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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!

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.

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.

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!