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Chef Mike’s is closing September 12, 2019

Posted by Kenny Norman in news, north.
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I received some sad news today when I found out Chef Mike’s was closing. I really liked it there. They gave me a generous supply of coupons so I could get half-price steaks every month. The staff knew me and the service was wonderful. They opened in 2009 and we first discovered the place in 2012. I went there to celebrate finishing my job at the Indy Star call center. I went there a few times with Bridget in 2015 and 2016 when she was having rough times. I went there twice with Andrew and Candice and all their kids in the past year. I will miss that place…and their delicious chicken and steaks.

They recently upgraded their space from their original location at 71st street & 465 to a newer, bigger place- the old Abuelo’s restaurant at Traders Point. And by “recent,” I mean they just moved last December. So they’ve only been there nine months before closing. This is sad. I’ll be there one last time to use up the final half-price steak coupon they gave me. They released this statement at 7:00 a.m. this morning:

Thank you to all of our loyal customers over the past 11+ years. We have enjoyed meeting you, serving you and just being a place where we knew your name. Chef Mike turned 70 and has decided to retire at the end of the month. We will close our doors for the last time on Friday, September 27th. Stop by to wish Mike and Cathy well! Plus have all of your favorites while you still can. We will honor your coupons through the end of the month. Don’t miss our last Beer Dinner on the 17th at 7 pm! It will be the best one yet!
Chef Mike will be continuing his catering business. So keep him in mind for business lunches, picnics, holiday parties, graduations and weddings. He also has a traveling grill, so can bring some of your favorites right to you.
Chef Mike looks forward to spending more time with his grandkids, being home a LOT more and maybe even golfing.

We will miss you and can’t thank you enough for your support!

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Welcome to Circle City Comics May 15, 2019

Posted by Kenny Norman in news, north.
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So tonight I tried out a new comic store off 86th & Michigan- Circle City Comics! They just opened two months ago, on March 27, so the store is still filling out with merchandise. The layout takes some getting used to. The brand-new issues released that week are on two tall racks near the register, while the issues that have been out for a week or two are along the wall or are on smaller racks away from the register.

I admit…I needed help from the cashier on my trip there. They’re open pretty late for a comic store (9pm), which is later than most comic stores in Indy are open (except Comic Book University). As added bonuses, at Circle City Comics, they bag & board ALL their new issues, they give a 15% discount on new issues, and it’s nice to FINALLY have a comic store on that side of town!

Review: Ukiyo May 8, 2019

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Tonight I tried Ukiyo, a trendy modern Asian fusion restaurant off 49th & College. First thing I noticed when I walked in is that the air conditioning was not on, and it was 80 degrees outside. That said, service was polite, prompt, attentive, and immediate.

The bathrooms were also very clean and the facility had good lighting- not too bright, but you could at least see where you were walking. The prices were a bit on the high side, and the portions could have been a bit bigger. The food was rather delicious, though, and very juicy. I had sesame ribs with potatoes for $16. Granted, ribs usually are a more expensive entree.

I could have gotten ramen. They had three different types of ramen for $13. I don’t know if I’d go back again, because the portions were very small compared to the high pricing. Still, though, I had a very pleasant experience with good service, and the food was wonderful.

Beginning dinner at Blaze Pizza January 11, 2019

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Ebony and I have been on a campaign to try several new restaurants: India Cafe last July, TaiChi Asian House last August, Sisters Korean restaurant last October, and now, Blaze Pizza. There are several locations in Indy, but we went to the one off 86th & Michigan Road. The wait was crazy. We had to wait half an hour in line just to order, and then we had to wait another half an hour for the pizzas to be ready. Ebony ordered a standard cheese pizza. I got a standard ham and mushroom pizza, plus a “white top” pizza with white pizza sauce, garlic, cilantro, bacon, arugula, and some other toppings. I also ordered thicker crust. When I got the pizza, I was a bit disappointed that the thicker crust didn’t make my pizzas that much thicker.

Admittedly, I liked the ham and mushroom pizza more than I liked the white top pizza. The pizza itself actually tasted pretty good. The ham, mushroom, and sauce all tasted rich, flavorful, juicy, and fresh. Instead of drinking a soda like I usually do, I got a lemonade, which I enjoyed. It was tart, but still sweet, with 80 calories fewer than a glass of soda would have. I also got a brownie for $2. The brownie was fairly big and had chocolate chips in it, but I was disappointed at how dry and bland it was. I’d baked better brownies for myself at home.

We had to clean up before we left, but at least we didn’t have to tip. I liked Blaze Pizza better than Puccini’s, but not better than Greek’s, which has been my all-time favorite pizza place since 2009. That said, though, I’d go back to Blaze Pizza again. I’d just skip the white top pizza and brownie, sticking to just the ham and mushroom pizza and the lemonade.

Introducing India Garden November 1, 2018

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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.

Hello, Hyderabad House! September 5, 2018

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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!

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

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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

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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

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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.