This blog is an account of my birthday excursion 2019. Every year, Rooster and I plan an adventure for my birthday. It has become a tradition. #birthday #canal bistro#teeny Statue of Liberty Museum #Central Canal Towpath Trail #Workingman’s Friend #Strange Brew
My birthday Excursion 2019
It’s my birthday excursion weekend. The one thing I wanted most in the world was to have an adventure I could look back on and smile. We climbed out of bed, and Rooster asked me where I wanted to start our day. My obvious answer was Canal Bistro in Broad Ripple in the city of Indianapolis.
It is the second year in a row we’ve begun my birthday by having breakfast at this place. We found this dining establishment by accident. Unfortunately, we’d planned to eat at another location on the corner, but there was a line a mile long with people waiting to get into the eatery.
Rooster and I decided we didn’t want to hang out until someone called our name from a list, so we walked across the street toward the Rainbow Bridge and the canal. We spotted a sign outside the restaurant next to the water and went inside. After our first meal, we knew Canal Bistro would be one of our favorite spots to eat in Broad Ripple Village.
Indianapolis’s famous potholes.
We climbed into the Sunshine Mobile and pointed it toward Indianapolis. In any event, we experienced one of the first snow-free weekends in over a month. This meant all traces of the white stuff had melted and disappeared into the ground. This might seem like easy travels to folks reading this blog outside of the Hoosier state. Every Indiana resident who is old enough to climb behind the wheel of a car knows we’ve entered pothole season. Hitting one of these craters can cause significant damage to an automobile. Thus, we started out on my birthday excursion 2019.
Rooster managed to dodge one which was as deep as the Mississippi River and as wide as the state of Texas while we were making our way down Meridian street. I exaggerate, but not by much. Missing the crater was good because we recently had to replace both hub bearings on the Sunshine Mobile due to collisions with anonymous potholes. We could see the road crew making their way down the opposite side of the road we were traveling on. They are trying to stay on top of the situation, but it is an endless struggle.
Our Visit to Canal Bistro
The thing that makes Canal Bistro so special is the Mediterranean cuisine and George. He is always at the door waiting to greet everyone who enters with a smile and a sincere welcome. He will show you to a table and make sure you feel at home before he walks away to greet the next customer. The wait staff is always prompt and friendly. Every time I leave this eatery, I feel like I’ve made some new friends.
George came to the table and talked with us for a while. He is a lovely man who radiates the pride of ownership with every gesture he makes toward giving his customers fantastic service. We all thought the sunny day was a welcome blessing after all the snow we’ve had. He told us we should enjoy it while it lasted. The forecast predicted one to three inches for the following day.
He said the weather was bad for business because everyone stays home. We watched the geese play in the canal from the restaurant window while we waited for our food. Cool instrumental jazz echoed in the background, creating an atmosphere that made you want to linger over your coffee and dip the pita bread into the Mediterranean spiced olive oil one more time.
What we ordered
Rooster and I love the breakfast omelets they serve at Canal Bistro. They always have a unique blend of meat mixed with spices and vegetables you won’t find on a typical breakfast menu. Rooster made the choice of the Mediterranean Omelet. I went with the Bacon Frittata to sample one of the breakfast items I hadn’t tried before.
We were both pleased. Rooster enjoyed his omelet. He said he’d like to have it again the next time we eat breakfast here. My selection was the perfect blend of bacon, spinach, and egg to leave me satisfied but still wanting more. Indeed, Canal Bistro proved to be the perfect breakfast spot on my birthday excursion 2019.
We generally come to Canal Bistro for breakfast, but they serve a delicious dinner as well. Moreover, we stopped one evening for their kabobs. I remember it was in warmer weather, and we sat on the patio next to the canal. We did this several years ago, and I’m still impressed with the meal we ate. If you are in the Indianapolis area, you should stop by Canal Bistro. George will meet you at the door, and he’ll be happy to show you to your seat. Tell him The Hen House Lady sent you.
Canal Bistro can be found at 6249 Guilford Avenue in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Our walk on the Central Canal Towpath Trail
I have been trying to get at least 10000 steps in a day. I’m not a health nut, but the doctor informed me I need to lose weight, and I needed to do it yesterday. Getting old isn’t for wimps, and Rooster and I aren’t skinny people to start off with. It seemed like a good idea for us to take a walk after breakfast. We started ambling down the Central Canal Towpath Trail that follows the water which runs beside the bistro. Rainbow Bridge was the perfect place to begin our walking expedition.
It used to be the entry point into the arts district before Broad Ripple spread out in all directions. The bridge served as a welcome to everyone who crossed over into the diverse and artsy portion of the city. There is a tradition for Hoosiers to jump off the bridge at midnight during the cold weather months. Rooster and I rejected the idea of taking any cold plunges. We walked a mile or two down the trail before we went back to the Sunshine Mobile.
What we discovered at the Teeny Statue of Liberty Museum
Our next destination was Indy’s Teeny Statue of Liberty Museum. We plugged 2907 E. Tenth Street into our GPS and headed in that direction. We weren’t sure about what we’d find once we got there, what we uncovered was a real treasure. The sign on the door of the museum requested visitors go next door to Tim & Julie’s Another Fine Mess to get the key. The price of admission would be 50 cents. It sounded like a deal to Rooster and me. The most exciting discovery of the day was when we strutted through the door of the architectural salvage shop. It appeared most of the merchandise in the store came from old buildings about to be demolished.
The Architectural Salvage Shop next door
A person searching for genuine material to restore an old house could find whatever they were looking for between these walls. There were doorknobs, hinges, wood trim, stain glass windows, old doors, a plethora of old chairs, and pictures of Jesus salvaged from churches scattered throughout the three-room store. There were also antiques among the construction items.
Troll dolls peeked at you from shelves and niches. Rooster was in seventh heaven. He found an old Remington Quiet- Riter to add to his collection of antique typewriters. He also discovered the merits of the alternative country artist, Chris Stapleton. One of his CDs was playing in the background, and Rooster fell in love with his music. Julie showed us around the store before she went on a coffee break. We had something in common. We both have a passion for the chicken.
Tim let us into the Teeny Statue of Liberty Museum after we paid for our purchases and carried them to the car. He told us there were over five hundred tiny samples of Lady Liberty memorabilia in the small one-room museum. We were astonished at the dedication and love it took to assemble the collection. It seemed fitting for us to pay a visit here considering all the current turmoil in our nation. I am not a political person, but it looks like we’ve moved away from the spirit of Emma Lazarus’ poem entitled The New Colossus which was inscribed on a plaque and mounted on Lady Liberty.
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
These words were penned in our days of innocence before planes fell out of the sky and ended our countries sense of security. An age when we still had wide-open spaces and factories that needed an endless stream of laborers. It was a period in history when anybody had the opportunity to rise if they worked hard.
For a lot of people in this nation, those days seem to be behind us. They live with a constant fear their children won’t be able to do as well as they were able to do. Entrepreneurs like Tim, Julie, and George give us hope we can still live out our dreams in the land of the free and the home of the brave. All we have to do is have the courage to step off the limb and let ourselves fly. Enough said.
We enjoyed our visit to the Teeny Statue of Liberty Museum and to Tim & Julie’s. They are located at 2901 East 10th Street right next door to the museum. When you come to visit, bring a lot of cash. You’re sure to find something you can’t live without before you leave this place.
We are still searching for the perfect coffee shop to spend an afternoon writing, so we headed for Strange Brew Coffee in Greenwood. It had a catchy name and advertised they had fish aquariums. It sounded interesting. We plugged 4800 W Smith Valley Road Greenwood, Indiana into our GPS and jumped on the freeway for a trip around Indy. We had a near collision on State Road 37 when a woman changed lanes without looking. Rooster’s quick reflexes stopped the Sunshine Mobile from colliding with her vehicle by inches. He proved that even an old guy can have good reflexes.
Our hearts didn’t stop beating until we reached the parking lot of the strip mall where Strange Brew is located. We almost passed up the opportunity to go into the coffee shop. From the outside, the place didn’t look like it would live up to what was advertised online. We decided to give it a try and we’re glad we did. Rooster noticed a sign on the wall near the cash register which claimed Strange Brew was the oldest coffee shop in Greenwood.
Coffee in Greenwood
The shop was filled with whimsical artwork and pleasant people. They even mixed me up a sugar-free cup of Joe which tasted like an Almond Joy. Strange Brew closes at 4 pm on Saturday, so we got in an hour of writing before they turned off the lights and locked the door. The sound of the aquarium filter in the background was relaxing.
Rooster did comment about the fact they needed to change the filters in the tanks because of algae buildup. We plan to make a return visit to the Strange Brew again if we’re ever in the neighborhood. Yet, my birthday excursion 2019 didn’t end with a cup of Strange Brew coffee.
The Workingman’s Friend closed
We planned to eat a late lunch at The Workingman’s Friend. It was advertised as an eatery that specialized in the smashed hamburger located at 234 N. Belmont Avenue in Indianapolis. We drove state road 37 past the factories and made our way back into the city. We could see Lucas Oil Stadium in the distance as we traveled through the blue-collar neighborhood. The stadium was the landmark which let us know we had reentered the city of Indianapolis.
Without being able to zero in on it, we would have thought we were in one of the many small towns in the mid-west suffering economic hardship due to the decline in industrial manufacturing. Many of these communities haven’t recovered from the last recession. Friendship was denied because we discovered a deserted tavern when we pulled into the parking lot. For some unknown reason, the establishment closed. The restaurant looked abandoned. It bore a striking resemblance to the plight suffered by many American blue-collar workers who have lost their means of making a living.
Finding it deserted was almost ironic considering the places where we traveled on this adventure. What Rooster did next surprised me? It proved the man isn’t nearly as cheap as I suspected. It appeared that my birthday excursion 2019 came to a sudden end.
The Tucanos Brizillian Grill
Rooster suggested we drive to Noblesville and go to Tucanos Brazilian Grill for my birthday. I wanted a smashed hamburger from he Workingman’s Friend, but Rooster liked the idea of Tucanos Brazillian Grill.
Tucanos was a colorful place. The color scheme consisted of shades of orange, yellow, and blue. The smell of the savory meat played with my appetite when they told us there would be a long wait. We were willing to sit quietly because the aroma was so enticing to our senses. To our surprise, before we’d waited five minutes the electronic gadget in Rooster’s pocket started vibrating.
Rooster isn’t as cheap as I thought
A meal at Tuscanos is a unique dining experience. We headed for the salad bar first. When we finished with the salad, the meat parade got underway. Employees streamed to our table with steak, chicken, shrimp, and turkey rolled up in pieces of bacon on large metal skewers. They sliced off pieces of the meat for us to grab with tongs and place them on our plate.
The only thing I have to compare the experience to is a traveling meat tray on a stick. Rooster finally turned the round wooden spool, painted green and one side and red on the other, over to signal he couldn’t eat another bite. He must have sampled every type of meat the restaurant served twice in an effort to get his money’s worth. I thought he might lay an egg when they brought him the bill. It is never a good thing when a male chicken takes up egg production.
Rooster didn’t even blink an eye when he counted out the cash. I was proud of him. The meal was an excellent way to end my birthday excursion 2019.
My Birthday Soundtrack
There’s one other feature of the day which made it special. The hand of fate mixed the day’s soundtrack for our enjoyment. We listened to sixties and seventies rock on our way to the Circle City.
At Canal Bistro, soft instrumental jazz played in the background. Rooster programmed a Chris Stapleton station into Pandora as we rode to Strange Brew. The station switched over to Tab Beniot Cajun blues on our drive to Noblesville. It sounded so good we left it on the blues on our ride home. You know you’ve had a great adventure when providence provides the background music to orchestrate a perfect day.
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana, who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures click here.
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