Category: Review


2021 Week 49 – Odds and Ends

brown and black cat

The Big 10 Football Championship was in Indianapolis this week, and we had a flood of visitors from Michigan and Iowa on Saturday. It wasn’t much of a game as Michigan smashed Iowa 42-3 but it’s always nice when the city can host such a big event.


I checked out the Guggman Haus brewery on the near west side Saturday afternoon. I was really impressed with the size and layout of the place. I thought it was just a house but they have a huge multi-room beer hall with a lot of TV’s for watching sports. Their Pilsner was quite tasty and they have a nice variety of German-inspired brews. I’m looking forward to returning to try out the food…


Red Notice on Netflix, staring Dwane Johnson, Ryan Reynolds, and Gal Gadot was a surprise hit. It’s a great action/adventure movie and worth the watch!


We made it up to Condado Tacos at Hamilton Town Center earlier this week, and it exceeded expectations. They have a huge variety of tacos, and the prices are very reasonable. It’s had lines outside the door since it opened, but we got lucky the night we decided to check it out. I drive by the downtown Indy location all the time but now that I know what it’s all about it might be time to add it to my lunch rotation.


And finally, “Jurassic Park but with a Cat” is the latest Youtube creation by Owl Kitty who’s creators use video editing magic to insert their black cat into famous movie scenes. The Behind the Scenes videos show you how they do it and how much work it takes.

2021 Week 47 – Sausage Party

I took a quick trip down to Cincinnati to visit family, and I had to make a stop at Findlay Market on the way home. Findlay Market is located in the city’s heart in an area known as “Over the Rhine” (OTR). As expected, it was pretty busy on Saturday, especially the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Findlay Market during our 2013 visit

OTR has seen its share of issues over the years, it’s been in the midst of a gentrification effort for as long as I can remember, and the transition has been a slow one. In the same block, you can see homelessness, drug use, high-end boutiques, and cars costing well over $100k cruising the streets. It’s pretty surreal, to be honest.

Findlay Market during our 2013 visit

Findlay Market has a nice mix of outdoor seasonal markets and brick and mortar shops ringing around a large indoor market lined with various shops along its long central corridor. You can shop at the various meat, seafood, and produce stalls, as well as a couple of bakeries and a world-class spice shop.

LK Logo above the service counter

One of my favorite vendors, Kroeger & Sons Meats, has been replaced by the “LK” sausage counter in the indoor market. LK does the old vendor proud by continuing to offer a huge selection of freshly made sausages, smoked meats, and other pork products. This is THE place to shop for some of the best sausages around.

One side of the L-Shaped LK stall at Findlay Market in Cincinnati

LK is Findlay Market’s premiere sausage destination. Founded by two local Cincinnatians, John Knodel and Ryan Lillis, LK offers more than 40 varieties of handcrafted sausage as well as smoked meats, fresh pork products and seasonal offerings. Launched in 2020, LK has taken over the iconic space once inhabited by Kroeger & Sons Meats. LK is focused on celebrating food and community, with top-notch service.

https://www.lkfindlaymarket.com/about
2021 Sausage Madness Bracket

With over 40 types of sausages available, it’s tough to pick the right one. Luckily LK had a bracket challenge earlier this year, listing all their varieties and how they rank against each other. I ended up walking away with a nice mix of flavors and some sweet and spicy mustard too.

Before leaving the market, I stopped at another favorite along the north side of the outdoor shops, Dean’s Mediterranean Imports. Here you can find various spices, oils, and Mediterranean staples such as olives and pita. On this trip, I picked up a couple of new condiments (both LOW CARB!).

If you find yourself in Cincinnati and have some extra time, I encourage you to check out Findlay market and the OTR area. It’s got something for just about everyone, and you’re sure to find some great food to take home and try.

That’s it for this week. Turkey Day is just a few days away, along with an extra day of football. I’m looking forward to a 4-day weekend and hope to get more recipes added to the blog during that time. See you next time.

2021 Week 42 – Grammarly App Review

I have a confession to make. I’m lazy when it comes to writing. I let the computer recommend corrections and highlight spelling mistakes. I thought I had it all figured out, and then I tried Grammarly.

Years ago, I played with Grammarly when it first came out and didn’t see the need to keep it as it didn’t appear to be any better than the built-in tools I was already using. However, I kept seeing Grammarly pop up online, and several people I know are happily using it, so I decided to give it another try.

First off, the amount of integration this tool provides is impressive. From browser extensions on the desktop to additional keyboards on mobile devices, Grammarly has you covered just about everywhere. I’ve been using it for the past month or so while drafting Blog entries, and it’s caught WAY more grammatical errors than the built-in editor, especially missing commas that I’m guilty of having. Some of the more technical emails I’ve needed to write at work have greatly benefitted from Grammarly too.

There are a few different options with Grammarly. Free, Premium, and Business. The Premium version I’m currently using is $12 a month (less expensive if you opt for the annual plan). It’s a little steep, I’ll admit, but it’s become so integrated into my workflow I’m willing to pay the price. Of course, it’s not a perfect solution and will, on occasion, make a recommendation I don’t quite agree with, but those are few and far between. Another thing to know is an Internet connection is required for Grammarly to function.

All in all, if you love to write, or you need some help polishing up your communications, Grammarly is an excellent tool for the job!


In other news, I just started listening to a new podcast called “How We Survive” from NPR Marketplace. The first season is all about the lithium used in batteries that will be powering everything in the future and how we need to mine more to meet the demand.

The climate crisis is here. Time is slipping away to stop the worst effects of global warming, and the world is looking for solutions. On “How We Survive,” Molly Wood explores the technology that could provide some of those solutions, the business of acclimatizing to an increasingly inhospitable planet, and the way people have to change if we’re going to make it in an altered world. Our first season dives deep into the economics, the tech and the human stories behind the race for lithium. It’s the “white gold” that will help electrify our cars, homes and power grids, and unlike the gold rush of the 1800s, this time, our survival might depend on it.

Molly Wood – Host of the “How We Survive” Podcast.

That’s it for this week. I have a few ideas for upcoming blogs and have several drafts in the works. See you next time!

2021 Week 41 – iPad Pro Upgrade

I’ve been completely integrated into the Apple ecosystem for a while now and have always wanted an iPad Pro, but the price has always stopped me from making the leap. Because of that, I’ve purchased several iPad Air models and was generally happy with that decision. Well, I finally broke down and bought my first iPad Pro last week.

I opted for the 11″ model with 512GB of memory. Priced at just under $1000, it was not a cheap purchase, but compared to the Air model it replaced, this thing is an absolute beast when it comes to performance. I’ve been blown away by the responsiveness and power of the 2021 iPad Pro. I should have done this a while ago.

2021 iPad Pro with Magic Keyboard

I’ve always used an external keyboard with my iPad, and I had a few choices for this one. I ordered both the Apple Magic Keyboard and the Logitech Combo Touch so I could try them both out and return the one I didn’t want. Initially, I was leaning towards the Logitech option because of its flexibility, but once I tried the Apple keyboard, I was hooked. Both add a considerable amount of weight (and cost) to the package, but the Apple Keyboard is rock solid, and the keys are almost identical to my MacBook Pro. My only complaint is the trackpad is smaller than the Logitech keyboard, and it costs more. However, it DOES have a dedicated charging port to free up the USB-C port on the side of the iPad Pro.

I’ve had an Apple pencil (V1) and didn’t find myself using it much because you were pretty limited in what you could do with it, so it stayed in my bag. Now, with iPadOS 15, the pencil is a lot more capable, and it’s always available since it can be docked (and charged) on the side of the iPad with some impressively strong magnets. Unfortunately, I had to upgrade to the new V2 model as the V1 is not compatible.

Apple Pencil V2

Restoring from a recent backup of the old iPad is all it takes to be up and running. Apple has made upgrading to a new device about as simple as it can get. iCloud keeps everything synced between devices, and the whole ecosystem just works. That’s what’s so nice about the Apple environment.

I took the iPad Air I’m replacing and mounted it to the refrigerator to use while cooking. I had an older model on there for years, and it comes in really handy to have an iPad in that location for recipe reference and multimedia controls of the stereo in the other room.

If you’re an Apple iPad user and considering an upgrade, the Pro series is worth looking into. It’s more expensive than the Air options, but the performance jump is noticeable, and the screen resolution is nothing short of amazing.


In other news, Netflix just released the entire Seinfeld series. I remember watching the show, off and on, in the ’90s and always enjoyed it. Now that I’m re-watching it, I realize what a well-written and acted show it really was! I’m only 3 episodes in with 176 left to go. I hope Netflix keeps this available for a while because it’s going to take me a while to get through all of the episodes.

That’s it for this week. I have a software review on deck & should be ready to publish it in the next week or two. Enjoy the wonderful fall weather & we’ll see you next week!

2021 Week 40 – Upland Brewing FSQ

stainless steel beer dispenser

Low-carb eating at lunch leaves you with a few options. Of course, salad and some kind of protein are the easiest to locate, and it’s nice to visit different places to see what they can come up with. Upland Brewery in Fountain Square has been a destination for a couple of lunches over the past few weeks, and I think it’s time I share it with the readers of IndyScan.com.

The brewery is nice and open, with a covered patio on the west side of the building. Unfortunately, their parking lot, shared with Grey Goat Cycles, only has about five spaces available, but there’s plenty of street parking in the immediate area.

The staff has always been super friendly, and the menu has a nice variety of sharable appetizers and burgers, salads, and tacos. After 5 pm they serve larger entrees like steak and pasta.

On my first visit, I ordered the Chicharrón appetizer. This was a HUGE pile that I ended boxing up and taking back to the office to share. The crispy pork skins we’re made fresh and were delicious but be warned, the rub they sprinkle on top is spicy! I need to remember to ask them to lighten up on the spice next time I order these.

The Side Salad I ordered was very fresh, and the buttermilk dressing was delicious and made in-house. For my protein, I chose the char-griller burger with Jalapeno Blue Cheese sauce on the side. The burger was cooked perfectly, and the sauce was delicious; if I had some french fries, it would be an excellent dipping sauce.

If you’re looking for a place to have a group lunch and maybe a beer on a Friday afternoon, this is a great place to check out. They have a lot of available seating, and the atmosphere is very comfortable. Also, for a brewery, I think their food is pretty excellent.


I have a few more reviews in the works, including a few new purchases from Apple and an application that’s really opened my eyes to how I communicate. Stay tuned!

2021 Week 31 – Bug Off

brown and black mosquito on green stem macro photography

The last 4 posts were a recap of my week-long trip to OH, PA & NY to visit the Allegheny National Forest. With the daily rain, and summer temps, the mosquitos were out and looking for blood but I brought a solution to that…

After seeing ads and reviews over the past year I decided to pickup a Termacell Backpacker Mosquito Repeller prior to the trip. This device comes in many different models and is powered by battery or Butane/Propane canister. I chose the latter as I use that fuel for cooking while camping.

The Thermacell uses heat from a tiny gas powered flame to heat a small pad containing a repellant solution. They claim a 15′ “zone of protection” and I think that’s pretty accurate. I noticed an immediate improvement as soon as I fired up the repeller and set it on the table next to where I was hanging out. It was especially useful under the tarp where I was spending a lot of time during the rain showers. It’s not going to work as well of there’s a lot of wind, but the bugs are usually not a problem when it’s windy.

The pads last for approximately 4-hours and cost around $2 each (cheaper in bulk). There is a very slight sweet smell but it’s not off-putting and a lot better than some of the other scented candles that don’t work very well. This being the backpacking model it’s quite small and portable. If you have a larger space to cover they make bigger units for that.

If you’re looking for something to help keep the bugs at bay while enjoying the outdoors check out the Thermacell line of products and see if they’ll work for you.

And finally… Our friend Rick (The Tenderloin Connoisseur) has a new Podcast that drops each Monday to help start your week off right. Check it out here!

2021 Week 24 – What’s That Noise?

yellow flag on boat

That’s what I said when the 17-Year Cicada Brood hatched last week in the tree line next to my house. It’s louder than I remember but luckily goes quiet at night so we can still sleep with the windows open. On the other hand it’s becoming impossible to keep the car clean!

As I prepare for a couple of big road trips this summer I broke out the Garmin InReach Mini so I could get it updated and re-activated. This little thing is amazing and offers some piece of mind when your travels take you to areas with little, or no, cell coverage. The InReach Mini fits in the palm of your hand and offers Two-Way Messaging, Interactive SOS Alerts, & Location Sharing using the GEOS Satellite network. You can also track your routes and mark positions such as Points of Interest, and campsites/trail heads.

The companion Garmin Earthmate app uses your phone as a GPS display and messaging tool. It connects to the InReach Mini via Bluetooth and allows you to use the keyboard and screen of the mobile phone to send/receive/read messages. Monthly cost is around $35 and you can enable/disable it at will so you’re not paying for it when you don’t need it. I highly recommend something like this for peace of mind for both yourself and those that want to make sure you’re OK on your adventures.

And finally, as a HUGE fan of Top Gear (the original one, not the spinoffs) and the Grand Tour, I was happy to see Jeremy Clarkson hosting a new show on Amazon Prime Video. But this one has a twist. He’s now a farmer! He purchased a 1000 acre plot of land a while ago (probably with thoughts of retiring there) and he’s been put in a position where he’s going to try & farm it himself. Well if you know anything about the Top Gear guys, you have an idea where this might be headed…

2021 Week 23 – Wool T-Shirts?

herd of sheep grazing on field

Like him or not Guy Fiedi’s Diners Drive-ins and Drives has done a lot to help mom and pop shops all over the country. I try & keep track of the interesting ones I see when I watch the show but after 30+ seasons it’s impossible. An upcoming trip made me search for it and I was happy I found a Map of all the restaurants covered in the show. There are other lists out there. In fact Food Network has one but its not nearly as organized as the one above.

I’m a gear head when it comes to the outdoors and a fan of Marino Wool socks that keep my feet dry and comfortable. A recent gear guide (I forget which one) was promoting Marino Wool T-Shirts and I decided to get one and try it out. Made from a lightweight merino wool blend that wicks sweat and dries quickly the Icebreaker T-Shirt is super comfortable and works as advertised. I plan on adding a few more to my closet this year.

And finally, this YouTube couple got an amazing behind the scenes tour of the Indy 500, it’s a great watch!

2021 Week 22 – Camping Do Over

focus photography of a ignited firewood

May last camping trip was a wash out so I decided to try it again last weekend. This time there was no rain but the temps were a lot higher. I decided to take a different route, bypassing the I-69 construction, and wound my way south through Jasper and Ferdinand, Indiana

Ferdinand has a monastery similar to the one down the road in St Meinrad. But this one has a brewery and food! I stopped in for a late lunch of Pizza and Beer. While not they best pizza I’ve ever had it hit the spot, especially with the Sister Betty Blonde Ale I washed it down with.

After lunch I decided to finish out my last 9-holes of Disc Golf at St Meinrad. I expected to see a lot more people on the course being a Saturday but was pleasantly supersized the crowd was more like a week day. There was no need to rush and I was able to enjoy a nice round.

The Indian-Celina Lake Campground I like to test equipment at is just inside the Central time zone. In fact it’s so close my electronic devices (and car) will constantly switch back and fourth between time zones. I’ve started wearing an analog watch (Citizen ProMaster Diver with EcoDrive) to make sure I know the actual time. The Citizen is a great watch that uses the sun to keep itself charged. It also keeps amazingly accurate time. I think I’ve only corrected it twice the entire time I’ve owned it. This thing is built like a tank and it’s a nice change from the Apple Watch I wear during the week.

Another item I tested out last weekend was an Exped MegaMat sleeping pad. I bought the MegaMat last October but had yet to take it out to try it in the real world. It’s been great to lounge around on in the house over the winter but it really shines outside in a tent. The MegaMat comes in several sizes and I opted for the XL (extra long) version since I like to stretch out.

One really nice feature about the MegaMat is it self inflates. After you unroll and open the main valve it takes about 15-20 minutes to get to about 95% of where I like it. I can then take the manual pump that’s included to top it off and make it perfect.

This sleeping pad is thick and a little bulky so it’s only really good for car camping or a very short hike to the campsite. It feels like a memory foam bed when you’re laying on it and if you’re a side sleeper you’ll be happy to know it’s supportive enough to keep your hip from digging into the ground. It was worth every penny and I would not hesitate to purchase it again.

I have another camping trip planned in a couple of weeks and I’m gearing up for a trip to the Allegheny National Forrest this summer. So look forward to more trip reports and gear reviews throughout the year.

2021 Week 18 – Outdoor Activities

It’s getting close to camping season! The parks are starting to open back up and reservations are becoming available. I’m hoping to hit my southern Indiana favorite Indian Celina North Face Campground soon to shake down some new gear. It’s not a fancy campground but it’s clean and usually really quiet. I also discovered a Disc Golf course at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey 25-minutes away from camp so that’s going to be a must-visit.

Also this week I give you the “Porks & Rec” Tenderloin sandwich at Big Lug Canteen in Nora. Recommended by my good friend Rick from The Tenderloin Guy. Dressed with all my favorites, Lettuce, Onion, Tomato, Mayo & Mustard. Served with a side of herbed mayo that was excellent on the waffle fries I ordered as my side.

Keeping this post a little short because it’s already past due to be published. Look for more pics and reviews in the coming weeks!

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