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Hi blogstalkers! Guess what?! Jenni and I had brunch at Zest! this past weekend. Guess what else?! It was AMAZING!!!!!

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Meet Valerie Vanderpool, the visionary behind the unique Downhome Goes Uptown gathering place. Valerie has a passion for the artistry of creating and serving food that is intensely flavored, fun, and full of delightful surprises.

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Valerie found the perfect place for her dream restaurant in The 54th Street & Monon Shops located on East 54th Street between College and Keystone Avenues just east of the Monon Trail.  It features lively colors, antique chandeliers and original art by local artists.

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Zest! was also featured on one of my favorite television shows, Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-In’s and Dives. While Guy Fieri was in the Zest! kitchen filming the episode called ‘Bon-Bons & Bar Food’, he popped a bite of one of the dishes Chef Valerie was preparing with him and thought it was so good, he said, “I’d eat that off a dirty plate!”

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To start, I got a refreshing Bloody Mary. I saw one at another table and thought it looked good enough to photograph. I was right. It was the perfect way to start off brunch.

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Jenni got the Wild Hibiscus Mimosa. She ordered it while I was taking pictures inside, and it tasted delicious. If you look close, you can actually see that there is a flower in the bottom of the glass! A spectacular crown-shaped edible Wild Hibiscus flower gradually opens in the bottom of the champagne flute as the bubbles rise around it.

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Here’s our waiter, kindly posing before delivering food to our table.

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That’s the Double-Sausage Sausage Gravy. Indianapolis Monthly Magazine says this gravy is a Big Deal. Lots & lots of sausage & a super- duper secret mix of Zest! spices. Truly special. Behind it is Fletcher’s Biscuit Sammich.

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Valerie was also kind enough to give us a serving of Cowboy Potatoes. Wow! These are tasty.

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Back to the Double-Sausage Sausage Gravy. I have to admit that this is probably the best gravy I have ever had. I am definitely coming back for more of this. And this is only a half order! Jenni and I shared this and we fought over who would get more.

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Jenni had Fletcher’s Biscuit Sammich. It features scrambled eggs with white cheddar, and your choice of house-made sausage, apple wood smoked bacon or avocado in a biscuit.

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I tried the Crème Brûlée French Toast. Whole bean vanilla, egg bread, and fresh sweet cream make this dish irresistible! Drizzled with maple syrup & served with a side of apple wood smoked bacon. Everything about this dish was amazing.

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The bacon was perfect.

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I saved the last bite of this for the last bite of my meal. It’s very sweet, and the perfect ending to a perfect meal.

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I can’t believe I’d never been to Zest! before. It is my new favorite breakfast spot, and I can’t wait to try their lunch/dinner selection! I highly recommend it, blogstalkers. Guy Fieri recommends it, too.

-Adam

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