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Introducing India Garden November 1, 2018

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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Last Friday, as part of Abbie’s birthday weekend celebration, I went with Abbie and Emily to India Garden in Broad Ripple. We were the only ones dining in that night, but they did a lot of takeout orders while we were there. Our waiter was hilarious, saying crazy things with the most serious of faces. In addition, he was prompt with plate removal and drink refills. He was also quite knowldgeable about the spice pallette of Indian food and what separates it from other ethnic foods. The menu there was quite extensive, and I settled for a chicken dish in a tomato cream sauce.

Surprisingly, it was NOT spicy at ALL. In fact, it was quite sweet! It still tasted like it had some Indian spices, but without the spicyness, if that makes any sense. We also had naan and rice to go with it. Abbie and I shared the rice, while Lauren got a vegetarian dish. I don’t quite recall what it was specifically, but there was brown rice covered in spices with some large vegetables. Our waiter was nice enough to refill our rice at no extra charge! I’m glad we had a rice refill, as it helped mix with the leftover tomato sauce that I didn’t want to waste after I finished all the chicken.

Portion sizes were decent, but could have been a little bit bigger. At least the meal wasn’t too pricey. $17 for the chicken dish that came with rice and naan, plus a Sprite. (I often get soda at restaurants.) I’d go back here again! I would rank this place ahead of Hyderabad House, but behind India Cafe.

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First Time at Sisters October 19, 2018

Posted by Kenny Norman in south.
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So I went with Ebony to Sisters Korean Restaurant in Greenwood. Occasionally Ebony will do a Google search for Korean restaurants in Indy, and this place caught her eye because they just opened in February. We went down to Main Street in Greenwood and we were impressed by the whole experience. The food was delicious and the facility was clean, which are both very important qualities in a restaurant, but I really have to speak well of the service. The staff was very fast at taking our orders, and they were almost as fast when it came to preparing and cooking the food. We barely had to wait at all! They also checked back often for refills and plate removal, which was quite helpful.

They also offered to cook any of the food in their menu marked “spicy” as non-spicy for me because I don’t like spicy food. Speaking of their menu, it was quite diverse and extensive. There were a lot of options, styles, and ways to have dishes prepared. I had a good bulgogi bowl, but I almost tried the bibimbap and the chicken stir fry. The bulgogi bowl came with white rice, which, to my pleasant surprise, they offered to refill. I also had some delicious dumplings as an appetizer. There were six giant dumplings in a sweet, tangy sauce. It was $8, but very worth it! Also, at Korean restaurants, the staff also give you a dozen other small dishes as sides for the entree.

Ebony and I both liked the potatoes, and when those came out, I made a comment about “those are the ones we’re gonna fight over.” The staff also offered to give us two more refills on those potatoes, again at no extra charge. Ebony and I both plan to return, as this place outdid the other Korean restaurants we’ve been to in just about every category. And next time…I’m getting that chicken stir fry.

Hello, Hyderabad House! September 5, 2018

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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So last month, Abbie, Emily, and I headed to dinner at Hyderabad House, an Indian restaurant, on Michigan Road. I had been to a few other Indian places, but we had all wanted to try this place. So we went there for dinner, and although I’m a picky eater and I don’t like spicy food, there were a few things I could try. The wait staff was very helpful and highlighted the things I could eat that weren’t spicy…and by that, I mean they LITERALLY highlighted the things. Also, we stuck with water, because sodas came in cans, which meant no free refills. Emily DID have a mango smoothie after dinner. It smelled good and she enjoyed it, so I think I want that next time. Our entrees came with naan. I had regular naan and Emily had garlic naan…at least that’s what was SUPPOSED to happen, until I ate Emily’s naan by mistake. Whoops. I felt kinda bad about that, but she was a good sport about it. Hyderabad House lets you order an entree mild, medium, or hot. Not much of a ratings scale. I had chicken marsala on mild, which wasn’t bad. Abbie had another chicken dish on hot, and she felt like she was breathing fire. Emily had butter chicken on medium, and she was nice enough to let me and Abbie try it. The funny thing? I swear butter chicken on medium was not as spicy as chicken marsala on mild. So next time we go there, we’re all gonna get butter chicken. Mine will be mild and come with a mango smoothie!

Tonight at TaiChi August 24, 2018

Posted by Kenny Norman in downtown.
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About two months ago, I received ads on my Instagram feed from a restaurant near downtown called TaiChi. The food looked pretty good, so Ebony and I added it on our list of restaurants to try. We finally had dinner there for the first time on August 24. Parking was messy, but the restaurant had plenty of seating. More people came in later the longer we were there.

We had to switch tables from a table with a pot hole to a table with a grill and a pot hole when we decided we wanted the grill & pot combo with the teriyaki chicken. We had to grill the meat and boil the vegetables. We were a bit nervous grilling the food ourselves, but I think we managed to not give ourselves food poisoning. And the sauces, especially the peanut sauce, were DELICIOUS! I also had sesame sauce, barbecue sauce, and seafood sauce. (These are Taichi’s names, not mine. Names are misleading.)

Service was prompt and wonderful, and the waiter was very knowledgeable about both the menu and when it was time to take the meat off the grill. He also actually volunteered to get photos of us at the end, which was very thoughtful and it saved us the trouble of having to ask. We got teriyaki chicken on the grill & pot combo, porkbelly on the grill & pot combo, and a soda for $30, but because Ebony and I split it evenly, we each paid $15, which I find to be a wonderful value. We both got quite full as well. I’d go back there again, except I think we would both prefer to order off the regular menu so we don’t have to cook it ourselves!

Fight at Greatimes August 18, 2018

Posted by Kenny Norman in miscellaneous, south.
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So I’m with my dad at Greatimes on August 18, waiting in line for the go-karts. About 20 minutes in, one round of people is released. Out comes this lady, who is plump, mid-30s, brown hair, pale skin, and wearing a blue-green tank top. She has a man with her who is tall, skinny, also pale, and wearing a plaid green shirt. She says to someone else, “You want to say anything else, you can meet me in the parking lot.”

Honestly, the only words I clearly heard were “parking lot,” but that combined with repeated aggressive pointing led to me to correctly believe a fight was about to break out. This other woman, walking behind her, is wearing a blue, long-sleeve shirt and sunglasses, is black, and has long hair. I watch nervously as both groups walk out to the exit. After they cross the fence, sure enough, a physical, knock-down, fistfight breaks out. The first girl’s man even takes the second girl up to the fence and starts pounding her. About half the people in the go-kart line, including three black teens directly ahead of me, ditch the line to go help in the fight. I had to call security. My dad tries to yell to the go-kart attendant, but his pleas go unheard.

I look at the attendant’s name tag and get close, screaming at him, “Hey! Brenner! There is a fistfight breaking out in your parking lot. DO SOMETHING about it!!!!!” At this point, the attendant finally notices and calls the staff over, and three employees run out to break things up. Soon after, police are called, and a bunch of cops come into the parking lot. What really horrifies me is that, among all the people there, not only the ones in line for the go-karts, but also the spectators who can see, I was the ONLY one trying to do anything to stop it.

The three black teens then cut back in line and show each other the footage they took on their phones, talking about who hit them during the fight. Security finally broke the fight up. When it was our turn to get on the go-karts, security recognized the three teens as being affiliated with one of the people in the fight and took them off the go-karts while they were in the go-karts. Frankly, I consider that karma for them cutting back in line.

The first girl’s man comes back, his arm is in a sling, and he’s accompanied by a cop from Southport. The cops then go make rounds rounding up anyone involved with the fight, including the first girl’s man and the three teens.

As we were leaving Greatimes and going to dinner on the east side, we saw the happy couple that started the fight walking on the side of 465 east heading east…on foot. Apparently they didn’t arrive to Greatimes in a car. Probably the wildest thing I’d ever seen in all my years of going to Greatimes.

Next Door American Eatery: the Diner Next Door July 30, 2018

Posted by Kenny Norman in news, north.
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So tonight, at my dad’s suggestion to find somewhere close for dinner, I ate dinner at Next Door American Eatery for the first time. The restaurant is located at 46th & College in what used to be a run down, low-income grocery store. Not that you could ever tell…the place was extensively remodeled with only the framework from the previous tenant remaining. There was nowhere to park in the adjacent lot, which I took to mean the place was popular, so we parked across the street. Thankfully, we were seated immediately, and we chose to eat outside because it’s uncharacteristically cool for July. The service was prompt and friendly, though the menu was limited to one page. Also, Next Door doesn’t have a soda machine. They only have bottled soda, and there’s no refills on that. I wanted a nonalcoholic drink with free refills, so I chose lemonade. In all fairness, it was very good lemonade- rich and sweet, but not too tart. When the time came to order, my first choice, the meatball bowl, was out for the night. I’ll have to try that again on my next visit. I ordered the 50/50 burger, named for its half-mushroom, half-beef patty. It was served with Swiss cheese and balsamic onions, and lettuce and chips came on the side.

Admittedly, I’m a picky eater and even pickier when it comes to burgers. I only order burgers from Red Robin, RAM, and Rock Bottom. I have to say, though, this burger was DELICIOUS. It was quite juicy and very substantial, as I didn’t walk away hungry. The balsamic onions gave the burger an interesting kind of sweet…not a sugary sweet, but more like a honey barbecue-type sweet. My dad got a Cuban Sandwich, which he also liked. The indoor seating was also neat- there were board games for people to play, the bathrooms were clean, and the lighting was just right. I was pleasantly surprised at the prices as well. The bill showed that two lemonades, a burger, and a sandwich were $30. Given the area the restaurant is in (Meridian-Kessler) and the type of trendy, novel concept the restaurant is, I expected the food to be a little overpriced, but I am thoroughly grateful that it wasn’t! Next Door also has a scratch kitchen, and the food is cooked surprisingly quick. I don’t think I had to wait 10 minutes between the time I ordered and the time the food arrived. The only downside was that the menu was a bit limited, but other than that, it was great! I highly recommend it. I’ll be back there again, and next time, I hope that meatball bowl is still available.

India Cafe with Ebony July 11, 2018

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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So tonight, July 7, I went to India Cafe at 86th & Ditch with Ebony. I had been there once before with Sarah to try their lunch buffet, which was delicious and filling. I wondered what their dinner menu was like, so I went there again with Ebony. I have to admit…while the food was good for dinner, I like the lunch buffet more. With lunch, the food had a simple rule: if it’s liquid, then it’s spicy; if it’s solid, then it’s not. Also, the lunch buffet had several savory options, most notably the chicken tandoori. I couldn’t get enough of it! The dinner menu was different. We had sauces in taco shells as an automatic appetizer. I only tried one of the sauces, as the others were too spicy even by Ebony’s standards. I also ordered an appetizer. I forget the Indian name, but it was a pouch filled with potatoes and peas. That’s all the menu had for a description. That appetizer was actually pretty spicy, and I did not see that one coming.

I also had a boneless chicken tandoori for my entree, and it was so hot when it arrived that the skillet was still bubbling. Somehow, it tasted different than the chicken tandoori I had for lunch that time. There was a bit of a black bean-type aftertaste. Service was good, although I don’t think our waiter spoke a lot of English. I repeatedly asked for no ice in my drink refills, and the drinks always had ice. Not a big deal, but I ordered more Sprite as a result. All in all, I may try India Cafe for dinner again with another entree, but I think I’d rather go there for the lunch buffet. They have a wider variety of food, and I already know I like a few of those.

Dinner at Squealers July 8, 2018

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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My dad and I went to Sapporo on June 3…or at least we tried to. We were so excited to see their new facility, only to find they played a dirty trick and refused to accept the coupons we had. I guess that new facility has gone to their heads. Anyway, Squealers, a barbecue place, was across the street. Nolan highly recommended it a month earlier, so we decided to try it. I was surprised at how reasonably priced everything was! I had a juicy piece of barbecue chicken smothered in teriyaki barbecue sauce, with mashed potatoes and broccoli for sides. Their menu had quite a bit of options, and the waitress was very friendly and prompt with plate removal and drink refills. I could use a nice, new barbecue place to go to…and with the demise of both Perkins and Golden Corral from Castleton, I could use more restaurants in Castleton as well!

Welcome to Bento House March 4, 2018

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Boogie Burger is gone! I’m glad, because they gave me a severe case of food poisoning, and they weren’t accountable for it and they had no regrets. In their place emerged Bento House Asian Bistro, and they just opened a few weeks ago in the former Boogie Burger spot off Evanston & Broad Ripple Avenue. I had wanted to check it out, and my dad said we could go one day when I had the day off work. We got there and the inside was nicely renovated. The hostess, who was also our waitress, greeted us in a friendly manner with broken English. She explained the menu to us thoroughly. There were not a lot of entree options, admittedly, but she pointed out the different ways to customize said entrees. Most entrees were a bento box. The bento box for me consisted of shrimp (I could have substituted chicken, salmon, or beef), sushi, ginger, white rice (I could have substituted fried rice or noodles), and meat-filled egg rolls (I could have substituted vegetable egg rolls). The food was pretty good. It was rich, tender, and juicy, and had a decent amount of flavor, though I wouldn’t say it was bursting with flavor. The portion sizes were just right, though. I felt I got a decent amount of food and I wasn’t still hungry. The lunch bento box cost $10, but I could have substituted any seafood for meat and made the price $10. The waitress was very prompt with drink refills and plate removal. I also got the teriyaki chicken kabobs…I may not do that again. Although the chicken was grilled and tender, it did not much taste like teriyaki. All in all, Bento House had enough varieties on options that I could totally go back there again to try a few more styles of bento boxes…and I intend to do so.

Investigating India Cafe March 2, 2018

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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I went with Sarah to India Cafe at 86th & Ditch last week at her recommendation. My previous experiences with Indian food were not the best. I found it to be too spicy. I don’t like spicy food, and my tongue is very sensitive. Sarah called the place and found out they could make it as spicy as you wanted. For me, that means “no spices.” When we got there, the place was very clean, quiet, and bright, and the staff was very nice and well composed. It turns out the lunch buffet was cheaper than the lunch entrees, so we opted for the buffet. After all, for $10, the buffet was a better value. Surprisingly, most of what I tried was not at all spicy! It was actually quite flavorful, albeit a different flavor and spice pallet than that of other ethnic food I have eaten. The food had a simple rule: if it was mostly solid, then it wasn’t spicy. If it was mostly liquid, like a soup or sauce, then it was mostly spicy. I liked their rice and a lot of their chicken entrees, and the vegetables weren’t too bad either. My favorite item on the buffet was the chicken tandoori. It was juicy and rich, with flavor like no other chicken I had eaten before. I had three of those. I don’t know when I will be able to have free time for lunch again, but I would love to go back here and I highly recommend this place, especially to anyone who normally wouldn’t eat Indian food.