2021 Week 14 – 72 Sat / 21 Thu

You have to love Indiana weather. We were enjoying 70-degree weather last Saturday & woke up to 21-degrees and flurries on April 1 (no joke!). At least we’re finally into April and spring sprung on March 20th. This next week is supposed to be back in the 70’s. I’ll take that!

A week after I get signed up for the Johnson & Johnson “One-and-Done” Covid-19 Shot news breaks that up to 15-million doses are being recalled because of formulation issues. I was able to get my vaccination at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week and it was one of the most organized things I’ve done since the Eli Lilly drive-up COVID testing last May. Kudos to the IMS staff, Indiana National Guard, and IU Health for making that an amazing success.

Image from MSN.com

I love cooking shows and spend a lot of time watching my favorites on Youtube and Food Network (PBS too!). I discovered a new chef (new to me) last week that I didn’t realize I had been reading about for years.

J. Kenji López-Alt is a restaurant owner and Chief Culinary Consultant at the Serious Eats website. He also just published a book called “The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science“. I really like his Point-of-View (POV) video style and his more advanced cooking techniques like this one:

Finally, I have some camping trips coming up and will be reviewing some new gear I’ve picked up in the past year. Look for those in the coming weeks. Enjoy the amazing weather this week!

2021 Week 11 – Spring Forward

I hope everyone remembered to set their clocks forward an hour before you wane to bed last night. I usually have DST on my calendar as a reminder but didnt for some reason this year so the time change kind of snuck up on me.

I was doing some work in Downtown Indianapolis this past week and you can feel the energy of the big basketball tournaments. The Big-10 games started last Wednesday and wrap up today. Then we start all over with March Madness this Thursday through April 5th. EVERY Big-10 championship game and EVERY March Madness game will be played in Indiana. This is the first time this has ever been done and really puts our State under the spotlight. From what I’ve seen so far Indianapolis has cleaned up quite nicely and is doing a great job hosting everything.

If you ever want to know how much of the year has passed you can get real time updates on the Year Progress twitter page. I’ll admit I was watching it closely last year.

The BEST cheesesteak shop in the city has a second location! Originally starting in Flat-12 brewery on the near east side, and later relocating just south of Butler University, Hoagies and Hops just opened a second location inside Chilly Water Brewery on Virginia Ave (Fletcher Place). I stopped by on Friday to try the 1/4 pound chili cheese dog and a small side of fries. This was a BIG dog. The chili and cheese were both infused with beer so it was a different tasting chili dog. Overall I enjoyed it and would order again if I wasn’t getting a cheesesteak.. I dipped my fries in a lot of the cheese and that was a winning combo.

And finally, I’m a fan of the Burger King Original Chicken Sandwich. When it’s done right it’s delicious. Sam the Cooking Guy makes his version at home and it looks really easy to make. I think I’m going to give it a shot next weekend.

2021 Week 10 – Last Dance with LastPass

It was reported last week that the popular password manager “LastPass” had no less than 7 trackers reporting data back to sites like Google. I’ve been looking for another password manager prior to this news but I wasn’t finding anything with the same functionality. I finally found a tool worth moving to called Bitwarden. It’s open source and FREE to use! You can optionally pay $10 a year for some advanced features, and to support the products development. After moving my data to Bitwarden and deleting my LastPass account I was more than willing to pay the money to support the tool It’s got a very active community and is constantly getting new features and updates. If you’re not using a password manager you really should and now you can for free!

Can a vegan Cheeseball taste good? It can if it’s from Eat Surreal! I’ve been seeing the “Amazeball” pop up from time to time on Instagram and it finally got my attention. I visited the Broad Ripple Farmers Market and picked one up. This is an amazing recipe that has honestly got my attention of how well vegan food can taste! if you didnt tell someone they were eating a blend of tofu, coconut oil, various veggies, and spices they would never know the difference. It’s THAT good! You can find this, and other Eat Surreal products at shops around town like Amelia’s Bread and Mass Ave Wine.

And finally… Gears and Gasoline released a 3-Part series where they take a couple of Mazda RX-7s and visit all 48 states. It’s a great set of videos to watch and looks like something that would be a lot of fun!

2021 Week 9 – Indy Tacos

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!

2021 Week 7 – Test Kitchen Troubles

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.

Shoyu Chicken and Coconut rice with Pasta Salad

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!