Category: Shopping


Indy – Saraga International Grocery

I decided to take the boy on a little trip to the NW Side of Indy to check out a place that’s been on my to-do list for a while.  We’re HUGE fan’s of the Jungle Jim’s stores in Cincinnati and visit often when in the area.  Until now I haven’t really found anything remotely close in comparison in Indianapolis.

Nothing can really beat JJ’s but we were pleasantly surprised with the Saraga experience.  The store is mostly grouped by country of origin and it has a nice selection of cooking equipment too.  While waiting in line we saw a couple of people carrying out a multi-tier wedding cake, I didn’t expect that at all.

The produce, meat, and seafood departments were VERY impressive and they were the most crowded areas of the store.  The produce department was awesome and everything looked fresh and clean.  The seafood area had HUNDREDS of seafood selections both fresh and frozen.  Finally, the meat department had hard to find items like whole pork shoulder, pork belly, and sliced short ribs.  Next time I fire up the BBQ I’m going to visit Saraga for the meat.

Along the back part of the store are rows and rows of refrigerator and freezer cases stocked with items from all around the world, especially asian foods.  If you’re looking for a speciality ingredient for a recipe there’s a good chance you’re going to find it here.

We got caught up in all the snacks from different countries and ended up with a handful of favorites and new things to try.

Saraga International Grocery has a lot of online reviews and was a very popular place on Saturday afternoon.  If you’re into checking out foods form around the word it’s worth checking out Sagara.  If you’ve been there or end up going there let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Saraga International Grocery
3605 Commercial Dr, Indianapolis, IN 46222
http://saragafood.com/main/store-locations/

Review – Baileys Almande

It’s tough being a self-described foodie and suffer from lactose intolerance.  In my case it’s pretty easy to manage the symptoms with over the counter supplements as long as you remember to take them early in the dining process.  It’s not a fun experience to digest dairy and realize you don’t have a Lactaid available to counter the future “effects” of your poor decisions.  Milk products are in a lot of things you might not expect so it’s important to be prepared.

As someone who loves Baileys Irish Cream over ice, especially in the winter time, I was excited to learn they made a dairy free version.  Evidently what’s available now is the 2.0 version.  Version 1.0 was released in 2016, labeled as Vegan, and contained Bees Wax (a big no-no in the vegan community).  Hands were wrung, Birkenstocks were kicked off, and the Paddington Bottling Company (maker of Baileys) was taken out back and scorned for their misgivings.

The 2017 2.0 release is now “certified” vegan and gluten free to boot!  I’m not really interested in either claim but the dairy-free aspect piqued my interest so I bought a bottle to try out.

I’m not going to sugar coat it, Baileys Almande is pretty nasty.  From the appearance, to the smell, to the taste, it’s NOT a substitute for the real thing.  I’m not sure what they were going for with this product but I think they need to go back to the drawing board.

I’m going to fix a small glass over ice right now, just for you, and try to explain what it’s like:

Appearance – Baileys Almande is very watery, similar to plain almond milk.  Maybe that’s what the beeswax helped improve?  It’s almost thinner than water!

Smell – Slight almond smell that’s not entirely pleasant or natural.

Taste – The first sip is the worst.  You’re expecting that warm and creamy mouth feel that comes with regular Baileys.  You don’t get any of that here.  It’s like a clammy limp-wristed weak handshake from a mortician at a funeral.  Yeah I’m sorry for my loss of $20 too.

Aftertaste – OK it seriously gets worse after you swallow.  You’ll experience a bitter taste followed by what I can only explain as chalky and slimy.  It lingers way longer than you want or expect.  Another sip only amplifies the first experience and the aftertaste builds upon itself.

I’d love to know how many people make a subsequent purchase after their first experience.  I know I’m staying far far away from this stuff and I’ll take my chances with the original.

Have you tried Baileys Almande?  What was your experience?

 

Apple AirPods – One Month Later

It’s been a little over month since the AirPod First Impressions post (and a month since I’ve updated the Blog, wow!) and the AirPods have earned a place in my Every Day Carry kit.

I was a little concerned about the battery life at first but it’s turned out to be a non-issue.  I’m only charging the case about once a week and rarely have the actual AirPods in my ears for more than an hour at any one time.

For some reason the AirPods seem to feel ever so lightly larger in my ears than the wired EarBuds but without ay kind of precision measuring tools I can’t confirm that’s the case.  Once thing I did start to notice is the seams where the halves come together had an ever so small sharp edge to them that I could start to feel after about 30-minutes of use.  I was able to smooth the ridge out with a very fine sponge backed emery board and now it’s not an issue at all.

As far as sound goes they sound better than the EarPods with just a little more bass that’s noticeable with most types of music.  Microphone pickup is very sensitive and I was told during one of my tests the other party could hear me breathing.  Sound quality on both ends is more than acceptable and is similar to what you would find when using the phone.

I have an iPhone 7 Plus and occasionally find it hard to line the phone up with my ear to get good sound.  That’s where the AirPods become my favorite method for making and receiving calls.

Evidently the AirPods are sill in short supply and as of this writing Apple is still showing a 6-week lead time on shipping.  I have yet to see another person wearing a pair of AirPods which I find surprising.

If you want to spend the $150 on a set of truly wireless headphones and you’re willing to wait a few weeks I still think these are a good purchase.

First Impressions – Apple AirPods

After purchasing Christmas presents for everyone on my list this year I decided to get myself a gift.  After 3-weeks of waiting the package finally arrived…  Apple AirPods!

I love listening to music (mostly Spotify) whenever I can and after seeing the AirPods announcement last fall I was curious about how they performed.  Thanks to a lot of media outlets getting advanced units the reviews were out there before the AirPods were even available for order. For the most part they were very positive.

I’ve tried the inexpensive Bluetooth earbuds connected with a cord that is supposed to go behind your head and I’m not a fan.  The cord gets caught up in your clothing and makes the entire process rather uncomfortable and annoying.  Now, with the AirPods, you can actually go completely wireless and it addresses all the issues I was frustrated with.

The AirPods sound better than the EarPods that come with the iPhones.  They are just slightly larger and, in my case, fit very comfortably in my ears.  The bass is noticeably improved and the overall sound is very nice.  Battery life and bluetooth range is very impressive too.

These are not going to replace my Bose noise canceling over-the-ear headphones that I use when I want to tune the world out but they will be part of my daily carry for those times where I need a little music to make the day go a little better.

It’s to early to say if they were worth the $159 asking price but so far I haven’t regretted the purchase!

Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Bluetooth Keyboard Case for iPad Air 2

Wow, that title is long!  I’ve used the Belkin Qode Ultimate Pro Bluetooth Keyboard Case (Qode for short) since last December and it’s been put into service on a daily basis.

I get pulled into a lot of meetings at work and client sites and I always grab my iPad to take notes in Evernote.  Having a fully functional keyboard makes that task so much easier.  I can type pretty well with the on-screen iPad keyboard but the physical alternative is so much better.

The Qode offers good protection of the iPad, front and back.  One of the things I really like about the keyboard is it’s a separate piece so you can easily detach it and use the iPad on its own.  You can also attach the Apple Smart Cover as an alternative while leaving the back of the iPad covered and protected.

As with any portable device there are usually some compromises.  The only one I can think of with the Qode is the keys are a little on the small side, but nothing drastic.  Switching back and forth between the MacBook Pro and the Qode is pretty effortless.

The Qode offers multiple backlight levels as well as two angles of viewing for the iPad screen.  Battery life is rated at 1-year with normal use and I can honestly say that claim is conservative.  9-months of regular use and I’m sitting at around 50% battery capacity.

When activated (by propping the iPad into one of two magnetic slots) the Qode instantly connects to the iPad.  It has a lot of shortcut keys you can program as well as dedicated keys for cut/copy/paste/volume etc.  You can even pair it up with a second device (phone?) and toggle back and fourth with dedicated buttons.

All in the Qode ads about 1-pound of additional weight to the iPad.  not bad when you consider you are getting a nicely padded rear shell and a fully functional backlit and aluminum clad keyboard on the front.

This has been an awesome addition to my daily carry and you can pick one up yourself for around $100 on Amazon.

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