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Zip City trip March 14, 2017

Posted by Kenny Norman in south.
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About a month ago, upon my return from Florida, one of the ladies at work mentioned this place on the South Side that had a bunch of stuff to do. I told my friends about it, and last week, Lauren said we should go there this past weekend. I was especially excited, as I hadn’t seen Lauren since the Christmas Party. I got off work a little bit early, but because I had to get gas on the way home, meet Lauren at my house, and then go all the way across town, we didn’t get there until 5:20. Unfortunately, the catch of Zip City’s three-hour package is that the activities start on the hour. (Luckily, we snuck in a few zip line rides at the end until 8:20!) There was a lot to do there, and Lauren got a $10 off student discount! Also, Zip City is cheaper than Sky Zone is, and there’s SO much more to do. There were zip lines, trampolines, rock climbing walls, an arcade, a laser tag arena, and a soccer field, though we only did the first three. The trampolines were fun, though we took a break after our first run at that. We then headed to the zip lines, where, admittedly, we spent most of our time. We kept saying we should try the other things, but we kept going back to the zip lines. They were the best part of the place! Unlike the zip lines at Go Ape, which let you crash into mulch when you land, the zip lines here let you slowly decelerate. After a while, we went back to the trampolines one more time, and then we tried out the rock climbing wall. I hadn’t rock climbed in a while, but the walls at Zip City were easier than the ones at Climb Time! I made it all the way to the top, and instead of having to rely on a spotter, I just let go and the harness let me down. Lauren only got about 6 feet off the ground, but she did better than the last time we were at Climb Time. With rock climbing, you have to lead with your arms and have upper body strength. Admittedly, I used to do pull-ups and other upper body exercises in karate. We then went to the zip lines one last time. The guy getting us harnesses put them on us and he said all this up and down stairs is too much for him because he’s “getting old.” We asked him how old he was and he said he JUST turned 19. We laughed, and this guy thought we were both 21-22. Lauren turned 25 in December, and I’ll be 28 by the end of March. Zip City had so many things to do, and given the price, which is quite reasonable for the amount of activities involved, I can safely say we’ll be back there again soon!

Meeting at Metro Diner December 30, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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I tried Metro Diner tonight for the first time, thanks to a suggestion from Jessi. I can’t help but notice it appeared a mile down the street from Perkins a few months after Perkins closed and serving the same kind of food…coincidence? I think not…but anyway, back to my experience tonight. The place was a lot larger than I thought it could be from the outside. Most of the space was used for the dining area. The service was nice and the waitresses, especially ours, checked back quite often. Jessi had a problem with her rice not being cooked long enough, so they happily substituted a squash and zucchini entree for her. I had a hot turkey plate, which came with bread, mashed potatoes, squash, and zucchini. I also added a side of ham. I like how Metro Diner offers sides that are big enough to be considered entrees at other restaurants. Most of the items are between $10-14, and I chose one of the cheaper entrees, mainly because it sounded the most appealing. The portion sizes were large and very filling; I didn’t feel hungry by the time I left and I also felt quite nourished. I did notice the food was a bit blander than I would have cared for, but given the low prices and larger portion sizes, I’m more likely to let that slide. While Metro Diner doesn’t rank on my “must attend” list, I’ll freely admit that I’d go there again.

First time at the Cheesecake Factory December 29, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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So I went with Blake and Mandi to the Cheesecake Factory tonight. I had never been, although several people, including my favorite cousin, have gone on about how good it was. After not seeing Blake and Mandi in a year, they asked me to go to dinner there. I was curious about the place, so I said yes. Oddly enough, they did not take reservations. There was a half hour wait, and the line was out the building and into the mall. I did enjoy the nice selection of cheesecake they had at the front counter. Our waitress was very prompt, attentive, and knowledgeable about the menu. While they did have a few cheap options under $10, most of those were sandwiches and they didn’t look too appetizing. They had a whole menu page of chicken dishes, which I enjoy. I got the chicken and biscuits, which also had mashed potatoes, carrots, peas, and mushrooms. I honestly picked this dish because it looked like the most food for the money. I DID get full, but the entree cost $18. Personally, I think it was about a $13 dish I would have paid $15 to eat…but $18 is a bit much, even for a fancy “date night” place, as Mandi calls it. I also decided to try their cheesecake, as that’s what they are known for. Again, it was wonderfully delicious red velvet cheesecake, but I think it should have been a $5 slice, and not an $8 slice. It was also a bit darker inside than I would have liked to see. It’s a nice place, and the food is good, though I consider it a bit overpriced, and I’d only go back if I had a coupon of some sort or if someone else was paying. It’s charming, and the service and wait staff are nice, but not a good value for the buck.

ThinkGeek’s soft opening November 10, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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I went to the “soft opening” of ThinkGeek at Castleton Square tonight before tomorrow’s grand opening! The place is a nice little area devoted to the kind of things you’d see at Comic-Con or Popcon. Besides the Power Rangers and Marvel heroes sections I’d seek out, they also had Harry Potter, Zelda, Game of Thrones, Star Trek, and Star Wars. I know there’s more, but I wasn’t paying attention beyond the two sections I like. It was a neat place, like Hot Topic without the music section…yet they offered items I never saw at Hot Topic or FYE. Oh, and they are a division of GameStop, so those reward cards work there, too. I recommend the place. They have a neat selection of novelties and collectibles. I got a Green Ranger hat and Blue Ranger socks tonight. I also got a photo with the giant Iron Man statue while holding the Captain America shield!

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Going to Golden Corral West November 8, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in west.
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On November 7, I went to the west side Golden Corral. I hadn’t been there since May of 2008, and it was after a particularly annoying experience of drunken Indy 500-goers shouting at us because our car was overheating. Anyway, with the north side Golden Corral closed two months ago, I decided to check out the other two in Indy to see which one I would go to now. As I approached the west side Golden Corral at 38th & High School Road, the lights on the sign were out and I didn’t see any cars in the parking lot. Upon closer inspection, the sign was just shut off and there were a few cars in the lot close to the entrance. It wasn’t very busy there. The east side Golden Corral I went to last Monday night had five times the attendance. And when I first walked in, the first thing I find out is that the west side Golden Corral didn’t have root beer. Ironically, they did on my last visit in 2008, while the east side Golden Corral didn’t have root beer on my last visit in 2006 but they do now. The nice cashier informs me “no root beer,” and at first, I thought that meant they were just out. She said it three times before I figured out she meant they don’t have it, and I said “Damn!” quite bluntly, but not loudly. Another thing I noticed: the Golden Corral in Castleton was decorated and had dessert and a private section on the left, and salad and bathrooms on the right. The east side location had the same layout, but was not decorated. The west side location was just as decorated as the Castleton location was, but the layout was a mirror image, and as a result, I was constantly getting lost. Several of the employees from Castleton transferred to the east side location, and, as I suspected, none were at the west side location. That makes sense, seeing how Washington & Mitthoeffer is closer to Castleton than 38th & High School is. The service was VERY good at the west side location. The clientele was quiet and kept to themselves, though they made sure the wait staff got tipped. Two guys were about to leave when they didn’t realize they had any cash, and they went over to the cashier and waited five minutes to get some so they could leave a tip. Our waiter was upbeat, prompt, and polite. We rarely had to ask him for refills, and we even tipped him an extra dollar. The food was almost as good as the food at the east side location. It tasted like it had been sitting out just a little bit longer, but it wasn’t obvious or gross like that. I mean, I had five plates when I usually have three, so it was nothing for me to worry about and the chicken, broccoli, shrimp, turkey, and potatoes I had were delicious. I also noticed, oddly enough, that the east side location had no booths, while Castleton and the west side locations did. Strange. I worry about the west side location because there weren’t many people in there during my visit. Ultimately though, I’d choose the east side location over the west side. I like booths and colorful walls, but I like root beer, a familiar layout, and fresher food more, plus the employees at the east side formerly from Castleton know me.

Spotting Sakura November 7, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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After Covered Bridges, Ebony and I needed somewhere to eat. With our beloved Perkins, our usual after-Covered Bridges dinner spot, destroyed, we opted for Sakura off 71st & Keystone. I drive by this place literally every week and wonder what it’s like in there. When we got there, we had to park at the closed vet’s office next door due to insufficient parking. We got inside to find out that it wasn’t too crowded and we were seated immediately. I had a teriyaki chicken entree for $12. I really thought it would be a lot more expensive than it was, and I’m glad it wasn’t. Thankfully, they didn’t skimp on the portions. I almost had to resort to a to-go box, which Ebony actually used. The chicken also came with rice and vegetables, all of which were wonderfully tasty. The flavors were interesting. I have a hard time describing just what they added to their teriyaki sauce to make it unique, but it works. I feel like I got a good value for the money. The wait staff wasn’t the friendliest, but they WERE rather prompt and checked back frequently for drink refills and plate removal. I recommend this place and I hope to go back again. As I said, I drive by this place literally every week and therefore, I should be able to go back sometime soon.

Scotty’s Dawghouse gives close dining options November 3, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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Since the Broad Ripple MCL and the Broad Ripple Greek’s both closed last year (and Boogie Burger gave me food poisoning), I’ve had a hard time finding good restaurants close to my house. Thankfully, as part of Butler’s new parking garage, they installed their own version of Scotty’s Brewhouse in the garage, named Scotty’s Dawghouse after the Butler Bulldogs. I highly recommend this place. The wait staff, comprised almost entirely of Butler students, gives great service. They’re happy, prompt, and helpful. I never had to wait more than five minutes to place an order or get soda refills. Their burgers are also very good- not as good as Red Robin, but close. The beef is thick, juicy, and tasty, and the fries with them aren’t half bad either. The menu has several options beyond burgers, and they offer upgraded beef options, but I’m happy with the simple stuff. I also had teriyaki chicken wings off their appetizer menu, which came only a few minutes before the meals came, so I didn’t even have to rely on the appetizer to tide me over before the main course! To end things, I had the nutella marshmallow milkshake. And yes, it’s as rich, sugary, creamy, and delicious as it sounds. It’s only available for a limited time, so I don’t know if it’s still there, but if it is, then get it immediately. Prices are a bit on the high side, but I consider it worth it. And it’s nice to have decent restaurants I like between downtown and Broad Ripple again.

Hibachi Bar Now Open! November 3, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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I went to Hibachi Bar and Grill in Broad Ripple on October 19. The new restaurant occupied the space formerly occupied by La Jolla, a Mexican restaurant. Admittedly, I’m biased- going from Mexican to Japanese is about the biggest possible upgrade for me! And to add icing to the cake, the restaurant owners were giving their customers all 15% off without coupon in honor of their grand opening! We didn’t wait to be seated, and we were seated at our own table. I got the hibachi chicken and shrimp combo for $22, which was the full price before discount. Without the discount, this place is on par with others of its kind like Sapporo, Tomo, Benihana, Kazan, Fujiyama, Fuji, and Kumo. The staff was friendly and helpful, though I question whether our waitress spoke fluent English, as she struggled to understand our drink order. The chef was very fun though, and he cooked our food as specified. It tasted pretty good, though it wasn’t quite as good as Sapporo or Tomo. The chicken and the shrimp were succulent, flavorful, and plentiful, and they left a pleasant lingering aftertaste. All in all, we were in and out in under an hour. That’s the fastest hibachi service I’ve ever had!

Halloween at Golden Corral East October 31, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in east.
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With the demise of my wonderful Golden Corral on the north side of Indy at 75th & Shadeland, I had to pick between the remaining ones on West 38th Street and East Washington Street for dinner tonight. Seeing as how I also needed to hit Aldi and Menards, I opted for the location on East Washington Street. I last went there years ago, like a decade ago, and it was disgustingly trashy, and to add insult to injury, they didn’t even have root beer. Thankfully, things have improved greatly since then. The selection and taste of the food was virtually the same as the Shadeland location. You may expect that because it’s a chain, but that’s not always the case. Oh, and they have root beer now, which I enjoy. I had roasted turkey, barbecue chicken, pot roast, shrimp, potatoes, carrots, and spinach. All of it tasted wonderful, and after three plates of that, I had peaches, oranges, and applesauce. Had I gotten fruit sooner, I could have had bananas and strawberries as well. Two of the employees who had served us faithfully for years at the Shadeland location were here at the East Washington location tonight. I’m glad they were able to successfully transfer. The manager was very nice and polite, readily and happily making change for me out of a $5 to get tip money. I also dropped said tip money on the way back to my table, and a guy a few tables behind me was nice and honest enough to pick the money up and hand it back to me. Also, a few kids accidentally bumped into me when I went back up to the buffet. (Remember- this is Halloween night and their costumes partially obscure their vision.) Surprisingly, they turned around and each of them gave me a sincere apology. I have to say, the clientele at this location is FAR nicer and more courteous than that of the Shadeland location. Had this happened there, the manager would’ve been more annoyed while giving me change, the guy would have kept my money, and the kids wouldn’t have said anything, or MAYBE their parents would have offered a token apology. Also at the Shadeland location, large parties would leave a giant mess on the table and no tip. I noticed at the East Washington Street location, the large party next to us, who didn’t leave that big a mess, got up and started to walk away before they realized they didn’t leave a tip. They all began to freak out and immediately started checking with each other to see who had change. Luckily, one lady did. It’s so refreshing to see large families actually care about compensating the wait staff for good service. This location also seemed very clean in the dining area and buffet line. My only complaint, albeit minor, was that the men’s room was wet all over, trashed out, and the toilets were broken to the point where they wouldn’t or almost wouldn’t flush. Still, I’d go here again. It’s a bummer losing my close Shadeland location I’d been hitting up since 2003, but at least I don’t have to give up on Golden Corral completely like I did with Perkins or Ryan’s! The nearest Perkins is in Noblesville and the nearest Ryan’s is in Bowling Green, Kentucky…at least Golden Corral still has a location in the city.

Post Road Recreation Center fails to keep word October 31, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in east.
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I called Post Road Recreation Center tonight, October 31, to ask about the hours of their haunted escape rooms. The lady on the line said the last group goes in at 11:00, so try to get there by 10:30. I showed up at 9:50 and it’s completely dark without a car in the lot. No sign was even posted to explain their unannounced early closing, and as a result, my friends and I didn’t get a haunted house on Halloween this year. I called at 6:30 on October 31 regarding the hours of the haunted escape rooms that same night, and I didn’t get to see ANY events because the place was closed when I got there, despite what the employee said! I showed up at 9:50, which, IF the place was open until 11:00 like the employee TOLD me three hours earlier, should have been enough time. Now I don’t get a haunted anything for Halloween. I could have just gone to Necropolis, which was open until 11:00 for real. Further, I checked the website before Ieft, and it said, in bold letters top and center, “Open until 11pm on Halloween!” Then, when I got home and checked the website after driving all the way out there, only then did it say in smaller letters in the top left corner, “Halloween 5-9 pm”.