Wednesday, July 6

Restaurant Review: Bravo Cucina Italiana

I hadn't been to Bravo Cucina Italiana restaurant since I judged their chef competition a few years back. So, when invited to check out the new Savory Summer Nights menu, I accepted and stopped in for a bite.

Located on Indianapolis'  north side, and about two dozen states, I chose to try out the Willow Lake spot. (Click here for all locations) First, a quick run down:

Restaurant: Bravo Cucina Italiana
Dress: Casual
Cost: $$$$

Menu: Italian
Antipasti Salad
For those who have not eaten at Bravo, each restaurant is allowed to tweak the menu slightly, which you will want to keep in mind while scanning the online menu.

The most noticeable difference, I found, is the wine list.

I tasted a couple appetizers, three entrees, a salad, and a dessert or two. Also, a peach Bellini found its way to my table, along with a wine I selected from the list.

Grilled Chicken entree
The service was friendly and casual ~ don't dine here if you prefer the more formal atmosphere and staff.

What I had

Antipasti Salad: Romaine, sopressata, Provolone, pepperoncini, red onion, black olives, marinated red peppers, basil, oregano, red wine vinaigrette ($5.99). Well priced and large in size, I recommend sharing this if you plan on having any apps and entrees.

Calamari Fritti: Creamy horseradish, Pomodoro sauces ($12.29). Again, portions are meant for sharing, and the horseradish sauce is not too hot for enjoyment.
Crispy Shrimp Napoli: Green onions, charred tomato Napoli sauce ($12.99). Although I soldiered on with entrees, I could have stopped after these two appetizers and been perfectly content with the flavors, quality and value. Plan on sharing, and eating with a fork, rather than a finger food style appetizer.
Crab-crusted Salmon

Grilled Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Goat Cheese: Herb marinated chicken breast, pesto bread crumbs, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, haricot vert, lemon butter ($14.99). This is definitely my favorite (not counting dessert) food tried. The flavor combination was balanced and the chicken juicy.


Shrimp Scampi Pasta: Fresh capellini, tomatoes, lemon, white wine, chili flake, pesto bread crumbs, garlic crostini ($13.99). The lemon and white wine sauce is simply divine with the capellini pasta and flash seared shrimp. I would like to see the shrimp grilled instead, which would add a nice layer of flavor to this dish.

Crab Crusted Salmon: Roasted red peppers, zucchini, spinach, lemon butter, crispy fingerling potatoes. This is definitely for the heat lover with the Cajun spices on the farm-raised salmon.
Warm Cookie Butter Blondie

Warm Cookie Butter Blondie: Vanilla bean gelato, cookie butter caramel, and sugared pretzels ($5.49). Served warm, the brownie was the perfect ending for the meal ~ and created an unsharing streak in me. With vanilla bean gelato atop, melting slowly into the blondie, this is considered a two-spoon dish for good reason.

Drinks: Peach Bellini: (Pictured at top of page) Slushy-style and garnished with a fresh strawberry gives this drink the extra touch to make it a hot-afternoon must.

Wine: Although the list was Sauvignon Blanc-heavy, I found a bottle of Chardonnay from Sicily (Porta Palo $26), which was absolutely delightful. Tropical fruit forward, the white wine is thirst quenching and pairs perfectly with all three entrees. The only downside is the price on the wine, which is triple retail (This is typical in restaurant, btw).

Bottom Line: Bravo's Savory Summer Nights menu offers a value-driven menu for the Italian foodie.



Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Sunday, June 19

Movie Review: Finding Dory

Finding Dory may just be the most anticipated movie of all time. Seriously. We all assumed after the hit of Finding Nemo, and the instant adoration of Dory, the tang with a memory handicap, a sequel would be spewed out asap.

At least within a couple or three years. Year after year went by with no Dory. It became obvious there would not be a sequel, after all. Then the unthinkable happened: a sequel after 13 years. The worries became how it would do at the box office and whether the story line would be worth the wait and as interesting as the original film.

Worry no more. All is well with Dory and the Disney-Pixar team created another blockbuster with its sequel. We learn about Dory's "childhood" and how she came to be on her own.

Ellen Degeneres' brilliance, and popularity, comes from her ability to present Dory as an adorably naive without being annoyingly ditzy, showing glimmers of misunderstood brilliance in her approach to life and its challenges.
As Dory seeks out her parents, Nemo and Marlin follow along to find her. Although Dory discovers her memory during the journey, Marlin discovers how important Dory is to him and his family. Many laughs happen along the way, and new characters are introduced.

Perhaps the story line seems a little preachy to some, but it is truly a worthy message concerning caring for sea life, and the importance of family.

Bottom Line: Finding Dory is a must see film, which stands on its own or, as a sequel to Finding Nemo. Plan on a third movie to round out the set. Pray it doesn't take another 13 years.

Cast List
Dory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ELLEN DEGENERES
Marlin . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .ALBERT BROOKS
Hank . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ED O’NEILL
Destiny . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .KAITLIN OLSON
Nemo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . HAYDEN ROLENCE
Bailey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TY BURRELL 
Jenny . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DIANE KEATON 
Charlie . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .EUGENE LEVY 
Young Dory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SLOANE MURRAY 
Fluke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .IDRIS ELBA 
Rudder . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . DOMINIC WEST 
Mr. Ray . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BOB PETERSON 
Wife Fish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . KATE MCKINNON 
Husband Fish (Stan) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .BILL HADER 
Sigourney Weaver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . SIGOURNEY WEAVER 
Passenger Carl . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ALEXANDER GOULD 
Gerald . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . TORBIN XAN BULLOCK 
Crush . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ANDREW STANTON 
Chickenfish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . KATHERINE RINGGOLD
Tween Dory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . LUCIA GEDDES 
Squirt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BENNETT DAMMANN 
Husband Crab (Bill) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JOHN RATZENBERGER 
Sunfish “Charlie Back and Forth” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ANGUS MACLANE 
Gill . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .WILLEM DAFOE 
Bloat . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . BRAD GARRETT 
Peach . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ALLISON JANNEY 
Gurgle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . AUSTIN PENDLETON 
Bubbles . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . STEPHEN ROOT 
Deb (& Flo) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .VICKI LEWIS 
Jacques . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . JEROME RANFT

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Tuesday, May 31

Chef Joseph’s at The Connoisseur Room: Summer 2016 Line up


As you may have guessed, Chef Joseph's, 115 E. Ohio St., is one of my favorite restaurants and hangouts in Indianapolis. Now, they have heard the cry of theater goers' needs for needing a place to go after the curtains close and have opened their posh place for late diners.

The downtown hot spot is pleased and honored to be named as one of Indy's 2016 Top 10 locations for Jazz in Indianapolis. The RAT pack-ish eatery has announced its live, local entertainment schedule.

Beginning in June, additional hours will be added to their Thursday and Friday evenings from 11 pm – 2 am. Featuring Jan & Casey's Groove Machine, the Charlie Balentine Trio, King Crabb, Ferris, the Yeager Swing Quartet, the James Knott Trio, Cozy Myers, Xenobia Green, Nancy Moore, Matthew Houghland, Yvonne Allu and Co., the late-night favored spot accepts reservations at ChefJosephs.com/reservations.

For more information about Chef Joseph’s at The Connoisseur Room, go to ChefJosephs.com

Images: Provided

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Wednesday, May 11

Indiana Historical Society (IHS) Concerts on the Canal 2016 Lineup

Thursday nights spent lounging along the canal in Downtown Indianapolis is a favorite among urbanites. A bottle (or two) of wine, nibblers and a blanket is all that is required for those wishing to enjoy the evening. The Concerts on the Canal series is hosted by the Indiana Historical Society throughout the summer.

This summer's concerts run from May 26 through July 28 with the new Free Admission Thursdays, which includes extended hours in the venue on concert dates. 

Musical entertainment begins at 6 p.m. on concert Thursdays and will feature a variety of styles from jazz, blues and swing to rock, R&B and pop favorites.
Free seating is available on the grassy knoll, which is across the canal from the History Center. Guests can also purchase seating on the History Center's Kruse Family Stardust Terrace in tables of eight ($50/$40 IHS members) or tables of four ($40/$30 IHS members), and single-seats at the community table ($10/$8 for IHS members).

No pets or smoking are allowed on the Terrace.

Patio visitors are welcome to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages. All alcohol must be purchased on-site, and a cash bar will be offered. Guests can also purchase food from Hoaglin To Go, available through the History Center's Stardust Terrace Café and at an outdoor grill.

The History Center will offer free admission and extended hours on concert dates, until 8 p.m. Concertgoers are encouraged to take full advantage of access to the Indiana Experience, as well as a weekly selection of IHS's traveling exhibits. Exhibits explore topics such as Indiana disasters, the state's rich automotive past, the lives of Hoosiers during Prohibition and more.
In addition, IHS is making it possible for guests to enjoy a free day of fun and music leading up to the city's 4th of July fireworks. On Monday, July 4, the History Center will be open from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., with free admission. From 5 - 9:30 p.m., IHS will offer a special patriotic concert.

The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, home of IHS and the Indiana Experience, is located at 450 W. Ohio St., downtown along the canal.


Membership, information and resources: (317) 232-1882 or IndianaHistory.org.

Concerts on the Canal 2016

May 26
Concert: The Cool City Band, featuring Shannon Forsell, Jimmy Guilford and Laney Wilson
(Swingin' music from the lounge era)
Traveling Exhibition: One Shot: The WWII Photography of John A. Bushemi

June 2
Concert: Flying Toasters (High energy dance favorites)
Traveling Exhibition: Hoosiers and Their Hooch: Perspectives on Prohibition

June 9
Concert: Actors Theatre of Indiana (Cole Porter Birthday Celebration)
Traveling Exhibition: A Visual Journey: From AIDS to Marriage Equality by Mark A. Lee

June 16
Concert: Indy Nile (Eclectic mix of classic rock, funk and blues)
Traveling Exhibition: The Great War: From Ration Lines to the Front Lines

June 23
Concert: The Funk Quarter (New Orleans Rhythm and Blues)
Traveling Exhibition: Steamboats a Comin' The Legacy of the New Orleans

June 30
Concert: Everett Greene (Love songs and jazz standards)
Traveling Exhibition: Auto Indiana

July 4
Concert: Indianapolis Municipal Band (5 to 6 p.m.) (Patriotic tunes and marches)
The Tad Robinson Band (7:30 to 9:30 p.m.) (Americana, soul and roots)
Traveling Exhibition: Faces in the Crowd: Indiana and the Political Process

July 7
Concert: Greta Speaks (Rock and pop classics)
Traveling Exhibition: Who is a Hoosier?

July 14
Concert: Brenda Williams (Classic R&B hits from the '60s and '70s)
Traveling Exhibition: The Golden Age: Indiana Literature (1880-1920)

July 21
Concert: IUPUI: David Mannell featuring Laura Hammer-Erhart, Becky Barton and Heather Hinton
(Bicentennial tribute and nostalgic favorites)
Traveling Exhibition: Auto Indiana

July 28
Concert: The Bishops (Party songs you love to dance to)
Traveling Exhibition: Indiana Disasters

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Tuesday, April 5

Entries Wanted: Top 10 Best Cocktails Inspired by the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500 2016


Indianapolis is currently all abuzz with the annual excitement surrounding 500 miles of fast-paced adrenaline. With the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500 quickly approaching, I've decided to dedicate a column to drinks inspired by the 100th running of "The Greatest Spectacle in Racing."

Anyone wishing to submit a recipe, along with contact information and an image, please do so by May 10, 2016. The mixologist, sommelier, restaurant, company or bar's name will be featured, along with the bartender, recipe and image for the drinks chosen.

For an example of a previous year's winners ~ click here.

The main objective is the drink MUST contain spirits, wine and/or beer AND be inspired by the spectacular 100th running of Indy 500. Not just any drink will do for the sports heroes, celebrities and fans who will pack themselves into Indianapolis for the weeks of special events.

Questions can be sent to elizabeth@gottago.us or elizabethjmusgrave@gmail.com.

And, just like with that bold and daring great race,

Anything goes....

Tickets, schedule and directions: IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.com

Photo credit: EJMusgave

Elizabeth J. Musgrave writes two magazine food and wine columns: Destination Dining and White Linen & Corks,and is a travel, features, food and wine writer, travel and food photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her as the Travel & Leisure Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. She also is a speaker, consultant and trainer for hospitality, travel and luxury businesses, P.R., and tourism groups, as well as a radio and television guest and host. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.