Painting With a Twist – A Blast of Fun with Friends

Let me start this by saying: my art skills are sub-par, to say the least. I was a little worried when my coworker Emily and I decided to spend an evening at Painting with a Twist. But – spoiler alert – it was such a blast!

When you enter Painting with a Twist, you’re greeted by the most friendly and knowledgeable staff! We were given our canvases and aprons and led to our easels. The group of people with us was a pleasant and lively group, consisting of some newcomers and quite a few of experienced veterans. They welcomed me and Emily and encouraged us on what was sure to be an exciting journey!

The painting that we chose was a field of lavender. The class was led by Kara Hampton, who had actually designed the painting herself. Before we started we grabbed a glass of wine. The drink menu consists of beer, wine, and more! The prices were super affordable and the options were right up our alley. Pink Moscato, hello!

As the class began, I was still apprehensive that I would not be able to keep up with the rest of the painters. My fears were quickly put to an end when I realized how simple the step-by-step instructions would be. I really believe that anyone could follow each step which eventually creates the beautiful end result! Seriously, if I could, anyone can! There’s also staff available around the room to come and help you if you have any questions at all. It was a very comfortable and accepting environment, and I felt so welcomed.

To spice up the class, Painting with a Twist also has little games for everyone to play. We played a fun round of their very own version of “Hot Potato” with the other painters, though sadly neither Emily nor I won! While we were laughing at the antics of the game, I was thinking how fun a trip to Painting with a Twist would be for all kinds of different people. Date night, birthday parties, team building exercises, bachelorette parties, staff retreats; this place would be perfect for so many occasions. If you want to have fun time and bond with your fellow classmates, friends or family, Painting with a Twist is a fabulous option.

Our final products turned out so much better than expected. I even want to have mine framed and hang it up in my apartment! I’m so proud of my work and it didn’t feel like two hours had passed at all. Painting with a Twist made us enjoy an activity that we usually find very challenging. If fear is what is holding you back from visiting PWAT like it was for us, don’t let that stop you any longer! You are sure to love your experience and the masterpiece you create!

Here’s another cool thing about this place -they do private parties! If you want to throw a party for you and your loved ones, have a specific painting you’d like to do, or just want some privacy, they have a party room specially for these occasions! See their website for more information about their private party room. You can also check out all of the public classes on their online calendar here. There’s sure to be a fabulous choice for every group! After you take your class be sure to check in on their social media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and @pwatlafayettein on Snapchat! They’ll posts awesome and hilarious photos from your class and the group photo of everyone’s masterpiece.

Samantha, VLWL Intern, shares this blog. For more information about this fun attraction and others in our area visit

Dining Divas Swirl & Taste at Cellar 422

Cellar 422 Cheese and Meat Platter

Cellar 422 Cheese and Meat Platter

When Cellar 422 Wine Bar opened in September 2015 the owners/sisters, Michelle Wise & Marla Milner, wanted to offer something they felt was lacking in downtown Lafayette; a comfortable place to meet, enjoy a good glass of wine, and purchase a bottle to take home. Since then the menu has matured to include local and craft beers, appetizers and entrees, seasonal specials, and international cuisine.

For Michelle and Marla, the business is a real family effort. Ethan Wise, Michelle’s son, is the Cellar’s chef, trained in Santa Barbara at City College Culinary Program. The eclectic vintage décor and natural wood wine bar were influenced by Michelle and Marla’s parents and give the restaurant a familiar cozy feel.

Cellar 422 Diving Divas Group 2Best for small groups; the Wine Bar can seat 30, while the patio accommodates another 10 during warmer months. We chose to sit on the patio during our October visit. The exterior arched brick doorway and overhead string lights give an added charm to the space.

Our server, Colton, started us out with a large appetizer board that easily served our group of seven (Divas plus husbands Dan, Dick and Jeff). We combined the large cheese board with four cheeses, apple slices & green grapes, crackers and fig jam: $20, with the charcuterie board adding three meats and olives: $10.

  • Cheeses:

White cheddar, not too sharp; Gorgonzola camazole from Germany, with a smooth creamy blue cheese flavor; Gruyere from Wisconsin; and Butterkase from Germany, Bev’s favorite – smooth, highly pleasant cheese, soft, creamy and delish.

  • Meats:

Delaware fireball, definitely has a peppery kick said Jeff; Gin and juice (lamb persimmon orange), delightful taste, you can definitely pick up the orange; Sopressatta, a great basic next to the other two stronger flavored options.

DIning Diving Gigondas WineAfter taking Dan’s beer order, Colton lead us through an extensive wine menu offered both by the glass and bottle. It felt like a travel show with red and white wines from all over the world.

The four red wine members of our group selected one of Colton’s favorites: Fernandez Gomez (Crianza) 2013 from Rioja, Spain with red fruit, baking spices, soft tannin, balanced acidity and not overly dry. A very drinkable choice and good for a new red wine drinker. It was a great value at $20/bottle.

Our second shared bottle of red was The Ned, a New Zealand, Southern Valley, pinot noir, 2014. Bev reminisced about Eddard Stark (Ned) from Game of Thrones so she was biased to like it but it really was a good bottle of wine. Colton pointed out its flavors of “ripe cherries, and a reasonable amount of backgrounds of earth like a forest floor, kind of mushroomy and quite smooth.” Another good value at $28/bottle.

The white wine drinkers selected a South African Sauvignon Blanc- Rustenberg, “It’s a perfect drink for a warm night on the patio,” said Kay at $8/glass. Dick had the California Greystone Cellars Chardonnay at $7/glass. It was an incredible value for the experience, fairly dry and a generous pour!

With our appetizer plate emptied, we selected one last bottle of red wine to enjoy with our dinner order. Colton suggested one of their best, Gigondas, a French Rhone Valley blend, very potent, dry, with concentrated flavors at $42/bottle. This wine is slightly sweeter. “It’s a subtle, smooth and satisfying sip,” says Jeff. “I don’t like the French, but this is good,” added Brit Dick.

Salad, shrimp and tomatoes

Blackened Shrimp Salad

For dinner, Bev chose the blackened shrimp salad made up of arugula, roasted sweet corn, cherry tomato, bacon, shallots and sage dressing (gluten free) for $12. “I love the dressing– it’s inventive and refreshing,” she said.

Jo ordered the salsa verde swordfish with tomatillo salsa and sweet corn sofrito, roasted Anaheim chilies, poblano cream and toasted pumpkin seeds for $21. “It’s a beautiful presentation with the fish perfectly done,” Jo said, “and the pepper and pumpkin seeds and sauce are perfect for this dish.”

Salsa verde swordfish

Salsa verde swordfish

Dick ordered up the spicy shrimp mac & cheese which featured blackened seasoned shrimp, cavatappi, white cheddar Moran sauce, with panko crust for $12. “I don’t usually like mac and cheese but I love theirs. It’s spicy and fun to eat,” Dick said. “I’m not really keen on blackened things but it’s well done with tons of shrimp.”

Mac N Cheese

Mac N Cheese

Kay ordered the smoked salmon plate served with sliced cucumbers & cherry tomatoes, capers, garlic hummus, dill goat cheese and artisan crackers for $14. This is part of the appetizer menu but works well as an entree. The salmon is mild and tender and delicious. There are two spreads– a garlic hummus and dill goat cheese– both are good.  “That’s a hunka hunka salmon,” said Jeff.


Pesto Orzo & Meatballs

Jeff opted for the pesto orzo & meatballs with artichoke hearts, parmesan, pine nuts and arugula for $18. “Anyone can make a meatball but these are a cut above,” said Jeff. With a crisp exterior and moist inside, Jeff was pleased by its hearty flavor. “The dish is balanced beautifully by the pesto orzo, and tender artichoke heart, with a nice crunch from the pine nuts. It’s delightful.”

Dan decided on the ginger pork gyoza featuring ginger marinated pork wonton dumplings, steamed napa cabbage and ponzu for $8. “Very tasty,” Dan said between bites. “The light noodles with the ginger sauce makes for a nice flavor. It’s excellent.”

Margy opted for the risotto alla mulligatawny including Granny Smith apples, curried, red lentils, parmesan and toasted almonds for $14. “Incredible,” Margy reports, “There is a little sweetness because of the apples but it’s also savory. The chef was not timid with the spice.” A new favorite for Margy!

“Did anyone leave room for dessert?” Colton smiled. We soon learned all the desserts are house made and include a truffle board, cheesecake of the day, and crème brulee. In the end we shared a slice of dark chocolate peanut butter cheesecake for $6. “Wonderfully creamy” said Jo. “The dark chocolate and peanut butter mix is just awesome on a very thin crust. It’s not overly sweet.  It’s fabulous.”



Altogether, it was a delightful experience. Everything was very well prepared and presented. The food prices were reasonable and in line with other restaurants in town. Our final impression? Wonderful, but next time, dessert first!

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

Hello from Julia B. from Purdue & her experience @ Bistro 501

We would like to introduce Julia B. who will be a featured guest blogger from Purdue University.  Julia B. will be sharing her Lafayette-West Lafayette experiences this year!

“Hello to all who read these blogs!  My name is Julia B., and I am a graduate student at Purdue that will be a guest blogger.  I grew up in West Lafayette which makes the opportunity to share my favorite things about my hometown extremely fun. My grandparents, parents, and sister all went to Purdue which makes me a third-generation Boilermaker so I hope to help those interested in Purdue find enjoyable things to do as well!

On my trips around town I will focus on food, drinks and events I find myself able to take part in.  Some reoccurring characters in my blogs will be very good friends of mine and my boyfriend, Ryan.  My favorite things to do around town center around sushi and Thai food, antique shopping, video games and friendly, inviting bars.  My blogs may center on my interests, but my intention is to bring all of West Lafayette and more to those who are interested in reading.   I look forward to sharing!”

Julia B.’s shares her visit to Bistro 501:

“Whenever my family has something to celebrate, we find ourselves at Bistro 501.  Their menu changes with the season, so calling for lunch and dinner selections is the best route for information.  Their wine list is the best part of the website and a reason in itself to go to Bistro!  Bistro 501 was a recent selection for my mother and me after a late movie.  We ordered the sweet corn blueberry crème Brule, which is now my favorite summer dessert.  It is a seasonal product and may not be offered other seasons or until the chef decides to pull this recipe out again!  For a very nice evening out with someone special (like a wonderful mom!), Bistro 501 is a treat for special occasions or a beautiful lunch.  Also, this French restaurant is a perfect date night restaurant.”

Taste of Tippecanoe & Tough Mudder

Entertainment at the Taste! (Photo taken 2011)

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

Is anyone as excited as we are for this weekend’s main event, the Taste of Tippecanoe?  There is a host of fun entertainment including the following: live music on multiple stages, food booths by local restaurants, fireworks, children’s activity area and beer and wine gardens.  Enjoy the fun this Saturday, June 16 from 4:00 p.m. to midnight, downtown Lafayette!

In Attica, Indiana, this weekend check out the competition, Tough Mudder Indiana 2012! Tough Mudder events are hardcore, 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie. With the most innovative courses, half a million inspiring participants, and more than $2 million dollars raised for the Wounded Warrior Project, Tough Mudder is the premier adventure challenge series in the world.  Come to Attica to watch this amazing competition.

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

3rd Annual Relay for Life Fundraiser & Mosey Down Main Street


Which is your favorite wine?

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

All weekend long you can help support Relay for Life!  It is the 3rd Annual Relay for Life Fundraiser at Wildcat Creek Winery.  The winery will donate $1 for every bottle purchased during this weekend. There will be free wine tasting and tours.  The tours will be taking place on Saturday and Sunday at 1pm and 3pm.  It is a great opportunity to have a fun afternoon drinking wine, while also giving back!  I recommend tasting the wines, choosing your favorite, and ordering a glass to enjoy while you sit outside in their scenic landscape.  And don’t forget your bottle to take home to enjoy later!

We love every second Saturday of the month!  It is “Mosey Down Main Street“.  It is a free street fair with live music, craft vendors, food, entertainment, and social agencies.  It is family fun event where you can eat at one of our delicious downtown restaurants or purchase food, beer and wine at one of the many vendors lining the streets.  There will be street performers, drum circles and DJ’s, belly dancers, and balloon animals.  It is an evening you cannot miss!

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

La Scala Italian Restaurant

We love specials!

2 Great Cities, 1 Great University, Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard!    Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, is home to local restaurant, La Scala, where their homemade Italian cuisine can make your taste buds say “thank you”.

What is your favorite Italian food?  Are you a red sauce or white sauce person?  Odd question, I know, but my friends and I always describe ourselves by the foods we eat.  I am usually a white sauce person, but at La Scala I love their rich marinara.  My family are creatures of habit and we always start our meal with their hand breaded ravioli filled with white, creamy ricotta in a bed of  their tasty marinara and topped with a splash of their specialty basil pesto.  Then it is onto entree time and this is the part of the meal where I am conflicted. Do I choose their gnocchi (potato and pasta dumplings) created three special ways?  Or does their classic meat lasagna made with their Napolitania (tomato cream) sauce, giant ravioli filled with spinach and cheese and finished in their basil pesto cream sauce, win the day?  Do I have your taste buds watering yet?  Their menu has a limitless selection of homemade, “Farm to Fork”, options.  I recommend going in a group, so you can taste and share all the delectable delights.  Their dessert menu also offers Italian favorites; tiramisu, canolis and more!  Their tiramisu is directly imported from Italy!

La Scala has a majestic, outdoor eating area.  It is the perfect setting for a relaxing night where guests can eat gourmet food, drink fabulous cocktails, share fun stories with friends and family, while overlooking Lafayette’s beautiful 19th century courthouse.  You will be served food created by owner and Chef Francisco “Paco” Serrano.  This restaurant is locally and family owned, and diners can tell how they put all their passion into creating not only a comforting atmosphere, but into their hand crafted dishes.

Co-worker, Lisa, shared, “My girlfriends took me to LaScala for my birthday.  We sat outside and I had the lasagna and pasta with the basil sauce- LOVE it!  It was a perfect evening!

Vacation, Relaxation, Fun; one image that comes into our heads is sand, sun and water.  Locals travel south to find their peace and quiet, while adventure, delicious food, history, the arts and entertainment, and more, can be found in our own backyard.  For more information about this restaurant and others in Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, visit our website at


Jane’s Gourmet Deli & Catering

Jane's Gourmet knows how to satisfy your tastes!

2 Great Cities, 1 Great University “Midwest Hospitality”.  To experience “Midwest Hospitality” at its finest visit Jane’s Gourmet Deli & Catering, where visitors experience made from scratch soups and homemade gourmet sandwiches and side dishes made from the finest quality ingredients.

There is one small thing I look forward to every day.  It is a small thing, but each day Jane’s Gourmet post on Facebook and Twitter their lunch special.  I love it, because even if I have no plans to visit, the special always sounds so delicious it makes me happy imagining eating it.  On the days when I visit this restaurant, I get excited not only for the food, but for the friendly service from their wait staff.  I am a little high maintenance when it comes to my food order, and Jane’s Gourmet staff members always smile and accommodate my every need.

From handcrafted sandwiches, salads, soups, fresh bakery items, and a wine wall featuring 250 wines from around the world, this deli offers something unique for everyone.  The best part is you can take a group of friends, relax in the laid-back setting, and enjoy an afternoon of fun and laughter.

They also offer a selection of gourmet gifts that range from Barefoot Contessa’s shortbread cookies, Fair Oaks Farm specialty cheeses to Wind & Willow soup mixes.  Believe it or not, they even offer bath and body products from Stonewall Kitchen that smell so fresh and fragrant.

To top off such an impressive place, they cater!  If you are hosting a small or large event, Jane’s Gourmet Deli is the place to call.  They have a full catering menu including wedding cakes, box lunches and more, along with both tablescaping services and event space within the deli to host a special event.

Living in Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, one thing we value is customer service and appreciating the times we receive great customer care.  Midwest Hospitality is Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana.  We are proud of our local businesses, including Jane’s Gourmet Deli & Catering, that provide gracious and friendly service. For more information about this restaurant and other fun activities in the area, visit our website at

Wine, Beer, Grand Prix & Music!

Grand Prix Race

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

Join us as we enjoy more than 100 different wines to taste, micro brew and import beer tasting at the Wines on the Wabash event taking place Friday, April 20, at the Purdue Memorial Union. Enjoy samplings from local favorite restaurants while enriching your tongue with all the rich flavors from the wine and beer.  2012 marks 10 years of Wine on the Wabash, and new surprises await attendees this year along with some old favorites.

Not to be missed this Saturday, April 21, is “The greatest spectacular in College Racing,” the Purdue Grand Prix Race!  Over 50 student entries compete to make their own bit of history in this annual college competition.  Current students, alumni, family, friends, travelers and community members are invited to attend this exciting event where students’ race karts around a race track. Each year brings a new winner who can proclaim they made their own bit of history during their college days!

To complete a fun-filled weekend on a relaxing, high note, we recommend attending the Tippecanoe Chamber Music Society Concert on Sunday, April 22.  The afternoon will feature Beethoven’s Arch Duke Trio and Brahms’ B-flat Sextet.  Enjoy this lively music at Fowler Hall located on Purdue University campus.

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

Wildcat Creek Winery

Wine Tasting

2 Great Cities, 1 Great University, Be a Tourist in Your Own Backyard!  Vacation, Relaxation, Fun; one image that comes into our heads is sand, sun and water.  Locals travel south to find their peace and quiet, while adventure, history, the arts and entertainment, and more, can be found in our own backyard.   Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, is home to a local winery, Wildcat Creek Winery, that offers rich, piercing wines.

My family can be described as the “car travel family”.  Since I was born, every year we have taken great travel expeditions throughout the United States; traveling first in our station wagon in the 80’s and now in my parent’s Buick Lucerne.  We put together an itinerary of sorts, take off and let the journey begin.  This itinerary is open to allow us to take advantage of one of our favorite past-times, wine tasting!  May I ask, what is better than enjoying a glass of wine? Nothing! Well, there may be one thing that is better; sampling multiple wines!  We have tasted wines from all over the country and enjoyed the majestic beauty of the United States, while filling up our vehicle with rich bodied wines to sweet, flowerful wines.

One winery we visit, where our travel is short and our experience is great, is Wildcat Creek Winery located in Lafayette, Indiana.  When visitors arrive, they are welcomed through the beauty of the outdoor space.  Luscious flowers, deep green grass, and a cute small home recreated into a winery  greet you.  It is almost as if one can smell the wine outside.  (I know, that may sound odd, but it is a peaceful place.)  Once guests arrive within the winery, they are welcomed by the workers to taste their locally made wines in the tasting room that hosts a large wood bar and brick fireplace.  Their wines range from medium bodied reds to semi-dry, full-bodied wines.  My personal favorite is their Lafayette Blush, a wine that is light and fruity and perfect in the spring and summer to refresh the senses.  I always get a glass to enjoy outside in their comfortable lounge chairs overlooking the meadow and woods.

Visitors can sit back in lounge chairs and enjoy the majestic meadow!

Wine tasting is fun!  Please share your experiences at Wildcat Creek Winery or any other winery where you have had a special adventure.  For more information about this winery and other great attractions in Lafayette-West Lafayette, Indiana, visit our website at

Wine Tasting & Purdue Basketball

Weekend Update!  Looking for a fun weekend getaway?  Or are you a local looking for entertainment close by?  Check out the endless possibilities for fun and relaxation happening this upcoming weekend.

In Lafayette this Friday, from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, taste delicious wines at the Wine Tasting Party at Adelino’s Old World Kitchen. The event will feature wines of the Mediterranean and light finger foods to complement the wines along with wine experts at each station to inform and enhance the tasting experience. There will also be short performances by the Chorale members.   An event not to be missed!

Our Purdue Women’s and Men’s Basketball Teams both take on opposing teams this Sunday, November 6 at Mackey Arena.  Watch the season opener at 1:00 pm as the Purdue Women’s Basketball Team play against Edinboro.  Cheer our Purdue Men’s Basketball Team to victory against Southern Indiana later in the day at 5:00pm. My husband and I have season tickets and my husband declares himself the ultimate #1 Purdue fan.  Share how you show your team spirit.   Boiler up!

For more information about other fun events taking place this weekend please visit our website at