There’s nothing like ordering an off-the-menu item to make you feel like an insider, so the next time you’re out at any of these six local businesses (that are all owned or co-owned by women), ask for one of these delicious finds. Whether you opt for a killer cocktail, loaded seafood fries, or a first-rate French toast, you really can’t go wrong.
GRILLED CHEESE AT GOOSE THE MARKET
You may already know and love Chris and Mollie Eley’s Goose the Market on Delaware Street for its dazzling array of sandwiches, but there is a top-shelf grilled cheese for $7 that is not on the menu but is absolutely worth checking out. It features a house-secret blend of cheeses that is melted to toasty, golden brown perfection on local Amelia’s bread. You can enjoy your sandwich as-is, or make it a meal with a bowl of one of their ever-changing, freshly made soups.
SEAFOOD POMME FRITES AT HEALTHY SOUL
If you haven’t been to The AMP Artisan Marketplace and Food Hall downtown near the IUPUI campus, it’s worth making the trip just to taste Tawana Gulley’s Healthy Soul cuisine. Pretty much everything she offers is tasty, but one special off-menu item that is definitely worth the splurge is her “Seafood Pomme Frites,” also known as loaded seafood fries.
For $18, you’ll get a generous heaping of crispy seasoned fries, layered with smoked gouda cheese sauce, savory blackened wild-caught salmon, crab, lobster, and shrimp. That’s all topped with house-made lemon aioli, smoky mild sauce, and fresh green onions. If you ask for them, these tasty fries will be available the month of October on Thursdays-Saturdays from 5 pm until close, and Tawana promises that no seafood lover will be disappointed!
“WHEN JACK MET SALLY” COCKTAIL AT HOTEL TANGO
If you stop in to one of Hotel Tango’s three locations (Fletcher Place, Zionsville, or Fort Wayne) any time this year from October through December, you can order a fabulous off-menu drink named “When Jack Met Sally,” that was created by the brand’s content manager and cocktail guru, Holleh Matlock.
The name is a fun play off of two movies, “When Harry Met Sally” and “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” and Matlock describes the drink as “a balance of citrus and spice that tastes like fall.” Priced at $12, the cocktail counts Hotel Tango Lemoncello, apple juice, and spiced tea among its tasty ingredients. As an added bonus, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the drink will go towards Hotel Tango’s Socks for Soldiers Program to help provide high quality socks for soldiers overseas.
“WEST FORK STYLE” FRENCH TOAST AT GALLERY PASTRY BAR
Brunch is an elevated event at Alison Keefer’s Gallery Pastry Bar on Pennsylvania Street downtown. They offer a decadent French toast on the menu for $16 that’s made with croissant twists, lavender honey whipped cream, and candied pecans—but for an extra $4, if you ask for yours “West Fork Style,” the dish will come topped with seasonal fruit that has been bruléed in local West Fork Whiskey for an even better brunching experience.
MINT CHIP SHAKE AT EZRA’S ENLIGHTENED CAFE
You don’t need to be vegan or vegetarian to crave the “Mint Chip Shake” at Audrey Barron’s restaurant in Broad Ripple, Ezra’s Enlightened Cafe. This shake is deliciously green and minty, and is sometimes offered on the menu in the springtime, but those that are in the know can order it year-round for $9.75. Vegan, organic, and gluten-free, the shake is made with almond milk, fresh mint, cacao nibs, spirulina, and frozen banana, and has house-made chocolate sauce drizzled on the inside of the cup.
PUMPKIN BREAD WITH CRANBERRY BUTTER AT CIRCLE CITY SWEETS
For the next two weeks, if you visit Cindy Hawkins’ Circle City Sweets at The AMP Artisan Marketplace and Food Hall, you can ask for their limited-time-only, off-menu pumpkin bread with a pepita (pumpkin seed) streusel. For $10, you’ll get a glorious slice of ultra-moist pumpkin bread that’s studded with toasted pepitas, brown sugar, and butter, and served with a side of house-made cranberry butter. Yum.
Stephanie Groves is an Indianapolis-based freelance writer who is always up for a dining adventure, but somehow ends up staying home and eating Triscuits a lot.
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