Saturday, March 22

Once upon a Time Held at Butler Arts Fest April 4 Features Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn, Andrew Gavrin, Chris Katsaropoulos and Tracy Richardson come together for a spirited conversation, Once upon a Time,  about space, matter, energy & light.
Kohn, a local author, critic and all things regarding craft beer, writes "Beer Buzz" in NUVO, an Indianapolis publication and penned "True Brew," a book about Indiana beer.

The event takes place Fri., April 4, 6-7 p.m. at Eidson-Duckwall Recital Hall, on the Butler University campus.

Join physicist Andrew Gavrin, folklorist Rita Kohn and novelists Chris Katsaropoulos and Tracy Richardson on flights of imagination into real-world matters and go home energized to engage in Albert Einstein’s dictum:

“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”

For information about this and 40 other Butler ArtsFest events, go to ButlerArtsFest.com.

Image: James W. Brown

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel, food, wine and spirits columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Catch her as Indy’s Personal Lifestyle Adviser on Indy Style, WISH8 (CBS). Read Infused, her spirits, wine & beer lifestyle column, at www.GottaGo.us and www.FoodDigital.com Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, and in magazines. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Volunteers needed for Raymond James Stutz Artists Open House April 25-26, 2014

Anne Wishard Emison
*Press release*
INDIANAPOLIS – The Stutz Artists Association is recruiting volunteers for the annual Raymond James Stutz Artists Open House on April 25 and 26 at the historic Stutz Business Center.

Volunteers who work at least one three-hour shift will receive a free event T-shirt and admission to the two-day event. In addition to enjoying the art and atmosphere of one of the city’s premier cultural events, volunteers welcome and direct guests to artists’ studios.

Kerry Jackson
During set-up, volunteers help put up tables, signage and trash boxes and escort food vendors and entertainers to their locations. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and will be asked to attend a one-hour training session.

At the event, more than 70 artists will be in their studios showing work that ranges from paintings, drawings and photography, to sculpture, jewelry and furniture. Hours are from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, April 25 and from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, at the Stutz Business Center at 10th Street and Capitol Avenue downtown.

Rita Spalding
Admission is $15 at the gate and $10 in advance at select Old National Bank branches. Ticket proceeds support the Stutz Residency Program, which provides free studio space and utilities for emerging local artists.

For more information or to complete a volunteer application, visit www.stutzartists.com. Applications are due by April 15.

Image: Provided

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel, food, wine and spirits columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Catch her as Indy’s Personal Lifestyle Adviser on Indy Style, WISH8 (CBS). Read Infused, her spirits, wine & beer lifestyle column, at www.GottaGo.us and www.FoodDigital.com Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, and in magazines. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.


Monday, March 17

Jim Irsay, Marilyn Monroe ~ How do we decide who to ridicule and who to support?

We are all aware (now) of the Indianapolis Colts' owner Jim Irsay's arrest Sunday. If not, the head
of the football team faces four preliminary counts of Class D felony possession of controlled substances and one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

He was pulled over in Carmel, Ind., by police and failed several roadside tests for sobriety. Preliminary does not mean he will be officially charged, of course. That remains to be seen.

Many people are rallying around Irsay, wishing him to get help for his addiction(s) and citing his numerous good deeds. I also wish him to beat his demons and can think of nothing worse than not being able to break away from something controlling your every moment. Popular Indianapolis Star sports writer Bob Kravitz says it very well (read by clicking here) in his column.

So... here's my question. Why do we poke fun, roll our eyes and laugh at comedians using Lohan as the butt of too many jokes? Why is it funny about some, yet horrific with others?

Robert Downey, Jr., has become Hollywood's darling, after being in and out of confinement for various drug-related situations. A superior actor, we can only be awed by his strength to also kick his own personal demons.
Lindsay Lohan, also good (at one time) in the acting occupation, has been fighting her alcohol addiction and other demons to an unsuccessful note, unfortunately.

We forgive America's Sweetheart, Reese Witherspoon, in an instant for her and her husband driving intoxicated and becoming belligerent with police, but condemn Mel Gibson for his alcohol addiction and ranting.

Why?

Why can't we find sympathy in our hearts for the Gibsons and Lohans of the world? Why must we ridicule them instead of root for them and support them in their attempts to fight a demon most could not beat?

Is it that we like them prior to their so-called antics to forgive and support? We adored little Lindsay in the remake of The Parent Trap, and now shrug and laugh at her issues. We weep for the damage to the wonderful songstress and actress Judy Garland, who died due to alcoholism, but make fun of Anna Nicole Smith, who passed away from drug use.

So many have lost their lives to alcohol and drugs: Whitney Houston, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Marilyn Monroe... too many to list.

Shouldn't we support all of them in their attempts to kick the addiction? What is the differentiating factor? Is it because some give to charities while others squander their wealth? I have no idea and reach out to you for your ideas on the subject.

Bottom Line: What determines whether we, as a society, support or ridicule the famous person battling addictions? I would enjoy hearing your thoughts in the comments section, or otherwise.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel, food, wine and spirits columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Catch her as Indy’s Personal Lifestyle Adviser on Indy Style, WISH8 (CBS). Read Infused, her spirits, wine & beer lifestyle column, at www.GottaGo.us and www.FoodDigital.com Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, and in magazines. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Saturday, March 15

Restaurant Review: Eddie Merlot's

(LtoR) Prime Ribeye Steak  and Florida Grouper with Citrus Glaze
Having never eaten at any of the Eddie Merlot's, including the one in Indy, (click here for current locations), I decided it was time to accept a long-standing invitation from Joseph Davey, GM and sommelier, to drop in for a restaurant review at Indianapolis' north side location. I knew there wouldn't be an issue with the customer service ~ we are talking about Davey after all. He is well known by customers, employees and industry insiders for his impeccable taste, customer service and attention to details.

That meant I could relax and concentrate more on cuisine, cocktails and wines. Valet service is available upoon arrival. Since great valet service is difficult to find, having customers sing the valet staff's praises without being asked was a five-star endorsement to me.


The restaurant's decor is grand without being pretentious ~ sweeping views of the dining area, French doors leading to outer rooms and a large bar/lounge area. This last detail is relevant to anyone wishing to relax without hearing little ones and preferring to sit in an adults-only section.
Sitting in the lounge, actually right at the bar, enabled me to get a good view of the tables while still being convenient to chat with the bartenders about cocktails. This was particularly of interest to me after judging the recent Northside Nights cocktail competition in which Merlot's took first in their category (Evan Williams) and second overall with Bourbon Blackberry Peppercorn Shrub.
(Note* First place overall went to Late Harvest Kitchen)

Ahi Tuna Wontons
Ahi Tuna Wonton appetizers started the meal and were full of flavor and had great texture compatibility between the tuna, Asian glaze and 'wonton' chip. I can easily see this as a great share-plate with a gal pal after work with salads and drinks in the summer. For a dinner appetizer, it worked very well ~ not heavy, just enough to whet the appetite. Lobster bisque was served, thick and rich, with a large lobster piece for good measure, rather than bits and pieces throughout.

I love salad.
I hate to make salad.
It's that simple.
And...
It's that difficult ~ to find a truly great salad.
Romaine Waldorf Salad
The  Romaine Waldorf Salad (shown is the half order I was served) is worth the drive just for this dish. Simplistic and direct, crisp Granny Smith apple slices, halved grapes, candied pecans and Gorgonzola cheese are served over a Romaine lettuce wedge and drizzled with maple apple cider vinaigrette. I could seriously eat this several times a week.

Merlot's is known for great steaks and the one served was no exception. Bourbon-marinated prime rib eye, cooked to order (medium) perfectly, with French-fried onions and Parmesan truffle fries for me to sample. I actually would like to have seen a smoked paprika aioli dip with the fries just to take it up that extra notch.

The Florida Grouper with citrus glaze was served over spinach and roasted mushrooms. Finding great seafood in the middle of the nation is not always easy so this find was a pleasant surprise. The flaky meat of the fish, accompanied with the acid of the citrus glaze was great. Add in the roasted mushrooms with a slight hint of cayenne, and I was in food heaven. Another dish worth the drive.
Joseph Davey selecting wine

Wines served were St. M Riesling with the seafood and Torres Ibericos' Tempranillo (my new obsession) with the steak.

If you understand that all Rieslings are not sweet (where did that urban legend start, anyway?) then you will thoroughly enjoy the St. M version with seafood. It's crisp without making you pucker, light and refreshing, with a citrus essence about it.

In the wine trend world, Tempranillo is the new pink, which is the new black, which is... oh well, whatever. Try it. It is slightly deep without being too dark in personality, and bold without being cheeky. It works well with steaks, but you can also pair it up with lasagna and other tomato-based foods.

Chocolate pot de creme was served for dessert ~ anything else would have been anti-climatic. The rich flavor and creamy texture was a perfect ending and large enough (easily) for two to share.

Side notes:
If possible, take a look at the wine room ~ great selections at all price points and ask for recommendations from Davey, he is not a wine snob and enjoys chatting with customers.
Another thought I had while there is how perfect a location it would be for a monthly club or wedding rehearsal dinner.
Lastly, I will be returning to check out their Happy Hour for my Girls' Night Out Top 10 List ~ stay tuned for that, or join in on the fun ~

Bottom Line: Eddie Merlot's menu, service and quality ~ under the stewardship of Joseph Davey ~ ranks easily in the upper echelons for great food, client satisfaction and pleasant ambiance in the Indianapolis metro area.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a travel, food, wine and spirits columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Catch her as Indy’s Personal Lifestyle Adviser on Indy Style, WISH8 (CBS) or FOX59 Morning News Show. Read Infused, her spirits and wine lifestyle column, at www.GottaGo.us and www.FoodDigital.com Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, and in magazines. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Tuesday, March 11

New Owners at Brushy Mountain Winery in Downtown Elkin, NC

Having recently visited the blossoming wine country of North Carolina's Yadkin Valley, I was interested to learn winemaker Jason Wiseman of Brushy Mountain Winery is now the owner. Wiseman, and partner Amy Euliss, purchased the downtown Elkin winery and plan to continue with the vibrant urban winery on Elkin's Main Street.

"It's important that people know we've worked with the same vineyards and growers since our very first vintage," Wiseman said. "Even though we don't own vineyards, all wine is made on premise. Our cellar, barrel room, our lab - everything is below this building."

Exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, white leather furnishings and chatting areas have made this one of my favorite wineries in the region ~ along with the wine, naturally. Live music will now be offered Friday and Saturday evenings and local artists' projects, including receptions, will be hosted.
Brushy Mountain will continue offering its 12 established wines under the main Brushy Mountain label, while adding an occasional varietal under a new label, Foothills Folly.

Wiseman takes a classic approach to his craft. He lets the grapes dictate the style of wine with minimal intervention. This has led to consistently high marks for Brushy Mountain wines.
Elkin's emergence as a popular Yadkin Valley destination was a key factor in the decision to purchase the winery. Downtown has been revitalized and Elkin was recently named one of "America's 10 Coolest Small Towns" by Budget Travel magazine.

For more information on the winery, visit: BrushyMountainWine.com.

Images: Brushy Mountain; EJMusgrave
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel, food, wine and spirits columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Catch her as Indy’s Personal Lifestyle Adviser on FOX59 Morning News Show. Read Infused, her spirits, wine & beer lifestyle column, at www.GottaGo.us and www.FoodDigital.com Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, and in magazines. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Sunday, March 9

Northside Nights 2014 ~ March 3 - 16 ~ Top 10 List

Fleming's
Northside Nights, the northern take on Devour Downtownreturns for foodies and occasional diners alike to enjoy the wondrous edible fare on Indy's upper end. Fourteen days worth of culinary offerings tempt the palate for a special price and menu at each location.

The 4th year includes almost three dozen restaurants giving guests a prix-fixe meal. Follow updates on Twitter @NorthsideNights.


Follow @GottaGo for reviews on Indianapolis restaurants.

Below are participating restaurants and links for reviews which will be updated as needed. In bold are restaurants I have eaten at and can recommend; click on linked names for reviews. After checking all the menus, I have placed a Top 10 next to the restaurant menus I consider the Top 10 Best menu this time.

Northside Nights 2014
Participating Restaurants
(GF) Gluten Free ~ (V) Vegetarian ~ (Ve) Vegan 
(*) New this year (Top 10) My Top 10 Choices
1881 Grille 

Arni's Restaurant (GF,V)

Bazbeaux (GF,V)

Bella Vita (V)

 *Bijou (GF)

Capri Restaurant 

Chef Mike's Charcoal Grill
Cobblestone Grill 

*Cooper's Hawk 

(Top 10) Divvy (GF,V)
Click here for menu

(Top 10) Eddie Merlot's


(Top 10) Hall's Castleton Grill 

Harry & Izzy's (GF,V,VE)

Hella's CafĂ© (V)

(Top 10) J. Razzo's Restaurant

Late Harvest (V)

MacKenzie River Pizza Company (82nd Street) (GF,V)

MacKenzie River Pizza Company (Carmel) (GF,V)

Maggiano's (GF,V)

Matt the Miller's Tavern (V)

Mitchell's Fish Market 

Nickel Plate Bar & Grill

Oakley's Bistro (V)

Ocean Prime 

(Top 10) *Patrick's Kitchen & Drinks (GF,V)

Pearl Bistro (GF)

Peterson's  (GF,V)

*Petit Chou (GF,V)

Pizzology Pizzeria & Pub (V)

Prime 47 

Rockstone Pizza & Pub (GF,V)

(Top 10) Ruth's Chris
(Top 10) Sangiovese Ristorante (GF,V)
Click here for menu

Scotty's Brewhouse

Season's 52 (GF,V)

Stone Creek Dining (Noblesville) (GF,V)

Stone Creek Dining (Zionsville) 

Sullivan's (GF,V)

The Gathering (GF,V)

The Local

The Loft at Trader's Point (V)

The Melting Pot (GF,V)
For a review of The Melting Pot chocolate martini, click here.

(Top 10) Woody's Library (GF,V)
Images: EJMusgrave
Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel, food, wine and spirits columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Catch her as Indy’s Personal Lifestyle Adviser on Indy Style, WISH8 (CBS). Read Infused, her spirits, wine & beer lifestyle column, at www.GottaGo.us and www.FoodDigital.com Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, and in magazines. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Sunday, March 2

Fish & Chef: The Tastes of Lake Garda 2014 Takes Place May 1-6


I enjoy writing about wine and food if for no other reason than to share information with you, that you might not otherwise know about. Anything Italian is good, in my opinion, and a foodie event that captures the local goods and has top chefs sear, broil and otherwise prepare the delicacies from Italian waters is even better.

Fish & Chef: The Tastes of Lake Garda 2014 takes place May 1-6, with pasta, Michelin-starred chefs and panoramic views in Malcesine. If you love food festivals, restaurant weeks, and/or anything Italian (like me) ~ you might want to book a flight.

The beginning of May will blossom when traditional foods, wines and chefs arrive in Malcesine, on the Veronese shore of Lake Garda. Hotels, restaurants and shops throw open their kitchen and lobby doors to foodies from all over.
 Local Italian cuisine will get the spotlight at Fish & Chef as this annual event brings some of Italy’s top chefs to give their own personal twists using specialties of the area such as fish from Lake Garda, Garda D.O.P. Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Mount Baldo herbs and Consortium for Garonnais beef, and Monte Veronese D.O.P. cheeses.

Food stalls with typical local products will be set up in the center of town for visitors to take home edible souvenirs.

More information is available at Fish & Chef 2014.

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel, food, wine and spirits columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Catch her as Indy’s Personal Lifestyle Adviser on Indy Style, WISH8 (CBS). Read Infused, her spirits, wine & beer lifestyle column, at www.GottaGo.us and www.FoodDigital.com Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, and in magazines. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Saturday, March 1

Horseshoe Cincinnati Hosts $500,000 Queen City Classic Poker Tourney

I like to bet. I do. On baby birth dates and weights, and on football ~ I know, I know, I don't know a lot about sports. But... I bet anyway. I bet on the pretty outfits. And lose, by the way.

However, I can play Black Jack.

This makes me believe, erroneously, that I can also play Poker. Which, according to most people over the age of 5, I can't. At least not well. I, in fact, have to keep a little card denoting the hierarchy of power: Aces over kings I understand ~ my card reminds me that a pair is lower than three of a kind, and two pairs are higher than three nines. (I think)

Anyway, I can never remember which is straight and which is straight flush and the royal flush is impossible to remember. And no, I don't want to play you this weekend for money, but thanks for offering...

There are many people who can recall which goes where and when you should fold. I, personally, am horrible at bluffing. For those who understand, there exists a pot of gold. Or at least a pot of $500K.

Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati will host the inaugural Queen City Classic poker tournament March 13-24, which promises to pay out a minimum $500,000 prize pool, including a $100,000 main prize.

Reminiscent of the World Series of Poker Circuit event that took place last September at Horseshoe Cincinnati, the 12-day Queen City Classic will be hosted on the Pavilion level of the casino.

Buy-ins for the QCC range from $100 to $1,500 for the main event on March 24. The buy-in for No Limit Hold ‘Em the first day of the tournament is $260. Games for the tournament range from No Limit Hold ‘Em to Omaha, with tournaments designed specifically for seniors. There are also five Bounty series tournaments and 10 Turbo Series tournaments.
  
Players may register each day of the Classic and are allowed unlimited re-buys. More details at Horseshoecincinnati.com.  

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated fine-living, travel, food, wine and spirits columnist, freelance writer and photographer, and performing arts and restaurant critic for Gotta Go. Catch her as Indy’s Personal Lifestyle Adviser on Fox 59 Morning News Show. Read Infused, her spirits, wine & beer lifestyle column, at www.GottaGo.us and www.FoodDigital.com Gotta Go is published on www.Gottago.us, and in magazines. Follow her on Twitter @GottaGo, LinkedIn and Facebook.