Beer, Babies, and Brugge

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Dave’s View:  Don’t worry, they are just mussels.  Just eat them.

Brugge Brasserie in Broad Ripple has the best mussels in the city.  Why restaurant patrons visit this restaurant and order meatball sandwiches is something I CAN explain.  We are fearful and we want to be comforted by our food.   Throw away these notions and go with the attitude that it’s your last day living.  I’ll help you get through your fear of mussels and together we will conquer the world.  Sounds so prophetic doesn’t it?  Really, they are just mussels, they won’t hurt you.  (Well, kind of they can, I’ll explain later.)  People  are missing out on  a truly adventurous delicacy on this place we call Earth.  Yes, they are not pretty looking, but overcome your fear and try the mussels.  You’ll have plenty of opportunities to eat meatball sandwiches in the future.

Some tips on my adventures with mussels:

1.  They are creatures that attach themselves to rock, sea beds, Moby Dick’s vessel, etc., and they are shaped like an oblong clam. Just stick a fork inside the shell and pop it into your mouth.

2.  Some mussels are tender, some mussels are chewy.  If you don’t like the chewy ones, swallow quickly.

3.  Brugge Brasserie’s mussels are steamed.  The mussels come in a two-pound pot and you have a choice of what spices to add to them.  If you don’t like a fishy taste, don’t eat the ones on top of the pot.  Rotate them down to the bottom and let them soak in the liquid.  After about five minutes, the mussels will take on the flavor of the spice you have chosen and the fish taste will go away.

4. Mussels suck up dirt.  Don’t be surprise to get some type of “sandy” crunch in your mouth when you eat them.  Happens about 1 out of every 15 mussels you eat.  This is where mussels can hurt you and your teeth.  To prevent this, try swishing the mussel in the bottom of your pot.  Hopefully, the grit will be flushed out and you can enjoy your mussel.  If not, deal with it.  I’ve never had any problem, it’s just more of a shock when you hear that crunch in your mouth.  It’s the same sound you get when you’re on a windy beach and the sand gets into your mouth.

5.  The best mussels are located at the bottom of the pot.  After about 15 minutes eating, the mussels take on the flavor of whatever spice you have chosen.  I had the Jamaican mussels which have jalapeno, jerk, lime and garlic added to them.  After sitting there for 15 minutes, they get extremely hot,  hence Jamaican.

6.  If the mussels are turning you off, switch to the fries.  All mussels come with a cone of pomme frites, which are french fries and you get two choices of sauces to dip them in.  Eat some fries to clean your palate and go back in for more mussels.

Some tips on my adventures with the table at Brugge Brasserie:

1.  Copper tables with holes in them.  The holes are for the cone of pomme frites.  The wait staff will plop them into the hole.  Don’t put your beer there or sippy cup.

2.  Don’t lick the copper table.

Some tips on my adventures with the beer at Brugge Brasserie:

1.  I ordered the Tripel de Ripple.  Nice, easy to drink belgium beer.  Beware:  10% alcohol content.  They limit you to two of them.  You will suck them down like water.

2.  After drinking two Tripel de Ripple, when you leave, don’t stumble.  Three year old babies sitting in high chairs will ask you if you’re okay.  Politely nod.

Some tips on the patrons of this restaurant:

1.  Many Butler University students come here with a friend.  Many are with their mother and father.  They always have this dreaded look on their faces, like “I hope my friends don’t see me now, but my parents paid for my college education” look.

2.  Many families with three-year old babies.  Reference point number two above.

3.  More Democrats than Republicans.  This is a guess, don’t ask me why.

4.  If Indiana were to legalize marijuana, this place would be the first place where you could smoke a “fatty.”  Oops, smoking ban just passed.  Never mind.

Service here is magnificent.  You never feel rushed.  It’s like being in San Francisco, very laid back.  Plenty of time to eat mussels, get harassed by babies, and of course, work on your balance after drinking two Triple de Ripple.

Service:  9  Food:  9  Ambience:  8  Total:  26 out of 30    $60-$80 with adult beverages.

Andrea’s View:  I find myself once again staring down a 2 lb. pot of mussels wondering if today will be the day that I see the bottom of the pot.  I have never been able to finish the whole 2 lbs. of mussels at Brugge because the mussels come with too many distractions.  The pot comes with a six-inch loaf of french bread (for soaking up extra juice), a cone of homemade fries with your choice of two dipping sauces, which are also homemade.  Brugge also brews their own beer, so ordering one is a must even for non-beer drinkers such as myself.  So today, I ordered my mussels asian style, steamed with sake, miso, ginger, sesame, and seaweed.  Yes, I just heard the collective, “Ewww seaweed.”  Trust me, seaweed is nutritious and delicious.  Think of it as the spinach of the sea.  For my two dipping sauces for my fries, (there are 12 total), I chose the sweet chili and horseradish.  I did not care for the horseradish, since it had a little more mayonnaise than I had expected, but that’s okay, that’s one less distraction.  I ordered the Pooka, a boysenberry beer, that was very light, crisp, and quite tart, so that’s not much of a distraction either.   So, I dive into the pot of mussels with great speed at first, I have never learned to pace myself.  I slow about halfway through, but I somehow I find  the strength to plow ahead, chucking each empty shell into the pot’s lid as a marker of my progress.  Finally, I can see the bottom and I only have five mussels to go.  I eat them.  But wait, there is one mussel floating in the sake and miso sauce as it must have  fallen out of its shell earlier.  Damn it.  Okay, focus, I can do it, just one more.  Ah, Victory.  I conquered the 2 lb. pot of yummy goodness.  I still have some fries left, most of my bread and one half of my beer, but I finished the entire 2 lb. pot of mussels. (I also tasted one of Dave’s Jamaican mussels, so I ate 2 lbs. plus one mussel.)  And so what if I had a stomach ache and had to go home to take a nap.  I FINISHED THE ENTIRE 2LB. POT OF MUSSELS.  Maybe now I’ll take on a 64 oz. steak for dinner.  Uh,no.

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Brugge Brasserie on Foodio54

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