Fresh City Market – A One of a Kind Grocery Store Offering Special Event Space!

IMG_5662Happening Now! Right now, the talk around town is about one of the area’s newest grocery stores, Fresh City Market. This healthy grocery store not only offers guests a wonderful shopping experience, but special services to our visitors and locals that is one of a kind in the area. Did you know they do home delivery and also have a wonderful event space that is free of charge as long as guests use their catering services? They have an executive chef on site that makes soups from scratch and hot, fresh food and a pastry chef creating delectable, homemade bakery items. Bonus: they carry Mary Lou Donuts! This in itself is a reason to visit!

If you can’t tell by my excitable first paragraph, I am a huge fan of this grocery store. I am probably odd, but I love grocery shopping. Many people can find it laborious, but this is my advice, “embrace it and love it because we all have to do it!” Fresh City Market makes is really easy to love it! Last week Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette hosted a special event at Fresh City Market to tour the space. I have visited the store before, but this gave me a whole new outlook and I learned about all the unique things they are doing to provide wonderful customer care.

IMG_5661First, home delivery. They have an online grocery shopping service that is both quick and easy! You may select from a wide range of groceries, gourmet food, organic food, fresh produce and more – all of which are offered online. The fee is only $6.95! Or let’s say you are on your lunch break and have time to shop, but not to take your groceries home. They can hold your groceries for you and deliver to your home later in the day. If you spend over $40 the delivery is free! If you spend less than $40 there is a $6.95 delivery fee.

IMG_5668Second, event space. They have a beautiful room that overlooks Purdue University that is free of charge. The only requirement is you have to order from their catering services, but we sampled a number of food items (more on this later), and let me tell you, you will leave happy! The room seats up to 30 people, has 2 large flat screen televisions, free WI-Fi, a full kitchen, and if you want a food demonstration, their executive chef is available. They also offer cooking classes. Coming up are a Cooking Healthy & Gluten Free class on January 30 and Valentine’s Dinner class on February 13. (I don’t know about you, but I am putting a little bug in my husband’s ear about the V-Day Class! How romantic and fun!)

IMG_5663Third, their food. The staff at Fresh City Market are absolutely wonderful and friendly and to top it off, they let us sample a wide array of their catering items. They make a bruschetta that is loaded with fresh tomatoes, onions and herbs. Their marinated steak skewers were perfectly seasoned and cooked. I loved tasting diverse cheeses, nuts, sausage and dried fruits on a specialty platter they created. To top it off, they let us sample platters of fresh bakery items that included cheesecake bars, peppermint/chocolate bars, lemon tarts, very berry tarts and more! It was amazing!

IMG_5658Fourth, the store. The store is one of kind with its ginormous ceilings with pillars that local artists beautifully painted. The idea that the owners of this store took the time to bring the local community into the creation and “look” of the store is so amazing. It really creates a sense of community and makes this grocery store one of a kind. The store offers a hot bar of food, fresh soups, a salad bar, sushi bar, deli, and pretty much any food item you desire. We had a gentleman in our group that was looking for a specialty fruit he couldn’t find anywhere this season. Within 5 minutes of him mentioning it, they had it ordered and would be available the following day. The customer service is exemplary! Fresh City Market is not to be missed!

IMG_5665Whether you are looking for delicious dining, interesting attractions and shops, enticing events or home away from home lodging—a getaway to Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, is sure to satisfy. For more information about this grocery store and others in the area, visit our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

Romantic Night at Bistro 501

Bistro 501 Brent Russell 2014Check out Visitor Information Specialist, Marlene’s blog about her delightful visit to Bistro 501.

I recently went to dinner at Bistro 501. I had been there a few times in the past. The most memorable time, until now, was when I was in high school. The French Club took a field trip there for dinner. This was years ago, right after the restaurant had opened. Then and today, Bistro 501 is still one of my favorite restaurants in the Lafayette area.

The service is always pleasant and prompt. The atmosphere is perfect. I especially like the natural light that comes in through the large windows at the front of the restaurant. I also greatly enjoy their rooster themed decorations.

DSC00485I had perused their menu online so I knew in advance that I wanted a glass of wine to go along with the Wild Mushroom Pasta. I am not the best at pairing. I asked the server if he could recommend something. He quizzed me about what wines I liked and took into consideration my meal choice. He pointed me to the Willamette Riesling (from Oregon). This was a fantastic wine! So much so that I went on a hunt for it at a few local liquor stores.

Bistro serves some wonderful white bread and whipped butter while you wait for your meal. We had a choice of soup or salad. I had their well-known French onion soup while my boyfriend had a salad. He doesn’t normally get vinaigrette dressings but when the server mentioned that they were made in house, he decided on the honey mustard vinaigrette.  He shared it was fabulous!

We went on a holiday evening and they were just starting to get busy.  I would highly recommend making reservations anytime that you would like to go to Bistro 501. You never know how busy it will be, especially since many local businesses meet with clients, partners, and have meetings there for lunch and dinner.

Our meals arrived more quickly than I would have anticipated. The wild mushroom pasta was perfect! It was penne tossed with sautéed wild mushrooms and spinach in a Marsala cream sauce. It was creamy and the mushrooms had a great flavor. My boyfriend ordered the New York Strip. It was fantastic! It was a 12 oz. New York strip steak, crusted in pepper, and served on a bed of french fries (pommes frites) with a brandy shallot sauce.  I was about to take his dinner away from him, but I didn’t want to let go of my wild mushroom pasta.

Even though we were thoroughly full from our tasty dinners, we couldn’t celebrate the holiday without dessert. I LOVE the dessert selection at Bistro 501! I would be tempted in the future to go back just for wine and dessert! Hint, hint, boyfriend, there’s a future date suggestion when we play the “what do you want to do? I don’t know, what do you want to do game?”)

I have always been a fan of Bistro’s bread pudding. It’s warm bread pudding with melted chocolate chips and walnuts baked in a caramel whiskey sauce. I got it with a scoop of their Mexican ice cream. My boyfriend decided on the Tiramisu Chocolate Cake. It was chocolate cake soaked in espresso liquor layered with mascarpone cream and cloaked in chocolate ganache. The mascarpone cream was amazing! Of course he got a scoop of vanilla ice cream to go along with it.

Bistro 501 is the perfect restaurant to celebrate special occasions or to just meet friends or family for a nice lunch. I must admit it is pricey, however, it is well worth every penny once you enjoy every bite. I have also heard that I must come during their Beaujolais Nouveau celebration. What is this celebration you ask? It’s wine! The completion of  fermentation of the wine in France is a huge celebration. They only ship a few cases from France to the US. and Bistro has the “in” to get them every year. They make a celebration of it by having a fife and drum corp parade to the restaurant and offer a five course meal. Reservations must be made in advance for this fabulous evening of fun!  Check out the UTube video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LOsWgi-H4tU&feature=youtu.be 

For more information about this restaurant and others in the area, please visit our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

Weekend Update: Friends of Bob presents Robbie Fulks and Friends & ETHEL’s Documeria

ETHEL's Documeria

ETHEL’s Documeria

Weekend Update! Looking for a fun Indiana weekend getaway? Or do you live in this area and are looking for entertainment close by? Check out the endless possibilities for fun events happening this upcoming weekend in Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana.

Enjoy a night of music as Friends of Bob presents Robbie Fulks and Friends on Friday, January 23 at Duncan Hall.  Robbie Fulks along with Don Stiernberg, Shad Cobb, & Chris Scruggs will provide a night of honky night greatness. Check these reviews, “Fulks is a gifted guitarist, a soulful singer with an expressive honky-tonk tenor, and a natural performer.” -New York Times. “Fulks’ voice has a ringing power he’s a casually amazing singer. The songs are filled out with acoustic guitar, fiddle, banjo and mandolin. It partakes of folk, country, bluegrass and honky-tonk.” -NPRs Fresh Air. “The Yankee singer whose country songs have seemed as much genre satires as reverent craft exercises makes what might be his most seamlessly integrated set. It’s mostly unplugged, rooted in bluegrass and old-timey styles, and beautifully sung.” -Rolling Stones Top Country Albums of 2013.

Do not miss on Saturday, Jaunary 24, ETHEL’s Documeria, at Purdue University. In 1972, the newly created Environmental Protection Agency commissioned Project DOCUMERICA—a five-year mission that sent 70 photographers across the United States to document “subjects of environmental concern.” The result was more than a staggeringly diverse collection of 22,000 images—it was a modern portrait of America’s soul in the ’70s. Visions of rugged natural beauty, machines of industry, candid snapshots of everyday life, and images of car-centric communities were all captured on film with equal photographic finesse. The DOCUMERICA collection, now resurrected through a recent digitization, inspired the latest project from ETHEL—a boundary-free string quartet whom TimeOut New York calls “fearless and pioneering” and who has performed alongside David Byrne, Kaki King, Andrew Bird, and more. ETHEL’s Documerica is a multimedia feast of panoramic projections and newly commissioned works from contemporary American composers that The New York Times described as “a stylistic continuum from Dvorak to Steve Reich by way of Copland, with sidelong nods toward the blues, funk and Radiohead.”

For more information about these events and other special “happenings” in Lafayette-West Lafayette, check out our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

Star City Coffee and Ale House is Tucked Right in the Heart of Downtown Lafayette

IMG_3197The semester has started back up, and boy, is that an eye opener. After a full break filled with relaxation, movie binge watching, reading, sipping hot chocolate by the fire, and being surrounded by family and friends, transitioning back into the fast-paced world of college and work is quite the transition. The to-do list has started back up and seems never-ending sometimes; however, when it all becomes a little overwhelming, I have found my small escape to relax and rejuvenate. My secret getaway happens to be right in downtown Lafayette: Star City Coffee and Ale House!

Cappuccino at Star CityStar City Coffee and Ale House is tucked right in the heart of downtown, giving you a beautiful walk through Lafayette before entering the quaint coffee shop. Once inside, it is instantly comforting, smelling the fresh brewed coffees and pastries. With many items to choose from, you are guaranteed to find a treat you like. They feature a supply of breakfast items, panini sandwiches for a simple lunch or dinner, and even delicious cupcakes for dessert! The drinks are plentiful and made with care and high quality. They even feature a drink for those sleepless nights of studying or hard work titled “Insomniac,” which comes in handy sometimes; trust me! Their drinks come either hot or iced and vary from coffees, teas, smoothies, hot chocolate, craft beers and more! Grab it on-the-go or avoid the cold temperatures by dining in. For those who choose to stay, you are served your beverages in charming mugs to make you feel right at home.

One aspect that stood out to me was the atmosphere and vibe of Star City Coffee and Ale House. The employees are extremely genuine and put effort into making your food or beverage just right with high quality ingredients! The customers they attract even add to the ambiance. Many locals gather here to chat, study, or simply catch a break from life, and they are all so welcoming. Every time I enter Star City, there are smiles all around. Occasionally, you’ll be surprised to find live entertainment inside! During the Christmas season, I was able to study at Star City while listening to relaxing and original acoustic Christmas tunes sung and played by local artists. It’s safe to say I was in a tranquil bliss.

IMG_3196Locals, who were born and raised in Tippecanoe County, own Star City Coffee and Ale House, and it shines through their outstanding work. They sell local beer and native fresh food while also promoting local artists and true “Hoosier Hospitality.” It really is an excellent example of what Lafayette is truly about. Next time you need a nice escape, head to Star City Coffee and Ale House to reward yourself with the relaxation you need and deserve!

Kaley, Visitor Information Specialist and Purdue Student shared this blog.

Discovering Riverside Skating Center for the First Time!

Riverside Skating Center

Riverside Skating Center

Today, we welcome new Blogger, Sahej Bains, to our blogging team! She is a Visitor Information Specialist for Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette and a student at Purdue University.  She shares her first time experience last week at Riverside Skating Center!

Imagine a place covered in ice and surrounded by trees glistening with a light layer of frost. Feeling the Christmas spirit, you jump into the rink with excitement, only to find out that your skating prowess is not up to par with even the youngest children around. Rather than getting depressed, however, you join the crowd and with the help of your friends (and the railing!), you carry out the night with pure enjoyment.

In the long eighteen years of my existence, I have never been much of an adventurer. Recently, feeling the need to explore the world a tad bit more, I decided to try ice-skating with my buddies at the Riverside Skating Center. This center is conveniently located near Purdue’s campus and downtown. The admission fee is five dollars along with an additional three dollars for skate rental. The skating center is a perfect place for small gatherings and of course, something fun to try with friends and family. Regardless of experience or expertise, everyone could enjoy ice-skating at this rink. Personally, I found the environment of the site extremely welcoming. The atmosphere not only made me feel comfortable but also relaxed because I knew I would not be judged for my lack of skill. Despite the fact that I held on to the railing for the entire two hours, I was cheered and encouraged by not just my friends, but also the general public.

It's busy at Riverside!

It’s busy at Riverside!

So if you are looking for something special or fun to do for in 2015, I would definitely recommend the Riverside Skating Center. As for me, I will include it in my New Year’s Resolution to give up the railing and learn to skate with grace. After all, isn’t the New Year a perfect time to forge new memories that can be cherished throughout life?

Weekend Update: The Children’s Hour & Chris Potter

Chris Potter

Chris Potter

Weekend Update! Looking for a fun Indiana weekend getaway? Or do you live in this area and are looking for entertainment close by? Check out the endless possibilities for fun events happening this upcoming weekend in Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana.

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday enjoy the saga, The Children’s Hour, at the Civic Theatre of Lafayette. One of the great successes of the distinguished writer, Lillian Hellman, is this serious and adult play about two women who run a school for girls. After a malicious youngster starts a rumor about the two women, the rumor soon turns to scandal. As the young girl comes to understand the power she wields, she sticks by her story, which precipitates tragedy for the women. It is later discovered that the gossip was pure invention, but it is too late. Irreparable damage has been done. See how the story unfolds in this thrilling play.

Saxophone phenom, Chris Potter, is coming to Purdue Convocations this Friday! Potter has been a longstanding collaborator with a who’s who of jazz, including Herbie Hancock, Jim Hall, John Scofield, and Paul Motian, as well as multiple stellar Purdue engagements with both Dave Holland and the Mingus Big Band. He has appeared on over 100 albums as a sideman and 15 albums as a leader, but his recurring project, Chris Potter Underground, has emerged as particularly fertile and imaginative. Digging into the funk and jazz intersection, the Underground has become a place where Potter can explore the buoyancy of the groove but retain the dynamism of free jazz. Do not miss this night of jazz at its best!

For more information about these events and other special “happenings” in Lafayette-West Lafayette, check out our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

It’s a Winter Wonderland in Lafayette-West Lafayette

It’s a Winter Wonderland in Lafayette-West Lafayette! Enjoy these beautiful, snow filled photos of areas all over our 2 beautiful cities. It may be chilly out (negative 2 below 0 is a bit cold!), but these sites are not to be missed! And it looks like the weather is warming up…the high today is 15 degrees! Grab your coat, muffler, and scarf and explore the wonders of winter.

1330313006_20120226_IMG_0651 v1 OGP1330265615_20120226_Frost at Evonik wildlife habitat areaSONY DSCRiehle Plaza Winter Night 2011Pepper-Allison DeschainePuppy in Snow LiSONY DSCSONY DSCSleeping Squirrel-Mark D. BasseagleentranceCheck out all the wonderful winter activities, attractions, things to do, etc. on our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

Weekend Update: The Nutcracker & Brandenburg Concert

Nutcracker

Nutcracker

Weekend Update! Looking for a fun Indiana weekend getaway? Or do you live in this area and are looking for entertainment close by? Check out the endless possibilities for fun events happening this upcoming weekend in Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana.

Back by popular demand, the Lafayette Ballet Company presents the full-length ballet of the Nutcracker on January 10 and 11. Music by P.I.Tchaikovsky, and luscious period costumes and sets highlighted by the exuberant dancing of the young Lafayette Ballet Artists along with guest artists and graduates. Magic comes alive as dancers use grace and harmony to dance to music created in the 1800s by the famous Russian composer Tchaikovsky.

Have you ever heard of the famous Brandenburg Concert by J.S. Bach? It is a collection of six instrumental works presented by Bach to Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg-Schwedt, in 1721 (though probably composed earlier). They are widely regarded as some of the best orchestral compositions of the Baroque era. The Tippecanoe Chamber Music Society presents Brandenburg on Sunday, January 11 and this concert will brighten our souls in this rare performance of these most beloved works.

For more information about these events and other special “happenings” in Lafayette-West Lafayette, check out our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

Lafayette Staple: Mary Lou Donuts!

donuts-225x300Happening Now!  Planning a stay in Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana area? Whether you are looking for delicious dining, interesting attractions and shops, enticing events or home away from home lodging—a getaway to Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana is sure to satisfy. Right now the locals are talking about Mary Lou Donuts, a local donut shop offering fresh, delicious donuts that can be purchased via counter service, carry-out and/or drive-thru!

Mary Lou Donuts is a Lafayette staple in the donut business.  They offer every donut imaginable from the bear claw to coconut crunch to cream horns.  This donut shop has been a breakfast favorite of my father’s ever since I was a kid and I am sure beyond.  My dad is a salesman and travels the northern part of Indiana.  He works in the Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana area every other Friday.  He always makes a quick stop into Mary Lou Donuts to get his favorite donut; glazed yeast with white icing and nuts on top.

A funny story comes to mind when I think of Mary Lou Donuts.  A few years ago my parents were on a pretty strict diet.  (It was probably right after New Year’s!).  Donuts were not on their list of items they could eat.  (Although, I always say a person can eat anything as long as it is in moderation!).  Well, my father lost his cell phone one Friday morning.  Guess where he left it??  Mary Lou Donuts!  A waitress called my mother and my poor dad was caught!!  We always tease him about Mary Lou Donuts.  He said he just can’t stay away, but he tries to stop at eating just one donut!

Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, offers so many Indiana dining opportunities!  Check out all our great restaurants we have to offer at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

New Year’s Resolutions Tips 2015!

Wolfgang at Wolf Park

Wolfgang at Wolf Park

Happy New Year!  It’s that time of year where we think about everything we want to accomplish and create to make 2015 as dashingly wonderful as 2014. It’s resolution time!!  What’s your New Year’s Resolution this year? Or do you have it set yet? We have some wonderful New Year’s resolution tips that we think are fun and a great way to get out and create a little magic in 2015!

  1. Head to 5 local restaurants that have a diverse array of food options. Go outside your comfort zone and try something new and different on the menu. Lafayette-West Lafayette is home to over 250 restaurants and we are sure there is some place new you have always wanted to venture to.

    Try Hot and Spicy Seafood at Gaza Korean Grill - And yes, that is an Octopus!!

    Try Hot and Spicy Seafood at Gaza Korean Grill – And yes, that is an Octopus!!

  2. Plan a weekend getaway last minute to a location you have never visited but have always had a passion to explore. Wintertime blues can hit mid February so a last minute trip can really lift the spirits! If you have never visited Lafayette-West Lafayette put us on your list! We are home to a vibrant downtown, specialty attractions, beautiful hotels and more.
  3. Learn to play golf! Lafayette-West Lafayette is home to 162 holes of championship golf and with a golf club in hand; you can take on these master courses!
  4. Visit a one of a kind attraction! Wolf Park is a great choice and all year long you can howl with the wolves where you learn about how the wolves interact with each other and humans. Check out our website for a list of all of our attractions: http://www.homeofpurdue.com/whattodo.html.
  5. Visit a Big Ten University! Boiler up and head to Purdue University where you will feel the vibrant glow of learning, the rush of excitement as Purdue wins a sporting event and the beauty of this magnificent college.

Please share with us your New Year’s resolutions this year. We want to hear! If you haven’t been to Lafayette-West Lafayette, we are a fabulous location to add to your list. Or if you have been here, we would love to welcome you back!

For more information about Lafayette-West Lafayette visit our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.