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Sidebars: Left Bank Cafe offers delightful canal setting

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We give Left Bank Café 2 1/2 gavels!

I love sitting outside for lunch or dinner during the summer. But there is something about Indy and that concept that makes me giggle.

Indy restaurants/bars/cafes will put outside seating no matter their locale/setting/view. Haven’t you ever noticed a few tables set out in front of a place that just makes you scratch your head and say “I’m not sure I’d enjoy sitting outside there watching/smelling/hearing (fill in the blank).”

Well, we found a delightful outside venue where that won’t be your complaint. The Left Bank Café is located on the canal walk in downtown Indy.

I know it is not necessarily near a courthouse, but on a pleasant summer day it is worth a little extra effort to stroll the canal and grab a bite at the Left Bank Café. Sure there is foot traffic, some bike traffic, and the Segway tours (which Fred could do circles around them on his!). But it beats looking over a busy intersection inhaling bus exhaust. It is a small cafe with plenty of good outdoor seating located on the canal level of the newly constructed Cosmopolitan apartment building at 310 W. Michigan St.

I had lunch there with my husband last week and was very impressed considering it’s in its infancy. Fred and our associate, Tyler, returned for lunch in hopes of a repeat. It was close, but the kinks are still getting ironed out. Their menu is somewhat aggressive and diverse given its size, and the café fortunately does not restrict itself to the coffee-house standards. They offer a variety of flatbread pizzas, paninis, and crêpes.

The flatbreads are not really traditional pizzas as they are smaller portions of flatbreads with three varieties of toping mixes. Andouille sausage, red pepper pesto, red onions, and pecorino cheese adorn one. Another is with Italian sausage, honey Dijon, portobello mushrooms, red peppers, and provolone. For the vegetarians there is one topped with spinach, goat cheese, and garlic-infused olive oil. On the prior trip we had the Andouille flatbread, which was very satisfying. Insisting Fred and Tyler try it, we ordered one. However there was a mix-up in the kitchen, which combined the Andouille sausage flatbread ingredients with the Italian sausage one. That was a bit disappointing because the flavor mixture of Andouille sausage flatbread, as promised on the menu, is quite delectable. Tyler had the Italian sausage flatbread for his entrée, and it, too, had the ingredients mixed up. Another disappointment, but we moved on. (The chef did apologize and was extremely sincere so that gained back some credibility).

Fred had the crêpe with chicken, mushroom, and spinach. He was satisfied and it was hearty, but he wasn’t heartily satisfied. Some more flavor kick would have been welcomed. They also offer an apple and leek crêpe, a smoked salmon crêpe, a veggie crêpe, and a spinach and artichoke crêpe, so there are some choices. A number of sweet crêpes also are available.

The panini I had was the three cheeses (brie, gruyere, and provolone) with apple wood bacon and tomato, served with chips. I really liked it. I also sampled the Caesar salad that had a variation of the traditional dressing with what appeared to be cornbread croutons – mmmmm. You have to judge for yourself. My husband had the Rueben which sated him, and it was not so heavy that it sends you for a nap. The other panini include pulled pork or chicken with red onion and cheddar jack; cheese steak; grilled Portobello; and a veggie selection.

The overall experience earned 3 gavels from me, but Fred would give it 2 because of the flatbreads mix-up and because his elitist sausage taste was not impressed with the quality of meats on the flatbreads and antipasti plate. I love the setting, the menu selection, and as an after-work venue they are hoping for a liquor license soon. Give it a try – I have faith they’ll work out the kinks ­– and enjoy a view that is unique to the downtown area.

Left Bank Café is at Canal Walk level, 310 W. Michigan St.; 317-642-3305. Hours are Monday through Thursday 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday.•

__________

Fred Vaiana and Jennifer M. Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn Paul Hogan & Merriman in Indianapolis, focusing in criminal defense. Vaiana is a 1992 graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Lukemeyer earned her J.D. from Southern Methodist University in 1994 and is active in the Indianapolis Bar Association, Indianapolis Inn of Courts, and the Teen Court Program. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors.

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  1. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  2. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  3. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

  4. When I hear 'Juvenile Lawyer' I think of an attorney helping a high school aged kid through the court system for a poor decision; like smashing mailboxes. Thank you for opening up my eyes to the bigger picture of the need for juvenile attorneys. It made me sad, but also fascinated, when it was explained, in the sixth paragraph, that parents making poor decisions (such as drug abuse) can cause situations where children need legal representation and aid from a lawyer.

  5. Some in the Hoosier legal elite consider this prayer recommended by the AG seditious, not to mention the Saint who pledged loyalty to God over King and went to the axe for so doing: "Thomas More, counselor of law and statesman of integrity, merry martyr and most human of saints: Pray that, for the glory of God and in the pursuit of His justice, I may be trustworthy with confidences, keen in study, accurate in analysis, correct in conclusion, able in argument, loyal to clients, honest with all, courteous to adversaries, ever attentive to conscience. Sit with me at my desk and listen with me to my clients' tales. Read with me in my library and stand always beside me so that today I shall not, to win a point, lose my soul. Pray that my family may find in me what yours found in you: friendship and courage, cheerfulness and charity, diligence in duties, counsel in adversity, patience in pain—their good servant, and God's first. Amen."

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