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Saturday, February 4, 2023

January / February 2014

Evansville Living

Protein, Por Favor

My task was simple, yet challenging: Create a salad that doubled as an entrée. For me, the challenge was twofold. I didn’t want to just present a salad with a unique protein on top. I wanted to go with something that really incorporated all of the flavors of the dish into one profile. Since I enjoy and appreciate simplicity of execution with a slight “do it yourself” twist, I decided to go with a braised beef taco salad. Therein lies the twofold challenge: Braising is probably my least familiar cooking technique.

Going the Distance

Civilian couples often can plan their weddings according to their own schedules. Yet those who plan to marry while also serving in the military don’t have the same luxury. That’s why these couples often have two wedding celebrations. Newburgh, Ind., natives A.J. and Elizabeth Jackson did just that in 2012.

Here Comes the Bride

When Alex and Cam Elpers first met at a 7th and 8th grade dance, they knew they liked each other. However, it wasn’t until their junior year at Mater Dei High School that the couple began dating. Five years later, on June 29, 2013, they exchanged vows at St. Boniface Church on the West Side of Evansville in front of 400 friends and family members.

California Dreamin’

Michele and Jeff Blaize’s wedding literally stopped traffic. This was just one of the moments that made their casual, bohemian-inspired, California beach wedding special. A close friend of the couple led them and their roughly 50 wedding guests across the Pacific Coast Highway to the Santa Monica State Beach. The friend carried a homemade “here comes the bride” sign, made of a large piece of palm wood painted in bright blue. After knowing each other for 22 years, Michele and Jeff’s wedding on Oct. 12, 2013, was a dream come true.

In the Blink of an Eye

On March 30, 2013, 220 guests gathered at the Granary in New Harmony, Ind., to see Lindsey and Casey Jackson wed. With its largely wooden interior and grand chandeliers, the Granary was the perfect fit for the ceremony. Flowers and centerpieces by Gehlhausen Floral enhanced the beautiful setting. “I wanted to keep everything natural looking,” she says. “With how pretty New Harmony is, I wanted to keep everything pretty and simple with a rustic feel.”

Dressed in White

Six years ago, Andrea Whitehead was newly engaged, living in Toronto, and looking for her dream wedding dress. After a day spent browsing Toronto’s bridal boutiques, she left with not only the dress, but also the idea for her future dream job — to run her very own wedding boutique. Whitehead, a graduate of Indiana University and the International Academy of Design in Toronto, interned with a couture bridal designer. That later opened up the opportunity for jobs with two couture designers.

Pinning it Down

A whole new world of wedding planning continues to be available to future brides, thanks to the website Pinterest. This pin board style photo-sharing website has revolutionized the wedding industry, providing endless inspirations for wedding bouquets, invitations, cake toppers, gowns, and all things matrimony. You name it – there are bound to be countless pins for it.

Setting the Example

Some couples renew their wedding vows to celebrate a meaningful anniversary, while others use it as a symbol of moving past a rough patch in their marriage. No matter the reason or the timing of their decision to renew vows, vow renewals provide couples with a strong example of commitment, says Andrew Gries, marketing and web administrator at Community Marriage Builders, 1229 Bellemeade Ave. The nonprofit organization educates and equips the community for lasting marriages.

Destination: Bliss

What does your dream wedding look like? For many, the setting is an integral part of this picture. Last year, about 25 local couples planned destination weddings through Ambassador Travel. The most popular spots were Mexico, specifically the Riviera Maya, as well as Jamaica. However, as Connie Corbett, president of Ambassador Travel, points out, nearly any destination is possible. She’s heard of underwater weddings in the Bahamas and a wedding overlooking a volcano in Costa Rica, to cite a few of the more exotic choices available to couples.

Best of Both Worlds

There is just something incredible about the combined flavors of fresh fruit and fresh chocolate. This is how Stephen Libs explains his popular chocolate-covered grapes, a tasty treat that seems too good to be true. “It sounds kind of different,” Libs says. “But once you taste it, it’s surprisingly good.” The juicy red California seedless grapes doused in Stephen Libs Finer milk chocolates are a match made in heaven.

Eat at Bill’s

Bill Hughes seeks to make everyone who comes to his Owensboro, Ky., restaurant located at 420 Frederica St. feel at home. I saw that first hand when an older gentleman pulled up in a Lexus on a frigid late afternoon just after New Year’s Day. Bill, who was carrying a small child, motioned for the gentleman to come in. It was a few minutes before 5 p.m., and Bill’s Restaurant hadn’t officially opened for dinner. That didn’t matter. There are no formalities.

Best of the City

Eclectic restaurants, stylish shops, and the most interesting people you should know — in a city like ours, it’s hard to pick favorites. Yet every year, our readers cast their ballots, and we, the editors of Evansville Living, share some of their favorite go-to spots. Thanks for helping us present the 2014 Best of Evansville. (*Note: the Best of Evansville awards are not presented in rank or category order. We love all our winners equally.)

Overseeing the City

Mayor Lloyd Winnecke doesn’t spend a lot of time sitting in a car in traffic on his way to the office these days. Instead, his version of a commute is a brisk walk or bike ride. Turning left out the door of The Meridian Plaza on Main Street, where he and his wife, Carol McClintock, live on the fifth floor, the 53-year-old is one-third of a mile to the Evansville Civic Center Complex. Winnecke could drive down the Main Street Walkway, which has been open since 2002. Yet he makes this five-minute walk to his third floor office almost every single workday.

Chic Shops

Although Erin Morrison is the owner of two retail shops in Newburgh, Ind., surprisingly, her passion is not for fashion. While she does love the niche fashion business, what she truly is passionate about is the authentic and enjoyable shopping experience that her stores, Flutter and Flutter Girl, have to offer women and girls.

Bring it On

More than 18 miles of hiking trails weren’t going to stop them. Nor were the cold November rain or the 25-pound rucksacks and frames on their backs. Instead, the 530 ROTC cadets and soldiers from 30 states said: “Bring it on.”

High Falutin’ Boats

Question: Could riverboats like the American Queen again dock at Evansville’s Dress Plaza?

Real People. Real Stories.

At Tucker Publishing Group, almost every one of us has a story relating to a family member or a friend who has suffered from multiple heart attacks, a quintuple coronary artery bypass surgery, or a congenital heart defect.

It’s About Time

For those of you who made a resolution to spend more time on crafts this year, this easy clock project is a great place to start. It’s great for beginners and seasoned crafters alike. The wood block offers up a blank canvas for your creativity, so the sky is the limit. To start your project, it’s helpful to mock up a color block design so that you know which acrylic paint colors you need to purchase. Then you’ll need to take a trip to the craft store to get supplies.

Distill My Heart

When Michael Erwin traveled to all seven distilleries on the Bourbon Trail throughout south central Kentucky last February, he realized he didn’t want it to end. After searching unsuccessfully for a local club, Erwin decided to create his own. He started first with a Facebook group called “The Evansville Bourbon Society” before a surge of popularity convinced him to take the group offline last June.

Dinner and a Show

Christin Pelsor was an opera singer in college who turned chef. When she couldn’t choose one passion over the other, she asked, “Why not do both?” The 27-year-old decided to incorporate the love she has for singing and cooking into her own personalized chef service, Music to Your Mouth, where Pelsor prepares dinner and performs a vocal recital for clients.

Center of Attention

Coming Home

Michael Rosenbaum’s high school experience wasn’t what you might expect from the star of the television show “Smallville.” A graduate of Castle High School in Newburgh, Ind., Rosenbaum, 41, says he wasn’t popular in high school, didn’t go on a lot of dates, and was the smallest kid in the building. Recently, he had the chance to go back and be what he never could be. “This character is supposed to have played football,” Rosenbaum says. “In moviemaking, you can be whoever you want to be. It was magical.”

Editor's Letter

Start with Art

One of the greatest pleasures of editing this magazine is connecting with people living in all corners of Evansville and across Southwestern Indiana and Western Kentucky. I’m continually motivated by the talent, creativity, and zeal our communities hold.

Chew On This

Chew On This

Jason’s Deli (943 N. Green River Road) serves sandwiches, salads, and other healthy meals with fresh ingredients and no artificial trans fats, MSG, or high fruc- tose corn syrup. Open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day. Little Italy (4430 N. First Ave.) in North Park Shopping Center serves Italian and Mediterranean pizzas, soups, salads, pasta, chicken, and sandwiches. Open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mon.-Sat. Mama’s Kitchen (1624 N. Green River Road) is inside Aihua Oriental Market. It serves stir-fried dishes and soups. Open 11 a.m.

Check It Out

Back In Time

In an evening inspired by the international hit PBS series “Masterpiece Theatre Downton Abbey,” WNIN Tri-State Public Media invites guests to go back in time to the era of the Titanic and the onset of the Roaring 20s. “Downton Abbey,” the most popular drama in the history of PBS, depicts the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the post-Edwardian era.

Divine Dancing

When the elegant dancers that make up Shen Yun grace the stage of the Aiken Theatre at The Centre, 715 Locust St., at 7 p.m. on Jan. 28-29, Evansville residents will see a rare performance. Translated from Chinese to mean “the beauty of heavenly beings dancing,” Shen Yun blends aerial martial arts techniques with authentic classical Chinese dance to bring ancient myths and legends to life in vivid detail.

A Seat at the Table

Harold West, 54, isn’t your typical Home Depot lumber sales associate. Eight years ago, he lost his trucking license and, as a result, his job in demolition. Harold soon found himself without a job or home. Fortunately, he also had found the United Caring Shelter, which provides people like Harold with three meals a day and a bed to sleep on at night. The shelter also provides guidance and support to help people secure a new job and to resume living independently. The shelter had Harold organize its basement, which was “in bad shape” before he lived there.

Cheap Eats

Rolled up Right

In the past year, Pita Pit owner Nick Conati has introduced Evansville to a new kind of pita. These sandwiches, similar to a big walking burrito, begin with Lebanese flatbread prepared solely for Pita Pit by a private baker. These fresh-to-order pitas can be enjoyed on either a white or wheat pita, or served as a salad, referred to as fork style. Located at 1211 Tutor Lane, the restaurant has a menu with suggested toppings and sauces for each pita. Yet each pita sandwich can be completely customized to satisfy customers’ tastes.

Encyclopedia Evansvillia

Twin Peeks

It is always interesting to find cousins who resemble one another. Longtime Evansville residents who pass by, or find reasons to be inside, the historic Old Post Office and Customs House on Second Street in Downtown Evansville will be surprised to learn this magnificent structure has a cousin in Pittsfield, Mass. Located in The Berkshires area of New England, the Berkshire Athenaeum building houses the public library as well a Herman Melville memorial room. The author, most famous for “Moby Dick,” spent 13 years of his life in Pittsfield.

Digging In

Cold Comfort

Winter arrived earlier than usual in the Tri-State this year, yet most plants that grow and thrive in this area are accustomed to the changing seasons. As cold weather approaches, the plants go dormant for the winter months and begin to grow again when temperatures start rising in the spring. Still, winter can damage plants, and that damage can be visible in the spring.

Community Partners

Coming Full Circle

Doros and Ellada Hadjisavva know what it’s like to ask for help from others. When their infant son, Yiorgos, was diagnosed with bacterial meningitis in 2007, Louisville’s Ronald McDonald House provided the Cyprus natives with temporary shelter and support while their now-healthy 7-year-old received medical care.


The Living Record

Much of Evansville Living is devoted to those who live and breathe among us. We write about those who add to life, who change it, who improve it for all. Yet many people have an impact that lasts well beyond their last breath. They battled cancer, like Katie Schwenk, inspiring others to face challenges with courage. They stood their ground in war, like J. Douglas Knight Sr., and pledged to aid others if they survived. Like Thomas W. Traylor, they helped build companies that provide jobs and offer others opportunities for growth.

Branson or Bust

Don’t typecast Branson, Mo. Though its Ozark mountain beauty, down-home attitude, entertainment galore, and unabashed love for God and country have been the town’s calling card for six decades, I learned on a trip in October that Branson, which hosts nearly 8 million visitors each year, holds many surprises.


A Creative Calling

As children, we were told not to play in the mud. For artist Lisa Heichelbech, digging up clay on the horse farm she grew up on was the creative inspiration that has led her to a successful career as a ceramic artist. The 44-year-old Evansville resident and graduate of North High School was mentored and influenced by Jon Siau, her high school art teacher. “With his encouragement, I chose to focus more on my art and he even gave up his planning time to create more advanced art courses for me during my senior year,” Heichelbech says.

Screen Scream

Owensboro filmmaker P.J. Starks didn’t get into making movies to change other people’s lives. The 31-year-old simply enjoyed what he was doing. The rest just fell into place. Starks’ first feature film “Hallows Eve: Slaughter on Second Street” premiered to an audience of more than 200 people on Halloween 2008 at the Owensboro Community and Technical College.


Book Smart

Joey Goebel was 24 when he decided he was going to write his version of the Great American Novel. Democrat John Kerry had just lost the 2004 presidential election to Republican George W. Bush, “and I thought, man, I need to write a political novel.” More than three years later, he gave readers “Commonwealth,” the third of his four books, which attempts to dramatize the American class struggle.

Artful Living

Framing Success

They say you get what you give. Yet it’s Jay Hill who received the most from a simple gift to his parents in 1976. That’s when he turned a hobby into a 35-year-old custom framing business in Newburgh, Ind., with his wife, Norma. Riverwind Gallery is one of the largest art and custom framing galleries in Indiana. Offering roughly 3,000 square feet of display space, the gallery located at 10400 Indiana 662 (also known as Newburgh Road) sells thousands of framed and unframed art pieces on site and through its online store.