mrs. WYA! rarely drinks alcohol and doesn't really care much for German food and yet, she loves the Rathskeller and their Kellerbar. We love it because you can look at a picture of it from 1905 (like this W.H. Bass one here) and it looks essentially the same as it does today. It is full of history and character and we're suckers for that. As their website states, it was established in 1894 as the Athenaeum restaurant. We recently went for dinner and Mr. WYA! enjoyed the Sauerbraten and Mrs. WYA! was tempted by the vegetarian option of the Mixed Vegetable Platter (where you get to choose 5 of their sides and make a meal out of those) but went with the Vegetarian Greek Pasta which could not have been more delicious. Of course, we always appreciate the bread basket with the big, warm, soft and salty pretzels served with a spicy mustard. Those pretzels along with a great beer in the Kellerbar is an ideal way to spend some of these winter nights. We didn't remember that they served lunch everyday but when we checked out their website it says that they are open for lunch everyday from 11AM-2PM.

We didn't take many pictures because the place was absolutely hopping when we were there and we figured that revelers out on a Saturday night at the Rathskeller wouldn't appreciate having their photos posted. This is from the dining room looking into the Kellerbar and it is even more gorgeous with the soft glow of the holiday lights.

Rathskeller on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

How cool, a Lego-like calendar.


Sometimes, we just want a tiny little bite of something sweet. We came up with these little creations that we call cheesecakes. We just start with a simple cracker (we like Breton or even Kroger's store brand), put a layer of cream cheese on it followed by a layer of lemon curd that we get at Trader Joe's. This time of year, we also have the option of putting leftover spiced cranberry sauce on it instead of lemon curd and that is all kinds of delicious. They are really yummy and then we don't have a whole leftover cheesecake around the house.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Lunch at City Cafe- Indianapolis

City Cafe is an adorable little place downtown that is a very popular breakfast spot (and it is their breakfast menu that we have pictured here). However, we recently went for lunch and what a delicious meal we had. We had heard about their tomato dill soup that is always the soup of the day on Fridays from someone in Mrs. WYA!'s yoga class (another reason to go to yoga class- not only will you feel good from the inside out but you'll meet the coolest people with the best taste there). Mrs. WYA! had a cup of that along with the other special of the day, vegetable lasagna. Both dishes were amazing. The tomato soup was thick with chunks of tomatoes and the dill just harmonized with the tomato so well. The lasagna had butternut squash, provolone and a crispy top layer but we won't rave about that too much since it was a special and might not be available when you go there. Mr. WYA! chose the "tenderloin" sandwich. It's not the big breaded traditional creation that you might expect. This re-imagined delicacy had a layer of blue cheese spread thinly at the bottom of the sandwich, topped with a generous stack of rare beef, topped with thick cut bacon strips, then covered in caramelized onion. This was a filling and delicious sandwich. The sides were apples slices or chips (although you could upgrade to a small salad or cup of soup for a nominal charge).

Our only complaint with City Cafe is that usually, we usually experience a bit of a wait getting seated, even if there are tables available. The sign at the front of the Cafe instructs diners to wait to be seated but, for whatever reason, that usually isn't a prompt process and, in such a tiny space, we feel especially awkward standing around hoping to catch someone's attention. We'll gladly overlook this little lapse in service when the food is so good (and local).

City Cafe
443 N. Pennsylvania St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Hours: 7A-2P Mon-Fri, 8A-1P Sat, closed Sun
City Cafe on Urbanspoon