Foodie Friday: Rebar Indy

Let’s talk about Rebar-Indy’s “new” downtown place to get your drink on and I say “new” because it used to be Paddy’s Legal Beagle and was a frequent stopping point for attorneys working the city-county building circuit since it’s basically across the street. But, Paddy’s closed and Rebar Indy opened with a new industrial feel in the small surroundings. Advertising as Indy’s “modern local”, Rebar is hoping to attract the young professional crowd while still paying homage to what made the location popular in the first place.

Let’s start with the weird part first. It is directly attached to a 24/7 bail bonds location, which can either be charming or uncomfortable, depending on your point of view. But you definitely have to walk through a long line of people waiting for a bail bond while you’re waiting to get a drink. It’s an odd/probably sobering clash of worlds.

Atmosphere is cool, but there is only so much space, so it got busy to the point of being uncomfortable as the night went on.

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Now, let’s move to the food. Rebar’s feature is their “pour your own beer” wall located at the back where you use a card to sample as much or as little from the beers on tap. Cool concept that I’ve seen a lot in the wine world, but not as much for beer. Too bad I don’t like beer. I do like fries, though, and I was excited about the 3 fry sauces (Bloody Mary, curry, and house blend) that accompanied my order. Sadly, none of them really stood out. I also ordered some hamburger sliders, but they were super bland, like a piece of dried meat on a bun. Fine when you’re starving or intoxicated, but not fine for a foodie dinner.

BUT THEY DO HAVE ADULT MILKSHAKES! And that was exciting! But they brought me the wrong one and it was honestly so sweet that I couldn’t finish it. And then the sliders and fries started going to war in my stomach and I started to regret my decision of coming downtown and began that “I’m sick” mental conversation where you promise to only eat salads for the rest of your life. (My friend ordered pork sliders and felt the same thing.)

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So, we went home. But not until the staff tossed my leftovers! Like I had them boxed up and then they disappeared off my table and I didn’t get to take them to Husband. Sad.

Conclusion? Cool concept, interesting location, but best to hit up on a random Tuesday night. And skip the sliders.

Lindsay Sig

Friday Foodie: Marley Spoon

I know, I know: the blog world is overflowing with reviews about food delivery services and I am just one more person to add to the noise, but I can’t help myself. First of all, I’m pretty sure I lose most of my “foodie” points for using a service that takes all the shopping, guesswork, and creativity out of cooking, but after just typing that, I realize that foodies are pretty much known for their ability to appreciate other people’s food, so maybe I’m still good.

I tried Hello Fresh a year or so ago and it was a struggle. The recipes took an hour of prep work that involved way too much chopping and too many tools. And lots of kale. I didn’t like any of the recipes and quickly canceled.

Blue Apron advertises on all of my podcasts, so I can now quote their ad right back to you, but for some reason, I decided to try Marley Spoon for my second attempt at the perfect healthy dinner recipe delivery system. Probably because Martha Stewart is involved. No, definitely because Martha Stewart is involved.

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Just in case you haven’t heard, food delivery services send you all the recipes and pre-portioned ingredients for delicious dinners you can make at home. They tend to emphasize healthy, organic choices with plenty of lean meats and vegetables. And for some reason, they seem to be incredibly popular. On one hand, it seems silly to pay for food you have to cook yourself when it adds up to almost the same amount as take-out, but on the other hand, it’s nice to know what ingredients you’re eating and to involve your hands when feeding your family. And you still get to avoid the grocery store (which I hate!)

School has been pretty crazy this semester and I’ve been lacking the energy to meal plan, grocery shop, or even cook, so this week seemed like a perfect time to try a promo code and order my first box of Marley Spoon. And it has been awesome.

It arrived on Tuesday (I didn’t get to choose the delivery day, but the food is wrapped in order to stay fresh on your porch all day). Each meal was separated into its own brown paper bag and labeled with refrigeration instructions. We got three meals: Cauliflower “Steak” with Almond-Olive  Relish and Beans, Roasted Chicken Provençal with Zucchini, Tomatoes & Potatoes, and Roasted Salmon & Broccoli with Jalapeño-Cilantro Dressing. And they were ALL GOOD!

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The recipes took about 10 total minutes of prep time each and about 35 minutes to bake. All recipes had awesome flavor and used pretty normal ingredients, but in smaller portions, so I didn’t need to buy a whole box of raisins or big jar of olives to make a meal for two. The portions were a good size, so I definitely felt like I ate a full meal. I appreciated all the healthy proteins and piles of vegetables included with each recipe. The instructions were easy to follow and everything turned out looking just like it should.

I honestly wasn’t expecting much after my experience with Hello Fresh, but I was blown away! Husband and I both raved every night over each dish and we really enjoyed discovering new flavors and trying combinations we wouldn’t have thought of before. I LOVED having a week off meal guesswork as I have been getting home later and later AND we avoided takeout, which has been showing a steady increase since school has started.

But now to the sad part, it’s expensive. Well, comparatively. It’s cheaper/healthier than take-out, but more expensive than ramen noodles, tuna casserole, PB&J, and other things graduate students are supposed to be eating. The first week was 1/2 off, but it goes up next week to about $10 per person, per meal. Again, not horrible, but it adds up. And that makes me sad because if all weeks are like this week, I kind of want to keep Marley Spoon around forever.

Anyone else tried Marley Spoon?

Lindsay Sig

Skin Shaming

“Girl! You are as pale as a ghost!”

“Woah, you haven’t been outside much, have you?”

“Wow, I bet you glow in the dark!”

For me and many others born with this delightful color of pale skin, these are just a few of the comments we hear on a regular basis. And even though I’m used to receiving them and mostly brush them off or make a joke about my specific shade of white-ness, I’ve started to wonder: how did this become OK?

We know it’s not polite to comment on someone’s eye color. They can’t change it! And we know not to comment on people’s hair color. Maybe they did change it! So, why is it acceptable to comment on my skin color?

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Photo by Desiree Fawn, Creative Commons

By now, we’ve all heard the stories about culture influencing skin preference: like at some point, pale skin was once a sign of wealth and privilege and at another time, was so desirable that it was worth poisoning one’s face with lead. And don’t even get me started on all the misconceptions about dark skin that would fill a million blog posts.

And also by now, we’ve also learned the detriments of tanning, both under the sun or under the lights: like CANCER and sagging and early aging.

So, why do we still want people/me to be change my skin color?

Commenting on my skin color tells me that what I’m born with isn’t good enough. That I should be different. That I need to change to be socially acceptable. That I need to put my body at risk of disease to avoid judgment.  And in a society that stands up against body shaming, it seems we’ve missed the piece that wraps around, oh, I don’t know, my entire body!

So, let’s stop.

I’ll talk to you and you’ll talk to me and we’ll leave our skin out of it.

Lindsay Sig

Tasting Tuesday: BEST Zucchini Bread

Remember that garden bounty I mentioned during the pesto extravaganza? Well, it continued last week with the largest zucchini I have ever seen. Legit-it was as long as my arm! (side note: living next to a gardener is the best ever because it’s one of the only times where you get to reap what you did not sow) I know there are a million zucchini bread recipes circling around since the beginning of gardens, but this one is MY FAVORITE! So moist and flavorful (and probably more like cake with all the sugar, but hey, you’re still eating vegetables!) Enjoy!

Here’s what you need:

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3 eggs

1 cup vegetable oil

2 1/4 cups white sugar

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 cups grated zucchini

1 cup chopped walnuts

And here’s what you do:

  1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

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So easy and it makes two loaves, so you can take one over to thank the neighbor!

Happy Tuesday!

Lindsay Sig

Friday Foodie: Mr. Tequila’s Cantina & Grill

We all know by now that I love tacos. So, I used Devour Downtown as an excuse for Husband to take me to get “sale” tacos. It worked, by the way, so I picked Mr. Tequila’s because I knew they sold tacos and I wanted to try somewhere new. The restaurant is in Fletcher Place, close to downtown, so I was hoping it was going to give some competition to some of my other local favorites: Adobo Grill and La Margarita.

Sadly, the website and description were misleading because this was not the case. Mr. Tequila’s is not the elevated Mexican food that I have come to love so much, but is pretty much like every run-of-the-mill food place that you can find anywhere with a large, undiscerning menu. We were going to order the 3-course Devour menu, but changed our minds when we realized entrees at this location were more like a $8.99 situation, so we skipped the $20 a person menu and lived without the bean soup.

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I ordered the chicken chimichanga with a side of queso and Husband ordered a quesadilla. Nothing I would need to return for. The restaurant was quiet, especially for a Saturday night, and service was satisfactory. The interior atmosphere was also bland with an outdoor faded sign that doesn’t portray the new restaurant in an accurate light. It seems like an average place that will often be overlooked, probably with good reason.

Anyone else have a different opinion?

Lindsay Sig

Friday Foodie: Chef’s Table

I’m taking  break from my Friday reviews today (PhD life tends to take away restaurant time and money) to share my new favorite foodie delight: Netflix’s show, Chef’s Table. (If you don’t have Netflix by now, you’re a little behind, especially since one month’s of streaming costs the same as one movie ticket.)

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But anyway, this documentary series features one chef per hour episode and we’re talking THE BEST CHEFS IN THE WORLD, not just some random people. Each episode shares some personal information about the chef’s life, inspiration, history, and dreams for their interpretation of food. It’s a show Husband and I can both agree on and find fascinating. I learn new things every time we turn it on and really can’t recommend it more. Did I mention that the food looks SO BEAUTIFUL??

After every episode, I google the restaurants and beg Husband to take me to all of them. His answer, “Yes, dear, when we’re out of school.” Which will be awhile, so I’m going to continue salivating at the television screen and pretend that I would actually like all of the incredibly unique and fancy food.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Lindsay Sig

Tasting Tuesday: Pesto

I am back-to-school this week and my body is trying to adjust to new rhythms and routines and deadlines and sleep schedules. Although I will greatly miss my beautiful (short) summer break, I am reminding myself that the start of school brings progression towards my goals, adds challenges to my brain, and welcomes the beginning of FALL! Yay, fall! And with fall comes harvest and in the city, harvest means bounty from your neighbor’s urban garden.

Last week’s bounty? Basil. Lots and lots of basil.

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So, I made a lifetime’s supply of pesto (16 cups, to be exact). It wasn’t that hard, actually, and honestly, the longest part involved washing and separating the leaves. My neighbor came over to help and we talked for hours as we pulled basil leaves off their branches and food-processed the crap out of my kitchen.

Not gonna lie, I’m a little tired of pesto now, but I shared some with friends and stored the rest in my freezer for a colder day when my pesto cravings might return.

Here’s what you do: (Recipe courtesy of The Barefoot Contessa. I played it safe for my first attempt.)

Gather

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pignolis (pine nuts)
3 tablespoons chopped garlic (9 cloves)
5 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups good olive oil
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Proceed
Place the walnuts, pignolis, and garlic in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Process for 15 seconds. Add the basil leaves, salt, and pepper. With the processor running, slowly pour the olive oil into the bowl through the feed tube and process until the pesto is thoroughly pureed. Add the Parmesan and puree for a minute. Use right away or store the pesto in the refrigerator or freezer with a thin film of olive oil on top.

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Notes: Air is the enemy of pesto. For freezing, pack it in containers with a film of oil or plastic wrap directly on top with the air pressed out.

More Notes: Use a BIG food processor. 5 cups of packed leaves is a lot! I have an 8 cup processor and it was crammed. Also, I will say, our flavor has a very “earthy” tone to it, which I’m guessing is dependent on the basil.

Anyone else have a favorite pesto recipe?

Lindsay Sig