Best smash burgers in Northwest Indiana https://flip.it/PilFXr
Not to be missed burger places in my home region.
Best smash burgers in Northwest Indiana https://flip.it/PilFXr
Not to be missed burger places in my home region.
Bloomington, Indiana is bursting with autumn adventures, fall flavors, and some of the best ways to enjoy fall foliage. Here’s how to enjoy autumn adventure by water, land, and even air.
Though it might be hard to convince some people of this, Bloomington in the fall when the leaves turn jewel shades of garnet, tangerine quartz, and tourmaline (or red, orange, and yellow) is more than college football. Here in this college town where Indiana University’s campus melds into the historic downtown, there are seasonal festivals and flavors, cool, crisp weather, wineries, distilleries, and breweries as well as an amazing selection of ethnic restaurants including not one but two Tibetan eateries. In all, Bloomington, Indiana is a one stop shop for all the fall feels.
On the water: Monroe County boasts three lakes, and each takes on a magical, majestic air and outdoor adventures during autumn. The rolling hills filled with orange, red, and yellow-leaved trees reflecting in the water is a breathtaking experience every visitor should check out during the fall season. Seasonal activities include boat rentals allowing visitors to cruise for the best fall foliage view. There’s also seasonal biking, fishing, hiking, campgrounds and more.
In the air: Nothing beats a fall foliage view from the top. While Bloomington is one of the Midwest’s top birding locations, nothing beats a bird eye’s view of the beautiful earth below. Bloomington is home to three popular hot air balloon companies including SkyVista Ballooning which offers a unique and customizable hot air balloon ride experience for everyone embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. For those who prefer to use their feet for a view from the top can climb the 133-step Hickory Ridge Fire Tower and snap a photo of the fall-toned tree tops. An autumnal view of Monroe County like no other. Nature lovers and avid hikers will be amazed by the Hoosier National Forest during fall.
Speaking of balloons, Bloomington is home to several seasonal festivals including the 10th annual Kiwanis Indiana Balloon Fest; Lotus World Music & Arts Festival; Hilly Hundred Bicycle Tour, and more.
On land: Indiana University, one of the most stunning college campuses in the country, shows off its colors in the fall (on the football field and campus). Be sure to attend a fall football game and/or take a trip to the campus.
Fall foodies enjoy all the season’s best flavors throughout town such as Apple Pie Wine at Oliver Winery, Oktoberfest at Upland Brewing Co, pumpkin pancakes at Village Deli, a Jack-O-Lantern Latte (made with local Dillman Farms pumpkin butter) over at Hopscotch Coffee, and so much more (there are over 350+ restaurants in Bloomington!).
And because fall season is also spooky season, for those interested in the other kind of “spirits” Bloomington is a great destination for Halloween vibes. Graduate Bloomington Hotel, a pet friendly place to stay, has a room dedicated to the hit Netflix show Stranger Things and if that’s not creepy enough, Bloomington offers cemetery hikes and tours with more Halloween activities to be announced soon. Mystery lovers will enjoy Indiana University’s Lilly Library Sherlock Holmes in 221 Objects exhibit on display now through December 16.
Grub Street: 2022 James Beard Award Winners: The Full List. https://www.grubstreet.com/2022/06/2022-james-beard-chef-and-restaurant-award-winners-full-list.html
The historic West Baden Springs Resort is the setting of Michael Koryta’s mystery-thriller “So Cold the River,” one of my favorite novels written by one of my favorite authors.
From Michael Koryta’s website:
It started with a beautiful woman and a challenge. As a gift for her husband, Alyssa Bradford approaches Eric Shaw to make a documentary about her father-in-law, Campbell Bradford, a 95-year-old billionaire whose past is wrapped in mystery. Eric grabs the job even though there are few clues to the man’s past–just the name of his hometown and an antique water bottle he’s kept his entire life.
In Bradford’s hometown, Eric discovers an extraordinary history–a glorious domed hotel where movie stars, presidents, athletes, and mobsters once mingled, and hot springs whose miraculous mineral water cured everything from insomnia to malaria. Neglected for years, the resort has been restored to its former grandeur just in time for Eric’s stay.
Just hours after his arrival, Eric experiences a frighteningly vivid vision. As the days pass, the frequency and intensity of his hallucinations increase and draw Eric deeper into the town’s dark history. He discovers that something besides the hotel has been restored–a long-forgotten evil that will stop at nothing to regain its lost glory. Brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, So Cold the River is a tale of irresistible suspense with a racing, unstoppable current.
Listen to author Michael Koryta talk about West Baden Springs Resort.
To watch the movie visit
There was a time when West Baden Springs Resort was called the Eighth Wonder of the World and it is easy to see why.
At the beginning of the 1900s, the elite hotel was a Mecca for gamblers coming to Orange County for fun and glamour.
According to the Indiana Historical Society, a stay at West Baden Springs Hotel in the 1920s cost twice as much as an overnight at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City.
At one time 14 trains a day serviced West Baden and French Lick Resort just down the road, bringing in both celebrities and everyday people. Al Capone, John Dillinger, the Marx Brothers, Lana Turner, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope all visited.
But once gambling was banned, West Baden fell into disrepair and the hotel emptied and languished.
Now it has been fully restored to its full majesty,.
West Baden, with its formal gardens, statuary, fountain and gazebo, reflects the turn of the last century elegance it was once known for.
Built in less than a year, the hotel was famed for its free standing dome. It was the world’s largest and that record would hold for another 60 years until the Houston Astrodome was built. But there’s no Astroturf here.
The rotunda, with its 200 feet of mosaic floor tiles (original to the hotel which was built in 1902) is breathtakingly magnificent.
The large expanse is filled with an immense Rookwood tile fireplace said to be worth over a million dollars, potted palms and Victorian era furniture. In the center of the 100-foot-high dome is a pendant chandelier which reflects prisms of light creating, at night when the dome is darkened, a light show extraordinaire.
Dining options include the upscale Sinclair’s, ice cream, snacks and specialty coffees at Xanadu and wonderful rotunda seating at Ballards, the perfect place for a glass of wine and a lighter meal.
There’s a stable for guided trail rides through the rolling hills, golf courses, an indoor and outdoor pool, a luxurious spa, restaurants, ice cream parlor and shops. A free shuttle runs every 15 minutes between the casino at French Lick Springs Resort and West Baden. French Lick Winery is just down the road for tastings as is Big Splash Adventure. Board the French Lick Scenic Railway and travel through the beautiful countryside.
Further down the road, visit Patoka Lake, the second largest manmade lake in the state.
The following recipes are courtesy of French Lick Springs Resort
Lobster Mac and Cheese
Bread Crumb Ingredients
In a sauce pot, bring heavy cream to boil. Slowly incorporate cheese until melted. Add remaining ingredients, simmer for 10 minutes. Mix hot sauce with the cooked macaroni and pour into a baking dish. Top with bread crumb mixture, bake at 350° for 15 minutes, Broil for 2 to 3 minutes to brown crumb topping.
White Chocolate Crème Brulee
Makes 6 oz servings (7 total)
Simmer heavy cream, turn off heat. Add rest of ingredients except yolks, stir until smooth.
Slowly add yolks to combine. Bake at 250 degrees for one hour. Remove from oven and chill.
Once cool, coat top of creme brulee with 1 tblspn of sugar in the raw. Brulee sugar with torch until caramelized. Garnish with fresh berries and serve.
“Speaking of wild women, you’ll be riveted by “America’s Femme Fatale: The Story of Serial Killer Belle Gunness” by Jane Simon Ammeson (Red Lightning Books, $20.00). More than a century has gone since Belle Gunness killed her first victim and she didn’t stop there. Belle went on to kill at least thirteen more people over the course of just over twenty years. Money was involved, of course, and she had a little bit of help now and then, but what’s creepiest about Belle are the circumstances of her death. And now you’ve gotta read the book…”
If you have time, tune in tomorrow Saturday, October 23rd when I talk to host Nelson Price of Hoosier History Live about my new book America’s Femme Fatale: The Story of Serial Killer Belle Gunness. The show airs live from noon to 1 p.m. ET each Saturday on WICR 88.7 FM in Indianapolis. Or you can stream audio live from anywhere during the show.
When I was young, my parents liked to dine at supper clubs. To me, they were swank places of dark wood, bold colored banquettes, and oversized menus where your dad would order a martini and your mom a Manhattan while you, because you were only seven or so, had to do with a Shirley Temple. But at least it came with a pretty paper umbrella and a maraschino cherry
These were the supper clubs of yore. Often tucked away on back roads that seemed to take hours—no make that days—to reach when you were riding in the back of that big boat-like Buick your parents owned and no iPad or cell phone existed yet to keep you entertained. Just a coloring book and a box of Crayolas your mother handed you as you climbed into the car. If your brother came along you could kill time by arguing over whether the Cubs or Sox were better—a fight that endures to this day. If not, you colored and asked every three minutes (I know because my dad timed it once) “are we there yet?”
In Michigan there are few supper clubs that I know of. Maybe D’Agostino’s Navajo Bar & Grille in Bridgeman, family owned for almost 70 years would qualify. It has that feel. There’s Talon’s Supper Club in Norway way up in the U.P. where old fashioned ice cream drinks (typically one of the deciding factors in determining if a place is a supper club) like Grasshoppers and Brandy Alexanders are on the menu. But let’s face it, is anyone going to drive 400 miles one way to go to a supper club? In Norway Michigan—population 2,845? No, I didn’t think so.
Much more local, there’s the Heston Supper Club, in Heston, Indiana just north of LaPorte on the Michigan-Indiana border. And yes, it is in the middle of nowhere. In Syracuse, Indiana less than 90 minutes, The Sleepy Owl has been around for more than a half century. I haven’t been there yet, but definitely will when we can finally leave the house.
Geraldine’s Supper Club in Indy is a hat tip to the classic places of the 1930s and 1940s. There are a few more in Illinois, like the 60-year plus old Timmerman’s Supper Club on the Mississippi River in East Dubuque as well as several in towns I’ve never heard of like Scapecchi’s Supper Club in Farmington.
Because they’re becoming big again, Millie’s Supper Club in Chicago has the look—polished wood, red leather, low lighting—which is cool unless you want old.
But for the largest selection of real back-in-the-day supper clubs, the place to go is Wisconsin and Ron Faiola has got them covered in his two large, heavy-on-photos books, Wisconsin Supper Clubs: An Old Fashioned Experience and the follow-up Wisconsin Supper Clubs: Another Round both published by Agate, a Chicago publishing company. The books came about after Faiola’s film (its name is the same as the first book) was shown nationwide on PBS nine years ago. He also has a website, wisconsinsupperclubs.net, with lists of supper clubs organized by region including many not mentioned in his books. And amazingly, there are lots of them.
So what exactly is a supper club? You’d know if you walked into one of them but Faiola describes them as usually only open for dinner and family owned with great service and food as well as a club-like atmosphere. The reason for all that, he says, is because there’s usually at least one family member on the premises to ensure quality is maintained and guests are happy.
“When you come back to a place a few times, you get to be family too,” he says.
Expect steaks and classic dishes like shrimp deJonghe. The latter is totally Chicago-centric, dating back to Chicago and the three deJonghe brothers who immigrated from Belgium in 1891. Two years later they opened a restaurant at the 1893 World’s Fair: Columbian Exposition, a global celebration of Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the Americas. The brothers went on to operate several restaurants including, from 1899 to 1923, DeJonghe’s Hotel and Restaurant at 12 E. Monroe Street. Their most famous dish, the one Henri deJonghe or their chef, Emil Zehr, is said to have created, is Shrimp deJonghe. Heston Supper Club has it on their menu as Sautéed deJonghe. They also serve frog legs, an old fashioned supper club dish if there ever was one and one even harder to find than Shrimp deJonghe. Ditto for The Sleepy Owl, though they call theirs Shrimp Scampi which really is pretty much the same. And yes, they have frog legs as well.
Lobster, ribs, prime rib, perch and Friday night fish fries are also popular supper club items. Oh and don’t forget, the relish tray and/or salad bar.
Drinking is part of the experience. That’s one reason there are so many Wisconsin supper clubs further north like in Door County says Faiola. During Prohibition as liquor was offloaded from boats coming from Canada and delivered via back roads to the big cities, supper clubs out in the boonies got their orders filled as gangsters, avoiding the highways and the cops, stopped by.
The cocktails people drank back then are popular again. But the thing with supper clubs is they never went out of style. In Wisconsin, the big one is the brandy old-fashioned sweet. I’d never heard of it but according to Faiola—and he should know—people in Wisconsin drink more brandy than anyone else in the U.S. and that’s usually by consuming a lot of brandy old-fashioned sweets.
But supper clubs aren’t cookie cutters, says Faiola. Each is unique because of the family factor. Just like going to one friend’s home versus another.
His books make great guides and people use them to explore the state, choosing which supper club to try next. Even in these days when we really can’t go anywhere yet, they’re still fun to look at—both a step back in time and a look forward when we can hit the road again. Also, I’m also going to be on the hunt for more Michigan supper clubs so if anyone knows of any, let me know.
Here is the original recipe served at the deJonghe Brothers’ various restaurants. It’s interesting because it calls for ingredients not usually associated with fish dishes—nutmeg and mace. But while both are more pie ingredients today, in Europe a century and more ago, they were often used in savory cooking as well.
As for why last place the deJonghe Brothers owned closed, supposedly it was because of liquor violations during Prohibition. But that doesn’t really sound like Chicago, does it?
Also, shrimp can be expensive. A reasonable substitute (after all, this dish is really about the butter, garlic and breadcrumbs) is a tender, mild white fish or even cauliflower that’s cooked in boiling water until barely tender just like the shrimp. For fresh mild white fish, it’ll bake in the oven and doesn’t need to be parboiled beforehand.
The Original Shrimp deJonghe
2 pounds large shrimp (40), or 48 slightly smaller
1 large garlic clove, mashed with the side of a knife or finely minced
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh chervil
Pinch of dried thyme crumbled between your fingers and thumb
1 shallot, minced (very finely chopped)
1 tablespoon minced onion
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups fine dry breadcrumbs
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of mace (optional)
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Cook shrimp in a 4-quart pot of boiling salted water (see note below) until just cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes. Drain shrimp in a colander, then immediately transfer to a large bowl of ice water to stop cooking.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Mash garlic to a paste with 1/4 teaspoon salt using a mortar and pestle (or mince and mash garlic with salt using a large knife), then stir together with fresh and dried herbs, shallot, onion, 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter, 1 cup bread crumbs, nutmeg, mace, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Melt remaining 1/2 stick butter and stir together with remaining 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper to make topping.
Arrange shrimp in 1 layer (slightly overlapping if necessary) in a buttered 3-quart flameproof gratin dish or other wide shallow ceramic baking dish. Cover with herbed breadcrumb mixture, then sprinkle with topping. Bake in upper third of oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Turn on broiler and broil until crumbs are golden brown, about 2 minutes.
Note: When salting water for cooking, use 1 tablespoon for every 4 quarts water.
Note: This can also be made in 8 small baking ramekins for appetizers, or 4 larger individual baking dishes for main dish-sized.
These are all suggestions. Add or subtract as you like.
Spreadable cheese and crackers
Olives stuffed with blue cheese
Bread and butter pickles
Pickled watermelon rind
Pickled baby corn
Pickled Brussel sprouts
Pepper slices (pickled or fresh)
Carrots, cut into sticks
Celery, cut into sticks
Hand-Muddled Brandy Old-Fashioned Sweet
1 maraschino cherry
½ slice of orange
1 sugar cube or 1 teaspoon sugar
2-3 dashes of bitters
1 ½ to 2 ounces brandy
In a 10-12 ounce tumbler, combine the cherry, orange, sugar and bitters. Muddle (mash) together.
Add ice, then the brandy and top off with 7UP. Garnish with an orange slice and a maraschino cherry.
Watch candy and history being made at Schimpff’s Confectionery in historic Jeffersonville, Indiana, just across the Ohio River from downtown Louisville. Known for their red hots and red-fished shaped candies are among the originals made by this multi-generational family owned confectionery. Another favorite, dating back to when European opera star Helena Modjeska toured the U.S. several times, performing in front of vast and enthusiastic crowds in Louisville, Kentucky in the 1880s. Sure, she thrilled the elite in New York and San Francisco but did they create and name a candy after her?
No but Kentucky did and Modjeskas are very much a treat around here–marshmallows dipped in caramel and then chocolate.
Schimpff’s Confectionery, one of the oldest, continuously operated, family-owned candy businesses in the United States, began in its present location on April 11, 1891. Started by Gus Schimpff Sr. and Jr., the business survived wars, floods, depressions, and recessions through four generations and continues to flourish.
But really, those Schimpffs have been making candy a whole lot longer, starting in Jeffersonville around 1871 and in Louisville since the 1850’s. That’s a lot of candy.
The 1860 census shows various Schimpffs making candy on Preston Street in Louisville. Magdalene Schimpff, a widow, brought five of her eight children from Bavaria to settle in Louisville, where the eldest son had already settled. The two youngest children joined them after finishing elementary school in Germany. Magdalene and daughter, Augusta, went into the embroidery business while the sons went into the confectionery business.
Fast forward through the decades, no make that more than century total, according to their website
|In the 1940s, Catherine, Wig, and his son, Sonny, became the working partners. Wig was the candy maker and Catherine the manager and lunchroom cook.In the 1950s, Sonny developed an area of the store as a hobby business, specializing in model trains and planes. His mother, Vivian, became the bookkeeper.|
After Wig’s death in 1952, Sonny took over as the candy maker and for forty years he and Aunt Catherine built a reputation known widely throughout Southern Indiana. Sonny’s death in 1988 and Catherine’s in 1989 forced another change in the ownership of Schimpff’s Confectionery.
Still a family business, it’s now owned and operated by Warren Schimpff, one of Weber’s sons, and his wife, Jill Wagner Schimpff who bought the candy business from his Aunt Catherine’s estate. They wanted to be able to celebrate the centennial anniversary and to maintain the Schimpff family’s candy legacy.
It’s a romp through candy history as well–there’s an old fashioned soda fountain an a large confectionary museum that’s free of charge.
347 Spring Street
Jeffersonville, IN 47130