'Nothing succeeds like excess'

Must-do food events include a proper ‘Downton Abbey’ good-bye

“I haven’t been in the kitchen for at least 20 years!,”  Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, revealed last year on“Downton Abbey.” Follow her lead if you’re celebrating — or mourning —  the show’s final episode March 6 on Public Television. Rather than taking tea at home, pop into The Ville Restaurant in Noblesville. Expect more than crumpets. The “Downton Abbey” Tea from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. features stuffed pork tenderloin and lobster rissoles, which are similar to small croquettes. The rissoles arrive napped in mousseline sauce, a silky wonder similar to hollandaise sauce. Poached salmon, assorted sweet and savory tarts and, of course, scones and dainty cucumber dill tea sandwiches are on the menu, too. Sip hot or iced tea while being waited on by a footman. Plan your attire to fit the 1920s “Downton Abbey” era. Prizes will be awarded for best costume. Props similar to those seen on the show will be set up throughout the restaurant, which means cool selfie ops. Everyone goes home with a gift of “Downton Abbey” memorabilia. Tickets cost $32 each. Book by calling the restaurant.

101 N. 10th St., Noblesville; (317) 774-5301,

Sample a new coffee shop before it opens

Coffee as much as food landed Open Society on my 13 best restaurant openings in 2016 list. Owner Brian Baker plans an obsessive barista staff to turn out various coffee styles using different brewing methods when the restaurant opens later this year on College Avenue, at 49th Street. What grabbed my attention was the state-of-the-art water filtration system Baker plans to install at the restaurant. Baker’s been staging pop-up dinners to introduce Open Society’s South American-leaning menu. His first coffee pop-up happens 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 5 at Tinker Coffee Co.  Look for more Open Society pop-ups in weeks to come.

212 E. 16th St.,

Top chefs and tulips

Come try to sway my opinion when I judge Noble Evening in the Garden, a tasting gala previewing the Indiana Flower and Patio Show.

From 7 to 11 p.m. March 11, Indy restaurants will serve their best nibbles at the Indiana State Fairgrounds Expo Hall and West Pavilion. I get to judge, but you may attend and taste, as well. I’d love to hear your opinions. Restaurants include Bluebeard, where chef Abbi Merriss has just been named a semi-finalist for a James Beard award.

Also on the list are Adobo, Yats, The Oceanaire Seafood Room, The Jazz Kitchen, Iozzo’s Garden of Italy, La Chinta Poblana and Louie’s Wine Dive/Mass Ave Kitchen. For drinks, find Cooper’s Hawk Winery Restaurant and Hotel Tango Whiskey Artisian Distillery. Many other food and drink options will be set up in the flower and patio show’s beautiful gardens. Live entertainment and a silent auction are also planned. Bid starting March 4 using your mobile phone. Register to do that at

Noble Evening in the Garden benefits Noble, a non-profit organization expanding opportunities and improving the quality of life for kids and adults with disabilities such as autism and Down syndrome. General admission tickets cost $75 each, but VIP tickets are available. Book by phone or go online.

 1202 E. 38th St., (317) 375-2700, 

Call Liz Biro at (317) 444-6264. Follow her on Twitter @lizbiro, Instagram @lizbirodishFacebook and Pinterest.

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