Ambrosia Bella is a cozy escape for those who crave fresh-made desserts, café fare, and rich espresso hidden beneath a cap of foam. Co-owners Miranda Hartwell and Ben Lamson, a former Marine who doubles as Ambrosia's executive chef, take care to keep their restaurant relaxed and slightly whimsical. Drawing on a catering background with the Food Network and charitable catering events for Rosie O'Donnell and FEMA, Miranda and Ben prepare a rustic-hewn menu for breakfast, lunch, and snacks, with refined accents such as champagne vinaigrette and garlic-truffle cream cheese.
After sinking teeth into a few crab-cake sliders, guests can thank Ambrosia Bella for its contributions to the Steuben County Animal Shelter, or solicit Ben to craft a bone-shaped danish to feed the dogs, cats, and tiny humans within all of our hearts.
After greasing the Slip 'n Slide with vegetable oil and shedding winter's fluffy bathrobe and insulated socks, the best way to celebrate summer's arrival is with a handful of velvety-soft frozen custard. The Ritter's menu features a wide variety of rotating flavors, including everything from the vanilla and chocolate classics to the fruit-based favorites such as blueberry and strawberry Italian ice to creations such as Boston crème pie and peanut butter. Order a cone of the flavor du jour ($2.29 and up), or opt for a signature Glacier ($3.19 and up), which is Ritter's frozen custard mixed with your topping(s) of choice and served upside down to confuse your already delicate perception of reality and emphasize the delicacy's extreme thickness. If a list of 25+ toppings dizzies your decision-making noodle, submit your fate to the friendly ice-cream slingers and opt for a signature sundae with pre-designed toppings ($3.99) such as the turtle sundae, a frozen-custard mountain capped with hot fudge, hot caramel, and whipped cream and crowned with butter-toasted pecans and a cherry. Celebrate your newfound superpowers and exploit your nemeses' weaknesses for bananas and chocolate with a banana split ($4.79).
Every shot at Lake James Golf Club demands careful consideration. The tricky 18-hole course pits players against rolling terrain, water hazards, and strategically placed sand traps. Four tee boxes cater to players of varying abilities, with the back tees elongating play to more than 6,600 yards and the front tees measuring out to about 5,200 yards. Study up before you swing by with their course photos.
After respective careers as a research scientist and an educator, Larry and Pam Satek were ready to settle into retirement. They anticipated relaxing on the plot of land purchased by Pam's great-grandfather in 1915—a verdant space that had matured from an apple orchard into an overgrown tangle, and which the Sateks turned into a commercial vineyard where other Indiana wineries bought their grapes. Now that they had escaped the daily grind, the Sateks' plan was to begin crafting their own wine. They did so with well-recognized aplomb, and soon, their "retirement business" was winning awards at the INDY International Wine Competition. In the past three years, almost 80% of their wines have medaled—the 2012 contest alone landed them 23 awards, including two Concordance Golds, which signify a unanimous decision by the judges. Their success is hardly surprising, though, if one looks at the descriptions of their wines. They deem their Old Vine red zinfandel "a searing of lightning and poetry," and liken the sweet Mango Mania to "sunshine in your glass."
The Sateks remain continually tapped into the community in an effort to share these wines, many of which are made from exclusively locally grown fruit. Their Twitter feed and Facebook page keep fans posted regarding new releases and suddenly sold-out varieties, and those hoping for a closer look can take a tour of the vineyard and bottling facilities. Additionally, special events such as dinners and pairing classes teach visitors how to expertly marry sips to bites without disappointing both of their families.
Mulligans Restaurant and Pub whisks palates on a cross-country journey with American fare inspired by New York's steak houses, Louisiana's shrimp boats, and fishing trips in the Florida Keys. Steaks come in 8-, 10-, or 12-ounce cuts, which can be marinated, char-grilled, or slathered in seasonings. Shrimp swim toward tables in coconut breading or stilt-walk through pastas on Cajun-spiced skewers. Diners can supplement bites with sips or hour-long swishes from the full bar, which includes an extensive martini and wine selection.