BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse

Philly steak

It has been over a year since we were able to see Maj’s sister. That changed when we met for lunch at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse in Noblesville, Indiana. Noblesville is northeast of Indianapolis but is really part of the Indy Metro area. BJ’s is part of a national chain.

We had a wonderful time “catching up” on the news from my sister’s family and we shared our family news too. It’s amazing how much has occurred in the past year and a half in our families.

 

 

 

 

The restaurant is spacious, and when seated we noticed extra partitions between booths. The food and service was excellent. The menu featured tons of options, and many different beers. We ordered something we had never seen before: a flight of margaritas! Served like a flight of beers, it had four different margarita samples.  We agreed the strawberry sample was our favorite.

The flight of margaritas

The food and service were both excellent. The portions were very generous, and all three of us enjoyed our meals. The most enjoyment of this luncheon came from our being together again. Now that things are at least somewhat back to near normal, we hope to get together each month.

 

Easley Winery in downtown Indy

Sher and I had the opportunity to visit another central Indiana winery today. The Easley Winery is literally in downtown Indianapolis, a couple of blocks north of Washington Street, the main east/west artery in the city.

The main entrance

Inside at the counter for picking wines to sample

 

Basket full of sample glasses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Easley has been around since 1974, and currently has over 100 acres of vineyards in southern Indiana. They offer very nice tastings, either inside or out on the patio at umbrella covered tables.  For $5.00 you  can sample seven different wines. Easley has a great variety of wines to choose from.

We found that of the seven wines we tasted Sher and I both liked the Sweet Barrel Red and the Reggae Margarita wines the best. We purchased a bottle of each before we left. Family owned Easley Winery is a great place to have a nice break from a busy day of sightseeing in Indy or for an enjoyable single destination.

A one ton oddity

 

The 28 inch diameter, 2000 pound granite sphere floats on a cushion of water pumped up from a fountain below. The socket of the granite base is precision carved to allow an 8/1000th inch thick layer of water that the ball rests on. Even a child can rotate the ball!

This marvelous floating granite ball fountain is in front of the Nature Center at Holliday Park in Indianapolis. 

Our current favorite wine is from Buck Creek Winery

Found our newest favorite wine!  Road House Red from Buck Creek Winery in Indiana has won the taste test and proven to be our favorite.   We had been to Buck Creek Winery about a year or two ago and had even taken a tour of the winery.  We knew we liked their wine, but we hadn’t found one that totally captured us. That is until we returned a couple of weeks ago.

The Road House Red variety is a sweet concord grape wine with an 11% ABV. It is sweet, smooth and very tasty.  It is good with cheese and fruit.  We also liked it with chocolate.  In fact, we liked it with everything we tried it with.

We spent a lot time trying different wines from wineries while we had been stuck with the coronavirus.  Not that we had it, we were very fortunate, but then we didn’t hardly leave our house for almost a year now.

We also like the Road House White and have ordered some more of it too.  Did I mention it can be ordered online and mailed to you? They have an extensive wine list for your buying pleasure.

But, Road House Red has become  our favorite.  You can check out the other varieties they offer at the Buck Creek Winery website. The winery is only 30 minutes from downtown Indianapolis off of Interstate 74.

Little Shop of Horrors is at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

Prepare yourself, Indianapolis, for the off-beat, dark musical comedy that is Little Shop  of Horrors! The show’s premier was in May of 1982. The Off-Broadway run was a great success, and during that run a star studded film was also produced.

Picture a skid row flower shop struggling to stay in business. Assistant Seymour Krelborn comes into possession of a strange plant. Named Audrey II after the girl of his dreams, Seymour discovers that the strange plant talks, sings R&B, promises fame and fortune, and needs human blood to survive and grow. Starting  in a flower pot, the blood thirsty creature soon is a monstrous size.

Seymour Krelborn (Joey Boos), center, introduces Mr. Mushnik (Douglas E. Stark) and Audrey (Jenny Reber) to his strange and unidentified plant

Mayhem breaks out as Seymour tries his best to keep feeding Audrey II the human blood that the creature demands. “Feed Me!” becomes the mantra for the monster, and the terror for Seymour! Side story lines keep the show rolling along as Seymour keeps loving Audrey, who is stuck in a violent relationship with dentist Orin Scrivello. How does Seymour keep Audrey II alive and well? Let’s say that people start to disappear. Laced throughout the show are some wonderful songs and dance routines.

The B&B production is filled with stage favorites. Joey Boos returns to the Beef & Boards stage in the role of Seymour. Also returning are Jenny Reber as Audrey,  and Logan Moore  as Orin Scrivello, DDS. Douglas E. Stark plays the role of Mr. Mushnik, the hapless owner of the skid row flower shop where Audrey II lives. It is interesting to note that the voice of Audrey II comes from Josiah R McCruiston and Josh Maldonado is the talented puppeteer of the creature. You never see either on stage!

Seymour (Joey Boos) is horrified by the demands of Audrey II

 

It is easy to see why Little Shop of Horrors has a nearly cult status.  The sci-fi hit about a carnivorous plant with world domination on its mind is just too much fun. Rated PG-13, the production does present some violence and graphic references and a touch of sexual innuendo.

Little Shop of Horrors is rated PG-13 and is on stage through Nov. 17. Tickets  include Chef Odell Ward’s dinner buffet, fruit & salad bar, unlimited coffee, tea, and lemonade. For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays. For complete show schedule, visit the Beef & Boards website here.

Award winning Hairspray on stage at Beef & Boards

The turbulent 60’s come to life on stage at Indy’s beloved Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre with the presentation of the Broadway musical Hairspray. This Tony Award winning show lights up the B&B stage with a large and very talented cast telling the story of a Baltimore teen who gets a spot on the local TV dance show.

Tracy Turnblad (Adee David) falls for teen idol Link Larkin (Nate Willey) and wants to racially integrate the Corny Collins Show. Standing in her way is the spiteful and prejudiced Amber Von Tussle (Sarah Daniels) who is using Link as her way to fame. The plot thickens and results in jail time after a protest against the segregation policy of the TV show.

The drama aside, the highlight of the production of course is the toe-tapping songs including “Good Morning Baltimore,” “Big, Blonde and Beautiful,” “You Can’t Stop The Beat” and “Welcome to the ‘60s.” Motormouth Maybelle (Tarra Conner Jones) brings down the house with her powerful and poignant version of “I Know Where I’ve Been.” Amber Von Tussle (Sarah Daniels) directs a humorous “Cooties”  at rival Tracy.

A highlight for me was the dance and song duet by Wilbur Turnblad (Eddie Curry) and Edna Turnblad (Daniel Klingler). Their rendition of “You’re Timeless To Me” was one of the funniest and most cleverly choreographed numbers I have seen in a long time. Eddie Curry, by the way, is also the Director of the show.

Every song will have you smiling. The characters will have you rooting for them or loving to hate! The B&B orchestra once again will amaze you with the quality and depth of music it produces. The sets and lighting seamlessly support the production. The costumes are fabulous. Have you figured it out yet? Do not miss Hairspray.

Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Hairspray is now on stage through Oct. 6. Tickets include the dinner buffet and are available by calling the box office at 317.872.9664. For more information, including show schedule, visit the Beef & Boards website.

 

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story rocks Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

Everyone received a pair of Holly’s signature glasses in their program. Group photos followed

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story received a standing ovation after last night’s show. Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre audiences rarely give a standing ovation.  I could stop my review right now. However the show is so great that I want to share more details. This musical is filled with over 20 of Buddy Holly’s greatest hits as well as other numbers from Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. The show tells the true story of Holly’s phenomenal rise to fame after his first hit “That’ll Be The Day” hit radio in 1957.

Holly is played by Kyle Jurassic, making his debut at Indy’s immensely popular dinner theater venue. Jurassic is no stranger to this role as he has held the title role prior to this production. He has devoted much time to learning about what kind of man Holly was, and this ads a flavor of authenticity to his portrayal of the man with the glasses.

Among  Holly’s greatest hits featured were  “That’ll Be The Day,” “Peggy Sue,” “Everyday,” “Oh Boy,” “Not Fade Away,” “Rave On,” and “Raining In My Heart”.  In addition  Ritchie Valens’ signature song “La Bamba” and the Big Bopper’s trademark song “Chantilly Lace” are also included in the show.

Chuck Caruso plays the Big Bopper and Edward LaCardo is Richie Valens. Both do a great job portraying the characteristics of these iconic performers. Josh McLemore is outstanding as drummer Joe Maudlin. James Daley shows you things you never thought were possible when playing the bass as Jerry Allison. Beef and Boards favorite Sarah Hund shows off not only her voice but her fiddle playing as well. All supporting actors and musicians add to the incredible talent offered to the audience in the show.

Kyle Jurassic plays the iconic title role in Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre’s production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story Photo courtesy B&B Media

Of special note is the immensely powerful voice of Tara Conner Jones as Mama Pearl, lead signer at the Apollo Theater in New York. Her electrifying version of “Shout” brings the house down.

There is of course a touch of grief as you know what happens. Holly, the Big Bopper, Richie Valens and pilot Roger Peterson were killed  in a tragic plane crash shortly after the Iowa concert. The news is given on stage with gravity and sadness. However, more music follows leading to a grand grand finale.

Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story is on stage at B&B through August 18th. For tickets, which include the dinner buffet, call the box office at 317.872.9664. For show details, including performance schedule, visit Beef & Boards website here.

 

Love the dancing of 42nd Street at Beef & Boards

If you love classic musicals live on stage get to Beef & Boards during the current run of 42nd Street. This Tony Award winning show has all of the elements that make Broadway musicals so entertaining: song, dance, romance, and did I say dance?

“We’re In The Money” is one of the highlights of the show

This production features newcomers to B&B as well as some of your favorites from past shows. Dan Bob Higgins plays Billy Lawlor along side of Mark Epperson playing the show manager. Sarah Hund is Dorthy Brock, an egotistical veteran actress. Kaylee Verble makes her B&B debut as the lead part of Peggy Sawyer, an aspiring gal from Allentown, Pennsylvania hoping to make it on Broadway.

You will recognize several of the songs in 42nd Street. “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me,” “Dames,” “We’re In the Money,” and “Shuffle Off to Buffalo” will get your feet tapping to the tunes. The dancing can be described as superb. The precision tap dances are some of the best I’ve seen.  “We’re In The Money” brought down the house. It was the best number I have  seen during years of enjoying Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre.

Ron Morgan’s choreography brings out the best in his dancers. Jill Kelly Howe’s costumes are stunning to see and Kristy Templet continues to amaze with the marvelous music from the small live orchestra. Hats off to the direction of Eddie Curry that brings it all together. 42nd Street is a joyful toe tapping treat!

42nd Street is on stage for through May 19. For reservations, call the box office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays. For complete show schedule, visit the Beef & Boards website.

Elf, The Musical at Beef and Boards Dinner Theatre

Santa gives Buddy a snow globe

We had a delightful evening at Beef & Boards Dinner Theatre with Elf, the Musical on stage. This is the first time in years for the popular Indy theater to not have a Christmas variety show. The choice of Elf, The Musical, however, gives patrons a wonderful celebration of the season.

Elf, The Musical is of course the story of a human raised by Santa’s North Pole Elves.  Buddy thinks he is an elf. But, when Buddy hears that he is human, Santa decides to send him to New York City to meet his human father. Thus the chaos begins. Dan Bob Higgins gave a remarkably energetic performance as Buddy. His character gushes with joy and happiness.  Higgins’ performance carries the show.

We enjoyed young Aiden Shurr, a 5th grader, who plays Michael Hobbs, Buddy’s younger brother. This young man did an admirable job both in song and line deliverance. Doug Stark both directs and fulfills his favorite role: Santa Claus. Christmas time at B&B would be incomplete without Stark’s Santa!

Jill Kelly Howe has again done an outstanding job on the costumes. She has successfully made gown actors become short elves. Clever, indeed. The lighting and set design works to enhance the production. Kristy Templet’s orchestra shines.

The show is filled with some great humor. We got a kick out of some great lines both traditional and contemporary. The Ron Morgan choreography gave the entire cast the chance to show off their dance talents.

Elf, The Musical runs  through December 31st. For reservations, you can call the box office at 317.872.9664 anytime between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays. For a complete show schedule, including information about the New Year’s Eve party, visit the Beef & Boards website.