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Sidebars: La Margarita is anything but traditional Mexican food

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SidebarsRecently sick of the political boxing matches we have been subjected to, I thought it pertinent to reach across the aisle and dine with a couple of my adversaries, Brad Banks and Adam Brower, currently of the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office. We are all lawyers first and then representative of our respective areas of practice, and civility must govern our interactions. What better way to remind ourselves of that than breaking tortilla chips together. Further, Brad and Adam are departing the MCPO for private practice with each other and wanted some friendly advice about such an adventure into private criminal, family and general practice. If you have not ventured south on Virginia Avenue in Indianapolis lately – go. In Fountain Square you are going to find a treasure trove of good, new eateries that are unique to each other and in themselves. One such place is La Margarita, housed in the Murphy Arts Center. It is a restaurant and tequila bar. The décor is, well, really cool. On nice days the garage door wall opens to the patio overlooking Virginia Avenue into downtown. Inside is a comfortable modern setting with clean lines and design that plays off the garage door wall. You can just imagine the patio and bar areas filled with cool people with cool lives talking about cool stuff and drinking cool tequilas and craft beers.

My first piece of advice to Brad and Adam was “don’t be late” when they walked in late. Albeit they were only a few minutes late, but that can seem like hours when you are really hungry. By then I had already dug into the warm tortilla chips and the three salsas offered – mild (chunky with fresh tomatoes and pieces of avocado), medium (just so-so), and hot (which really did have some kick to it. Brad and I did not necessarily like the consistency, but Adam did, so it must have been a matter of taste). Also before they arrived, I had ordered the chile con queso, which was delivered as they arrived – late. You may think my choice fairly ordinary for a Mexican restaurant, but this appetizing dish was anything but ordinary. The inclusion of their homemade mild red sauce uniquely distinguishes this popular Mexican appetizer. Other starters include queso fundido (cheeses, poblano peppers, and onions, baked bubbly hot and served with small flour tortillas, to which you can add chorizo), fresh guacamole and nachos supreme.

La Margarita offers daily specials, but every day a special is half quesadilla (chicken, beef, veggie or chorizo) with a bowl of tortilla soup. We wandered deeper into the menu and all had clean plates by the end of the meal. Brad devoured the quesadillas with tender, pulled chicken. He commented how they were prepared crispy to his liking without being overcooked. A healthy side of guacamole, rice and beans adorned his plate. Adam opted for El Toro, a combination platter with two enchiladas with ground beef topped with an appropriate amount of mild red sauce and cheese. The chimichangas were my choice and sated my day’s craving for Mexican fare. Adam and I both noticed a hint of sweetness to the ground beef that really complimented our entrees. The menu offers variations of tacos, burritos, and chilaquiles. The menu appears fairly traditional; however, the actual product is anything but.

Go check it out at 1043 Virginia Avenue and at www.lamargaritaindy.com •

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Fred Vaiana and Jennifer M. Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn & Paul 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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