Culinary Calendar

Here are cuisine writer Terry Kirts' picks for culinary-related events in the upcoming week:

Saturday, Jan. 28

Chateau Thomas Winery, 6291 Cambridge Way, Plainfield, 837-9643, $10

The winery celebrates its 22nd anniversary with a celebration including diverse activities

Tuesday, Jan. 31

Bella Vita, 11699 Fall Creek Road, 598-9011, $19.95/person

Two for Tuesday: shrimp-topped filet over asparagus with martini or glass of wine

Oakleys Bistro, 1464 W. 86th St., 824-1231, 5-6 p.m., free

Tuesday Tastings: casual, informal tasting and wine education

Wild Oats, 1300 E. 86th St., 706-0900, 7 p.m., free

Gluten Free Cooking for Kids with Chef Kris Pretchel

If you have an item for the Culinary Calendar, e-mail Terry Kirts at

Community bites

Roche Diagnostics is again sponsoring its annual Indianapolis Wine Opener to support the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Novices and wine connoisseurs alike can sample over 125 different kinds of wine, snack on a host of tasty treats including gourmet chocolates, and enjoy a diverse marketplace. An "Alternative Beverage Station" will feature specialty martinis and import beers. Live entertainment, a wine raffle and a silent auction complete the evening. Tax-deductible tickets for this event are $55 in advance. For more information or to purchase tickets call 317-202-9210 or e-mail

Wine lovers can also attend the annual WFYI Indy Wine Fest presented by D'Vine, a Wine Bar, on Friday, Feb. 10, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Indiana Roof Ballroom, 140 W. Washington St., Indianapolis. Tickets are $50 per person. The festival also boasts an exclusive "Connoisseurs Area," where for $100 per ticket, local wine enthusiasts can enjoy general admission as well as samples of specialty wines not available on the general tasting floor. Ticket information can be obtained by calling 317-715-2002 or visiting Proceeds from the event will benefit WFYI Public Broadcasting's programs and educational services.

Celebrate Valentine's Day like Victorians, who lived for the romantic and raised sentimentality to an artform, at the Victorian Valentine Dinner and Concerts at the Morris-Butler House, Feb. 11 and 12. The evenings include dinner and dessert featuring recipes from the 19th century, followed by period music performed by harpist Salem Taylor in the formal parlor. Cost is $80 per couple ($75 per couple for members of Historic Landmarks Foundation). Reservations are required; call 317-636-5409 or visit for more information.

Oh Yumm! Bistro will take diners to Italy on Thursday, Feb. 2, at 7 p.m. with a five-course Italian meal served with an assortment of Italian wines to complement each course. The cost of the meal is $65 per person (not including gratuity). For more information or to make your reservation call 251-5656.

Restaurant notes

Mini-Review: Noodles & Company

1 E. Carmel Drive, Carmel, 587-8800

Wednesday-Sunday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; Thursday-Saturday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

If the Atkins diet craze needed another nail in its coffin, one more player in the fast-food noodle movement has opened the first of over a dozen planned outlets in Carmel. Boulder, Colo.-based Noodles & Company opened at the corner of Range Line Road. and Carmel Drive. in Carmel just this Monday with its diner-friendly, customize-your-plate approach to all things pasta. The brainchild of a Pepsi brand manager, who one day had a noodle epiphany in a Greenwich Village Asian restaurant, Noodles & Company comes in on the heels of Just Noodles, which already has several restaurants around Indianapolis. At Noodles & Company, dishes are divided into three somewhat dubious cultural distinctions: Asian, Mediterranean and American. Some might quibble with the designation of Stroganoff and tomato sauce as "American," but no one can argue that Wisconsin mac & cheese is as Yankee Doodle as it gets. Décor is spiffy and airy, though the views of traffic leave a bit to be desired, and the light industrial elements make it hardly distinguishable from similar chains.

The great advantage here is just how much customers can customize their own dishes with "proteins" (there's tofu, after all), veggies and cheeses. While the "bold & exotic" Indonesian peanut sauté was, indeed, bold, spicy even, with a sweet peanut sauce and crisp vegetables, added chicken came in a breaded filet that just sat on top, obscuring half of the dish. Better integration would have helped. "Elegantly spicy" penne rosa in a tomato cream sauce was quite mild and without a ton of character, and that mac & cheese, while having a creamy blend of cheese, came with lots of naked elbows and cold grated cheese on top. Your mothers' is better. A Chinese chop salad was the highlight with a delicious soy dressing and tons of crunch from peppers, snap peas, and sesame seeds. Pastas are $3.95 for a small dish and $5.25 for a regular. A trio of dishes is $6.95. Certainly a great alternative for fast-food lunches in urban districts, the next Noodles & Company will turn up in March in Traders Point.


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