Is Devour Indy Worth It?

Is Devour Indy (formerly known as devour downtown) actually worth it? I mean, let’s be honest. Unless I’m starving, I’m not ordering an appetizer and dessert along with the main course. If you are someone who orders all three of those, then depending on where you go, it could be totally worth it. Let’s dig deeper..

2 for $30 Dinner –

Bru Burger – NEUTRAL – Bru offers an appetizer (1), sandwich (2) and a dessert (1). The average price of the appetizer options is $7. Their average price of a burger is $9. The average price of dessert is $5.  If you add those numbers up (appetizer + entree x 2 + dessert), you are sitting exactly at $30.  I’ll be using this math to calculate the prices throughout this post. Honestly, I’d rather order off the menu and not be restricted.

Mama Carolla’s – NEUTRAL – Again, when I added up the averages of the offered antipasti, two salads and two entrees, I came up with $30.58. 

Giordanos – WORTH IT – Giordanos offers an appetizer (garlic bread or brushetta), salad, a small deep dish pizza and sodas. The average price of the small pizza is around $22.75. If you are planning on ordering an appetizer, it’s worth it. plus, the pizzas are so filling, you will definitely have leftovers. 

 

3 Courses for $40 – 

Salt On Mass – NEUTRAL – Salt offers a choice of a salad, entree and the chocolate caramel brownie for dessert. They did not have the grouper, trout, or the dessert listed on their sample menu online so I took an average of the dish prices. I came out around $42-$45. Go if you are planning on getting the filet, that alone is listed at $41 on the menu. As for the other dishes? I’m a big fan of their pan roasted sea bass which I wish was on the devour menu. 

 

$30 Dinner Per Person

Eagles Nest – WORTH IT – Uh, Devour Indy people, the price isn’t actually listed on your menu. You might want to add that. Luckily, a quick google search brought up that in previous years they have charged $30 per person, so we’ll go based off that. This usually ends up being an “always worth it” on the list. If you’ve never been to the eagles nest, It’s a cool restaurant on top of the Hyatt. It overlooks the entire city, and spins slowly at 360 degrees. Making reservations during devour is a MUST.  The entrees alone average $31. I’ve tried the salmon and the maple glazed chicken breast in the past. 

Melting Pot – WORTH IT – Melting Pot is a fun restaurant that I honestly don’t go to unless it’s Devour or I have a groupon. It’s fun but it can be pricey and I honestly don’t eat everything that comes out. You can even compare on their website what their four entrees normally cost on average $39.95. If you are a vegetarian, it’s the same price for the good earth vegetarian four course option.

Fogo de Chao – WORTH IT –  Technically, this is $39.95 a person, but still worth it. The full churrasco experience (includes market table and feijoada bar) is $49.95.  I don’t believe that includes dessert. I’ve also heard from many people that making a reservation is worth it. However, if you want to save even more, go for lunch. Lunch is $32.95.

Barbecue & Bourbon – WORTH IT – The 4 meat platter is $20. You also get to choose 4 sides ($8), an appetizer ($4) and a dessert. Plus, if you’re here.. might as well indulge in one of their 50+ bourbons.

 

$20 Dinner Per Person

The Legend Classic Irvington Cafe – NOT WORTH IT – This one was a little harder to calculate because they did not have everything on the devour menu listed on their “normal” menu online. I took an average and for the soup/salad, entree and dessert.. we’re sitting at… you guessed it.. $20. 

Charbonos WORTH IT – This is $25/person dinner. They do not have the dessert prices listed online but with just the average entree price and soup/salad, you’re looking at $30.50. I’ve never been here but their menu looks awesome.

 

Overall, It seems that the places that are “worth it” are more chains than local restaurants. It’s a little disappointing, but understandable.  I am not trying to discourage you from trying any of these.  However, don’t feel confined to the devour menu. These restaurants all have wonderful items to offer. If it’s devour that sparks your interest in a restaurant, go for it! I’d like to try the barbecue and bourbon place.. I’ve never heard of it until now!

What is your must-try restaurant during Devour?

photo credit: DevourIndy.com

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Indianapolis Public Library

This weekend, I finally decided to go get a library card! I’ve been to the Indianapolis Central Public Library location a handful of times for events, but never to pick up some books. With the recent transition to being a vegetarian and also learning more about web development, I need some BOOKS.

I was thrilled to discover the overdrive app (I know, apparently I live under a rock). Overdrive is an awesome app that allows you to download e-books, music, and other media. I try to keep busy so I don’t always have time to stop in to the library. However, with Sunday’s weather being so lovely, I decided to stroll over and do a bit of filming for my YouTube channel. I’ll be adding that video tomorrow, so stay tuned!

The entrance of the library is absolutely stunning. There is sort of a mini entrance, with additional steps into the main part of the building. The main part is surrounded by beautiful windows and natural light. 

To sign up for a library card, you need to head over to the “Check-out” station which is to your left. The two ladies that helped me sign up were very kind and informative.  All you need is your ID. If your id does not state that you live in Marion County, a bill with your current address will work as well. The application took barely 2 minutes to fill out – easy as pie! I asked both ladies what they enjoyed most about the library. The first answer was the reading room, followed by the Indianapolis room.

There are two reading rooms, both located on the east and west sides of the main level. The rooms are surrounded by older books, dark wood, and a cozy fireplace.  Both restorations are possible through generous donations. The east room is sponsored by a well-known Indianapolis family, the Sextons.

 

Each floor has different genres of books. I was searching for an amazing cookbook – Thug Kitchen. You can have any of the librarians look up the number for you. I learned that cookbooks are located on the 4th floor. Unfortunately, I was not able to locate my Thug Kitchen book. I had three wonderful ladies all try to help but it seems that it may still be on a cart.. somewhere in the library. I will say, I got quite a laugh seeing their reactions to the title of the book. Not to mention, the full title is “Thug Kitchen: Eat Like You Give a F*&#”. It was entertaining, to say the least. And I promise it’s a killer book!

I was able to come across some other great cookbooks which were awesome to flip through. I continued up to the 6th floor to the Indianapolis Special Collections Room. 

This room provided a beautiful view of Indianapolis. Many glass cases had the original blue prints, letters, and newspaper clippings from when the library was originally built! Letters from James Whitcomb Riley, Kurt Vonnegut, and many other well-known Hoosiers. Inside the actual room (staff only, to help preserve the materials), they offer many books by local authors, photographers, scrapbooks and newspapers. I had no idea this existed and I could spend a whole afternoon exploring it. Did you know the creator of Raggedy Ann and Andy spent his childhood in Indianapolis? Yes! 

Did I mention the views? They are incredible! Even for a gray day, I love the views the library provides of the park and our skyline. 

When I got home, I got online and immediately went to the overdrive app. I am really excited to start using this. I love audio books and I can download them to my phone, score! 

The library has everything – books, dvds, computers, and even classes! Looks like they have several computer classes and even a few classical concerts on the books for February. Here’s the link to check out the calendar. You can check out up to 125 items at one time. If I had kiddos, I’d be coming here as much as possible to treat them to their wonderful children’s collections. And the best part about it? It’s TOTALLY FREE!

Overall, I enjoyed my time at the library. It’s hard to believe that the last time I went to a library (for something other than an event) was back in college. I spent many nights at the famous Herman B. Wells Library on the IU Bloomington campus. Can’t say I miss those all-nighters 😉 I look forward to making a weekly visit to my new local library :).

Have you been to the Central Library? What kinds of books do you usually check out?

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Cook’s Session II: Fresh Cheese with Chef Neal Brown

If you aren’t utilizing facebook events, start now. I’ve been working on a schedule of events to attend, film and write for Into Indy and found some fantastic events on fb. I was thrilled to come across this event!

What better way to start a Saturday off by making cheese? Ok, not the traditional pancakes and coffee – but so much better! 

Chef Neal Brown (Pizzology, Libertine) is one of Indianapolis’s best-known chefs. He has been nominated for several awards and he definitely knows the biz. I was thrilled to find the cook session featuring fresh cheese. If there is anyone I want to learn cheese from, it’s Pizzology. If you haven’t been to Pizzology, I highly recommend checking it out. They have two locations – one in Carmel and one on Mass Ave. 

Cook sessions are free (!!!) classes offered by Chef Brown. Today, we learned how to make fresh ricotta and mozzarella cheese. 

We started with the ricotta. Chef Brown started by bring the milk to an almost simmer (around 200 degrees). He hammered home the fact that you do not want to burn the milk, essentially scorching it. Good, quality milk works best. This is not the time for skim milk! Save that for your Starbucks order, not your homemade cheese. 

While the milk was heating up, Chef Brown went over the basics of whey. From my understanding, the whey is produced by the coagulation from the heat and the acid. Chef Brown added lemon juice and vinegar, but also mentioned that you can add rennet. 

He switched over to prepping the mozzarella cheese, by breaking up the cheese curds. To be honest, this Indiana girl has only ever seen cheese curds at the Indiana State Fair. Deep fried squeaky goodness.  

While we waited for the mozz to heat up, we strained the ricotta, which was awesome to watch. You pour the curds into a strainer and let it sit overnight. He brought out the demo version that was created a day before to show us how it turns out. Creamy goodness… mmmmm.

Breaking or cutting the curd for the mozz allows for more drainage of the whey.  After salting the water (very very salty!), he added the cheese curds into the water. At 180, he started to stretch the cheese. For fresh cheese, you can stretch it and be done. It can be stored in the whey solution but should be eaten relatively soon. Fresh cheese is very perishable. To age the cheese, you can rack it.

After balling up the mozzarella and dipping it in the ice bath to set, he even treated us to learning how to make Buratta. Buratta is ricotta and a tiny bit of cream balled inside of a mozzarella ball. OMG. Drooling. It’s even better with some herbs and fried green tomatoes. This is something that grocery stores can charge a pretty penny for. If you are making both ricotta and mozzarella, why not try to make this as well?

I thought this 1-hour class was the perfect length and moved at a great pace. The turnout was awesome! Major vlogger fail – my gopro was completely dead. UGH! However, national cheese lovers day is coming up (1/20) so I will be attempting to make both ricotta and mozzarella how-to video for my you tube channel. FYI I have a history of many kitchen fails so this will be quiet the hilarious adventure.

I am very much looking forward to more classes offered by Chef Brown! Big thank-you to him and his staff for making this happen. Off to find some deliciously cheesy recipes!

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Three Carrots

If you have never tried Three Carrots… run, don’t walk to your nearest one! I recently decided to go vegetarian, so I have been researching different restaurants in the area that specifically cater to vegans and vegetarians. I was surprised to find a decent number of options. Most restaurants offer a few vegetarian options, but I was looking for full on vegetarian restaurants with LOTS of options.

Three Carrots is a vegetarian stall located at the City Market. If you’ve never been to City Market, that’s a whole other post in it’s self.  If you enter off Market and Delaware, they are more towards the back. Since it’s warm for Indiana January standards, I figured today was the perfect day for a little walk. The fog around noon was crazy, you couldn’t even see the top of the monument! 

For those of you who are not familiar with City Market, it’s essentially a booth-space cafeteria. They offer many kinds of different foods and have many tables for sitting. I’ve only been a few times but I might be hooked on Three Carrots now… so looks like I’ll be there more often!

The full menu is available on the Three Carrots website. I decided to go with the tofu kitchen sink. It’s a sandwich with baked tofu, lettuce, red onions, tomato, basil pesto, garlic aioli, and roasted red peppers. I’ve been cooking mainly with veggies and tofu so this was a safe (and delicious) bet. Have you guys tried Seitan? I haven’t taken the plunge yet. I upgraded to a green salad as a side with the avocado dressing.

It was DELICIOUS! the basil pesto and garlic aioli gave it the perfect flavor. I loved reading their menu while waiting because it gave me inspiration for many other meals. The sandwich and side salad were perfectly filing. I didn’t feel like I needed to be rolled in a full on food coma, back to work after indulging in eating out

I arrived at 11:30.. I was pleasantly surprised that they had a consistent line throughout the lunch hour. They were quick with every dish! It was nice to see other veg heads or even just people trying it out! If you’re not e vegetarian.. I promise this food is so good, you won’t even miss meat. Give it a shot! Have you tried Three Carrots? I’m also looking for other recommendations for vegetarian friendly restaurants – let me know what you’ve got!

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RETURN OF THE MAC!!

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!! I hope that everyone got to enjoy the holidays with their loved ones. I know I sure did! Now that we are in the swing of January.. I wanted to announce a big project that I’ve been working on. I am officially VLOGGING! Yup, blogging and vlogging. I want to bring more an experience to the Into Indy visitor. My blogs will cover the events more in depth, and I am looking forward to taking you guys with me on all of my adventures! Bear with me as I am learning how to edit videos and work with my old gopro… It might just be time to upgrade ;).

First up – Return Of The MAC!!

Holy Cow. Or should I say holy cheese? By the time I first heard about the event, the tickets sold out in record time. Something ridiculous like 10 minutes or something. Then, they moved the event to another venue – the pavilion – and sold another round of tickets. I missed those too. Sheesh.. hottest ticket in town or what? Luckily, I’ve learned that things always come up last minute. I was able to score two tickets to the 5pm session on the event facebook page. No scalper fee, just the cost the original owner paid! Major score!

The line looked intimidating but was moving quickly. I would say we only waited about 10 minutes out front. Once in, it was a bit chaotic. There was confusion to if there was an actual line, or if you just go up and grab. One server told us to just hop right in and grab.. well, that didn’t seem to go over too well with most people. We ended up waiting in the line for the majority of the first side. I wasn’t thrilled about the lines because, being a vegetarian, I couldn’t eat much. I totally expected it (side note: whatever happened to NORMAL mac and cheese? Pork belly belongs back in 2003, not in M&C). I was very excited to find some of the restaurants, such as Vida, who offered their mac and cheese with a sausage on top.. I asked for it without the sausage, no problem! Nada’s mac and cheese had poblano peppers in it. Yum! Charblue was another one of my favorites which was a seafood twist on Mac and Cheese. I was bummed that Joella’s had run out of all their mac and cheese by the time I made it around to them. They are on my list of restaurants to try since they just opened on the North Side.

I have to mention that everyone volunteering and working were incredibly friendly! Everyone had a great energy going and it was contagious. Everyone, in typical Midwest fashion, was friendly and upbeat. 

I would love to see the chef’s get to compete with coming up with their own spin on mac and cheese. Basically, have an offering of their own restaurant offered mac and cheese, and a special one for the event. Maybe this can be offered to just VIPS? There were quite a few buffalo mac and cheeses (I heard ClusterTruck knocked that one out of the park). Many of the mac and cheeses had meat products in them which made for an interesting spin. I make a killer 5-cheese smoked cheddar mac and cheese that would charm the pants off of any meat-mac-and-cheese- eater for sure. It was never advertised as a vegetarian event, so that wasn’t the expectation whatsoever. Overall, I loved every mac and cheese I tried. 

We stayed until 7 to hear the winner announced. Many people were gone by 6:30 and majority of the vendors packed up shop. Make sure not to get to the event late! DJ Helicon played for our session and was knocking out banger after banger. Solid choice!

 

Tips:

  1. Buy VIP tickets. This guarantees early entry. My friends who purchased the earlier tickets were able to make it around to each table by the time the crowd made their entry.
  2. Make a strategy. Score a table first and split up? Send one friend to get four cups for everyone in your group while you scour the other booths? You can come up with something!
  3. Dress warm. I wasn’t sure if I should wear my heavy winter coat or a lighter option. Turns out – they have a coat check!
  4. CASH – There is a bar as well a soda and water station.

 

Overall – Fantastic event! Hats off to all those involved. You all should be crazy proud of such a cool event. Looking forward to next year!

 

Photo credit: Return of The Mac

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