Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Third Places

I have to admit that after moving to a new city, there are a LOT of things I miss about my previous stomping grounds. After living in a certain place for a while, you start to find your "Third Place" - the place you spend time in besides your home and office. I had many of those "third places".

This market.

As you enter the market building, you can smell the vanilla-and-caramelized-sugar-goodness of this waffle that's like no other waffle you've tried. Not unless you've been to Belgium. (Thank goodness they can ship these goodies. I was relieved to find that out.)

And in that same market, there's this Italian deli that makes these tasty paninis on the spot - vegetables and a variety of pesto to choose from, piled on their own baguette that has that wonderful crispy crust and chewy interior. Mmmm... the #15 vegetarian panini.... or the #18. Yes, I was there THAT often, I knew the paninis by number.

They also sell this wonderful unfiltered olive oil, AKA "liquid gold". It's so good, I cannot bear to cook with it (you're not supposed to, anyway) - I only save it for drizzling over dishes as a finishing touch, or for dipping this artisan bread in it, to really be able to savor the bright, fruity taste.

The proud storekeeper said that he was "the only retailer selling this olive oil on this side of the Mississippi." That's what I love about independently-owned stores. You get to talk to the storekeepers who believe in their product, and are proud of their business and what it brings to the community. You have conversations, exchange recipes.

Then there's my favorite, Zen-like tea place. My daily morning routine always involves their Earl Grey loose tea. (Thank goodness they can ship too... I'm halfway through my 8-ounce tin.)

Oh, and I also have to mention this restaurant/deli/specialty store that makes THE. BEST. BROWNIES.

This park. For long walks, picnics, visits to the Playhouse and the Conservatory.

(The banners on the streetlamps read: GREAT ART HERE. I like that.)

Then there's this charming strip of local stores and non-chain coffee shops, less than a mile from where I used to live. I used to just walk to this place on a weekend afternoon, browse through the unique things in the shops.

(Did my Christmas shopping here already)

Then I would sit in this coffee shop, whether solo or with a friend, to have The Waffle.

(photo above by EyesOpenWide)

I miss how close my "third places" are to each other. I would only drive (or walk) a few miles and I'd be there.

Well, I don't regret my decision to move - not a bit. But it's only human, after all, to wish for those places of comfort and familiarity. That sense of routine on a Saturday morning - picking up a loaf of bread from Shadeau (and yeah, a couple of chocolate croissants, too), crossing the street to Iris BookCafe, then heading to the market. Taking long walks in Eden Park, enjoying the scent and song of old trees.

So... I am now on a mission to find my "third places" here in my new city. Will write an update on that soon.

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