Every day at all of El Nopal’s locations, cooks whip up fresh batches of salsa, chips, and beans. The sauces and sides accent chicken or beef chimichangas, handmade tamales, and nachos smothered in cheese. All El Nopal locations offer complimentary chips and salsa with every meal, and some locations have outdoor seating areas. Performances by live bands at select locations serve as a pleasant distraction from meals, unlike a judge with highfalutin ideas about not eating in court.
Situated across from Indiana's former state capitol building, within walking distance of many unique shops, antique malls, and historic sites, Magdalena's is the perfect spot to relax and unwind while sampling savory café fare and sipping delicious java drinks. Comprised of both a full-service eatery and coffeehouse, Magdalena's boasts an extensive lunch, dinner, and drink menu. Warm up taste engines with grilled portabella mushrooms, marinated in pesto, olive oil, and garlic and topped with caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, and melted swiss ($8.99). Once primed, try one of Magdalena's signature sandwiches and burgers, such as the cranberry walnut chicken salad croissant ($8.99) or the Minnesota melt, a grilled burger buried in a sautéed avalanche of onion, monterey-jack cheese, and sliced jalapenos ($7.99). Dig incisor shovels into the prime-rib pasta with asparagus ($16.99), or get stuck in the greenatational pull of an herbivore-friendly dish, such as the creamy vegetable lasagna ($12.99). Arid maws can find aqueous reprive at Magdalena's Café on the Square, a coffeehouse serving up freshly brewed coffee, espresso, and specialty drinks made from 100% locally roasted Arabica coffee beans. Grab a hot, iced, or frozen brew and settle in at one of the café's cozy leather sofas, or pod-people watch on the outdoor patio, which overlooks the town square.
A third-generation family pharmacy established in 1952, Butt Drugs keeps regulars coming back with an old-fashioned soda fountain and friendly service. Treat-seekers and rogue dentists can pick up a variety of gourmet confections, such as homemade marshmallows covered in caramel—known as modjeskas ($8/lb)—or tuxedo espresso beans covered in white and dark chocolate ($8.95/lb). The shop's own line of novelty apparel lets fans show support for a local institution and amass raised eyebrow glances by donning an "I Love Butt Drugs" T-shirt ($9.95) or hooded sweatshirt ($18.95). With a reliable pharmacy and cheap cups of fresh hot coffee ($0.35) at the barstool-lined soda fountain, many locals make Butt Drugs a regular daily stop.
While Daniel Boone busied himself gallivanting about the wilderness in search of the perfect hat, his brother led a much more peaceful life. Squire Boone surrounded himself with caverns filled with waterfalls and stalagmites and a tranquil pioneer village. Now named for him, Squire Boon Caverns and Village not only accommodates tours deep within its caves, but high above its forested floor through Squire Boone Caverns Zipline Course.
Designed for ages seven and older, each 90- to 120-minute treetop trip begins on the ground for a brief training session and equipment fitting. Once snugly secured in full body harnesses and adequately disguised as squirrels, participants embark on journeys that climb up to five stories above terra firma. Tours traverse a swinging suspension bridge and glide on six ziplines over the caverns and village, as well as acres of neighboring forests and ravines.
While training at New York City’s French Culinary Institute, pastry chef Claudia DeLatorre learned that making incredible desserts often involves many steps but rarely many preservatives. At her bakery, Cake Flour, creations range from simple savories such as cheese scones to fancy, French-inspired sweets such as mini tarts and petits fours. Though their recipes differ, eschewal of artificial sweeteners and hydrogenated oils brings them together in a NuLu District shop teeming with the scents of cinnamon and toasted nuts. Certified organic ingredients such as unbromated flour, unbleached sugar, and free-range eggs infuse goodies with more flavor and freshness than a rapping watermelon.
Determined to serve the most memorable baked goods her customers have ever tasted, Claudia and her team craft each goodie from scratch, plucking rosemary from the shop’s garden to spice fresh focaccia and mixing rich ganache to glaze a flourless chocolate cake that’s been featured on the Food Network. In addition to building bite-size confections for Cake Flour’s bakery case, Claudia designs more than 600 types of wedding cake and tailors treats to the needs of vegan and gluten-free diners. To shrink the bakery’s carbon footprint, she paints its walls with low-VOC paints and pours steaming coffee into compostable cups insulated with corn-based linings, not diamond-stuffed long johns.
Joe’s OK Bayou claims to be “da best Cajun,” but there’s also a humility to the enterprise—starting with the playful name and extending to decor that alludes to a low-country shack with a sheet-metal awning and rough wooden walls. Home-style cooking comes naturally to owner Joe Wheatley, whose father farmed grain and raised hogs before opening similarly rustic restaurant The Feed Mill with other members of the family in a former feed-storage building.
Since 1995, Joe and his team have striven to introduce Louisiana flavors to a northern audience, seasoning crawfish étouffée and chicken-and-sausage gumbo with spices that are bold but not painfully hot. Visiting in 2008, the Courier-Journal’s Marty Rosen found that this mission succeeded, with “bold, accessible flavors, friendly, quick service and extremely affordable prices.” He also found oysters “big and glossy with fine, firm textures—as fresh-tasting as any I've eaten along the Louisiana or Alabama coasts” on the menu’s wide selection of simply prepared coastal creatures—fried gator tails, catfish filets, and frog legs among them. Abita beers, the star of the drinks menu, hail appropriately from Louisiana, and join wines and other domestic and imported brews at the full bar.