Sunday, October 28

Restaurant Review: Sahm's Place Serves up Success on Tap with Third Thursdays


Sahm’s Place, Indianapolis, has decided it has been in the shadow of wine-pairing dinner for far too long. Creating a five-course dinner menu for the third Thursday of each month, the north side pub offers IPAs, ales and stouts paired with gourmet appetizers, entrees and desserts.
The reservation-only event has proven an immediate success with sold-out dinners for September and October, the first two months. November will focus on Thanksgiving foods and ideas for which liquid amber to choose for accompanying the holiday feast.

Invited to sit in on October’s pairing, Bier Brewery was featured prominently with a hoppy Rye IPA (SRM 9, IBU 70, ABV 7%) served with Buddhanut soup for the first course. The butternut squash soup’s roasted almonds and cinnamon oil held up against the spicy malt liquid.
Second course consisted of the diners’ favorite Imperial Brown Ale (SRM 10, IBU 20, ABV 8%) paired with The Apple King stuffed with blue cheese, Dominator Dopplebock, dried cranberries, walnuts and New Day Meadery Hard Cider. (read review of New Day here) The medium weight bier was layered with chocolate, coffee and caramel emphasizing the autumn flavors of the apple dish.




Good Pils (SRM 3, IBU 25, ABV 5.5%) a German pilsner joined forces with Gordito Camote for the third course. Filled with black bean avocado salad, chorizo, sweet potato and peppers, the tortilla grabbed hold of the spicy earthiness of the German noble Hops and held on throughout the layer of sweetness and balanced the hops’ bitterness.

Fourth course arrived in the form of the entrée prime pork loin with scalloped potatoes, brussel sprout gratin and a fennel reduction. The Scottish 80 (SRM 11, IBU 15, ABV 4.9%), a pale ale, was a gentle partner to the meat with a smokiness which drifted throughout each sip.

Dessert was Pumpkin Tri, a Sahm’s take on an autumn tradition: pumpkin bread pudding, true pumpkin pie and nutmeg whipped cream. The much-anticipated Pumpkin Ale (SRM 8, IBU 15, ABV 5.3%), was as delightful to the tongue as anyone could wish. The sweetness connected with the spices created a not-too-sweet autumn ale perfect for dessert or sipping solo.

Bottom Line: Sahm’s Place has moved into the food-beer pairing with absolute smoothness with its enjoyable and educational style, making it a perfect evening out.

Need to Know:
Sahm’s Place: 317-202-1577; 2411 E. 65th St., Indianapolis
When: Third Thursday monthly
Cost: $30
Reservations: Required
Website: Sahms.com
Attire: Casual

Images: Izzy Evans

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, at GottaGo.us and FoodandDrinkDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on Gottago.usBroadwayWorld.com, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Wednesday, October 24

Infused: Top 10 Halloween Inspired Cocktails

Caramel apples, parties and kids dressing as little characters is what comes to mind when October rolls around. Leaves are painted with the autumn palette of plum, russet, burgundy and gold and thoughts turn toward Halloween.

This holiday represents many things to people, but perhaps it most defines fun in the form of dressing up as something other than your day-to-day personality, signifying your inner angel, devil or celebrity self. Fortunately the fun of childhood follows us into adulthood with bigger costumes, grown up snacks and adult "witches' brew" in the form of fun cocktails.

I invited experts in the world of spirits, wine and beer, including sommeliers, mixologists, restaurants, pubs, distillers and manufacturers to send their Halloween-inspired cocktails. The response was overwhelming with recipes pouring in from across the United States. I compiled the list and narrowed it down to the ones most in spirit with the holiday and consisting of uniqueness, great taste and visual appeal. I present to you the...

Top 10 Halloween Inspired Cocktails 2012

(1) Jack the Ripper
(image above)
Who: Blush Ultraloung in Le Merigot Hotel at Casino Aztar (Steven Lagenourand Catherine Daters)
Where: Evansville, IN

Website: CasinoAztar.com

Inspiration: Jack the Ripper- Lurking in the dark shadows of the cocktail, a mysterious phantom may appear when you least expect it!
Recipe: 1 ¼ oz Absolut Orient Apple, ½ oz Goldschlager, ¼ oz Lucid Absinthe, 2 oz of Apple Juice, Splash of Cranberry, 3 Blackberries, 1 honey dew melon chunk: Muddle 1 blackberry in bottom of shaker, pour all ingredients into shaker with two more blackberries. Shake well. Carve face in honey dew, put in bottom of a high ball glass. Fill glass ¼ full with ice, pour in ingredients and serve.

(2) Zombie Brain Hemorrhage
Who: Cock & Bull Public House 
Where: Cincinnati, OH
Inspiration: Our Zombie Cock & Bull-O-Ween Fest
Recipe: Use a shot glass and fill it half-way with Peach Schnapps, Add 1 oz. Bailey’s, splash of Blue Curacoa and Grenadine.

(3) Jack O' Lantern

Who: Texas Grill
Where: Phoenix, AZ

Website: TexazGrill.com

Inspiration: Jack O' Lanterns
Recipe: 2 scoops vanilla ice cream, 1/4 cup pumpkin puree, 2 shots Jack Daniels: Combine all ingredients in a blender and pour into a decorative glass. Top with whipped cream and garnish with a pumpkin Peep.

(4) Apple Spice Martini
Who: W Hotel (Sushi Roku)
Where: Scottsdale, AZ
Inspiration: Everyone's favorite snack to bob for at Halloween parties.

Recipe: 3/4 oz Sour Apple Schnapps, 3/4 oz. Tuaca, 3/4 oz. Jack Honey, 1 oz. Apple Cider, 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup: Shake and serve in a white chocolate drizzled martini glass with a graham cracker rim.


(5) Eye for an Eye
Who: Last Drop at The Hermosa
Where: Scottsdale, AZ
Website: LastDropBar.com
Inspiration: A witch's potion
Recipe: 1.5 oz Veiux Carre Absinthe, .75 oz Luxardo maraschino, .75 oz lemon juice: Shake/strain into chilled martini glass, top with float of Peychaud's bitters, garnish with an eye ball (blueberry inside lychee).


(6) Southern Scream
Who: Southern Comfort
Where: Louisville, KY
Inspiration: Blood floating after a Halloween monster attack.
Recipe: In a tall glass with ice, add: 1½ ounces Southern Comfort, 4 ounces orange juice, Drizzle of Grenadine. Add a black straw for sipping.

(7) Zuccaween
Who: Davanti Enoteca
Where: Scottsdale, AZ
Inspiration: Zucca is Italian for pumpkin and this cocktail shares an Italian-infused Halloween drink.
Recipe: 1.5 oz Maker's Mark Bourbon, 3/4 oz Amaro Montenegro, 1/2 oz Faretti Biscotti Famosi Liqueur, 3 drops of AZ Bitter's Lab "Figgy Pudding", tsp. of pumpkin puree: Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and pour into cocktail ups glass. Garnish with pumpkin biscotti

(8) Pumpkin Margarita
Who: Crema Restaurante/Partida
Where: New York City


Inspiration: This cocktail honors the pumpkin, what we believe is one of the most iconic symbols of Halloween. For a holiday surrounded by pumpkin-spiced everything (lattes, cakes, soups and even sausage) it's a wonder pumpkin cocktails aren't the No. 1 drink. We hope this cocktail changes that.
Recipe: 2 oz Partida Reposado Tequila, 1 oz fresh lime juice, splash of pumpkin puree, sesame seeds, lime wedge: Rim a cocktail glass with lime juice and sesame seeds. Mix ingredients well in a shaker with ice. Strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

(9) Blood Orange Martini
Who: Aria at Fairmont (Daniel Freedman)
Where: Chicago
Website: AriaChicago.com
Inspiration: For those longing for in-season citrus in the fall season.
Recipe: 1 1/2 ounces orange vodka, 1 1/2 ounces Campari, 1 1/2 ounces orange juice: Shake with ice, strain into martini glass, garnish with blood orange wheel.

(10) Pumpkin Pie Martini
Who: Brasserie JO (David Ciciarella)
Where: Boston, MA

Website: BrasserieJO.com

Inspiration: Autumn's seasonal flavors
Recipe: 2 ½ oz Three Olives Vanilla Vodka, 1 ½ oz Tito Pepe Fino Sherry, 3 oz Pumpkin Butter, ½ Teaspoon Grated Nutmeg: Combine vanilla vodka, sherry and pumpkin butter in shaker. Shake vigorously and strain into martini glass. Sprinkle nutmeg over top of martini.

Images furnished by entries

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read Infused, at GottaGo.us and FoodandDrinkDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on Gottago.us, BroadwayWorld.com, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Monday, October 22

Infused Review: Cruzan Coconut Rum

In INFUSED, Elizabeth J. Musgrave connects spirits, wine, and beer with culinary and creative arts

Sometimes you find something that just tastes so good you start experimenting with it, finding more reasons to use it than for what it was originally created. You might call it a passion. Others might call it an obsession.

Cruzan’s Coconut Rum is my newest obsession. The St. Croix-based rum is mellow with a pleasant scent. First testing it sans ice or mixer, I found it to be tasty as a sipping beverage with a long-lasting finish. Chilling it and pouring over ice gave it a different take ~ refreshing and light.

Coconut Mojito
Since I was sent Cruzan’s Aged Light, 9 Spiced, and Coconut rums to review, my mind kept drifting to ways to use it. Coconut rum-marinated grilled shrimp, coconut rum-infused chocolate fondue, even chocolate cupcakes with coconut rum frosting. Next in line to create will be pineapple cake pops with original rum-infused maraschino cherries and coconut rum-infused icing, all rolled in toasted coconut.

For mixing purposes, the rum drinks bring summer back one last time before winter sets in again. Playing around with Cruzan’s coconut rum has been fun, creating several cocktails, frozen, on the rocks and ice cream concoctions.

Although I can certainly see how this will perk up my winter favorite, Bailey’s with hot chocolate, for now the tropical recipes will satisfy.

Below are two recipes Cruzan shared with me. Feel free to send any recipes of drinks or cuisine you create to elizabeth@gottago.us.

Bottom Line: Cruzan’s coconut rum adds a gentle flavor to mixed drinks while maintaining its right to perform as a solo act.

Coconut Mojito
2 parts Cruzan® Aged Light Rum
 1 part Cruzan® Coconut Rum
8-10 Mint Leaves
2 lime wedges
1 tsp sugar
Coconut water/Coconut Soda
Method
Muddle mint, lime and sugar and top with Rums and ice.
Shake two times to mix. Add Coconut Water/Soda to top.

9 Planter's Punch
1 1/2 parts Cruzan® 9 Spiced Rum
1 part Cruzan® Aged Light Rum
2 parts Mango Juice
1 part Pineapple Juice
1/4 part Grenadine
2 dashes Bitters

Method
Mix all ingredients together. Top with a splash of soda.


Images and product sample furnished by Cruzan Rum

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read her new column, Infused, at GottaGo.us and FoodandDrinkDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on Gottago.us, BroadwayWorld.com, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Tuesday, October 16

ISO Update: Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Musicians Reach Agreement, Season Resumes Oct. 18-20

INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Symphony Society, Inc. and the Indianapolis Musicians, Local #3 of the American Federation of Musicians have reached an agreement. 
Late Monday evening they ratified two contracts – a “bridge” agreement, effective Oct. 16, 2012-Feb. 3, 2013, and the major financial terms of a five-year contract beginning Feb. 4, 2013 and expiring on Sept. 3, 2017.
The agreements are an important component of a new business model for the ISO that includes substantially reduced costs, significant new fundraising efforts by the board, the staff and the musicians, and a more sustainable draw rate on the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Foundation (the endowment). 

The terms of the five-year contract include a salary range of $53,000 in year one to $70,000 in year five and the continuation of healthcare and most pension benefits. Overall, the contract represents $11.5 million in concessions by the musicians, which includes a 32 percent pay cut in the first year. The contract’s final year represents an approximate 10 percent pay cut from the musicians’ current salary. While the musicians have agreed to work eight weeks less than in previous seasons in the first two seasons of the new contract, over the five-year period there will be a 38-42 week performance schedule that maintains the ISO’s classical, pops, family, holiday and summer concert series under the ISO’s artistic leadership of Maestros Krzysztof Urbański and Jack Everly, as well as dynamic new programming created by the ISO’s artists-in-residence, Time for Three.

As a key ingredient to the success of a five-year contract, the ISO and musicians agreed to a short-term contract in order to put the musicians back to work immediately and to permit the $5 million in funding from new donors to be secured. In addition, the ISO will be calling on its community of subscribers, patrons, affiliate group members, major gift and annual fund donors and corporate leaders to rise to the occasion and contribute significantly to the Orchestra’s fundraising efforts by purchasing subscriptions and single tickets, donating to the annual fund, making legacy gifts and sponsoring the ISO’s concerts and educational programs. Only with robust community support will the ISO be successful in raising 50-100 percent more than the $6.5 million it receives each year in annual gifts.

On Thursday, Oct. 18, the first Stella Artois Happy Hour at the Symphony of the 2012-2013 season features the ISO’s dynamic string trio, Time for Three, with the Orchestra. Doors open at 5 p.m. with complimentary food and beverages from local restaurants, and the one-hour performance begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 per person.

For his return to Indianapolis, Maestro Urbański will open this weekend’s Lilly Classical Series concerts with Olivier Messiaen’s Poèmes pour Mi, featuring American soprano and Indiana University alumna Twyla Robinson. Following intermission, Maestro Urbański will return to lead the Orchestra in Claude Debussy’s La Mer and conclude with Boléro, Maurice Ravel’s beloved dance-inspired masterpiece. The concert on Friday, Oct. 19 begins at 8 p.m., and the performance on Saturday, Oct. 20 begins at 5:30 p.m. Tickets start at $12 per person.

Patrons who have tickets from previously canceled performances may exchange into this weekend’s performances or another of their choice (excluding special events). Contact the ISO Box Office by calling (317) 639-4300 or iso@indianapolissymphony.org. ISO subscribers may email the ISO at subscriber@indianapolissymphony.org.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, performing arts and restaurant critic. Catch her newest column, Infused at GottaGo.us and www.FoodandDrinkDigital.com and as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, www.BroadwayWorld.com, in M magazine and these newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, New Palestine Reporter, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Thursday, October 11

Infused: Review: Martin Miller's Gin

“I am on the side of a mountain in Spain and the connection is bad at this end,” proclaimed a British-accented voice on the other end of the phone. “Is your connection any better? Wait, I will be to the bottom in a moment and then we can chat about gin, Iceland and other topics.”

And so began my interview with the super premium Martin Miller’s Gin’s namesake.
The notoriously quirky entrepreneur of the upscale gin was instantly endearing and too interesting to not hold my attention raptly. How often does one get to chat with a Londoner racing daredevil-style down the side of a mountain in Spain while chatting on his cell phone about one of the world’s leading spirits?

Exactly.

Admittedly obsessive compulsive, the charming eccentric is a risk taker (which makes him even more endearing) and a gin and tonic loyalist declaring it the official drink of London. Miller’s gin came about through a desperate need for a high quality gin and tonic in 1999.
Never to do anything in a mediocre fashion, the boutique hotelier took to the task with equal tenacity, refusing to skimp on ingredients or methods. The self-appointed spokesperson for gin drinkers globally opted to utilize a John Dore copper pot (named Angela) made in 1904, and the old-fashioned process of using a single pot as opposed to the more common method of three pots. The botanicals are steeped overnight in spirit to extract every bit of essential oils and flavors. Only the heart of the spirit is retained.

As for the flavor? Well, let’s just say it is also the non gin person’s gin. As a non gin and tonic drinker, this is the most mellow gin I have tasted as of yet. My gin generally comes in the form of a Tom Collins or some other smart cocktail. Below are a couple recipes shared with me by Miller. The floral bouquet makes it tantalizing and the soft texture makes it an understandable choice for those who prefer it with tonic or neat.

How does Miller keep the gin smooth?

Iceland.

Known for the purest water throughout the world, Iceland is popular with those in the know. Miller remains friend to Mother Earth by cutting his company’s carbon footprint by an unthinkable 50 percent. Creating the gin in London, he then transports the spirit to Iceland for addition of the water and only then ships it the remainder of the way to points around the globe.

Bottom Line: Eco-friendly and soft to the palate makes Martin Miller’s gin a friend to all.

Bramble
Glass: Rocks
Method: Build in glass
With crushed ice
Garnish: Blackberry
50ml Martin Miller’s Gin
15ml simple syrup
5ml crème de mure





Wallis Blue
Glass: Martini
Method: Shake ingredients
With cubed ice and strain into glass
Garnish: coat rim of glass by rubbing
lime slice and dipping rim in sugar
40ml Martin Miller’s Gin
20ml Cointreau
20ml Lime Juice
Dash of Blue Food coloring

Images and product sample furnished by Martin Miller's Gin

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read her new column, Infused, at GottaGo.us and FoodandDrinkDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on Gottago.us, BroadwayWorld.com, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Wednesday, October 3

5th Annual Gotta Go Ultimate Gift Guide 2012: Now Accepting Submissions


5th Annual Gotta Go Ultimate Gift Guide 2012

The 5th annual “Gotta Go Ultimate Gift Guide” is quickly coming upon us, sharing holiday and Christmas gift ideas. Nov. 6  is this year's deadline for entries. The list will be published online at GottaGo.us during the week of Nov. 19-23, 2012.
Entries will be selected by a three-judge panel.

Those submitting winning entries will be notified by the email address sent with the entry. Purchasing and contact information should be included with entry, along with bio of product and company. Images should be submitted via email.

Categories

• Wine/spirits/beer

• Food

• Nonfood 

Rules and tips: 

• Entries must be EXACTLY as the consumer would purchase. Ex. gift packs, gift baskets, monthly club items, etc. 

• Submissions must include enough for 3 judges.

• Information for purchasing must be included (website, retail locations, etc.).

• Include social media information (Twitter, Facebook) in email.

• No pornographic, sexual, illegal or hate items will be accepted.

• Entries must be received by 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.

• Ship entries to: “Gotta Go” 2960 S. Keystone Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46203
Attn.: Ultimate Gift Guide 2012-Elizabeth J. Musgrave.

• Send all questions to elizabethjmusgrave@yahoo.com.

• Items cannot be returned.

• No monies, by way of donation, fee or otherwise, will be required or accepted by any judge.

Thank you for your interest. We look forward to a variety of gift ideas again this year.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read her new column, Infused, at GottaGo.us and FoodandDrinkDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on Gottago.us, BroadwayWorld.com, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Monday, October 1

Infused Wine Review: Franciscan Estates 2007 Magnificat


When is a wine more than a wine? When you know the history. Or…at least when the winery has a history. I always seem to enjoy a wine when there is more to the effort than a faceless, nameless entity behind it.

Recently Franciscan Estates, Napa Valley, California, sent me their 2007 Magnificat red wine to review and I found the prospect even more enticing after reading the back story of the vineyard and winery. Established in 1973 with producing beginning in 1975, Franciscan’s owner Justin Meyer created the estate’s style of small lot wines.

Magnificat was introduced in 1985 under vintner Agustin Huneeus. It is a Bordeaux-style blend spearheading the Meritage class of wines. All good signs for a red wine lover.

The label reads, “This Meritage shows layered aromas of cassis and plum, with ripe black fruit flavors and hints of vanilla and spice.” Definitely there is the aroma of plum and slight hints of vanilla. More interesting, to me at least, is the spice scent wafting out of the bottle softly in a teasing manner.

Once opened to breathe for a bit and poured, the character of the wine shifted to a deeper layering. First tasting is of the fruit, as expected in a California wine, than a strong finish of tobacco. Not a cigarette tobacco, mind you.

No… it’s more of a high-quality cigar tobacco that conjures up memories (or daydreams) of sitting curled up in a leather wing-back chair in your grandfather’s study. The day outside is damp and grey but you don’t mind because you are in front of a fireplace with nothing else to do all day except enjoy the afternoon and the bottle of Franciscan Estates Magnificat. It’s a good, warm cozy feeling which wraps around you like a well loved quilt.

What type of food would you enjoy with this wine? Something you can linger over without hurry, such as lamb or beef stew. If nibblers are more the meal in mind, tapas of peppery beef bites would pair up nicely.

Music to enhance the experience should be meaningful background tunes. I suggest Bach for classical enthusiasts. For others… a bluesy-jazzy choice such as Billie Holiday or Lena Horne.
Bottom Line: Franciscan Estates Magnificat will conjure up a desire to forget the outside world and stay inside curled  up in a chair beside the fireplace reading great literature.

Winery images and sample by Franciscan Estates
Wine image by E. J. Musgrave

Elizabeth J. Musgrave
 is a syndicated fine-living, travel columnist, freelance writer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Read her new column, Infused, at GottaGo.us and FoodandDrinkDigital.com and catch her as Indy’s Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC. Gotta Go is published on Gottago.us, BroadwayWorld.com, in magazines and several Indianapolis area newspapers. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.