Rant-Downtown Indy in a Car

I live and work downtown. So my primary way to get around is biking or walking.  However,  I do own a car that I primarily use for visiting nephews up in the suburbs, and running an occasional errand-such as Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Target, Ulta and various other stores not downtown.  I was coming back into town from running an errand, and made a quick stop at a local business before arriving home.  This short task involved parallel parking.  Apparently the lady behind me had somewhere to be in a big hurry at 4PM on a Thurday because she would not stop honking as I was parking my car.  I thought I left this kind of selfish behavior back in Chicago, where people couldn’t wait the 30 seconds it takes to park a car!  Thanks lady, I hope that all that negative energy really works for ya!! Wow!

Rose Wine Recommendations


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Rose wine always a favorite of mine for years and will drink it year around.  I wish to dispel the myth that anything pink and in a bottle tastes like the dreaded sweet “blush” wines so popular years ago  (aka white zinfandel) No my first love in the world of wine is dry rose.   Dry, intense, fruit forward roses, that make excellent summer sippers, whether drinking with or without food.

Here are just a few of my recommendations:

2013 Chateau Miraval Cotes de Provence Rose


A joint venture between Famille Perrin and Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.  Jolie and Pitt settled into their 1200 acre estate in 2008, purchased for a mere 54.9 million dolars.The estate includes 50 to 60 acres of vines which the Jolie-Pitts have collaborated with The Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel to produce this exceptional rose.

chateau Miraval

Chateau Miraval

The wine is a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Rolle (Vermentino) and Syrah.

Miraval Rose is light and refreshing, with hints of strawberry and mineral notes, excellent for pairing with light dishes such as fish, and salads. Retails for $24-$27

2013 Chateau de Campuget  Costieres de Nimes “Tradition de Campuget” Rose Rhone France


This wine from southeastern Frances Rhone Valley, has a wonderful long finish and full flavor with hints of strawberry and black currant.  Perfect choice to enjoy in the summer months with  salads, and barbecue.

Retails for around $14

2013 Charles and Charles Rose

charles rose

This wine hails from grapes sourced from Washington State’s  Columbia Valley, a blend of Syrah, Cinsault, Grenache, Counoise, and Mourvedre.  It is a collaboration between two winemakers-Food and Wine’s 2009 Winemaker of the year, Charles Smith (K Vintners and Charles Smith Wines), and Charles Bieler (Three Thieves, Bieler, Pere et Fils, Sombra Mezcal) Their promo and tagline for Charles and Charles is “Yes, You can drink Rose and still be a bad ass”: Which states the obvious!




This wine is bright, refreshing and fruit forward with strawberry and hints of watermelon, and balancing minerality.  Retails for about $14.

2013 A to Z Wineworks Rose

a to z

Of all the roses featured, the A to Z Rose has to be the one wine with the biggest boldest flavor and a much fuller body.  Made from 100% Sangiovese grapes that are grown in Southern Oregons’ Del Rio Vineyard, with diurnal temperature shifts of 60 degrees, which are known to make for some big bold red wines, this rose brings it with the biggest, boldest flavor.  Intense red berry and long finish, while maintaining brightness and hints of acidity for balance.Will stand up to your spiciest BBQ!

Retails at $13









Wednesday Wine Picks


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It’s been too long since my last post! The good news is that since then, I have discovered many new wines that I would recommend and will be sharing on a regular basis with you.  Most of my recommendations are readily available at local liquor and grocery stores, and are also budget-friendly. Without further ado-while the list of new wines I have fallen in love with is a long one-here are just a few of my favorites!

Cline Cashmere


A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mouvedre and Petite Syrah. (GSM blend plus the addition of Petite Syrah) In the wine world, GSM is typical blend from the Rhone region in southern France that is Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvedre. Plush fruit flavors married with spice and full body, cherry plum and big fruit flavor. A very versatile red that pairs well with many foods, from salmon to roast duck or pork. A crowd pleasing red to keep on hand.

Cline Cellars  consistently high performer in my opinion and offers the most bang for your buck and Cline Cashmere is no exception.  Retails for under $15.  A portion of the proceeds of this wine benefit Living Beyond Breast Cancer charity.

Liberty School Cabernet


This is just a great cabernet.  With black cherry, plum, spice and firm tannins.  Grapes from Paso Robles AVA. A great full-bodied everyday Cabernet! Retails for under $15.

Gazela Vinho Verde


With the warmer weather approaching a refreshing white to add to the must drink wine list is Gazela Vinho Verde. This wine hails from the Vinho Verde region in the northwest Portugal. It’s bright crisp citrus flavor works well lighter fare such as salad or fish tacos.  Slightly spritzy and relatively low in alcohol perfect for refreshment in the warmer months! an excellent value at under $7!!

Valentines Day Wine


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For Valentines Day, the perfect wine is Rosa Regale, an Italian red wine sparkling red. Retails for just under $20 and is the perfect choice for that special someone on Valentines Day.
Semi-Dry, goes well with chocolate!
Another recommendation is The Chocolate Shop Wine. Both are available at Marsh on downtown Indy.


Holiday Wine Recommendations


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Thanksgiving is just days away and Christmas right around the corner, I thought I’d share with you a few of my holiday wine picks for 2013 There are so many wines in an affordable price range to choose from. Here are just a few of my favorites:


New Age White: Argentinas #1 selling white. ($8.99)

The perfect wine to pair with starters and cheese, Enjoy over ice and a spritz of lime. or on its own.  A deliciously crisp, refreshing slightly sweet and effervescent wine to enjoy with light appetizers or on its own as guests begin to arrive. A blend of 10% Sauvignon Blanc and 90% Torrontes.

I have never been a fan of chardonnay. Probably due to previous attempts at sipping this wine involved overly oaked varieties. That all changed as I discovered the following wines. Here are a few that I love.  While Kendall Jackson is nice  there are a few you may not have heard of that I find great:

Creme de Lys Chardonnay ($8.99)


Creamy, and rich think creme brulee.  Hints of pineapple, green apple and vanilla.  I love this wine and it has single-handedly turned me into a chardonnay fan.

I also like Edna Valley Chardonnay ($11.99)


A little more crisp, citrusy and acidic than the Creme de Lys, i also love this Chardonnay and is more suitable in pairing with many of your holiday meats and sides.

Chateau St Michelle Indian Wells Chardonnay ($18.99)



A 90 rated wine. After trying this wine I am forever a fan of Chardonnays. ESPECIALLY this one.  Probably my favorite Chardonnay.A great wine to pair with any holiday fare. Tropical fruit and rich creamy texture.

Let’s not forget about Gewurztraminer!!

Oliver Winery Gewurztraminer ($9.99)


Excellent to pair with your Thanksgiving turkey and ham. A very unique wine with a hint of sweetness and spice.

Cloudline Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley Oregon ($17.99)


Forever one of my favorite Pinot Noirs, second only to any from Witness Tree, A lighter bodied well that is very versatile with food as well as enjoying on its own.

Another even more affordable Pinot noir that I like is Seaglass ($9.99)


Line 39 Petite Syrah $8.99


This wine is for those that enjoy a rich, fuller bodied red. With loads of blackberry and hints of oak, and fruit notes with mild tannins.

All these wines are readily available at locals supermarkets including Marsh at Lockerbie in downtown Indy.

Happy Holidays!


La Margarita


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From a distance, La Margarita, an inviting place, perfectly situated on The Cultural Trail and Virginia Ave., appears to be your standard Mexican restaurant, e.g. just another place for locals to grab some chips and salsa, a little guacamole, maybe a Dos Equis or two and enjoy al fresco dining on the patio, or beautiful bar and main dining room.

However, once you are actually sitting at the bar, that’s when it hits you, this is no ordinary mexican restaurant.  The owner has meticulously cultivated a craft beer, tequila and cocktail list that has resulted in one of the most comprehensive in all of downtown Indy, and has elevated the experience to make this a destination for anyone that loves craft beer, tequila, and well yes, their namesake, Margaritas.



 Whether you are interested in trying a flight of tequila or mezcal-from one of the many flight options such as, the “I Only Drink Organic Flight”-which includes 3 Amigos Silver, 123 Reposado, and Cas Noble Anejo, to the “A Moment of Mezcal”which includes Scorpion Joven, Los Nahaules, reposado, and Alipus, to their “Fountain of Youth Flight”, which includes Backbone Bourbon, Templeton Rye Whiskey, and Aberlour, a 16-year single malt scotch.



Also rather comprehensive list of Bourbons, Vodkas, Gin and Rum available.

If you are more into cocktails, they’ve got you covered with an excellent Margarita options abound with their standard House Margarita, and options for upgrades-The Diamond, Top Shelf, Triple Citrus, and Fresh Juice Margaritas.

I love a good Margarita but I also enjoy the Burro de Moscow, with Oso Negro Mexican Vodka, Gosling’s Ginger Beer and fresh lime. Perfectly compliments the spicy Mexican Fare.


Burro de Moscow

And if that isn’t enough for you there is the craft beer list.  There are no Macrobrews to be found, save a few mexican beers, but other than that it is pure craft beer goodness. With 10 Indiana breweries on the list.

Taps are constantly rotating, at the time of this writing:

Against the Grain 70K

Fountain Square Steam Dream

Sun King Oktoberfest

Oaken Barrel A.M. Wheat

Three Floyds Robert the Bruce

as well as an impressive list of 52 bottles and 10 cans. Beer flights also available.

 While the food is good here, I would be lying if I didn’t say that my main priority for my visits here are the drinks. Many times we stop in and grab some chips and salsa and check out the always impressive and amazing tap list.

La Margarita is located at:

1043 Virginia Ave
Indianapolis, IN

WARMfest 2013


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Dream Big Indianapolis. The inaugural WARMfest-a Three Day Festival celebrating music, art, craft, food, and fashion, in the heart of Broad Ripple along The White River, may one day prove to be Indy’s answer to Chicago’s Lollapalooza.

Organizers, volunteers and vendors had an amazing run at their first go, bringing this festival to the heartland. Despite the minor hiccup due to inclement and unpredictable weather on Friday, WARMfest turned out to be the perfect way to celebrate Labor Day Weekend and the fleeting moments of summer. Local as well as national acts performed during the three day festival, August 30-September 2nd. There were several food trucks on hand, as were Sun King, with a beer garden located conveniently close to the main stage.

One could spend hours shopping the countless vendors and the unique curios and wares at the Indie Arts and Vintage Market Place,  Or simply take to the shade or chairi n front of the many stages and spend the hours relaxing and listening to music, grab a beer at The Sun King Beer tent, or a bite to eat at the countless food trucks scattered throughout the grounds of Broad Ripple Park.  WARMfest was a success and another not-too-be missed end of summer event, and we’re already looking forward to next year.

WARMfest 2013 in Pictures:













DIG IN 2013


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Dig IN is the chance for over 35 of Indiana’s best chefs, over 20 wineries and breweries, and countless artisans to showcase their craft to thousands in the heart of downtown Indianapolis on the grounds of the beautiful White River State Park.


This was my second time attending Dig In, and it was every bit as good, if not better than the first.  I was lucky enough to get an early admission pass, and was able to sample many of the day’s offerings with little to no wait.  I actually could not get through my entire Passport, and regret that I was not able to get to every single vendor. I actually found something I liked about all the foods I tasted.  So many excellent choices it is really hard to pick a favorite.

 I must first discuss Scratch Truck’s Bourbon Braised Brisket, topped with a Peach and Bourbon Glaze, and served with housemade Caraway pickles. To break it down a bit more: they used Spring Mill’s Bourbon, Triton’s Dead-Eye Stout, and Fischer Farms Brisket. This was one of my absolute favorites of the day.  Also-I must add that the portions they were doling out were HUGE.  If you were lucky enough to have hit them up before about 3pm because I actually was back in that section later and noticed they ran out.

My first time at Scratch truck and will definitely not be my last.  Will be looking for them again for sure!

Scratch Truck Bourbon Braised Brisket:



Spring Mill Bourbon that was used in The Brisket.

I also really loved One World Catering’s-(Bloomington) Moroccan Lamb Meatballs With Muhammara Sauce.  So great I used one of my “Bonus Tastes” for this one:



The Chefs Academy’s Lamb Reuben was Amazing!!


Mini Wagyu Burger

By the time I got around to Joseph Decius the line encountered was pretty long, due to word of mouth and a write up in the Indystar for the ones to hit. His Mini Wagyu Burgers with spicy tomato jam and bleu cheese mousse were 100% worth the wait.


Northside Social’s Pancetta & Chicken Salad Bib Wrap and went really well with New Day Meadery’s South Cider

Spice Box had a really good Chicken Kofta Ball. Great curry favor and it is nice to know they know the correct balance of spiciness without being overly salted.  I love curry and this did not disappoint!

Duos had a really great soup actually Chanterelle Vegetable Bisque, which I would have enjoyed even more had it not been a 90 degree day with 70% humidity.


Beer Break


Dig-IN Attendees


Dig in Attendees


Napolese had a really great Focaccia Caprese Sandwich-and the portions were also rather large-almost a meal in itself, and made me contemplate wrapping it up and hoarding it away for later: 



Napolese Focaccia Caprese Sandwich

As a far as beverages, I was a regular at The New Day Meadery Tent, which had their South Cider on tap. Super refreshing on such a hot day! Local Breweries were on hand offering their ales, as well as many wineries, including Oliver.

Also Bee’s Coffee Roasters had my favorite drink of the non-alcoholic variety-The Plum Buzz Coffee Soda wins on creativity and imaginative use of Anderson Orchard Plums and Upland Brewery’s Bay Leaf and Malt Vinegar extracts. They are located on Capitol Ave, just off Georgia St. Go there now.  Hopefully this is a regular item on the menu.



The fine folks behind Circle City Soups and Sweets!!


I met so many great people from out of town as well as locals, and ran into many familiar faces from around town.  On the way out we ran into some volunteers and we took a moment to thank them for their hard work and smiling faces. It really was such a great day and I lament that it is over, and am already looking forward to next year!


Thank you Dig IN Volunteers!!




10 Things I Hate about The Monon-The Flipside of Bicycling This Beloved Trail


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I should start out by saying I LOVE The Monon. Couldn’t live without it. When I first moved to downtown Indy from Chicago a few years ago, I wasted no time and rode the Monon constantly, not to mention The Cultural Trail. Downtown Indianapolis has spoiled me forever with its ease of getting around via bike and I can’t imagine being a person stuck in a sad, sidewalk-less or trail-less neighborhood.  I love that I can ride from the Cultural Trail that is basically at my front door, to The Monon, and up to Carmel without ever having to veer off the trail.

So- to clarify; regarding my list: “10 Things I Hate about The Monon”.  I don’t actually “hate” the Monon by any stretch of the imagination. The majority of the path is peaceful, serene and enjoyable, utilized by the uber-conscientious. The words have more to do with some safety issues and antics of some individuals on the Monon, and less so about the trail itself. Keep in mind this is a brutally honest cyclists’ perspective.  It is meant as a (somewhat) humorous look at the flipside of cycling on The Monon. Not meant to offend.


I really enjoyed Robert Scheer’s article in The Indystar “10 Things I Love about The Monon”  I more or less agree with every last number on his list.  I am an avid cyclist and runner.  I run downtown and along the Cultural Trail, but when I bike, I hit The Monon or The Central Canal Towpath.

For leisurely rides I take out my mountain bike and head to The Towpath, but when I want to ride hard and a little fast I break out My RedLine Cyclocross, with it’s double-walled Kevlar tires (haven’t had a flat since I left Chicago, and I ride A LOT) and hit the Monon.


Being a Chicago cyclist for 15 years, that has probably spent the equivalent of three months time (probably more) riding along the Chicago Trails, specifically the Lakefront path. Anyone can attest, that has ever had the opportunity to ride on Chicago’s lakefront path, with it’s sheer volume of runners, cyclists, clueless tourists, segway riders, rollerbladers, and lake effect winds, a simple bike ride requires the strategy, foresight and prediction of human behavior equal to that of a Special Forces military operation, and less so an enjoyable ride throughout the city. Especially if you are trying to ride the path anytime between noon and 7pm on say, a Saturday or Sunday.

The Monon is a sanctuary by comparison. In general, we don’t have to deal with as many of the issues of the Chicago Lakefront path, at the level and volume as we would in Chicago. Some of my favorite parts of the Monon are the places that the “northerners” of Broad Ripple and Carmel tend to avoid out of fear, like the lonely little stretches of the path from downtown up to 38th St. That’s just fine with me. I love that part of the Monon. There, it is like my own private bike path.

Now for That List:

10 Things I hate about The Monon:

1) Cars and Confusion.

Sorry Indianapolis. This is one area where Chicago gets it right. Chicago motorists are always expected to yield to cyclists on the bike path period.  No questions. No confusion as to who stops. On The Monon, cars do not have to yield to cyclists or runners. Strange. The fact that cars do not have to yield to pedestrians and cyclists but then Indiana law says all cars must yield to pedestrians is really strange and contradictory. The reality: if you are riding every day  it becomes a crapshoot as to whether any car at any given time may/may not stop.We are at the mercy of their moods as to whether they will stop and wave us on to proceed.

The Monon clearly states and warns cyclists that cross traffic does not stop. Despite this some do, to be nice. This results in a strange gray area that can be confusing and dangerous for everyone.

I always stop if there is a car anywhere near as I aproach an intersection. And if one car stops, the traffic from the other direction may be oblivious and choose to barrell on and not stop, as happened in a case here.  While I think it’s nice that some cars stop for trail users, it also causes confusion for other motorists, especially those following behind that may not be aware the car in front of them will suddenly come to a stop, and rear-end the car, which I have heard of happening.  Not good.

2) You are not wearing a helmet.

And even worse, your children are not wearing a helmet. We have all heard-or at least I have the stories of people that have had horrible bike accidents and weren’t wearing a helmet. On a recent trip up the Monon, we came across a cyclist that had just had an accident. From a distance I was really worried that it was a bad accident. He was with his mom,and was maybe 8 or 9. We stopped to help and offer a band-aid from our first aid kit. Crying uncontrollably, his lip was bleeding. He was visibly shaken but otherwise ok, no doubt because he had a helmet on.

3)Dogs that are walked on the left. 

Please let me explain. In the direction of travel on The Monon, cyclists typically pass on the left, and pedestrians/runners are typically on the right side, hugging the edge of the path.  Almost everytime we go out we see someone walking their dog with the leash, cluelessly letting the dog meander over to the middle of the path, right in the way of cyclists.  Really?

Honorable mention for the cyclists that think it’s cute to ride a bike and walk their dog simultaneously, kind of dragging their dog along on a leash. Not exactly safe and doesn’t look too fun for Fido.

You will get side-eye from me on behalf of your dog.


Yes weebles.  These are the people that seem to almost forget that they are on a bike path and are swaying all over, looking around, talking to their companion and turning their heads to do so.  I think 90% of the human race has difficulty keeping their bikes straight while performing the feat of turning their head.

They are completely unaware that they have crossed over to the center line and into oncoming trail traffic while turning their heads to look back.  When they finally turn back around and realize they were about an inch from smashing into you, they often then say douchy things like “my bad”. This also includes people that are on their phones and texting.

5. Junior weebles.

See above. It’s not their fault they have clueless parents. Even worse, because they are just little kids and already their parents are unable to provide them with adequate supervision.  While we don’t hate the junior weebles, as they are too little and cute, we still find them pretty annoying. I am most afraid of riding around junior weebles as they are often the most unpredictable.

6. Cyclists that think they are in The Tour de France.

They speed through even the most crowded of areas such as Broad Ripple and The Carmel Arts and Design District. Yelling “On the left!!” at little kids and tearing through busy sections is just stupid.  There are so many long stretches where trail traffic is light enough that you can get a good workout in without tearing through Broadripple at 2PM on a Saturday going 22mph. The bikepath is for everyone guys.

7. Trail Hogs.

Somewhat related to #4, except they are completely aware and looking right at you. You are coming towards me, two across, nearly or overlapping the oncoming lane, and you are not moving over an inch. If I am riding two across and we are at a narrow part of the path, I always drop back to single file, or at the very least, allow room.

8. Rolling roadblocks.

Clueless pedestrians/larger groups that walk across the path. Please see the first photo in Bob Scheer’s article, which I borrowed from The Indy Star for purposes of this article, and have provided for you below. It so perfectly illustrates this conundrum.

You have a beautiful family and it’s great that your kid can now ride a bike. I am super happy for you all, but the people in this photo are an an absolute nightmare to cyclists. Inevitably encountered at a point where you cannot pass them, e.g., a bridge, or when oncoming trail traffic is heavy. Ditto the occasional rollerblader, whose wide and swaying side-to side motion can hinder other users. Ugh.


9.The complete lack of drinking fountains.

Especially downtown section and going into Broad Ripple. Not a super big deal for when I am on my bike, as I usually bring water and just put it on my bike’s bottle cage, but for running this can be tough, especially in the summer. This is an issue at all Indy trails and parks, not just The Monon.

10.”ON THE LEFT!!”  

I use the term when passing, mostly when I am trying to pass a “weeble”, large group, or someone that seems unpredictable/clueless and/or I am in a narrowing/crowded part of the trail.  Sometimes I say hello, or good morning instead just to let people know I am passing, or if I say on the left, I say it to gently warn people, and in general I don’t shout it at anyone.

There are, occasionally, people that use it unnecessarily, decimating any hopes of serenity or Zen-Like moments I may be having as I ride.  I don’t get passed much to be completely honest. Sometimes I do, and if I am on the stretch of The Monon coming from the north, back into downtown, say somewhere between 38th and 16th St., and there is no oncoming trail traffic, and I am riding so as to give you plenty of your own real estate on the path, you do not need to scream as loud as humanly possible “ON THE LEFT!!!” at The top of your lungs. This usually occurs here:


Again, I want to reiterate that I am not some crabby curmudgeon that rides the bike path and gets annoyed with everyone and everything. More often than not, it is a great experience. Just wanted to share my thoughts and opinions, mainly in the name of safety. I love it and wouldn’t ride it all the time if I didn’t.

Ride safe and see you on The Monon!



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