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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.

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!

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.

SoBro Greek’s now open! May 31, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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Finally! The SoBro Greek’s Pizzeria opened at 49th & College opened on May 20. I’d been waiting a while for this. Also, it seems like whenever a Greek’s Pizzeria opens near my house, it closes soon after. There have been two attempts in Broad Ripple and one attempt downtown, all of which failed. I was excited when one opened at 71st & Binford in March 2016. This one at 49th & College features a taproom up above. The dining area, which is really nice inside, is open until 9:00 p.m. with the taproom usually open until 11:00 p.m. or midnight. The dining area is surprisingly spacious, and it’s nicely lit. I didn’t find it too bright or too dim. It also seemed to be very clean. Our waitress was always kind enough to check back with us for drink refills and plate removal. Of course, it helped that she was in constant view of us.

This Greek’s also had sauce options, which is something I’m completely unfamiliar with. Our waitress wasn’t sure what other options there were for sauces, so I’ll have to check that out on my next visit. Oh well. The basic sauce is good enough. It’s rich and sweet, but it still tastes like pizza sauce. As always, I love the cheese and ham at Greek’s. The cheese is chewy and flavorful, but it doesn’t stretch to infinity. And the ham is juicy and not spicy, unlike most other pizza places where I’ve eaten. It’s nice having a Greek’s close to me with their delicious pizza. I’ll definitely be back for more and I hope this location sticks around for quite some time!

Dinner at Tian Fu May 14, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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Bridget, Ebony, Lauren, and I had dinner at Tian Fu at 86th & Michigan Road on Indianapolis’ northwest side. I had seen the place several times, but I’d never been. We checked it out and thought the food was pretty good. The wait staff seemed to have limited English, but they knew to clear plates, take orders, and get drinks. Everything was done correctly, and the manager even got personally involved on several occasions, not because we complained, but because he actually cared enough to make our experience there enjoyable. I got chicken egg rolls and wonton soup as appetizers. The chicken egg rolls really didn’t taste like chicken and weren’t that special. They didn’t taste bad, per se, but I probably won’t order them again. The wonton soup was MUCH better, and it came in quite the large bowl! I’ve had better wonton soups, but I WOULD order that again. For my entree, I got chicken & shrimp with broccoli. Oddly, it was the same price as chicken & broccoli. Anyway, it tasted wonderful, and it was covered in a sauce that was sweet, but not TOO sweet. It provided a nice accent to the taste, and it went well on my sticky rice too. Finally, when Ebony couldn’t eat her honey banana dessert, I finished it off. They had different criticisms about it; I thought it was just right. It had a crunchy thin layer outside with a gooey thick layer inside. It was mostly banana, but I could taste some honey. All in all, while Tian Fu wasn’t the best Chinese food I’d ever had, I enjoyed my meal there, and I give it a solid B. Also, their menu is quite extensive, so I have plenty of alternative entree options for my next few visits.

Aldi renovation April 20, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in news, north.
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The Aldi I shop at on 53rd & Keystone shut down April 15 for an extensive remodel. They wanted to add another 20 feet to the side of the store to fit more freezer facilities. Part of the remodel includes a temporary shutdown. They’ve been open for a while, and while it smelled like wet cardboard, at least I could still get my groceries. I went there one last time before they shut everything down, and the place was ransacked. The freezers were blocked off, and everything that wasn’t frozen food was ransacked! At least I still got my apple juice. The renovation will be complete May 25, which seems like a long way away. I may shift over to the new Broad Ripple Fresh Thyme (with a bit of Wal-Mart to bat cleanup) in the interim, but at least the Aldi staff was nice enough to hand out coupons- $10 off a $40 purchase during the closure, valid at four other Aldi stores: 96th & Hague, 84th & Michigan, 46th & Lafayette, and Washington & Arlington. All those stores are a bit out of the way for me, but it’s nice to know they care enough to help customers with the inconvenience! I eagerly await Memorial Day Weekend when the new store is fully renovated.

Broad Ripple Fresh Thyme has Grand Opening March 31, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in news, north.
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I found out a few weeks back that the Broad Ripple Fresh Thyme would be opening March 30. Eve works there, so she kept me in the loop and told me I should go there to check it out. Parking was easier than expected, as the whole first floor of the garage is exclusive to Fresh Thyme customers. The layout was somewhat reversed of every other Fresh Thyme I’d been to, so I got lost at first. Luckily, the staff is very cheerful, friendly, and helpful, so I had them point me in the direction of what I needed. Unlike other Fresh Thyme stores, this one had a smoothie bar, hot bar, and chippery. Naturally, I had to check out all those features! First, I checked out the hot bar. The food was $8 per pound, so I may not do the hot bar a lot. One day I may treat myself to it. It had corn, mashed potatoes, chicken, broccoli, and all sorts of other delicious comfort food! It smelled really good, too. Next was the smoothie bar, which is also part of a coffee station that also serves Hubbard & Cravens coffee. I don’t do coffee, so that particular feature won’t do me good, but I know other people will like it! I got two smoothies while I was there at their new smoothie bar! One was good! The other…not so much! The “Blondie” smoothie had apple juice, banana, and strawberry. It was good. The “Da Blues” smoothie had apple juice, banana, and blueberry. It wasn’t quite as good. Next stop was the chippery. The staff there were so helpful. If I wanted to sample a chip that they didn’t have out, then they’d open a bag for me to taste one! Their sweet potato chips were a bit bland and not very sweet, but their sweet barbecue and their sour cream and onion chips were great, so I got both of those. Also, because it was Grand Opening day, I got a free reusable bag and a whole bunch of samples- bread, cheese, salami, sushi, even a hot dog! I wish the samples were an everyday thing, but I know it was just for the grand opening. The hot dog was especially good. The lady running the booth was very interactive and energetic. I donated $1 to the art center, as she was asking for donations in exchange for hot dogs. I also got $5 rotisserie chickens and a bunch of strawberries! I also checked out the patio, which was open because the Grand Opening day was warm and sunny. The sales may vary from week to week, although not as much on Thursday, which is their “double ad day,” when the previous and the next week’s ads are both valid. The Broad Ripple Fresh Thyme has enough interesting things to warrant a return visit, I’d go back there again just for the smoothies!