Weekend in Indy

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Nancypalooza
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2008/11/30 21:17:47 (permalink)
Because you always return to the scene of the crime, we went back to Gray's Cafeteria couple weekends ago. I was not prepared for the cavernousness of this place, and truthfully my picture of the interior doesn't do it justice. You could feed a brigade in this place. All I can say is that if you're a total roadfood piker like me, you should always go with your 21 year old son. My tray:



You see their very good chicken and homemade noodles, mac and cheese and super-porky green beans with a side of deviled eggs and lemon meringue pie. I for one am very happy with this tray. But my son's tray:



is sure to evoke some 'attaboy's around here. He couldn't decide between fried chicken and meatloaf, so got both. Also a standout on this tray--their cole slaw is very good. And their fresh cucumber pickes are not Jestine's but are also quite good. We got out of here for about $20, even after sending a fellow from the dining room back with a couple of dollars after I changed my mind about wanting coffee. (Excellent service, by the way.) All in all Gray's is a very good cafeteria experience.

The next morning we hit a Muncie mainstay for breakfast on the way out of town:



And the goods:



Cliff I actually took one of these pictures thinking of you. Can you guess which one?





We were too greedy to wait until we got a picture of our donut picks to dive in, so let me tell you the standouts. They make these giant glazed yeast pretzel twists that I hogged right down with not so much as a breath, and forced me to take a nice break before having another donut. It was worth it. My second choice was a sour cream donut, also scrumptious. I also have to tell you a nice story about the Starbucks. I give these people crap all the time--I refuse to use their little words like 'venti', I gripe about their four dollar lattes, all that stuff, and I myself got a coffee at Concannon's ($1) but neglected to get half & half on my way out. So I pulled through the Starbucks--my son wanted a $4 latte of course--and asked for any half & half, telling the lady I had somebody else's coffee--and she poured some into a small cup and handed it to me. Very classy, green empire. I will have to be nicer to you now.

We spent the day in Chicago, and you folks will be horrified to know that I didn't go to any of the wonderful places you posted the weekend before. We ate lunch in a place called Leona's and it was good but not great, but it's entirely possible I got the wrong thing. That donut trip had me wanting a salad and it was just okay. Now, I had a couple pieces later on of my son's leftover pizza, and that was pretty good, so I would be willing to give this place another shot. My son told me later that one of the Chinese joints from the trip report was another of their frequent stops and I was kind of sad for myself.

This was my first trip to Chicago, so we walked around downtown, visited Millennium Park, and we were delighted to find that we were in the middle of the protest march for Proposition 8, which was an enormous amount of people, and snaked around up and down several streets we were walking. You can always count on the gays to have the best signs:



I did manage to squeeze in a BPT on the trip, and I believe it would meet all the criteria for a non-cutlet, and it was quite good. This one is from Amazing Joe's Grill in Muncie:



Warning--if you visit Amazing Joe's it looks almost too nice inside to be roadfoody, but I won't hold that against them.

I have been trying to adopt the practice of grabbing something for lunch before I hit an airport, especially this time since I knew I would be leaving from the brand-new Indianapolis International and I was doubting the kolache stand would be open. I found a place called Greiner's Submarine Shop across the street from the place I filled up my rental and got a small italian sub and some delicious looking broccoli salad:



It was great; the sandwich was made with a couple kinds of salami, one of which was beer salami. Don't know that I've tried that before, but it had a great taste, and the ladies in the shop were terrific.

I will leave you with a couple of pictures of decor inside the new Indy International. They have a couple of delightful installation type pieces between the parking garage and the main terminal, one a set of lights along the ceiling of the breezeway that make a sound and light pattern, and I could have stared at those all day.



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wanderingjew
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2008/11/30 21:25:22 (permalink)
Nancy,

Looks like you got the pick of everything good at Grays. I actually went out of my way to go there earlier this fall just to try their raisin pie. It was my second visit to Gray's and hopefully not my last.
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deeoh01
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2008/12/01 08:03:59 (permalink)
Nancy,

That new Indy airport terminal is nice, isn't it? Since you didn't mention it, I assume you didn't eat there? Eating there is half the fun since they actually have local places in there. You can get a St. Elmo shrimp cocktail from Harry & Izzy's, a great hot dog from King David Dogs, a burger from 96th Street Steakburgers, a reuben from Shapiro's or tons of great breakfast stuff from Cafe Patachou.

Don
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Nancypalooza
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2008/12/01 09:54:44 (permalink)
Dale this is for you then, from the Dam Store in Rapidan, Minnesota (another place I haven't written up yet). The picture is bad so I'm attaching it small. Their sour cream raisin was quite lovely:


deeoh I didn't know what to expect. I did see places in the food court I would have given a spin, but since I knew I had only been in the building the ten minutes it took to walk out to the car and didn't look at any of the food court options I took lunch just to be on the safe side (I had a pretty good wait in front of me.) I am really impressed with the place. It's kind of like Sea-Tac, but not grody, with dashes of John Wayne and the Humphrey terminal in Minneapolis, all in the good way.
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wanderingjew
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2008/12/01 22:29:12 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by Nancypalooza

Dale this is for you then, from the Dam Store in Rapidan, Minnesota (another place I haven't written up yet). The picture is bad so I'm attaching it small. Their sour cream raisin was quite lovely:



Thanks....more torturous photos while I'm trying to diet- You know I have to maintain my slim figure for the presidents day weekend glee club trip....
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buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2008/12/04 06:25:08 (permalink)
Nancy-
Thanks for bringing this thread back. It is wonderful seeing photos of Gray's Cafeteria! The difference between your tray and your son's is very funny. Didn't you say that he goes to Ball State? Is he happy about the year the football is having?
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Nancypalooza
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2008/12/04 07:54:44 (permalink)
You should have seen my face as he was loading it up, but then I'm always the one asking 'is that green?' when he orders his vegetables. He does go to Ball State and I was surprised that he was actually cognizant of what was going on with the football team (normally 100 miles away from his brain), but you can tell around town that people are psyched. I saw a little indie t-shirt shop--thought of you again--that had been painted like a mean cardinal, and I was like, you know, not the best mascot to try to put some oomph into, but then we're the chickens so what do I know. :)
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buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2008/12/04 17:34:11 (permalink)
Nancy-
Do you think he eats like that even when mom isn't paying?
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Nancypalooza
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2008/12/04 19:09:55 (permalink)
It depends on if his dad or one of his friends is paying. :)
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2008/12/05 11:47:18 (permalink)

Nancy,
If you think "Chickens" make a poor inspirational Mascot, think of us folks with loyalty to the University of Southern California. Less than half of my schools graduating seniors (when I was teaching in California) knew that the USC Mascot (The Trojans) had any link to classic World History! They did, However, acknowledge that the brand-name (Trojans)was one of their favorite 'toys'!
claracamille
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2008/12/07 13:23:04 (permalink)
I noticed several mentions of Pittsboro & Jeff Gordon.

However, Indiana has a 2nd NASCAR driver who is Indiana born & bred- Tony Stewart. Tony was born in Columbus, IN and still has a home in the area.
plb
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2008/12/07 18:43:17 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by claracamille

I noticed several mentions of Pittsboro & Jeff Gordon.

However, Indiana has a 2nd NASCAR driver who is Indiana born & bred- Tony Stewart. Tony was born in Columbus, IN and still has a home in the area.


What about Ryan Newman? Born in South Bend and has an Engineering degree from Purdue.
Davydd
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2008/12/07 19:14:52 (permalink)
quote:
Originally posted by plb

quote:
Originally posted by claracamille

I noticed several mentions of Pittsboro & Jeff Gordon.

However, Indiana has a 2nd NASCAR driver who is Indiana born & bred- Tony Stewart. Tony was born in Columbus, IN and still has a home in the area.


What about Ryan Newman? Born in South Bend and has an Engineering degree from Purdue.

If you check back on page 2 they were all mentioned - Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman. Yeah, Gordon was born in California but he had to come to Indiana to learn to race and he did graduate from high school in Indiana. So I guess we should also mention Casey Kahne. He had to move temporarily to Indiana to learn how to race too.
buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/28 13:15:18 (permalink)
My girlfriend, her daughter and I ended up in Indy for this past weekend.  Rather than start a new thread, I thought I would just slap it on to the end of this old thread.
 
Saturday morning, we had breakfast at Clifton Mill in Clifton, Ohio.  Good food, but the reason you come here is more for the setting and scenery.

Mariton's eggs and bacon were fine. 

My homemade biscuits (this is a working mill) and creamy gravy were good, too.

But what we will always remember from this visit is the ridiculous size of Emilou's banana split pancakes.

Seriously, they are so big, (definitely bigger than her head) I would have trouble eating half of one.  She got maybe, one third of the way though the top pancake.  Although it makes a great conversation piece, I hate to waste food like this, but we had no idea how big it would be when she ordered it.
 
Being so close by, we had to stop in for a couple of scoops of ice cream at Young's Jersey Dairy.  Apparently, they must have known I was coming, since it seemed half of the teenaged population of Southwest Ohio

was waiting to take my order.  They called in reinforcements!  A scoop of pumpkin and a scoop of caramel chocolate toffee later,

we were back on the road.
 
The first stop in Indy was the Keystone Road location of King Ribs.  The ladies are bbq fans, especially ribs and they both went gaga over the ribs tips. 

Bathed in that delicious, thin sweet sauce, this is some of the best bbq you will find north of the Mason-Dixon line.  The mustardy potato salad

and soft, soulful macaroni and cheese

also impressed.
 
I've been to this location of King Ribs about a half dozen times and they have never had pie.  This time, they had both kinds!  WOO HOO!!!  Actually, I found the chess pie overly sweet, but the sweet potato pie

was wonderful!
 
More to come.....
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/09/28 15:46:08
buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/28 13:57:37 (permalink)
We took a tour of the Indy 500 museum, which gave the ladies some nice photography opportunites.  Since we were in the neighborhood, a quick stop at Mug n' Bun (sorry Davydd) netted us a large root beer and two more half gallons of the stuff to go.  Emilou, who says she doesn't like root beer, really enjoyed it.  She said it tasted like there was Sprite in it.  Hmmmm.....  This is wonderful root beer! 

Some more sight seeing and then a visit to my favorite restaurant in town, Gray Brothers Cafeteria.  In describing it to the ladies, I said it was like Disneyland for me.  How could you not have strong feelings for a restaurant with this kind of scenery?


A big part of the experience is standing in the line and getting a preview of what is to come. 

This gives you plenty of time to mull over your options.

Before we got there, both of the ladies said they weren't going to eat, since they wanted to save appetite for our late night meal at St. Elmo's Steak House.  Once they saw the food, they both changed their minds quickly.

Emilou gave the fried chicken, macaroni and cheese and gravy-topped stuffing a thumbs up. 

Mariton didn't know what they were called, but loved the chicken livers.

Having tried so many of the entrees before, I was looking for something new.  Spotting a pork tenderloin (bunless), I settled on that. 


On the thin side, it was very tender.  The only complaint was that it was too salty.  My sides of macaroni and cheese and seriously porky green beans were both exceptional.

Despite this being a pie paradise, I went for a scoop of peppermint ice cream and a piece of strawberry cake for dessert.


Our dinner reservations for St. Elmo Steak House

was for 9:00PM.  We arrived at 8:40PM and got seated quickly, despite how crowded the restaurant still was.  The three of us got dressed up, since I am a believer in being overdressed than underdressed at a place like this.  On one side us was two couples, with both guys dressed in tuxedos.  On the other side of us was a family and the kids were wearing soccer uniforms.

Truthfully, none of us were thrilled with our steaks.  Mariton and I were in Kansas City about a two months ago and we both agreed that Jess & Jim's was much better.  But, we all loved the combustable horseradish cocktail sauce used for the shrimp cocktail.

This stuff is hot, but it doesn't burn your mouth.  It goes straight for your sinuses.  Have you ever seen a dog eat something it didn't like and watch it shake it's head trying to get that taste out?  Well, that is what I was doing.  It was a moment or two of pain, but mostly pleasure.  I could have sat there and just eaten shrimp cocktail all night!

post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/09/28 14:04:17
deeoh01
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/28 14:07:08 (permalink)
buffetbuster: great job on this post.  Man, those pies at Gray Brothers look delicious.

I know this is like heresy in this town, but I live in Indy and I'm with you on the St. Elmo steaks.  I just don't think they're that great.  Sure, the atmosphere of the place is fantastic but when I want a great steak the thought of going there never crosses my mind.
Davydd
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/28 14:33:06 (permalink)
buffetbuster

We took a tour of the Indy 500 museum, which gave the ladies some nice photography opportunites.  Since we were in the neighborhood, a quick stop at Mug n' Bun (sorry Davydd) netted us a large root beer and two more half gallons of the stuff to go.  Emilou, who says she doesn't like root beer, really enjoyed it.  She said it tasted like there was Sprite in it.  Hmmmm.....  This is wonderful root beer!

The root beer is fine. The onion rings are fine. The Mug n' Bun is a classic drive in that dates back to the 50s. Just don't extoll breaded pork tenderloins there--that would be roadfood lemming like roadkill to do so. I only wish you all could have experienced the Mug n' Bun aka Frostop as I knew it in my youth. They had real tenderloins then.

Train
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/28 14:48:02 (permalink)
deeoh01
I know this is like heresy in this town, but I live in Indy and I'm with you on the St. Elmo steaks.  I just don't think they're that great.  Sure, the atmosphere of the place is fantastic but when I want a great steak the thought of going there never crosses my mind. 
 

My sentiments exactly. Give me Mo's or Ruth's Chris any day.


Sundancer7
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/28 14:49:28 (permalink)
BB, I have been to Young's Jersey place south of Springfield several times.  A very good stop particularly in October.
 
I have been to St. Elmo's several times.  Too small and too  crowded for me and a bit over rated.
 
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Nancypalooza
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/28 16:17:18 (permalink)
Awww, I never get tired of pictures from Gray Bros. Cafeteria; that strawberry cake looks insane.  And I really think Emilou has a future as a Roadfooder in front of her--she looks delighted with that crazy plate of pancakes.  Was the gravy as good as it looked?

I'm glad you guys said that about St. Elmo's--I've never done that place or the butter knife steaks in Minneapolis, because for the most part I don't want to pay serious money for steak unless I know it's crazy good.  But if I'm ever in Kansas City I'll have to try Jess & Jim's if you say it's that good.

Davydd does the bottled Frostop root beer compare at all, or is most of your nostalgia for the old BPTs?
Davydd
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/28 17:12:57 (permalink)
Nancy,

A good root beer is served in a frosted glass mug and is usually made on premise, not bottled. I'm not sure what Mug n' Bun does today but there are still some drive ins in this country that make their own root beer.

As far as nostalgia goes, that really extends to the carhops I used to know.
The Travelin Man
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/28 17:17:39 (permalink)
I really thought that I was the only one completely underwhelmed by St. Elmo Steakhouse.  When I was in Indianapolis last fall, I was really looking forward to my visit there, and was pretty disappointed.  Since I really wanted a good steak, I dug myself a further hole by attempting the upscale Shula's Steakhouse inside my hotel.  Yeah, I know it's a chain - but, it met two of my rules - I had not been to one, and there is not one where I live.  Needless to say, I won't have to worry about going back a second time. 

Poor, poor steak-deprived Indianapolis.
wanderingjew
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/28 17:26:09 (permalink)
There's gotta be a good Steak Place in Indianapolis- it's the midwest for cripes sake...

Buffetbuster

You should have "texted" a slice or two  of Raisin or Banana Cream Pie from Grays' to my cell phone-
wanderingjew
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/28 17:27:08 (permalink)
The Travelin Man

I really thought that I was the only one completely underwhelmed by St. Elmo Steakhouse.  When I was in Indianapolis last fall, I was really looking forward to my visit there, and was pretty disappointed.  Since I really wanted a good steak, I dug myself a further hole by attempting the upscale Shula's Steakhouse inside my hotel.  Yeah, I know it's a chain - but, it met two of my rules - I had not been to one, and there is not one where I live.  Needless to say, I won't have to worry about going back a second time. 

Poor, poor steak-deprived Indianapolis.


Hey,

Shouldn't you be fasting right now?
The Travelin Man
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/28 17:48:01 (permalink)
I am.  Quite unintentionally, actually.  I couldn't get out for lunch, and when I finally realized that it was 4 pm and I hadn't eaten anything since dinner last night, I figured what the heck....I can pretend to be a good Jew for a day. 

Of course, the fasting is why I am WRITING about food.  I am not CONSUMING food.
buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/29 08:49:51 (permalink)
I am more than a little surprised by the comments about St. Elmo's Steak House.  I assumed by how crowded it was and the fact it is the oldest restaurant in Indy, that it was a beloved local institution.  Still, that shrimp cocktail is worth the visit alone.
MiamiDon
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/29 10:54:18 (permalink)
The Travelin Man

I really thought that I was the only one completely underwhelmed by St. Elmo Steakhouse.  When I was in Indianapolis last fall, I was really looking forward to my visit there, and was pretty disappointed.  Since I really wanted a good steak, I dug myself a further hole by attempting the upscale Shula's Steakhouse inside my hotel.  Yeah, I know it's a chain - but, it met two of my rules - I had not been to one, and there is not one where I live.  Needless to say, I won't have to worry about going back a second time. 

Poor, poor steak-deprived Indianapolis.


What didn't you like about Shula's?  Many years ago, before it was a chain, we used to frequent the original restaurant in Miami Lakes.  Perhaps things have changed.
The Travelin Man
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/29 11:57:07 (permalink)
The steak that I had at Shula's was flavorless and tough.  I also felt that they were charging prime prices for choice product.  I didn't realize that they didn't serve prime beef until I got back to the room and Googled the information.  It was surprising to me that prime steak would have tasted that way - and, I found out why.  It's wasn't prime steak.  I felt that I was paying to have Don Shula's name on the door - not a quality meal.  Also, I don't know why, but you had to ask about the prices - as there were none on the football that doubled as a menu.  Maybe they are trying to appeal to the expense account crowd that pays no attention to price - but, that just ain't me.
buffetbuster
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/29 13:59:09 (permalink)
Sunday morning, while the ladies wisely stayed in bed and slept, I ventured out early for breakfast.  Not wanting to go too far, I headed to Shapiro's Deli.  Breakfast was a bowl of cut-up cantaloupe, some wonderful corned beef hash

and an ordinary salami omelet. 

For the second straight visit here, the people who waited on me were kind of cranky.  Has this happened to anyone else?  Usually, the people of Indiana are as friendly as can be.  Since the hotel's free breakfast bar was very small, the ladies happily polished off my leftovers.
 
Lots of sightseeing and exploring later, it was time for lunch.  We had noon reservations at Hollyhock Hill, Indy's second oldest restaurant. 
 
This place is a more genteel, family celebration kind of place with big chicken dinners.  When I called and made the reservations, I asked if shorts and t-shirts were okay.  They said that would be fine.  Still, there were plenty of Hoosiers here in their Sunday best and I saw two senior citizen birthdays going on.
 
Meals started with pickled beets, cottage cheese, apple butter

and wam biscuits, a relish tray, a small glass of tomato juice and the salad.  The sweet & sour vinaigrette salad dressing is a real highlight and I bought a bottle of dressing to take home.  Next, they brought out the mashed potatoes and gravy, corn and green beans. 

All of these were fine, but nothing special.  The crunchy fried chicken

is why people come here.  Emilou wanted more of a variety, so she ate a chicken, fried shrimp and small filet combo.  This got me thinking, so I asked the very nice, Boston-born waitress what percent of patrons order the chicken and she said at least 90%.  Eating it, you will know why.
 
Dessert here is another highlight.  They give you a scoop of vanilla ice cream, along with a container holding chocolate, butterscotch and creme de menthe sauces.  Pour on as much as you want.  You can also request to get that Hoosier state favorite peppermint ice cream

instead of the vanilla.  Needless to say, this make your own sundae is especially fun for kids, both small

and big.
 
From there, we started the long drive home, with only a pause in Columbus, Ohio.  There is a Japanese grocery store on the west side of town the ladies love, so they hit it hard.  Emilou was in the back seat eating seaweed for the rest of the way home.
post edited by buffetbuster - 2009/09/29 14:03:31
Nancypalooza
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RE: Weekend in Indy 2009/09/29 14:43:58 (permalink)
Nice macro picture on the corned beef hash sir!  Now I'm gonna have to try Hollyhock Hill.
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