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PaigeM

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Re: Indianapolis Must Eats/See

by PaigeM » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:49 pm

BTW, if you can't get into St Elmo's, Harry and Izzy's is on the same block, has the same ownership, and serves the same shrimp cocktail.

If you're going this weekend, I have a non restaurant suggestion: the Gathering Before the Green Flag at the IN State Museum. If you have any interest in car or boat racing, you'll find it interesting. They're also showing the movie Madison (as in the boat race just upriver from Louisville) on the Imax screen there.

At the IMA northwest of town (where Puck's is), the current exhibit is "Ming Bling" from ancient China. The exhibit Bodies: The Exhibition is running downtown near Circle Center.
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Mark A.

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Re: Indianapolis Must Eats/See

by Mark A. » Wed Jan 21, 2009 11:58 pm

Linda C wrote:Love St Elmo's shrimp! Yeeowww. My husband and I had a wonderful meal at Elements. Food and service top-notch.

http://www.elementsindy.com


The shrimp cocktail sauce will literally clear your nasal passages. Make sure you have plenty of ice water on hand. The shrimp almost upstages the main menu but the steaks are pretty good too.
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Aaron M. Renn

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Re: Indianapolis Must Eats/See

by Aaron M. Renn » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:59 am

Firstly, restaurants:

Breakfast:

For breakfast downtown, the Cafe Patachou at Washington/Capitol (directly south of the State House in the Simon headquarters building) is your best bet. Two other great breakfast choices: Taste (north at 52nd and College) which is really, really good and Zest on 54th east of College (just east of the Monon Trail).

Lunch:

For lunch, the best thing you can do is soak up some character. There is no better way to do this than with a breaded pork tenderloin sandwich. Alas, I can't recommend a place downtown, but Google should turn up a couple of best of links. A couple places you might want to check out if you're willing to drive:

Red Onion in Sheridan (my personal tops)
Muldoon's on Main St. (131st St) in Carmel

The aforementioned Zest also does a good lunch, as does the Illinois St. Food Emporium @ 56th/Illinois

Here are two other options that are super-high on character, though the food is not going to live up to the local's billing:

Workingman's Friend (burgers) on Belmont - you take Washington west of downtown and turn north (right) on Belmont just past the infamous Patty's Show Club.

Ralph's Great Divide (which actually is downtown)

Dinner:

There are a couple of ways to go if you want top quality. If you want to stay downtown my two top choices are R. Bistro on Mass Ave and Euphoria on 11th St. on the Canal in Buggs Temple. (If you hit Euphoria, ask Zach at the bar for one of his "Hamhattans" made from bacon infused Makers) If you're willing to make a drive north, check out L'Explorateur in Broad Ripple, which is absolutely the city's best restaurant (and fortunately moving downtown).

The best Greek food I've ever had (and I've eaten at, for example, almost every Greektown Chicago place) is Santorini in Fountain Square. This is not far away from the great Turkish place people mentioned earlier Bosphorus Cafe on East St.

The core of downtown is chained to death. St. Elmo's is great for a drink and shrimp cocktail in the bar, but skip the steaks, which are below par. If you want steaks, go to Ruth's Chris or check out Fogo de Chao, the Brazilian Steakhouse since IIRC Louisville doesn't have one yet. Also in that area is an Adobo Grill (an outpost of the Chicago place) which is good upscale Mexican. Don't miss the fish tacos and the seviche bar.

If you're willing to put up with the drunken hordes, Brugge Brasserie in Broad Ripple is excellent.

There are zillions of little taquerias and latino places around. Plus tons of Vietnamese and other Asian places up near Lafayette Square.

Grocery:

A must visit for the foodie is Goose the Market at 25th and Delaware, a small grocery store specializing in local foodstuffs and house made charcuterie. This place is truly top notch. They also serve sandwiches that are solid.

If you want ethnic foodstuffs, do some net research as the Lafayette Square area is again full of Indian groceries and such.

Entertainment:

See what is playing at the symphony. The ISO has every ticket on sale for $25. The orchestra is really good, and the Circle Theater a good venue on the Circle to see. In fact, I'll make you a deal. I've got tix to three Friday night shows upcoming: 3/6 - Andre Watts plays Rachmaninoff 2, 3/20 - Beethoven's 3rd, and 5/8 - Beethoven's 5th. If you are interested in any of these nights, shoot me an note and the tix are yours free. I've got a pair to each show.

The Slippery Noodle is great for blues as was noted. That MacNiven's place people talked about earlier also has a good beer selection. If you'd rather go sports bar, check out the just opened Scotty's Brewhouse downtown, but watch out for overpriced, so-so bar food. The bar at the Oceanaire is pretty good too. It's another upscale chain. I believe there are half price oysters in the bar from 5-6 weeknights, but I'm not sure if Friday's included.

If you prefer jazz, the Chatterbox on Mass Ave is known for it as is the Jazz Kitchen on 54th and College.

Use good to find these places. The best source for unbiased food info is Feed Me Drink Me (http://feedmedrinkme.blogspot.com/). The best source for beer info is the Hoosier Beer Geek (http://hoosierbeergeek.blogspot.com/). If you happen to be in town this weekend, there's a Hoosier beer festival thing going on at the Fairgrounds Saturday, where I believe every Indiana brewery is represented.

I'll post a walking tour of downtown momentarily.
Last edited by Aaron M. Renn on Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Indianapolis Must Eats/See

by Aaron M. Renn » Thu Jan 22, 2009 1:04 am

Here is a description of architectural sites I wrote up for someone coming to see. Please note this was a Thursday, and most of the buildings I reference the interior of will be closed on weekends. It is a must to see the inside of the Indiana World War Memorial if you can though.

Here are some of the sites I can suggest. Call it my downtown walking tour if you'd like. You might not want to do all of them, but I figured I'd throw them out. Google is your friend on finding these, but I've got them laid out more or less as a walking tour (in a couple months, I might have a real walking tour for you, as this is something I've been working on in the background, but alas, nothing yet).

Union Station - 39. Jackson Place. Romanesque Revival train station. (Similar to Louisville's Union Station, btw)
Indianapolis Artsgarden - Hemispherical dome suspended over the intersection of Illinois and Washington St.
Indiana Theater - Spanish-Moorish movie palace and ballroom, now a live production theater. The sixth floor Indiana Roof Ballroom, if accessible, is like a smaller version of the Aragon and is widely used for upscale receptions.
Indiana State House (Market/Capitol) - what it says. Worth a walk inside
*Monument Circle - a must see. One of America's great urban spaces. Awesome in the summer, probably a bit dead Thursday.
Circle Theater - another movie palace on the Circle, now home to the ISO
Circle Tower - a grandiose name for a 12 or so story art deco midrise on the Circle next to the Circle Theater.
Columbia Club - Indy's answer to the Union League Club, also on the Circle
Christ Church Cathedral - Indy's oldest church, also on the Circle

North of the Circle between Meridian and Penn is a 7 1/2 block area that is one of America's great City Beautiful spaces, the war memorial mall. From north to south, the facilities are:

Federal Court House (worth a look inside - don't let the metal detectors scare you)
University Park
*Indiana World War Memorial - It is an absolute must to go inside. I think it is open on Thursday afternoon. The entrance is on the north side. It will probably be deserted, which adds to the charm. The entrance lobby is stunning. But don't forget to take the stairs from the lobby up to the huge shrine room.
Veterans Memorial Plaza - contains an obelisk and other various items.
American Legion Mall - Headquarters of the American Legion is here, along with the sunken gardens and cenotaph
Central Library - the neoclassical original building, with the modern addition behind it. If you look on the sidebar of my blog under Best Of - Project Reviews, I've got a three part review of this. Let's just say, I like the interior better than the exterior, though you'll certainly notice the fit and finish problems. This is a heckuva interior space to enjoy - much better than the horrible Harold Washington Library, that's for sure.

Flanking the mall on the west you'll find the Scottish Rite Cathedral. On the east you'll see the Minton-Capehart Federal Building in all its Brutalist glory. Of all the architecture to copy, they had to pick Boston City Hall, but I think the Indy version is better, frankly.

If you're willing to hoof it in the cold, you can see three other architecturally interesting buildings. The first is the Murat Temple, a shrine temple that looks like an Egyptian mosque. Across the street from that is the Atheneaum, designed by Kurt Vonnegut's grandfather. These aren't too far out the avenue. The other attraction at the end is the art deco Coca Cola Bottling Company - now a bus depot :(

On Alabama St. north of Market (just east of the City Market, another place you might want to check out, though I don't find it terribly exciting) is a small fragment of the future Indy Cultural Trail (http://www.indyculturaltrail.org), a very innovative urban trail project with off street protected bike lanes and pedestrian paths, public art, etc., designed to link the various dispersed downtown cultural attractions.

You may notice various pieces of public art on exhibit around downtown that are made out of shredded tires. This is an exhibit of specially commissioned works by Chakaia Booker. Every year the city does a temporary exhibit like this.

If you're still looking to kill time, you can walk over to Lockerbie Square, an area of quaint Victorian cottages - and the James Whitcomb Riley Home. This Italiante victorian era home is an actual interior preservation, not a restoration - one of the best in the country - if that's your thing.
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John Greenup

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Re: Indianapolis Must Eats/See

by John Greenup » Thu Jan 22, 2009 8:23 am

Aaron presents a comprehensive list of sight-seeing ideas, but I would add one more.....if you have an affinity for auto racing, take a drive down W. 16th Street to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and visit the Speedway Museum, which is located just inside the track's huge infield (you should be able to drive right in through one of the 16th Street gates)....the museum presents a multi-media history of the IMS (which begins its centennial celebration this year) along with the race that put it on the world map -- The Indianapolis "500"....there is also an incredible collection of racing cars -- both from past Indy 500's, as well as other races around the world....if you've never visited the IMS before, the sheer size of the racecourse is impressive -- much larger than television broadcasts depict....they also offer van tours around the track -- see if they're available this time of year....
"I want to go where the hand of man has never set foot."

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Aaron M. Renn

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Re: Indianapolis Must Eats/See

by Aaron M. Renn » Thu Jan 22, 2009 12:37 pm

Mark A. wrote:
Linda C wrote:Love St Elmo's shrimp! Yeeowww. My husband and I had a wonderful meal at Elements. Food and service top-notch.

http://www.elementsindy.com


The shrimp cocktail sauce will literally clear your nasal passages. Make sure you have plenty of ice water on hand. The shrimp almost upstages the main menu but the steaks are pretty good too.

Elements within the last year changed hands and the founding chef left. So YMMV versus previous visits.
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