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Sidebars: Black Market is a must-visit Mass. Ave. destination

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SidebarsAll the way down at the far end of trendy Massachusetts Avenue in Indianapolis, known to the locals as Mass Ave., an old, freestanding building hosts a treat of a new restaurant simply called Black Market. It deserves your lunch attention. Fred and I ventured down there with our colleague/competitor/friend Rick Kammen who described the experience best – “interesting” (and not like “interesting” as in “she has a great personality” because we all know what that really means). I would whole heartedly agree and add “awesome” to the description. The diverse menu offerings are interesting, without being too aggressive. The cool décor welcomes guests with a long bar, a couple of long communal tables, patio seating, and individual tables and offers what I would surmise would be a warm atmosphere in the winter or a cool respite during the summer.

Fred, Rick, and I received prompt attention by a knowledgeable server. The promptness continued throughout the lunch without any feeling of being rushed. On a subsequent visit, I met one of the proprietors (and chef), Micah Frank, who had come from R Bistro, and who partnered up with the owner of a previously, positively reviewed place, Siam Square. Their creative menu items include fresh and local products, but offerings are not restrictive to the more traditional palate. I learned their lunch crowd has not been as consistent as their dinner crowd, so hopefully after reading this article, you will support this local establishment which I am confident will result in return trips.

Starters always include “daily pickles” which on our visit were kimchi, green beans, and corn. The tasty and tangy pickled veggies could easily substitute as a salad and this plate changes, hence the “daily” part of the item. The Welsh rarebit truly delighted my husband and me on the other visit (even though he was fully expecting a rabbit dish having misread the menu). The sharp cheddar dominated this traditional tavern dish and the bread on which it was served was perfectly toasted. As starters there was a beef tongue cocktail (which received Kammen’s blessing), fresh sardines, and French fries. Notable about the fries, which we all split with our entrees, is the daily-changing mayo that accompanies the fries. On our visit we lucked out with tomato curry flavored mayo. On another visit, the mayo base was tangy with a slight cilantro flavor. The surprise mayo makes it necessary to order the fries on every visit (like you need an excuse as the fries themselves clearly were fresh and seasoned perfectly).

I have to start with the best pick which was made by Fred – the Black Market burger adorned with goat cheese spread, grilled red onion and house pickles. Absolutely worth the $13 price tag. Fred immediately detected the distinct flavor of the lamb which made up half of the otherwise beef burger. Rave review from Fred as he polished off the juicy burger. Kammen struggled with his decision between the braised beef and cheddar and the fried mozzarella and tomato salad before opting for the latter. A large piece of fresh mozzarella, not overly breaded, sat atop fresh greens with tomato and lightly drizzled with bagna cauda (a warm dressing made with garlic, anchovies, olive oil) which he asserted perfected the dish. Finally, I ordered the egg salad on toast with tomatoes and green salad. The egg salad was very rich and atop a thick toasted bread that was a bit too thick even with the generous portion of egg salad. The fresh tomatoes complimented the egg salad best. Other offerings were ale-steamed mussels, roasted butternut squash, apple salad and pork Manhattan (with a three-bean gravy).

We were all very pleased with our selections and the enjoyable lunch conversation. If you have a party of more than four, the communal tables would make Black Market a perfect destination. Having the benefit of having had lunch and dinner there, both are advisable. If it is your dinner destination (or a liquid lunch, I suppose), be advised that they only serve beer and wine. Prices were reasonable as the burger was the most expensive item on the menu. This place deserves our highest ranking, four gavels, due to the overall “interesting” experience. Black Market is located at 922 Massachusetts Ave. and on the net at blackmarketindy.net.•
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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 the authors’.

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  1. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  2. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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  4. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  5. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

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