Our 2017 Super Bowl Deserted Restaurant Getaway

Picanha!

Picanha, a.k.a. garlic sirloin, one of Anne’s favorite bites of the night.

Each year my wife Anne and I have indulged our own special Super Bowl tradition: while the rest of the world is watching football and swapping snacks and beers with best friends and chatting about The Sports, the two of us have dinner at a fancy restaurant we’ve never tried before. Between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m., anyplace without a large-screen TV is usually deserted and totally ours for the taking.

The last few years have also seen Super Bowl Sunday coincide with a local event called Devour Downtown, in which dozens of upscale establishments in downtown Indianapolis offer a limited-time sort of blue-plate special that allows plebes like us to come in and sample their cuisine from a specially selected discount menu. It’s still a bit pricier than five-dollar footlongs, but in our experience the quality has always been immeasurably higher, no matter where we’ve gone. This year the event was merged with several others of its kind, expanded citywide, and renamed Devour Indy. We ended up heading downtown anyway, but it’s nice to know we’ll have more compass options in the years ahead.

Tonight’s feature presentation: Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian steakhouse with over two dozen American locations in addition to their flagships back home. For one solid price that was more than we would ever dream of paying for non-special occasions, their Devour Indy special offered a buffet of fancy unlimited appetizers, while the waiters approached every table with a few unlimited side dishes and numerous small yet unlimited meat portions all prepared in the Brazilian way, by which I mean they were made of meat. Good enough for us.

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Cooking with Alex Guarnaschelli at Indy’s 2nd Fantastic Food Fest

Alex Guarnaschelli!

True story: Chef Alex is the first person we’ve ever met at a show who mentioned jazz hands in a Q&A before we even had the chance to ask.

Last year my wife Anne and I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural Fantastic Food Fest at the Indiana State Fairgrounds, planned by its creators at Circle City Expos as an annual event bringing together the best and brightest providers from numerous restaurants, markets, farms, caterers, bakeries, and other tremendous sources of locally sourced ingredients and cuisine under one roof for foodies to gather and escape winter doldrums. Year One’s big show brought in a headliner we loved to meet, Chopped host and hometown hero Ted Allen. If the show was successful, we figured we’d return regardless of the guest list.

As Chopped fans, we weren’t disappointed. Year 2 brought in a related special guest all the way from New York City, Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli, the Chopped judge most likely to deliver a ruling composed entirely of clever metaphors. Alex summed up the order of the day as she opened her 1:30 cooking demo: “It’s time to eat and cook and forget about a whole lotta other things for a while.”

Right this way for a photo gallery of amazing colossal foodstuffs!

Sweet Anticipation of Goodies to Come

cookie mix!

Courtesy of my workplace, I came home today after a long, draining week bearing a glass jar of merry Christmas benevolence. Some assembly required.

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Cincinnati 2016 Overnighter Photos, Part 6 of 6

Cincinnati!

Our hotel room’s view of downtown Cincinnati high above the nightlife.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s convention time yet again! This weekend my wife Anne and I have driven two hours southeast of Indianapolis to attend a show we’ve never done before, the seventh annual Cincinnati Comic Expo. With her birthday coming up in a few weeks, which usually means a one-day road trip somewhere, we agreed this would count as her early celebration.

Growing up in Indiana, we Hoosiers rarely had reasons to visit next-door Ohio until and unless it was time for another one-day family road trip to Kings Island Amusement Park, a few miles north of Cincinnati. If you believe the movie Anomalisa, the only two reasons to visit Cincinnati itself are the Cincinnati Zoo and Skyline Chili. After we wrapped up our Cincinnati Comic Expo experience, we did none of those things and found a few reasons not to be bored anyway.

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2016 NYC Trip Photos #28: The Last Manhattan Mealtimes

Junior's pastry!

Mini-pastry appetizer at Junior’s, one of the better experiences from the second half of our week.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year from 1999 to 2015 my wife Anne and I took a road trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. With my son’s senior year in college imminent and next summer likely to be one of major upheaval for him (Lord willing), the summer of 2016 seemed like a good time to get the old trio back together again for one last family vacation before he heads off into adulthood and forgets we’re still here. In honor of one of our all-time favorite vacations to date, we scheduled our long-awaited return to New York City…

On our vacations the meals trend in the same direction throughout our week: at first tentative while we’re exploring new territory. After a day or two we’re emboldened enough to experiment with places more imaginative or just more expensive. After peaking midweek with the greatest meals of the year, our dinners then begin to descend in either quality or excitement level as we reach the far end of our budget and tap into our last reserves of energy just to finish out the trip. We try to keep finding gems among the dross, whether the results impress our friends back home or not.

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Special Holiday Clearance Giveaways with Love

Meat Donations!

If you’re viewing this photo gallery from a comfy living space on a full stomach, these discount meats probably aren’t meant for you.

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