Hard to believe it’s August already & even harder to believe school has started in the area. A lot of businesses are continuing their “back to work” initiatives and the increased traffic during the daily commute is noticeable. Downtown Indianapolis is slowly starting to come back to life but it has a long way to go to get anywhere close to where it was pre-covid, if it ever does.
Another thing that can’t be missed is the number of “Help Wanted” and “We’re Hiring” signs in just about every business. Every place I go out to eat you can tell they’re under staffed and over worked. If you can afford it, please tip generously and be patient if things are a little slower than usual.
I have a few new food places I want to check out in the coming weeks. The Amp Food Hall at 16-Tech and the new Brozinni’s location in Speedway. My Son & I visited Barbecue and Bourbon a few weeks back and we were so busy eating the amazing food I forgot to take any pictures. This means I need another visit…
And finally… Earlier this year North Face rejected a custom jacket order from an oil company & got caught “Virtue Signaling” in a very humorous way.
Finally stopped in to check out Indy Tacos (2196 E 54th St, Indianapolis) this last week. I’ve driven by several times & keep seeing it brought up on the Indianapolis Reddit page & decided now was the time. They have a nice selection of items and the prices are very reasonable for the quality. I opted for 1 Chorizo and 2 El Pastor tacos. I thought I might as well try out their chips and salsa while I waited.
No sooner did I grab a seat and take my coat off the food came out. I was not expecting that! You’ll need to be the judge yourself but I thought the tacos were perfect and the chips/salsa was some of the best I’ve had in a long time. The salsa was nice and cold and the chips were super fresh. They also provided some green and red squeeze bottle salsas. I’ll warn you, the red is HOT! If you’re in the area and want a quick bite it’s worth a little detour off Keystone to try this place out! Their Instagram page is here.
If you’re looking for a new local podcast you should check out the series from the Indy Chamber CEO Michael Huber. The Michael Loves Indy podcast has interviews from area influencers, such as Aaron Renn, former Mayor Greg Ballard and Michael Kaufmann. 10 episodes are currently available.
And finally, I’ve been a Mac user for quite a while now & thought I’d seen it all. The following video has some tips and tricks I never knew existed. Enjoy!
Another Cold week and more chances for snow, oh boy! It’s been a while since Indy has been above the freezing mark and I think we have another week before we have a chance of making it there.
Issues at the Bon Appetite Test Kitchen as detailed on the /reply-all/ Podcast episode #172 (part 1 of 2). I used to LOVE watching the Bon Appetite test kitchen on YouTube as well as reading the monthly magazine. But a lot of things have come out this past year about racism and unfair treatment of minority employees. It was so bad they’ve all but disbanded the original cast and tried to reboot the show with an all new cast. It’s not the same & it’s a shame things happened the way it did. The podcast is an interesting report of how things transpired for the past 10 years up until things started coming to light in 2020.
Ammo prices are crazy right now! If you like to shoot you probably already know about this. There was a time not so long ago that a single round of 9mm would average about $0.15 when you purchased in bulk. These days that same round is closer to $0.90. That has a lot of people shooting less and no doubt putting pressure on the area firing ranges. I know I sure can’t justify throwing a dollar down range with every shot. I think Chris Rock was onto something years ago.
Well the Super Bowl was a little disappointing this year. Not only the outcome but the actual game. The oddsmakers had it listed as a 3-point spread so everyone was anticipating a shootout to the very end. Reports released this week indicated it was was one of the least viewed games in 14 years. Maybe next year will be better, don’t think it can get any worse!
Prior to the Super Bowl DraftKings presented their Big Game Snackdown on their YouTube channel. This was a competitive eating competition featuring the top people in the sport such as Joey Chestnut. They had 8 minutes to eat a variety of foods one might find at a Super Bowl party. It was a LOT of food and several of the contestants didn’t make it to the end.
For the food portion of this weeks entry I’d like to give some props to the A 2 Z Cafe on 96th St in Indianapolis. This place is right down the street from the office and I’ve only been twice. Once for breakfast pre-Covid and once this week for lunch. It’s a small family run business with a lot of character and a great menu featuring all the diner classics along with several Hawaiian classics.
And finally, there was a time when the Boston Dynamic robots were wobbly and not so sure on their feet. Now we have this. Technology has come a LONG way!
I can’t remember how I found out about this place but I finally got over to Fortville to check out Bonsai Fortville. I was there right after they opened at 11 and sadly was the only one there, but more people arrived when I was leaving. Talked to the owner a bit and found out they opened last November. They have a nice variety of rolls and I tried the Mexican roll (special that day) and the KFC roll with fried chicken. Both were very good and I’d order either one again.
Besides Sushi Fortville has quite a few quality restaurants worth checking out:
- Cortona’s Italian Cuisine & Wine Bar
- Los Maguelles Mexican
- Taxman Fortville
- FoxGardin Kitchen & Ale
You really can’t go wrong with any of these and if you’re looking for something a little different it’s worth a little drive east on Pendleton Pike (US 36).
The New York Times had a great write up on Geocaching a few weeks ago. My son and I ended up visiting every county in Indiana to complete a Geocaching mission a few years ago. It was a lot of fun to do and quite a rewarding task once we completed it. The scenery and terrain around Indiana is a lot more varied than people give it credit for.
Watched the first season of “Upload” on Amazon Prime. It’s a very interesting (SyFy) look at a future where your spirit gets uploaded to the cloud and you can still communicate with people back on earth. Writing and acting were very well done and I’m already looking forward to Season 2!
POTUS 45 is out and POTUS 46 has been sworn in. There was a lot of talk about more protests at various capital buildings around the country but it doesn’t look like anything actually materialized. The Indiana State Capital building actually closed down for a few days up to and including the inauguration. As of today (Thursday) Downton has returned to the Pandemic “normal” we’ve all gotten used to.
Hot Dish Casserole Recipe – This is a good one. We all probably have our own version of a tater-tot Casserole but I think this one is my favorite one. Don’t skimp on the pepper jack cheese which adds some nice spice. This reheats well and I even vacuum sealed several pieces and put them in the deep freeze for a quick weeknight meal.
Finally, I rediscovered this amazing Bluegrass cover band
After almost 2 weeks off work in December I’m ready to get back to work and make it a productive year! This week was going to be heavy on Sports until the attack on the Nation’s Capital. I thought I had seen it all in 2020 and this just topped it. I can’t believe the protesters made it all the way into the gallery. There was talk about an elected official who was part of the crowd so it’s going to be interesting to see if he was the one who opened the doors to get people into the secured areas…
The college football championship was set last week. Notre Dame was blown out by Georgia and Ohio State showed Clemson who’s boss. The Championship game is Monday evening & it’s going to be a good one. My $ is on Ohio State to take home the trophy.
Colts make the playoffs! It was a game that was a LOT closer than it should have been but the Indianapolis Colts are heading to the playoffs!
Update: Their game against the Bills yesterday was a disaster. Some really questionable plays that will most likely be a topic of discussion for fans in the weeks to come…
Finally the NCAA Tournament is going to be played in its entirety in Indiana. That’s a huge win for the city and state. It’ll be nice to see Indy in the National spotlight again.
21st century predictions. They were close to what we have today!
I didn’t take a lot of pictures this week & what I took isn’t anything that any of you would find interesting. I’ll try & do better next week.
Finally, I’ve been playing with a new (to me) distribution of Linux called “Elementary.io“. I installed it on my old 2012 Mac & it’s brought new life to the old hardware. If you’re used to the Mac OS and have an older MacBook not being used this is worth checking out. Installation is very easy and you can be up and running in 20 minutes.
So how was your 2020? It was an interesting one to say the least. Something we’ll all remember the rest of our lives. My New Years resolution is to try & revive the blog with a weekly posting format that will allow me to build each post as the week progresses and publish the summary once a week.
The following is a 2020 recap by month via pictures I took along the way. Warning, there will be a LOT of food pictures. If you follow me on Social Media a lot of these are re-posts but I’m adding more context. You can click on each one for a larger image.
- Finally made it to Working Man’s Friend for a legendary burger. Why did it take me so long to visit?
- Celebrated a successful 2019 with the team from work (Cowboy Ribeyes at Sullivan’s)
- Started playing with Sports Betting (have turned $50 into $400 this year).
- Had the best Calamari EVER at King Dough.
- Interviewed the founder of Clustertruck and got a behind the scenes look at the downtown operation.
- Made a killer Deep Dish Pizza to celebrate Super Bowl LIV.
- And some homemade Coconut Marshmallows for for people at work.
- Correctly guessed the winner of the Daytona 500 and turned $5 into $53.75.
- Covid is starting to get a lot of coverage in the news and we start testing a new video collaboration tool called “Zoom”.
- The Covid Memes also start to become a daily sight.
- Last burger and Fry combo at Kreuger’s in Indianapolis (they closed after this).
- I put the 3D printer to use and start printing sanitation hooks for friends and family.
- The Work From Home revolution begins as office parking lots start looking like a late Friday afternoon every day of the week.
- Found a new casserole that is the definition of Comfort Food.
- Got a free speed bump on the home Internet so working from home was lightning fast!
- Baked bread and ate a LOT of BLT’s throughout the year.
- Had to upgrade the home networking setup to make the speed boost more usable.
- Took advantage of a new Kincaid’s butcher shop opening up right down the street (Spud Buddies and Flank Steak).
- Early in May I had a Covid-19 scare and proceeded to the Lilly testing sight in Downtown Indianapolis. Test was negative.
- Added some flair to the Zoom background in my makeshift dining room studio.
- Continued to help keep Kincaid’s in business.
- And the BLT’s were the go-to meal when working from home.
- Operation American Resolve was a tribute to the front line healthcare workers.
- Followed by a Blue Angel’s tour of the USA. They flew right over my office when they visited Indianapolis.
- Civil Unrest brought out the ISP Chopper to keep an eye on things downtown (Flight track from Flightaware).
- The Rose Bush in the front of the house decided to flex and brightened up the landscape.
- In June I set off to Indian-Celina Lake in southern Indiana for some camping. It was nice to have the campground pretty much all to myself!
- The guys at work decided it was time for some Socially Distant Golf so we hit up a small little public course on the east side of Indy.
- My Son wanted Pizza one night so we made pizza!
- Bought a new Police Scanner to keep up with all the things going on downtown.
- The YoHo General Store in Solsberry, Indiana was a place to stop for lunch…
- …While I visited the Tulip Trestle in Bloomfield.
- George Floyd mural on Mass Ave in Indianapolis (not my photo).
- Right before the July 4th Holiday we received bad news about Kincaid’s. They would end up being closed much longer than they anticipated (until October).
- We celebrated Independence day with a BBQ chicken on the Big Green Egg.
- Once of many beautiful sunsets from the backyard in 2020.
- Introduced my son to the Soft Shell Crab roll at Ocean World in Indianapolis.
- Lucked out on an NBA wager to end the month.
- I found and tried the “Danzig” of wines (80’s music reference if you didn’t know).
- Discovered COCONUT ALMONDS! These are addictive & don’t last long after bring purchased.
- Re-visited an old friend at Shapiro’s Deli. They took a big hit in 2020 but were still producing a quality product when I visited.
- It was time to update my Avatar.
- Speaking of visiting, we took a road trip to Gas City and tried Payne’s Fish and Chips. The Fattoush salad was delicious and they cook up a mean plate of food. Well worth the visit if you’re in the area!
- Took another trip to Indian-Celina Lake early in the month.
- Tried to predict the future and placed a $5 bet on Notre Dame to win it all (they play in the semi-finals on the day I’m writing this post).
- Took another camping trip a few weeks later. This time a multi-day, multi-state adventure. Starting in Madison Indiana at Clifty Falls. Just in time for the first Presidential debate. Bingo cards from the No Agenda podcast.
- The next day I headed farther south to Mammoth Cave. I hadn’t been there since I was a kid. I picked a great time to visit. The crowds were non-existent and the camping area was wide open.
- You aren’t allowed to burn regular firewood at this park so you have to use Bio-Blocks. I was skeptical but they actually worked great!
- Continuing the multi-day, multi-state adventure I started the morning with a drive to Nashville, which is in the news the week I write this because of a huge explosion.
- While looking for a BBQ place for lunch I drove by Hugh Baby’s and the smell drew me in.
- I ended up ordering the Mushroom Swiss Smash Burger (with SMOKED MUSHROOMS) and it was one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. I still have dreams about it 3-months later.
- Traveling northwest to Land Between the Lakes I drove around a corner to find a giant Minecraft looking structure. Turns out it’s a Charcoal Blast Furnace. I ended up seeing several of these on my travels and each one was just as interesting as the last.
- Woke up to a COLD morning at Land Between the Lakes, probably because I was camping lakeside.
- That afternoon I drove up to Garden of the Gods for some breathtaking views.
- After arriving home I turned on the first episode of Ted Lasso (best show of 2020 in my opinion) and proceeded finish the season by the next day.
- The following weekend I met some family in Auburn to tour the Cord Duesenberg Museum. It was HUGE and totally worth the 2-hour drive from Indianapolis.
- Work had me downtown a few days later and I just had to stop in and get some Bison Meatloaf at St. Joseph’s Brewery.
- Oct 31 was a sad day. The BEST James Bond (Daniel Craig is a close second) passed away at 90 years of age.
- Indianapolis continued to be boarded up because of the threat of election day violence.
- Left the office & had a Weinermobile spotting!
- Discovered a clever artist in Indy (@itghostwithoutsaying on Instagram).
- The Cobb Salad at Bru Burger, it’s a work of art.
- Red Bird in the front tree, trying out the new iPhone 12 Pro.
- Hoagies & Hops was selling Taylor Ham (pork roll) and I could not pass up making a classic sandwich (pork roll, egg, & cheese on a Kaiser roll).
- I think I found the Cookie of the year
- 2020 even caused Trader Joe’s to shut down
- I decided it was time to make some chicken stock for some upcoming soups and stews.
- Even though most agree Die Hard isn’t a Christmas Movie I thought this was funny.
- And last but not least, The Oatmeal figured out how to properly end the year.
Well if you made it this far THANK YOU for sticking with me. After realizing I was neglecting the blog I felt it was time for a super post to get caught up. As I said above my goal is to post a weekly summary with all of the things I found relevant throughout the week. We’ll see if I can actually pull it off.
It will be interesting to see what reverts back and what stays the same. I think working from home, for some, is going to be the new norm. I can’t help to think masks will be part of our way of life for years to come, especially during flu season. I’m glad we all made it through 2020 and I’m looking forward to, hopefully, getting back to the way things used to be.
See you next week!
When I wrote my last post at the end of March I had no idea we would still be dealing with Covid-19 4-months later, let alone witness the the civil unrest that’s occurred in the same timespan. The divisiveness of the country is something I’ve never seen before.
I’ll admit I didn’t take the Pandemic seriously at first and thought we would all be back to work in a few weeks. It took me some time to recognize the severity of the situation and, as stated in the last post, there have been some big changes in how we live
A lot of new business projects that were in the planning stages have been put on hold and some recently completed ones are struggling to make it. We have a large complex down the street called Fishers District that was at about 75% occupancy when all of this started. All the new restaurants had to close at a time they could least afford it. Most have opened back up but the mandated reduced capacity in place can’t be helping them much.
The rioting in Downtown Indianapolis is made the situation even worse. The office workers are not returning. Some major employers aren’t bringing people back until January at the earliest. The businesses who relied the downtown workers are suffering. The businesses looted and damaged in the rioting are suffering. In a lot of cases the same business affected by both.
Fast forward 3-months from March and the infection levels appeared to be trending the right direction. Right about the time people just couldn’t take it anymore and started throwing caution to the wind. Guess what? According to the health authorities the infection rate started climbing again.
Now, one thing I wish the health authorities would do it discuss the percentage of infected tests vs the count. If you test more people you’re going to identify more positive cases. So I’m still a little suspicious of the numbers when they keep giving total infection numbers that are higher and higher. Is it the same percentage of infections based on the number of tests?
It’s currently back to school time and the plans of each district are radically different. The feedback from the parents is all over the place too. Some want to get their kids out of the house at all costs (no fear of the virus), some are concerned about their safety. Both have compelling arguments for why they feel the way they do. I’m just not sure how the schools are going to be able to manage it. Our local High School has almost 4000 students!
Now, almost 4-months later, we’ve settled into the new way of life. I don’t see it “returning to normal” any time soon. I fact the predictions are now saying it’s going to get worse before it gets better. What a weird time to be alive…
Stay safe & do what you can to stay healthy.
It’s really kind of hard to believe my last blog post was in June! I guess now that the weather is getting colder I’m finding time for my “indoor” hobbies such as reading and writing.
In the span of an hour I read that a new (major) version of WordPress was available and received a notice form my hosting provider that my contract was up for renewal. This is as good a time as any to update the site and add some more content!
The new WordPress editor is really interesting. It’s based on your contend being a series of blocks. These blocks can be scaled, moved, and colored individually. This gives a tremendous amount of creative freedom to play around with layouts. This is something that was all but impossible just a year ago on this platform (without some heavy CSS editing).
I’m learning the design has a lot to do with your theme. The current theme I’m using for the site is called “Twenty Sixteen” and it’s missing a lot of features that will allow me to take advantage of the new editing functions. So that means it’s time to start looking for a new theme and a new site design!
It feels good be back on the Blog. Time to start researching some options to make the site even better in 2019!
I decided to activate Google Analytics on the blog and see what kind of data it can collect on the site traffic. When IndyScan.com was a scanner resource page I used to pour over the logs to see where people were visiting from and what they were looking at on the site. It was a tedious task that’s now simplified and automated using 3rd party tools like Google Analytics.
I’m already seeing that the majority of the visitors to IndyScan are using mobile devices, I guess this shouldn’t come as a surprise these days but I rarely access the site via my phone. I’m going to spend a little more time making sure the site is as mobile friendly as it can be.
I really want to figure out once and for all why the Marsala Sauce post is so popular! It continues to be the top viewed page week over week. I’ve really appreciated the ease of setup and the way Google Analytics presents the data. This is WAY better than how things worked 15+ years ago.
I’ve added some of the stats for those of you that might be interested.
Just an observation… I’ve been blogging for a while and I’ve covered a lot of content. I find it interesting that the most viewed post on IndyScan (12,867 views since it was published in 2010) is my recipe for Marsala Sauce! It doesn’t even show up on the top-5 pages in Google but people still seem to find it with regularity.