2021 Week 15 – Batter Up!

Baseball is back! I played baseball for many years before I moved to Indiana and have followed the Cincinnati Reds since I was a kid. When Major League Baseball (MLB) went on strike in 1994-95 I just stopped watching. I’ve attended several Indianapolis Indians games over the years since then but I never got back into the MLB. I found myself watching a Reds game the other day & actually enjoyed it! I’m now back on the bandwagon rooting for the Cincinnati Red Legs.

Remember that Cargo Ship that got stuck in the Suez Canal last month? There have been some funny Internet memes as well as canal simulators that came out of the mess. One I quite enjoyed allows you see the actual size of that ship compared to everyday objects on Google Maps. Like this one comparing the Ever Given to Lucas Oil Stadium:

And it even showed up in the Microsoft Flight Simulator game

Fishers has a new(ish) Mexican restaurant near the Geist Marina. El Lago (meaning “The Lake”) has been open about a year and quickly became our go-to place for dinner. The prices are great, the portions are huge, and the quality is amazing. My favorite is the Burrito Choriz which has chicken and steak cooked with onions, covered with cheese sauce, Mexican sausage, shrimp and pineapple. Served with rice or beans. For $13 you can’t beat it! I recommend the beans, they are really good and obviously homemade, as is their salsa.

Finally, some good news for the Castleton area. It was posted on the Indianapolis Reddit they’re finally making progress on the Saraga International Grocery that was reported in the IBJ back in 2019. I have some concerns bout the other asian markets in the area (Patel Bros, Asia Mart, Viet Hua, and One World Market) being able to compete with Saraga but I welcome the addition to the area. It’s about as close and Indianapolis is going to get to a Jungle Jim’s in Cincinnati.

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.

The Best Way to Reheat Pizza

I love pizza and could eat it more than just about any other food.  If I wasn’t  eating it cold the next day I’d always use the microwave to reheat leftovers.

I came across the skillet method a while ago & it’s a total game changer.  It works best when re-heating just a slice or two.  The Art of Manliness had a great writeup of the various methods.

I’ve found that a non-stick skillet with a tight fitting lid works best.  All it takes is a cold pan, a few slices of pizza, and medium heat for 8-10 minutes (depending on thickness).  This usually get me a slightly crispy bottom (better than when it was delivered in my opinion), and the slice is heated through.

Not as easy as eating cold (my second favorite way), and not as soggy as the microwave, the stovetop reheat method is my new go to method to reheat last nights pizza for lunch today.  Give it a try & let me know what you think!

Indy – Nick’s Chili Parlor

After visiting Saraga the other day we worked up an appetite and needed to fill our bellies.  I fired up Google Maps on my iPhone and looked for any places in the area that I might have starred as something to check out.  It just so happened that Nick’s was on my list and right down the street!

Nick’s is different in a lot of ways.  You order cafeteria style, which makes a lot of sense since you can slap together a chili dog and a bowl pretty quickly.  Fried items and burgers appear to be brought out to the table once prepared.  The dining area is open and bright from all the windows.  The menu has items other than chili related fare.  Some notable mentions are fried tenderloins, burgers, and tamales.

Nick’s tagline is “home to the ‘Not Yet World Famous’ 5-Way chili”.  Since that’s the way I like to get mine at the Cincy chains I thought I would give it a try for comparison.

We ended up ordering a couple of 5-way Chili bowls and 2 chili dogs with everything.  The 5-way is served in a deep bowl and is mostly chili with a little pasta in the bottom.  It’s also a lot easier to eat than the competition because of this configuration.

The Chili Dog was a full sized hot dog served in a steamed and quite substantial.  A couple of these would be a meal.

The Chili itself has a nice depth of flavor.  I thought it needed a little salt and a few dashes of hot sauce and after adding that it was quite delicious.

The service was fast and friendly and the restaurant was very clean.  I don’t spend a lot of time in this area of the city but I wouldn’t hesitate to come over here from downtown for a chili dog.

Nick’s Chili Parlor
2621 Lafayette Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46222
http://www.nickschiliparlor.com

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/