On the cusp of Autumn

We are midway on a trip to Grand Rapids for a wedding- an overnight in New Buffalo is just the antidote to the White Sox meltdown.  Steve did not even ask about the score!  It is a bittersweet time to be here- boats are lugged out of the water and shrink wrapped, the streets are quiet, and the early sunsets announce the waning moments of summer.  I am melancholy every September- the accrued memories of going back to school pancake with the knowledge of winter ahead.  I cannot resist the urge to make a punch list of all that I have failed to do during the glorious days, rather than embrace what I have enjoyed.  It is some sort of biochemical attachment to the 1/4 Irish blood in me.  The O’Donnell lineage compels me to brood.  Then the German part (1/2) gives me a swift kick in the seat and says “get on with it”. OK- things I did not do:  swim in my back yard or the lake, get my living room re-ordered with the vestiges of Dad’s furniture, ride my bike every day, read 30 books, harvest tomatoes from my vine, maintain good container plantings, exercise Mabel until she was slim enough to handle winter weight. I did not entertain in my beautiful back yard.  I did not exercise enough to get  my knee ready for replacement.  I did not exercise enough to stop the weight gain that accompanies being gimpy.  

German Janet says STOP!!
 I had a nice summer.  I did enough.  Ate too much.  Started this blog.  Read some great books. 
God willing, I will have another summer- I hope so, since Mike is getting married next August.  
Back to this weekend- all I wanted for last night is Stop 50 pizza; Steve was not feeling great, but he indulged me.  If you are heading to Michigan or Indiana for leaves, Notre Dame, or the Three Oaks Apple Cider Century bike adventure- this is a stop to make.  You will thank me.  You will be hooked immediately.  Wood fired pizza, fresh and abundant salads, wine from the heavens, and Chris and Christy Bardol, who are passionate about their product.  It is a little place, not expensive, concrete floors and unassuming ambience.  Lots of conversation, lots of families, lots of memories.   Mike got engaged there- it is that special.  They have very reduced hours now that summer is fading (sigh) but if you are on the other side of the lake, check it out.  Then you’ll owe me forever.  I will tease you with pictures of their food- I need to do this because Steve cringed as I snapped them: I told him I was being a journalist.  Or a restaurant critic.  P1010335.JPG
This is the featured salad- home grown tomatoes, fresh basil and fresh cheese squeezed through a meat grinder, making it more absorbent of the balsamic vinegar.  They have an enormous fresh salad, too- but we never get past this choice. 
This is my pizza- prosciutto and pistachio.  I ate all but two slices.  This gets me back to my failure to get in shape this summer.  Just seeing this will send me to the fridge to zap the remainders!!!
Michigan s’mores, made in the wood fired oven.  Graham cracker crumbs in a souffle cup, topped with chocolate and marshmallow and pushed into the oven.  So easy- if you have a 900 degree oven with a flame!  Steve does not eat dessert out, and his eyes rolled into his head as I ordered this.  But he snuck a marshmallow from the corner. I cleaned the plate.
This is Chris Bardol:  a man and his oven.  He is skinny:  what do they say? Do not trust a skinny chef?  Guess the oven melts it off.  At any rate- one thing I do not have on my “list of things I did not do” this summer is Stop 50 pizza.  Of course, I wish they were open all winter….they hibernate from late November until March.  And I dream of being there.

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