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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.

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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.

Return to the Hibachi Bar July 2, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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So I went back to the Hibachi Bar in Broad Ripple for dinner with my dad on June 30. (Don’t worry: despite the name, it’s not an actual bar. I don’t do those.) Broad Ripple being the area that it is, all the storefronts are right up to the street with parking behind. It was difficult to find parking. Eventually we just parked in an old office building closed for the weekend. We got in there around 7:25 and there was a bit of a wait. The odd thing was that there was enough table space to sit everyone waiting, but we weren’t seated for 20 minutes simply because it took the staff that long to clean off the table we wanted. Once that was taken care of, we were seated. It took the chef a while to arrive, but in the interim, the staff was very friendly and attentive. They got us drinks, salad, and soup, and they correctly took our orders. I ordered a chicken and shrimp combo while my dad ordered a scallop and shrimp combo. My dad and I started talking to this nice couple, Pat and Christine, who moved all over the country before settling in the Lawrence area of Indy. And to think, they nearly ate at Cheesecake Factory that night! (Just my opinion, but I prefer the Hibachi Bar.) Those two got Japanese sodas. The sodas looked interesting both in concept and design. Pieces of the cap popped off and fell into the drink! When the chef arrived, he offered us the chance to have zucchini tossed into our mouths. Amazingly, I caught it, and so did two other people at the table! The chef was very fun and engaging, though I have to admit he didn’t put on as showy a show as other hibachi restaurants do. Also, I had to personally request ginger sauce from the chef, whereas it automatically comes at other places. The food was pretty good, though. It was honestly just a little bit below food from Sapporo or Tomo in terms of taste. However, the price difference made it much more worth it! Fried rice was included with the entree. The full price for two would have been $40, as compared to Sapporo and Tomo’s $60. Note that I said FULL price- Pat and Christine told us about a Groupon discount with that app. My dad downloaded it and got us $30 off, so we only paid $10. Total steal! Overall, Hibachi Bar has some pretty good food, though it wasn’t quite as good as other hibachi restaurants and the service was a little slower. But at prices like these, I don’t mind!

Day Out at Freedom Springs June 27, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in south.
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So right before my 4th of July Party, Lauren texted me and asked me what I was doing the day after the party. I had initially planned to go with Bridget to Splash Island in Plainfield, but Lauren then told me about Freedom Springs in Greenwood. She said it was supposed to be built to compete with Splash Island. Naturally, I was immediately intrigued and decided to check it out. Bridget got sick at the last minute, so Lauren was thoughtful enough to invite Nathan to come with us, and I’m glad she did. We got there at 1:10 and paid $10 to get in, which wasn’t bad. There was also an option to get a 10-time pass for $50, but I didn’t know how often we’d use it, so I didn’t get it. Freedom Springs seemed a little smaller than Splash Island in terms of square footage, but it had most of the same features: three water slides, a lazy river, a rope climbing area, and an olympic-size pool. One of the slides even required tubes to go down, and you could go down in single or double tubes. It did bother me that I wasn’t allowed to wear my goggles on the water slides, though; Splash Island doesn’t mind if I do that. Also, the slides at Freedom Springs are bigger, longer, and faster than the ones at Splash Island are. For most people, that’s a plus, but it’s a bit too big, long, and fast for me, so I prefer the slides at Splash Island.

That said, I liked the lazy river a lot better at Freedom Springs. It had a more even current and a better layout. The pool was about the same at both places; still, I was impressed by the decent size. And I like how you can see everything about the place, as well as the surrounding area, from the top of the slides. The staff was very helpful, polite, and attentive, even though we didn’t require much help from them. The bathrooms were also clean and well maintained, and the whole place is a giant rectangle, so it’s easy to navigate. We did the slides a lot. I first tried the tube slide with Lauren. She liked to go in the back because it was faster there; I liked to go in the front because it was slower there. The inside of the slide was oddly heated. We flipped over as we headed out and water was lodged deep in my ear. It took me a while to get it out! We took turns on the slides for a while, trying both the body slides and the tube slides. The body slides came in red and blue. Red was covered and went faster, while blue was open to the sunlight and went a little slower. I preferred blue. Nathan and I headed to the lazy river. When we saw Lauren was still on the slides, which she openly admits are her favorite feature of Freedom Springs, Nathan quickly got out of the lazy river and went up the slide. I joined him. Lauren and I did one last joint ride on the tube slide and then I did one last run on the blue body slide before Freedom Springs closed at 6:00. We got changed and left around 6:05. Overall, I really enjoyed Freedom Springs. It was a nice place and I’d go back there again.

Game night at Rascal’s Fun Zone June 21, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in south.
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For one of our most recent game nights, the lady in charge planned a trip to Rascal’s Fun Zone in Whiteland. That’s a bit far for me, so I carpooled with her and everyone else met us there. It was honestly worth the trip! The place had a large indoor electric go-kart tracks and a decent-sized arcade as well! Outside there were bumper boats, two courses of mini-golf, and two go-kart tracks. There’s enough for a second run here. I hope we make one. We didn’t have time to do everything here, so we started with the outdoor stuff…for all I know, the next time we go to Rascal’s, it may be cold.

Scott, John, Nathan, and I did a round of mini-golf. We did that first because the sun was setting and light matters more in mini-golf than it does in go-karting. The course was fairly straightforward and easy to follow, though I would have preferred signs and numbers near the holes. It wasn’t super difficult to get a par 3 or 4, but it was just difficult enough that it wouldn’t be easy, if that makes any sense. Scott and John were very close, but Scott barely won. Also, those two and I all got a hole in one at some point! The staff gave us suckers for competing. Major points to the employees, by the way. They were very competent and efficient. They knew everything about the facility that we needed to know, and they ran the place very smoothly. We didn’t wait in long lines, have any problems, or have any malfunctioning machines. Also, the building was INCREDIBLY clean…much cleaner than I would have expected for this type of facility. Next, we tried both go-kart tracks. One was a large loop, and one was a whole two-level figure-8 track. We did the loop first. I didn’t find that one as fun, but the carts ran smoothly, the track was slick, and the employees kept a watchful eye to unjam my friends when a few of them collided and spun around. Next was the two-level figure-8 track. I found that MUCH more enjoyable.

I got one of the lead cars and I easily overtook the two guys in front of me. I also did the same to the guy in last place. My friends say I got the best car of the bunch. They also say I drove like a maniac, which, considering I learned that from them the last time we went go-karting, I took as a compliment. After that, it was 10:00 and the place closed at 10:30. We played a few arcade games, most notably skee ball and Deal or No Deal. It was odd how the skee ball machines calculated points differently. Scott got a higher score than I did, but somehow he got fewer tickets. Nathan and I played Deal or No Deal. He kinda got screwed by not taking the deal at the end and opening a personal case of very few tickets. I did the opposite- I took the deal at the end of 75 tickets, but my personal case had 100 tickets. There were several other arcade games available that looked interesting, including duckpin bowling, but we were nearly out of time. About the only thing I didn’t like was that it was hard to get a decent prize for only 122 tickets. I feel like my tickets went further at Greatimes or Dave & Busters. Oh well. I split the candy I won with the guys as a thank you for a great night. We even had time to do a few games at the lady in charge’s house after Rascal’s closed! Overall, I like Greatimes a bit more, but I’d do Rascal’s again. I hope we can do so before summer ends, or at least before it gets cold outside.

Aldi remodel complete! June 1, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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Aldi reopened their 52nd & Keystone store on May 25. I went in there tonight, May 30, and was pleasantly surprised how they put the 20 additional feet to the right to good use! First off, the lighting is a lot calmer inside. Instead of being evenly bright, it shines selectively on certain items and gives the eyes a break elsewhere. Second, there’s signage for EVERYTHING. No matter how small the section, there’s a sign above its location in its aisle to help you find it. Third, there are more aisles now. Fourth, there is a break in every aisle in the same spot so you can cut through the store now. Fifth, there’s more space in the aisles now. Three carts could probably be nearly side by side now without incident. The layout has more freezer space and a few things have been moved. The bread is along the wall instead of by the checkout lines, the produce is in the corner, and the baking supplies are in the middle of the store. The juice is now where the bread once was by the checkout lines. I don’t like how they made a smaller space for apple juice. They used to have a space eight feet wide and six feet tall. Now it’s two feet wide and three feet tall. It’s too easy for me to buy their entire supply now. Sadly, they STILL close at 8:00 p.m. I tried to get out tonight and found that out when I was locked in. I just manually unlocked the door, pushed the doors open, walked out, and pulled the doors closed behind me. I didn’t really notice any NEW merchandise, but the remodel makes the place more pleasant to look at and easier to find things.