Fall — the perfect time of year for a weekend getaway. I prefer going to the country where there are winding roads lined with trees bursting with color, finding unique shops, orchards, and of course, wine-tasting.
My husband, Dave, and I visited Brown County, Ind., several weeks ago. I wrote a column about our adventure. Today, I’ll continue with exciting places to visit if you travel to Brown County.
One of the largest distilleries in the area is Hard Truth Hills Distillery and tasting restaurant.
We chose to visit its restaurant, Big Woods, located in 325 acres of wooded hills. The drive — naturally — included winding roads through the forest. The restaurant is a log cabin where guests may dine indoors or out on their deck to enjoy the spectacular views.
The ambiance is beautiful and relaxing. The chairs are made of branches, the dining area is large, roomy, and comfortable; very inviting.
Big Woods produces their own vodka, gin, and rum as well as their line of craft beers, Quaff ON. We each started off with one of their Hard Truth spirit signature drinks; I chose the bacon bloody Mary with their vodka, Cholula hot sauce, lemon, Zing Zing bloody mary mix, and bacon. It was pretty spicy, and I did tear up a bit. Dave, the beer snob, wanted a craft beer.
We ordered their signature appetizer, pulled pork nachos and brewers wings. I can see why the nachos are their best seller — house-smoked pulled pork, black beans, fresh tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, and sweet corn drizzled with barbecue sauce and homemade peppercorn ranch dressing. Fantastic.
The wings were delicious – they are marinated in a chile rub, then smoked in-house over a hickory wood fire. The dipping sauces included a choice of barbecue, za’atar, and honey, triple threat, chipotle lime barbecue, or Buffalo.
Another bestselling item is the farmhouse salad made Artisan greens, tomato, carrots, onion, cucumber with six foot blonde vinaigrette or the creamy poblano goddess vinaigrette. The vinaigrettes are outstanding.
I ordered one of their local favorites – fish and chips. They use fresh haddock fillets dipped in their six foot blonde tempura batter and served with its homemade tartar sauce. These are unique because they are prepared campfire style in foil wrap. It was delicious.
It was not over breaded or dry. Our server suggested adding a touch of malt vinegar to give it a little English taste, but lemon would have been enough.
It was a tough decision because they also had a cornmeal-crusted walleye, that was pan-fried and served with green tomato salsa with a side of collard greens, warm German potato salad, and remoulade on the side.
Dave ordered another local favorite – beef tips marinated in herb and garlic with roasted potatoes and seasonal vegetables. The tips were savory, tender, and delicious.
Our server Christina said other favorites there are the brew burger and the spicy bacon burger. She also said everything that is used in the kitchen is locally grown.
Another favorite of guests is their bowls including fried rice, ancient rice, mac and cheese, and busted knuckle chile.
I highly recommend you make a visit to Hard Truth Hills – great food and staff.
Hard Truth Hills is at 418 Old State Road 46, Nashville, Ind. Call 812-720-4840. Check out its website, hardtruthdistilling.com.
It also has locations in Bloomington, Speedway and Franklin Ind. Its Big Woods Pizza Company is in downtown Nashville.
With Fall comes cooler weather. And, while strolling around the shops in Nashville, consider stopping in Sweetea’s Tea Shop.
Dave and I went in for a cup of tea before we left and found it one of the most charming places in Nashville.
Owner Jaime Vermillion bought the shop 18 months ago and has turned it into a quaint, very zen tea room where her guests can sit by the fireplace, read a book, study or quietly chat with a friend over a cup of tea.
Vermillion custom blends the teas with natural ingredients. She begins with black, green, white, Oolong, Rooibos, Hebal, Pu-Ehr, and Yerba Mate teas and makes them into wonderfully unique blends.
White cinnamon sage, white ginger pear, cherry marzipan, Bombay chai and more are on the menu. Guests can order a tea flight of five different teas. The tray is brought to the table with five teacups, each with an individual tea strainer. Brewing instructions and a timer are given to each guest. We also ordered one of her homemade blueberry muffins.
We spent a few hours sipping our tea, playing cards and talking with the owner. We hated to leave, but it was time to go home. I did leave with a cinnamon roll tea latte made with hot cinnamon spice tea, cake batter powder, and sugar. The hot cinnamon tea reminded me of the red fireball candies we ate as kids. Excellent.
This is one of my favorite places to visit in Nashville. I’d rather go here than shop.
Sweetea’s is at 225 S. Van Buren St., Suite C, Nashville (in Coachlight Square).