Be Lazy this Labor Day Weekend!

Lazy River at Tropicanoe Cove

Lazy River at Tropicanoe Cove

Happy Labor Day Weekend! If you are as stunned as we are that it is already Labor Day weekend, please reply to this blog and share with us what has happened to summer? We want to know! Ha! The summer here in Lafayette-West Lafayette has been a fun one, yet it seems as though each year speeds by quicker than the last. If only we could freeze time! On that note, I thought it would be fun to put a list of lazy activities that will hopefully make time go a bit slower and allow you to really relax and enjoy everything Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, has to offer!  Enjoy!

What is more relaxing than floating on a lazy river? Two of our area outdoor water parks, Prophetstown State Park Aquatic Center and Tropicanoe Cove at Columbian Park, both feature lazy rivers that are begging for people to be lazy and float through them! All you have to do is grab an inner tube, walk in the water, and float. All your worries seem to disappear as the sun shines, the water flows and all one hears is laughter and happiness around.

opentableMaybe water parks aren’t your thing? No problem! We have a plethora of local parks where you can grab a book, pack a lunch and pick the perfect tree to sit under and read the afternoon away. Personally, I have a little one year old, and since having her I have to share reading has become a challenge with her running this way and that! But the idea of picking out my favorite novel and reading all afternoon sounds amazing! This most likely will not happen for a few years until she is a bit older, but it doesn’t mean we can’t experience this as a family. We can pick out her favorite books as she loves to read, and can enjoy the day all together! Happy Hollow Park is right in our backyard and a picnic, an hour of reading and a walk in its wooded trails will be a fun, family experience.

 

Shopping!

Shopping!

Shopping! This could be a controversial topic as to whether this is a lazy activity or not. I think shopping when you have a ton of gifts you have to buy and are on a time crunch can be a bit unnerving. But to just take a day and walk up and down Main Street in Lafayette, just for the fun of it with no shopping agenda in mind, is fun! Recently, I took a friend and we did this. We caroused the shops, ate at one of my local, favorite French restaurants, Bistro 501, and even bought a few gifts for birthdays coming up this fall. I love finding the perfect gift months early so I do not have to last minute scramble trying to find a present. In some ways I am relieving future stress by this relaxing, lazy day of shopping!

We hope this Labor Day weekend in Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana; you truly can rest, relax and find happiness. For more information about our area please visit our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

Dine at Red Seven, Shop at Von’s & Juniper and more!

DSC00794This coming week marks a full year since I made my move up here to West Lafayette from southern Indiana. I have learned so much about the area in such a short amount of time and have truly made myself at home. I’ve hit the majority of the main attractions and visited many parks; however, I have yet to explore the vast amount of local restaurants and shops.

Although I haven’t been to many restaurants, I think I started out my tasting adventure in just the right spot, the Red Seven Bar & Grill. I had always passed by here and thought to myself how nice and trendy it looked, and my expectations were certainly met. I ventured in to meet a welcoming hostess who guided Sara and I to a table. Once I sat down, I was really able to look around at the design of the building. It’s like each section has their very own vibe to it. The area we sat in had an upbeat feel with vibrant artwork, hanging colorful lights, and open space. When I headed to the next section, there was a grand bookcase that covered two walls, and it sat directly by the windows facing Riehle Plaza. It was a very cozy atmosphere. Then the other side of the restaurant featured a bar, colored stain glass, and a view of downtown Lafayette with a lively ambiance. With this fabulous location and contemporary design, the spirited personality of downtown Lafayette is expressed through this single restaurant.

Honey

Honey Ancho Glazed Chicken Sandwich and Fries

The architecture of the building was astounding, but the most important part of course is the food, which was even better! The menu featured a good variety of foods to choose from. It had everything from salads, pastas, pizzas, and about every type of meat you can imagine.  It is a good source of just all-around good American food and more! I personally ordered the Honey Ancho Glazed Chicken Sandwich with a side of french fries and caesar salad. My salad came out first, and it was an excellent way to start out my meal and a wonderful first impression. Sara had mentioned that DSC00788it was the best caesar salad she has ever had, and she was not exaggerating! The cheese and dressing they used were absolutely superb! It was just the right portion and made me anxious to taste the rest of the food that was coming, and my Honey Ancho Glazed Chicken sandwich did not disappoint. The sandwich includes grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, bacon and housemade honey ancho chili glaze. The sauce on the sandwich was one of a kind. There was a kick of spice to it as well as a sweet taste that mixed together for the perfect combination. The bacon added a nice crispy texture to top it all off. And of course, no American meal is complete without delicious french fries. I must also say that along with the excellent food and ambiance, the service is very hospitable.

Beautiful dress from Juniper

Beautiful dress from Juniper

Downtown Lafayette shopping is another unique aspect of the town that I have yet to experience.  I love clothing stores, candy shops, home décor stores, and cute, cozy coffee shops that are all featured downtown. I will definitely be making my way over there, but there are a few wonderful shops I’ve had the pleasure of shopping at, Von’s and Juniper. Von’s is a fantastic store that incorporates so many different crafty and creative items. In one single strip mall, Von’s has a dough shop, bookstore, boutique clothing store, and a huge collection of beads (the largest collection in the Midwest)! My favorite parts of the store are the book and clothing sections. They carry a range of books from classics to the newest best sellers. It’s an excellent store to discover a new read for great prices. The clothing section is very beautiful. The clothes are all classy, elegant, and fashionable. These are clothing items that you certainly cannot find in any ole store or shopping mall. You can find the perfect style that fits you best with these original designs.

Juniper features similar clothing types with a variety of name brand clothing as well as new hip lines that are on the rise. The workers there are extremely nice who are always willing to lend a hand and even give you an opinion on different styles. Every woman knows how important that second opinion is when it comes to shopping for a new wardrobe, so why not get the advice from women who know retail best?! You have to keep your eye out for their amazing sales as well! You can really snag some stylish clothing for great prices. Both Von’s and Juniper are in great locations. You can grab a new read from Von’s and head to Greyhouse Coffee across the street to begin your book with a nice cup of coffee, and once you find a chic new outfit at Juniper, you can head over to Starbucks for coffee or the Wabash Landing movie theater to show off your newest purchase.

The amounts of new experiences in the Lafayette area seem endless. There is always something new to try, which always leaves me wanting to explore more! I have started my restaurant and shopping adventures on the right foot by discovering a few great finds. I am excited to venture further and see what else the area has to offer!

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

10 Reasons I Love Urban Swirl

  1. Cheerful Service.  I was impressed to be greeted by a just-perky-enough young woman in a purple Urban Swirl shirt who asked if it was my first time to Urban Swirl to which I replied with a just-perky-enough, “yes.”  She was very helpful explaining the system and walking me through the steps. She then sent me on my journey toward dessert bliss.
  2. It’s my own creation.  As Just-Perky-Enough explained, Urban Swirl is a self-serve frozen yogurt bar, so I get to put the soft serve frozen yogurt in the cup myself.  That means I get to fill that thing up to the rim and keep going.  I nearly had a close encounter of the fourth kind before I even made it to the topping bar.
  3. No sugar? No lactose? No fat? No problem.  Urban Swirl tries to accommodate everyone every day of the week.  With 21 flavors to chose from taste buds aren’t a problem but what about dietary restrictions?  If you are lactose intolerant, they have a non-dairy option available.  Are you diabetic or just watching your sugar?  Their “No Sugar Added” options are scrumptious!  I had the cheesecake and then topped it off with a beautiful selection of their always fresh and very carb-friendly strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.   Other options available include:  low calories, non-fat, and low fat options.  For those of you who want to dive right into the deep end of indulgence, they offer a premium selection as well.  Easy and convenient flavor labels provide all nutritional information so you can self-navigate without fear.
  4. Seemingly endless toppings.  So we all love and have come to expect the traditional decadence of sauces like marshmallow cream, golden caramel and steamy hot fudge, but what happens to your taste buds when I start talking about drizzling your creamy delicacy with gleaming honey, snow white chocolate or a smathering of the “I’m pretty sure the streets of Heaven will be lined with this stuff” Nutella?  Then again, we could move ahead to the next step of toppings and be safe with something along the lines of pecans, peanuts, m&m’s or sprinkles and call it a day, right?  Yes of course, but why would we do that when we could shimmy closer to the edge of the unexpected by throwing Captain Crunch on top?  But Urban Swirl still didn’t think that was enough. No!  They just ran, full force off the cliff into the realm of ridiculously wonderful with the fruity little mouth explosion called the   Boba.  I can’t say any more.  You simply must have it for yourself.  It’s happiness dancing around in your mouth.
  5. Waiting?!?  There’s no waiting in Froyo!!!  As absurd as it was to Tom Hanks for a girl to cry in baseball, even that seems more logical than standing in line and waiting as your frozen yogurt melts.  Not at Urban Swirl.  Their double-sided (yes, I said DOUBLE-sided) topping bar gives everyone plenty of room to load up on sweet confections to perfect their chilly works of art, all while keeping traffic flowing during the busy season.  Pure genius!
  6. PIES!  Who doesn’t like pie?  Pies like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup, Oreo Blast, Birthday Cake Surprise and even Rasberry Cheesecake, made with No Sugar Added Cheesecake Yogurt
  7. Get Yo Swirl On!  Okay, I know it’s kind of shameless but I think that’s a pretty cool slogan.  I had to do it.
  8. Location!
  9. Location!
  10. Location! Living in West Lafayette is a great thing.  I love it, but sometimes when you have a hankerin’ for something specific you are going to have to get creative. I completely LOVE not having to fight throngs of hungry college students (as much as we all love them) or pop into Lafayette when I’m looking for a quick frozen treat.  Having another option in my neck of the woods is awesome, so join me and Get Yo Swirl On!

Urban Swirl is located in Market West Shopping Center at 2060 US 52 West, Suite S. in West Lafayette. Amanda Gordon, Sports Marketing & Recreation Manager, shared this blog.

Out To Lunch Divas Visit Taco Rico

The group at Taco Rico!

The group at Taco Rico!

As I write this review my office window is wide open to a pleasant 78 degrees. Yet Kay’s pictures from our Dining Diva lunch to Taco Rico at 1325 Sagamore Parkway show us wearing fleece jackets? Ok! So I’m a little behind writing my review. Are the Diva’s really THAT busy you ask? In a word … Si mi amigos!

During a “recent” lunch out we visited Taco Rico, a family owned business, serving up authentic Mexican cuisine in Lafayette since 2002. Their current location in Eastway Plaza has been operating since 2005 and is open every day from 11am-10pm. The menu includes all the traditional favorites one would expect: tacos, fajitas, burritos, quesadillas, and more, which you can mix and match to create the perfect combo. But that’s not all they have. We were pleased with an extensive lineup of choices including plenty of vegetarian options for Jo and me, over ten meat choices for Bev’s fajita, and seafood platters that made Kay’s head swim.

Inside1The restaurant is warm and welcoming with a menu and décor that turns a generic Midwestern Indiana strip mall space into a place with south of the border charm and character.

Arriving hungry, we started our lunch with chips and salsa, an order of guacamole and queso which hit the spot, but who doesn’t like a quick snack before a meal?

Veggie Quesadilla

Veggie Quesadilla

For lunch Jo ordered a veggie quesadilla with mushrooms instead of meat and all the ingredients you’d find in a fajita for $6.49. Though her mouth was full, Jo exclaimed, “That’s the best quesadilla I’ve ever had!” The vegetables were all grilled, and the mushrooms were obviously NOT out of a can. Nothing over-cooked and the seasoning was perfect. “I had no business eating all of it, but I couldn’t stop!”

Steak Fajitas!

Steak Fajitas!

Bev ordered a steak fajita served with tortillas, beans, rice and guacamole for $10.99, her review? “Great seasoning. Steak, peppers and onions were nicely grilled, with a twist of lime, served on a sizzling hot skillet. Nice presentation.”

Veggie Tacos

Veggie Tacos

I chose two vegetarian tacos only $1.75 each, and a small horchata drink. I love tacos served on soft corn tortillas and was happy with the seasoning. Three different sauces were offered to spice things up; my favorite is the green verde sauce. The horchata was great. Word to the wise, the “small” is very generous!

Kay selected the guachinango frito o a la diabla (red snapper for us gringos) for $12.19. Much to Jo’s and my chagrin it came with the head and face. We vegetarians are a squeamish group! Kay was pleased with the deep fried preparation, not breaded. The plate came nicely seasoned, complete with guacamole, beans and corn tortillas. After a little assembly, presto-chango, fish tacos. The menu has a generous number of fish and seafood options not typical of many Mexican restaurants. Lots to choose from here.The fish on the plate

Also on the menu is a breakfast section, which is served all day! A kids menu includes hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken tenders, pizza and breaded shrimp all for $3.69-$4.19 making this a great family friendly location for any meal.

Domestic and imported beers are available with your meal and desserts to top things off for anyone who has left room. The flan was tempting but we were all so full we passed and decided to head to Mama Ines to check out the baked goods we are hearing so much about … but more about that trip later!!

Taco Rico on Urbanspoon

Hand-Dip Ice Cream Delights from Silver Dipper

Ashley's Birthday - We tried every flavor!

Ashley’s Birthday – We tried every flavor!

Happening Now!  Right now the locals are talking about Silver Dipper, an ice cream shop serving hand dipped delights that are refreshing, decadent and delicious!

Is there anything better on a hot, sunny day than an overflowing ice cream cone, a rich, smooth shake, or a banana split loaded with all the favorite flavors; chocolate, vanilla and strawberry?  I personally cannot think of anything better to do in the summer than heading to Silver Dipper to choose my ice cream creation for the day! As the summer progresses,I have to admit my visits to this ice cream shop are becoming more frequent every week.  My husband and I love to bike, and we head out on our bikes in the evenings or on a weekend afternoon and they somehow steer us to the Silver Dipper.  Many times we meet up with friends and their children, make our selections (which is hard because there are too many to count), and then relax in one of their booths and chat.  It is so relaxing and ‘just plain ol’ fun!’

IMG_1625The Silver Dipper offers visitors so many choices of ice cream.  They have a long row of window pane freezers full of diverse ice cream flavors where guests can look, taste and choose their flavor.  Every time I visit I always ask for a  ”taste” of a flavor that is fun and unique.  Six months ago, during one of my “tastes”, I came upon the flavor zoreo, which is their zanzibar (a really rich dark chocolate) ice cream with big chunks of Oreo and marshmallow.  At this time, it is my favorite and is the perfect treat in their homemade waffle cones.  My husband, as I have stated in many prior blogs, is a creature of habit, and always orders 2 dips of their cookie dough ice cream.  I have tried to get him to change it up a bit, but he says “why mess with perfection!” He is correct; their ice cream is perfection in its creaminess and richness of flavor.  It offers some of the best ice cream I have ever eaten!

If you are headed to Silver Dipper please note there are not one, but two great locations in West Lafayette, Indiana.  One is located on the Levee at 201 East State Street and the other location is at 307 Sagamore Parkway.   Their servers are friendly and can create pretty much any ice cream specialty you are craving!

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 ice cream shop and others in the area, visit our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com.

Rustic Charm & Delicious Eats at La Scala

IMG_3928Happening Now! Right now, the talk around town is about the new decor (but same great food) at La Scala Italian restaurant in downtown Lafayette. This past year La Scala has undergone a cosmetic overhaul. The previous darker interior has been lit up by the repositioning and opening of a wall, an updated lobby area, new custom made tables (by local shop J.E. Field Co.), bright paint and custom artwork. The interior is beautiful and so welcoming. It makes one feel like they are in an intimate restaurant in Italy!

Basil

Paco’s Famous Tomato Basil Soup

Ambiance is one important thing, but food is the major player when picking out a restaurant. La Scala knows their Italian! They proclaim “fresh” as their manta, and fresh is what you will receive when you go to La Scala.  Their Paco’s Famous Tomato Basil soup is light yet spicy and one of the best tomato soups I have ever eaten. The salad “Insalata Torino” (inspired by a meal in Torino) includes a breaded chicken breast filet, topped with fresh mozzarella, cherry tomatoes, fire-roasted red bell pepper, and fresh farm basil tossed in their balsamic vinaigrette and served over fresh greens. I highly recommend getting a bowl of soup and one of their fresh salads if you are looking for a light and refreshing lunch.

Ashley

Ashley enjoying Seafood Georgio

But really, who can go to an Italian restaurant and not order pasta?! Their Seafood Giorgio will get your taste buds humming! It features shrimp and scallops sautéed with garlic and fresh herbs and finished in their Paglia (fire-roasted red pepper cream) sauce over fettuccine. This is a favorite of a co-worker, Ashley, and mine. We love the fresh seafood and the rich, creamy sauce. Lasagna is a staple in my husband’s life and he shares the layers of noodles layered with meat, sauce and cheeses is wonderful. The red sauce has the perfect blend of spices and herbs.

La Scala preaches “healthier, tastier REAL food.” I love going here because they use classic, fresh, and increasingly local ingredients from farmers from this area. My husband is a farmer and it is wonderful knowing we have restaurants who support our local farms. I have friends who have food allergies and they do not even blink an eye when they put in an order asking for them to add or take away something from a dish. Everything is made fresh to order! Please note they also offer whole wheat and gluten free pasta.

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 restaurant and others in the area, visit our website at www.HomeOfPurdue.com

Indiana Food Trails! Embark on a Culinary Trail Today!

Bruno Dough!

Bruno Dough!

What does “culinary travel” mean to you? . The International Culinary Travel Association defines culinary travel as the “pursuit of unique and memorable culinary experiences of all kinds.” Ashley Gregory, Groups Tours & Meeting Manager for Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette, shares how “food” is an important part of truly making a travel experience great and how Indiana has created a trail for visitors to embark on a fabulous food adventure! Ashley writes…

Boilermaker Pete at Triple XXX

Boilermaker Pete at Triple XXX

Do you find yourself searching for a new place to eat, someplace different than the norm, someplace local? Well, I have a great resource for you. The Indiana Foodways Alliance (IFA) is a non-profit, member based organization, dedicated to the promotion of locally owned restaurants and food producers throughout the state of Indiana through culinary trails. There are currently about 20 trails ranging from Hoosier Pie, Tenderloin, Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, Prime Rib and Steak, Ice Cream and more!

Several years ago, I was asked to become an IFA board member and have worked my way up through the ranks to become President of the organization. Through my experiences on the board I have had a great opportunity to travel the state and sample many of our great local restaurants. Our state has so many first rate restaurants, some with very interesting stories behind them. I love chatting with the owners and learning how they came about opening their business, one of my favorite stories comes from Hendricks County and the Mayberry Café.  One of the Owners of the restaurant loved the Andy Griffith Show growing up and thought their hometown of Danville, IN reminded them a lot of the town depicted in the show, Mayberry, so they decided to base the restaurant off of the show. They have some great down home selections such as meatloaf, macaroni and cheese or my favorite Aunt Bee’s Fried Chicken! They offer one of the best fried chicken’s I have ever tasted and it is probably my favorite because I love fried chicken but not the bones and they have a boneless variety! Yum! All this great food and get this, the owners are vegetarians! You would never know it though, because all their meat items are fantastic! They’ve really gone all the way with the Mayberry theme too. When you visit, you will notice they show reruns of the Andy Griffith Show on the TV every day, have a squad car just like Andy’s sitting outside the restaurant, have a goober hat night every week, an Opie look alike contest every year and this year they even started a Mayberry Festival for the whole town to participate in, among other things! Now this is a huge story and a very unique restaurant but our state is filled with other fantastic restaurants with their own unique story, just waiting for people to discover. One of our slogans for IFA is Real Food, Real Indiana, hoping it encourages people to go out and discover these little towns and local restaurants to discover the passion, experience and love at these mom and pop type places.

Sgt. Preston's! Yum!

Sgt. Preston’s! Yum!

Good food doesn’t have to come from a chain restaurant and locally owned doesn’t have to be expensive, slow or out of the way.  So, the next time you are looking for a new place to eat, check out the IFA website and check out a trail or two or search by city to see if there is someplace nearby. The Lafayette – West Lafayette area is lucky to be home of 14 Indiana Foodways Alliance Members including: Arni’s at Market Square, Bruno’s Big O’s Sports Room, EMT- Emergency Munchie Truck, Jane’s Gourmet Deli and Catering, Lafayette Brewing Company, Main Street Cheese & Wine Cellar, McCord Candies, O’Bryan’s Nine Irish Brothers (West side location), Route 66 Diner, Sgt. Preston’s of the North, The Hour Time Restaurant, The Original Frozen Custard, Triple XXX Family Restaurant and Wildcat Creek Winery.  We hope you will experience these Lafayette-West Lafayette area locations and other locally owned businesses wherever you go.

DT Kirby’s – Regular Or Not, It’s Your Bar.

DTKirbyNov2013.5  Dive bar1 1. A well-worn, unglamorous bar, often serving a cheap, simple selection of drinks to a regular clientele. – DT Kirby’s website, thebestdivebar.com

When I moved downtown in 2011, I knew DT Kirby’s was going to become one of my regular spots as it has been for so many from the time it was a hidden hole-in-the-wall across from the Lafayette Theater to its expanded location just up the street at 644 Main Street. Whether you go for the food, drinks, sports, atmosphere or all of the above, it’s impossible not to find something you’ll love.

The menu goes beyond typical pub fare and also won’t zap your wallet of every dollar, as everything is modestly priced. Better yet, Kirby’s has a full kitchen until 3 a.m. for those of us that prefer good late night food. The bar takes great pride in the art of crafting some of the biggest, best and most extreme burgers and hot dogs in town.

DTKirbyNov2013.7The first time I sunk my teeth into a Kirby’s burger, I was hooked. There are so many great menu options that sometimes it’s nearly impossible to choose. I seem to love the messiest choices. For me it usually comes down to two favorites – a Deep Cut Dog (loaded with jalapenos and cheese) and chips or the Bacon BBQ Cheddar Burger with fries and house sauce on the side. I know a few people who even get a side salad to go with the burger. Kirby’s menu now features a full selection of salads to choose from – but just don’t expect them to always be the healthiest ones.

One burger I recently fell in love with is the Bacon Egg Burger, another messy but amazing creation. I never thought an over easy egg on a burger could do so much for my taste buds, but it adds addicting flavor! Another favorite of mine is the Mac N Nap, which smoothers macaroni and cheese all over the burger on a pretzel bun. I love sticking with chips as the side with this burger because when excess mac n cheese inevitably falls out, I can scoop it up with my chips. I could go on forever about the menu, from the simple yet satisfying Breaded Mushrooms or Spicy Chix Sandwich to the mountainous Grilled Cheese Cheeseburger or Bar Burger. This is a bar though, so let’s talk drinks a moment.

DTKirbyNov2013.6When the signature drink is a shot of Jameson, it should go without saying that Kirby’s isn’t exactly known for making fancy cocktails, but it does offer a full selection of spirits to suit anyone’s needs. Many of the bartenders are extremely creative and have discovered some great shots or mixes you might enjoy. As far as beer, you’ll always find Old Style on tap. Guinness, Goose Island’s 312 and several People’s Brewing Company options are staples. Ten beers are always on tap, however, so there are plenty of choices. Kirby’s also has great daily specials; my current favorites are People’s pints for $3 on Wednesday and mugs for the pint price on Thursdays. One current special that won’t last forever is the Triple Play, which features the shot and beer of the day plus 3 wings for $7.50. Now that’s a deal!

DTKirby2013Kirby’s relocation in October 2013 greatly expanded the available seating, allowing for an all ages restaurant side dining experience and increased bar size. Kirby’s went from tightly seating 42 people to now comfortably seating 110 customers. While remodeling the new building from the ground up, Kirby’s management worked hard to transfer its “dive bar” feel from the old location and still modernize the new venue. Believe it or not, one of the best examples of this décor is the restroom with its portable bathroom door entrance. Don’t be fooled, however, as you’re not actually reliving a Purdue football tailgate! I’ve heard it described by several people as “Narnia.” Any first timers reading will just have to go uncover the mystery for themselves.

Kirby’s also expanded its number of televisions to 13 to fill the larger space, including two 84-inch televisions on the restaurant side. The chains that hang several of the TVs were a great touch to the bar’s feel. Need to step outside for a moment? Don’t worry, you won’t miss the big game as Kirby’s has two TVs facing outside, including audio. Plus, the huge front windows completely open up when the weather is right, so other TVs will be in view. And for those of us who remember the old location, the AC is an especially welcome addition. Cubs and Bears fans will enjoy the team décor, including the bar’s own version of the outfield wall and ivy at Wrigley Field.

I love being a regular at DT Kirby’s, but I don’t love DT Kirby’s because I’m a regular. I keep coming back because it’s a new experience every time. I’ve gained countless friends and made plenty of memories there. You don’t have to be a regular to fall in love with Kirby’s, but it’s definitely a place you’ll want to visit again. It’s a place where anyone can come in and feel at home. When it opened in 2008, Don and Trish Kirby established the bar as one of the signature stops on a visit to Lafayette-West Lafayette, and the staff continues to stay true to the traditions that have made it a dive bar you simply can’t pass up.

Oh, and when you do visit, try to follow some of these guidelines: absolutely no ketchup on a hot dog, don’t ask for silverware to cut anything in half, and Jameson is not to be mixed.

Visit DT Kirby’s at 644 Main St. or on the web at thebestdivebar.com.

Mention you read this blog about DT Kirby’s and receive a free fry upgrade on a meal until September 1, 2014!

This blog was shared by Visitor Information Specialist, Stephen Smith.

Out to Lunch Divas Visit Maru Japanese Sushi Restaurant (and More!)

Sushi creators and raw fish

Sushi creators and raw fish

What’s better than a college town filled with restaurants from around the world? A college town in summer when you can easily park and get a table at those great restaurants!

Tucked away in West Lafayette’s Village (111 N. Chauncey Ave) is an enormously popular sushi place called Maru, the latest destination for the Out to Lunch Bunch. Our advice is to go early during the school year – before noon (Maru opens at 11) to get a table and perhaps hear yourself think. It’s a small place and bustling when full. Lines form at lunchtime during the school year but with good reason! It’s much calmer in the summer.

Our Maru table of food

Our Maru table of food

We figure 50% of you will quit reading when we use the “S” word but hang in there. Even if you’re not a sushi (still with us?) fan, you can find things you’ll enjoy on the menu. Read on!

Gyoza (mandu)

Gyoza (mandu)

We started with bowls of miso, which was just the ticket for Margy’s cold as were the bottomless glasses of hot barley tea, an unusual, earthy brew that was almost like broth. We also received several small dishes of “accompaniments” – red beans and white radish, which were interesting. Then we moved on to several appetizers. First, Gyoza (mandu), five beef and vegetable dumplings, available fried or steamed, for $4.95. They were delicious fried and might have been even better steamed which is how we’ll try them next time. Next, we tried stuffed soft shell crab for $8.95. The body of the crab was lightly fried tempura-style and filled with a mixture of crabmeat, carrot, green onion, mayonnaise and Sriracha hot sauce. This was fabulous! Kay thinks on her next visit she’ll just order several of these for her meal.

Vegetable Pancake

Vegetable Pancake

Finally, for our vegetarians, we tried the vegetable pancake for $8.95.This wheat-batter pancake chock-full of vegetables was beautifully presented and very good–lightly crispy with a soy-based sauce. See? We’re only through the appetizers and we figure we still have the attention of the non-sushi eaters out there!

Bev’s entree was the most stunning visually–the bulgoki lunch box for $9.95. Bev says these lunch boxes always remind her of grade school cafeteria trays, but with much better food. This one featured sweet, thin strips of beef, nicely done, two pieces of sushi, a square of pan-fried tofu, a salad with a spicy (maybe horseradish) dressing, and “some strange thing in the corner.”  Strange, but tasty! Back to that first inclusion of the “S” word – Bev is not a fish eater but enjoys sushi rolls with crab or shrimp. These non-fishy sushi rolls are a great way to dip your toe in the water, and the lunch box is a good way to try a few pieces of sushi without centering your entire meal on it.

Lunch Box

Lunch Box

Teriyaki Tofu

Teriyaki Tofu

Back to non-sushi. Margy and Jo shared two vegetarian entrees. The vegetable udon lunch special, $7.95, was a huge bowl of noodle soup with vegetables. The noodles were enormous – we’d hate to meet one in a dark alley – the vegetables were cooked just right, and the texture was great. It was more than enough for two. It was very mild; Jo and Margy doctored it up a bit with Sriracha and some of the other many sauces on our table. The other vegetarian entree was tofu teriyaki for $9.95, which seemed more appetizer-sized. It consisted of 4 slices of pan-fried tofu, which were soft and a little crunchy on the bottom drizzled with house-made teriyaki sauce. Delicious.

Hurricane Roll

Hurricane Roll

See how well we did without eating sushi? Well, Maru is positively known for its sushi and we’ve all enjoyed it over the years. On this day, Kay had the hurricane roll, $6.95, with the unusual combination of deep-fried tuna, crabstick, avocado and peanut butter – surprisingly scrumptious.  This roll had no rice, so we surmised the peanut butter was taking on the role of sticky rice and holding things together. There are pages of sushi rolls to choose from so we encourage you to explore the menu and try something new.

Done!Looking at the table when we were done, we were grateful not to have to do the dishe – there were dozens of them, all empty of course!

Maru has a full range of sushi, sashimi, Japanese and Korean specialties. They don’t serve alcohol. Open daily: Sun 10am-10pm, Mon-Thurs 11am-9:30pm, Fri & Sat 11am-11pm.

Next up, Taco Rico!

 

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Sgt. Preston’s of the North – Locally Owned and Lovin’ Lafayette

IMG_0564Marlene, Visitor Information Specialist for Visit Lafayette-West Lafayette, shares her spring visit to Sgt. Preston’s of the North!

With the weather being as wonderful as it has been lately, I decided to grab a drink at Sgt. Preston’s. Sgt. Preston’s is located on North Street, near to the Wabash and the bridge on South Street/State Road 26 in Downtown Lafayette. It has been a local favorite since 1980.

Sgt. Preston’s has an awesome patio where you can sit outside and enjoy dinner and drinks with friends.  Along with my drink, I like to watch the cars coming down the South Street/State Road 26 Bridge at night.

This bar/restaurant has Schooner night beer specials on Monday nights. You purchase a schooner or mini-pitcher for $5.00 and then bring it back on Monday nights to get a refill. Domestic beers are only $2.00! What a deal! They also have monthly food specials and they choose a beer of the month.

Sgt. Preston's food is delicious!

Sgt. Preston’s food is delicious!

Sgt. Preston’s food menu has a little bit of something for everyone. My favorite appetizer is their mouth watering stuffed mushrooms. They are broiled mushrooms that are stuffed with crab and topped with cheese.  I also really like their Black and Bleu salad. It has romaine lettuce with thinly sliced New York strip steak topped with bleu cheese crumbles, tomatoes, green onions, and mushrooms. It’s the best with ranch dressing!  My taste testing partner enjoys their Buffalo Style Chicken Wings with bleu cheese dressing and their delicious Preston Burger.

If you and your friends are looking for a place to relax after a long week, enjoy the beautiful weather on the patio at Sgt. Preston’s with your favorite drink.