There is some excellent eating to be had in Indianapolis, and food blogger Erin Day catalogues the absolute best of it in her blog Indy Restaurant Scene (you can also find her tweeting about food here). We asked Erin to share some of her favorite local places with us:

What is your favorite restaurant in Indiana right now and why?

Bluebeard is one of my favorite places in town at the moment. It is fairly new and is the baby of two of our local chefs who came together from other (great) restaurants to found Bluebeard (and are married to each other as well). It is a modern feeling place that feels comfortable–there’s a great outdoor patio as well.  The food is sort of rustic but refined and ranges from a wonderful grilled octopus to various pasta dishes.  One of my most regular haunts (partly because it is by my house and partly because it is so delicious) is H2O Sushi. They have the best sushi in town, but also great daily specials like ramen, various dumplings and other wonderful Asian-fusion type items.  Finally, you can’t go wrong at the Libertine–a hip bar with wonderful cocktails and even better food.

Are there any local specialties that people really should try when visiting your city?

The first suggestion most people would tell you to try is a pork tenderloin sandwich. It is a classic Hoosier dish, and is rarely found outside of Indiana.  It is deep fried piece of pork tenderloin, sometime pounded so thin that it completely covers the bun.  I personally like them a little thicker so they stay juicy. Some good places to try a good one: Steer In (incidentally they have a pretty decent breakfast too), the Aristocrat or Muldoon’s

Also, anytime you see Smoking Goose bacon on a menu, order it. Smoking Goose is a local purveyor of bacon–they do several different types, including lamb bacon and they are all spectacular. (Incidentally, you will find it on several of the menus of the places included in my recommendations.)

What is your favorite hole in the wall joint?

We have a lot of great hole in the wall places. I personally love B’s Po Boy for their great fried shrimp and fried oyster po boy sandwiches (they fly their bread in from Louisiana to keep it authentic). Be sure and get the hand made beer battered onion rings and a side of remoulade to add to everything. Or try Fat Dan’s Deli if you want a great burger or Italian Beef sandwich (or really anything on the menu).  Finally, Ichiban Noodles basically looks like a little shack on the side of the road–don’t pass it by though. They are making great noodle dishes in there. My favorite is the ramen yaki with pork. The sushi isn’t bad either.

Where can you get a decent breakfast in Indiana?

Two great breakfast spots in town are Taste Cafe and Petite Chou (or Cafe Patachou). Taste has a beautiful breakfast burrito and quiches. If you want an omelet or crepe, Petite Chou is your spot. Both Petite Chou and Cafe Patachou (run by the same owner) have wonderful broken yolk sandwiches that can come with various toppings. My favorite is egg, bacon, and avocado.

And the best cup of coffee?

Coffee isn’t really my cup of tea (so to speak), but my sources tell me you can get the best cup at Eggshell Bistro in Carmel or 3 Days in Paris in our downtown City Market.

Are there any specialty stores you’d advise that foodies visit in Indiana, or things they should take home to have in their kitchen?

Goose the Market (owned by the Smoking Goose folks) is one of our gems.  You can get fresh meats and seafood as well as wonderful cheeses and smoked meat products from Smoking Goose. They also sell seasonal produce, other local products, and gelato.  You can also get a sandwich or a nibble in the downstairs entoteca. Take home anything from there (if you can get some of that bacon home, you should) and you will be happy.