During dinner with friends at Angela’s Pantry in Miller Beach late last fall, I asked our waitress about the exceptional flavor in the sea bass.
“What IS that taste?” I said. “It’s wonderful.” Our server smiled and said, “It’s our secret ingredient.”
The smile was genuine and the meal satisfied my hunger for secret ingredients so I let it go. But recently, the Chef Angela McCrovitz satisfied my taste buds’ curiosity during an interview.
“A couple was in for dinner,” she said, “and I overheard them ask one that same question … ‘this is SO good – what’s the secret ingredient.’”
“Love … That’s what makes it all worthwhile,” she said. “Cooking is an act of love.”
Perhaps that’s what makes her restaurant so special. Love, along with the freshest ingredients, house-made stocks, a lifelong passion for cooking and a wealth of experience stock Chef Angela’s pantry. And she cooks up wonderful, beautiful, mouth-watering and satisfying meals Wednesdays through Sundays at Angela’s Pantry, Miller Beach, Indiana.
Born in Gary, the Half Hungarian/Czech-half Italian McCrovitz started playing with food when she was just 7 years old. Her grandmother Margaret’s “Coconut Geminis” won the Pillsbury Bake-Off and a dance with Lawrence Welk in 1966. Her grandfather cooked for Al Capone.
An award-winning chef with more than 20 years experience, Chef Angela’s culinary skills are as bountiful as her energy and passion for food. She has been recognized as a “Rising Star of the Year” in Dallas, “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Indiana University and recently the Urban League of Northwest Indiana nominated her for its Diversity Award.
Her experience includes designing and baking artisan breads, teaching culinary skills at the Art Institute of Charleston, executive pastry chef on Kiawah Island and food stylist and recipe developer for Better Homes and Gardens.
Today, her love-infused creations are accessible to those of us living in Northwest Indiana. If you haven’t yet visited her “pantry” restaurant on Miller Avenue in Miller Beach, you owe it to yourself to visit for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch. In fact, go soon because Chef Angela has created a new spring menu.
Angela’s new menu includes her unique take on risotto, for instance, with wild mushrooms, goat cheese, truffle oil and pesto. There’s a grilled asparagus salad with balsamic reduction, gorgonzola cumulus and diced tomato.
Pizzas will be special, with her homemade crust. Pasta “Angela” is angel hair, mussels and spicy marinara sauce. Be sure to allow room for an entree because you don’t want to miss the chef’s Pollo Romano, pork chop with pancetta, red peppers, garlic and red skin potatoes or the oven roasted salmon.
Angela’s Pantry is located at 6132 Miller Avenue, Miller Beach, Indiana. It’s about six minutes from I80-94 at the Route 6/Ripley Blvd.-51 North exit. The Chef prepares lunch and dinner from Wednesdays through Sunday brunch. Call 219-427-1076 for reservations, which I highly recommend.
Oh, the Pantry is in a sweet, two-story house that used to be a flower shop. Be prepared for a lovely, home-like setting and for Chef Angela and her staff to take excellent care of you.
In case you’re wondering, yes, there’s a full bar and some wonderful desserts. Hmmm, I guess there will be much more for me to write about this gem near the shores of Northwest Indiana.