When it’s 75 degrees in late September up here in Traverse City, people are OUT. I mean, like, really out. Sam and I don’t dine out very often: as a vegetarian I tire easily of the selections available in town, plus we enjoy the frugality and recipe flexibility of cooking our meals probably five or six days a week. But when Sam works a 12.5 hour day at the hospital and it’s this gorgeous outside, we deserve to treat ourselves.
Our instinct when it’s warm and sunny outside is to go to The Little Fleet. This business venture is already a gold mine in a place like TC (shorthand for Traverse City), but the entire venture is so tastefully and beautifully done (I know your work went into it, Megan Gilger). The atmosphere is serene yet social, quirky but comfortable. It is easily one of our favorite places to go in town, and we make an event of it because it’s so nice to just sit down and relax.
The bar serves up drinks and the parking lot is open for food trucks of all kinds to pull up, park, and serve up deliciousness. Already it is one of the most popular places in town, and for very good reasons. It is hard to describe it as anything other than just totally awesome.
Both inside and outside boast a warm and welcoming ambiance. We were lucky enough to visit on vinyl night (BYOV and they’ll spin it while you drink and dine!), so the tunes were as good as the food.
I’ve stuck to The Anchor Station almost exclusively, because their falafel is fantastic. If I could, I wouldn’t eat anything else ever. There is only one other place in town that I know makes a killer falafel, but The Anchor Station’s dish is definitely up there.
On this particular night, though, I had finished a tough workout and was positively famished, so I went all-out on a French Onion Grilled Cheese from EZ Cheesy. Sam picked up the falafel (seriously, it’s so good even a omnivore chooses to eat it) and an order of fries, and our feasting began. I am a shameless food-sharer–my best guy friend nicknamed me Mo “Are You Going To Finish That?” Stych–so I was glad I could grab a few bites of Sam’s felafel…and though I wasn’t as willing to give up precious bites of my grilled cheese, I did share with him. Oh well, I guess that’s part of the married territory now.
After fully stuffing ourselves, we decided it was likely going to be the last warm day we will have until autumn settles in and the ice cream shops close. So we hit-up an east-side staple on our way home (and yes, it actually was on the way home, so it was practically a necessity): Bardon’s Wonder Freeze.
I have been visiting Bardon’s for as long as I can remember: after little league games, during lunch when I was in high school, on the drive home if it was scorching hot, or following a long day soaking in sunshine at the beach. It is at a popular crossroads close to town, and it’s nearly a guarantee to see someone you know there. Sam and I always split a “flurry,” changing the mix-ins every time. We plop ourselves down at our favorite picnic table on the north side of the building and watch the cars pass while we talk about whatever’s on our mind. It’s amazing how many great conversations emerge when you’re sharing ice cream with someone you love; I think that must be a universal truth.
Thus concluded our night (at least the eventful part of it). I’ve made a mental note to have more “dates” with Sam, because I think it’s important for our relationship to do things that make us both happy and take us off our routine. Keeping things exciting in a relationship takes effort, and Sam and I both make sure to put that effort in as often as possible. Besides, there are few things I wouldn’t do for that falafel…