Beam me up, Scotty's

For the past month or so, hubby has developed a habit of taking the toddler out to the pub for a cold beverage and some daddy-son bonding so I can enjoy some uninterrupted work time. The Broad Ripple Brew Pub and Sahm’s have always been our go-tos, but they’ve lately been usurped by a newcomer on the Broad Ripple scene – Thr3e Wise Men.

Part of the Scotty’s Brewhouse enterprise, Thr3e Wise Men opened earlier this spring. We’d watched it slowly take shape in the old Sunflower Market building for months before that, with huge brewing vats nearly big enough to resemble farm silos. I finally made it to said establishment with my guys just a week or so ago to check it out for myself.

Inside, Thr3e Wise Men looks unfinished – light wood walls, exposed beams, views of the brewing apparatus through windows, beer barrel tabletops, picnic tables and silverware wrapped in hand towels instead of napkins (a detail that strikes me as slightly crass). On the upside, it’s airy, clean and family-friendly, which is great news for parents who enjoy beer.

For my inaugural visit, hubby and I visited alone, having snagged a brief babysitting respite from our generous neighbors. We were seated inside at a table in the corner. The menu isn’t big, mainly just pizzas and a few appetizers. This is, first and foremost, a brewing facility, after all. Food here seems to be treated as something to complement the beer. This isn’t to say the food is bad, quite the contrary.

The beer selection covers a good range of flavors and styles – everything from IPAs to an Irish stout and even a porter made with locally produced Hubbard & Cravens coffee. Interesting. I had my eye on the Naptown Nut Brown, but the server then told me they were out of it, along with a couple of the other offerings. So I narrowed my sights to the Two Lucys blackberry wheat and the Sanctaneous hefeweizen. The server was kind enough to bring me a small taste of each to help me make up my mind. In retrospect, I really should have just ordered a sampler. Maybe next time.

(A quick side note – I want to have a job thinking up names for microbrewed beers. This seems like the next best thing to working for a cosmetics company and coming up with cutesy call signs for nail polish and lipstick colors.)

Snow Bunny Blonde and Two Lucys Blackberry Wheat

I enjoyed my pint of blackberry porter, nicely light and refreshing with a bright tangy fruit flavor. Hubby’s partial to the Snow Bunny Blonde, and has been filling up growlers regularly to bring home ever since he discovered it. A small complaint, though, the pints here aren’t true pints. We have been spoiled in this category by the Brew Pub, which serves full Imperial pints as opposed to the smaller faux-pints you get at Thr3e Wise Men. Obviously, this makes the Thr3e Wise Men beer a little more expensive as well.

Hubby and I were only intending to have a drink, not dinner, but we ended up filling up on the snacky apps and calling it a meal. Every table receives a free bucket of fresh popcorn, for starters. The housemade thick-sliced potato chips are awesome and addictive, tossed in a salty house seasoning mix. And, you get a HUGE baking sheet full of them for a mere $3. If this isn’t one of the best deals in town, I don’t know what is. You can also order them loaded with bacon and blue cheese sauce for $6.

housemade chips and popcorn

By the time hubby and I had chowed our way through the chips, we were already more than halfway there to a full dinner anyway, so we went ahead and ordered a pizza as well. Hubby’s tried some of the flatbread pizzas here and pronounced them quite good, but something called a hummus pizza piqued my interest, described on the menu as a freshly baked pizza crust with roasted red pepper hummus and a cucumber relish. Of course, the cucumber relish contained onions, so we asked for it on the side. Yummy – this was really a full-sized pizza with some innovative toppings, and although hubby wouldn’t touch the cucumber topping, I loved it. Oh, and the whole pizza was only $7.

Other items rounding out the Thr3e Wise Men menu include wings, breadsticks, a tableside tossed chopped salad and fried pickle chips (I still can’t decide whether these sound tasty or horrifying). For dessert, a short list of choices includes carrot cake, German chocolate cake and elephant ears.

All in all, a great first experience. We even ran into our friends Bart and Pete at the bar, an added bonus!

We revisited Thr3e Wise Men yesterday around 4:30 p.m. with the whole family in tow, intending once again to just have a drink. This time, we sat outside watching the traffic go by on busy Broad Ripple Avenue (railings kept the boys safely contained so we could relax). The boys loved the lemonade served in little plastic astronaut cups, and again, by the time we’d all plowed our way through the popcorn and another platterful of chips, we’d filled up enough for dinner.

Thr3e Wise Men seems to have a good thing going here, and is a welcome shot in the arm to a Broad Ripple microbrewery scene that was really in need of a little healthy competition.

For more info:

http://www.thr3ewisemen.com/

Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon

Beam me up, Scotty’s

For the past month or so, hubby has developed a habit of taking the toddler out to the pub for a cold beverage and some daddy-son bonding so I can enjoy some uninterrupted work time. The Broad Ripple Brew Pub and Sahm’s have always been our go-tos, but they’ve lately been usurped by a newcomer on the Broad Ripple scene – Thr3e Wise Men.

Part of the Scotty’s Brewhouse enterprise, Thr3e Wise Men opened earlier this spring. We’d watched it slowly take shape in the old Sunflower Market building for months before that, with huge brewing vats nearly big enough to resemble farm silos. I finally made it to said establishment with my guys just a week or so ago to check it out for myself.

Inside, Thr3e Wise Men looks unfinished – light wood walls, exposed beams, views of the brewing apparatus through windows, beer barrel tabletops, picnic tables and silverware wrapped in hand towels instead of napkins (a detail that strikes me as slightly crass). On the upside, it’s airy, clean and family-friendly, which is great news for parents who enjoy beer.

For my inaugural visit, hubby and I visited alone, having snagged a brief babysitting respite from our generous neighbors. We were seated inside at a table in the corner. The menu isn’t big, mainly just pizzas and a few appetizers. This is, first and foremost, a brewing facility, after all. Food here seems to be treated as something to complement the beer. This isn’t to say the food is bad, quite the contrary.

The beer selection covers a good range of flavors and styles – everything from IPAs to an Irish stout and even a porter made with locally produced Hubbard & Cravens coffee. Interesting. I had my eye on the Naptown Nut Brown, but the server then told me they were out of it, along with a couple of the other offerings. So I narrowed my sights to the Two Lucys blackberry wheat and the Sanctaneous hefeweizen. The server was kind enough to bring me a small taste of each to help me make up my mind. In retrospect, I really should have just ordered a sampler. Maybe next time.

(A quick side note – I want to have a job thinking up names for microbrewed beers. This seems like the next best thing to working for a cosmetics company and coming up with cutesy call signs for nail polish and lipstick colors.)

Snow Bunny Blonde and Two Lucys Blackberry Wheat

I enjoyed my pint of blackberry porter, nicely light and refreshing with a bright tangy fruit flavor. Hubby’s partial to the Snow Bunny Blonde, and has been filling up growlers regularly to bring home ever since he discovered it. A small complaint, though, the pints here aren’t true pints. We have been spoiled in this category by the Brew Pub, which serves full Imperial pints as opposed to the smaller faux-pints you get at Thr3e Wise Men. Obviously, this makes the Thr3e Wise Men beer a little more expensive as well.

Hubby and I were only intending to have a drink, not dinner, but we ended up filling up on the snacky apps and calling it a meal. Every table receives a free bucket of fresh popcorn, for starters. The housemade thick-sliced potato chips are awesome and addictive, tossed in a salty house seasoning mix. And, you get a HUGE baking sheet full of them for a mere $3. If this isn’t one of the best deals in town, I don’t know what is. You can also order them loaded with bacon and blue cheese sauce for $6.

housemade chips and popcorn

By the time hubby and I had chowed our way through the chips, we were already more than halfway there to a full dinner anyway, so we went ahead and ordered a pizza as well. Hubby’s tried some of the flatbread pizzas here and pronounced them quite good, but something called a hummus pizza piqued my interest, described on the menu as a freshly baked pizza crust with roasted red pepper hummus and a cucumber relish. Of course, the cucumber relish contained onions, so we asked for it on the side. Yummy – this was really a full-sized pizza with some innovative toppings, and although hubby wouldn’t touch the cucumber topping, I loved it. Oh, and the whole pizza was only $7.

Other items rounding out the Thr3e Wise Men menu include wings, breadsticks, a tableside tossed chopped salad and fried pickle chips (I still can’t decide whether these sound tasty or horrifying). For dessert, a short list of choices includes carrot cake, German chocolate cake and elephant ears.

All in all, a great first experience. We even ran into our friends Bart and Pete at the bar, an added bonus!

We revisited Thr3e Wise Men yesterday around 4:30 p.m. with the whole family in tow, intending once again to just have a drink. This time, we sat outside watching the traffic go by on busy Broad Ripple Avenue (railings kept the boys safely contained so we could relax). The boys loved the lemonade served in little plastic astronaut cups, and again, by the time we’d all plowed our way through the popcorn and another platterful of chips, we’d filled up enough for dinner.

Thr3e Wise Men seems to have a good thing going here, and is a welcome shot in the arm to a Broad Ripple microbrewery scene that was really in need of a little healthy competition.

For more info:

http://www.thr3ewisemen.com/

Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Co. on Urbanspoon

Little nibbles

There’s a high-end gourmet shop called Lenotre right around the corner from where we’re staying in Paris. The goodies in the window of this place are so beautiful, I’ve actually been too intimidated to go in there. However, the other day, I was on my way to a playdate at the home of a fellow American mommy and wanted to take something nice along as a hostess gift. I decided this was my excuse to finally venture inside.

Every little tart, cake and cookie inside Lenotre looks like it could be the cover shot for any gourmet magazine on the market today. In addition, they sell beautiful sandwiches, salads, terrines, wine, chocolates and other spectacular fare – every item a culinary work of art. The men and women behind the counter wear smart white button-down shirts, black pants and little black bow-ties. To say this place is classy is an understatement – this place is top-shelf. I believe the company even runs its own pastry classes and culinary school.

I stammered my way through some horribly bad French while browsing the glorious counter, my eyes as wide as a little girl’s on Christmas Day. Hubby had suggested I take macaroons, and I finally settled on a gorgeously packaged box for 25 euros. Ouch. That’s a euro per macaroon – 25 total, 5 each of chocolate, vanilla, berry, pistachio and cappuccino flavors. Still, I mentally argued with myself that hubby and I have been fairly reasonable with our spending throughout this trip, so I felt a splurge was not uncalled for in these circumstances.

The charming hostess immediately recognized the significance of my purchase and I was pleased that she treated the box of macaroons with due reverence. We passed the macaroons around several times at the playdate, and bless her, she sent the remaining uneaten half-box home with me, saying she had plenty of sweets in her home already. I was secretly thrilled. Hubby and I made short shift of the leftovers within the next day and a half, trying our best to savor the delicious cookies with respect as opposed to just wolfing them down as you mindlessly do a bag of chips while you’re watching American Idol.

Now that I’m in the loop, I notice little wrapped packages of multicolored macaroons in the shop windows of almost every patisserie/boulangerie I pass by. Perhaps macaroons are to the French what chocolate chip cookies are to Americans? As I haven’t tasted any others besides those from Lenotre, I can’t speak to the overall quality, but the ones I sampled from Lenotre were amazing. Little melt-in-your-mouth disks about the size of a half-dollar coin, each flavor of macaroon sandwiched with a coordinating filling. The macaroons themselves were light and lovely, almost meringue-like, and shattered teasingly with each bite so that you wondered if you’d actually eaten it or just imagined that it was that good. The richness of the fillings was a perfect foil for the heavenly cookies. All together, every nibble was an ideal blend.

a typical patisserie shop window

a typical patisserie shop window

But enough on the sweet treats… for the past two nights, hubby and I have gone out to dinner with the baby and been treated to small complementary plates of a salty snack at the same time we were presented with our menus for consideration — potato chips! All I can think is that this must be some kind of latest-and-greatest amuse-bouche with lots of eateries jumping on the bandwagon, not to be left behind.

For example, last night, we walked just down the block to a chain franchise called Hippopotamus. Their catchphrase is “specialiste sur la terrain de la viande,” which I think translates roughly to they know their shit in regard to cooking meat. The menu is a testament to this fact, heavy on steaks and such. When we were seated, we noticed ready-and-waiting plates of potato chips at every table. The chips were a little on the greasy side, but we eagerly devoured them nonetheless as we considered our dinner choices.

Hubby and I haven’t really been in sync food-wise the past few days. He tends to snack in the afternoon and then isn’t hungry for dinner until later in the evening. I, on the other hand, usually avoid mid-meal snacks and prefer to stick to three full meals a day at regular intervals. By the time we got to Hippopotamus at around 6:30 p.m., I was starving, but hubby just wanted an appetizer. He opted for a tomato/mozzarella salad and also requested a small plate of pork kabobs.

I couldn’t remember the last time I’d had a good burger, and the offerings on the Hippopotamus menu looked darn enticing. I chose a Hippo Burger Savoyard, a perfectly-sized burger cooked “bien cuit” (well done, having learned my lesson with the entrecote last week) topped with grilled onions and raclette, a mild melty Swiss cheese. A side of fries, a glass of nice Chateauneuf de Pape, and I was happy as a pig in poop. The burger was super juicy, surprisingly so for well done, and I was content to polish off every bite.

Tonight, we strolled around for quite awhile looking for a previously untested cafe to try for dinner, but somewhere that was still casual and comfortable. After perusing posted menus all along Boulevard Henri V and then back over up Rue St. Antoine, we finally settled at a place called Dome that we’d walked by many times before but never stopped into.

Dome proved very spacious and we made ourselves comfortable with high hopes for a nice meal. However, after ordering a glass of wine for me and a beer for hubby and checking out “la carte,” we decided it was the trendy kind of place you have a drink, but don’t necessarily stay to eat. Although Dome was plenty crowded, no one seemed to have food at their tables, just beverages. Not a promising sign. However, we did get a complementary plate of potato chips, which we again made short work of.

Alas, the menu choices at Dome proved a little disappointing and overpriced, so we decided to go back to the devil we know for our dinner – Cafe Rempart.

The people at Cafe Rempart get friendlier every time we go in, and I have no doubt this place would quickly become our regular go-to establishment if we lived here in the Bastille area. Tonight, these nice chaps recognized us, greeted us warmly and went out of their way to accommodate us with the baby. Apparently, this is a very rare occurrence indeed in French cafe culture, but I’m definitely not complaining.

While hubby and I were enjoying our second round of drinks for the evening, a foursome came in with, lo and behold, another stroller! And turns out, they even spoke English, nonetheless! We spent an interesting 15 minutes or so chatting with the other new mommy (her adorable daughter Ella in tow at 4 months old) and comparing notes on living in Paris as an ex-pat.

Tonight’s dinner was another Croque Italien for hubby and a ham and cheese omelet for me, both with green salads. We also shared a plate of frites along the way, and by the time baby started piping up, we were finished, content and happy to wander back to the apartment to relax the rest of the evening away.

Lenotre: http://www.lenotre.fr

Hippopotamus: http://www.hippopotamus.fr