Sorry for the week-long hiatus boys and girls, but we had a death in the family and needed a little time to grieve and be with family. If I have advance notice that I won’t be able to post, I will do my best in the future to let you know. Some things just sneak up on you though.
Well, on to happier things. For this week’s post a nice change of pace with a Brunch Away post at Milktooth in Indianapolis, IN. It’s difficult to get together with old friends sometimes, but I’m lucky that when the stars align and my friends are all in the same place we make time for one another. We also always make time for good food and today was no exception.
Now generally we don’t brunch in large groups, but as I said if all my friends are in one place we have to get together. Milktooth though, in its lovely rustic former garage space, is not a terribly large place and Sundays are their busiest days so we called ahead to see if we could make a reservation. Sadly they do not, but they gave us the range of time it would probably take to get seated. So we showed up about half an hour early and were quoted the same hour and a half wait we had been warned about on the phone. We were the first of our party to arrive though, so while I waited in line for counter service where to get a little something to hold us over, hubby hung out on a bench keeping look out for the rest of our buddies.
It took me about twenty-minute to get through the coffee and pastries line (I told you it was busy), but when I arrived the display and choices were beautiful. Everything looked and smelled great, but it was also accompanied by the busy music of fabulous baristas creating incredible coffee and brunch cocktail treats.
I was hoping for a particular croissant that I saw on their menu, but since there were none available I went for the Honey Whey Cake. I heard some people chatting about it and the sweet girl at the counter told me it had been written about recently and was quite tasty. I was not disappointed by this pretty treat.
The cake itself was just a little bit dense and perfectly moist, the honey throughout had a fantastic flavor. The cream cheese icing it was topped with was a great complement, both creamy and sweet with a little citrus zest coming through dotted with some bee pollen. As I’ve said I’m not big sweet person, but this cake before brunch was just a total delight.
I also got a great Pistachio Creme coffee drink, but failed to get a photo with my hands full of deliciousness. The Pistachio Creme was not what I had expected, but was still pleasantly surprising. The deft barista combined espresso with a homemade pistachio concoction that was then shaken with ice. He peeled a little bit of orange to drape over the side of a wide champagne glass, like one would in a Manhattan, and then poured the cool coffee goodness into it. At first sip the delicate sweetness was enhanced by the orange. I didn’t get much pistachio from it, other than the subtle nuttiness that complemented the rich espresso, but it was refreshing and light in a way I enjoyed even if I had not anticipated it.
When I finally joined hubby at the bench a few of our friends had joined him, then shortly after the whole gang. We stood around chatting as I passed around my lovely cake for the others to try. All agreed it was pretty tasty, although we debated finding somewhere else less busy, I’m glad we held out. I don’t think we ended up waiting the full hour and a half, but it was lovely to sit down inside at the beautifully hewn wood tables set with bright yellow Billy Balls in a variety of glass vases.
We started out with some unique brunch-y cocktails, myself and another friend enjoyed a desayuno de los campeones michelada each. We just couldn’t pass up a drink with an oyster shooter and locally made ‘slim jim’ as garnish.
When they arrived they tasted like nothing else I’ve really had before. The oyster shooter was delicious and the viking lamb ‘slim jim’ was super tasty. The micheladas themselves were smoky yet light and refreshing with a bright tomato-lime essence. I’m still a little boggled by how they got that smoky feel to it, but it was an intriguing and thinking kind of cocktail I guzzled down. Everyone else’s drinks came out looking pretty great too. Although I didn’t actually get to try the basic bloody mary (the guys were too excited about them to share) I heard great things and will definitely have to get one next time around.
Now you know we brunch so hard, it’s in the name of the blog, but today we took on quite the array of treats. One great thing about brunch in a large group is that everyone gets to share and try all sorts of amazing stuff.
For myself I ordered the toasted house bialy & lemon paprika lox and sweet dutch baby pancake. Hubby got a skirt steak dish served over ramen and topped with an over easy egg. Our friends tried everything from the waffles to latkes and quite a few cuban viking lamb frita. All of it I tried was good. While we waited for everything to arrive we continued chatting and enjoying the love and company of friends now far-flung, from Indianapolis to Des Moines. The girls and I all met at art school almost ten years ago and have stayed in one another’s lives from break-ups and new jobs to weddings and babies. It’s hard not to miss them all more often than when we get to spend time with one another, but I guess it does make us appreciate what time we do have.
So when our dishes finally arrived, we were treated to quite the array of fanatastic options.
My bialy and lox was a solid start. The housemade bialy was softy inside but toasted to a great crunchy contrast atop which the delicious and citrus-y whipped cream cheese cushioned some amazing lox. The splendid, salty lox were beautifully garnished with some micro greens, delicately sliced red onion and capers. Hubby also enjoyed this bagel treat, while I found his skirt steak ramen dish incredibly tasty.
I didn’t catch the actual title of this dish, but it was fantastic. A perfectly cooked and seasoned steak over ramen tossed with zucchini, a touch of sauteed jalepeno then topped with a perfectly cooked egg and some crispy fried tofu. Just all-in-all an incredibly well balanced dish, so tasty I kind of wish I had stolen it. Both this dish and the cuban viking lamb frita did a really great job of capturing the flavor profiles of the cuisines they were interpreting. Speaking of the cuban viking lamb frita it comes like a slightly intimidating burger, steak knife sticking out of the top and all. The taste and toppings were marvelously matched, a pile of sauteed peppers along with a beautiful spice mix that sang of something I’d find in a Moroccan tagine, topped with another unctious and dreamy over easy egg. Sadly I missed taking a pic of the three we had at the table (I know I’m terrible, but the food is about tasting so sometimes I forget I’m supposed to take pictures when my fingers are covered in jam or juicy lamb drippings), yet I digress; onto some of the sweet stuff.
The other half of my order was the sweet dutch baby pancake which was a beautifully light and creamy little treat. The base dutch pancake was crisp along the edges, moist and slightly fluffy in the middle. The lemon curd topping was tart and creamy dotted with sweet kiwi and crunchy macademia bits that added a delicious nuttiness to round out this splendid offering. It was also the perfect size, rather than the often ginormous dutch baby pancakes I’ve encountered in the past. Overall it just made me smile, which is a great way to start the day.
Another buddy let me snag the last bit of her fancy grilled cheese on cranberry bread, and it was also delightful. The savory ozzy raclette and crunchy toast with just a touch of sweet honey on the end was quite pleasing. I didn’t get a ton of truffle from the honey, but the blend of cheeses and overall balance was rather satisfying overall. I also appreciated the potato & yuca latke which was crispy on the outside with a melt-in-your-mouth interior that was crowned with a vanilla bean applesauce punctuated by little drops of sour cream. The kind of lovely balance I hope to find in all latkes, but often find lacking. This may be listed with the sides, but I feel like it is quite a shining exhibiton of a simple joy.
There were other glorious options all over the menu, alas our stomachs are only so large and they will have to be explored another day. I didn’t even get to taste all of the items at the table, like the beautiful belgian buttermilk & rye waffle that came out.
Seriously, I know there might be a lot of hype around Milktooth right now and that if you go you will probably have to deal with a lengthy wait, but the samplings are pretty stellar. The boys were a little put off by some of the terminology (going so far as to Google some of the items). They also found the ramen a bit spicy, but I don’t mind some heat. Often times I try to judge a meal by how much talking is done when the food comes out, and although we continued a bit with our conversation there was definitely a lull as we munched. Bottom line is that I really enjoyed it, the service was solid and it was a nice place to savor a good meal among friends. I’d say definitely give it a try, maybe during midweek when there is less of a crowd, but it’s brunch so even if you have to wait it’s best when reveled in leisurely.
I’ll try and get up a post midweek, but if not I will definitely keep up with regular Sunday post next week. Until then keep eating and drinking well in good company.
Today’s featured brunch: Milktooth, 534 Virginia Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46203