Monday, August 31, 2009

Hobbit Gardens- Fillmore, Indiana

We finally made it to Hobbit Gardens Herb Farm in Fillmore, Indiana after circling around country roads for awhile a couple of weekends ago. There was a small shop (we were disappointed that they were out of lotion) and pretty grounds to wander but we definitely spent a lot longer finding it than we did actually going through it. However, on Sunday, September 6th, they'll be having their 16th Annual Herb Festival which, according to their website, will include workshops, food, music, cooking with herbs, reflexology, and a fresh herb wreath workshop among other things so that might be a good time to visit.

Regular hours are:
April thru October:Tue.,Thurs.,Fri., 10-5 Sat. & Sun.1-5.
Winter Hours Sat & Sun 1-5 other hours by chance or appt.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

We watch the film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari around Halloween every year and this print of the movie poster is on our mantel throughout the month of October. Any time of the year is good for German Expressionism though so we think that it is very cool that Big Car Collective and the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library are presenting a showing of the film with live accompanying music by experimental music group Big Robot tonight at 7PM. It will be at the Central Libary at 40 E. St. Clair Street for FREE and, from Big Car's website, it looks like they will be presenting the John Barrymore version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on October 28th.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Szechwan Garden- Lafayette Road, Indianapolis



Eggplants with Basil Sauce:

Pork Intestine in Szechwan Broth:

Click images for larger views of the menu:

You might pass by this place thinking that it is just a generic Chinese restaurant but we found it to be a really special dining experience. We don't go out for Chinese food very much because we'd prefer to make it home and control the ingredients (healthier oils, not too much...). We made a point of going to Szechwan Garden because back in May, reader Tom B. told us that DW Market was a good eat in/take out place. We wanted to check it out and went there a few months ago but it was closed. One of the employees stuck his head out when we pulled at the door and said that they had some roof damage and were doing some repairs. We went back about a month after that and it was still closed. Finally, we passed by and noticed that the front had a new sign that said Szechwan Garden (even though the big sign by the road still says DW Market). We went there for lunch and we were so pleased with the experience. From the pictures that Tom sent us, it appears that they really did an upgrade to the interior. There are pretty curtains and cool lights above the lovely upholstered booths all making for a simple, elegant atmosphere. It is a big open space but it doesn't feel cavernous.

We couldn't tell from the menu whether the lunches came with anything (such as soup). It turns out that they only come with a bowl of steamed white rice but that is fine because the portions are huge. We could have very easily ordered soup or an appetizer and split an entree and have been quite satiated. Keep in mind that, if the prices seem high, you can easily get two meals from these portions.

Good news for vegetarians; there are a lot of options here. Mrs. WYA! ordered #V11- Eggplants in Basil sauce. We love eggplant so we figured that we couldn't go wrong with this dish but it was even better than it sounded. The menu is a little light on details about what all is in the sauces but whatever was in the thick sauce that enveloped the eggplant chunks was divine. The basil was not dried and from a container on a spice rack but big, fresh leaves.

Mr. WYA! decided to try one of the more exotic options by ordering the Pork Intestine in Szechwan Broth. The little chunks of intestine were fried crispy (hint for the squeamish, the larger the chunk, the more obvious it was it was intestine). The dish was tossed in a variety of peppers, ranging from the standard pepper to the peppers that you would only eat on a dare and the red pepper flakes were evident everywhere. On the menu, this dish had a star by it so we assumed that it indicated that it had some heat so, if you aren't into food with a burn, don't worry- there are still plenty of options on the menu that aren't starred.

We got that really warm, welcoming feeling that we get in the restaurants that we love the most. We were greeted by a gentleman as we walked in, he stopped by later and asked how everything was, and then he went out of his way to thank us and say goodbye when we left. We love giving our business to people who really seem to appreciate it.

Szechwan Garden (formerly DW Market)
3649 Lafayette Road
Indianapolis, IN 46222

Szechwan Garden on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 21, 2009

Scenes from... The Indiana State Fair

We have to confess, we don't go to the Indiana State Fair every year. This year however, Mrs. WYA! wanted to go and get some images that she could get artsy with and eventually add to her available selection of cards celebrating Indiana. We took advantage of the Indianapolis Star's free Fair admission coupon and checked it out last night. Lucky us- it turned out to be one of the most lovely evenings of the summer; the humidity was out of the air, there was a dreamy breeze, and the sky was the most beautiful color of blue with puffy white clouds. We hope that these pictures practically make you smell the fair food in the air, hear the happy screams from the midway, and either bring back good memories from fairs you've attended in years gone by or, get you to go visit this one during its last weekend.

You never know who or what you will see at a State Fair. We stumbled upon MC Hammer belting out some tunes:

We didn't go see all of the animals but the pigs are a must-see for us:

Here's Champion- "World's Largest Boar":

The Midway; the stuffed bananas and monkeys are cute but the stuffed money isn't so heartwarming:

We think that if you didn't know this was a shot from a midway you'd think it was from an oil field or something like that:

The Food; corn dogs in the sky:

While we wished that the bacon was more crispy, the chocolate covered bacon was oddly good.

Not a signature dish for Indiana, but this was a fine Philly Cheesesteak sandwich:

We love the art deco buildings at the fairgrounds:

Inside the Pepsi Coliseum:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Indianapolis Propylaeum

The Carriage House: the first home of the Children's Museum:

The Tea Room:

Mrs. Curry's Famous Rolls:

Soup of the Day- Lobster Bisque:

Chicken and Mushroom Crepes:

Hoosier Chicken Pot Pie:

Meeting room space:

Guest Rooms:

The third floor ballroom:

On the third floor, just to the left of the ballroom, is the Carole Lombard room:

Maybe she powdered her nose here!

Finally, after years of living in Indianapolis, we made it to the Propylaeum. For some reason, we had it stuck in our heads that the only event open to the public was their Tuesday Teas but actually, they serve lunch Monday- Friday from 11-2P. Reservations were recommended per their website so we made those the day before. This place just has all of the things we love; food, tea, history, architecture, and even a dash of old time Hollywood.

First, we really enjoyed our food. The tea room was cozy and beautiful. Mr. WYA! thought that it might be a little too precious for him but the men won't feel too overwhelmed by frilliness here. There is certainly something for everyone on the menu. We had to try the soup of the day because it was one of our favorites, Lobster Bisque. The broth was a little thinner than some we've had which was fine since it can be a heavy soup and we were having it before an entree. The lobster pieces were huge.

For our entrees, we ordered the Hoosier Chicken Pot Pie and the Chicken and Mushroom Crepes. The entrees come with a fresh green salad (try the tasty homemade poppyseed dressing) and Mrs. Curry's Famous Rolls. We don't know who Mrs. Curry is but, my goodness, she can make a roll. These are actually sweet rolls that remind us of the cinnamon rolls that Mrs. WYA!'s Mom makes. We don't know how the Tea Room sells any desserts when they start you off with these decadent treats. The crepes were covered with a Champagne sauce. The whole entree was very delicate and lighter than it might sound like. It was beautifully presented with a flower on top. We're suckers for aesthetics so we liked that.

The Hoosier Chicken Pot Pie might sound like a heavy lunch choice that would make an afternoon nap mandatory, but it wasn't at all. The crust was light and airy, and the temptation to oversalt something like chicken broth didn't occur to the chef. The veggies were firm and fresh. The whole thing came together as an Indiana classic that didn't leave you overfull.

As if that lovely meal wasn't enough, patrons are free to roam through the 3 floors of the historic building. There are many meeting rooms that can be rented and overnight rooms that can be used if anyone rents the space for an event (what a great place for a wedding reception). We loved wandering around and really loved the Carole Lombard room. As old Hollywood historians know, Fort Wayne native Ms. Lombard died when she was flying back from an Indianapolis War Bond Rally and her plane crashed. Her last night was spent in Indianapolis at the Claypool Hotel which was where the downtown Embassy Suites now stands. Some furnishings from that room, such as the dresser, were sold and are now in a room at the Propylaeum. How cool is that? We don't know why this information isn't prominently posted on their website for old Hollywood fanatics like ourselves. We also think they could have a nice event where they set up a movie screen in one of the meeting room areas and showed one of her movies. That's just a moneymaking idea from us to them.

Our server and the rest of the staff couldn't have been lovelier and our experience couldn't have been better at the Propylaeum. Hopefully, other Indianapolis area residents have not procrastinated going there as badly as we have. We won't wait so long for our next visit.

Propylaeum Tea Room on Urbanspoon