“I thought we had a Mercedes, lady.” – Winston + BLUE INDY + BARCELONA TAPAS

People don’t like change. First it was the Pacers bike share and now it is Blue Indy. There are so many examples of this in history and the irony is that we don’t know what we would do without these (at first) controversial services. I will be the first to admit that I was not a fan when I saw these stations go up all over downtown – removing street parking from the public. However, I gave it a chance and rented one. Keep in mind my car is parked in my condo garage a block away from the station I used to rent the actual car. The only hiccup here was the registration/credential part. After that, it was a piece of cake. You have to go to one of two kiosks, not stations, to confirm your drivers license and credit card. I created an account through their website first, which saved time.

Next, I walked over to the kiosk on Delaware, next to City Market. I opened the glass door, walked in and facetimed with a man in Paris. His accent was fun and I told him that I am going to Paris in November, which perked him up instantly. He also noticed my AMG hat and made sure to go through important information, like top speeds. He was really patient and friendly and once he scanned my driver’s license through the kiosk machine, he printed my pass, which dropped out of the side door and I was on my way. He was adamant about reading me the manual of how to unlock the car, take out the charger, and other things like using reverse and park. There happened to be two Blue Indy employees outside this glass contraption kiosk and they watched me facetime for most of our conversation. They were nice enough to walk me through retrieving my car when I was done with the French man.

Unlocking the car was easy – you simply swipe your pass. It was $8 for 20 minutes, but they have a free pass code for an hour on their website. The screen inside welcomes you with your name and it was incredibly simple to use. I found my favorite classic rock station on the radio and we were off! I hadn’t driven a sedan since high school and it made my SUV look like a beast in comparison. Winston was not so sure. He had fun looking out the window though and everyone along the sidewalks of Mass Ave waved to us as if we were the official Blue Indy ambassadors.

I have an older Mercedes SUV and one of my best friends (and Winston’s god dogmom) texted me “I thought we had a Mercedes, lady.” Hilarious. I could see him rolling his eyes at me. I never cease to surprise him with our latest adventure and he is a trooper to go with it. No complaints, barks, or whining. Overall, I would rent a car again and I think this is great for our city. People will warm up to it and I am so impressed that we continue to accept change. St Louis still does not have Uber and while some Hoosiers may not like a bunch of tiny cars parked in designated spots downtown, at least we have the option! Side note: I drove around for 43 minutes and only used 90% of the charge.

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Now onto the food! I am ashamed to say I had never been to Barcelona Tapas until this weekend. I have been a downtowner for almost six years and have always lived within walking distance to the restaurant. There are two and the other one is in St Louis, in Clayton, which is where I worked for almost a year. I am glad I finally went. I could have ordered the entire menu and while I am usually a cheap date, I ordered five small plates to share and it was $42. My favorite was the ahi tuna and the marinara with warm goat cheese. YUM! We also got olives, meatballs, and gazpacho. Their lunch buffet for $10 is supposed to be where it’s at, so I will have to go back.

I would post a recipe to tie in with this, but here it is: take the best marinara you have, warm it up, put a huge dollop of goat cheese in the oven and bake until warm. Serve with crusty bread and you’re good to go. For the tuna, I buy it frozen sometimes at Trader Joe’s and cook it very carefully – you want it to be rare in the middle, aka not cooked. An extremely hot grill is required to sear the outside for 1-2 minutes. Remove, slice and serve over a salad with hard boiled eggs, olives, parm and balsamic for a take on the classic tuna nicoise.

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It was finally cold enough to wear a sweater AND a coat! Pro tip: I buy the kid’s Burberry coat for half the price of the women’s and I also buy the Hunter kid’s boots in the largest size (I’m a 7.5 size shoe and a 0-2 in clothes).

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No Friday night is complete without a pup cup from Starbucks!

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