Saturday, November 29, 2008

We know that every building can't be saved but it kills us that Indy used to have a "flatiron" building like the other city that we love so much, New York. It was at the corner of Pennyslvania and Massachusetts Avenue and was dedicated in 1907. It was torn down in the 60s to make way for the new Indiana National Bank building. This map from 1821 shows how Mass Ave and Penn used to intersect. When engineer Alexander Ralston mapped the new capital of Indiana in 1821, he planned the town as one mile square because he didn't believe it would ever be any larger. Just a little bit of trivia from Edward A. Leary's Indianapolis A Pictorial History.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Lazy Man's Turkey Tetrazzini

We actually look forward to leftover turkey so we can make our simplified turkey tetrazzini. In case you have some of the bird leftover, here's our recipe.

cooked turkey
1 can cream of mushroom soup
pasta (we like wheat, spaghetti but any shape or white would do)
Parmesan cheese
mushrooms (optional)
  1. Boil 7 oz pasta (about 1/2 a box) and drain.
  2. Add mushroom soup.
  3. Add 1/2 soup can of milk (we use skim) and stir.
  4. Add leftover turkey (however much you want), mushrooms if desired, and bring back to boil.
  5. Serve hot, topped with shaved Parmesan cheese and, if you are pepper fans like we are, fresh ground pepper on top.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is right up there with Halloween on our favorite holidays list. No presents to stress over- just food, family, football, and fun. We love this Victorian image and its sentiment. We hope that you have a happy turkey day and we want to take today to thank you for visiting our blog and leaving comments and emails. It's been great connecting with such nice people in the blogosphere.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

We love old New York and we love the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. If you do too, you might want to take a look at these pictures of the parade going back to 1931.

Scenes from... Willowfield Lavender Farm

What a lovely way to Christmas shop. We went to Mooresville, IN to pick up some gifts at Willowfield's Christmas Open House. There were so many beautiful items including some really nice gift sets. We bought a soy lavender candle ($15), perfume ($15), 2 lotions ($6 each), and 2 sachets ($2.50 each). They have shea butter lotion and goat's milk lotion (the goat's milk one is a little thinner we were told), body mists, eye pillows, teas, and all kinds of unique items. Don't feel too bad if you missed their Open House. They will be at the Binford Christmas Market in December and we highly recommend that you go see them there. These are great, wallet friendly gifts made right here in Indiana so out of state recipients will have something that they can't get in their own backyard and locals will have something unique that supports fellow Hoosiers. Of course, you don't have to buy strictly for others; truth be told, 1/2 of our purchases Mrs. WYA! bought for herself.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Check out the Be Indypendent site for great places to buy unique gifts.

Peppy Grill- Indianapolis

Peppy's just is what it is and we think it is a classic. It's rare to have a 24/7 restaurant here so we appreciate that. However, we usually find ourselves here at a reasonable hour for breakfast. It's often referred to as a "greasy spoon" so you just have to embrace that when you go. It's charmingly small but they do have their own little parking lot. Our trips there usually include B's & G's (biscuits and gravy if you somehow don't know that abbreviation). This time, we chose the chipped beef variation instead of the traditional sausage. It hit the spot.

Peppy Grill on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 24, 2008

Indy Winter Farmers' Market

We made it to the Winter Farmers' Market this past Saturday and we are so glad that we did. We're just going to confess, we've never had Brussels sprouts that weren't frozen- there, we said it. We picked some up at the Seldom Seen Farm table along with some kale. The kale was nice but the Brussels sprouts were amazing. We just roasted them along with some pine nuts, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned with good old salt, pepper, and garlic. There was no bitterness and they were just beyond delicious. The market has a nice blog with a list of vendors. It's great to have this late season addition to the farmers' market scene. We'll probably be back there next Saturday for more Brussels sprouts.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

We are disheartened to see that Malaysia has banned yoga.

Scenes from... Indy International Festival

This must be our year to get to festivals for the first time that we've heard about for years only to be disappointed to find out that they aren't as cool as we imagined. We went to the Fairgrounds last night to check out the International Festival and found flea market type merchandise and foods from restaurants we go to anyway for a lot less money than was charged here. When you can go to Shalimar or Da Blu Lagoon and have a reasonably priced buffet, why would you pay so much more here along with the $9 admission fee and $3 to park? We usually stay away from events at the Fairgrounds just for that nickel and dime reason. Once we pay to park and pay an admission fee, it takes away money that we would have spent at the event. We had a couple of unremarkable sambosas and then just called it an evening.
Get a sneak peek at the Black Friday ads.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Spiced Cranberry Sauce

Some traditions should be changed. If having slices of canned cranberry sauce with the can indentations still visible is part of your traditional Thanksgiving spread, you should know that making your own cranberry sauce is incredibly easy, aesthetically pleasing, and tasty. It makes the whole house smell amazing and there is that fun popping sound that the cranberries make when they start to boil. We found this recipe in a Meijer supplement in 1998 and have been using it ever since. It's good, has a short ingredient list, and isn't time consuming- all things that we love in a recipe.

1 pkg (12 oz) cranberries
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp. orange peel (you can use the real deal or just get a small container in the spice aisle)
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Place all ingredients except vanilla in a large saucepan. Stir to combine.

2. Heat to boil, reduce heat and simmer 45 minutes or until very thick, stirring occasionally.

3. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.

4. Remove and discard cinnamon stick and stir in vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

It's time for Christmas Days at Willowfield Lavender Farm. We are going to be sure that we get there this Thursday, Friday, or Saturday to get some gift shopping done. We were at Willowfield last year during the summer and found a nice selection of lavender products. The lavender mint tea is wonderful, they have candles, sachets, artwork, and bath and body products. We are really focusing on buying Indiana made products this holiday season and hope that you are too. This is an excellent opportunity to do that. It can be a little bit of a drive but we've found that it is worth it.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

After years of conflicting schedules, we finally hope to get to the International Festival this Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. It looks like a great bunch of food, gifts, entertainment, and exposure to lots of ethnicities under one roof. We can't wait.

Gallery 116

We think that Gallery 116 is one of the most unique places to shop in the area. Located in an old house in Fishers, this is always a fun place to browse and a great place to find gifts. We snapped a picture of the holiday goodies but they have lots of jewelry, some clothing, and artwork too. We were especially taken with some necklaces with bottle cap pendants that had little artworks on the inside of the cap. This is a great little store (they even have classes) on busy 116th St. that you'll want to check out to find a little something for yourself or for someone on your gift list.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We just discovered this website that lists 170 different "meet-up" groups with widely varying interests in the Indianapolis area.

Ichiban Noodles- Indianapolis

As many times as we've passed Ichiban Noodles on the way to the Castleton post office or Home Depot, it took Tom B. nudging us to get us there for dinner. There was no better place to be on a cold night with flurries blowing. It was lovely inside with yellow walls, light wood tables and chairs, and very friendly service. We happily warmed our hands on the mug of hot green tea and decided to get the Shoyu Udon and San-sai Soba. The dinners come with salad but when we asked, the server said that they also had miso soup available so we chose one of each. The salad was the standard iceberg lettuce, tomato wedge, and delicious ginger dressing combo. The miso was very tasty with generous chunks of tofu. The San-sai Soba was a big bowl of buckwheat soba noodles with vegetables in a light stock. When we try to make soba noodles at home, they tend to come out gummy so it was nice to have them out where they are done right. The Shoyu Udon was outstanding. Udon noodles are thick, soft, wheat noodles and they were in a really delicious stock along with baby bok choy and some crispy pork strips.

We couldn't find a website for them so we took pictures of their carry-out menu that you can click to enlarge. Their menu states that they are closed on Sundays and their hours are on the exterior picture.

8355 Bash St.
Indianapolis, IN 46250
Tel: 317-841-0484

Ichiban Noodles on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cento San Marzano tomatoes

Finally, after hearing about Cento's San Marzano tomatoes for a long time, we found them at the Broad Ripple Fresh Market. They were worth the wait. We made our homemade pasta sauce with them and there was no question that we didn't have to add sugar. The natural sweetness of these tomatoes permeated the sauce making it our best ever. With the cold weather here, it is good to know where we can find these for all of our baked pasta recipes.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Hype about Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet reuniting on screen aside, the Revolutionary Road movie looks really good. As the New York Observer notes, it has the look of Mad Men so that grabbed our attention. Plus, we're always sucked into stories about people whose veneer is cracking as they question fulfilling a societal role they think they are supposed to fill versus being true to themselves. If you are wondering, the song playing in the trailer is Wild is the Wind by the amazing Nina Simone.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

In case you missed Erika Smith's column in the Indy Star today, this is the website where she says you can get free silver jewelry (with about $7 in shipping charges) seemingly without any catches.

The Feedbag

When we listen to Michael Colameco's excellent Food Talk radio show, we always love it when Josh Ozersky is a guest because he completely cracks us up. Foodies might know that Josh was behind NY Magazine's Grub Street blog but he recently moved on to shape up Citysearch. He has his own blog that has some good videos and a great name: The Feedbag.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Logan Village Mall in Noblesville is having their Christmas Open House today, Saturday, and Sunday. This is a thoroughly enjoyable place to browse as you find unique gifts.
While Googling about Louise Brooks, we stumbled upon this gorgeous art deco blog. Most stylish era ever- would you agree?

Louise Brooks in Pandora's Box

Are there other Louise Brooks fans in Indy? We'd love to hear from you if there are. What we'd really love is for a local theatre to show some of her movies. Today would have been her 102nd birthday. We just purchased a great DVD copy of her most famous film, Pandora's Box. We found it locally at Fry's but you can always pick it up at Amazon. It has 2 great documentaries, a beautiful, informative book, and 4 different scores that you can chose from as the soundtrack. We are drawn to early German cinema (Metropolis, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari) so combine that with the can't-take-your-eyes-off-of-her charisma of Louise Brooks and it makes for a powerful experience.
Trader Joe's "Fresh, Young, All Natural Turkeys" are slated to arrive at their stores today in limited selection. These birds never received ay antibiotics or growth hormones, have no artificial ingredients, and have been raised on 100% vegetarian feed. We had one last year for the first time and it was delicious.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Word for Word, that great bookstore in Pendleton, has new arrivals for your winter reading including this devilish looking Krampus postcard book. Evidently, the Krampus accompanied St. Nikolaus and, while the saint left presents for the good, the Krampus switched the bad and even carried off the worst! That might be an even bigger motivator to be good during the year than getting presents.

Jyoti- have an Indian feast at home

When we were at Jungle Jim's, we tasted a sample of the canned Jyoti Peas and Indian Home Style Cheese. It was so good that we bought a couple of cans of it. We came back to Indy and found out that it is available at the "Whole Foods" in Nora along with other entrees such as Delhi Saag and Madras Sambar. These taste restaurant quality good to us and they are very convenient.

There's little that we value more in our kitchen than our rice maker. We love that we can just put the scoops of rice and water in it and it will cook it perfectly while we are free to prepare other things. For your bargain at home Indian feast, jasmine rice works perfectly. We also love the frozen naan that Trader Joe's usually carries. However, this week we couldn't find it and we hope that it is just temporarily out of stock. It's not as good, but we made an easy flatbread to sop up all of the Jyoti goodness using this recipe. The only thing we did that Wikihow doesn't mention is that we put butter in our pan to cook them.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Dang, we just placed an order with Fred Flare but we missed these teeny tiny cameras that are on a key ring until we read about them on Nylon. They are too cute and Fred Flare is offering 25% off of all orders if you enter their discount code at check-out. If you have kitsch lovers on your Christmas list, this is a good place to shop.
A singer who we are just now discovering, Jenny Lewis, is on the cover of Filter with Elvis Costello and this holiday issue features a free downloadable music sampler in case you feel like you need to freshen up your music collection by getting exposed to new artists. The issue comes out on November 21st.

King David Dogs

Usually hot dogs are a food best left reserved for vacations in New York and served with a papaya drink (we miss you Gray's Papaya and Papaya King). However, when you are in Indy and want to grab a tasty dog, you can head downtown to King David .

The dogs are high quality- they have that snap when you bite into them, unlike the mushy texture that most chains serve. If you check out the menu and think it is expensive for a hot dog, keep in mind the hot dogs are large and filling. We had a BBQ dog with a side of tater tots (!!). The BBQ dog came with BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, onions and a thick, crispy slice of bacon. The toppings were generous, but not so loaded that you couldn't walk around with it due to the poppy seed bun that held it all together very nicely.

King David Dogs on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Show your hometown pride with this personalized hometown necklace that you can order with or without your hometown marked with a black star.

Since we mentioned having burgoo at Mark's Feed Store in Louisville, we've received several inquiries about the stew. We found this version of it in a jar at Jungle Jim's but you can also order it online. It was very similar to the one that we enjoyed at Mark's.

Road Trip... (suburbs of) Cincinnati

On the warm, sunny Sunday a couple of weeks ago, we decided to head out I-74 to the northern suburbs of Cincinnati. The main catalyst of the trip was Mr. WYA!'s craving for IKEA's Swedish meatballs. Somehow, after years of ogling the IKEA catalog, we had never made it to one. Doesn't it figure that we would finally get there as we are in an anti-accumulation phase of life. Nonetheless, we were excited to finally cross it off of our list and a couple of other stores came to our attention recently that were nearby so there seemed to be a bit of synchronicity at work.

IKEA was the first stop and it wasn't as crowded as we had expected. We picked up one of their shopping bags, made the loop upstairs before landing at the cafe. Mr. WYA! got his meatballs with a retro-terrific gravy and chunky mashed potatoes with bits of the skin mixed in just like Grandma used to make. Of course, they are very proud of their lingonberries so there was a dollop of those adding a nice splash of color to the plate. Mrs. WYA! was glad to find other options such as a salad bar, veggie wraps, and a buffalo chicken wrap which she chose. There were a lot of tempting looking desserts at the beginning of the cafeteria line but we restrained ourselves.

We didn't make any big purchases but found some fun doodads. They did have a display of unique Christmas decorations that is pictured here in case you need some new sparkle for the holidays. Keep in mind that they are trying to keep costs down so you bag your own merchandise at the check-out and either bring your own bag, do without, or buy one of theirs for 60 cents.

We made our way back on I-275 to the Bass Pro Shop. We were as out of our element as could be and felt a bit creeped out by all of the stuffed animals staring at us at every turn. However, we went there because Mr. WYA! admired a pair of shoes that a fellow diner was wearing at a restaurant a couple of days before and Mrs. WYA! completely mortified him by asking the gentleman where he had purchased them. It was at the Clarksville Bass Pro Shop but, since there was one conveniently here, we thought we'd see if they had them and they did.

Our last stop was Jungle Jim's. Urban Indy Kevin had mentioned this place to us and we also had just seen a profile of it on The Travel Channel's Extreme Superstores show. It's definitely a huge, whimsical grocery. We loved the aisles and aisles in the International section that were organized by country. All and all, we don't think that Indianapolis residents have too much to be jealous of though. Most of what we found we could find in Indy, it just might take several stores to get it all. It was nice having everything under one roof. One major coup was Thai Tea. We've been looking for this ever since we fell in love with it at Jasmine Thai restaurant. It comes in a big bag and we were glad that we remembered that the server at Jasmine Thai told us that they make it in a coffeepot. We couldn't tell if it was instant or should be brewed like loose leaf tea. Using the coffeepot, it was just like we remembered. It is good hot and plain or cold with sweetened condensed milk added. We just wish that they didn't add food coloring to it. Some of the powder got wet on our fingers and it looked like we had dived into a Cheetos bag.

It's a fun quick trip to this West Chester and Fairfield area of Ohio and an eminently easy drive for Central Indiana residents.