Friday, February 29, 2008

Diary of the Dead- The Review

OK, finally saw it, it was limited release, but saw it, South Beach Regal Cinema (another story entirely).

After a devastatingly lackluster big budget zombie film (Land of the Dead), Romero returns to his roots, DAY ONE of the zombie crisis, the same day, and the same feel as the now revered Night of the Living Dead. Cast with a group of unknowns, you get the same feel, that ANYTHING could happen, and EVERYONE is expendable. A total reboot of the franchise. I make no assertions otherwise, I think no one does the zombie as social relevance genre better that George A. Romero, so, here is my spoiler free review.

This is a stark, dark. film. Easily the most uncomfortable of all of the "Dead" films. This films follows a group of film students, while shooting a night scene in a remote area (with the caricature British professor) on day one of the zombie crisis. With usual, wide eyed student zeal, the decision is made to film the downfall of humanity. The legend of the zombie crisis now has the added textures of Youtube, Myspace and the whole "Instant Access" media. From across the world, information, fear and horror are dispersed in a nanosecond. And when instant access crumbles, so does this new society.

As usual, Romero spends much, much more time exploring humanity, it's faults and whether humanity is worthy of salvation to begin with, over the rambling dead. After watching the film, it is difficult to remember much about the zombies, but the crass, self serving, last denizens of humanity are fresh in my mind.

The "Blair Witch", "Cloverfield", style of handheld photography, although in perfect context of the film, does wear on the eyes early and often. And that is the only negative thing I will say about the film.

This film gets a "must see" for all Romero films, and a "recommend" to others, only after seeing the original "Night of the Living Dead" and "Dawn of the Dead" (originals only, not the remakes).

Romero, the master of keeping you afraid for your life, and questioning whether you, in fact, deserve that life, does it again. I'm hopeful this film spawns another (just like the living dead).

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Let UPS bring vacation to you and grab a Cuban sandwich here in Indy

We've just returned from Miami and the Keys but we have ideas for you if you can't get away.

First, Northside News (5406 N. College) does the most boasting about their Cuban sandwich (which is good) but the one at Smee's Place (in the shopping center at 86th and Ditch) might be even better. Being a neighborhood restaurant, and without the big banner that Northside News has proclaiming they have the best Cuban, you wouldn't expect it at Smee's but they do a great job with the ham, pork, and cheese sandwich.

Secondly, The New York Times just had a piece in their travel section last Sunday about the Miami store Base. It is on the ultra-hip Lincoln Road in South Beach and The Times was raving about their scent, Sand. We picked up the resonably priced 1 oz. bottle for $22 and it does transport us to the beach with a blend of bergamot, orange, and musk. It is a scent that works for men or women. They also offer it in a room spray, a candle, and incense form. We also smelled and would recommend their Sea and Wood scents, although Wood seemed more masculine.

Thirdly, get ready for the warm weather with some dirt cheap leather sandals. We don't know how Kino Sandal Company does it, but they offer genuine leather sandals for the whole family with price tags from $11- $14. They do offer online ordering but suggest that you call first as the selection changes daily. We picked up a pair and they are high quality.

Lastly, download Calabria 2007 (Club Mix) by Enur. It is a way catchy tune and some Miami radio station is playing it nearly every minute.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

You too can be off for some fun in the sun

We are taking a few days to bask in the sun of South Beach, Miami and Key West. However, don't despair because you too could be off to a sunny destination for less than you think. Check out the destinations at The closest airports to Indiana are Chicago and Columbus, OH but, if you score one of the $10 tickets, it might be worth the drive. That's right, they offer 10 $10 seats on every flight! Sure, a lot of the process is automated (aren't the big airlines like that too?), a Coke might cost extra as might checking a bag but, at a price like that, it sounds like it is worth it. It can't be worse than the experience that we get in coach with the big carriers and it sounds a whole lot more reasonable. If you can't get away right now, we'll be back in a few days to give you some ideas on how to bring vacation to you.

Bialys on Sunday!

After trips to Manhattan, we mourned that we don't have the cultural diversity here in Central Indiana that helps make cities like New York so vibrant and brimming with the thrill of discovery. Finding out that Bagel Fair, nestled in the Nora Shopping Center on 86th St., offers bialys on Sundays perked our spirits. What is a bialy? Well, it is similar to a bagel but it is baked and has a depression in the middle instead of a hole. The depression is where goodies like poppyseeds, onions and garlic go before baking. The name comes from the name of the city in Poland, Bialystok (not Zero Mostel's character in The Producers as you may have been thinking). We love Bagel Fair for its authentic, bare bones feel. You don't go there for ambience and there is no seating. It is a great excuse to head to the Nora Shopping Center on Sunday mornings; be the first one in Target to pick up the sale items you spotted in that morning's ad, work up an appetite on the Monon Trail, and pick up a bialy at Bagel Fair. For $1, it is a bargain trip for your taste buds to the Lower East Side.

Bagel Fair on Urbanspoon

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Looking for enlightenment?

A series of workshops came to my attention through one of my favorite yoga teachers. She has started a new company with Dr. Nithila Peter, a speaker, writer, and life coach. You can read more about her and the company at You might look at the website and wonder if this is for you or if it sounds a little too "new-agey". That is what I always think when something piques my interest regarding spirituality, enlightenment, etc. You might wonder if it goes against spiritual beliefs that you have. In fact, Dr. Nithila told us that no one religion has a monopoly on this and has a very all encompassing approach as she speaks of the dark ages, the age of reason, and the differences between Western enlightenment and Eastern enlightenment. The company is offering a spring series with three different themes and they offer a $25 "orientation" workshop that is only 2 and a half hours for each one. If you wish to learn more, they offer complete workshops that take place over a Saturday and Sunday for a total of 8 hours. These are held in a meeting room at the Sheraton Hotel at Keystone at the Crossing. If you feel like you'd like to reach your highest potential, I would encourage you to consider these workshops. Last night's workshop was in lecture form and Dr. Peter even showed a couple of short clips from contemporary movies to help illustrate her ideas. You can set aside any trepidation that you might have that you will have to join hands, reveal your innermost thoughts, and sing kum-ba-ya with total strangers.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Jazz for a Friday night (or any night)

We rarely buy new jazz because there is so much jazz from the classic greats out there. In fact, we rarely buy a new "album" of any type in its entirety anymore (thank you iTunes for saving us from bands' throwaway filler songs). However, we read one brief review of this CD, listened to a few sample seconds of it, and bought it right away. Gonzalo Rubalcaba has recently released the gorgeous CD Avatar. Evidently, Rubalcaba has been around for awhile, having been discovered by Dizzy Gillespie in 1985. He is a native of Havana and started to emerge in the 1990s as an important figure in the Afro-Cuban jazz movement. This is our first exposure to him but we look forward to going back to his large library of work and discovering more beautiful works from this jazz pianist. We like to light some frankincense and myrrh incense, watch the smoke, and immerse ourselves in this music.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

I just want to talk to a human being

Ever feel like you are just going to lose your mind with the automated prompts on a company's phone system? Do you just want to speak to a real person? We used to be pretty sure that we could just dial "0" to get to a human but many phone systems outfox us and that doesn't work anymore. Well, here is a website with a huge guide to top companies and what you need to do to get a live person on the line. How cool is that?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Beautiful yarn to support women entrepreneurs

We like entrepreneurs and we especially like when female entrepreneurs work hard to come up with creative ways to make a living so that they can spend more time with their family. A couple of ladies in Montana are doing just that. They are making beautifully dyed yarn inspired by the colors they see in their Montana valley. You can see what they have to offer at but you can't order off of their website. According to the site, you can purchase their yarn locally at Mass Ave Knit Shop (located, curiously enough, at 862 Virgnia Ave. and in Broad Ripple at 6406 N. Cornell) and Keepsakes Fiber Arts (30 S. Rangeline Rd. Carmel).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Online paper dolls, Pirelli and it's Vanity Fair Hollywood issue time!

You may be familiar with those Tom Tierney paper doll books (Hollywood movie stars, great fashion designers, Marilyn Monroe-we have that one). It is 2008 and, while you might think that no one is playing with paper dolls anymore, they are but they are doing it online at Just click on the celebrity of your choice and you are taken to their closet where you can click and drag clothes and accessories. You can make your own album and even create your own MeDoll. While it might sound like another wasteful time sucker of a website, your inner 7 year old just might still find it fun dressing up paper dolls.
This website was brought to our attention by the Vanity Fair Hollywood issue. This issue is generally worth your attention for several reasons. The first reason is the Annie Leibovitz fold-out cover. Even though you might not know many of the "up and coming" actresses, the cover is gorgeously shot with the ladies swathed in pastel Dior gowns. Secondly, there are always some articles about the old Hollywood that we love. What other current magazine is going to have an article about Joan Crawford? Lastly, there is usually an amazing pictorial with current stars paying homage to classic Hollywood. This year, they are re-enacting scenes from Hitchcock movies. It is a $4.95 well spent.
Vanity Fair also alerted us of The Complete Pirelli Calendars book that is released on March 11th. If you aren't one of the the world's elite customers or VIPs of the Pirelli Tire Company, chances are that you haven't had the pleasure of seeing these images. They started making their calendars in 1963 as promotional pieces but they have taken a very high end approach to the traditional pin-up calendar. World renowned photographers such as Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, Annie Leibovitz, and Mario Testino shoot beauties such as Sophia Loren, Penelope Cruz, Naomi Watts, and Kate Moss. We've heard about these photos for years and are looking forward to seeing them although, at $53.55 at www., we are hoping that Borders has an unsealed copy or our library carries it.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

It's in Belgium-Film and food

We went to see the film "In Bruges" translated- It's in Belgium. Based on the movie poster, I thought this would be one of those lighthearted British caper films, like "Snatch" or "Lock, Stock and 2 Smoking Barrels". I was mistaken. This is, by far, the most politically incorrect film I've seen in a long time, if ever. There are moments of hyperviolence so extreme that Quentin Tarantino would have to look away. And I loved every minute of it.

I've always held a casual disregard for Colin Farrell, but guess what? Given the right script, he can act. Farrell, and the "Gene Hackman" of British film are two hit men, who are sent to hide out in Belgium after a hit goes horribly, horribly wrong. In their exile. Farrell rants about how awful Belgium is ( although I'm ready to move there after this film), there is a racist dwarf, a skin head robber, and the female lead is a swindling drug dealer. Ralph Fiennes has never been better. His mob boss character nearly stole the film, although with excellent performances from the strangest cast since 1932's Freaks make that nearly impossible.

The director, McDonagh, dovetails the oddities in and out flawlessly. Like the last game of football season, I found myself sorry it was over, and wanting a little more.

If you see this film and want to keep the "Belgium mood" going. I have to recommend , right in the heart of Broad Ripple, go get some pomme frites, some steamed mussels and wash them down with the Sacre Fleur Saison, a refreshing beer with lavender.

International Tea and Coffee

We've previously mentioned the fabulous International Tea and Coffee in Fletcher Place but we had another great visit there yesterday and we have a photo to help you spot it at 630 Virginia Ave. We enjoyed the Roasted Yerba Mate (a strong flavor good for coffee drinkers) and the Dandelion tea (we are so desperate for spring we are even looking forward to dandelions). Make the trip here even if it is out of your way!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mr. Dans 46th and Keystone

The local weekly Nuvo ran a review of Mr.Dans, a rehabbed Taco Bell that now serves as an independent burger joint, and as I'm a sucker for independent restaurants, I had to run out and try it.

Nuvo was very impressed and complimentary, and although I hate to be negative to local businesses, I wasn't impressed.

The area is marginal, and parking is scant. Street parking on Keystone does not exist. I found a place to park on a neighboring street and stolled over. Entering the building, there is a sign that specifially says "no profanity", so I get the feeling the crowd may get a little rowdy for my taste. The restaurant was crowded, with a line from the counter, and the small amount of tables were occupied by people that seemed like they had finished their food long ago.

The counter staff was cordial and efficient, which was nice. The young lady at the counter seemed almost glad to see me, and took my order graciously, the young man cooking the food would periodically advise the crowd to move away from the door, so new patrons could enter.

I ordered the tenderloin ($2.99) and fries ($1.59), all food is cooked to order, so there is a several minute wait. I received my to-go order a few minutes later, and drove north to the Glendale Mall to enjoy my food in their quiet parking lot.

The tenderloin was generous in diameter, but not in thickness. There was a prevalent grease taste in both the tenderloin and the soggy fries, the greasy aftertaste remains in my mouth even now.

My tab was just shy of $5, and left me feeling violated on a cellular level. If you just have to have a tenderloin, let me recommend Eddies at Geist ( has the best tenderloin I have ever eaten, and for $8.95, you can get the sandwich and a delicious side of sweet potato fries.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Meridian Restaurant (former Dodd's Townhouse)

While Dodd's Townhouse restaurant was a favorite down home type of Indianapolis eatery, the Meridian restaurant, which has beautifully transformed the former Dodd's building, offers an atmosphere of comfortable elegance. It seems to be a welcome change since a recent visit there for lunch led us to eat in the bar because the dining room was so busy (sure, it was Valentine's Day but was anyone else besides us celebrating that at lunchtime?). No matter, the high tables in the cozy bar area suited us just fine.
We started with the hummus, fava, white bean trio which came with flatbread. Our server, seeing that we still had hummus left after the flatbread was gone, graciously brought us some more. It was a great, light appetizer with a nice rosemary accent. We had the lobster pot pie which was served in a small crock with a flaky phyllo dough disk on top. When we say "small crock" we aren't admonishing the size of the entree- it was the perfect size for the rich bechamel sauce dish. We enjoyed the T.E.D. sandwich even more. This is Thanksgiving dinner between pieces of bread; turkey, stuffing, cranberries- it was all there and so well seasoned. It was a generous size and also came with a side of crisp fries. We are suckers for independent restaurants and are happy to report that this is a great culinary destination on historic Meridian St.
Meridian Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Thursday, February 14, 2008

As if I didn't spend enought time at the computer, now they do this....

I'm really looking forward to the day when your PC and the television are the same gadget, and that day is getting closer. The big networks are now putting many of their current shows on their websites, available for viewing the day after broadcast.

Now NBC has done them one better. Go to , they now have CLASSIC NBC shows available for viewing, and by classic, I mean Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Night Gallery (the Rod Serling series after Twilight Zone), Battlestar Galactica (the fun one, if you don't like the dark, gloomy, nihilistic Sci-Fi series) and the always fun Buck Rogers. They even have Miami Vice and The A-Team available.

Go retro and enjoy some classic TV, but if you watch at work and get caught, don't blame me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Really special last minute Valentine's Day gift

Please don't even think about picking up that gold rose at the gas station in your panic over not having a Valentine's Day gift to give yet. We ran across this website in an article in USA Today and a gift certificate from would be a really meaningful present. It looks like Oprah and Bill Clinton have already discovered it, which gives it a more legitimate presence. Entrepreneurs from around the globe need loans and you will see their profiles on the Kiva website. You pick the entrepreneur (or entrepreneurs- Kiva suggests spreading your risk with multiple businesses), loan the money via Paypal, receive updates about the businesses, and receive repayment to withdrawal or re-loan. A gift certificate can be emailed for that recipient who realizes what an abundance we have here and appreciates what a difference a small amount can make to someone else. You could even choose a business based on your recipient's interests- clothing, baked goods, crafts, etc. Isn't this the way the world is supposed to work anyway- helping each other out on a personal level?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Help ensure that it's not lights out for "Friday Night Lights"

NBC's "Friday Night Lights" is one of our favorite shows and it is in danger of not being brought back. This show is so well made and so authentic that it feels like some cameramen are just capturing what is really happening in Dillon, TX. The last new episode aired last Friday and it left too many loose ends to not come back. There are several websites that have ways for you to help. VH-1's Best Week Ever has an online petition: as does this site: and this site has a petition and a fundraising program so that they can send footballs to NBC executives (those nuts worked to bring "Jericho" back!). Help anyway that you can. Remember, we get what we deserve on TV.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Get stewed!

Here is another rave for Penzeys Spices. We tried the Turkish seasoning this weekend. It is a blend of 9 spices including garlic, cumin, Tellicherry black pepper, and Turkish oregano. Penzeys website ( recommends using it as a seasoning for meats but we found that it was an amazing spice for a comforting stew. We had the seasoning and we knew that we needed a warm meal on a sub-zero windchill day. Here is what we threw together.

Take 3 chicken breasts (less or more to your taste-tofu if you are vegan), cut them into medium to large chunks and sear them in a little olive oil. Dice a small/medium yellow onion and saute the onion with the chicken. Add a large can of tomato puree, 1 cup of water, and a chicken bouillon cube. Bring to a boil. Add a medium sized peeled and diced sweet potato. Bring back to a boil. You might want to cover your pan with a splatter guard at this point. Add a dash of salt and 2 teaspoons of Turkish Seasoning. Simmer 20 minutes. Add your choice of a frozen vege combo (we found one with okra, corn, green beans, and lima beans) and simmer another 10 minutes. Serve and make your mouth happy!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Wear your IHOP pride

To celebrate their 50th anniversary, IHOP has introduced a clothing line! This really teeters on that line between kitschy cool and, well, sad. If you have enough personal style, meaning you could work some trendy jeans and rocking accessories with it, you could pull this look off with the necessary aplomb. If not, well, better to not advertise your flapjack addiction.

Friday, February 8, 2008

An exploration of spices as close as 82nd St.

Aren't we lucky to live in a time when exotic spices are so easy to find? We don't have to risk our lives on a long sea journey in which we might not know where we are going or if we'll even find anything worth having when we get there. You will definitely find something worth having at Penzeys Spices (4026 E. 82nd St- Rivers Edge strip mall). It is especially nice on these bland winter days to go in and explore the spices, herbs, and seasonings. Sample containers for each offering are available so you can inhale and let your olfactory system take a vacation. We went in just to kill time but ended up leaving with a sackful and more that we wanted but didn't buy. So far, we have tried the Balti seasoning which is a blend of 19 spices such as cumin, coriander, cardamom and fennel. We enjoyed it as a rub on chicken breasts but the Penzeys website says that it makes wonderful potatoes. It is described as a "spicy, salt-free curry powder from Pakistan". Read "spicy" as flavorful, not hot (unlike the Trader Joe's Pav Bhaji side that we had with it- that was hot!). We can't wait to discover the tastes of the other goodies that we purchased and we'll let you know when we do. They have a nice website if no locations are close to you but you really need to go into the retail store and inhale.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Saving the planet for the fun of it

The White Violet Center for Eco-Justice, tucked away on the expansive campus of St Mary of the Woods University, has a program, for a mere $100, you can sponsor the care and feeding of a newborn Alpaca for a year.

The Alpcacas are born, kept with their mothers and live together in a roomy barn, complete with a vet clinic built into the barn, so they can be cared for without being moved. They have a roomy pasture, so they can play.

Once they mature, they are sheared, and the nuns make clothing out of the wool, which can be purchased in their gift shop, just a few hundred feet away from the barn. Their nutrient dense manure, which did appear to be plentiful, is used in the greenhouse, which is also a few hundred feet away from the barn.

The whole operation is self sufficient, except Alpacas like to eat a lot of hay and alfalfa ( and occasionally, oats, as a treat). So, your $100 sponsorship goes a long way in helping feed these friendly, curious, wide eyed creatures.

The best part is, with your sponsorship, you get to visit that pasture. Yesterday, I took the 90 minute drive to go visit Juniper, my adopted Alpaca. Still a baby, Juniper was both curious and hesitant. He liked the petting, but didn't really want to admit it. Georgiana, his mom, was unashamed of her fondness for human interaction. She was not only approachable, but would approach you.

In my hurry to get down to the pasture (the nuns are available to let you into the barn Mon thru Fri 8am to 4:30), I neglected to bring the camera, but will get there again soon and publish a Juniper slideshow.

If you want to help out, here is the website.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tea's Me

The gorgeous Tea's Me teahouse is having a couple of events that sound like they should not be missed. We never need an excuse to go there but, on February 23rd at 6PM, they give us extra incentive. They are having their Winter Tea Tasting which means not only exotic teas but also a three course meal. Check out the different course options on their website It sounds like a bargain for $35.
If you like to mix your tea with sweet treats and a little history, head to the Morris-Butler house on March 8th from 1-3PM. If you haven't visited this historical house before, what a great way to be a tourist in your own town. The tasting is followed by a tour of all three floors of the 1865 home. All of this for only $25. Details are at Tea's Me website or the Historic Landmarks website at
under Victorian Teas.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

General Cinema

If you are of a certain age, and went to movies in the 1970s, this video clip will bring back fond memories. You Tube has a couple of clips of this bumper but this one has the best quality. It is the opening logo of General Cinema's Feature Presentation and it will transport you right back to your 1970's mall movie theatre. You can also find Loews Theatre's great Muppet bumper from the 1990s and the Regal Cinema roller coaster one (although that one always made me a bit nauseous on the big screen). If you want to read more about the history of General Cinemas and see some old pictures, you can check out their website at I can smell the popcorn and taste the Goobers just hearing their jingle.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

YATS! The one in Fishers.....

I love Yats. It's a small locally owned Cajun restaurant, simple, funky,eclectic. I love the original in Broadripple, and I love the Yats on Mass Ave. But I have resisted the "strip mall" newest Yats addition in the sanitary, uninteresting town of Fishers, which is basically a community that popped up overnight so people could go home at night to their safe havens after spending their workday in Indianapolis.

I have resisted going to the Fishers Yats...until now.

I found myself in the unenviable position of going grocery shopping hungry, never a good move. But I didn't want to compromise my diet, or my health by hitting any on the burger huts in the area.

So, I tucked my pride away, like a bad report card and went into the Fishers Yats. To my shock and dismay, the chili-cheese etoufee, a mainstay of the Yats menu was no owhere to be found on the chalkboard menu. It was gone! In all of my Yats meals, which are many, I have never deviated from the chili-cheese etoufee. From the first time I saw it, tasted it, it was culinary love at first sight...and now it was gone.

Too hungry to be turned away, I trudged further toward the ordering counter. I mentioned the etoufee to the counter guy, only to be assured that they did make it there, just not today.

So, then, the issue was, what to eat? I went for the 1/2 and 1/2. For a paltry price of $6.50, you can select 2 of their entrees on the same plate. I went with the white chili and the jambalaya.

Where my etoufee had small chunks of crawfish, the white bean chili wad large chunks of chicken, the jambalaya was generous with chicken and smoked sausage. These two dishes paired extremely well with each other. The white chili was extremely mild, the beans and chicken sat on top of the bed of white rice and looked entirely too inviting. The jambalaya, on the other hand, was the spunky one of the combo, while I would say it had just enough kick, I would also say that any more heat would have been too much. ( Although I was amazed that other people in the restaurant indulged in the Yats sauce bar, seasoning almost each bite, before they put it in their mouths)

Of course, this meal was topped off with their buttery garlic bread, and the spiciness was quenched with several trips up to the unlimited soft drink fountain.

I will still remain a Yats purist and frequent the ones in Marion County, but while you are in the Fishers Yats, if you close your eyes, it's almost like you are in Broadripple.
Yats on Urbanspoon

Chinese New Year is February 7th, 2008

We like any excuse to celebrate so we use themes across all cultures and religions. This week, not only is there Fat Tuesday, but Thursday rings in the year of the rat on the Chinese calendar. We are giving you an early notice of that in case you would like to celebrate early by taking advantage of the weekend dim sum at Shanghai Lil's ( Of course, this would be an ideal restaurant to have dinner on Thursday (last year they wished us Happy New Year when we went in on the Chinese New Year day) but dim sum that is offered on the weekends is such a nice way to try several different dishes. It isn't served on carts, as many dim sum services are. You check off the dishes that you want and they are served to you in stages.
If you'd rather make something at home, they are a lot of options. You could easily make a stir fry or, even easier, pick up some frozen goodies at Trader Joe's or Saraga Grocery. Trader Joe's has tasty Shu Mai varieties. They are bite sized dumplings filled with vegetables, chicken, or shrimp. Saraga, the international grocery store on the west side, has full sized dumplings filled with anything and everything imaginable. Be sure to complete your at home celebration with decorations and party favors from a party store such as Party Tree( even if it is just for you and your family. It's February, we need excuses to brighten things up with some color and fun.