Saturday, May 30, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Mark your calendars: on June 18th, Zydeco's is having a Mardi Gras Block Party.

Indiana Discount Mall next to Saraga

We like to check out the "Rumors and Tidbits" forum on Indy Ethnic Foods and we recently read that an "international" flea market opened up next door to Saraga. We were going to take a look but we were at Saraga on a Thursday and the mall is only open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. You can read more about the vendors on the forum on the Indy Ethnic Foods site.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Saraga Finds

The food court area has been re-organized since we were there last:

It had been way too long since we had been to Saraga so we were nearly giddy to get there last week. We bought some old favorites such as dumplings and red bean buns but we found some new goodies as well. Mrs. WYA! has a bit of an addiction to hoji-cha tea. She likes the bottled one from Teas' Tea but can only find it at the Marsh at Allisonville and 82nd Street. Well, we found a bag of loose hoji-cha at Saraga. It was too big for our tea steeper so we just put some in a pot of boiling water and it was wonderful. We also bought a package of Five-Spice tofu that has cumin, cinnamon, clove, aniseed, and coriander in it. We have tofu a lot and it was a nice change of pace.

We were introduced to Goya's Adobo many years ago when we went to Puerto Rico and a friend asked us to pick up some for her. We picked up some for ourselves and have been hooked on it ever since. It felt so exotic then but now it is everywhere and there are so many variations of it. We couldn't pass up the one with saffron in it and we can't wait to experiment with it.
As always, browsing at Saraga is a fun culinary journey.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

With bright sunshine in the sky, last night it started raining- seemingly only over our house. We would have taken it as a bad sign but we got a rainbow out of it! Score!

Summer Entertainment

Now that Memorial Day (Observed) has passed, it is the unofficial start of summer. For many, that evokes thoughts of days wiled away on a boat, exotic vacations, or lounging at the pool. Well, we don't have a boat or a pool and it we probably aren't taking a vacation this summer so we have other benchmarks that we look forward to instead. There are great foods we enjoy in the warmer months and we'll be periodically posting those recipes. We'll enjoy watching our herbs and tomato plants grow but we'll also enjoy our traditional summer viewing. To Mrs. WYA!, summer means it's time to pull out the Gidget: The Entire Series DVD because some independent station used to air those in the days of her summer vacations from school. Plus, Gidget was always at the beach so it's a summer spent at the beach vicariously. There will also be a viewing of The Seven Year Itch while sitting in the air conditioning and eating potato chips and drinking champagne (and even dipping some potato chips in the champagne). This alludes to a particular scene in the movie. If you haven't seen it, make this the summer that you do- Marilyn positively glows in this movie. We also have a tradition of watching The Magnificent Seven on the 4th of July for no other reason than we did it once early in our marriage and just kept doing it. It's Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen for pity's sake, you don't need an excuse to watch them. We also will fit in a viewing of The Long Hot Summer for obvious reasons (obvious being that it is summer and that Paul Newman is staggeringly appealing in this movie- yes, this is Mrs. WYA! writing this post) along with Hud with Paul Newman in the Texas heat. We know that summer is all about soaking up the outdoors but these little viewing traditions feel as much a part of summer to us as cookouts and lemonade.

Mrs. WYA! has a goal of reading as many novels as possible this summer, particularly classics with a summer theme. If you can think of any classic books set in the summer, please let us know.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

GT South's- Indianapolis, IN

South's Sampler Platter:

Pulled Chicken Platter:

GT South's was in the back of our minds as a place we knew that we needed to visit. We thought that it was for a time when were on the south side but reader Tom H. brought to our attention that they have a location closer to us on 71st Street near the Binford intersection. The wonderful BBQ aroma hit us as soon as we walked in the doors. We went there for an early dinner and had a great meal with lightning quick service.

We ordered the South's Sampler Platter. At $16.50 it is one of the pricier menu items but, when you consider the amount of food you get, it seems cheap. This platter came with dry rubbed ribs, where the meat just fell of the bone, brisket that was so tender that it barely required chewing, their pulled pork, and chicken. The pork and chicken came with their BBQ sauce on the side; the choices are mild, hot, and 911 (which seemed ironic since GT South's is beside a police sub station). We opted for the mild which was sweet and smoky. This platter comes with two sides, we chose the mac and cheese and mashed potatoes with gravy. The Mac and Cheese was so decadently rich it was almost obscene. The mashed potatoes were also great. It comes with a corn bread muffin (butter is on the table if you need it- we mention that because we thought they needed butter and didn't notice that until we were done). We also had the pulled chicken platter with the turnip greens and baked beans as sides. Both of those sides were top-notch as well.

They have a sprawling space with three dining areas; one was being set up for a party when we were leaving. We have our eyes on the wings for next time (24 pieces for $8.50!) but Tom H. says good things about the Beef Manhattan too. It looks like we'll have to make a repeat trip there soon. Thanks for the tip Tom!
G.T. South's Rib House on Urbanspoon

Happy Birthday John Wayne! We had to give that shout-out for Mrs. WYA!'s Dad. Maybe we'll watch Rio Bravo tonight in The Duke's honor.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Here's a good link for the rundown of the Memorial Day Weekend TV marathons. The best bets to us look like Band of Brothers (we love that miniseries) on the History Channel and all of the military movies on TCM.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Indy Flashback...Carnival on the Circle in 1903

These really cool archways (which remind us of the Washington Square Park that we love in NYC) were built for a week long carnival on the Circle in October of 1903. They were built over Meridian Street at the Washington Street entrance and the North Meridian Street entrance to the Circle. According to Indianapolis: A Pictorial History by Edward Leary, "there was a parade each day, a midway on New Jersey Street, carnival booths around the rim of the Circle and Galarno, the Human Fly, who climbed the Soldiers and Sailors Monument". It's too bad the archways couldn't have stayed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Papaya Art

Some of the journals and greeting cards that really caught our eye at the Whimsy store in Madison were from a company called Papaya Art. We looked at their website and were agog at the their cool products. We will definitely be purchasing some of their wall art (like the one pictured here) for only $16.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Stream Cliff Herb Farm- Commiskey, Indiana

Interior of Twigs & Sprigs:

There were several options of iced tea flavors of the day (which excited us to no end). We loved the Earl Grey one and the Black Currant one:

The Turkey Club Croissant:

The Heart of the Garden sandwich:

Hot fudge cheesecake:

A sample page of the menu:

The grounds:

We have had Stream Cliff Herb Farm's website bookmarked for a long time and, since it was on our way home from Madison, we finally were able to visit it. It was worth the wait. Down a winding road you come upon the gorgeous grounds. There is a lot going on here; there's a winery, a country store, plants you can buy, a garden to walk through, and the lovely Twigs and Sprigs restaurant/tearoom. We were famished by the time we got there so we headed straight to Twigs and Sprigs. We had been looking forward to having their Afternoon Country Tea Service but, since we hadn't eaten much all day, we had to have sandwiches. We ordered a turkey club that came on a fluffy croissant and a delicious turkey and cheese with artichokes on focaccia bread sandwich. They were served with pita chips and fruit. They were both very good and beautifully presented with an edible flower on the plate. Since we had it in our minds that we were going to get something sweet here, we had to order a dessert to share. There were many tempting choices but we went with a hot fudge cheesecake that was as delectable as it sounds. They normally don't serve dinner but do have special Candlelight Dinners that sound amazing. Here is the list of dates and what will be served. We just might have to make a point of going back for one of those.

They also offer a full calendar of workshops covering everything from Food Preservation to Painting a Silk Scarf.

We loved it here and highly recommend it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Clifty Falls State Park- Madison, Indiana

We didn't have a lot of time to devote to Clifty Falls State Park on our recent trip to Southern Indiana. We had a lot on our agenda and we can only be away from home for so long before our Pomeranian starts to revolt. We drove in the south entrance off of SR 56 and headed towards the nearest falls since we didn't have time to explore the whole park. We parked by Hoffman Falls and walked down to see the water. These aren't huge, Hawaii-like falls but they are still pretty. We were excited to finally, after 7 years of faithfully buying the Indiana State Park pass, use it for another park besides the Fort Harrison one that we go to all the time. There were intermittent sprinkles on the day that we were there so the wooden steps that led down to the falls were a bit slick. Mrs. WYA! ended up taking a fall down a couple of them (with no serious injuries). She thought it was awfully funny that she wanted to see the falls and ended up becoming one of the "falls".

The park was gorgeous with everything so lush and green. We look forward to having more time to explore it.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Scenes from... Madison, Indiana

Broadway Fountain:

An old high school is now Rivertrace Senior Living Apartments- we love that!
Gorgeous exterior of Mundt's:

We loved the Hertz Shoes sign:

A double burger and tater tots at Hinkle's:

The Mercantile:

The Ohio Theatre:

Purchases from the Madison Mercantile:

Pretty cards from Whimsy:

Before this weekend, we had never been to the Main Street of Madison, Indiana which is pretty shameful because:
  1. we are native Hoosiers who've lived here pretty much our whole lives
  2. Ladies Home Journal declared it the "Prettiest Small Town in the Midwest"
  3. Mundt's Candies on Main Street (since 1917!) is featured in the book 1000 Places to See Before You Die.
For these reasons, we took a day trip there on Saturday and we weren't disappointed. We've been in other cute, small downtowns but we were amazed how long the commercial part of Main Street was. There were a few empty storefronts but most were filled on both sides of the street for several blocks. We found some parking the by the beautiful Broadway Fountain (which appeared to be getting a little restoration done to it). Our first stop was the Madison Mercantile store where we found some food that looked interesting (like a lobster bisque mix), a tea caddy, and some items that will be gifts at Christmas. They had a nice selection of cookware and wine too. Then, it was off to Hinkle's Hamburgers because you know Mr. WYA! had to try a burger from an establishment that has been there since 1933! We ate on the side with the counter but there is a separate door for the side with tables if you'd rather that. There was also outdoor seating. We sidled up to the counter and ordered a double cheeseburger and tater tots (we've had a big week for tater tots!). These are classic hamburgers so think of it as a bigger White Castle burger. The patties were grilled in front of us, pickle and onion are standard, the ketchup and mustard are on the counter if you want to add them. It was a tasty burger in a just right size that made us understand why they've been in business for 76 years. We enjoyed our tots but the regulars seemed to going for the home fries with cheese.

We continued to browse and were pleased with the variety of the shops. We always fear that the stores in small towns will slant toward the country side of home decor/living (you know the kind of places that we mean, where they spell words that start with a "C" with a "K" instead; e.g. Kountry Krafts). While there were shops with country/primitive decor items, that wasn't the overall vibe. We were happy to find some $1 boxes of incense at Gifts That Last (120 E. Main St. Tel 812.265.6717) and some beautiful greeting cards at Whimsy. Whimsy had many tempting beautiful things such as journals, clothing, and home decor. Make sure you browse there when you go to Madison. There was also a lovely book store, Village Lights, that had used and new books.

By the time we were done with all of that browsing, it was time for a sweet treat. There were a lot of options for treats; Hinkle's has milk shakes, there's Rogers Diner and Soda Fountain, a little further down Main Street is The Madison Fudge Factory but, we had to try something at Mundt's since it is such a legend. You can sample flavors of their ice cream, eat there, or take something to go. We love a good truffle and the dark chocolate ones were very good.

There were several antique stores, restaurants, and other shops too numerous to mention. There also happened to be a folk festival taking place by the river on the day we were there. Check out and for comprehensive lists of merchants and festivals.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

That downtown dining treasure, City Cafe, is now on Facebook which is nice because you can take a look at their menu there.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Regular readers know that we are fans of both Eckhart Tolle and the comic strip Mutts so we are thrilled to see that they have come together for a book coming out this fall.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Neko in Indy!!!!!!!!!!!!

For the second time in about a month, while casually flipping through Nuvo, we were happily shocked to discover a favorite female artist is coming to Indy. First, it was Lucinda Williams and now it is Neko Case! We thought that all of her concert dates were already set and we were almost thinking we'd go to Pittsburgh later in the summer to see her. She's coming to Clowes and it's even on a Friday (July 17th). We are so excited (well, Mrs. WYA! is beside herself with excitement- Mr. WYA! has never really listened to her so he'll be putting her CDs in heavy rotation for awhile to get acquainted with her). We think this is way bigger news than the Elton John/Billy Joel show that is getting the big press treatment but, our tastes never were very much in line with the mainstream.

One thing we like to do when planning a trip is to find out what the great, local, indie restaurants are- those gems that might not be listed on the Convention & Visitors Bureaus' website. We try to find blogs from locals to get ideas and we just found a blog with an extensive guide to food blogs broken down by state. Not only is Columbus Foodie a good resource but it is a great blog that makes us want to take a road trip to Ohio. The state by state guide is in the left column.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Lovely Lunch at The Cabbage Rose in Pendleton, IN

Even a soggy day is a lovely day to roam in Pendleton. It is an especially lovely place to have lunch with a girlfriend and browse the shops. Mrs. WYA! and her gal pal enjoyed a respite from the rain inside the cozy Cabbage Rose restaurant. We tried their popular strawberry iced tea and indulged in treats such as the chicken velvet soup and tater tots. We're always excited to find tater tots on a menu and the smoked turkey sandwich with cranberry sauce that gave us a reason to order a side of tots was quite delicious itself. Again, we tried to grab a to go menu to post but, alas, they were out of them at the moment.
The Cabbage Rose
118 N. Pendleton Ave.
Pendleton, IN 46064

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tomatillo Sauce

Sometimes a hunk of tuna steak needs a little something to jazz it up. We decided to play around with some tomatillos and made a tasty, versatile sauce.

28 oz can tomatillos
4 oz can of fire roasted green chiles
2 tsp chopped garlic
Fresh cilantro (about 2 tablespoons, you can add more or take some out depending on how much cilantro you like)

Puree (we do ours in a blender since we don't have a food processor), then pour the liquid in a pan and bring to a boil. You can cool this and use it as a salsa. We reduced this batch by about 2/3rd by simmering it on the stove and used it as a sauce for the tuna.