Double Date Dinner at Late Harvest Kitchen

This week we were treated to one last Indy dinner with my mom and dad. They came up for the day on Tuesday and we had a lot of fun catching up! They brought more empty boxes for us to fill up and took home a few more things to store while we downsize our first year in Charlottesville. A little work, a little play, and some really good food made for a perfect day!

We decided to make a tradition of a double date dinner each May to celebrate our joint anniversaries. Last year we went to Varanese in Louisville, and the timing just worked out to do it again this year except in Indy this time! We made reservations at Late Harvest Kitchen, one of our favorites from our Christmas date this past year. We wanted to go back one more time before we move, and we knew my parents would love it too.

The weather was ideal on Tuesday evening, so we got to sit on the patio. I’d heard awesome things about their outdoor seating so it was fun getting to experience it! Seriously could not have asked for a better night to be out. We felt like we had our own private terrace!

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Like last time, we knew to ask for the bread basket and were treated to goodies from Amelia’s bakery once again. So good! We split these four ways so everyone got to try everything. We had Amelia’s bread at Bluebeard for our anniversary last year, so this is starting to be a theme for us 🙂

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Mom and I both started with salads, too.

For me…

SHAVED BRUSSELS SPROUT SALAD – SMOKED ALMONDS, SIEVED EGG, PARMESAN CHEESE, CITRUS VINAIGRETTE

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For mom…

KNIFE AND FORK SALAD – ROASTED PEARS, DANISH BLUE, BACON LARDONS, HEARTS OF PALM, HAYSTACKS BUTTERMILK-RANCH DRESSING

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The salads were both so good! Such fresh, local ingredients used in everything here and unique combinations. I love how they charred hearts of palm in mom’s salad and I also loved the sieved egg in my brussels sprouts salad.

The entrees were up next. Nate and I both got the same dish:

Halibut with cheddar cheese grits, hominy, andouille sausage, and aioli.

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This had a nice amount of spice and everything tasted so good together! Loved the contrast of texture in the hominy vs. grits, and the halibut was perfectly tender with just the right seasoning. We cleaned our plates!

Mom’s entree:

Roasted 1/2 chicken with fregula, tomatoes, and spinach.

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Luckily she shared! The chicken was so juicy and we loved the sauce/seasoning with it!

Finally, for my dad:

Rabbit biscuits and gravy with shiitake mushrooms and carrots.

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This is a mainstay on the menu (while everything else changes pretty regularly) so you know it’s gotta be good. We had this during our Christmas date and it did not disappoint! All of us also split a side of the roasted vegetables with garlic confit.

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Everything was so tasty! Our waiter was kind enough to take a photo of us at the end of the meal…perhaps that will be part of the tradition too!

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Can you tell the patio ambience and weather was incredibly perfect?!

Cheers to 33 years for my parents and 3 years for us, and yay for May anniversaries! This was a great last dinner together in the city. They’ll be back next week for the big move to Virginia. It was nice to have some downtime together beforehand to fuel up for the next adventure!

Weekend Eats: Double Date Nights and Oma’s 80th Birthday Party

This past weekend was full of 1) nonstop rain in Indy and b) good food, so I’m going to focus on the bright side with this blog and tell you all about the food 🙂 I’ll keep the words short and let the photos do most of the talking!

First up – Friday date night at Napolese on the northside to celebrate my last full day at work (I’ll be working part-time remotely through May until we move). It was our second time at Napolese but the first time at this location. It was even better than we remembered it and Nate even claimed he’d rather take Napolese to Cville than Mother Bear’s (!!!).

Their menu changes every season so we got to try some new combinations. I started with a salad of course. Their salads are always AMAZING and this one was no exception – the perfect mix/balance of all the flavors and very fresh, local ingredients. (Lots of ingredients hiding under the lettuce in this photo – love how they toss it all together for you!)

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Arugula, Strawberries, Shaved Fennel, Gorgonzola, Hazelnuts, White Balsamic Vinaigrette 

Next, we shared two pizzas: Hamaker’s Corner and Elliot’s Pie.

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Up close is Elliot’s PiePancetta, roasted new potatoes, gorgonzola

Hamaker’s Corner in the back: Pepperoni, Italian sausage, provolone, mushroom

All of it was absolutely delicious! #thatpepperonithough… We had a few slices each and then took the rest home for leftovers to enjoy again later. It is the date night that keeps on giving. Win win!

Saturday I was in Tullahoma for Oma’s 80th birthday party. It was so fun to be with everyone! They held it at a local Mexican restaurant so good food was involved in addition to lots of good laughs, catching up with family, and heartfelt moments.

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Mom and I representing the Hartog fam!

They ordered fajitas for everyone and Mom and I shared this amazing platter. Perfect fuel after a day on the road!

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Last but not least, Sunday ended with a celebratory meal for Nate after he finished his sub-I rotation. *praise hands*

He chose The Eagle downtown (which started in Cincy and just opened a spot in Indy last year – famous for their fried chicken), which I’d been to once before for work. It far surpassed my memory of it though…I think the company had something to with that 😉 The food is top notch and the price is very reasonable. Plus it’s a casual atmosphere so we didn’t feel too bad coming in a little damp from the continuous rain.

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Happy no-more-sub-I Nathan!

First: a beer at the bar while we waited for our table to be ready. And then, the main attraction(s)!

We each started with salads.

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Country Green Saladmustard greens, curly endive, frisee, cucumber, radish, candied pecans, mustard vinaigrette

The family-style menu meant picking sharable sides. Luckily we both have similar tastes and easily agreed on the 1/2 fried chicken with mac & cheese and biscuits.

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This plus their spicy hot honey = heaven

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Mac & Cheese: five cheeses & garlic breadcrumbs

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Homemade Biscuits with blackberry jam and honey butter

Okay seriously…best biscuits of my life (yes, even better than Punch Bowl Social).

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I told Nate I would rather have those biscuits than a cupcake. That’s when you know it’s serious. This was the perfect amount of food for the two of us and we polished off our plates. We both agreed that if the opportunity arises, we would love to come back here again before we move.

It was a nice way to end to a busy but fun (and obviously delicious) weekend!

Cake Bake Shop Take 2 with the Team

In true best-team-ever fashion, my coworkers took me out for an early farewell lunch this week. They scheduled it for a day everyone could come, including our tech rep who works remotely in Atlanta. I felt so special having everyone there at the same time!

They didn’t tell me where we were going beforehand but I’d be lying if I didn’t say I had my hopes up for the Cake Bake Shop. This is known as *my* place on the team – totally girly but totally delicious with a focus on sweets 🙂 They took me there for my birthday lunch last summer and I hadn’t been back since. It was definitely on my Indy Bucket List for places to go before we move, and I had so much fun going with everyone else!

They rented out a private room for us which was so beautiful and cozy for a leisurely lunch together.

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While Cake Bake is most famous for their desserts, I honestly get more excited about the quiche. There’s nothing like it anywhere else! So I have to order it every time at Cake Bake, and I fall in love all over again no matter what kind it is. Warning: if you eat this quiche, it will ruin all other quiche for you forever.

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The quiche of the day when we went was broccoli and shallot and I ate every last bite. The crust is buttery, the eggs literally melt in your mouth…I am drooling as I type this. The waiter told us last time that they bake it for 4 hours!

Of course we each got a slice of cake – or more accurately, a wedge of cake – afterward. Some take home boxes were needed but we could fit in a few bites at least! I finally got to try their Cookie Dough Cake, which is seasonal so they haven’t had it before when I’ve gone. As a cookie dough fanatic this was sheer perfection. The cookie dough and fudge layer are what my dreams are made of, and the chocolate chip cookie as a garnish? You’ve gotta be kidding me – so cute and a tasty touch.

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As much as I love the food and atmosphere down to every last detail of the Cake Bake Shop, the company is what made this lunch truly special for me. They made sure I know I’ll be missed and definitely don’t make it easy to move away! I’m lucky because Cake Bake ships, so I know I can still get my cake fix 😉 I just need to figure out a way to get all my coworkers out to VA too…

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This is one sweet memory I’ll be happy to take with me when we go! And I’m glad I have a few more weeks left with these guys still to soak it up.

Bloomington Birthday Weekend Getaway

This year for Nathan’s birthday, I planned a Bloomington getaway for the two of us. We were due for a trip to our favorite college town, and the timing worked out perfectly for us to go this past weekend. It was great to get out of town after all the hubbub of Match Day and enjoy just being together back in one of our favorite places. Btown will always hold a special place in our hearts (and, as you’ll see in this post, our stomachs).

Planning the trip was easy peasy. They just built a new Hyatt on the downtown square across the street from The Tap, which is Nathan’s FAVORITE bar, so I knew we had to stay there. It was perfect! We checked in on Saturday afternoon and took off soon after for a stroll around campus. Luckily the weather cooperated for us! Spring was in bloom and we even caught a few musical groups playing around campus in the fresh air. So college. I miss it.

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We had to make a photo op pit stop at the Journalism school for me. So many memories there! It’s so weird knowing the J-school doesn’t technically exist anymore…it’s now the Media School in a completely different building. But this will always be my place when I think about IU ❤

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We circled back for Happy Hour at The Tap. The rest of the trip was planned mostly according to our favorite foods and how to eat as much of it as possible while we were there. There are so many great restaurants in Bloomington and we miss them all the time, so this getaway was great for re-visiting our old spots and making new memories!

Dinner was at Mother Bear’s, the town’s iconic pizza place. We realized we’d never been on a date to Mother Bear’s while we were in school together, so we were happy to change that Saturday night. We started with their house salad, which comes with goldfish on it instead of croutons, then each got a pizza.

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Summer garden with chicken for me and Divine Swine for Nate!

We had no trouble finishing both pizzas, and despite all the delicious pizza we’ve eaten in Indy, we decided Mother Bear’s can’t be beat.

After dinner we relaxed and watched some of the NCAA games in our room before heading back out for dessert at Malibu Grill (which was also conveniently within walking distance of our hotel). It’s my FAVORITE dessert of all time and was even better than I remember it.

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Best. Brownie. Ever.

After a night cap at the bar of Malibu Grill, we walked back to our hotel and stayed up watching the Kansas/Oregon game until we couldn’t keep our eyes open any longer.

Sunday morning we woke up to rain after sleeping in a bit, so we enjoyed a relaxing breakfast at the hotel.

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We checked out and went to ECC, the church where we met, for their 11am service. We saw some familiar faces and it was SO nice to be back! That church will always mean a lot to me…after all, it brought us together 🙂 I can’t believe how quickly things change sometimes. I can vividly remember going to church by myself a lot throughout college, and now I’m sitting there with my husband of almost 3 years. So cool! God is good.

For one last Btown meal, we went to the Trojan Horse, a Greek restaurant on the square, for lunch. Nate got the gyro and I got the portobello spinach salad with bacon and feta with fries to share.

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Everything is just as good (if not better) than I remembered it, which makes Bloomington hard to leave (but lucky that we live so close for now!). Somehow we were able to roll ourselves back to Indy on Sunday afternoon, smiling the whole way from a weekend well spent.

I am so grateful that the same place means so much to me and Nathan…I have a best friend to go back with anytime! There are a ton of great memories there and we added even more this past weekend. All in all, it was a perfect celebratory getaway for us and a wonderful weekend together.

Milktooth with Mom

This past Friday I had another girls’ day with Mom in Indy, which you know means some good food was involved 😉 I was thrilled for the chance to take her to Milktooth, one of Indy’s most iconic spots. I knew she would love it! It was the perfect midday break to hunker down and nourish ourselves amid spa appointments and lots of girl talk. #spoiled. I haven’t taken her there before now because it is only open 7am-3pm and there is always a wait on weekends so…it worked out perfectly to take advantage of our random weekday outing!

Milktooth is probably Indy’s most famous restaurant. It has received awards and recognition from Conde Nast, Bon Appetit, the James Beard Foundation, Food & Wine magazine, and more. I went to Milktooth about a year ago for a work lunch and have been dying to go back ever since.

I was excited to get to try some of the dishes off the menu since our work lunch was a chef’s table instead. Their menu changes all the time but everything on there is guaranteed to be delicious! I told Mom you just have to trust whatever combinations they put together will be genius, even if you don’t know what all the ingredients are 🙂

Of course choosing what to get is the hardest part. We ended up getting…

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Sour cream biscuit pimento cheese spread, spiced buckwheat honey

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Sourdough carrot cake waffle shredded carrot, pineapple cream, spiced maple, walnuts

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Roasted broccoli & aged cheddar dutch baby beer mustard, pickled fennel, hazelnuts, mustard greens

I’d heard great things about their dutch baby pancakes so I was glad I got to try one for the first time! It totally hit the spot and I loved the fennel and beer mustard on top in particular. The sour cream biscuit was also perfectly flaky. And the pineapple cream combined with the carrot cake waffles was out of this world! A well done waffle is hard to beat. Actually, I’d say this was a 3-way tie for best dish. It’s too tough to choose a favorite! #awesomeproblemtohave

Overall, an A+ meal, as expected 🙂

Milktooth follows in a string of delicious meals I’ve had lately. Some other food highlights from the past week include…

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A homemade meal by Chef Nathan – tilapia, crab cake, sautéed zucchini & onions & squash, and some bacon mac ‘n cheese courtesy of my mama ❤

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Spinach salad with strawberries, candied walnuts, chicken, onion, gorgonzola crumbles, and balsamic vinaigrette at Cafe Patachou for a work lunch.

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My FAVORITE fish tacos of all time from George’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill while watching the IU game. I ❤ local food (and it was even tastier than usual because IU won!)

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten lately?