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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.

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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.

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.

Pho Tasty for real July 22, 2016

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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Tonight, at Vanessa’s recommendation, Ebony and I went to Pho Tasty, a Vietnamese Noodle House, by Castleton Square. It was quite enjoyable! I had Vietnamese Pork Barbecue Egg Rolls for $4, and they looked like they were wrapped in plastic. I checked, and not only was it not plastic, but it was also edible. They also provided a sauce that I thought tasted like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. Delicious. Entrees, of which they had a wide selection, ranged from $9-13. Mine was about $11. I narrowed my selection down from four choices, and I honestly could not pronounce the Vietnamese name. I just know it was #43 on the menu, and #18, #42, and #45 were the three runner-ups. The entree I had contained vermicelli noodles, which taste like rice, as well as shrimp, lettuce, marinated beef, bean sprouts, carrots, and cucumbers. It was pretty good and I enjoyed it, although next time, I think I’ll pass on the cucumbers, and I may skip the carrots if the chef can’t separate the carrots from the vinegar-tasting sauce they were drenched in. Every other piece, especially the beef, was very flavorful. Portions were large, which I love, and I can say the prices were reasonable. One note, though: they do NOT give refills on sodas because they serve them in cans. If you want more than one drink, then it’s best to just get water. I’d recommend the place for sure, and I’d like to go back there again. After all, there are three more entrees I need to try!

Welcome to MCL East November 3, 2015

Posted by Kenny Norman in east.
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MCL East (1)

MCL East (2) So, in my quest to find a new MCL to replace the one in Broad Ripple that closed, I tried out the MCL at 10th & Arlington tonight. It was alright, but I’m still looking for a new MCL to replace Broad Ripple. So far, Township Line is in the lead and Castleton is disqualified! I know I said management at the Township Line MCL fell short quite a bit a few months back. At least the manager at the 10th & Arlington MCL was polite and attentive enough to let us combine coupons: buy one entree get one 50% off, AND get a free dessert with a purchased meal! Now THAT is some good management. Unfortunately, as with the Castleton MCL, their portion sizes were too small and I walked away still a little hungry, but at least I didn’t have to pay full price for it! I also noticed the 10th & Arlington MCL was not only smaller, but the layout was the mirror image of the one in Broad Ripple. They were probably both older stores. One of the houses I’m working on is in the area, so I may come back to the 10th & Arlington MCL for lunch sometime! I still have to try the Speedway, Carmel, Avon, and South Side MCLs though.

Castleton Square Mall run, May 2 May 2, 2013

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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So on May 2nd, I decided to stop at Castleton Square Mall after karate like I sometimes do. I usually get some vanilla ice cream from Dairy Queen, but this time I also decided to go by Yankee Candle to get some of those car vent stick air fresheners for my dad. I got cotton, beach, and lavender vanilla scented sticks for $12, which is pretty good. That comes out to $1 apiece, and Yankee Candle is usually pricey! I then got my ice cream and walked around the mall until it was finished. I’m at Center Court by Macy’s with my ice cream halfway eaten when I pass the brand-new Starbucks kiosk. I hear a lady say “Excuse me…” and years of dealing with Deep Sea Cosmetics salespeople make me cringe when I hear those words. I had to remind myself that this was NOT Deep Sea Cosmetics. I turn and say “yes?” and the cute, polite lady is offering me a free dessert. I did a double take and clarified it was free. I then asked her what desserts they had. They had brownies, as well as chocolate cinnamon bread, but I chose the blueberry scone. Now, it was 8:40, which is 20 minutes before closing time, so they were probably giving away all the desserts that didn’t sell that day. But hey, I’ll take it! It was pretty good. Dry, but good. Luckily I still had my ice cream. I took off by 8:51. And yes, now I want to visit that Starbucks kiosk sometime to get another blueberry scone, even though I don’t drink coffee.

My 10 favorite restaurants September 18, 2012

Posted by Kenny Norman in downtown, east, north, south.
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I don’t really like to cook for myself, so when I have the time, money, and opportunity, I go out to eat. Here are my 10 favorite places to eat in Indy!

(No offense, west side, but none of your restaurants made my list.)

1. Happy Garden (North side) $$

2. Sapporo (North side) $$$

3. Super China Buffet (North side) $

4. Ponderosa (South side) $$

5. Greek’s Pizzeria (South side) $$

6.Teppanyaki (East side) $

7.Ryan’s Steakhouse (East side) $$

8.Perkins (North side) $$

9.Red Lobster (North side)$$$

10.Weber Grill (downtown) $$$

Latitude 39 June 28, 2012

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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I can’t wait for this place to open. Since AMC moved to Castleton Square in (what was it, 2008?), its former location off 82nd & Dean Road has remained vacant. A year ago, I hear about plans of a place called “Latitude 39” to take the space. This new place should have a restaurant, bowling alley, movies, dance floor, and a game room. It’s been a year and I still REALLY want to go there as soon as it opens! Ironically, it sounds very similar to the long-departed Block Party (closed April 26, 2002), which was located right across the street. Click the link below for more info. –Kenny

 

http://latitude39indy.com/

Teppanyaki review June 18, 2012

Posted by Kenny Norman in east, west.
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There’s a new place in Indy to get some delicious food at a cheap price! Well…a couple of places, actually. It’s called “Teppanyaki Grill & Supreme Buffet.” There’s one on the west side of Indy on 38th street, and there’s one on the east side of Indy on Washington street. The one on the west side is half a former Best Buy (they moved to 46th & Lafayette Road) and the one on the east side is half a former Frank’s Nursery & Crafts (they closed). I HIGHLY recommend this place. This buffet has a salad table, a fruit & dessert table, an ice cream table, and five more tables of food! Mashed potatoes, mac n’ cheese, hibachi rice, white rice, fried rice, seafood (east only), BBQ chicken, prime rib, chicken with beef, chicken with broccoli, chicken on a stick, sweet and sour chicken, thai chicken, bananas in strawberry glaze, mandarin oranges, regular oranges, peaches, pineapples, strawberries, and cheesecake…yes, cheesecake. At a buffet! They also have a hibachi grill where you can pick out meats and vegetables to be grilled according to your preference, and at NO extra cost. And the place is VERY clean, organized, classy, and beautiful to look at. The former properties are remodeled extensively. You feel like you’re at a $30-40 restaurant. And the best part? Dinner is only $10 and lunch is only $7 for all of this! It’s just about too good to be true. And sometimes, three plates of regular food and a fruit and dessert plate doesn’t even fill me up.

 

Teppanyaki Grill & Supreme Buffet West
5390 West 38th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46254
(317) 293-1600

 

 

 

 

 

Teppanyaki Grill & Supreme Buffet East
9701 East Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46229
(317) 897-6884

 

 

 

 

 

Sunday-Thursday: 11 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 11 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.

Chef Mike’s Charcoal Grill review June 6, 2012

Posted by Kenny Norman in north.
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Last Christmas, I got some e-mail coupons to the restaurants of my choice. I could choose 4 out of 200, and one of those was Chef Mike’s Charcoal Grill. I picked it because it was “American” and I found few “Chinese” or “Japanese” places. It was far northwest, off West 71st Street and I-465, somewhat close to Traders Point. I have now been there three times, and the third time was WITHOUT A COUPON. It’s THAT good.

Most places, like O’Charley’s, Friday’s, Chili’s, and Applebee’s, have buttered and grilled bread with greasy meat when it comes to Cheeseburgers. Not so with Chef Mike’s; therefore, I can actually eat their cheeseburgers! This is probably a reault of the charcoal grilling. And they are DELICIOUS…one of a few places in Indy where I actually want a cheeseburger! All condiments and toppings are placed on the side and although they usually don’t ask how well you want your burger done, it comes out medium well. There are few places that aren’t buffets and aren’t expensive that I can honestly say make me feel full. (Perkins and Greek’s Pizzeria are two places that come to mind.)

In addition to their wide variety of burgers, Chef Mike’s also has pizza, barbecue, chicken wings, salads, fries, soups, steak, and fish. Like I mentioned earlier, it’s all American. From what I can gather on Google, Chef Mike’s opened in the summer of 2009 following the closure of a less than successful pub in fall 2008. Chef Mike’s also has special events and daily special entrees, though I’ve never been to or had any. What I HAVE had is the pizza, and while not as good as Greek’s, I have to say it puts most restaurants’ pizza, including Olive Garden to shame with its easily chewable crust, rich cheese, and sweet pizza sauce.

Orders take a bit longer to come out, probably due to the style of grilling. So I wouldn’t recommend this place if you want to eat the minute you walk in the door, but if you don’t mind 15-20 minutes for an order to go through, then it is well worth it and very rich, delicious, and filling. Again, I thank the charcoal grill. And the wait staff is friendly, attentive, and courteous…and somehow, they have eyes and ears everywhere. I once whispered that I wanted a drink and the waitress immediately walked across the restaurant to bring me one.

All in all, if you’re looking for a moderately-priced, non-buffet, American restaurant that excels at grilling, check this place out. The only thing I should warn you about is that you’ll need to go turn left on Woodland Drive (also called Commerce Drive due south of West 71st street) and then turn left past the McDonald’s but before the hotel. The drive is somewhat hidden.

Chef Mike’s Charcoal Grill
7102 Woodland Drive
Indianapolis, IN 46278
(317) 295-9490
chefmikescharcoalgrill@yahoo.com
http://chefmikescharcoalgrill.com