It’s lovely to realize Springfield can still surprise me. Lots of changes downtown this weekend, and I was lucky enough to soak some up yesterday.
Lovely change #1: Bistro Market.
It’d be fun to track how many times this place makes folks say “I feel like I’m in a different city!” I know I said it, and I heard it from a handful of people on B.M.’s opening day. I don’t think we say this as a big slam to Springtown, either. It’s just more hushed admiration that we [shucks, little old us] actually have a place like this downtown now. Bistro Market has some Whole-Foodsy perks like grind-your-own peanut butter and a wall of trailmix/granola/spice bins. The place was packed at late lunchtime yesterday, and you could feel the energy from people ordering food, browsing the aisles and pausing in awe (a starbucks?! ooh sushi! gelato?!) which brings me to…
Lovely Change #2: Gelato
It’s an embarrassment of yumminess riches that downtown has not one, but TWO, gelato joints grand-opening on the same day.
It’s just dumb how happy this makes me. After my Bistro Market salad bar I got a small (and so worth the $2) chocolate hazelnut from their gelato bar [because this is a thing we can now do, SGF]. I don’t think it’s possible to sing enough praises for the tiny spoon. I fell in love with tiny spoons in Italy, where I first met gelato 2 summers ago (I believe I had the stuff 17 times in less than 2 weeks…) and the spoons just make it that much better. They force me to slow down and allow for intentional, indulgent bites.
While B.M.’s chocolate hazelnut had nuthin’ on the Nutella-flavored gelato of Rome, it has the right texture and temperature. (I’ve described gelato before as the hybrid of ice cream, marshmallows and Will Smith: just perfectly cool and smooth. And it somehow never leads to brain freeze. I KNOW! IT’S SO GOOD!)
Okay Okay enough about the gelato…except, not. Because…
Lovely Thing #3 is: More Gelato
Gelato Mio has been tempting me all summer long with facebook posts and free samples at the outdoor market on Park Central East (another lovely Springfield summer surprise, this.) and I have been giddy with disbelief that a gelato place (run by real, European-rootsed gelato lovers) is NEXT DOOR to the place where I spend a majority of my weekend nights. Yup. Gelato Mio is one alley away from The Skinny Improv, so you better believe I snuck over to their free sample stand during intermission at least once a week.
Last night was their grand opening as well (can we sustain two gelaterias downtown, Springfield? I think we can. We must.) and G.M. did not disappoint. (Unless you count the too-long line that prevented me from sampling at intermission. This, after all, is a very good thing for them.) So after the show we hightailed it over there and went gaga a bit over all the choices (champagne raspberry?!). I asked an employee his favorite of the day. This was a standby trick in Europe that served me well. He said of today’s flavors (but not of the 600+ in their repertoire) his favorite was rocky road. It was rich, sweet and satisfying (I like my gelato like my men! that joke never gets old, y’all!), and more than enough in a small scoop serving.
Next time I’m going to get a fruit variety. I tried mango and it was a revelation.
And guess what? There gets to be a next time. Heaven.
Lovely Thing #4: Members Only
Tummies full of gelato, Jeff, Dan and I headed over to Patton Alley to meet Michelle for quite possibly the most fun nightlife option our fair city has to offer. If you haven’t seen Members Only yet, you must make it your top priority to find their next show and get yourself there. They’re so good. It’s so fun. I just can’t…
M.O. is an 80s cover band with all of the awesomeness and none of the lameness that particular band-genre implies. For one thing, they’re young and not so bad to look at. (The throngs of dancing ladies at their shows can’t be wrong.) For another thing, they dress in cute, not-too-over-the-top throwback stagewear. And one more thing, they are SO awesome. Dudes can go from Bon Jovi. to Michael Jackson. to Journey. and not miss a beat. This was the cap-off my week needed oh so badly. There’s nothing like rocking out with friends and strangers, making yourself just a sweaty hot mess and feeling so so so ALIVE.
If there’s a feeling I could capture and carry around with me in a vial, it’s belting Don’t Stop Believin at the top of my lungs last night. Just joyful and silly and unselfconscious and communal and nostalgic. (So many things I love about life! Yes, all this from an 80s cover band.)
So thanks, Springfield. It was a pretty good day.