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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!

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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

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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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.

Misadventures at Cadillac Ranch July 16, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in downtown.
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Ebony and I went to the Cadillac Ranch at Mall of America. We LOVED it. Good music videos to watch, an extensive menu of delicious food, and a wild mechanical bull to ride! We heard there was a Cadillac Ranch here in Indy and got excited. We made plans to go on July 14.

That said, our trip downtown to Cadillac Ranch did not go well. Black Expo was in town, so when we were on 10th street, traffic was stopped. We had cars blocking intersections on the way there. When we got there, we apparently had to get carded, which they do after 7:00. And the menu was NOT what it said it was online. It was supposed to be the smaller version of the extensive menu. We had all of 10 options.

Worst of all, the bull was BROKEN. They wouldn’t get it fixed until 10:00, and we both had other separate plans after dinner- Ebony wanted to play with her niece and I was headed to the south side for the last half of game night. Ebony was NOT happy! At least we got like seven free coupons each.

I mean, at least I got to see Ebony, and I hadn’t seen her in a month, so that was nice. But I swear, next time we’ll just eat at Yard House and then walk down to Cadillac Ranch to ride the bull!

Giving Ram a try July 9, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in downtown.
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After my dad picked me up from Popcon, we decided to go out to dinner. We had just done Yard House, also in the area, the night before, so my dad wanted something new. We tried Harry & Izzy’s and then Mikado, in that order, but both places were so pricey that the cheapest entree was barely under $20. We were walking back from Mikado when we passed by Ram. We decided to go in there and check out the menu. Lighting was a little on the dark side, but it was still light enough to see. The hostess, a young blonde girl who was very lively and sweet, happily gave us a menu.

Granted, there were a few entrees from $20-30, but it was nice to see most of the entrees were from $11-20, and there were plenty at the cheaper end for me to make a selection. We sat down, and it was a good eight minutes before we got any service. Our waitress, Clarisa, finally arrived, and got our drink orders. I was pleased to see that they had root beer there. A lot of restaurants carry Pepsi products, but root beer never seems to be among the choices. And to give credit where credit was due, once Clarisa found us, we never had to worry about anything.

She filled our orders correctly, gave us refills promptly, and cleared all empty plates quickly. She was great! I forget the exact name for what I had, but it was a burger with lettuce, barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, and bacon on it. The only modification I made was to remove a tomato. While it wasn’t the best burger I ever had, it was very juicy and not too burnt. My food was also surprisingly filling. I have to admit, I was disappointed at first when I saw the size of my entree, but then I ended up getting just the right amount of full: not too starving and not too stuffed. There were several other entrees worth trying, like sirloin, salmon, fried chicken, and steak sandwiches, so I think a return trip is in order. With good service, fair pricing, decent portion sizes, and tasty food, Ram is a place I would recommend. I give it 7.5/10.