Posts Tagged ‘Indianapolis’

Our venue of choice.

With less than a year left til our marriage (we’ve set a tentative date in early May 2014), you probably won’t be reading much about wedding planning in the next 11 months.

Why? Mainly because I already have it all planned out.

It’s amazing how stress-free a wedding can be when you throw all the traditions out the window. I mean, really, how many wedding “traditions” really mean anything to anyone? Weddings these days are so cut and paste, insert your name/face here for cake cutting, first dance, toast, etc ad nauseam. I’m just not one to do things simply because it is the way it is “supposed” to be done. That’s why I’m calling our marriage celebration an “un-wedding,” and not bothering with any details that aren’t of utmost importance. No wedding dress, no wedding cake, no wedding party, no seating arrangements, no silk flowers, definitely no color scheme or registry or white tulle (blech blech blech). What I find to be most important is 1)what’s to eat; 2)what’s to drink; 3)who will share it with me; 4)what are we going to listen to; 5)will it be in a beautiful setting with an indoor option in the likelihood of rain or sweltering hot weather; and, importantly, 6)how much is all this going to cost?

Oh, and, 7)will this guy be making a guest appearance? One can only hope so.


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I didn’t make any money today. I didn’t get any painting done. I didn’t run any errands or do any housework or pay any bills today. But somehow it still feels like I got a lot accomplished.

I arrived early to the Cuddle Meeting.

I got some important research done.

I started my day with a balanced breakfast.

I engaged in important correspondence.

I photographed a friend.

I contemplated the yellowness of it all.

I stopped to smell the roses.

I made some abstract art.

I discovered a ghost ship in the mist.

I walked into a trap!

I appropriated a tomato.

I visited a real bees’ house. Luckily they were still sleeping.

I peeked in the windows of my dream greenhouse.

I rode up a grueling hill (yeah, that’s a hill, I promise).

I admired my photogenic steed.

I practiced scene appreciation.

And I decided that I live in the most wonderful place on Earth.

Not bad for a morning’s work!

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Some things that make these winter days worthwhile:

1. Snow Pants!

2. Magical Fruit Soup (yum.)

3. Kids So Sleepy

4. Negative Thinking

5. Fresh Reading Material

6. Finding recipe clippings stored in my Grandma’s Joy of Cooking. These almost sound worse than boiled hot dogs.

7. Colorful Graffiti

8. Sculptures by Nature

9. Pretending to take a picture of something in the foreground while someone is doing something weird in the background.

10. Flowers in February! (and realizing that I haven’t managed to kill off Florence)

11. More Sleepy Kids

12. Finding hidden trails in unexpected places…

13. Gorgeous views in the middle of the city.

14. And, of course, more sleepy kids.

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Now that Jeff and I have committed to living in Indianapolis for the foreseeable future, it’s a good time for us to focus on what we love about Indy and why living here rocks. For me, one of Indy’s greatest assets is the wealth of public spaces. This is why I would like to start a series of blogs focusing on some of the area’s best (and usually free) public attractions..

On a gloomy winter day, the conservatory at Garfield Park is a great place to visit to get your fill of greenery and humid air. Throughout most of the year, the price to visit the conservatory is a piddling $1. However, a special holiday display jacks the price up around Christmas time. Yeah, you do have to fish around for an extra two dollars, but you also get to push open the peppermint candy striped doors to this:

If you’re into poinsettias and trains, then I guess this is the place for you to treat yourself to some excitement!

Seriously, though: I love plants. And while train sets and festivity is all fun and good, the best parts are beyond the next set of doors. There you’ll find:

Orchids of every color and size, tingeing the soily scent of the room with springtime fragrance.

You’ll discover some pretty amazing feats of nature.

You’ll meet some attention craving koi.

(be sure to bring along your favorite hand model.)

You may end up in some pretty poses…

And if you’re really lucky, on the way home you may just run across a festive dinosaur or two (or five):

At $3 a person, I’d say that Garfield Park Conservatory is money well-spent.

Stay tuned for more on what Garfield Park and Sunken Gardens has to offer during warmer months.

For more information, visit http://www.garfieldgardensconservatory.org/

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Now that we, Rocky Ripple’s Newest Official Residents, are (almost) comfortably settled into our new home, we’d love to share with you some pics from around the ‘hood…

The Flying Cupcake (guess what they sell here!)

Burkhart Community Garden

Canal Walk toward Holcomb Gardens



Canalley Cat *chuckle*

Some of the more subdued yard art.

River Houses

Floodplain Forest Preservation Site

Kooky mailboxes are a status symbol around here...

More Yard Art---in case you weren't convinced I belong here.

Yard Nessie

Skipping stones...

...on our beautiful bend of the White River.

Welcome to our new stomping grounds. I think we’re gonna love it here.

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Just west of the intersection of 52nd and College Avenue in Indianapolis you will see a new facade. It’s nothing flashy, but the sign had caught my attention recently. It says, Garuda Indonesian Restaurant. Like this:

Hailed as Indiana’s very first Indonesian cuisine, we were excited to try it out. “Oooh, the Spice Islands!” and so on.

So we did.

Let me first say, don’t attempt to park in Garuda’s impossibly tiny parking lot. Even if you do get a spot, it’s not easy getting back out onto 52nd street from it. It’s much, much easier to keep driving about 50 feet or so to Broadway, where parking is plentiful and just a short jaunt to the door.

The inside of Garuda is put together well. The walls are painted in rich, dark colors, and the decor is not bad. I liked the painted brick floor, but I didn’t like how there is no back wall, and you can see straight into the kitchen from every seat in the house. Overall the cozy space gives a generally classy feel.

During our visit we were one of only two parties dining at Garuda. We were seated immediately and the owner, Peter Oomkes, sat down with us to explain the menu since we were completely unfamiliar with Indonesian cuisine. That was a plus.

We ordered two appetizers, Tofu Lumpa and Vegetable Satay. But first, they brought out Krupuk, which is a kind of spongy fried shrimp cracker. I didn’t care for the taste of the cracker, but it did come with a spicy peanut dipping sauce that was quite good.

The Lumpa, a type of spring roll, was tasty, though more reminiscent of a hash brown than a spring roll, in my opinion and experience. The veggie Satay was like a miniature shish-ke-bob, and was also tasty, though not amazing.

For our entrees we ordered the Bami Goreng (noodles and mixed vegetables), Nasi Goreng (Indonesian fried rice with vegetables, and chicken), and Kare Opor (Indonesian chicken curry).

The Bami Goreng (above) was, I think, the most flavorful dish. I’m a little disappointed that they used dumpling egg noodles instead of an Asian noodle. I would be curious to know how the taste would change if traditional noodles had been used. I only tried a bite of this, but Theresa ate the entire thing and reported that it was good.

Now would be a good time to point out that the portions at Garuda are rather small. I prefer this because I don’t like having leftovers or wasting what I can’t eat. However, anyone with a bigger appetite might consider ordering two entrees.

My entree was Nasi Goreng. The presentation of this dish is perfect for me: separate little piles of every component, ready to be mixed and matched however I please in each bite. How did they know that’s how I like to eat? Maybe I have Control Freak written all over my face, I dunno. At any rate, my little pile of rice, little pile of chicken, little pile of veggies and my egg kept me occupied for the short time it took me to scarf the whole thing down. My only complaint? This is the most bland meal I have ever eaten. Apparently Peter Oomkes missed his latest shipment from the Spice Islands. The tiny dusting of soy sauce atop my rice pile was the only added flavor. Of course, Peter did point out to me that I could add flavor with the two pots of sweet sauce and hot sauce that were on the table from the beginning, but I didn’t want either, I wanted spices. Luckily bland food tends to be very palatable to me so I didn’t really care too much so long as I wasn’t going hungry.

I also tried a bite of the Kare Opor. It was very curry-y. Jeff reported it as being a very bland curry, and the chicken very dry. He mixed in the spicy peanut sauce that we both liked in order to add flavor to the dish.

So, the food is bland. That was a disappointment. As for the service, well…it wasn’t horrible. There were some things that were left out here and there, and getting enough plates to share our appetizers was a challenge, but those aren’t things that can make or break a meal. The worst part of the service was that one person would get their entree, then ten minutes later the next person would get theirs, and so on. If Theresa and I had been polite and waited for everyone to get their food before we began, then our food would have been cold by the time the curry rolled out.

I understand that the kitchen was short staffed. I could easily tell this because the chef was cooking about 15 feet from our table with no wall between us. But really, considering that there were about six people in the dining room, they are simply going to have to step up their production efforts in order to run a successful restaurant.

Overall, we decided as a group that, if we were going to spend $10-15 per entree on another dinner anytime soon, we would choose from a number of other places before we chose Garuda. Viet Bistro, India Garden, Thai Cafe: all these places close by offer a LOT more bang for your buck. Larger portions, amazing flavors, variety, hard-earned popularity, and variety—

all these things Garuda has not.

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It’s Tuesday night and we have a concert to attend, so I’m going to make a quick post of some miscellaneous photos that I have overlooked or otherwise forgotten to publish thus far.

First, I totally did not notice this lovely bean pod when I did my garden update last night. I’m not sure how I missed it, but I’m certainly glad to see it!

Here are some photos from our Memorial Day trip to the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The museum itself was closed, but we spent a good chunk of time hanging out in the gardens and exploring the ever-changing 100 Acres sculpture park. If you haven’t seen it yet, pick a cool day and go! (This weekend is supposed to be lovely).

We also stopped by Crown Hill Cemetery to check out the view from James Whitcomb Riley’s tomb. It’s supposed to be the highest point in the city, though according to my dad that distinction now belongs to a landfill on the south side. Regardless, I love the way that Indianapolis looks like a dense forest when seen from this vantage point. Who knew that you could get away from the city by climbing above it.

Patrick says, Happy Tuesday. Enjoy the nice weather!

The End.

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