Monday, March 17, 2008

A Day In Bloomington

What follows is a sort of exercise in free writing, just to see how it comes out. If any of you have read The Rules Of Attraction, by Bret Easton Ellis, you’ll probably spot the similarity in style, if not perhaps in tone. There are pictures that go with this, but I’m running short on time, so those will come later, probably in a separate post.

Today we took off for Bloomington because we hadn’t been in a long time and we both had the day off and the weather was reasonably nice and we went through the usual discussion about where we were going to eat when we got down there but the only problem with that is that there are pretty much two places where we eat when we go to Bloomington and those are Snow Lion and Café Pizzaria (used to be Nick’s but certain people, by which I mean those under twenty-one, including babies, can’t go into Nick’s) but Café Pizzaria is closed on Sunday or closed for lunch at any rate and so we wound up at Snow Lion this afternoon.

I really used to like Snow Lion because you got a hot meal at a fair price and the food was just amazing with so many different kinds of sesame and Cajun and curry flavors going on and plenty of vegetarian options - does it get any better for vegetarians than Asian food? The food has been sub-par the last several times we have eaten there though and it’s gotten so far off from what it used to be that eating there doesn’t really get my blood pumping the way it used to but we went for it today because there was no way to get a stromboli short of taking them to go from Nick’s and eating them at the Union (which Amy actually floated as an idea and which I might have gone for except that I had had Snow Lion on my mind since yesterday) and I have to say that this was the best meal I’ve had at Snow Lion in quite awhile. I had Cajun vegetables and Amy had chicken sesame vegetables and both dishes were excellent - spiced correctly (you select your level of spicy, from 1 to 5) and adequately sauced so that there were not great clumps of stuck-together rice lurking underneath the layer of vegetables.

After a zesty meal like that, I was ready for a nice cup of coffee and genuinely lamented the fact that I could not walk over to Lazy Daze and get my usual four shot hazelnut latté. There are pleny of Starbucks stores in Bloomington (even one inside the Union) but I opted for a place called Bistro Et Crepe which is on 4th Street west of the clump of restaurants and used to be just a crèpe place but which is now a Mediterranean restaurant and a crèpe place and is where we’re going to eat the next time we’re in Bloomington because Amy is always up for a falafel and I can almost always eat a plate of spinach ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese and both of those things were on the menu I looked at while the girl behind the counter who spoke a language I did not recognize made my latté.

Then we walked over to the Union because Jackson’s diaper was full and then we went back downtown because I wanted to walk around the courthouse square because we almost always go walking on campus after lunch and then hit downtown on the return swing and it never occurs to me to go all the way to the square even though there are lots of new things that have popped up there in the last few years that look interesting as we are coming into town on College Avenue but which we never seem to get to. Upon further inspection today, however, it was not as interesting as it seemed on the trip in because most of those new places are condos or bar-and-grill eateries and I could quite do with the proliferation of both of those kinds of things coming to an immediate end.

Back to campus then and coming in along Kirkwood Avenue toward the Sample Gates where there is no longer a university seal that Scott and I were once heckled for walking on by an idiot I could have stabbed in the eye with an ink pen and not though twice about it and it really pains me to walk by the Von Lee theatre and see that it has become a Noodles & Company restaurant but what are you going to do but shrug your shoulders and move on and walk through the Old Crescent and come upon the brand new Simon Hall and then you wonder what a new building is doing in the Old Cresecent or maybe only I am wondering that but at least they tried to make it look like it belongs there even if all the stone is clean and unworn and the vast expanse of greenspace that used to exist near that vehicular turnaround behind Rawles and Lindley Halls is now a memory.

And from there we walked over by Ballantine Hall and hoisted the stroller up the red brick steps to the path that slopes down past the Chemistry Building and then we stood there on the sidewalk and thought about going further into the heart of campus but I elected to walk back to the car and drive around a bit and in so doing turned into the parking lot at Ashton Center and then exited by way of the service street that goes past where the Center Building used to be before they tore it down and one of these days I’m going to get a picture of where that building used to be because I worked a lot of hours in the dining hall in that building and I have a lot of good memories of working there and now it’s gone and not just closed but actually no longer in existence.


Shane M. White said...

Is the Von Lee the old two-screen theatre that Kerasotes once owned in Bloomington? I can never remember the name of that theatre...

John-O said...

Yep. They sold it and the Indiana (both on Kirkwood Avenue) back to the city, but both buildings are historic and can't be torn down. The Von Lee was renovated before the noodle place opened, but the original sign on top of the building remains.

Godfather Weilhammer said...

Every now and then, I miss Bloomington, progressive as it may be. I remember some really good times down there.