Sorry about those warm weather comments last week. I feel responsible for the snow we have now and, and the snow we’re supposed to get this week. Mea culpa.
Are people still into the Zodiac Sign thing? I hadn’t heard anyone mention Signs for a long time, then I ran across an article on Eat This, Not That. Your Favorite Fast Food Chain According To Your Zodiac Sign tries to match you, your sign, and the fast food chain you’re destined to become in another life. Mine was shockingly accurate, so maybe there’s something to all this!
I’ve been a fan of a good salad for as long as I remember. As a kid, one of my favorite things to do when we went out for dinner was hit the salad bar (*Cough*Ponderosa*Cough*). So Many Choices! When I’m working downtown I have 3 favorite salads I rotate through.
Cluster Truck has cured my hunger too many times to count, especially during Covid, when getting lunch delivered was difficult at times. The Cluster Truck Cobb Salad has been my favorite for a long time. I’ve also watched as the delivery of this Salad has risen from $19 to almost $24 today (with a tip). It’s a little on the pricey side but when I need a big salad and only have 15 minutes to eat, it hits the spot. This salad has chopped egg, bacon, diced chicken breast, romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, avocado, red onion, and blue cheese. It’s normally served with a side of balsamic vinaigrette, but I substitute that for their ranch.
A newer fascination of mine is Sweet Green. Having recently been disappointed by a “salads only” shop near my office, I didn’t have high hopes for this one. Several of my co-workers had visited and all were singing the praises of Sweet Green. I finally launched the app and was immediately captivated by their Buffalo Chicken Bowl. Consisting of: blackened chicken, chopped pickles*, tomatoes, cilantro, blue cheese, za’atar breadcrumbs, shredded kale, chopped romaine, sweetgreen hot sauce, caesar dressing, this salad packs a punch. The Caesar dressing along with the hot sauce are the real standouts here.
*These are a new addition and I have not tried the salad with pickles yet, but I’m looking forward to it!
Finally, when I want a solid salad, and I’m ready for a short walk, I head a few blocks east to Whole Foods Market. Often referred to as “Whole Paycheck”, you can break the bank at the salad bar because you pay by the pound. Unfortunately all the good things on the salad bar are heavy. Mixed greens, cheese, olives, marinated mushrooms, roasted mushrooms, cucumbers, roasted chicken, bell peppers, bacon bits, and ranch dressing? Yep, that’s a big boy and I’m taking it down. My salads at Whole Foods average around $20 but I usually end up not eating dinner or just snacking later in the evening. PLUS it’s a good excuse to get some fresh air and walk away from the office for 30-minutes.
BONUS SALAD: If you’re ever in the Nora area I strongly recommend you go to Big Lug and order a Willie’s Special along with a pint of whatever brewers choice is on special that day. For $20 (before tip) you get a punch-in-the-face salad and a cold beer. The Willie’s Special has mixed greens tossed in ranch, topped with a choice of hot or mild fried Nashville chicken, black bean corn salsa, diced mozzarella, guacamole, & Frito salt. I HIGHLY recommend the MILD Nashville chicken. They make the sauce in-house, so I’m told, and it’s usually hotter than a true mild. I’ve also been told “it depends who makes it”.
OK, Special Mention (can you tell I’m kind of a salad junkie?): Sahms on 116th St in Fishers (same owners as Big Lug) surprised me last Friday with a Cobb that had diced grilled chicken breast (very juicy and well seasoned), capacollo, Roma tomatoes, crisp bacon, hard-boiled eggs, avocados, scallions, crumbled bleu cheese. The Chicken was still warm, normally a problem with salads, but it was not so hot as to wilt anything so it was a nice contrast to the cold salad.
So there it is, the 5 salads I’m thinking about when I’m thinking about eating a salad. As you can see, I’m not a micro-green and light vinaigrette kind of guy. When I was dipping my toes in the Keto diet I found that these kinds of salads are more in line with Keto than the Standard American Diet (SAD). That got my attention. But as I said before, this can be my one meal of the day and I’ll be completely happy. As someone who usually skips breakfast (now called Intermittent Fasting) I’m usually not hungry for anything before 10 am and by then I just wait for lunch.
And finally… You need to be nice to our future robot overlords. My suggestion is to purchase some Boston Dynamics stock to show your support.
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.
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.
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.
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!
I’m not sure what took me so long, but the Sun King Tasting Room at Fishers District has become a regular hangout lately. I’ve eaten from the three rotating food stalls since its inception but never really stuck around much more than that. However, now that I’m writing more and looking to get out of the house this winter, I’ve been visiting the Test Kitchen at least once a week to enjoy a Sun King Orange Vanilla Cream Ale and something from one of the three food vendors. You really can’t go wrong with any of them. You have Smash Burgers, French Bread Pizza, and Tacos/Tortas. These all fill a need one way or another, and on any occasion, at least one sounds good to nosh on. I can only imagine how popular this place will be in the warmer months when the upstairs bar and outdoor deck are open.
After seeing it on many cooking shows, I had to make it a point to source the spreadable pork sausage known as ‘Nduja. I was able to find it at Whole Foods (in the cheese section), where a 4 oz tube costs $6.99. The brand I purchased says it’s “Spreadable Proscuitto,” which sounds a little more appetizing. We broke out the crackers and went into this with an open mind… It was DELICIOUS! The flavor reminded me of a mild pepperoni that’s been blended to a smooth paste. The spice takes a long time to build and never gets too uncomfortable. Paired with a nice white wine and some cheese, this makes a great little appetizer that should prove to be a hit. (UPDATE: Smoking Goose makes their own version that I will be picking up next time I’m downtown)
We received our first measurable snowfall last Saturday in Central Indiana. I could still see the grass, so it wasn’t much of an event. After an unusually warm December, I hope Spring gets here early as I’m ready for a few road trips. Inspired by the always amazing 36 Hours In … series from the NY Times, I have been thinking about hitting up Toronto in the late spring. Have you been? Is there anything I should be sure to see while I’m there?
And finally, do you know how the fire pole originated? Fire poles in firehouses were originally installed to allow for faster descent than the houses’ narrow spiral staircases, which were themselves installed because horses kept climbing to the second floor and getting stuck.
I’ve set the alarm nice and early these past few Saturday mornings and getting some miles in on the Road Bike. The weather last weekend was 100% humidity and super foggy around Geist Reservoir. Lucky for me there are some great paths to use and avoid the vehicular traffic in the area.
Yesterday morning was about as good as it gets. 68-degrees, light wind, sunshine. It made for a great 30-mile loop through Carmel, touching Noblesville at 146th St. and back to Fishers via 96th St. The Flowing Well Park is always a nice place to stop for a snack and top off the water bottles. I’d love to know how many visitors this place gets a year. I’ve never been there alone. There are always people filling up dozens of water jugs at all hours of the day and night.
While riding along the River Trail in Carmel I had to stop and take a picture of how the trees line the trail and make for a nice shady stretch. As usual traffic was light and riding on the streets posed no problems.
If there’s a path along a road and it’s in decent shape I’ll happily ride it. Unfortunately a lot of the paths in Hamilton County are starting to deteriorate to the point where it’s dangerous to ride a stiff road bike with skinny tires on them. The road normally offers a smoother surface and when everyone follows the rules (cyclists included) can be safe for everyone.
It’s nice to see that 99% of the drivers out there give you the legal right-of-way (3-foot minimum) when passing. I think the “Share the Road” signs help remind people that cyclists are allowed to be on the roadway the same a cars and trucks. The only exception I’ve witnessed this year has been pickup trucks on country roads and soccer moms that pass a little too close in their mini vans. Not much you can to about a close truck pass in the middle of nowhere. Hand gestures could result in a confrontation where the cyclist is at a distinct disadvantage.
When riding the back roads I’m more concerned about dogs than anything else. They can come out of nowhere and if they have any size to them can outrun a cyclist who is caught off guard. Normally they are more bark than bite but I’ve had a few close calls over the years.
Right now I’m 300-miles into my 1000-mile goal for 2018. I’m looking forward to passing the 1k mark and setting an even higher goal for 2019 (2k?). I have a cycling trip this summer in Northern Ohio that should produce some fun photos, I’m looking forward to it!
The rain stopped just in time for the show to go on. All photos shot with a Nikon D2X, 50mm f1.8 set to around f14 and manual exposure using a remote trigger.
Just a few pictures from the local train station. All HDR images are made with 9 bracketed images and joined using Photomax Pro.
Located in the heart of Fishers along 116th St The Chatham Tap opened in 2010. There’s another location on Mass Ave in downtown Indy. During its first year my wife and I visited and, although we enjoyed the brew, we did not care much for the grub. It was very bland, under seasoned and just not that good.
The Friday night before the Indianapolis Super Bowl I was “baching it” and decided to give this place another try. I’d been craving a burger all afternoon and after checking out the online menu I already had an idea what I was going to get.
The Chatham Tap is a lively place, (and pretty loud tonight) it’s decorated in a soccer theme with plenty of TVs covering all the major sports channels. I was sitting at the end of the bar & kept watching the staff high-five each other over and over. Must be required or they really like each other.
I settled in and ordered a pint of Guinness while I double checked the menu. There it was… The Smoking Black and Bleu burger. A Cajun Seasoned 1/2 lb hand pattied burger, brushed with chipotle Tabasco, topped with melted bleu cheese and two strips of rasher bacon. Red onions, pickles, lettuce, and tomatoes round out the setup. It’s all served on a perfectly toasted brioche style bun. This was the kind of burger I’d been thinking about all day.
Homemade chips and the normal list of sides are available but when I saw the “hand breaded onion rings” I had to give them a shot. Onion rings are usually very hit or miss so this was a gamble.
The bartender tonight (Rudy) was very attentive but not overly chatty, just the way I like my barkeep. It took about 10 minutes before the food arrived and it looked even better than I imagined. The burger was covered in melted bleu cheese and all the produce looked fresh with the exception of the tomatoes which I would expect this time of year. The onion rings were nice and thick and had obviously been freshly made (eat enough onion rings and you can tell these things).
I kicked the tomatoes off to the side and ate the pickles on their own (sandwich slice type, nice and cold). Once stacked with toppings this burger was pretty big. A big extra point for the Rudy. He brought catchup and mustard to the bar along with the silverware. I like my onion rings with mustard and I always hate to have to ask for it.
I’m just going to get this out of the way now… This burger was fantastic. It was cooked exactly how I ordered it (medium) and it was smothered with melted bleu cheese (one of the best cheeses in my opinion). The onion rings were just as amazing. The coating had just the right thickness and the onions were nice and sweet. They reminded me of giant Big Boy onion rings except bigger and, I’ll have to admit, better. Add a little dab of mustard and I was in onion ring heaven.
Score another point for the Rudy as he was right there when it came time for another beer. He used that time to ask about the food and he was on his way. I was pretty impressed with how he was managing his side of the bar tonight. He’s definitely good at his job and others noticed it as well.
The Chatham Tap has definitely redeemed itself and I usually don’t give places a 2nd chance. It took me a couple of years to try it again but I’m glad I did. Good atmosphere, attentive staff and great food make this place a winner. I’m adding this place to my limited rotation of Fishers restaurants.
If you’ve been there or go there after reading this let me know what you think!
Located in the heart of Fishers Rivera Maya has found a way to be successful in a building that’s changed hands no less than 5 times in the past 10 years. There’s no shortage of Mexican restaurants in the area and they all pretty much look and server the same thing. Riviera Maya does set itself apart in a few ways.
Upon entering you are immediately greeted with a friendly staff member who will seat you right away (if there are tables available of course). This place has been known to get very crowded on Friday/Saturday nights and I recommend reservations if you are going to have a big group or limited time.
Overall the place feels really big. It’s very open with high ceilings and plenty of decoration in the Mayan motif. In typical Mexican restaurant style, you are immediately served tortilla chips and salsa while looking over the menu and picking out your food.
The chips and salsa are pretty standard and always fresh. I always have to watch myself because it’s easy to ruin your appetite on the free appetizer. I always equate the chips & salsa to the bread basket at other places (and it’s usually better).
The very first thing I tried at Riviera Maya is the dish I’ve been loyal to, The Burrito Loco. The $9.99 dish is one of the things I think sets it apart from other Mexican restaurants. Take a 12″ flour tortilla, stuff it with grilled steak, chicken and shrimp, roll it up and smother it in cheese sauce. That’s it, no vegetables, no beans, no rice, just a big burrito on a plate. I’ve had this dish probably a dozen times and it’s been very consistent in both preparation and flavor.
Each ingredient in the Burrito Loco is seasoned and grilled just right; the shrimp are especially tasty and good-sized. Something you don’t get very often in Indiana.
A”nother great thing about this place is their Dos Equis XX Dark in 16,22 and, 34 oz sizes. I like the 34 oz served in a huge frosted mug. I have never had beer so cold as I’ve had at Riviera Maya. I always like to say if you can’t lift the 32 oz mug you’ve had enough to drink. My wife says the Margaritas are very good as well.
We’ve dined at Riviera Maya several times and have always had good service. You get a lot of food for your money and the atmosphere is a lot of fun (although it can get a little loud at times). This is the only Mexican restaurant we go to in Fishers. I’m already looking forward to my next Burrito Loco!
Just as good as Broad Ripple but a LOT closer!
Looking For The BEST Chicken Fingers you have ever had? The Nickel Plate Bar & Grill in Fishers is the place to go! Not only does this place have a great atmosphere (it’s an old train station) the Nickel Plate has the best chicken fingers hands down. Paired up with their homemade honey mustard (another “best” in my opinion) and you have a winning combination.
Located in “downtown” Fishers, Indiana, this place has been around for as long as I can remember. It’s known by the locals as a place to catch a Steelers game during football season in Colt’s country. They even serve Iron City beer!
If you’re near the north side of Indy, it’s worth the drive up I-69 to 116th street for a bar you won’t soon forget.
Do you have a favorite local spot? Tell us about it in the comments section! We’re always looking for new places to check out.