Girls Weekend in Hamilton County (part 2) | chicago foodie girl

1.30.2018

Girls Weekend in Hamilton County (part 2)

In case you missed it, check out my post on our first day in Hamilton County here

While I would like to say Diana and I woke up the next morning ready to jump right into the second day of exploring Hamilton County, quite honestly, we were exhausted (as we stayed up far too late), slightly hungover, and in desperate need of caffeine. Thankfully, the lovely ladies over at Visit Hamilton County seemed to have known that would happen, as the first stop on our agenda was exactly what we needed to get us going (and to shake our post-cookie and booze haze from the previous evening!). Once we finally managed to make ourselves presentable, we headed back to Carmel for breakfast at Eggshell Bistro, a ridiculously charming and quaint café known for serving some of the best coffee in the state.

Open since 2011, the globally inspired Eggshell Bistro is one of those local gems you want to tell everyone about (because it's so fantastic), but you also want to keep to yourself (because it's so lovely you don't want to have to share it with the masses). Owner/chef/designer Larry Hanes is the genius behind this amazing spot - he has a background in graphic design and applies his innovative approach to the space itself, as well as to his thoughtfully prepared versions of classic dishes. The relaxed and intimate space encourages diners to slow down, sit back, and linger over a cup of their exceptional and painstaking prepared Four Barrel Coffee.

Diana and I both fell in love with the cute and eclectic space the moment we walked through the door. Everywhere you turn, there's a new treasure to discover, like the 1900s gas-powered crêpe maker, the Kyoto cold drip coffee maker, the table legs from a speakeasy in upstate New York, and the numerous antique serving trays.

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Hanes' menu reflects not only his artistic background but also his family's influence and his travels; his dishes showcase flavors from places such as Morocco, Spain, Italy, and France, along with locally curated ingredients.


The standout of the meal was this impeccable Rosemary Ham and Gruyere Tart. The crust was so flaky and buttery... and the flavors?! *Swoon!* I savored every single tiny bit of this earthy and cheesy tart - it was one of those meals that I didn't want to end.

After lingering over breakfast (we both wanted to move in there!), we headed over to The Wire Factory to check out Carmel's winter farmers market, which hosts over sixty vendors featuring Indiana grown or produced edible products and plants each week. As soon as we walked through the door, we were immediately transfixed by the beautiful freshly baked artisan German bread from Brotgarten. Pro tip: get to the market early to snag some bread, as they tend to sell out quickly!

We also loved the jams, jellies, and the fantastic caramel pumpkin macarons from One of a Kind.

Along with numerous jars of Bananas Fosters, Meyer Lemon Lavender, and Raspberry Rose Hibiscus jams/jellies from One of a Kind, I picked up several of the flavorful pasta and sauce offerings from Nicole-Taylor's Pasta and Market (the red wine pasta and the bucatini are both 👌👌).

We left the farmers market with a massive haul and headed back to Noblesville to check out the historic downtown area. A blend of modern amenities and old-fashioned Midwestern charm, downtown Noblesville is one of those places in which you can spend all afternoon wandering through the charming antique shops and noshing your way through the blocks of cute restaurants and cafés.

For lunch, we stopped at Rosie’s Place, a bustling family-owned café featuring Midwestern-inspired fare. It was absolutely packed, but luckily, we were able to snag the last open outdoor table overlooking the courthouse square (check out that cool Second Empire architecture!). I ordered the perfectly balanced and delicious Black Goat Sandwich: roast turkey, whipped goat cheese, blackberry preserves, and baby spinach on multigrain bread. I don't usually gush over sandwiches, but this one? Holy YES! We also grabbed a few of their highly recommended Gooey Butter Cookies (little morsels of straight up ooey gooey buttery cookie heaven) for the trip home. I was kicking myself when I got back to Chicago for not buying more until I discovered I can order them. Crisis averted!

After exploring the downtown area a bit more, we popped by Noble Coffee & Tea, a small batch artisan roaster offering over a dozen of their own single-origin and coffee blends, along with a host of local treats and goods.


It was one of those unseasonably hot days, so we both gravitated toward their frozen coffees and teas; I especially enjoyed their Chocolate Chai, a smooth and creamy blend of spicy chai and rich chocolate.

While we were primarily in Hamilton County to check out the food scene, we also wanted to take in as much fall goodness as possible, so once we finished with our downtown explorations, we headed out to Stonycreek Farm for the Pumpkin Harvest Festival. Rated one of the top fall festivals in Indiana, the 1860s era farm offers a range of activities, shopping, food... and the cutest pumpkin trees!

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Although we were both totally stuffed from our afternoon of eating, we couldn't leave without sampling their frozen apple cider and roasted corn (how much more fall can you get?!).



Once we had our fill of fall fun, we took some much-needed downtime/stomach recovery time in order to prepare for our meat extravaganza at Big Hoffa’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que, a popular pirate-themed BBQ in Westfield. Rated the best BBQ in Indiana, owner Adam Hoffman is serving up seriously flavorful meat smoked anywhere from 12 hours (pork ribs) to 30 hours (beef brisket). We kicked off our meal with the Hoffanator: seasoned fries topped with mac & cheese, baked beans, pulled pork, barbecue sauce, and ranch dressing. Just a few bites in, we immediately understood why the Hoffanator is one of the most popular dishes (it actually has a bit of a cult following!)... it was like all of our primal needs for sweet, salty, and meaty blended together in one glorious pile of deliciousness. 

We also sampled the Buccaneer, Big Hoffa’s flagship sandwich: half-pound of pork piled high on a garlic butter bun with a sweet and smoky sauce, topped with seasoned fries, coleslaw, and ranch dressing. Needless to say, we were both totally meat drunk at the end of this meal!



Lest you thought we ate enough previous day, we still had two more stops to go the next morning before heading back to Chicago! We swung back to Carmel for brunch at the trendy Café Patachou, owned by sustainable food pioneer, philanthropist, and James Beard Award semifinalist Martha Hoover. Diana ordered the fresh and light Ora-King Smoked Salmon Bagel with tomatoes, cream cheese, and red onions...

...while I continued my meat fest with the juicy Café Burger topped with sharp cheddar cheese and fresh veggies on a buttery bun.




We had spent a good 15 minutes staring at all of the beautiful cakes at the bakery counter while waiting for our table, so of course, we couldn't leave without sampling at least a slice. Their super rich and moist German Chocolate Cake was absolutely one of the best versions I've ever had!



Our last stop in Hamilton County was The Quirky Feather Confectionery, an adorable dessert and coffee shop owned by two sisters. True to its name, the shop is filled with all sorts of cutesy and quirky details, including plenty of bright colors, book nooks, oversized fluffy chairs, and funky art.

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Their delectable S'mores Blondie was definitely a winner - it was absolutely as good as it looked!


Rumored to be the best in the state, I can firmly say their exceptionally well-done Chocolate Chip Cookies (with three different types of chocolate chips) are a must-order. Such a perfect ending to our girls weekend in Hamilton County!

ETA: The Quirky Feather has closed.

Disclosure: I received a complimentary trip and services to facilitate this post. Review and all opinions are my own. 

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