SPECIAL: Brunch with the Chef at New Day Craft, Indianapolis IN (Plus 2 Bonus Spots)

So originally this brunch was supposed to just center around the Special Brunch at New Day Craft, but I was enjoying the day with a friend from high school who hasn’t gotten to check out Indianapolis much. This may have led to us brunching a little harder than initially intended. That being said, I do now have a bit more brunch to write about for you all. This may be a little long, but bear with me because it was a great day and I hope you all enjoy this post.

A few weeks back a friend posted about a brunch opportunity at New Day Craft, which I have been wanting to try since I heard rumblings that New Day would be offering a Sunday brunch once a month featuring local chefs. I messaged her, we bought the tickets and made the plans to come up. I don’t know that I would have picked an all vegan brunch on my own, but I enjoy the creativity that goes into making these options as tasty as they are guilt-free. We regularly do Meatless Monday in our household, but I lack the willpower and conviction to really give being a full-time vegetarian a go. I do feel better kharmically when I can eat in a more ethical way though.

So I woke up bright eyed and bushy tailed Sunday ready for a nice drive listening to podcasts, picking up my friend and then brunching to our hearts content with some yummy mead, cider and/or cocktails. I made good time on my trek to get my buddy and even after the rest of our jaunt up to Indy we were still a bit early so I floated the idea of stopping into Milktooth for a little coffee and pastry to tide us over. As it was on her list of places to try we went for it.

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Mmm pastries (I don’t know why I can’t take a non-blurry picture of this pastry counter… )

The weather of late has been typical of the midwest: aggravatingly capricious. Sunday however was much milder than earlier in the week (probably due to the sun) and there were a decent amount of people calmly waiting outside of Milktooth when we arrived. The wait at the counter was much shorter this time compared to my visit at the end of the summer. Though I was a touch disappointed there was no wonderful Hummingbird Cake which I had enjoyed before, there were a bunch of other delectable pastries we were able to deliberate on before finally making a decision.

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Duck Sausage and Grits Danish

After seeing the three people in front of us also order them, we settled on the scrumptious Duck Sausage and Grit Danishes which we couldn’t help but tuck into as we waited for our beverages. I’m sure these danishes were incredible warm, but they still held up after they had cooled. The croissant pastry that forms the base of the danish is amazingly flaky and buttery. Then the interior of creamy, well-seasoned grits had some beautifully flavored and wonderfully fatty duck sausage nestled atop it. We were both truly sad about the last bite we had left of each danish when the time came to finish them.

Our beverages were also a lovely start to the day, my Matcha Cappucino was adorable in presentation and beautifully subtle in its creamy, earthy, delicately sweet tones. My friend’s Notorious F.I.G., was a cool espresso treat with a little touch of fruit notes on the end of each sip. It didn’t take us long to finish this little snack before we were headed to the main event down the road.

I’ve been coming to New Day Craft since it was New Day Meadery up in Elwood, IN. I first stumbled across it with some friends on a trip up to enjoy some boating on Lake Wawasee. As we were driving through we couldn’t help stopping and trying their offerings at the time. It was my first encounter with mead and I was hooked. We stocked up a couple bottles for the weekend and future use thinking we wouldn’t be able to enjoy this all the time.

It just so happened I was living in the Fountain Square neighborhood during my last years of college when New Day opened up it’s tasting room right on Prospect. Being just a few blocks from the place I rented, New Day turned into the perfect First Friday spot to grab a glass of tasty mead, then later cider and cocktails, before or after visiting the Murphy building across the street or Harrison Center a little further down the road.

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Imperial Breakfast Magpie (sorry it is already sold out for the season)

New Day has always made wonderful and unique beverages like their Imperial Breakfast Magpie. This amazing red raspberry mead brewed with coffee had a day after Thanksgiving release last fall hubby and I couldn’t attend. Luckily a few friends did to pick some up for us. I finally got around to trying some last weekend and was not disappointed. The fruit and coffee notes meld together beautifully. The Imperial Breakfast Magpie is just so smooth and drinkable with a subtle sweetness that doesn’t overwhelm your palette.

So now that I’ve raved about New Day, on to our special brunch by Ian Phillips of Three Carrots. We still arrived a little before they had opened the doors, but since the weather was good I don’t think either of us really minded much. When we were invited in to the counter one of the servers checked our names on the list and another asked us about beverage choices.

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I made sure my buddy got some Breakfast Magpie and I debated the cocktails down to the Hot Ginger, which I got at medium heat. Both were super tasty and we were invited to take our seats in the apiary room, which was sporting some new kitchen additions since the last time I had been in. There were two good sized communal tables and we opted to sit towards the end of one. My Hot Ginger cocktail brought a nice bit of warmth to my lips and chest. I loved the brightness and spice of the ginger with a beautifully light sweetness from the Gold Rush. The other diners trickled in with their drinks and chatted quietly as the chef brought us our Maple Pecan Cinnamon Rolls to start.

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This Cinnamon Roll was pretty amazing. I know I’ve said over and over how sweet stuff just doesn’t really turn me on, but I was a bit gleeful with each bite I took. The dough was wonderfully yeasty and the filling had a good amount nuts and plump raisins. I know that raisins are not a particularly beloved addition in most meals, but these were pretty juicy in the cinnamon filling and brought the Cinnamon Rolls to another level for me. All in all a great start.

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When we finished our plates were retrieved and replace with the main event composed of four parts: Garlic Herb Seitan Sausage, Polenta, Lemon Braised Kale and an Apple Cider Reduction. This definitely looked as good as I think was possible for all the elements to look and smelled pretty amazing as well. I started with the sausage as I was most intrigued as to what a chef prepared vegan sausage would be like. I have to say the the Seitan Sausage perfectly captured the texture of its carnivorous counterparts, which was satisfying, however it lacked the punch of flavor I believe it needed to really feel vital to the dish. In a surprising turn of events I was most impressed by the Lemon Braised Kale. This Kale was not over done so it retained a its fibrous character, but also a fantastically bright and delicious flavor that made this the star of the dish in my opinion. The Polenta was also creamy and yummy, providing a wonderful binding element to the other parts for of this plate. I would happily eat this again and really wish that I could always have kale prepared this way, it would definitely get me to eat more of it.

As we finished our food and drinks we wandered back out into the tasting room and ordered a second round. As those cocktails were being prepared our bartenders asked us about the brunch and smiled at our enjoyment. My Puppy Love (with the chocolate bitters) was a lovely cherry concoction that was smooth and lovely. My friend got her Mamacita Caliente (medium on the heat scale) which has the most interesting composition of chocolate and ancho chile bitters. We were definitely happy with our choices as we sipped and looked around at the art.

The overall experience at New Day was pretty solid. The drinks were great as always and the food was generally satisfying and the service is always genuinely happy and helpful as well, all of which makes New Day a great place to visit. If you’ve never tried mead, it is the perfect introduction.

Now I know most people would be done after two brunch stops before 1:30 in the afternoon, but those people do not brunch as hard as we brunch. We had talked a good bit about food on our ride up and even at the table in New Day, and one place my friend really sounded excited for was Smoking Goose/Goose the Market. Having nannied a few blocks away from Goose the Market during college I could understand why she would want to go. The amazingly friendly and knowledgeable staff at Goose the Market only help to make your purchases of the beautifully curated offerings of local and high-quality meat, deli, wine, beer and grocery that much easier.

We accidentally went to the Smoking Goose Meat Locker first and struggled to find their hours online before finally making it to the Goose the Market location. After gazing upon the beautiful meat case and produce bins upstairs, we ventured into the cellar below where they had set up a little charcuterie, beer and wine bar amongst shelves of the craft bottles, wine, and fancy jarred or tinned items.

Gazing upon the cheese behind the case we couldn’t pass up a meat and cheeseboard, but struggled to make a beverage choice. We finally ended up with a suggested “shopping brew” called Maibock from Lakefront Brewery in Milwaukee, which was light and lightly sweet in the malt department.

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When our meat and cheese board arrived it was like a lovely intense and exciting little adventure. There were so many wonderful elements and treats that it is hard to know where to start. All were good, but I did not do a great job remembering their names. By description there was a salami, some kind of melt in your mouth prosciutto-like delight and something referred to as “bacon butter,” which was smoky and amazing. I can’t recall the particular name of the dish, but it was something I didn’t know I needed in my life. I do remember our bartender/cheese monger saying that the recipe was invented by Italian lumberjacks to prolong the shelf life of the meat. Good job Italian lumberjacks.

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All the cheeses were also incredible. My favorite was probably the Guntersberg Switzerland, a raw cow’s milk cheese with an awesome funk and creaminess. Even the crumbly rind was delicious and I think both of us could have eaten a wheel of this. I also found the Vermillion River Blue Ludwig Farmstead was a great peppery option that wasn’t an overwhelming bleu cheese option. Most peoples favorite is apparently the Pantaleo Italy, a pasteurized goats milk, that I found sharp and a bit citrus-y, but not my favorite of the three. All the other little parts from the whole grain Local Foods Mustard to the Bauguette from Amelia’s in Fountain Square were wonderful supporting parts. The Sweet Spiced Pecans were particularly interesting with their cinnamon and slight curry combo that left a nice warmth on the back of your tongue. I was also totally delighted by the fresh little gerkins. The Maibock turned out to be the perfect choice to wash down all this tasty goodness as well.

Again you might think that all that charcuterie would be plenty (in truth it probably was), but then we saw a little tray of oysters and we had to have them. I loved our front row seat to the shucking and preparation of these oysters. Our bartender was happy to hear that Goose the Market was one of the few places we felt confident in ordering seafood in the Midwest. Our trust was well placed as each oyster was briney and delectable. The yummy vinegar-y mignonette was also a beautiful dressing to the wonderful shellfish. Of course we enjoyed them so much that we had to order a couple more.

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We didn’t quite realize how stuffed we were until we stood up and the full food coma hit. It was truly difficult to be able to make our way out to the car and for me to drive the two hours or so back home after our three part brunch. All of it was so good and totally worth it though.

I hope you all enjoyed this once in a blue moon brunch adventure, that happened to be one of the fe that is sans eggs. Until next time keep brunching hard with awesome buddies who can match you drink for drink and plate for plate.

Today’s featured brunch: New Day Craft, 1102 Prospect Street, Indianapolis, IN 46203

In addition Chef Ian Phillips restaurant Three Carrots is located at 222 E Market St, Indianapolis, IN 46204.

Our Bonus brunches are the previously featured Milktooth which you can find at 534 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203 and one of my favorite deli/butcher shop/grocery/all around awesome spots Goose the Market at 2503 N Delaware St, Indianapolis, IN 46205.

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