My favorite special occasion place: Meyer's Castle

This week I celebrated my 40th birthday and my husband and I went out for dinner at my favorite place to go for a special occasion - Meyer's Castle in Dyer, Indiana. We also went there last year to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. I'm a big history buff and the history of this place alone is enough reason to visit.  It was designed by architect L. Cosby Bernard and completed in the early 1930's, designed after a Scottish castle for Joseph Ernest Meyer, founder of the Indiana Botanic Gardens. The lovely limestone structure sits on a hill just off U.S. 30 hidden behind thick trees. Driving off the busy street and onto the grounds is truly like heading off to another world. And once you're inside, you get a glimpse of this.

 There are also several peacocks that roam the grounds and it's fun to watch them out the windows from the dining room. This time I spotted  not only colorful ones like the one pictured here, but a couple white ones and three others that are white and brown.

Now, on to the food. Even as lovely as the place is, the food has to be good to draw you back and this place never disappoints. The food is spectacular. There is a small menu of a la carte items, but most people go for the big Asado feast, which is a four course meal. First is a shot of caipirinha (a drink from Brazil meant to awaken your taste buds.) It is served with a meat empanada. Next is the tapas bar, with hot and cold salads and meat and seafood dishes. After that you make your way on to the Pasta Bar for your made to order pasta dish, with a variety of pastas, vegetables and sauces. Lastly, there are swords of meats - beef, poultry, pork. The meal is all you can eat for $34.50 per person.

On my most recent visit, I opted for the tapas and pasta bar only, which is $21.50. I just knew I'd be filled up by the time I got to the meats, so I decided to fill up on salads and pasta. But, here's a visual from our last trip on what the meats look like:  

I forgot my camera this time, but pulled up some shots from our last visit. This is a sampling of the tapas bar.

The tapas bar is full of fresh salads and everything is so flavorful. Yesterday, some of the items available were fried calamari, roasted grape tomatoes, a marinated artichoke and olive salad, sauteed mushrooms, a rice/meat/vegetable dish, roasted potatoes, garden salad, corn salad, potato salad, thinly sliced pork and beef with pineapple.

My tapas plate was a meal by itself, but I forced myself to the pasta bar for a plate of bow-tie pasta with spinach, tomato and zucchini with lobster sauce. I recalled how good the lobster sauce was from the last visit. Here's a picture from our last visit:

If you can possibly find room for desert when you are done, they bring out a tray of luscious desserts to choose from for $6 each. The dining room is actually a porch that was enclosed, so no matter where you're sitting you are close to the windows and have a lovely view of the grounds. 

The venue is a popular spot for weddings during the warmer months, where outdoor ceremonies are set up in locations on the grounds. Last year, I got an assignment from a newspaper I write for to cover a "royal wedding" at the site. WGN-TV had run a contest for a lucky couple to win a $60,000 dream wedding to take place the day of the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton. It was fun to be there for the wedding and see all the preparations and be in the audience for the wedding that was aired live on television. Here's the link if you want to read about it and see pictures.

It also made me smile to see this framed and displayed as I walked in. :)

If you have a special occasion coming up - or even if you don't, this beautiful home that happens to house an elegant restaurant is something you need to experience at least once.