It’s high time I do something like this.
Even during a pandemic-based quarantine, there is plenty that you can be doing to support your community. There’re things to keep your mind occupied instead of thinking about the void. We’ve been in this long enough that we’re all adapting. Come on in and see what’s going on.
Restaurants To Try While In Lockdown
Let’s start plain and simple. I know that you don’t all want to be cooking EVERY day. It’s nice to stretch those skills, but I’m sure some of you don’t have a clue what’s going on in you’re kitchen, and you’re tired of buttered noodles. So here’s a quick list of places that are open a few times a week and more.
First and foremost, Rose & Fern has been one of my go-to coffee and breakfast spots long before quarantine, but they’ve really been stepping it up the past few months. It’s become a weekend tradition in the Harpe Star house to get a few things off of their menu for a nice, relaxing morning. Usually paired with some sort of comedy show or another. Lately, it’s been Vice (starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus), or the new Saturday Night Live At Home episodes.
Our usual order is a Morning Missile (or as I call it “that kick-ass burrito”), whatever they have on special for the weekends, two coffees (one with a stupid amount of sugar (and no that’s not the one that I drink)) and two bonbons. They’ll even bring it right out to your car, so you have no excuse to not pick some up this weekend.
Next on the list we have the bagel shop that has taken this town by storm and has caused the people who couldn’t wake up early enough for breakfast to break out in hives. But now, due to COIVD, they’ve hopped on the curbside delivery route. (You can even get Bubbie’s at Rose & Fern if you order their bagels sandwich, FYI.)
The gang that runs Bubbie’s is stellar, and I’ve been fortunate to exchange a few conversations with them. I also like to point out that one of the guys looks like Zachary Quinto (the actor that plays Spock in the Star Trek reboots. (I might be the only person that sees that resemblance…))
If you weren’t able to catch Mama Lu’s and their margarita mix before they closed up shop, you’re in luck. They’re opening back up on Cinco De Mayo, which also happens to be Taco Tuesday! But it won’t look like what you’re used to. It’s no longer a sit-down restaurant. In their recent post, they stated that it’ll be more like a bodega/party store. But with a kitchen. So you can still get your taco meat, your cheese, and tortillas, etc, but it’ll be more of a picnic style and not laid out for you to eat there.
The exact quote from their Facebook was “Lu favorites will come pre-packed, ready to go, including prepared meats (with heating instructions), toppings, sauces, and sides. Marg mix, beer & wine, party snacks, produce, and a handful of pantry basics will be there for you too!” There’s even going to be a daily lunch special, so really there will be plenty of reasons to go back to the shop again and again.
Now the only question is…what’s happening with their other restaurant, The Flying Noodle? I guess we wait for that one.
How About Stuff To Read?
If you can’t tell by now with how much I write about the New Yorker, I’m a writer that loves to read. Fortunately, there’s plenty going on with the online-sphere that’ll keep your eyes and mind entertained, if you’re into that sort of stuff.
The Boardman Review Newsletter
Let’s start local on this one. The Loud Brothers, over at the Boardman Review, have been putting out a weekly newsletter. Today we hit Volume 7. If you haven’t read the BR before, to put it aptly, it’s a love note to the creative culture and outdoor lifestyle of Northern Michigan.
The newsletter is nothing different, except being smaller and more frequent. It doesn’t have in-depth stories and focuses like the regular quarterly publication, but adapting and evolving was necessary! Instead, we get bite-sized introductions to shops that are trying things out around town, and events that are still happening in town that has had to shift to online (like the new Online Farmers Market, from the Traverse City DDA, in conjunction with SEEDS and Taste The Local Difference).
It really is a little bit of sunshine for when we’re stuck away from our friends.
Now for something that isn’t local, but has been keeping my insanity at bay; Eve Peyser’s newsletter. Peyser is known for her work with Vice (as their staff politics writer), The New York Times (mostly for her humor columns), and her kick-ass Twitter (@evepeyser).
The newsletter itself is called Evemail, and the most recent (free one) came out on May first. (There’s also a weekly one that you can pay for if you subscribe, but I don’t have that kind of money right now…)
Peyser is a humorist at heart, and that’s what her newsletters are all about. A small break from reality for a laugh or ten. This most recent letter was about her crossword puzzle fascination. (Which brings me back to the few months that Zane Feiger got deep into crosswords in 2019, but that’s a story for another time.) She’s not all about cracking jokes though. The letters are so heartfelt that it makes you feel like she could be a friend that you met at a bar a few years ago, and the two of you keep in touch still.
Friend of the blog, Karl Hartley, has been working on reading through every Stephen King novel and writing about his experience with it. Whether it’s the memory of his old piano teacher’s creepy ol’ house on the hill that Salem’s Lot reminded him of, or stories of his father as he impersonated Elvis, Hartley always manages to intertwine his own life stories with the wild that’s going on in King’s. They always seem relevant, too.
Though it takes a lot of work on his end to write his blog posts (I would know, he sends the first drafts to me for notes), you can read them with ease. They’re purely good writing, and a great way to get to both know Karl and King. In fact, they even inspired me to read my first King novel earlier this quarantine. Afterward, Karl said, “welcome to King Street, my friend.” That felt like a warm introduction from a friend to a new world.
There are four installments of his blog right now, so it’s the perfect time to catch up as he works on the fifth! Go ahead. Right now! Go read one then come back to this. I’ll understand, promise.
The Quarantine Blog That You’re Reading Right Now
It’s daily. It’s not always good. But it’s daily. Keep reading it. It makes me feel good. Thank you.
In all sincerity, thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this blog. Even if you’re not doing it every day, if this is your first installment that you’ve found yourself far too deep into, or if you’re a dedicated reader, thank you. This project has been really great for me and my mental health, and I’m really starting to understand who I am as a writer because of it. That’s not to say that I won’t continue to ebb and flow and try new things, but learning about myself through this platform has been good. And I’m glad that you’ve been along for the ride.
The ride that’s lasted forty-eight days so far…
What a weird time of the world. Thank god for the internet, right?
The apocalypse shows always leave out the internet? What’s up with that?
Or maybe I’m just watching bad apocalypse shows.
Let’s be honest, I’m not watching apocalypse shows. I’m too busy staying up until 2:00 AM watching The Newsroom for the first time.
We’ll do another list like this in the future, maybe. Music, Movies, and Television? We’ll see!