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Sidebars: Pancake house offers delightful fare

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When I travel, all intentions of eating healthy or not eating a lot go right out the window. When I travel with someone who has the same affinity for food, it is even worse. When I travel with my partner Jim Voyles, I make sure I wear pants with extra room because it is going to be a pig-fest all day long as it was on our recent trip to Michigan City.

First stop was the Stone House Bakery in Delphi in Carroll County for a mid-morning brownie snack. I have previously reviewed this place and still recommend it for such a snack or a meal.

Second stop: Indiana State Prison. I do not recommend this place.

Ultimately we ended up at Sophia's House of Pancakes right along U.S. 421 in Michigan City for a delightful lunch ... well, breakfast at lunch. Sophia's is a Greek restaurant with many American choices and serves breakfast all day. There is always some hearty special, a soup du jour, and special pie. Sophia's is just plain comfortable in both atmosphere and food. Although any place seems like a delightful respite after leaving Indiana State Prison, Sophia's offered an alternative to the chain and fast-food restaurants that line U.S. 421 through Michigan City.

Breakfast offerings include sizzling skillet dishes and frittatas (layered with steaming American fries) with ingredients such as cheese (feta, Monterrey, mozzarella, cheddar), peppers, meats, sausage gravy, olives, and mushrooms. If you are going for the pancakes - you are in for a really special treat. "Regular" pancakes - if you can call them regular - are available laced with various ingredients such as cinnamon apples, berries, chocolate chips, or pecans topped with powdered sugar and whipped cream. Or, you can endure a wait time of approximately 30 to 40 minutes for Sophia's oven-baked pancakes. These babies are served with apples or German style with fresh lemon and powdered sugar. Of course, you can always have an assortment of eggs - any style, waffles, French toast, and crepes. The sides are as delicious as the main entrée. The hash browns really pleased me.

If it is lunch fare you want, you will have plenty of choices. The menu is vast but Sophia's appears to do all deliciously. I got the feeling that if they couldn't do it right, they wouldn't offer it. The soup du jour, chicken noodle, warmed the soul on the cold Michigan City day we were there. Sandwiches varied from hamburgers to pannini, triple-decker clubs (including roast beef and Swiss, BLT, and grilled chicken), and six types of chicken sandwiches. The special sandwiches did include a gyro, in case you were wondering about the Greek influence. Plenty of salad choices adorned the menu including a Cajun chicken salad and, of course, a Greek salad. Heartier items are available such as chicken lemon with rice, Cajun pork chops, Mediterranean chicken with artichokes over rice, and a rib eye. These were the priciest items on the menu, but still the rib eye was only $12.95 and only two other items exceeded $10. Great value for the quantity and the quality.

We left well sated and with some to-go jars of marinated olives compliments of the owner, who had no idea I would be writing this but seemed to appreciate our inquiry and appetites. Sophia's earned 3.5 gavels.

However, our food stops were not done. Our final stop was to the home of the Whirly Pop popcorn maker, Wabash Valley Farms in Monon. Not only do they sell the Whirly Pop, but they sell a variety of popcorns, oils, and toppings. It really is a cool store, and I would suggest the Whirly Pop as a healthy alternative to popping corn that is just as delicious. That was the final stop in a legally productive day as well as in the culinary sense, too!

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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