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41.58 Hours in Indianapolis

Updated: 2 days ago

A loyal subscriber just moved here from FLA, so I thought I would stop by and wish him well.


Otherwise it was not necessarily on my list of cities to visit. It was always a place to pass through, to get to some other place. And its nicknames, India-no-place and Naptown, didn't help. Though in the end I'm quite thankful I dropped in.



Saturday

5:03 pm

As unbelievable as this may sound, not a single state has an official sandwich. And after eating the unofficial state sandwich of Indiana I think I know why. First things first though, according to my extensive internet research, the official unofficial state sandwich of Indiana is the Pork Tenderloin. And if you are only going to eat one, which was the plan, then it should be eaten at the Aristocrat Pub & Restaurant.

It comes on a bun (mine was oddly from Toronto) that covers a maximum of 33% of the loin, with lettuce, tomato, and three dill pickle coins and a loin eater's choice of ketchup, mayo and/or mustard (I chose mayo). For some it might be advisable to share. Washed down by a draft Ayinger Lager: Excellent!!! So good in fact I'm thinking I'll share another with Mrs. AAR if the opportunity arises.

The Sandwich in Question

Oh, yeah, the reason why this great country lacks even one official state sandwich¹ may be the same reason this great country can't provide adequate health care . . . politics. In Indiana's case House Bill 322 which would designate the breaded tenderloin sandwich as the official state sandwich, has languished in committee since 2023 possibly due to pushback from the Polish sausage and fried brain sandwich lobby.


6:17 pm

A cursory inspection of the Indiana State Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument from the window of my lodgings. It was dedicated in 1902 to all the Indiana citizens that served in all the prior wars. On subsequent closer inspection it confirmed how fleeting fame is, as it includes a statue of a former President, a man that is now quite unknown to almost every Hoosier.

Indiana State Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument from Room 1025

6:35 pm

The Eagle's Nest is one of those rotating restaurants that were very popular in the 70s, and less so ever since, that generally offers fine views and not so fine food. I was hopeful to just grab a Beer O'clock view but the two hostesses standing in front of a half filled dining room frostily informed me there was no bar, and I should return at nine o'clock if I wanted to sit at a table. I decided to return at . . . never o'clock.


8:03 pm

Inspected the Indianapolis portion of the Indiana Central Canal, locally called Canal Walk. It's a rather sedate version of the River Walk in San Antonio without the best part (the inebriation). Though the ducks seemed to be enjoying themselves.


8:21 pm

I realize that monuments can no longer depict a man, on a horse, on a pedestal and that their design must attempt to evolve like race relations, the treatment of homosexuals and well quite frankly mankind, but sometimes I wonder if we have all taken a step back.


The design of USS Indianapolis CA 35 Memorial is basically a giant plaque with the image of the ship etched into its side, with the whole structure shaped like an all too symmetrical ship. The prose on the front "she boasted eight White-Forster boilers driving four Parsons geared turbines. Total rated horsepower was 107,000 . . ." reminded me of something Jack Webb might have written. The back though did provide some more stirring words about how after the ship was sunk many of the survivors were eaten by sharks, though many were rescued by men who refused to follow orders and just did what needed to be done.


After reviewing it all, I wondered how memorials back in the day were financed and built without an engraved listing of all the sponsors, contributors, and friends.


9:00 pm

Therefore, I pinned a fair amount of hope on Nicky Blaine's Cocktail Lounge: the homage to the coolest restaurateur in the world, that it serves classic cocktails, and the nearness to my hotel room.


Nicky Blaine tags itself: 'Indy’s “Original Retro Bar ”[that] offers a unique experience . . . From Martinis to Manhattans and so much more, we present classic cocktails with a modern twist.' First of all, does retro mean $5 cover? Though after previously walking across Monument Circle, I realized why, to keep out the . . . unfortunately political correctness and threat of lawsuit preclude further narrative (as does why the wooden Indian was removed²).


Unfortunately I also failed to realize it's a cigar bar, with an emphasize on the word "cigar" and a deemphasis on the word "bar." It has a great look, overstuffed sofas and chairs with a long sinuous bar over there, and the rich red wall paper over rich wood wainscoting that shouts "I'm a classy bar . . . or a bordello!"


A Manhattan and a Negroni were ordered. You know a "classic cocktail" might not be one, when a bartender simultaneously pours all the ingredients into a glass filled with crushed ice, like he was a stogie smoking Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail. The place just stunk, both figuratively and literally.


9:51 pm

Out on N. Meridian Street to figure out where to get a nibble and to clear our lungs. It was getting late and the vibe on the street was just plain weird (and a little uncomfortable), so I decided not to force it. As our 45th president once said "Part of being a winner is knowing when enough is enough. Sometimes you have to give up the fight and walk away, and move on to something that's more productive."


9:58 pm

It appears that every hour on the fifty-fifth minute, there is a patriotic light show in Monument Circle and moment of silence for all those Hoosiers that gave their last full measure of devotion. Unfortunately, I was the only silent person. Just plain sad. Bystanders who refuse to show respect should be . . . or maybe a better idea would be to just cancel the whole production.


10:15 pm

Back in the room for some bad wine (Behringer, Merlot, 2021), delicious avocado ranch chips (Riceworks) and an even more delicious packed Easter egg salad sandwich (the secret: a little apple cider vinegar), to wash the bad taste from my mouth and from my memory³.


Easter Sunday

10:30 am

A fine cup of paschal java at the Java House.


11:30 am

A thorough inspection of the Indiana War Memorial and Museum. Since the the museum was closed, it allowed more time to review the memorial, which is a prime example of how memorials in this country used to be constructed. A very stately building based on one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World that includes a Grecian-like statue, sayings in Latin and guardian lions. It does a very good job of honoring "Hoosier veterans and Indiana's role in the nation's conflicts." I would like to think back when it was dedicated in 1933 it gave a widow some small measure of comfort.


12:01 pm

En-route my 12:30 pm appointment with culture, I walked by the Indiana Statehouse and was immediately struck by the dignified statue of the Coal Miner. You may want to see it and a nearby bust of Columbus before they go the way of statues of General Jackson (both Andrew and Stonewall), Philip Schuyler,⁴ and the wearing of business formal attire except by those who work in the funeral business.


For some reason a Stargate has been placed in between them (I didn't walk through it . . . why take the chance?).


As I explored the balance of the grounds I gradually realized that something was missing. At first I couldn't place my finger on it, but then it hit me, "Where is the statue of Abraham Lincoln?" as I knew there had to be one. You see my Father, a man of few words, often warned me to "Watch out for people who wave the flag." When I was younger I didn't understand his concerns, but as I grew older his words have become more profound each and every year.


Well, the next best thing to the flag, is for a politician (or scoundrel) to wrap themselves in Abraham Lincoln, and therefore I knew a statue of The Ancient One had to be nearby. And it was, though interestingly a very youthful version, that exudes a Modigliani vibe.


12:33 pm

The 36 Hour Lady at the NY Times recommended the Eiteljorg Museum⁵ as it's "brimming with world class . . . art and artifacts." Normally I'm reluctant to visit any museum whose name I cannot pronounce, but figured I'd take a flyer on it and it didn't hurt that Veterans get in free.


One of the best museums I've ever visited, and therefore it's given a Flack Ratio (quality/cost) of infinity. I kept walking directly to all the great pieces I saw, so that eventually I needed to take a more systemic route so that I wouldn't miss anything. Though every time came back to this piece which blends "scientific accuracy with emotional meaning."

October Suite, Grand Canyon by Wilson Hurley

The place has numerous other great pieces by Georgia O'Keefe, Albert Bierstadt, and Charles Marion Russell, as well as five Remingtons (including casting number 4 of his most iconic The Broncho Buster). There also is an unauthorized casting that you can touch. As Mrs. AAR was off getting some churchin', I look forward to returning with her the next time I visit.


5:15 pm

Out to Brownsburg to spend a splendid Easter dinner with my (physically) closest and (physically) tallest nephew, his beautiful wife and their cute as a button daughter at Boulder Creek. It's part of the Cunningham Restaurant Group and after my less than underwhelming experience in Kearney, NE with two other restaurants named Cunningham I was initially very concerned, though prior to this visit I confirmed it was a completely different Cunningham. Delightful service, and nothing says an Easter feast like a delicious Blackened Mahi-Mahi with Cajun Dirty Rice With Bacon / Black Bean-Cucumber Salsa / Cilantro Aioli / Guacamole.


8:05 pm

I'd been on a cocktail cold streak, so an after dinner Buffalo Trace bourbon (neat) was taken at Salt on Mass. It rightly came highly recommend by a loyal subscriber.

Monday

9:00 am

Coffee at Command Coffee on Monument Circle. Some coffee shops are about the coffee, and some are about the convenience. This place . . . convenience, though with nice people watching as Mrs. AAR recited to me a daily affirmation that mentioned to "get your sleep" and "Always buy the best, most beautiful items for your significant other." All while listening to a little "French Library" by Franz Gordon.


10:30 pm

It was free admission first Monday of the month at the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, so what better way to say goodbye to Indianapolis than dropping in to see this shrine dedicated to its favorite son.


As I've never read one of his books, I figured this would be the next best thing. A good primer on the man and his sense of humor. The place displayed a short article written by him titled "How to write with style." I read it and I'm hoping for great things, though as always you'll be the judge.


So it goes . . .


Lodgings

The Sheraton Indianapolis City Centre gets a 7.6 on booking.com (fully cancelable) but really deserves an 8.2: great location and well appointed. It was $124/night+tax, though hotel garage parking at $44/day really screwed with the economics. As street parking is free on Sunday, the front desk recommended parking on the street, but as the AfterActionReportMobile was loaded with valuables, I (very) reluctantly garaged it.


Well during our stay the garage entrance and exit gates remained constantly up, so upon checkout, Mrs. AAR skillfully negotiated a 50% parking discount.



Endnotes: I wanted to provide some very specific details that while vaguely interesting did not contribute to the overall narrative. Perhaps just wait until the end to read. 


¹ According to Wikipedia the "Taylor Ham, Egg, and Cheese," is the only official state sandwich. It was made "official" by the New Jersey governor on May 25, 2023, though this might have just been due to Taylor Swift's impending visit to MetLife Stadium. Either way it has not been been approved by the state legislature.

² In an earlier age of "disenlightenment," due to rampant illiteracy, instead of using words, symbols were used to represent: pawn shops (three balls), barber shops (barber poll), tobacconists (American Indian), etc.

³ In fact, now that I think about it I have no idea who Nicky Blaine is.

⁴ The removal of the Major General Phillip Schuyler statue from in front of the Albany City Hall is a real kick in the jimmies, as the eponymous fort is a metonym for where I went to college.

⁵ Eiteljorg is pronounced "i tell jorg" with a hard "j" sound (like the river Jorden). Per the Museum Law that requires it be named for the man who provided the most money, the museum was named after Harrison Eiteljorg.

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I understand your experience. I lived in Indiana for ten years between 1974-1975, A real high energy state.

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Replying to

Bill McCarthy, the AAR always enjoys a W.C. Fields reference.

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AND! It is the hometown of "The Bob and Tom Show", funniest 4 hours daily on radio (and internet, etc) https://www.bobandtom.com

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Replying to

William Dawson, they are quite funny, especially that Queer Tattoo:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9OqIpzZ2fsQ

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