Valentine’s Treats Galore from Kathy’s Kandies

IMG_5688Valentine’s Day is this Sunday! Do you have a special present for your Valentine? You must make a stop at Kathy’s Kandies, where a plethora of Valentine’s Day treats are handmade for this special day and all year long. Kathy’s Kandies owner Kathy, spends 12 to 18 hours a day making 12 different kinds of candy in over 80 different flavors. There is something for everyone!

Valentine’s Day: this day means Hallmark cards, handmade local sweets and smiles.  Every year growing up my Mom always had a special Valentine’s Day present for my Dad, Sister and I. My Mom would choose our favorite chocolates, sugary sweets and pick out a silly, yet sweet, Hallmark card.  And we always received socks with little hearts all over them.  I am in my 30′s and she still puts together themed packages, only now she has husbands and grandchildren to add to the mix!

If you are looking for delicious, handmade candy to add to your own Valentine’s Day present, Kathy’s Kandies is the perfect place to visit. Visitors have the choice of 12 scrumptious truffles, fudge, chocolate covered nuts or fruit, crème filled chocolates, gourmet popcorn, bark, pastries, cheesecakes, and/or the perfect Valentine’s dessert, chocolate covered strawberries (call to order these in advance!) And the list goes on!

Past Romantic Getaway Winners!

Past Romantic Getaway Contest Winners!

This candy shop is a what kids (and lets be honest, adults) dream about!  Visitors walk into a bright, airy room filled with every candy one could imagine.  Kathy is behind the counter with a smile on her face greeting guests and fulfilling their sugar cravings.

DSC00927Also, note Kathy’s Kandies is the perfect place to host a fun party! Get a group of your friends and family together and savor decadent desserts.  Death by Chocolate – this is one party theme! If there is one way to go, why not by chocolate!!!

Share with us your favorite chocolate or sugary treat?!  What special snack puts a smile on your face? Happy Valentine’s Day!

Cozy, Quaint & Peaceful: Cellar 422

Cellar 422Cozy, quaint and peaceful. Cellar 422 is the best addition to our ever changing downtown! Like no other business, Cellar 422 is a wine bar, restaurant and wine retail store all wrapped into one.

Co-owners and sisters Michelle Wise and Marla Milner claim they have been dreaming of opening a wine centered business since they were 7 and 9 years old. As they grew older and moved around some, their dream never left their minds. The sisters bond over wine even though they have very different palates. In May of 2015, Michelle moved back to Lafayette from California. Just a few shorts months later, in September of 2015, Cellar 422 opened its doors for the first time.

Located at 422 Main Street in downtown Lafayette, in a converted photography studio, the original charm of the building built in 1879 has been restored. Many beautiful features of the inside of the building are still shining bright. One side of the wine bar has a vast original brick wall that climbs high. The ceiling is such a wonderful piece of history left behind. Some additions have also been made by the sisters.

The bar itself is the pride of the owners. It was built from the wood of a tree that grew on the owner’s family farm near Rossville. For some unknown reasons, the tree had to be cut down. The owner’s father had the wood cut and stored in his barn for many years. When the sisters decided to open their restaurant they knew that wood would make for a beautiful piece. With the help from a craftsman, the bar was put together and now stands proud as a reminder of the owner’s roots.

With a constantly changing menu, the sisters are still in the process of finding exactly what the Lafayette community would like to see. During my visits to the wine bar in the beginning months of operations, I enjoyed many delectable dishes. The cheese plates are the perfect pairing to any wine. The flatbreads are flavorful and filling. The cheesecake is to die for! All of the options are what you would expect to enjoy with your many glasses of wine.

Sisters Marla and Michelle pride themselves in carrying a variety of wines you will not find anywhere else in our area. They do not want you to be able to find these wines in any grocery store. However, since they are retail permitted, you may take home a full bottle or even a partially drank bottle of wine. This is such a great alternative when you cannot finish what you have already opened.

The wine tastings seem to be a very popular option for those open to a palate adventure. With many options to choose from, the tastings allow for a new favorite to be found.

Cellar 422 is an exciting new place for social and date night gatherings. With seasonally changing hours, check their Facebook page for the most current information. Grab your hubby or your girls and head over to Cellar 422 for a new tradition!

Rachel, Sports Marketing & Recreation Manager, shares this blog.

Dining Divas Enjoy Mango Loco

Dining divas enjoyed another lunch out, this time to Mango Loco. The eyes on Kay’s whole shrimp lunch special were also on us, while we ate our way through some familiar and not so familiar Mexican dishes!

Camarones Enchipoclados

Camarones Enchipoclados

Mango Loco, at 1440 Sagamore Pkwy, Lafayette, is owned and operated by Pedro and Maria Juarez. Pedro explained that he and his wife have operated Mango Loco for about one year and are veterans in the restaurant industry. The two have worked every job there is, from bus boy to cook; now as owners they do it all!

Our first order was Dorilocos; a Mexican street food that starts with a bag of nacho cheese Doritos, covered with jicama (a sweet turnip like root vegetable), cucumber, peanuts, pickled pork rinds, salt, lime, and chili powder, for $5.00. A word to the wise, this is not for the faint at heart. This dish packs a lot of sweet and spicy heat! Pedro explained that is it most popular during hot summer months.

Kay chose camarones enchipoclados for $11.99 from the specials board. Kay and her lunch eyed each other while she prepared to eat the whole-shrimp dish. Up to her wrists in chipotle sauce, Kay announced that her lunch was delicious but really messy. After watching, we agreed and added yet another item to our “Not on the first date” list. Served with fresh avocados, additional red sauce and homemade tortillas, we heard “Really! Good!” more than once between bites.

Veggie

Picaditas

Jo ordered picaditas for $5.00 which comes 3 per order. This dish starts with a thick soft corn tortilla on the bottom with an edge, filled with red salsa, beans, onion and cheese. Jo noted the tortilla was crispy, softer and fluffier than ones you are used to on a taco. We had several sauces at the table to add to our food. Jo enjoyed the green sauce best to spice up her dish.

Cheese Em

Cheese Empanada

Margy decided on the cheese empanada for $5.00, 3 per order. The menu also offered the empanada loca, $2.00 each stuffed with potato, poblano pepper strips & cheese. Both are served with sour cream and lettuce. The dough was warm and flaky, and the cheese filling very mild but easily spiced up with the addition of the sauces, red and green. To round out the meal, Margy ordered the fresh mango juice to drink, giving it a solid two thumbs up.

Margy, Jo & Bev

Margy, Jo & Bev

Bev ordered carne asada from the specials board for $11.99. The dish included nicely marinated thin slices of beef with avocado, lettuce, tomato, beans and rice. The tortillas, homemade fresh daily, were up to the task of being filled with all that goodness. “It was delicious,” said Bev.

Bev Carne Meal

Bev Carne Meal

Several desserts were available to anyone who still had room. For Bev it was mango on a stick with lime and salt but she opted to get it diced. For $3.00, the dish came with chili powder and jicama sauce. An interesting mix of flavors! Sweet, hot, and salty depending on how much chili powder you put on it! Definitely a fresh mango. “I’ve never had a mango served this way and would have it again in an instant.”

Fruit Icecream

Fruit Ice cream

Margy ordered the ice cream mix. Given a list of fresh fruit and ice cream to choose from, you select three fruits and two ice cream flavors. Margy opted for mango, papaya and watermelon with homemade coconut and butter pecan ice cream. It cost $5.00. Chunks of fresh fruit, bits of coconut and nuts from the butter pecan all blended together for a fantastic treat. We all loved this and decided it was the most delightful part of the meal.

We saw lots of other new dishes to explore on return trips. Emoladas sounded good with a mole sauce. Seafood cocktail with shrimp, squid and crab. Did we mention they have ice cream?

Inside Mango Loco 2On their way out, Bev and Margy took a closer look at the freezer case and learned half of the ice cream is homemade. Curious about one in particular, Bev and Margy sampled the tequila ice cream. It’s made with essence of tequila so there was no chance of it affecting one’s ability to go back to work but it can improve your attitude because it is so delicious! If Mango Loco has one unique hook that other Mexican restaurants we have reviewed do not, it would be the homemade ice cream and worth a trip all by itself.

Kay Conner, photographer, seafood superstar
Margy Deverall, author of Lafayette articles, dedicated vegetarian
Beverly Shaw, author of West Lafayette articles, bring on the beef (or chicken or pork)
Jo Wade, founder of this food blog, very veggie

Richelle in a Handbasket: New, Decadent Chocolate Shop Open for V-Day!

IMG_8901Happening Now!  Right now the talk about town is about a new, decadent chocolate shop that is the perfect place to get your sweetheart a Valentine’s treat. Richelle in a Handbasket! This shop features chocolates, coffee, gift baskets, caramel popcorn, custom gifts and more. Located at Market Square, it is steps away from Interior Objects, the Handmade Market, Legendary Games, Camera Outfitters, Arni’s and more if you want to make it an afternoon of fun!

IMG_8900My husband, daughter and I are creatures of habit, and when we like a restaurant we tend to frequent it quite often.  Arni’s is one such location. We eat there weekly if not more! A few months ago, as we were driving through the little alley way of shops to get to Arni’s, I noticed a new, bright pink sign hanging. It read Richelle in a Handbasket. I got excited and said to my husband, we must stop! He grumbled and said, “I’m hungry!” I swore we would only be a minute and that the shop looked to have treats.

When we entered the store my senses came alive with the smell of chocolate delights and bright cheery decor. My daughter and I love pink, and the place is decorated so tastefully with pink and fun messages on the walls. One area reads “Wall of Redemption” and another “Wall of Addiction”. Just the smells alone made me think, “This place most definitely is going to be addictive!”

IMG_8905On the counter were samples of biscotti to try. (I love samples!) We each took a sample and it was amazing. Biscotti dipped in coffee is truly what winter is all about. Warm, sweet and yummy!

We decided to get a collection of items to take home with us to enjoy after dinner. We picked a bag of caramel corn, saltine toffee chocolate bark, and destiny strawberry truffles. We thought the variety would give us a good idea if we like the items and would be back. One bite into the chocolate bark, and the answer was YES! The salty, sweet flavors make my tongue do a happy dance! The caramel corn was super fresh and the strawberry truffles were my daughter’s favorite.

IMG_8902One of the best part about Richelle in a Handbasket is the baskets! There are so many items to choose from to add to your basket including sweets and food items, but also gift items like wall art, baby bibs, body care products, etc. You can create or order a pre-set themed basket. Need a shower gift? What a better way than to get a present that includes a gift item they can keep forever while they nibble away on homemade chocolates they can enjoy right away!

IMG_8906With Valentine’s so close, make a stop at Richelle in a Handbasket. It will become one of your new sweet shop stops in Lafayette-West Lafayette!

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

New Nightlife Sparks Purdue’s Bar Scene: 308 on State

TacoTuesdayThe bar scene at Purdue is limited to a few places, but they are all great ones. A new bar has recently come to join the pack and is bringing a new flavor to the night life. 308 on State opened in September of 2015 and is settling in pretty nicely.

20151008_220701This three story bar has a different feel and atmosphere on each floor. The main floor features a bar and grill type feel. Sports are always playing and the atmosphere is very carefree, except when a big game is on! The main floor is definitely the smallest space and the smallest bar. The top floor is more of a lounge style space. Couches and comfy chairs are elevated on a platform slightly that really give the relaxed vibe. A collection of other tall and short tables fill the space to give lots of room for many people to hang out. The bar is very long across the far wall. The large windows give customers a great view both up and down state-street. The third and final floor is in the basement which has a club type feel to it. On many evenings you may find a local DJ dropping the beat. Food is not served in the basement, but is on the main and upper floor.

The best nights to experience 308 may have to be Tuesdays. On Tuesday evenings, 308 serves $1 tacos, $3 margaritas and $3 tequila shots. I relaxed with some friends upstairs and was full after just two tacos! Make sure to ask for sour cream and salsa on the side as they are free of charge, but not included on the plate!

20151008_205926308 on State is a little bit hard to spot if you don’t know where you are looking. It is located on your right hand side as you drive up Chauncey hill in between the old Orange Leaf and Brothers. All you will see for a sign is printed black numbers, “308”, on the yellow awning.

308 on State has the potential to be a game changer to Purdue’s bar scene. They are open Monday through Saturdays 11:00am-3:00am and Sunday 11:00am-12:00pm. Go check out the newest campus bar!

Rachel, Purdue University Graduate, shares this blog.

Pete’s Diner is Serving Guests 24 Hours A Day

22Twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week; Pete’s Diner is the only place in town that is open around the clock! Beginning in June of 2015, the diner, on the heart of Main Street downtown Lafayette, opened its door for service. For a quick meal at any hour, Pete’s Diner has got you covered.

3

 

We visited for a quick meal during our lunch break on a weekday. When you walk in you see a completely renovated space from what was there previously. The space is much more open and lit up than it was in the past. The atmosphere is very casual and laid back. All of the servers are sweet and quick at their jobs.

2The menu is just printed on brightly colored sheets of paper, which shows you how casual the place really is. In addition, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served all day long. For an appetizer we shared an order of mozzarella sticks that were oozing cheesy yumminess.  I choose to have breakfast and ordered the “RET’s Famous Omelet”. It was filled with smoked sausage, onions, peppers and cheese. It was pretty greasy, but definitely comfort food and very filling. My omelet came with hash browns and a biscuit. My friend had a BLT Salad. That was the greenest and most bacon covered salad I have ever seen!

1The total check was less than $25 (with tip) for our meal. It is a great deal and the portions are pretty generous! Pete’s Diner is in an ideal location to serve Lafayette right in the heart of downtown on Main Street. For that late night craving, or breakfast around the clock, Pete’s Diner has got you covered.

Rachel, Purdue University Student and Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette Intern, shares this blog.

La Scala – “Fresh Farm Food From Our Farm and Other Local Farms. Taste the Difference.”

LaScala three“Fresh Farm Food From Our Farm and Other Local Farms. Taste the Difference.” – is what you will see when you visit the La Scala website. And boy, is that accurate! I was absolutely impressed with how flavorful the salad I ordered at lunch was! The Fontina Fruit Salad was probably the best salad I have ever had! It was a massive portion for a lunch salad. It was a mound of greens piled high with apples, walnuts, grapes and Fontina cheese. The dressing was raspberry vinaigrette that was so refreshing! Oh, and I added grilled chicken to the salad which could not have been grilled more perfectly. Don’t even ask me how I finished that entire thing all by myself!

When you walk into La Scala you are greeted with a calm and relaxed environment. The servers are so sweet and fully knowledgeable of the menu. They have an answer for every question you could possibly have about the dishes. All of the main entrees come with a salad or soup to start with. I have to admit that I was very jealous watching my friend across the table eating her Tomato and Basil soup. The happiness on her face could not be recreated!

IMG_0439I have heard owner Kirsten talk to a group about her passion for her restaurant before. The love and care that her and her husband, Chef Francisco “Paco” Serrano, have for what they do is incredible. They started from the bottom and with their combined energy and devotion, the current La Scala is now what we have to enjoy. Lafayette is so lucky to have so many family businesses to enjoy, and La Scala is up there on the top of that list.

IMG_0431La Scala is open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11:00am until 2:00pm. Dinner on the weekdays, Monday through Thursday, is served from 5:00pm until 9:00pm. On Friday and Saturday nights La Scala serves dinner a little bit later from 5:00pm until 9:30pm. If you call or visit La Scala’s website, you can easily make a reservation. This is a simple way to ensure you can snag a table on a Friday night without having to wait. Sometimes La Scala is just too busy to be able to take all the walk ins on a weekend night!

I highly recommend eating your next meal out with La Scala. Don’t forget to bring your friends and family, along. Everyone will walk away with a smile on their face and a round full tummy!

Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette Intern, Rachel, shares this blog.

Gary Brackett’s Stacked Pickle Arrives at Purdue!

FullSizeRender[7]FullSizeRender[1]This fall, Purdue gave its guests, students and faculty a treat when they decided to open some new restaurants around the area. If you haven’t had a chance to make it to any of them, I suggest you do as soon as you can! The Stacked Pickle, owned by ex-colts player, Gary Brackett, is one of the wonderful restaurants added to our campus. Located on Northwestern, you will receive one-of-a-kind service where the staff puts customers first and has quite a unique menu as well. My first visit was on their “Family & Friend” day this fall, two days before they officially opened. A good friend of mine is a current employee at the Stacked Pickle and enjoys his time their just as much as the customers do. The walls are filled with witty signs, the environment is much like a sports bar and there’s a variety of TV’s available to watch a handful of games.

FullSizeRenderI’ve now had the chance to go there twice, and the second time completely won me over when I ordered their unique burger named the “Hangover.” It’s a juicy burger, cooked to order, topped with a fried egg, bacon and cheese of your choice. Sounds pretty much like breakfast right? Well… that might be the case but its served all day long with a side of crispy battered French fries. Nothing can compare! Along with their unique menu, they also have quite the variety of drinks, beer on tap and a long list of cocktails. Head on into the Stacked Pickle for a one of a kind, college campus experience where you’ll find familiar faces and young students working their hardest to please their customers. For a brand new restaurant, the business is booming and it adds a touch of home to Purdue’s campus.

Madison, Purdue University Student and Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette Visitor Information Specialist, shares this blog.

Out to Lunch Divas Explore Fresh City Market

 

Inside Fresh City Market

Inside Fresh City Market

ProduceFresh City Market on Northwestern Ave in West Lafayette may seem like an unusual destination for the Dining Divas, but in addition to being a full service grocery store, they offer a changing daily menu of breakfast, lunch, and dinner items.  The menu is on their website and includes ethnic themed buffets: African Monday, Italian Tuesday, Soul Food Wednesday, Latino Thursday, Mediterranean Friday, Asian Saturday, and Indian Sunday.  Located across from Mackey Arena, they boast a superb selection of other prepared foods such as soups, salads, sandwiches, sushi, desserts, to name a few, that make life easy for the busy campus community.

Sushi deli case

Sushi deli case

Their executive chef, Hilda, has an impressive write-up: I came to Fresh City Market from South Africa after working at Cornell Dining, where I gained extensive culinary experience from a number of prestigious resorts and restaurants, including The Plettenbergbay Hotel, The Palace Five Star Hotel of the Lost City, Tsala Treetop Lodge and Singita Lebombo Five Star Relais Chateau Lodge in the heart of the National Kruger Park of South Africa.  I have received numerous certifications including Executive Chef Certification and has received a Commis Chef Diploma from Warwick’s Chef School.

My passion for cooking began at my mother’s side, cooking for weddings, and I will never forget Grandma Maggie’s good cooking!  While I am trained in classic French cuisine and love French food, there is nothing like a good BBQ.

My favorite thing about Fresh Market is seeing the regular lunch crowd and finding out what their favorite foods are (secret: Coach Painter’s favorite soup is mushroom)!

Wow!

Dining Divas

Dining Divas

Despite the temptation to check out the buffet, we decided to sample the sushi bar with two chefs making fresh sushi to your special order while you wait or beautiful pre-made sushi rolls to grab and go.

Margy made to order veggie sushi

Margy made to order veggie sushi

Kay picked ‘Chef Sampler A’, an assorted seafood selection including white fish, smoked salmon, fresh salmon, crab, and even octopus powder.  Her favorite was a roll with fish, avocado, and rice covered with a crunchy coating and hot sauce.

Margy had a sushi plate made to order.  Sushi caprese roll was rice and avocado stacked between tomatoes and a generous wedge of cream cheese.  She liked being able to get sushi ‘her way’, that is to say, vegetarian.

Crispy veggie sushi

Crispy veggie sushi

Jo had ‘Sushi Veggie Crunch’, which included cucumber, tomato, avocado, mushrooms and rice all rolled in a crispy crunchy coating.  Yum!

We shared ‘Vegetable Grilled Dumpling’, 6 dumplings for $3.99.  These were tasty, but would have been better warmed up.  One of the things to take home to eat.

Several sauces including hot sauce, soy sauce, and of course wasabi and ginger accompanied the sushi.

Bev was so busy taking notes and enjoying that incredible wasabi sinus clearing effect that she neglected to write down which roll she had but it was really good!

Upstairs counter

Upstairs counter

We ate our meal in an upstairs room overlooking the grocery store which is used for meetings and cooking classes. From up there, we had a great view of the store with pillars painted by local artists. The inside of the market is very clean, attractive and modern with an industrial theme with exposed ducts.

There is also a long bar by a downstairs window with stools that people can eat at single file, but we longed for outside seating. Nothing attracts more diners than seeing diners so let’s hope they add some outdoor seating next spring!

 

Fish sushi

Fish sushi

Parking may seem daunting at FCM, but pull up to the garage door in the back and it opens automatically for retail parking. This is a welcome addition on this side of campus and not your typical grocery!

Buying Local: Weathered Plow, D&R Market & Beutler Meats

I’m a huge farmers market fan, but sometimes I just need some fresh produce or meat on a day or time when the farmers market isn’t operating, or it is out of season. We’ve got you covered with three great local markets in the Lafayette-West Lafayette area!

The newest one is The Weathered Plow. Located on Schuyler Ave., just west of Sagamore Parkway, you will find a little shop with a big front porch. We really encourage you to stop! They always have seasonal flowers out on the porch, and inside, you are sure to find something delicious! More than anything, I love stopping here for their ham salad and potato salad! I think their ham salad is the best in town! It is made fresh every day, and you can buy it by the pound or buy it as a sandwich and side. It’s a great place to grab a quick dinner to take home. They also have a variety of pre-packaged dry goods, and of course produce, eggs, meat, and a few breads. Try the cinnamon rolls if they have them! Oh my! They are delicious! Many items in the store are local and a lot of it comes from the owner’s own farm. The Weathered Plow is a great addition to our community!

D&R BBQ

D&R BBQ

The second local market is D & R.  They are located at the corner of South Street and Creasy Lane just across the street from Lowe’s, in a little strip mall with Dollar General and Pizza King. If you are looking for great meats, especially pork products, this is the place to go! They have awesome bacon, sausages and pork chops. We also love their tilapia; they have one that is pre-seasoned that is a quick and easy meal! We just pop it in the oven and serve with some asparagus or some other vegetable, and we are done. It’s so delicious too! D&R also carries produce, eggs, cheese and some jams, jellies, BBQ sauces, etc. It’s a great place to just hop in, get what you need and get out quickly. If you have a chance, be sure to walk a couple doors down to the D&R II, the restaurant! Oh, my! If you love BBQ, you will love this place. Huge pork chops, fall off the bone ribs, pulled pork, smoked chicken, not to mention all the wonderful sides! The smells alone are worth popping in!

The third location is a long time favorite of the Lafayette area, Beutler Meats! They are pro’s! Beutler’s has been serving the Lafayette-West Lafayette area since 1953! It is located off of Wabash Avenue in Lafayette, not too far from St. Ann’s Catholic Church. Beutler Meats is known mainly as a butcher and processing facility; some may not know that the general public can purchase meat here as well. People from all over the region bring their meat here to be processed. I have a farmer friend in Anderson, Indiana that drives his meat here to be processed,so it’s not just a Lafayette area thing.  All the beef they sell is dry aged for 14 days, and they grade their beef following USDA guidelines and sell only choice grade or better beef. They also do custom butchering and smoke meats. They have a great retail store where they sell all of their meat, and let me tell you, you will not get it any fresher than this! The selection changes a bit, but they have a fantastic variety of beef and pork. For those of you who bake out there, they also carry lard. I know my Grandma was always wondering where to buy lard for her pies.  They also have had a limited number of frozen vegetables and fruit, local cheese and Triple XXX Root Beer.  Our favorite is always the pork burgers! They are great on the grill throughout the year. We love their steaks and bacon too! For a listing of their current meats, you can visit their website. You walk right into the cooler to get the fresh meats, while it’s not super cold, you might want to have an idea of what you would like before walking in there. They also carry their own blends of spices! A great pairing with the meat! Stop by some time and try some of their meat; you really can taste the difference!

The Weathered Plow, D&R and Beutler’s are all open year round, so in the middle of winter, when you are dying to go to the Farmers Market and can’t or on that weekday when a market isn’t available… check these places out and support the local businesses!

Group Tours & Meeting Manager, Ashley Gregory, shares this blog.