A few weekends ago, Dig In held a fun event called Indulge, Imbibe, Imagine at Bent Rail Brewery. Dig In is famous for their Taste of Indiana festival held every August and this event was just as creative. The Dig In board selected five chefs, bartenders, and artists to create a dish, a cocktail, and artwork inspired by an Indiana landmark. The five landmarks were the Angel Mounds, the Indiana Dunes, Monument Circle, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and James Whitcomb Riley’s Tomb. It was fascinating to hear the history behind each landmark and to see each team’s interpretation. A few of my favorite Indy restaurants were represented: Trader’s Point Creamery, Bluebeard, Patachou, and Plat 99 at the Alexander.
The main event, Dig In, is August 30th and should not be missed. Add it to your calendar now because it is the foodie event of the year. Prepare yourself for some of the most amazing culinary creations. Get your expandable pants ready and buy your tickets here.
The corn chowder was my favorite dish, so I decided to recreate it. I chose Martha Stewart’s recipe and it was just as good, if not better, than Patachou’s version. Putting a portion in the blender near the end, but leaving some of the soup chunky, made it the ideal consistency. Adding half and half makes it creamy and the flavor was amazing. You can use fresh corn off the cob, but I used Trader Joe’s frozen corn, which worked really well.
The five dishes from top to bottom: Bluebeard’s spicy pork and corn nacho, the Cunningham Groups’ sweet croissant topped with carmelized peaches, Trader’s Point’s tenderloin and soda bread (which they made over a brick fire to connect with their Monument Circle theme), Patachou’s corn chowder, and Bent Rails’ sugar cream pie topped with apples and pecans (it had bacon in the crust!). All of the dishes were good, but I could have eaten an entire pot of the corn chowder.
Bluebeard had the Speedway, Trader’s Point had Monument Circle, Patachou had the Angel Mounds, Bent Rail had James Whitcomb Riley’s tomb, and the Cunningham Group (Mesh, Union 50, and Bru Burger) had the Indiana Dunes.
The cocktails! I had three of the five and they were all delicious. The bartender from Plat 99 made a delicious concoction that included pink pepper sprinkled on top. The cocktail paired with Bluebeard mixed ginger beer and cheap beer. My favorite was a gin drink that had an egg white in it. Yes, you read that correctly. An egg white! It made the drink nice and frothy and it was so good!
“Take my picture next to the Beer sign!”
The State Department of Ag gang reunited
Winston thinks Dig In is delicious too!
5 ears yellow corn, kernels removed (You could also use 2-3 cans of corn)
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
4 cups chicken stock
1 pound small fingerling potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
3/4 cup half and-half
Chives, thinly sliced, for serving
Melt the butter in a small stockpot over medium-low heat. Add onion, thyme bundle, and corn, and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft but not browned, about 20 minutes.
Add stock and potatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, until potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Puree one third of the mixture until smooth ( I used my Vitamix). Return to the pot and stir in the half and half. Cook until chowder is hot. Season with salt and pepper.
2 ounces gin
1 egg white
Dash of lemon or lime juice
1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar
Pour the gin, juice, sugar, and egg white into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Shake it up! More than usual if using the egg white to ensure it is mixed thoroughly with the other ingredients.
Strain into a chilled glass with ice cubes.
Top off with soda water