Summertime Fine: A Grumbly Tummy
With summer comes summer bodies and summer food which means every body is a summer body if said body exists in the summer. Ya feel? Although it's good to eat at your favorite places, it's always fun to try a new spot. It's my second year being a Yelp Elite, and I'm so grateful for the community of people that are hype to support local businesses, and for all the new yummies I have tried out since joining the Indianapolis Yelp Elite Squad.
Naturally, I do have a couple of my favorites on here, just in case you haven't tried them yet, so you're welcome ;)
I love a good cocktail, and I believe that drinks should be thoroughly enjoyed and sipped in good company. Aside from this place being way too close/accessible from where I work downtown, it's always a place I take my friends. The wine experience they offer is unlike any I have ever experienced. You are able to purchase a pre-paid wine card, and inside there are rounds of wine dispensers. Each wine has a serving option (think 2 oz, 4oz, etc.) to taste the wine. Different serving amounts vary in costs wine by wine, but it's the ultimate way to explore wines and see what you like, and create your own Tastings Wine Experience.
Additionally, the cocktail menu varies by season, as all good things should. Tastings is home to Jay, one's dream bartender. I've gotten to know him pretty well as he's a great guy and knows what he's doing with the shaker. He's concocted a number of drinks, and he's learned the history behind famous cocktails like, The Manhattan, Old Fashioned and more. Not only that, but he also creates his drinks thinking about the chemistry behind them, like mixing whiskey with lemon and cucumbers to draw their sweetness out. I wouldn't recommend Tastings for dinner, and that's okay because they're a place for before and after the main meal. They have a killer tapas menu and cocktails that are made for socializing. I'd bring your group here before dinner, for happy hour or before starting your next girls' night.
Fun story: First time I came to Bakersfield, we tried to sit in the bar area (which we didn't know was a bar area) after not being allowed into another restaurant because we were young lassies of a mere 20, rather than 21. Nonetheless, the place is my favorite spot in the city fo every meal, and I did return on my 21st for my first [legal] shot in restaurant.
If it's a weekend or dinner time, this place can be tough to get into it. The bar area is always a safe bet, then you can wait for your table to be ready outside (in the summer). In the colder months, head down the stairs for a larger bar/standing area. Somehow a lot of people don't know about the bar here, but look at you, now you know.
The best thing I have ever eaten here is their queso. Hands down, BINGO, Yah-tzee, all of it. Chief, this is it. We're big fans of Portugal. The Man, and when they came through Indianapolis in 2017, they gave Bakersfield's queso and chips a shoutout before performing their [i n c r e d i b l e] set. They also offer the cutest, most filling tacos. They're small but mighty, and at $4 a pop, you might as well try a few.
I'll also say that if you're in the mood to get margaritas, it's less than $40 for a pitcher and it serves almost 8 servings (from my experience). If you're looking for a little fun, try one of their tequila flights, read about the tequilas they serve you and guess which one is which. I'd recommend this place for lunch, dinner or drinks, really anything except breakfast (unless there's something I don't know). But if you're looking for breakfast, read below.
A little something away from hectic parking, this cafe on the northside has it's own parking lot. Such a stress reliever when meeting for brunch. Ruth's Cafe is located across from the Fashion Mall, and it looks like it might be a standard breakfast place, but a quick swing of the door and a right, left, right walk in, and you're in a sweet hodge podge of brunchtime heaven. With breakfast sandwiches, sweet and savory options, Ruth's Cafe is a wonder world of options. There is also outdoor seating on their patio, and it's also shaded which is huge for that morning heat.
They have a chalkboard of daily delights, which are always great to hear and even better to order. There really is something for everyone here. With the ease of parking, it's the perfect spot to meet up for brunch to divulge last night's best moments right before treating yourselves to a day at the mall.
So I have only been to the next few spots once, however, they made quite the impression, so we shall talk about them.
This is one of my favorite Yelp finds. A gal pal and I had a cutie date here a couple weeks ago, and were not 100% sure what to expect other than great food in a trendy restaurant [per the Yelp reputation]. Again, there is seating outside, I obviously love that in a restaurant. Again, they rotate their cocktail menu by the season, so we tried the Strawberry + Gin margarita, which was phenomenal. I have a new obsession with mint, gin and strawberries because of this place. Mm, such a good drink.
The food here is a bit of soul food with a modern take. We ordered a potato croquette with a crab salad atop, it was DIVINE. I have an affinity for potatoes, and to see potatoes served in such a fanciful way, I was so proud of them and promptly devoured my half. The menu is full of seafood options, and I was incredibly impressed at the execution of the plates. I usually think the seafood dinners at best on the coast, near water, but wow. Northside Social blew me away, and the salmon I ordered was some of the best I have ever had.
This winery/brewery has it all. It's in Westfield, in a fairly secluded area, so it feels like you're not where you normally are--like a vacation illusion if you will. It also has a number of seating options: inside, inside a 3-season area, outside on the patio, or outside outside in the grass on outdoor furniture near the pond.
We missed the music performance that night, but they have [I think] two stages, so you know the place is the place to be. They offer wine, brews and wine slushies. I had been witness to the hype around the wine slushies, but it was here that I tried my first, and I totally get it. It was yummy, summery and great to sip on.
My favorite bit of this winery is their charcuterie board menu. There a 5+ meat and cheese options. They also have a variety of jams to accompany them as well as fresh honeycomb. This was the first we;'d tried honeycomb, and I'm certain it will become our charcuterie board staple from here on out. I'd recommend this place for a night out. It's great for groups, and I remember there being kids there, so forgo the babysitter, and bring your couples friends with and without kids, and enjoy an evening outside.
Staying on the northside, if you are looking for a cool place to hang out, this is the move. There is an abundance of seating inside, so it's great for groups. The outdoor patio is spacious and also offers live music on certain days. I will say it has an awning that looks like it would protect you from the rain, but it won't, so check the weather before coming here for the outdoor seating.
I ordered the pear margarita, and wowzers. Margaritas are really making my heart sing this summer. It was tasty and light and every bit yummy. They also have great sharing plates. Personally, I can't hang if I drink two well-made cocktails, so ordering something to munch on was a must for me. (That being said, I have mentioned a LOT of drinks on here! If you can't drive, don't! Call yourself an Uber, call yourself a Lyft or a friend. Don't let yourself get called something else for irresponsible driving. End rant.)
I sampled the queso, guac and bacon wrapped tator tots. Something I feel like restaurants miss is the chip/bread to sauce ratio. Like you go somewhere, and you run out of dip way too fast and have all this bread, or have to restrain yourself to make sure there's enough of the other to finish it all together. FDR did not have this problem. Two bowls of queso and a bowl of guac with just the right amount of chips. BRAVO.
And the bacon wrapped tator tots? If you really need a walk-thru of how good those were, I don't think you deserve to be ordering them. Go try them, they are amazing. Also, no pictures here because I went with my boss, and I was trying to be cool, so next time...*camera sounds*
Who likes ramen? I have a friend that loves ramen, so we try different ramen shops around the city, and so many have been popping up. Ukiyo really set themselves apart though. Super impressed. Located on College, the restaurant looks like it's a little shop from the outside, but you waltz in with a rumblin' tum, and you're shook.
The restaurant is divided into three different dining areas. When you first walk in, you see the fine dining room where most hot food is served. As you walk through, you come to the sushi bar room. It's brightly colored and feels like a sushi bar should feel. The last room is the ramen room. it's cozy and way cool. you can see through the kithcen window a few of the big ole' pots that your ramen is crafted in, and it's honestly quite the expereince. My heart mourns as my fave was recently removed from the menu, but that just means they're making room for more, and I'm so excited to be back in to try more. Check out their instagram + the owner's, he shares BTS bits of the food, and wow. Talk about getting hungry while scrolling on the TL.
Listen, if you have come to visit me or asked to meet in Broad Ripple at all this summer, then we probably ate here. It's fine, I just love it and want to drink the chorizo queso.
Mmm, that sounds like such a good idea. Honestly though, I am such a fan of this fun place. The environment is so laidback and fun, you have the option to build yourself a taco or order one of their handcrafted specialities. You can get your pitcher of beer or a margarita with a kick. It's fun and an easy place to go if you're looking for one. I will say, I have not been to the downtown Mass Ave location, and not that it's a competition or anything, but I hear the Broad Ripple location is where it's at. That's just what the people say. *emoji shrug*
Did I mention your favorite place? Are you a new Yelp Elite, or interested in becoming one? Let me know! Also let me know if there's another yummy spot I need to try. Good friends don't let friends miss out on good food! Be a good friend, and share this with your friends.