A hint of something on the back burner

Dateline: Tue 04 Aug 2009

Is Oberweis a man-magnet?

Could be. Or maybe it just attracts youthful chefs looking for a home.

So there I was, sitting in Guy's Toyota truck, Oberweis plastered on the sides, passing time in the parking lot of the 21st Amendment Liquor Store at 56th and Illinois a couple weeks back. I had a fresh bottle of Russian vodka, and a fresh copy of NUVO. This was the remains of the day: scanning NUVO's Best Of issue (Best of blogs, tip of the hatto the top 3: My Old Kentucky Home, about music; Feed Me -- Drink Me, food and culture or lack thereof in Indy; and Bilerico, gay/lesbo etc. issues.)

 A young man appeared like a comet, filling up the shotgun window, leaning in, grinning -- green baseball cap, hair the color of Peter Pan, whiff of alcohol on his breath. He was like a son to me. (Inebriated, lazy, goofy.)

"Hey, I hope I'm not bothering you," he said. "But I noticed you have an Oberweis sign on your vehicle."

Great gambit. I mean, you're in sales, and the dream is to have them coming up to the truck and ASKING to get this great product delivered to their home.

He is into local food, he explained, and he likes Oberweis  -- (sales pitch insert here), a dairy which delivers its milk (in glass bottles, yet) to your door. The cows are all grass-fed animals living, as cows are meant to do, on small farms in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Oberweis, while relatively new to Indiana, is regional, and local food is a big healthy buzzword, and this guy made it clear he is into local food.

"I'm Neal Brown," he said, proffering a card.

OMG, he's famous. Neal Brown was THE CHEF and owner of the alas-now-defunct l'explorateur restaurant in Broad Ripple where, according to my kids, the ones who could afford to eat there, he did amazing things: prepared five course meals filled with culinary adventure and surprises, the like of which Indy has rarely seen, or eaten, if at all. Of course, it was too good: it had to end.

But he was as full of light and fire as that proverbial comet. Something new is coming, he hinted -- actually, he came right out and told me, but then he swore me to secrecy. "I have the biggest mouth in the city," he acknowledged, a trait I can respect.

Anyhow, he was on his way to celebrate the birthday of Indianapolis Monthly editor David Zivan at a party being given by the food bloggess diva Renee Wilmeth -- the FeedMe/DrinkMe girl -- and he couldn't chat any longer, had to run, etc. But he did plant the seed of curiosity and plowed the ground for some news to break, one of these days.

Like a French sauce, it will be ready when it is ready.

And it will be very fine. (And no, it's not so mundane as Neal Brown is opening a new restaurant, altho that may be in the offing, too. This is, like, bigger: think big).




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