Saturday, September 27, 2014

Girl's Day Out - Lava Lips

The morning dawned to clear skies and the honking of geese, circling the crash pad and back to the marshy area south of me again and again, in readiness to migrate.   Soon I would be in the truck, on I-65 doing a little honking of my own as I went to pick up Tam.
But first, some mini biscuits and honey from a friend's beehive. (I used a champagne flute as a biscuit cutter)

Then it was time to shower and head out for Girl's Day Out.
New Tunes in the car, the only time in my life I've ever bought something with a parental advisory. But when I heard the acoustic version of one of The 1725's songs from the Bushmills Festival, I had to buy it, even if not SWF. With their thick Manchester UK accents, I don't know why there is a parental advisory. . all I could make out was something about a van and a fork.
I picked up Tam at Roseholme cottage and soon we were on our way to Lava Lips on College Avenue, in Broad Ripple, Indiana a couple of blocks south of Fresh Market on the east side of the street, in a small multi business shopping strip.
 Lava Lips - Indianapolis only hot and spicy tasting bar
It's a store with a Tiki Bar of hot sauce tasting goodness. Pictured is owner Michael Siemer, who with his wife Lisa, started this place for those who love the pursuit of heated perfection. Any sauce they have, you are welcome to sample for free to decide on a purchase, or just educate yourself on what you might like, if you think all hot sauce just tastes like Tabasco.
They are in sections from hot to mild, clearly labeled. Even if you don't think you like hot sauce, you will find some deliciousness you will like. For they also have soup mixes, chocolates. preserves, jerky, wonderful rubs, cooking sauces and marinades, not only hot, but sweet and savory and everything in between. I didn't see any Scoville Brothers from Indiana, which is a truly good hot sauce, but I mentioned it to the owner as one worthy of adding to their fine collection.
With whimsical décor everywhere you turn and owners who are not just knowledgeable, but make you feel like you are a guest in their home for a casual get together with good friends, you will want to linger for a while.
Blairs Ultra death - purchased for a colleague who swears he can eat ANY hot sauce. BWAHAHAHA.
 I think I'll pass.
The place really has the feel of one of the cool tiki bars you find down in the Florida keys.
The sauce on the right of the picture above, the clear one, we have in the Range fridge,  a gift from Midwest Chick and Mr, B.  It adds a subtle killer hot kick to a cocktail.
Host and barkeep Michael entertained us with stories of hot sauce and humor, displaying a knowledge of products that really shows he's the "foodie of hot sauces" not just someone selling a product.  He also makessure he understands what your tolerance level is, and what flavors entice you so he can  guide you through the nuances of flavor in such a way that you thoroughly enjoy it and don't wear your taste buds out. 
Yes, you can bring in your own alcohol, but they also have inexpensive bottled water and Mexican Coke (with real sugar, not corn syrup) to wash down your samples with your packet of chips.  Buy a drink and a some chips (the chips are only $.60 and both help defray the cost of the stuff you're trying for free) and just sit back and enjoy the journey.
We started with lime based sauces, delved into jalapeno, chipotle, and garlic ones (I loved the Mr. Blisters label), Thai, fruit and dessert sauces (I could have eaten the whole bottle of chocolate orange hot sauce, already planning on making little cheesecakes with that stuff)
Clifford the Big Red Watch is ready for the prompt refill of our chips as other sauces are brought out by the Hot Sauce Sommelier.   This one was "Blind Betty" with a Caribbean hint of pineapple heat.
Here's my card of "my favorite sauce and stuff".  ALL OF THEM.
I was busy snapping away and Michael looked at my camera and at Tam and said with a smile "Is she always doing this?"  And I said "I'm often mistaken for a Japanese tourist."
We left, still laughing at the warm humor of our host and the surroundings, with our purchases.  I will definitely be coming back; that is absolutely the most fun I've had at a food establishment in a very long while.
Then it was next door (literally) to "The Sinking Ship" tavern for a light lunch and another cold beverage. Being the designated driver, I passed on the beer, but they had a lot of nice ones.
 This looked like a happening place and I bet it is packed later in the day.
There was original art work around the place which had a bright, modern but slightly funky décor....
 and an eclectic menu that had some really tasty looking burgers, as well as salads, sandwiches, and chicken and waffles, not something you see around Indy, plus a number of inventive vegetarian choices.
I had an appetizer portion of chili mac (spicy beef chili served on a bed of baked smoked cheddar mac and cheese and Tam had some jalapeno poppers (due to the low light, the photo is  blurry but it was SO good.) The place was clean, the service prompt and it was a nice ending to our food outing.
 Then it was off to Mountain of Geese.
I needed a tactical purse, to replace the "never buy a cheap one" bag that fell apart after just two months in the field.
Forget a dinner bell.  I want to put up the steel chicken to call Partner in for dinner with the Mark III!
 Ammo, ammo, everyone but not ONE box of 22 long rifle.  Sigh.
Spell Check?  Para Ordinants?  Is that like "I have OrdinANTS in my PANTS?"
Just so you know, set one of these off in an 80's vintage Z28 and the smell NEVER really does come out.  Don't ask us how we know.
 Only in Broad Ripple.
 The wall of imported beer at Kahn's.
 Very steampunk cool.
A quick stop at Locally Grown Gardens, to peruse the fresh produce and grab a cold water for the drive back to the crash pad, to get ready to go back to work, just a brief day off
 The corn looks good, and this gives me an idea for something to make later.
Their produce varies monthly, isn't overly expensive and is locally grown. Plus they have an assortment of quick breads, pies and some incredibly hot pulled pork sandwiches from the smoker.
I loved the silverware, but the Scot in me wasn't going to be tempted with $8 for one, but they ARE really cool looking and quite well made. 
We said our goodbyes and I headed home to Abby the Lab who was being very gentle with her new plush toy, a squeaky hedgehog I found at Marsh.  It makes this sound that is somewhere between a asthmatic huff and a fart, but it doesn't seem to incite in her the "I have to tear the squeeker from it NOW" that Angry Bird Piggie did.
 My new Mall Ninja purse.
And my purchases-

Blair Ultra Death for J. (not shown here but shown earlier)
and from left to right

Toad Sweat Key Lime Dessert Hot Sauce (hmmm.  Lemon bars but use lime juice and a dab of this.)

Bee Sting ThaiSting Sweet Chili Sauce (hmmm, rice noodles, chicken, mixed veggies and a few sugared cashews)

Lucky Dog - Extra mild smoked pepper sauce.  I know, purchased just because the label looked like Barkley.

Bigfat's 308.  Garlic/Ginger hot sauce.  This had a NICE but not overpowering kick.  This may be paired with some pork tenderloin one night.

Outer Limits Hot Sauce with Jalapeno Lime - for nachos with black beans, smoky cheddar and green onions

and finally -  Toad Sweat Chocolate Orange Dessert Hot Sauce.

I should have bought more, as now I'm thinking of mixing it with a little maple syrup for pancakes.  But if I'm busy, or not in the area, there is a Lava Lips Online Store!

Seriously, go order the Chocolate Orange Dessert Hot Sauce.
Now, time to just to stretch out and chill and let my taste buds take a break.  Thanks Michael, for being such a great host.  Hopefully next time we'll get to meet your lovely bride and try even more wonderful flavors of fun.