Category: Food


2022 Week 32 – Beta Fun

white and pink gasoline station near ocean

Although I’m no longer employed in tech, I’m still a tinkerer. So when the latest Beta versions of the next Apple operating system became available to the public, I was already in line & ready to download. Furthermore, since my Mac is no longer my work machine (I moved to Windows 11 on a smoking fast HP Z-Book in June), I can play around with the beta software and not be too impacted if I encounter a bug or two.

This was the case this morning when I encountered an issue when I pressed the Alt-Tab key to switch to another app. It just didn’t work. I was scratching my head & immediately thought something was wrong with my new MX Keys keyboard. After some troubleshooting, I realized I had a 3rd party app that makes the Alt-Tab command on the Mac work better (it shows minimized windows). Unfortunately, it was crashing with the latest macOS beta. After a brief search on Reddit, I discovered I wasn’t alone. After I disabled the app, all was well again in the Alt-Tab world (but I was missing the features the utility provided).

Such is life when you test Beta software. You’ll encounter little bugs along the way, but you also get to see some of the latest and greatest features before the general public. You also need the patience to work on figuring out issues as they pop up.


If you’ve put fuel in your vehicle this summer, you might disagree with the following article, but in the big scheme of things, the U.S. has some inexpensive gasoline prices compared with the rest of the world. Nowhere as cheap as $0.20 a gallon in Iran but less than the $8.50 a gallon price in the U.K. The Hustle Issue #220 had an interesting article titled “Why gas is actually cheap in America.” The section detailing traffic deaths based on fuel price was fascinating, in my opinion too.


And finally, it’s time to get a little nerdy and discuss the differences between what we in the U.S. call vegetables vs. what they’re called in the U.K. True Food T.V. has a fun video explaining it all.

2022 Week 29 – You Chicken?

meat sandwich on black surface

I’ve only used delivery services like GrubHub and Uber Eats a few times and was disappointed each time due to lukewarm food, ridiculous fees, and price markups. They are nothing like the excellent, albeit limited, service you get from ClusterTruck. I’m super fortunate to be able to order from ClusterTruck from home and the office downtown. Out of 50+ orders, I’ve only had one issue: they delivered my food to the wrong location. However, they re-did the order and credited my account as soon as I reached out. That’s great customer service!

Amazon Prime members can now get 12 months of GrubHub+ for free! GrubHub+ is usually $10 a month and gets you $0 delivery fees applicable on orders with a $12+ subtotal (before tax, tip, and fees). After signing up, I looked at the restaurants on the GrubHub app and found quite a few I didn’t recognize in the area. After a little Google Maps searching, I discovered all the “new” places were Ghost Kitchens inside existing restaurants. Evidently, this is quite common & Chuckie Cheese is even in on the action with their Pasqually’s Pizza listing. It’s worth doing a little research if you’re unsure of the pace you’re ordering from.


If you’re a subscriber to Apple News+ and a foodie, you might have noticed Cooks Illustrated (CI) is now available to read on the service. CI is one of those magazines I subscribed to for years. It always seemed pretty skinny with no ads, but it’s actually fat with content. It features articles from the Americas Test Kitchen and Cooks Country staff (shows you can find on PBS’s “Create” sub-channel), product reviews, and some fantastic seasonal recipes. So if you’re looking for an unpretentious cooking magazine, this is the one to check out! Apple news replaced the Texture App, and I was a little unsure about that at first, but it’d turned out to be a better platform with a LOT more content, all for $10 a month. I can’t tell you the last time I read a physical magazine (except for Consumers Reports which I get as a yearly subscription from my father).


And finally… You can’t escape it. The Chicken Sandwich is one of the top-selling items at America’s fast food restaurants. And with good reason, they’re delicious! CNBC had an interesting piece about How Chicken Became an American Obsession.

2022 Week 28 – Pew Pew

July 1, 2022, was the first day of Constitutional Carry in Indiana. This means if you’re 18 or older and a person not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm, you may legally carry a gun throughout the State. Previously you had to obtain a License to Carry a Handgun (LCH) through an application process. Yes, you had to jump through a few hoops like getting fingerprinted and visiting your local Police Dept to submit paperwork, but overall it was not a big deal.

In my opinion, the LCH process prevented lazy, law-abiding people from carrying firearms outside the home because it was too much work to go through the licensing process. But, unfortunately, bad guys will carry anyway because they don’t care about the law, so this had no impact on them. Law enforcement agencies are not happy about the new law either (rightfully so).

So we now have three types of people carrying firearms:

  • 1. The bad guys, who have always carried illegally despite the law
  • 2. People who were licensed correctly (and probably go to the range on occasion)
  • 3. Individuals who can now carry as of July 1 but probably shouldn’t because they have no idea what they are doing or how their firearm works (let alone the legal repercussions should they ever discharge their weapon).

The third person scares me as much or more than the second. Time will tell if this Constitutional Carry law increases violence in Indiana. Some states have had similar laws for years with reportedly no ill effect. I hope my fellow Hoosiers can follow the same path and behave themselves.


We’re halfway through the year, and I’m still enjoying the weekly post format of the Blog I started in 2021. I hope you have been too. I usually collect ideas throughout the week and spend some time on Sat/Sun looking back on the week to create a post that’s usually out each Sunday evening (or earlier). It’s a great way to share things I find online throughout the week and gives me a reason to do some creative writing every week.


I touched on this back in 2015 at the end of my GoPro Review. One or Two spaces after a period when writing (typing)? Slate said to stop doing it back in 2011; The Atlantic was still discussing it in 2018, so will there ever be a consensus on this? Two spaces were the norm when typewriters were in regular use, which was a long ago. I guess it’s just a habit that’s hard to break. While writing this, I just noticed that double-tapping the space key on any of my Apple products will insert a period AND only ONE space after the period. I’m not sure when that changed, but If it’s the same on Windows, maybe it will be easier to change! Grammarly asks me every time I draft a blog post if I want to use one space or two. I chose one for this one 🙂


And finally… You might have noticed it’s a little warm out, with it being Summer and all. I’m not one for hot drinks unless it’s cold out, and the beverage’s heat will warm me up. However, I’m a cold drink fan, especially in the morning, and when it comes to morning caffeine, if I have any, it’s usually in the form of Cold Brew.

You can purchase Cold Brew Coffee just about anywhere and pay a small fortune, or you can buy something that helps you make it at home for a fraction of the price. My initial foray into Cold Brew was years ago with the Toddy Cold Brew System ($40). It did a good job and produced at least a 7-days worth of cold brew concentrate. The only issue was that it’s bulky, and you have to replace the fiber filters every couple of uses.

Then we converted to the KitchenAid Cold Brew Coffee Maker ($85). This little thing is built like a tank with glass, stainless steel, and a non-drip spout that makes dispensing your concentrate simple and mess-free. It doesn’t make as much concentrate as the Toddy (they now have a larger model that does), but the filter basket is made from a stainless mesh and is dishwasher safe, so there’s nothing to replace. After several years it’s going strong and allows me to keep a batch of cold brew concentrate in the fridge ready to go!

2022 Week 26 – AMPed Up

I checked out a couple of new lunch spots while working in Downtown Indy these past few weeks. The AMP at 16 Tech was our spot for lunch while conducting a site tour in the area for an upcoming Board Meeting (we typically rotate these around the city). The AMP is a food hall with stalls made from converted shipping containers. It’s unique to the city, and the various shops add a lot of variety to the location. I ordered a cheesesteak from Mambo’s, and while not the same as Hoagies and Hops, it was a nice sandwich that hit the spot. When looking at Mombo’s website, I found out they have a location in City Market, so I’m going to have to check that location out too.

The AMP at 16 Tech

My other “new” lunch spot was Turchetti’s Delicatessen in Fountain Square. I’m calling it “new” because I visited pre-covid when it was a carry-out spot with very limited seating. During this visit, I sat in the new Bistro area that had seats for about 2-dozen and a decent-sized bar. They bill themselves as a Soccer Bar, so I’ll need to re-visit when the Soccer season starts back up, and check it out for myself.

Pastrami and side salad at Turchetti’s Delicatessen

My new job allows me to work from home on Monday and Friday so I’ve been trying to spend some of my lunch money locally (as well as eating at home). One of those local spots has been Wild Ginger on 116th St. It’s a nice family-run sushi shop with fresh food and great service. I’m finding myself there at least once a week lately.

Sushi at Wild Giger in Fishers

That’s it for this week. I’ll be curious to see what’s happening in Downtown Indianapolis in the upcoming days after the SCOTUS decision to overturn Roe vs Wade. There have been several (peaceful) protests this weekend & the politicians return in early July for a 30-day Special Session. I can imagine there will be a lot of things going on around the State House during that time!

2022 Week 25 – Quick Cincy Trip

Took a quick overnight trip to Cincinnatti last weekend to attend my nephew’s graduation party. On the way down I decided to take a small detour and check out Blue Ash Chili. I had recently seen it featured on Diner Drive-ins & Dives and realized there was another chili place in Cincy that I hadn’t tried yet!

Although Blue Ash was good (VERY similar to Skyline), Camp Washington will remain my favorite Cincy Style Chili. I appreciate the fact that Blue Ash has a rather large menu and the Club Sandwiches coming out of the kitchen looked amazing. While prepping for this post I found the Cincy Chili Map and realized I have a LOT more places to check out! I didn’t realize (but should have) that there were so many independent Chili spots in the city.


A trip to Cincy also requires a stop at the Infamous Jungle Jim’s. I have to really be careful when I shop in that store because you can end up buying way too much. It helps to have a list of the “must get” items and leave some room in the care to try new things. It helps that I drive right by the Eastgate location so it’s super convenient to pop in on the way home.

On this trip, I focused on chocolates (great gifts) and Ramen (JJs has a great selection). I was pleased to see Smoking Goose was prominent in the deli area and even found some Cane Sugar Dr Pepper for a co-worker who’s a DP Super Fan.


Something I forgot to share from the week prior was the Strawberry Festival in Downtown Indianapolis. The lines were insane but the shortcake treat was delicious. I was fortunate that someone in our office placed a big group order and handed them out to the people that were in the office that day. The only thing better than a fresh strawberry shortcake with ice cream is a FREE fresh strawberry shortcake with ice cream!


That’s it for this week. It’s going to be another week of temps in the 90s but next week is looking like it might shape up to be a good one. I checked out two new (to me) lunch spots recently, more info on that next week. Thanks for reading!

2022 Week 24 – Smashing Success

I love a good burger. Be it a freshly ground half-pound Brisket Burger I make in the summertime or a good ole’ smash burger available just about everywhere. Smashburger’s are all the rage these days, and I’ve had a lot. Of course, having One Trick Pony in the Fishers Test Kitchen down the street from my house doesn’t hurt either.

Typically made with 3-4 oz patties, Smashburger’s are thin, with crispy, lacy edges, unlike the typical backyard burger, as the following video explains.

I took a road trip a few weeks ago to the little town of Goshen, Indiana, for a lunch date & tried a new place called Biebs & Ash Smashburger. We started the meal with Deviled Eggs that were topped with bacon, everything bagel crunchies & green onion. These were delicious & I would not hesitate to order again.

I ordered the Peanut Butter Smash for my burger, which had a double patty, pepper jack, crunchy peanut butter, blackberry-poblano jam, bacon, and pickled jalapeños on a potato bun, served with fries. I upgraded the fries to their “Hella Parm Fries” topped with garlic aioli and a mound of freshly grated parm. This was, by far, one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. The mix of ingredients worked very well together, and I could not stop eating it.

My lunch date ordered the Biebs Smash with double patty, American, pickles, onions, burger sauce on a potato bun, and upgraded her fries to the Maryland Style with old bay seasoning, malt vinegar aioli, and green onion.

It had been a long time since I visited Goshen, and it seems to be doing well. The downtown Main Street was alive with activity, and they had very few vacant storefronts, which is rare these days in small towns around the country.

And finally… HOW HARD is it to put a sticker in the correct place?

Next week we recap a quick trip to Cincinnati, try a new restaurant, and revisit one of our favorite stores.

2022 Week 18 – Cincy Wine Region?

Shorter post this week as I have a lot going on these days. I’m planning a trip to Toronto in the next couple of months and the Canadian entry requirements seem to be a moving target. As of last week, Canada now requires you to get pre-approved with an app called ArriveCAN. Hopefully, nothing else changes prior to my visit. I’m holding off on making actual reservations until the trip gets closer, just in case they lock things down again.


Have you tried ClusterTruck yet? Chris Baggott, formerly of Exact target, and founder of ClusterTruck, and Tyner Pond Farms, is on to something. In my opinion, he’s completely changed the delivery industry and has reliably, and deliciously, fed me for the past several years while working in Downtown Indianapolis.

The key to ClusterTruck’s success is technology. In a nutshell, they don’t start making the food until they know they have a driver ready to pick it up as soon as it’s done cooking. This results in hot and fresh food every time. In fact, the only issue I’ve had out of the approximately 100 orders was a Cuban sandwich that they forgot to press. It was still hot though! The delivery radius is small but they have kitchens scattered around Central Indiana and Columbus, Ohio. I’m fortunate to be in the delivery area of one of them just about every day.

If you’re curious, you can use my referral code and get a discount on your first order (Full disclosure, I get a $5 credit on my account too).


And finally, Gastro Obscura had an interesting video titled A Legacy of Wine in Cincinnati that details the history of winemaking in the Cincinnati region.

Kate MacDonald is on a mission to make wine that connects to its place, and that’s just what she’s done with Skeleton Root. This winery was created to resurrect American heritage grape varieties that filled her hometown of Cincinnati in the mid-1800s, starting with the wines that put America on the map: dry still white Catawba and Catawba bubbly.

Gastro Obscura

2022 Week 17 – Road Trip (Part 2)

Welcome back to part-2 of the first camping trip of 2022. Last week we continued south in search of some famous pretzels after both Disc Golf courses we planned to play were too wet…

Tell City is an interesting little river town. However, if you follow the traffic pattern (towards the Ohio River Bridge), you’ll miss the best part of the town, the downtown area. I’d estimate 95% of the traffic traveling on Indiana 66 (The Ohio River Scenic Byway) bypasses Mainstreet and misses a nice part of this little city. Many shops, restaurants, and other locally owned businesses line the 1.5-mile stretch.

I was here for the Tell City Pretzels only to find out they had moved the retail location to the back of a clothing store called “Logos/Scrub Corner.” This must have been a recent move, as Google Maps was still showing the old location (the official website is up to date, though). While cruising Main Street, I spotted a little Bakery and stopped in to check it out. Since it was later in the day, the items had been picked over, but I walked out with a Blueberry Scone and a piece of Coffee Cake with an espresso crumble on top.

Time to head up the road and set up camp. The morning started out clear, but the clouds were building as the day progressed.

Camping in the HNF

Check-in at Indian-Celina is always a smooth process. Of course, it helps to have a reservation, and I always make one to get the spots I like. Firewood is $1 cheaper ($7 a bundle) than years past, so I grabbed 3 to ensure I’d have enough for the evening. The plan was to sit around the fire, enjoy a few pints of my favorite Sun King beer (Orange Vanilla Cream Ale), set up the Short Wave radio, or watch a movie on the iPad Pro.

This trip was the first one where I got to test out the new Gazelle T4 tent. To say this is an upgrade is an understatement. While I loved my previous tent, the Gazelle offers so much more room, and it totally changes the camping experience. There are tradeoffs, though. The T4 is BIG, and it’s HEAVY, but the setup time is only a few minutes, thanks to its hub design. That extra space came in handy as I started to get alerts from Dark Sky about rain in the area. Yep, the weather had turned…

Throughout the week, the weather was showing clear and warm, with a high in the low 70s and a low of 50-degrees. That’s just about perfect camping weather if you ask me. The temps held but the sky decided to open up just in time for dinner. Luckily it was not heavy rain, but it was enough to require shelter well into the early hours. So, after setup and loading everything into the tent to keep it dry, I set off for the local family diner to grab some dinner.

Amish Style food will fill you up. It’s carb and meat-heavy and always has several sweet dessert options. The Schwartz Family Restaurant in Eckerty, IN, is no exception. I’ve passed this place on my way to the campsite several times, but this trip was my first time visiting. You have to be careful about time in this part of Indiana. The campground is in Central Time (Perry County), and the restaurant (Crawford County) is in Eastern Time. I’m glad I left when I did because the restaurant closes at 8 pm and I arrived after 7 pm. The cafeteria-style establishment is VERY clean, and you can tell it’s a favorite of the locals. It’s one of the few places to eat in the area, so they have little competition.

Friday night was Fish night, but I chose the Chicken Tender dinner (meat & 2 sides for $14.99). While they had several pieces of chicken on the steam table, the young lady behind the counter insisted I get some from the fresh batch being cooked in the back. So I chose mashed potatoes/gravy and mac-n-cheese for my two sides.

I had finished my sides before the chicken came out, but I can report it all being very good, and I would not hesitate to re-visit and try several of their other dishes. It’s nice to have this as a dinner option when I don’t feel like cooking at camp. It could be a good breakfast option since they’re open early on the weekends.

The rain didn’t let up until about 2 am, so I set up a little seating area in the Gazelle and hunkered down with a James Bond movie and some podcasts later into the evening.

As you can see, I had plenty of room in the Gazelle and kept warm and dry throughout the night. So if I’m going to be stuck inside, this is the tent to do it in. Next time I need to get my Kelty Noah tarp strung up between the trees to give me a covered area outside the tent.

As usual, the birds were up before dawn chatting with each other, but the rain had stopped, and the temperatures were mild. So I packed up camp and headed out to check on some new camping locations in the area before heading back to Indianapolis.

This was a quick overnight trip, but it was worth it to test the new tent. I wish I had ordered one of these before my Allegheny National Forest trip last year, where we saw rain daily and were pretty miserable by the week’s end. Having a larger shelter makes all the difference, and being able to stand up is a game-changer.

That’s it for this week; thanks for reading. We’ll be back to the normal format next week, but I have some travel plans soon to share.

2022 Week 16 – Road Trip! (Part 1)

The weather has finally warmed up and it’s time to hit the road for the first camping trip of the year. One of my favorite places to camp in Southern Indiana is Indian-Celina Lake, about 25 miles south of French Lick. I prefer National (federal) properties over state properties as the camp sites are spaced out and not on top of each other. I was watching the forecast all week and the weather looked like it was going to be ideal. Of course, things can change…

I-69 is really starting to come together, with only about 20-miles of construction south of 465 remaining. It was a nice drive south towards NSA Crane, through Loogootee on 231, and stopping for Lunch in Jasper. How Jasper is able to support a Sonic Drive-in is beyond me. We can’t seem to get them inside 465 or any of the northern Indianapolis suburbs. Rumor has it Westfield will be getting one soon though. I hope Noblesville (Hamilton Town Center?) or Fishers gets one too, I like the variety of food they have, and its one of the only places you can get a corn dog! The Sonic franchise advertises on TV like they are all over the Indianapolis area but we only have a few.

OK, back to lunch in Jasper. I had a German place and a Pub flagged in Google maps and I felt like some German food. The Schnitzelbank is about as German as you can get in Indiana. Lots of wood trim and wall art, servers in costume, and a pretty extensive menu featuring all the german favorites (along with enough “American” dishes to keep the locals happy).

Since it was lunch, I opted for a German Tenderloin ( breaded tenderloin topped with cheese and crisp bacon) with a side of German Fries (sliced potatoes flattop fried with onions). The tenderloin was more of a fritter but it was decent nonetheless. I don’t recall the bacon and think it might have been forgotten. The fries were outstanding but both items needed salt. The sandwich was already cut in half when it was served, nice touch as it was too big to eat whole without making a mess. For $14 it was a great lunch that I would order again when I’m in the area.

After a filling lunch, it was time to continue the journey down to Ferdinand to check out their Disc Golf Course. Unfortunately, the southern end of the state received a lot more rain than the central region and I arrived at a park with a lot of standing water so Disc Golf was not going to be much fun here. Since I was in the area I decided to grab a Blueberry Ale at the St. Benedict’s Brew Works and consult my notes for other things to do before heading to camp. I like to pin things in Google Maps to make it easier to find things to do when in an area. It comes in handy when plans change & you have some time to kill.

I noted the Ferdinand Fire Tower was just up the road so I decided to take a little drive into the hills to check it out.

After the fire Tower, I decided to check the course conditions at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey disc course down the road and travel some of the back roads in the area. I’m always amazed at what you can find when you get off the main roads. This time was no exception.

LOTS of Chicken Farms in Indiana

Indiana ranks 3rd behind Iowa & Ohio in Chicken production and you can see evidence of that when driving down country roads. Every farm I passed had a similar sign, all related to Perdue Industries.

Not far down the road, I passed another interesting building that looked like it has just finished construction.

After arriving at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey Disc course, I found it to be in a similar situation. A little too wet for me. I still had some time to kill so I proceeded further south to Tell City to purchase some of their famous Pretzels.

To Be Continued… Tune in next week for the rest of the story!

2022 Week 15 – Looking for Lunch in Lawrence

a close up shot of a plate and glasses on a table

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been doing some work in the Lawrence, Indiana, area a couple of days a week. It’s not a place that I frequented very often before January, but I decided to explore the food scene when I started spending time here. Specifically, Lunch in Lawrence.

Pendleton Pike and 56th St are long strips of chains with nothing unique standing out on the surface. But, dig a little deeper, and you can find some hidden gems owned by locals serving some quality food.

Fitzgerald’s Catering & Lunch House – Ft. Ben
First written about in Week 6 2022, Fitzgerald’s is located in an unassuming (former barracks building?) off Otis Ave. It’s an assembly-line-style lunch counter run by a hard-working group. They feature scratch-made items, even down to the pickles served on their Cuban sandwich. They can get quite busy, and seating can be limited, as people like to linger and talk. The restaurant is clean, and the service is prompt and friendly. Fortunately, they offer online ordering that’s always been ready when I got there to pick it up. They announce the daily specials on Facebook and have a good variety of sandwiches, soups, and salads. The Cobb Salad, Cuban, and Roast Beast sandwiches are my favorite things to order.
https://fitzgeraldscatering.com

Porter Books & Bread – Ft. Ben
This place looks easier to find on Google Maps than it really is. You place your order in the basement of a multi-story, multi-tenant building and climb the spiral staircase to the seating area above. The walls are exposed brick with bookshelves and some great music playing in the background. Their house-made Ficoccia is used for several of the sandwiches and comes with the salad. I think the Octavius Salad is one of the best in the area, and the Vonnegut Sandwich will not leave you hungry if you manage to finish a whole one.
https://www.porterbread.com

The Grill – McCordsville
While technically not in Lawrence, it’s close enough for me to drive to for lunch, so it’s on the list. The Grill has an over-21 side and a family dining side. Both times I visited, I sat in the bar. I’ve only ordered one thing both times, and the Fried Chicken salad hits the spot with a nice-sized salad with a large portion of pounded out sliced fried chicken breast on the top. The service is very friendly, and you can tell this is a family-run place with the father of the group running the show.
http://thegrillatmccordsville.com

Fried Chicken Salad

Tritan Brewing Co. and Bistro – Ft. Ben
The Bistro at Tritan is only open Fri/Sat/Sun for lunch, so I’ve only been able to have lunch there once on a Friday. I first wrote about it in Week 8 of 2022. It was a toss-up between the fish and chips or the tenderloin. My server asked how hungry I was and when I said quite a bit, she didn’t even hesitate to recommend the tenderloin. I really enjoyed this sandwich and would order it again if I’m in the area when the Bistro is open.
https://tritonbrewing.com

Fried Tenderloin

Notable mention to Jacomo Pizza that I’ve had for lunch a few times but never took any pictures. It’s pizza, and we know what that looks like. It’s quick if you get a slice or two of the daily special and scratches the itch if you want pizza and/or a fast lunch.

While there are not many local restaurants in Lawrence, there are enough to have some variety when in the area a few days a week. I still need to check out the Garrison at Ft. Ben and the Caplingers location on Pendleton Pike. It’s also been a long time since I visited Mama’s Korean, so I may have to fix that soon.


Following up on my initial review of Grammarly in October 2021, I’m still finding it a HUGE resource to make sure the communications (and blog posts) I have are concise and properly formatted. I’ve learned I have a big issue with missing commas, and Grammarly has made me more conscious of that and helped my grammar along the way. It’s still not a cheap utility, but if you make a living communicating with people, it’s worth checking out.

And finally, The Urbanist posted a video of a strange skyscraper in New York City with no windows. These kinds of buildings are not that unusual, in fact, we have a similar AT&T building in Downtown Indianapolis, but this one is very unique looking.

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