Indy Eats 

Indianapolis chef wins pork competition
Chef Steven J. Oakley of Oakley's Bistro, Indianapolis, took top honors at the Taste of Elegance Chef's Competition held Jan. 20 in Indianapolis. Sponsored by the Indiana Pork Producers Association (IPPA), the ninth annual chefs competition encourages Indiana chefs to design innovative ways to feature pork in white tablecloth entree dishes in their restaurants. Chef Oakley's winning entrée, called "Olive Oil Braised Pork Belly & Smoked Pork Cheek Home Fries," is a unique presentation using pork belly paired with a pork cheek hash made from pork cheeks, potatoes, carrots and parsnips, and a cherry chutney. The use of under-utilized pork cuts, like the belly and cheeks, is a growing trend among fine dining chefs. Chef Oakley received $1,000 in prize money, sponsored by the Indiana Soybean Board, and will compete for $5,000 at the National Pork Board's Taste of Elegance contest in May. For more info, see
Slow Food Indy chef-farmer event
Slow Food Indy and prominent local chefs are sponsoring a networking event between local producers and Indianapolis area restaurateurs Monday, Feb. 9 from 4-6 p.m. at R bistro, 888 Massachusetts Ave. The purpose of the event is to provide local vegetable growers, livestock producers, local cheese, organic dairy producers and other specialty crop producers a forum in which to establish a direct relationship with Indianapolis chefs and restaurateurs and to explore the crop and farm product possibilities for the 2004 growing season. There is a growing awareness and demand from customers for quality food products whose origin is known to be safe and have the exquisite fresh flavor that comes from a non-industrial family farm environment. Buying local and preparing fresh establishes cuisine as unique and special. All Indianapolis area chefs and caterers are invited to attend. RSVP to David Robb, assistant leader, Slow Food Indy, by Friday, Feb. 6 at 250-5105.
Valentine Dinner at White River Gardens
Celebrate Valentine's Day in one of the most beautiful locations in the city: White River Gardens. Dine on gourmet food and dance to a live band. Feb. 14, with seatings at 6:30 and 8 p.m. $150 per couple. Call 317-630-2000 for reservations.
Circle City Bar & Grille "aphrodisiac" dinner
Get in the mood for Valentine's Day with an innovative dining experience at Circle City Bar & Grille, 350 W. Maryland St., inside the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, Feb. 14. Couples will be treated to a four-course, elegant dinner carefully paired with select wines. Featured menu items include: Manage a Trois of oysters, smoked pheasant and cured foie gras terrine, peppercorn-crusted, bone-in New York Strip steak with smoked fingerling potatoes, roasted duck break with wild rice pancakes and Champagne-poached Dover sole with caviar. The grand finale is a specialty dessert titled "Sweet Seduction." According to Executive Chef Michael Vlasich, the dessert's creator, "You'll have to see it to believe it. Chocolate lovers will appreciate the variety and creativity." Dinner is $79 per person, plus tax and gratuity. Seating begins at 5 p.m. For reservations call 317-405-6180.
Romance & Remembrance
A unique evening of romance, historical ambiance and candlelight. Costumed interpreters will read Victorian and contemporary literature in the rooms of the President Benjamin Harrison Home, and will then guests will enjoy an intimate dinner at the Yellow Rose Inn. Dates are Feb. 13 and 14, 6:30 p.m. Cost is $75 for non-members. The Harrison Home is located at 1230 N. Delaware St. and the Yellow Rose Inn is located at 1441 N. Delaware St. For reservations, call 317-631-1888.
Valentine's Day dinner and concert
An elaborate Victorian dinner and dessert will be offered at the Morris-Butler House, 1204 N. Park Ave., Feb. 14 from 7-9 p.m. Experience the beauty of the historic home and concert while sampling the decadent menu, which includes delicious Chicken `a la Merango, rich Shirley Plantation Mushroom Soup, delectable Lady Fingers and luscious éclairs. Tickets are $80 per couple for non-members; reservations are required. Call 317-636-5409 for reservations.

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