I’m not sure what took me so long, but the Sun King Tasting Room at Fishers District has become a regular hangout lately. I’ve eaten from the three rotating food stalls since its inception but never really stuck around much more than that. However, now that I’m writing more and looking to get out of the house this winter, I’ve been visiting the Test Kitchen at least once a week to enjoy a Sun King Orange Vanilla Cream Ale and something from one of the three food vendors. You really can’t go wrong with any of them. You have Smash Burgers, French Bread Pizza, and Tacos/Tortas. These all fill a need one way or another, and on any occasion, at least one sounds good to nosh on. I can only imagine how popular this place will be in the warmer months when the upstairs bar and outdoor deck are open.
After seeing it on many cooking shows, I had to make it a point to source the spreadable pork sausage known as ‘Nduja. I was able to find it at Whole Foods (in the cheese section), where a 4 oz tube costs $6.99. The brand I purchased says it’s “Spreadable Proscuitto,” which sounds a little more appetizing. We broke out the crackers and went into this with an open mind… It was DELICIOUS! The flavor reminded me of a mild pepperoni that’s been blended to a smooth paste. The spice takes a long time to build and never gets too uncomfortable. Paired with a nice white wine and some cheese, this makes a great little appetizer that should prove to be a hit. (UPDATE: Smoking Goose makes their own version that I will be picking up next time I’m downtown)
We received our first measurable snowfall last Saturday in Central Indiana. I could still see the grass, so it wasn’t much of an event. After an unusually warm December, I hope Spring gets here early as I’m ready for a few road trips. Inspired by the always amazing 36 Hours In … series from the NY Times, I have been thinking about hitting up Toronto in the late spring. Have you been? Is there anything I should be sure to see while I’m there?
And finally, do you know how the fire pole originated? Fire poles in firehouses were originally installed to allow for faster descent than the houses’ narrow spiral staircases, which were themselves installed because horses kept climbing to the second floor and getting stuck.
I’ve set the alarm nice and early these past few Saturday mornings and getting some miles in on the Road Bike. The weather last weekend was 100% humidity and super foggy around Geist Reservoir. Lucky for me there are some great paths to use and avoid the vehicular traffic in the area.
Yesterday morning was about as good as it gets. 68-degrees, light wind, sunshine. It made for a great 30-mile loop through Carmel, touching Noblesville at 146th St. and back to Fishers via 96th St. The Flowing Well Park is always a nice place to stop for a snack and top off the water bottles. I’d love to know how many visitors this place gets a year. I’ve never been there alone. There are always people filling up dozens of water jugs at all hours of the day and night.
While riding along the River Trail in Carmel I had to stop and take a picture of how the trees line the trail and make for a nice shady stretch. As usual traffic was light and riding on the streets posed no problems.
If there’s a path along a road and it’s in decent shape I’ll happily ride it. Unfortunately a lot of the paths in Hamilton County are starting to deteriorate to the point where it’s dangerous to ride a stiff road bike with skinny tires on them. The road normally offers a smoother surface and when everyone follows the rules (cyclists included) can be safe for everyone.
It’s nice to see that 99% of the drivers out there give you the legal right-of-way (3-foot minimum) when passing. I think the “Share the Road” signs help remind people that cyclists are allowed to be on the roadway the same a cars and trucks. The only exception I’ve witnessed this year has been pickup trucks on country roads and soccer moms that pass a little too close in their mini vans. Not much you can to about a close truck pass in the middle of nowhere. Hand gestures could result in a confrontation where the cyclist is at a distinct disadvantage.
When riding the back roads I’m more concerned about dogs than anything else. They can come out of nowhere and if they have any size to them can outrun a cyclist who is caught off guard. Normally they are more bark than bite but I’ve had a few close calls over the years.
Right now I’m 300-miles into my 1000-mile goal for 2018. I’m looking forward to passing the 1k mark and setting an even higher goal for 2019 (2k?). I have a cycling trip this summer in Northern Ohio that should produce some fun photos, I’m looking forward to it!
The rain stopped just in time for the show to go on. All photos shot with a Nikon D2X, 50mm f1.8 set to around f14 and manual exposure using a remote trigger.
Just a few pictures from the local train station. All HDR images are made with 9 bracketed images and joined using Photomax Pro.
Located in the heart of Fishers along 116th St The Chatham Tap opened in 2010. There’s another location on Mass Ave in downtown Indy. During its first year my wife and I visited and, although we enjoyed the brew, we did not care much for the grub. It was very bland, under seasoned and just not that good.
The Friday night before the Indianapolis Super Bowl I was “baching it” and decided to give this place another try. I’d been craving a burger all afternoon and after checking out the online menu I already had an idea what I was going to get.
The Chatham Tap is a lively place, (and pretty loud tonight) it’s decorated in a soccer theme with plenty of TVs covering all the major sports channels. I was sitting at the end of the bar & kept watching the staff high-five each other over and over. Must be required or they really like each other.
I settled in and ordered a pint of Guinness while I double checked the menu. There it was… The Smoking Black and Bleu burger. A Cajun Seasoned 1/2 lb hand pattied burger, brushed with chipotle Tabasco, topped with melted bleu cheese and two strips of rasher bacon. Red onions, pickles, lettuce, and tomatoes round out the setup. It’s all served on a perfectly toasted brioche style bun. This was the kind of burger I’d been thinking about all day.
Homemade chips and the normal list of sides are available but when I saw the “hand breaded onion rings” I had to give them a shot. Onion rings are usually very hit or miss so this was a gamble.
The bartender tonight (Rudy) was very attentive but not overly chatty, just the way I like my barkeep. It took about 10 minutes before the food arrived and it looked even better than I imagined. The burger was covered in melted bleu cheese and all the produce looked fresh with the exception of the tomatoes which I would expect this time of year. The onion rings were nice and thick and had obviously been freshly made (eat enough onion rings and you can tell these things).
I kicked the tomatoes off to the side and ate the pickles on their own (sandwich slice type, nice and cold). Once stacked with toppings this burger was pretty big. A big extra point for the Rudy. He brought catchup and mustard to the bar along with the silverware. I like my onion rings with mustard and I always hate to have to ask for it.
I’m just going to get this out of the way now… This burger was fantastic. It was cooked exactly how I ordered it (medium) and it was smothered with melted bleu cheese (one of the best cheeses in my opinion). The onion rings were just as amazing. The coating had just the right thickness and the onions were nice and sweet. They reminded me of giant Big Boy onion rings except bigger and, I’ll have to admit, better. Add a little dab of mustard and I was in onion ring heaven.
Score another point for the Rudy as he was right there when it came time for another beer. He used that time to ask about the food and he was on his way. I was pretty impressed with how he was managing his side of the bar tonight. He’s definitely good at his job and others noticed it as well.
The Chatham Tap has definitely redeemed itself and I usually don’t give places a 2nd chance. It took me a couple of years to try it again but I’m glad I did. Good atmosphere, attentive staff and great food make this place a winner. I’m adding this place to my limited rotation of Fishers restaurants.
If you’ve been there or go there after reading this let me know what you think!