Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Southern Indiana Eating (Near and Far)
First, allow me to apologize for the poor quality of these pics (anyone want to buy me a new phone with a better camera?) Great, now that that's out of the way, allow me to talk about how much I enjoyed eating the food in these pics.
I took a weekend trip to Southern Indiana this weekend with my father, and on our way home on Sunday I suggested we stop for lunch at the Blue River Cafe. You could literally blink and miss Main St. in Milltown, Indiana, but if you do manage to find and follow it as it winds through the tiny town, you will certainly be rewarded.
I first read about the Blue River Cafe in Home Grown Indiana, the book I mentioned in my last post. Since it is a bit of a drive from Bloomington, I hadn't really ever thought about dining there until I was looking through a tourism guide on Southern Indiana that happened to mention the cafe as a great place to eat. Dad and I were in nearby New Albany, so we decided to make the jaunt over to Milltown for lunch. We arrived just as they were opening for the day and were seated and presented with not one, not two, but three menus of food and a "spirits" menu. As it was eleven on a Sunday morning and, in my opinion, a little early for alcohol, we concentrated on trying to decide if we wanted brunch, dinner, or a sandwich (hence, the three menus). I chose the "Avocado Burger," and got the basket, which came with steak fries and coleslaw. Now, as a general rule, I HATE coleslaw. Maybe it's all the time I spent making Steak N Shake's particularly disgusting version of the side dish, I don't know, but I hate it. So when the waitress brought the heaping scoop of slaw nestled on a bed of lettuce to our table, I immediately pushed it over to Dad (who will eat anything) and crinkled my nose like a seven-year-old presented with a plate full of broccoli. Seeing this, the waitress asked if I liked coleslaw. When I replied with an emphatic "NO" she told me that she hated it too... with the exception of the coleslaw she served at the restaurant. She insisted I try it, but I was majorly skeptical, so I took the tiniest of forkfuls, slowly brought it to my lips, and promptly fell in love. This was like no coleslaw I have ever tasted. The dressing was sweet and light, and the cabbage was fresh and crunchy. I couldn't believe my taste buds! And that was only the beginning. The avocado on my burger was perfectly ripe, and an amazingly unexpected taste with the cheddar cheese and ground beef. The fries were very obviously (in a good way) hand cut from a whole potato and expertly fried so that they had a great crunch on the outside but were nice and potato-y on the inside. The whole meal was just excellent, but the coleslaw was really the star. I wish I had some right now.
The other delicious meal pictured is the "Duck Confit" salad I had at Finch's Brasserie this afternoon, here in Bloomington. As many of you know, Finch's used to be Trulli Flatbread, which I was a big fan of, but I hadn't been in since the big change over to Finch's. The salad I had was a French lentil salad, frisee, crispy pommes, and mustard vinaigrette, as described by the menu. I describe it as tasty, although impossible to eat gracefully, thanks to the frisee. The lentil salad was stellar, with lentils, red onion, carrots, and celery, and what's not to love about crispy potatoes? The real tongue-tempter though, was the duck. It was tender and practically melted in my mouth. Duck is not a meat that I always enjoy, because it is so oily, but this duck was perfectly and simply prepared, and a pleasure to eat.
I was also fortunate enough to be dining near a friend who ordered the watermelon sorbet for dessert. He was kind enough to share a scoop with me, and my, am I glad he did. I am not a big watermelon eater, I never have been, but I'm furious at myself for not eating this sorbet all summer. It was full of watermelon flavor, but it was a very delicate watermelon flavor, and it was absolutely delicious.
I want to say more about my lunch at Finch's at some point, but alas, the classroom calls. Perhaps I will add more to this later. Until then, eat well!