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The Legend

This week's blog is brought to you by self-described food snob and proud Irvingtonian Becky Schlomann.

legend1.jpg

I’m about to let you in on a local secret. Ready?

To sound like a real Irvingtonian, you have to get the name of one of our best restaurants right.  It’s not, as I sometimes hear it called, “Legends.”  It’s The Legend.  As in: The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.  After whose author our village is named.  It’s even painted on the restaurant’s back wall.  See?

The Legend is as warm as a friend’s living room.  The chairs are shabby-chic and mismatched, and there’s art deco stenciling on the honey-colored walls.  The art is local and changes regularly.  Owners John and Kim are Irvingtonians themselves (and daughter Emma, who waitresses, will soon own her first home here, too—congrats, Emma!), and will stop by your table to say hello and catch up on neighborhood news once you’re a regular.

My friend Bill and I started a recent dinner here with homemade bread, lightly grilled (extra butter slathered on by me).  Bill got a salad.  No iceberg lettuce here, but real spring greens and grape tomatoes with homemade dill ranch dressing. 

For an entree, I got Dad’s Crunchy Chicken.  I’ve had it a million times and although it’s never crunchy it’s always delicious--baked chicken breast coated in breadcrumbs and pan-fried to finish, topped with an herb broth reduction.  Comes with scrumptious skin-on garlic mashed potatoes and a vegetable; I had the sautéed medley of carrots, yellow squash, and zucchini.

Bill got one of the seasonal specials: ricotta and potato gnocchi with spinach julienne, halved grape tomatoes, and tiny kalamata olives.  A dusting of feta cheese melted into a garlicky butter at the table, creating a sauce that tasted fresh as springtime.  I stole so many bites off Bill’s plate that I made him go back with me last night so I could order my own!

This time, we also started with a cheese plate.  Two of the selections were familiar favorites: well-aged Black Diamond cheddar and a goat cheese.  We also enjoyed trying a sage-flavored Derby drizzled with honey, plus crackers and fruit.  I barely had room for the Parmesan cream of cauliflower soup, which was rich but well-balanced by a sprinkle of chopped flat-leaf parsley and a note of citrus.  And then that gnocchi again.  Bill called the meal a “home run,” and I agreed.

I don’t drink beer, but I’m told The Legend has a good bar serving local brews.  They also have a small lunch menu, including a hearty black bean burger with fresh guacamole. 

 In recent years, Irvington has slowly but steadily redeveloped its stretch of East Washington Street, with cool new storefronts bringing shoppers and diners from across Indianapolis.  The Legend has been key to that redevelopment.  It’s a cozy destination dining for Irvingtonians, and our neighborhood wouldn’t be the same without it.

 

The Legend Classic Irvington Café

5614 E. Washington St.

Irvington, Indianapolis 46219

(317) 536.2028

www.thelegendcafe.com

Tues-Sat lunch 11:00 AM-2:30 PM

Tues-Thurs dinner 4:30-8:30 PM; Fri-Sat dinner 4:30-9:30 PM; closed Sun-Mon

 


 


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Dufour's Biscuits and Gravy: Are they really that good?

This week's food review is by Indy Star writer and Irvingtonian Brian Brake, who knows a good meal when he eats one.

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I come from a long line of Southerners. My mom was born in a deep holler in northern Tennessee. Her familyDufourSign.JPG can be traced back to the Jamestown colony. If there is one thing I grew up with, it was Southern comfort food.

My dad tasted my mother's grandma's biscuits and gravy and become obsessed. I remember many Sunday mornings trying my Dad's attempts at Granny's biscuits and gravy. Eventually, after many experiments with lard, shortening and butter, he felt happy with his recipe. I still wake up on Sunday mornings hoping to smell my dad's B&G cooking.

Let me tell you something: my great grandma's biscuits and gravy recipe has nothing on Dufour's.

There are many amazing breakfast places around Irvington. Rock-ola defies belief as a greasy spoon. The Steer-In has a menu so diverse that you'll never go wrong. But Dufours on a weekend morning is an experience you can't get anywhere else. I have never tasted gravy like this. The spice of the sausage is there, but it is countered by a sweetness that can't be defined. Good Southern gravy is based on a basic roux, usually made with milk on a roux made from the fat from the sausage, but I suspect a more sophisticated recipe is involved at Dufours. Cream, sweet butter and lightly toasted flour seem to make up the base of their gravy.

There are many amazing places to have breakfast in Irvington, but it is hard to avoid Dufours B&G every weekend.

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Dufour's  5648 E Washington St | Indianapolis, IN  46219 | (317) 357-1696
Hours: Tuesday - Friday: 7:00am-3:00pm
Saturday: 8:00am-3:00pm
Sunday:   9:00am-2:00pm

Closed Monday
Photo by Jason Hathaway

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 Roll With It

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This week's blog is brought to you by self-described food snob and proud Irvingtonian Becky Schlomann.

The sign at Roll With It Bakery provides a helpful hint: get the cinnamon rolls.  They’re divine.

 Roll With It is one of my favorite Irvington eateries.  Owners (and husband-and-wife team) Cory and Tess are usually up to their elbows in flour but always gracious about stopping to chat. Cory jokes that he has trouble remembering my name but knows exactly what I like to eat! 

 The lunch menu is simple--soups, sandwiches, and salads--but everything is made in-house.  On this afternoon, my friend Bill and I were eating early and the soup of the day wasn’t yet ready.  I was disappointed, as it was chicken noodle, and I know from past experience that means huge homemade egg noodles, creamy broth, and big chunks of fresh carrots, celery, and roast chicken.  On Fridays, it’s a perfectly-spiced gumbo with andouille sausage, chicken, and big, tender shrimp.  I love coming here for soup on days when I don’t have time to cook, knowing I’ll get real food that’s nourishing and not commercially processed.  Plus, it’s cheap—lunch and a drink costs about $6.

Instead, Bill and I both had the Old Man Grilled Cheese.  You choose three kinds of cheese (we had cheddar, swiss, and provolone) and a bread (we had multi-grain).  The whole thing is then crusted in parmesan and grilled. Rumor has it that Cory used to make this sandwich for a friend…and then once word got out, had to add it to the menu.  I can see why: this thing is a cheese-addict’s dream. The hearty bread made the sandwiches filling enough to make a meal.  We’ll both be ordering this again.

 Faced with all this deliciousness…

 …of course I had to take some baked goods home.  Their baguettes are a great complement for a lazy Saturday night spent cooking homemade Italian food. I also recommend their cookies (especially the snickerdoodles & chocolate kiss thumbprints), buttery croissants, peanut butter bars, and cheesecake. They also do wedding cakes and other custom orders.

 And of course, those cinnamon rolls.  The rich, buttery dough is balanced by a hint of tang—sourdough?—and topped with a generous schmear of frosting. Best I’ve had anywhere.  Go early, though, as they often sell out by lunchtime.

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Roll With It Bakery

5539 E. Washington St.

Irvington, Indianapolis  46219

(317) 602.3660

http://rollwithitbakery.net/

Tu-Fri 9-6; Sat 10-4; closed Sun-Mon