This last weekend I took another trip down to Cincinnati to celebrate my father’s birthday. It was the first time in over 20 years that I didn’t have my trusty Timbuk2 bag in the back of the car with all my work equipment, “just in case.”
You get used to being on-call, and sometimes, I forget I no longer am. When it clicks, I get a little bit of a rush of freedom, knowing my day/evening/activity isn’t going to get interrupted by a client needing something right then and there.
So the “Football” I’ve been carrying all these years is being retired, and I can’t say I’m sad one bit about it.
Short post this week as it’s already Monday & I have a full week ahead of me. I didn’t want to break the weekly streak, so I needed to put SOMETHING on here! Longer posts are in the hopper for upcoming weeks.
I was expecting to have a post this week full of trip highlights but alas, life gets in the way and trips get postponed. This week I have some links to articles I came across the past week. Hopefully, we’ll be back to the normal blog schedule next weekend.
If you live in Indianapolis & have a Library Card you’re in luck! You have access to a lot of online newspapers you would normally have to pay to access (including the Indianapolis Star). Several libraries offer similar amenities so it’s worth checking out what your local library offers. If you didn’t know you can download e-books and stream movies all for free. It’s a really good perk for a FREE service!
Did you like Wordle before I was purchased by the New Your Times? If you’re a foodie like me you’re going to love Phoodle! In case you don’t know, you get 5 chances to guess a 5-letter food-related word. It’s harder than you think, and you can only play one game a day so it’s safe for those of you with addictive tendencies.
And finally, while there isn’t a voice-over on this video it’s very relaxing to watch how this antique candy drop roller is restored back to usable condition. Enjoy!
The Mid-Term elections were last Tuesday & I’ll have to admit, I was pretty disappointed in the turnout I observed. I’m fortunate that my polling place is at a small church next to my neighborhood and is about as convenient as it gets. I stopped by at 8:30 and said hello to the one and only candidate rep outside (representing Greg Garrison for Prossicutor) and proceeded inside to 8 poll workers, and that’s it. No one else was there voting. That’s a little sad, considering the primaries significantly impact who gets to run in the November election and, in many cases, decide the November results.
Scotts Cheap Flights had an excellent article about the 23 of the Best Long Weekend Trips in the US. Several are an easy drive from Indy. In fact, Nashville has been on my radar ever since I drove through in October 2020. I’ve been craving that smoked mushroom smash burger from burger Hugh-Baby’s. I think a return trip is in order this fall.
A few months ago, I picked up a new Mac and decided to go with the Apple MacBook Pro 14-inch with the M1 Pro chip. With 16GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage, this entry-level MacBook Pro is the fastest one I’ve ever used. It’s amazing how much better it is than a unit from 2 years ago. The Mac uses Apple’s new proprietary chip, and the performance is nothing short of amazing. Couple that with a liquid retina XDR display, HD webcam, and all-day battery life; this is one hell of a package for $2k. I would not hesitate to recommend this as an upgrade or an entry into the Apple ecosystem.
That’s it for this week. However, some exciting things are happening behind the scenes at the IndyScan HQ. Details are to be released soon, so stay tuned!
Shorter post this week as I have a lot going on these days. I’m planning a trip to Toronto in the next couple of months and the Canadian entry requirements seem to be a moving target. As of last week, Canada now requires you to get pre-approved with an app called ArriveCAN. Hopefully, nothing else changes prior to my visit. I’m holding off on making actual reservations until the trip gets closer, just in case they lock things down again.
Have you tried ClusterTruck yet? Chris Baggott, formerly of Exact target, and founder of ClusterTruck, and Tyner Pond Farms, is on to something. In my opinion, he’s completely changed the delivery industry and has reliably, and deliciously, fed me for the past several years while working in Downtown Indianapolis.
The key to ClusterTruck’s success is technology. In a nutshell, they don’t start making the food until they know they have a driver ready to pick it up as soon as it’s done cooking. This results in hot and fresh food every time. In fact, the only issue I’ve had out of the approximately 100 orders was a Cuban sandwich that they forgot to press. It was still hot though! The delivery radius is small but they have kitchens scattered around Central Indiana and Columbus, Ohio. I’m fortunate to be in the delivery area of one of them just about every day.
If you’re curious, you can use my referral code and get a discount on your first order (Full disclosure, I get a $5 credit on my account too).
And finally, Gastro Obscura had an interesting video titled A Legacy of Wine in Cincinnati that details the history of winemaking in the Cincinnati region.
Kate MacDonald is on a mission to make wine that connects to its place, and that’s just what she’s done with Skeleton Root. This winery was created to resurrect American heritage grape varieties that filled her hometown of Cincinnati in the mid-1800s, starting with the wines that put America on the map: dry still white Catawba and Catawba bubbly.Gastro Obscura
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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…
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!
Picking up where we left off last week. After I finished checking out Spring Mill state park I headed to another item on my travel list, Hemlock Cliffs.
Located on National Forest Rd, in English Indiana, Hemlock Cliffs is a little out of the way and on this Friday afternoon the parking lot was pretty empty. I could see this place getting really busy on a weekend. The trail loop out the the cliffs is about 2 miles long and easy to moderate in spots. It’s NOT accessible buy wheel chair or stroller as it has some narrow parts and several sets of steps.
Here are some short videos I made of the various waterfalls in the area.
While heading to the next destination I saw a sign for the Winzerwald Winery in Bristow Indiana and decided to check it out. They had a nice tasting room where you could get 4 samples for $4. I chose the flight of their “dry” wines which consisted of the following:
- Black Riesling (Red)
- Blaufränkisch Rosé (DEEP Red)
- Cabernet Sauvignon (Red)
- Grüner Veltliner (White)
All were quite good but I settled on the Grüner Veltliner to purchase and enjoy at home. Winzerwald Winery also sells a Pumpkin Spiced wine that I was too scared to try this time around.
I was surprised to see the number of wineries in the area. On Google maps I counted at least 12 within an hours drive of this one.
Next we’re headed to one of the reasons for the trip. The 18-hole Disc Golf (DG) course at the Saint Meinrad Archabbey in St. Meinrad, Indiana.
Unfortunately this is where the trip goes south. After 9-holes of DG the skies opened up and there was no end in sight. Between the rain and lightning I decided to cut the trip short and head back to Indy. I’m glad I did as the rain continued into the evening and setting up all your camping gear for a single night is just not worth the effort (or the cleanup afterwards). I already have a return trip planned and hope to finish out my round of DG and get a night of camping in the books.
That’s it for now, enjoy the warmer temps this week. I think summer is finally making an appearance!
I took the day off last Friday & headed down to Southern Indiana for some sightseeing, Disc Golf, and camping. With the knowledge that State Rt 37 was closed in Martinsville I decided to take State Rt 39 that runs parallel to the west. I also wanted to check out the Goethe Link Observatory along the way. Unfortunately it was closed.
My next stop was Spring Mill Park, which I have not been to in years. When I got down to Mitchell Indiana I realized it was lunch time so I stopped at my road trip favorite McDonalds.
Being lunch time in a small town the drive-thru was backed up to the street so I decided to go in. There was a clear division of masks and no masks. The older the person was the more likely they were masked up. The younger crowd not so much. It was an otherwise uneventful visit until I got back to my car. This was the BEST quarter pounder I had EVER had! It was seasoned a little more aggressively than normal and was LOADED with onions and pickles (like, double the amount). I never thought I’d ever enjoy a fast food sandwich this much. The fries were as good as always and someone was a little heavy handed with the salt on those as well. No complaints here!
East of this location I noticed a sign for the Gus Grissom Monument and I decided to check it out. I drove right by it the first time as I ws expecting it to be further up the road. It’s actually right behind the Mitchell police department and it’s quite the monument!
What an amazing monument to an American Hero. Little did I know there was ANOTHER tribute to Grissom at Spring Mill!
Spring Mill was a lot bigger than I remembered and was pretty empty that day (benefits of visiting on a weekday). I remembered to purchase my annual park pass at the gate. HIGHLY recommended if you are going to visit any of the state parks throughout the year. It pays for itself after a few visits. The Spring Mill Inn is in the process of remodeling on the outside but was very nice on the inside. I could see spending a new nights here while exploring the area trails and activities.
There’s more to this trip than I’ve listed here but I’m going to save that for the next post. It was great to get out of the house and get back outside after a miserable 2020 and a longer than usual winter. The Allegheny National Forest trip I canceled last fall (because everything was closed) is being re-scheduled and there should be some good travel posts coming up this summer.
Finally, I came across this video on YouTube last week. I never knew this job was available in the Military!