A Quiet Christmastime Sunday Brunch Masked Getaway

Bacon and Leek Quiche with mixed greens salad.

Bacon and leek quiche served with a mixed greens salad topped with champagne vinaigrette dressing and unintentionally shaped like a Podoboo from the original Super Mario Bros or Wilson’s “face” from Cast Away.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: on Thanksgiving weekend Anne and I made a short Small Business Saturday jaunt to a number of Indianapolis establishments that we figured could use some love and income in this unending pandemic year. In that same spirit, this past Sunday morning we once again donned our Christmas masks and headed north for a return engagement with a lovely littler establishment we last visited in June 2019, verified per Google Maps in their usual, helpfully creepy fashion.

…we drove to Zionsville, a small town northwest of Indy that’s one of those rare idyllic bastions of carefully cultivated little shops, craftspeople, artisans, independent restaurants, and beauteous walking paths surrounded by foliage and well-kept, narrow streets. It’s a half-hour from our house, but for some reason we’re not there all the time. We’re easily distracted and too willingly busied, I think.

Our destination was a place called Auberge, specializing in “traditional and contemporary French food” on their dinner menu. Their brunch menu varies its cuisine a bit more, but offered quite a few attractive items. The place was mostly deserted, probably because we were there hours before most Zionsville shops would open. We relaxed, we chatted, we enjoyed the scenery, and we spent several minutes staring at our food when it arrived with quickness. The friendly staff made the experience worthwhile, too.

Fast-forward to 2020 and “mostly deserted” is the everyday status of virtually every business outside big-box stores. Fewer viruses for the rest of us to dodge, then. Once again we stuck to our personal guidelines for pandemic dining, which meshed perfectly with the restaurant’s own procedures and processes we saw in full effect. The staff were masked up just like us and just as friendly as they were last time.

Though we were the only customers upon our arrival, six others came and went during our visit — all in pairs, each of them seated comfortably far away from us. At least one couple had also spent the night in the inn that contains the restaurant. I’m a little jealous because the two of us haven’t spent a night away from home since Labor Day Weekend 2019. We’re not quite ready to take the leap of faith required for a COVID-era overnighter. We’d also rather save the eventual grand occasion of Our First Hotel Stay Since the Pandemic for an out-of-state experience, which should easily make our hearts swell considering we haven’t crossed the Indiana border since the Saturday before Thanksgiving 2019. We came close once, but resisted the lure. Fingers crossed for 2021, Lord willing.

Anyway: Sunday brunch. Fantastic food, lovely time, must do yet again and not wait so long till next time. Please enjoy a few more photos!

Brick Street Inn in Zionsville, Indiana

Zionsville’s own Brick Street Inn, home of Auberge, decked out for the holiday season.

Zionsville giant outdoor Christmas Tree

Giant Christmas tree down the block along Zionsville’s Main Street.

Auberge corner booth with wall mirrors

An unoccupied booth catty-corner from us. Each empty spot had its own “THIS TABLE HAD BEEN SANITIZED” sign. Look closely and you can spot my selfie in the mirror among the reversed decor.

Shrimp and Grits!

Sticking with what worked, Anne once again ordered their New Orleans-style shrimp and grits, which changed appearance since last time but matched it for excellence.

Baked Camembert appetizer with tons of baguettes

This time we went wild and added an appetizer — baked Camembert cheese crusted with pistachios, topped with cherry-balsamic jam and served with tons of baguette croutons, which was exactly how many we needed.

Anne in one of her Christmas masks

My lovely brunch companion sporting her custom Whoville mask. Christmas is kind of her thing.

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