Fields. That’s all I saw on my 20- minute drive from Downtown Evansville through the neighboring Indiana town of Poseyville. I had high expectations for my restaurant destination (I had scanned the well-designed website just before leaving), but with each passing cornfield I began to think my GPS had failed me. It hadn’t. At the moment the screen showed a black-and-white checkered flag indicating my arrival, I saw it.
January / February 2012
If only it were this easy! The redesign of Evansville Living, which you’ve just perused (unless you are among the two percent of magazine readers who read back to front) was an arduous exercise illustrated by this photograph of font combinations of our nameplate placed on Evansville Living covers. If the word font (typestyles) and nameplate (our logo) aren’t part of your daily lexicon, worry not.
It’s easy to get to know Evansville. The city is easy-going, congenial, and straightforward. We’re also informed and happy to share what we like best about the place we call home. Here are the favorites of the city – 43 top picks by readers and editors of Evansville Living. *The Best of Evansville is numbered, not ranked. We love all the winners equally.*
What we are really into right now:
I’m from Wisconsin, which makes me qualified to know two things: how to eat cheese and how to drive in the snow. Yet the latter doesn’t make me a car buff, so last fall, I took a free class at Lefler Collision & Glass, a body shop, to learn proper maintenance on my 2005 Ford Taurus.
For too many folks, Columbus, Ind., is a city to drive through en route to Indianapolis (on one of our too-long routes to the state capital, until Interstate 69 is complete) or to the shopper’s bonanza, Edinburgh Premium Outlets. My advice: Slow down, take exit 68 onto the Front Door Bridge, and spend a day in this architectural mecca. Better still, spend a few days and slumber at the Inn at Irwin Gardens.
Later this year, Haynie’s Corner Art Festival — a mammoth show covering Evansville’s arts district with painters, sculptors, craftsmen, artisans, and musicians — will turn 10. Another spectacle, the Midwest Dragon Boat Racing Festival, will put teams in long dragon-headed canoes for muscle-draining races. The man behind both parties is Jamie Morris, the resource development director of the Boys & Girls Club of Evansville.
Just when we were learning to manage Facebook and Twitter, another website has emerged to occupy our time (under the guise of research) — Pinterest. Pinterest is an invitation-only social website (you can request an invitation at pinterest.com) that allows you to share things you like — primarily products, fashion, creative ideas, home décor, and motivational messages — by “pinning” images to an electronic “board.”
“I’m not moving north of the Mason-Dixon Line!” I declared when my husband Scott proposed that we relocate to the Evansville area several years ago. I’m a diehard Southerner, yet now live north of that famous dividing line — in Newburgh, Ind., overlooking the Ohio River and the riverbank of northern Kentucky, a stone’s throw from the Civil War border. In fact, as we’ve learned, Newburgh was the first northern town captured during the Civil War, falling without a shot fired.
After months of planning, three local couples recently said their “I do’s.” Here, the newlyweds share how they made their wedding day unique and personal. Maria and Shane Smith of Killeen, Texas (Maria formerly lived in Evansville) Married June 4, 2011, at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Evansville with a reception at Oak Meadow Country Club
Weddings are expensive. This is not news to anyone with a daughter older than 18. When I proposed to my then-girlfriend Megan last summer, I learned that lesson the hard way. Megan wanted the marriage part of the proposal; she could have done without the wedding ceremony. But I convinced her the white dress, the flowers, and the open bar were all parts of a day we would cherish for our lifetime. Soon I realized the money we needed to save and what we needed to sacrifice. I panicked. Then, Megan became the voice of optimism.
At a certain age, weddings become your life. That happened to me last summer when I celebrated my wedding, my friend’s wedding, and my sister-in-law’s wedding. All of them deserved a bridal shower, and I didn’t want to experience the same shower three times in less than three months. We relied on themes that reflected each bride’s personality and style. We brought each one to life with coordinated invitations, party decorations, themed food and drinks, and fabulous favors. Here, three parties for inspiration. ShamRocked!
The day before my wedding last summer, my godmother hosted a beautiful bridal luncheon for me at Just Rennie’s, a gourmet bistro Downtown. My closest female friends and family members passed around a gold, tasseled rope. As the rope reached each guest, she tied it in a knot and shared wishes for me. Their messages were heartfelt and appreciated. However, no one gave me advice on how to be a great bride. As a newlywed, I offer some simple thoughts to the lady of the day.
To host a memorable Super Bowl party, the easiest route to a touchdown is via your kitchen. Perfect finger food can stand out amid the cheese dips, wings, and meatballs of the world.
Last March, St. Louis native Nick Weisenborn transformed a Newburgh snack shack in a grocery store parking lot to provide locals with gourmet entrees sans the pricey tab. Inside the 11-by-22 red hut known as Steak & Take Grill, Weisenborn multitasks by taking orders, maintaining the grill, preparing sauces, and tossing salads. Weisenborn, a former chef at Madeleine’s and the departed Firefly Southern Grill, is now a one-man show except on the weekends when business is so hectic that orders may take an hour.
Sweet Baby Cheeses – In Eastland Mall next to Chick-fil-A sits a sunny yellow and orange corner eatery with a sandwich menu. The counter space that once served gooey Cinnabon confections now is covered with flat iron grills that press out more than 10 different cheesy sandwiches and melts. The menu varies from the classic grilled Velveeta cheese on white to a more sophisticated shroomer with portabello mushrooms, spinach, and provolone thinly pressed between two large triangles of crunchy sunflower bread.
Red pens — we burn through them. We agonize over each comma, verb mood, and every tool line in this magazine. We pore over more than 1,000 photos to select about 150 just-right pictures that make it onto our pages. We spend hours directing food photography — as if the food will actually do something — and drive our photographers crazy with demands of our subjects (“Tell her to look at the camera and smile!”). We completely sweat every word on the cover (“Does it have a purpose? Is it an active, positive word?”).
Chew On This
Mojo’s BoneYard Sports Bar & Grille (4920 Bellemeade Ave.) opened on the East Side in the former Ollies Sports Bar. The building has served as a historical landmark in Evansville since 1977, when renowned businessman and gambler Ray Ryan was killed by a car bomb in the parking lot. Now, Mojo’s owners Jeremy and Tiffany Wynn offer sports bar fare including chicken wings, Philly cheese steaks, and their specialty, the steam burger.
Check It Out
In Covington, Ky., Steve Roenker and Jean St. John head a program dedicated to clowns. My Nose Turns Red Theatre Company, a nonprofit organization founded by Roenker and St. John, was formed with the idea of using art to create laughter. Roenker, who is a Kentucky Arts Council roster artist with more than 30 years of experience performing and teaching, began his organization as a mime company in 1980 out of Lexington, Ky., but changed it to center around clown theatrics. He wanted a more interactive show between the audience and performer. That was the draw for both Roenker and St. John.
Every February since 2003, people wearing skimpy swimsuits, skintight athletic wear, or crazy costumes all have jumped into a Tri-State lake on the same day. Sometimes, before they plunged into the frigid water, ice needed to be broken. Firefighters in protective temperature suits floated in the water, and an EMT sat nearby in case the icy water did more to divers than turn their skin blue.
For more than 35 years, retired University of Evansville chaplain Dr. R. Wayne Perkins and his wife Sally have amassed hundreds of commemorative pieces pertaining to John Wesley, the 18th century Anglican evangelist and theologian credited with founding Methodism.
If country music legend Reba McEntire wasn’t enough for Evansvillians last November when the Ford Center opened, then the younger legend-in-the-making Lady Antebellum might be. The country music trio (Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood) has won six Grammy Awards, and their voices — a harmonious blend — are major factors for their success. Their last album, Need You Now, was a mega hit. It was the second best-selling album of 2010.
In the dining area of the North Side’s EVSC Southern Indiana Career and Technical Center, crisp white tablecloths and cloth napkins suggest formal dining, but this is no stuffy atmosphere. Three days a week, it’s a hands-on learning experience for high school culinary arts students who are taught by chef Ed Ellis how to whip up everything from muffins and pastries to entrees, soups, salads, and more for the 40-plus patrons who enjoy lunch in the restaurant.
World War II fueled Evansville’s economic prosperity well into the 1950s, and the expanding population led to a major increase in citywide student enrollment. Two new high schools were born to help ease overcrowding. The public institution was William Henry Harrison High School, which continues to shape students’ lives today. (A new football stadium opened in 2011 for the Warriors.) The other high school, Rex Mundi, opened on the North Side, where retail shops and houses were exploding.
Winter is a great time to think about spring. When I was a kid, we power-trimmed our shrubs into harsh geometric shapes. But in my horticulture classes I learned this landscaping method is not only outdated, but also bad for a plant’s health. I learned to understand the plants I would one day design into a landscape, and most of them are not naturally box, ball, or cone shaped.
Unlike most winter days in the Tri-State, the morning of Thurs., Feb. 6, 1992, dawned clear, warm, and calm. It was a good day to fly, thought Bob Working, manager of Evansville Regional Airport. Two miles down the road, 21-year-old Brian Foronda wasn’t thinking much about the weather. He was working in the kitchen of JoJo’s Restaurant at U.S. Highway 41 and Lynch Road.
On a recent fall trip to Hot Springs, Ark., I met several people who either moved there to reinvent themselves, or were locals who found the diversity of this Ouachita mountain region in southwest Arkansas too appealing to stay in the same life.
When Jaws and Star Wars debuted in the late 1970s, Kentucky natives Neil Kellen and Lewis D. Chaney became hooked on the film industry. The pair individually spent their childhood making home movies and used their siblings and family members as actors and crew. They wanted to make careers telling stories visually, and in early 2000, Kellen and Chaney met while working at Henderson, Ky.’s, former WEHT News25.
As soon as Matt Rowe could drive, he headed to the Evansville Museum of Arts, History and Science. The 16-year-old student attended exhibition openings and developed a love affair with the culture found within the walls of the 1950s-built facility.
Sara K. Rhoades’ grandfather-in-law Albert had a labor-intensive factory job. In 1984, he retired early, bought a Winnebago with his wife Virginia, and toured the Southwest looking for rocks. The stones became jewelry, made by the couple who had a lifelong passion for fine crafts.
Peanut butter cookie fans rejoice! This recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook offers everything we could hope for — four ingredients, simple instructions, and intense peanut buttery taste. Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies From The Gourmet Cookbook Makes approximately 3 dozen cookies • 1 cup natural peanut butter, smooth or crunchy • 1 cup sugar • 1 egg • 1 teaspoon baking soda
To show how stories in our Jan/Feb 2012 issue fit into the broader context of world events, this edition of Link Up brings the Internet to you. No Google search required.
When Herbert "Flight Time" Lang first saw the Harlem Globetrotters live in 1998, he was playing with them on the hardwood as part of the show. His audition tape had been a virtual highlight reel of his college basketball career at Centenary College of Louisiana — spinning the ball on his finger tips, averaging 18 points per game, performing monstrous slam dunks.