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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!

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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!

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

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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.