Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Travelogue: Indiana

Kim Shook

Recommended Posts

Last week we had a wonderful trip. I got to redeem a Christmas gift from Mr. Kim – a trip for a long weekend to stay at a lovely B&B and, much more importantly, to visit our own racheld! To see her (much more wonderfully written) description of our weekend see her blog. We got to her house on Friday mid-morning and she served up a Rachel-ish smorgasbord: chicken salad, egg salad, PAMMINA CHEESE, hummus, pastries from Caro’s bakery, bacon, yogurt and fruit parfaits and ice tea, of course – Things in Dishes, indeed! All set out and served on a lovely flowered linen and pink dish set table in her yard.

Dinner that night was at Hollyhock Hill:




This was a truly classic, family place. It is an old house that has been a restaurant since 1928. Lots of families, older folks and children, everyone digging in to crisp fried chicken, real potatoes and REAL gravy. The serving ladies are all in long blue jumpers and they even serve what they call a party luncheon – you can just see it full of ladies in hats with little veils.

They start you off with what used to be called relishes:


Celery, carrots, radishes, pickled beets, cottage cheese and iceberg with their own sweet and sour dressing.

For dinner, we all chose (what else?) fried chicken:


That came with mashed potatoes, slow cooked green beans, corn and the aforementioned fabulous gravy:



Also fluffy biscuits with some good old Indiana apple butter. Chris, Rachel’s husband, says that Indiana is the northern-most southern state and it’s really true. We noticed the same thing when we lived there – some of the best fried chicken we ever had was in Indiana.

Dessert was also a classic – something that I remember from ‘nice’ restaurants I went to with my family: ice cream with toppings. Scoops of creamy, rich vanilla ice cream in those little footed metal cups with a twirly server of three sauces to share: chocolate sauce, caramel and a truly nostalgic Kelly green mint sauce – the same sauce that I remember on my oh-so-sophisticated crème de menthe parfaits at the Fisherman’s Inn in Kent Narrow’s, MD on our way to Ocean City. We talked so much that I missed a lot of pictures and I’m sorry because the dessert would have been a nostalgic snapshot.

Our B&B was the Garden Retreat in New Palestine, IN. Just a wonderful, restful and serene place. Breakfast on Saturday started with fruit and muffins:


And finished with some of the best French toast and sausage I’ve ever tasted:


The French toast was really perfect – crusty and crunch and cinnamon-y outside and soft and almost creamy inside!

Saturday was really ‘girl time’. The fellows went off to do man-stuff (including a gun show where Chris got me some wonderful kitchen things – a perfectly sized all-purpose knife, a fantastic vegetable peeler, a chopper and a flexible cutting board – all from Rada Cutlery – a company I hadn’t heard of, but Rachel and Chris use a lot of their products and I know why – I haven’t used another knife since I got home). Rachel and I got to do what I’d been dreaming about since I noticed her posts here: we talked, ate, talked, cooked and talked some more. I know that lots of eG folks will be jealous of me and you should be; never have I felt so welcomed and known. And well taken care of: Rachel even remembered that my drink of choice is Kroger’s version of Diet Mountain Dew – flat, because of the gastric bypass and made sure that I had all I could want – how gracious is that?

Girl’s lunch:



More delectable Things in Dishes: an amazing chicken salad (it’s on the menu for Mother’s Day), hot artichoke dip, deviled eggs, Pammina cheese, ‘cheater’ pickles, little pickled peppers and mozz balls and that dish at the top? Rachel called it ‘Redneck Gazpacho’, Caro called it by the more elegant moniker “BLT soup”, I think– fresh tomatoes, bacon, Saltines (!) and mayo, I think. It was delicious! A real punch of tomato flavor, with a hint of smoky baconness – the crackers seem to completely disappear and serve to thicken the ‘soup’!

Me ‘helping’ to cook:


And using the same kind of peeler that Chris got for me (Maggie, Rachel wants you to pay special attention to this picture).

Dinner was at Fogo de Chao. It’s is a Brazilian churrascaria steakhouse. Mr. Kim and I have not ever been to one and it is amazing. For those that don’t know about them, this is a bustling, lively place for the true carnivore and also, surprisingly for folks who lean more towards a balanced omnivore-ism! The ‘salad bar’ (this is a serious understatement) consists of a boggling assortment of salads, vegetables, breads, cheeses, cured meats and fish:





The steakhouse portion of the meal comes to the table on huge skewers carved by lovely, friendly young men: filet, sirloin, garlicky linguica, chicken, beef and pork ribs, rib eye, lamb chops and leg of lamb – all moist, hot, delicious and cut to your order. I didn’t take pictures of it, because I never had anymore than one piece on my plate at a time and it looked a little forlorn. But it was all wonderful and Mr. Kim and I kept thinking of family and friends who would love this place. Two of the best things of the entire night were kind of casual toss offs - they are set on every table without any of the flourishes that the other items are given: fried polenta and cheese gougieres - addicting and perfect. If I could have these two things and the 'salad', I'd be a happy girl, even without a bite of the delicious meat.

For dessert we shared crème brulee and an amazingly good chocolate mousse cake that I will be trying to replicate:



We wandered downtown Indianapolis (how I miss an ‘alive’ city) and then drifted back to our B&B, where in spite of Things in Dishes, endless roasted meat, salad, chocolate mousse cake and a gastric bypass, we still managed to eat the huge, chewy pecan chocolate chip cookies that our hostess left out for us.

Breakfast at the B&B on Sunday started again with some nice fruit:


It was nothing fancy – just tangerines, red grapes and apples dusted with 10X (without my glasses, I thought at first that it was topped with cottage cheese and thought “How very mid-western!”), but it was a really nice combination and one I wouldn’t have thought of.

There was also a delicious and beautifully turned herb omelet stuffed with spinach and goat cheese, bacon and toast:


Dinner (lunch to you Yankees :wink: ) at Rachel’s was an amazing, delicious spread. She and Chris graciously included us in a real family meal. Caro was there and a son and daughter-in-law and one precious, dainty, endlessly diverting granddaughter!



A gorgeous cheese plate that Caro did:


Stilton w/ lemon peel, bleu, Morbier, Brie and Emmentaler with all the attendant dibs and dabs.

Chris’ beautiful grilled ham:


The best ham we’ve ever tasted – bar NONE. (Sitting on the gorgeous stove that we first saw in Rachel’s Thanksgiving blog – it is even more awesome in person.)

Part of the spread:


Ham, cake, Pink Salad, ‘Redneck Gazpacho’, ‘my’ asparagus (with Rachel’s excellent blender hollandaise), the quiche and Rachel’s son’s astounding contribution – honey drenched pigs in a blanket. This is one of those ‘greater than the sum of its parts’ things. Just regular pigs in a blanket covered with a honey, butter, brown sugar sauce and baked. OMG! Gooey, sweet/savory goodness. This is baked in a LARGE Pyrex dish and there were 7 adults and a BABY there and these disappeared :shock: !

We ate some remarkable food this weekend. But that was the least of it. As with the other times that I’ve made a personal connection with someone from eGullet, I was so grateful and amazed at the generosity and open hearts that we encountered in Indiana. I ‘met’ Rachel here at eGullet and it’s proper that I document our meeting, our cooking and our eating here.

Edited by Kim Shook (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Indiana is indeed a culinary anomaly -- a Northern State that is really a border state. Th culinary thing there is fascinating: Marcia Adams has covered the Amish North. Someone else should think about the mid -state and Border South.

I'm so impressed by all the food you've described and taken pix of, but I have to admit that Honey Drenched Pigs in Blankies is an idea whose time has come.

Margaret McArthur

"Take it easy, but take it."

Studs Terkel


A sensational tennis blog from freakyfrites


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ah, my Dearie!!

What a lovely chronicle of our weekend!!! It flew too fast, and was too soon over, but these pictures and these words are a wonderful reminder.

Thank you for the charming company and for speaking of us and our visit so beautifully.

And I must add: Maggie made the gorgeous apron in the picture of Kim peeling asparagus---it's some of the most exquisite needlework I've ever seen. It's also reversible, to a lovely tiny print, with rick-rack on the edges :wub:

It's a wonderful blessing to have such lovely friends.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris’ beautiful grilled ham:


The best ham we’ve ever tasted – bar NONE. (Sitting on the gorgeous stove that we first saw in Rachel’s Thanksgiving blog – it is even more awesome in person.)

Ham! I love ham. And, for a reason I cannot fathom, it's something you hardly ever find in restaurants nowadays. The carveries seem to focus on prime rib, leg of lamb, and pork loin, but that cheerful red meat of the ham is getting rarer and rarer.

Beautiful shot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great photos!

Just so no one gets the wrong idea, though, I'd like to put in a word for the variety and quality of restaurant dining in the Hoosier State. I've been a frequent visitor to Indiana over the past 15-20 years and I've seen a huge evolution (even revolution!) in its dining scene. When I first started visiting, traditional American foods such as those pictured here were just about the only kind of food you could find in Indiana, with the possible exception of one or two traditional French restaurants (notably the Glass Chimney in Carmel). Fortunately for those living and visiting there, times have changed! Now, you can find modern contemporary cuisine in bistros where a visitor from New York or Chicago will feel right at home, not only in Indianapolis (e.g. Oakley's Bistro and R Bistro, among others) but also elsewhere around the state, including Fort Wayne (Joseph Decuis), South Bend (La Salle Grill), Bloomington (Tallent), and elsewhere. And excellent examples of other types of food can be found as well, such as amazingly fresh seafood (Oceanaire and Z's), Jewish delis (Shapiro's), Thai (Sawasdee), sushi (Sakura and H2O), Mexican (Adobo Grill), and Turkish (Bosphorus), to name a few.

At the time of my earliest visits, I used to regard Indiana as a culinary wasteland, but now I look forward to trying excellent restaurants on every trip. It's got plenty of choices that are likely to please even the most finicky eGulleteer!

Edited by nsxtasy (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was so jealous I refused to speak to you for almost a week! Humph! :angry:

But now that I'm over the angry part of the jealousy, I just want to add that you and Rachel are so lucky to be able to enjoy each other's company and food!

That spread was certainly something else--and the ham!!! I must admit I feel a bit tempted to try that pigs-in-a-blanket deluxe! If only I could get Pillsbury crescent rolls in Japan. . .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris’ beautiful grilled ham:


The best ham we’ve ever tasted – bar NONE. (Sitting on the gorgeous stove that we first saw in Rachel’s Thanksgiving blog – it is even more awesome in person.)

Ham! I love ham. And, for a reason I cannot fathom, it's something you hardly ever find in restaurants nowadays. The carveries seem to focus on prime rib, leg of lamb, and pork loin, but that cheerful red meat of the ham is getting rarer and rarer.

Beautiful shot.

Another thing about a big old pink ham is probably a tradition in most families: having a taste of the ham while it's being carved. See that little sliced-off spot at the very top? It was shaved off just as the ham came into the house after its several hours out on the grill, probably for Chris to test to see if it was "just right."

Then, when he started to carve and we were almost ready to sit down, he had a steady line of tasters, going by as they set things on the table, as we put the ice in the glasses, as we moved past him with bowls and platters. Everyone sampled and munched, and our Baby Girl wandered past several times, saying, "Hammm," and accepting a warm bite.

And another part of the fun was was a rousing all-join-in session of dancin' in the kitchen, when our littlest, who is one-and-a-half, went and got "Mr. Joe" out of the CD shelf, and we all had a napkin-waving, booty-shaking good time dancing to "Feelin' All Right" just before we sat down to brunch.

That'll get the party started, every time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


I'm so sorry about your BIL---we are just so grateful for the wonderful people who pass through our lives, no matter how brief the time. And I wish I could be there to fill your fridge with Things in Dishes to help you keep up with the cooking.

And the PIB's were tiny sausages, wrapped in PCR's---cut each roll to wrap six or eight. Melt a stick of butter and 1/4 c. each brown sugar and honey in a Pyrex cup in the microwave, and pour gently between all the sausages. It's best if the tops are bare and brown and crisp, and the bottom dough cooked into sweet, delicate dumplings in the sauce. 350/20.

I wish each and every one of you could have been at our table. It was a long-anticipated joy to have Kim and Mike there---just like having family come home. There's always a place for good friends.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...