Getting to know a state through its foodie options is my idea of a perfect road trip! The Kid and I hit the road in late spring and headed west to check out some popular food offerings in Northern Indiana compliments of Indiana Foodways Alliance. They set up the itinerary, we plugged in the GPS- and traveled over, around, and through some well-known counties and some if-you-don’t-know-about-them-you-need-to-get-there immediately counties to taste test the best of the state.
Not only did we have a delicious visit, we learned about our home state’s neighbor to the west. Curious? If you’re a food lover, you should be. The fourth leg of the journey? Anderson Madison County, – and a visit to the Indiana County that loves its food and a bit of horse play. If you missed any part of this delicious Northern Indiana food series, there’s Part One, Part Two, and Part Three to catch you up to speed.
The Kid and I ventured into foreign road trip territory in early May- but never assume foreign is a bad thing when it comes to road tripping. We learned so much about Northern Indiana culture- and learning about its culture through a foodie tour is my idea of fun! We traveled by state routes and back roads, all the while making pit stops at fun restaurants that serve delicious dishes and county curiosities.
Disclosure: I was hosted by all of these amazing restaurants, cities, and CVBs to give you fine folks the scoop on what makes the Northern Indiana foodie scene so incredible. All opinions and photos are my own!
Anderson Madison County
Anderson/Madison County is just Northeast of Indianapolis and, although there’s so much to do and see including outdoor activities in Mound State Park, Anderson Center for the Arts, and the Central Indiana Soaring Society (think gliders), our focus was on food- with a teeny bit of horse play thrown in.
We easily combined both with a trip to Hoosier Park Racing & Casino. A track dedicated to Harness Racing. We’ve seen plenty of thoroughbred flat racing, but Hoosier Park’s races involves the horse pulling a two-wheeled cart called a sulky where the jockey sits.
The races, although slower than ones where the jockey sits in a harness on the horse’s back, are exhilarating and super fun to watch- especially when you get to ride in the pace truck that leads the race! The horse track has some really cool events this year including Hoosier Champions and The Grand Circuit. I definitely plan on revisiting to check out one of the fun events this year.
The Kid and I (and Deb Thompson from Just Short of Crazy. Know her? You really need to check out her blog) had the privilege of sitting in the upper level of the pace truck and man, what a view! The Kid loved the view so much that she and Deb made a couple of laps around the track without me. After working up our appetite with the races, we were ready to eat.
Hoosier Park’s Homestretch Steakhouse has the best of the track, in my opinion. The restaurant offers terrace-style dining and an amazing menu including, of course, steak.
For starters, we tried the Blackened Fischer Farms Beef Tips. Not only was the plating so pretty, the beef tips were cooked to perfection. Served with a side of Garlic horseradish Cream, the bite-sized pieces were tender and juicy.
If you enjoy seafood (and The Kid definitely does), another super popular appetizer is the Crab tower. Large pieces of lump crab are served with avocado, tomato, and red radish and plated with a mustard vinaigrette.
I, personally, will never turn down a creative chicken dish and the Gunthorp Farms Tuscan Chicken with its herb crust and white wine sauce was right up my alley. The chicken was so moist and the crust held in all of its juices. Yum!
As for dessert? Well, there were plenty of options including a Lemon Berry Cake, Creme Brulee, and of course, massive slices of cheesecake. The hardest part for us was choosing.
Gaither Family Resources
The next morning, we headed straight to Gaither Family Resources for breakfast and to meet the fine folks from Anderson Madison County, Alexandra Chamber of Commerce, Gaithers, and of course, Indiana Foodways Alliance! It was like a great, big family reunion and The Kid and I were so happy to be apart of the fun- and food!
Sure, we did a little shopping in the store, too. There are so many items to purchase and all of theme would make the most thoughtful gifts. The store itself is so large that it’s sectioned with different themes in mind.
A total serendipitous moment, but Indiana State Representative Melanie M. Wright happened to be in the store when we were eating breakfast. What an honor!
The Kid had a delicious Breakfast Quesadilla filled with eggs, cheese, and breakfasts meats. The tortilla was grilled on the outside giving it a crunchy, crispy texture.
Skillets Dishes are super popular at the restaurant and its breakfast version looked so tasty. They also offer lunch and dinner versions featuring tilapia and pot roast.
After breakfast was a quick tour of the Gaither Family Museum (such a lesson in family history including so many music awards I couldn’t keep track!) and a fun trip inside one of the recording studios. Here’s The Kid testing out a microphone.
World’s Largest Ball of Paint
Yes folks, one does exist. What started out as a fun game of dipping an old baseball into leftover house paint, the World’s Largest Ball of Paint in Alexandria now weighs over 4,000 pounds and has a special building to keep it hoisted.
They let us choose a paint color and get to work- and it took some time to cover the entire giant paint ball. And while we are now apart of the world record with our paint layer, I’m sure it’s been well-covered over already.
I know, I know. I said that this would be a four part series, but there was so much to see and eat that I’m extending it to five. Next week will definitely will be the last of the Northern half and will show you the pie that started it all. If you missed any part of this delicious Northern Indiana food series, there’s Part One and Part Two to catch you up to speed.