Disclosure: Visit Hamilton County provided this trip but all opinions are my own.
Recently I was invited to Hamilton County, Indiana - which is basically the north side of Indianapolis - for a Flavors Foodie Tour! I'd never been so I was definitely excited for a new place to go that was just a couple hours away.
bike rental system similar to Cincinnati's - but the pricing structure is a little different ($3/hour vs. $8/day). I like the 3 wheel bikes - I don't want to say how many years it's been since I've been on a bicycle - so I think those look fun.
We were seated on the patio - which is covered but open and airy and just so peaceful! So we're just drinking and enjoying it - it was sublime (that's the name of their Pinot Noir too!).
Reggie does deliveries for their Peace Posse - which is their wine club. Join and you get a "mommy drinks because she cares" t-shirt. Oh yes - it gets even better.
But looks fade - right? Well - amazing human beingness doesn't. He started by telling us how amazing his wife is. She's raised EIGHT kids and a zoo of various animals. (Seriously?!) Then he tells us about how he switched from corporate America to entrepeneurship. And then - they decided to do something for others - by opening the winery.
How? 50% of their profits go to charity. Not 5%, not 10% - FIFTY PERCENT. So now you understand the "mommy drinks because she cares".
Their wines have also won awards - their Grateful Red Cabernet Franc just won Red Wine of the Year at the Indy International Wine Competition.
Seriously - I fell in love with this place more by the minute. Be sure to make a special trip if you head to Indy - it's worth it. (Peace Water Winery - 37 W Main St - Carmel IN)
Divvy just a few minutes away. The menu was waiting for us at our table and all I had to see was Bacon Bites and I was sold.
First - the Corn Creme Brulee with Romano, jalapenos and red sea salt. Basically it's creamed corn with a kick and a bruleed top. My husband is not typically a vegetable lover or even a lover of spicy - but he reluctantly tried this one. After one bite - he was SOLD! He at probably half the bowl and declared that we were DEFINITELY making the drive again to come back just for that. That's high praise from Mr. Hussy.
Second - the Beer Cheese Fondue served with fried pita triangles and bakery bread bites. Pita triangles are great - but fry 'em and wowza - so much better! I'm not the biggest fan of beer cheese - it can have a funk with it because of the beer - but this was DELICIOUS! It was thick and cheesy but still natural tasting (not like Arbys cheese sauce). We both loved it!
The one item that looks beautiful - at least with my camera - was the Porterhouse Teasers - grilled NY Strip and tenderloin topped with smoky garlic butter. Unfortunately it wasn't our favorite - the tenderloin was more tender (duh) than the strip and it just didn't have a lot of flavor. It was cooked well but wasn't that much of a stand out. But - there are so many places to get steak - try all the other stuff - hell - cook your steak at home - it's what I do. Now on the other hand...
SHUT THE FRONT DOOR.
And for more about the restaurant - Kevin "Woody" Rider is the owner and mastermind behind the small plates that you can "divvy" up! (Get it?!) His wife is the executive chef and when they were asked to come up with a concept for their restaurant - they knew immediately what they wanted - the small plates. They love tastings and would much rather share a bunch of small plates - I AGREE COMPLETELY!
Next up - back to the bus and over to Upland Brewing Company. Yes - Indianapolis has been overrun by craft breweries just like Cincinnati. Upland is actually one of the oldest breweries in Indiana and has been around for more than 20 years!
NBC's Parks & Recreation!
I didn't love the beer but the food was great- so I would definitely go back.
Our last stop was Chocolate for the Spirit where we met with owner and Master Chocolatier - Julie Bolajack. Yeah - you can become a MASTER CHOCOLATIER! I don't seem to remember our guidance counselor mentioning that.
(They also have gelato!)
One VERY special thing about Chocolate for the Spirit is that Julie is one of only 12 chocolatiers in the US that has access to the RAREST chocolate in the world - Pure Nacional from Peru. (not displayed above - that's just another pretty chocolate) They actually thought this chocolate was extinct for a while - but it's been rediscovered and is super rare! We each got to try a tiny bite - so rich - so good.
Indie Indy Foodie Tours for the food tour. Hamilton County sponsored the trip - but you can do something similar anytime you want by trying out these food tours.
Visit Hamilton County - they planned a great trip! We had a blast and we barely even scratched the surface of all there is to do in the area. I have another post coming with more!
Courtyard by Marriot in Carmel for our accommodations. It was a great night's sleep!
I also want to say that I had the pleasure of making new friends - if you're a wine lover - be sure to check out my friend Howard Hewitt - he and his companion were super-fun to hang out with!