Eats With Michael's Favorite Things in Indy Right Now

People frequently ask me for recommendations in Indy. What’s the best new restaurant? Have you tried that new fried chicken place? What’s the best way to spend a Saturday with someone from out of town?

I decided to put together “Eats With Michael’s Favorite Things in Indy Right Now.” Think Oprah’s Favorite Things, but more influential. So, here we go: in no specific order, my favorite things, restaurants, and happenings in Indy right now.

Fried Chicken at Ukiyo

It’s not fried chicken, it’s karaage—the flavor-packed Japanese iteration of fried chicken. Done exquisitely so at Neal J. Brown’s Ukiyo, the dish, topped with matcha and honey, was the highlight of an exceptional meal at this new hotspot at 49th and College.

West Fork Whiskey

West Fork Whiskey serves boozy craft cocktails in a intimate space just outside of downtown. Make your way to 18th & Bellefontaine, snap a pic in front of the instantly famous  “(Local) Whiskey Made Me Do It” wall, and enjoy some of the best drinks in the city.

Turchetti’s Salumeria

To say I’m a fan of Turchetti’s Salumeria would be a massive understatement. I’ve been regularly stockpiling their products since I first discovered them at the Garfield Park Farmers Market this past summer. The duck confit is spectacular. The smoked salmon is some of the best I’ve ever had. And the capocollo might just change your life. While the bulk of their business is currently wholesale product purchased by local restaurants (get the capocollo on the dutch baby at Milktooth), a retail storefront is slated to open in 2018 in Fountain Square.

Risin’ Creek Creamery Goat Milk Caramel

Do yourself a favor: Wake up early on a Saturday morning, head to your local Farmer’s Market, and buy a jar of Risin’ Creek Creamery’s goat milk caramel. I use it as a sweetener is my latte, a rich topping on pancakes, and my new favorite use: a decadent icing for my homemade cinnamon rolls.

Eddie Sahm, Big Lug, and the Broad Ripple Winter Farmers Market

Eddie Sahm of Big Lug recently acquired the space previously occupied by Bent Rail Brewery for his upcoming Bavarian biergarten concept. Every Saturday the sobro building hosts the Broad Ripple Winter Farmers Market, and Eddie and his team at Big Lug serve delicious and affordable eats to local patrons, including a weekly Farmers Market Special incorporating produce and meats from the market vendors.

DRNK CLTR Podcast

Local Indy podcast DRNK CLTR deserves your attention. The hosts, Fabian and Jared, chat with influencers from various industries within the city. (I must admit that I find those featuring restaurateurs and local chefs the most interesting—that should come as no surprise to anyone). DRNK CLTR is informative and engaging. It feels like a required course for anyone who wants to learn more about the local culture in Indianapolis (and that should be everyone). Check it out here.

Circle City Kombucha

Kombucha is sort of having its moment right now. Indy’s very own (and very best) kombucha company Circle City Kombucha consistently impresses me with both its product and its extraordinary mission: “Replace as many sodas, energy drinks, and high sugar beverages as we can with our own, healthy, natural alternative.” Featuring flavors like peach blossom and ginger-lemon, Circle City Kombucha excels in fresh-tasting, approachable sodas.

They are fantastic one their own, but also delicious as cocktail mixers. Splash some ginger-lemon kombucha in place of some ginger beer in your Moscow Mule, or swap orange juice for some Circle City Kombucha peach blossom in a mimosa for a fresh twist on the boozy brunch staple. Find out where to buy some kombucha here.

Smash Social

Located behind VIDA on Ohio Street, Smash Social is serious fun. It’s a coffeehouse ping pong bar serving both pastries with a full-service coffee and trendy pub bites (you can get you avo toast fix here) with local craft brews. Play some pong yourself or find some cheap entertainment watching those playing.

Coat Check Coffee

At this point, Coat Check Coffee needs no introduction. Tucked away inside the Athenaeum, this coffee shop is serious business. For the casual latte drinker, the menu might seem overwhelming, but the baristas are extremely passionate and are more than willing to answer any questions about the drinks or ingredients.

Eats With Michael