myfiftyplusjourney

As life gets crazier and crazier again, Mark & I have decided to make sure we stay connected by establishing a designated date night each week. For us because of various other commitments and work we chose Wednesday nights. And we’ve been really good about keeping this as ‘penned’ in on the calendar, except for the week of Katie’s birthday when we had a family/friend birthday party. One of those few things that bumps the ‘penned in’ thing.

Mark sits on several boards and committees around town, he is very much a servant leader (and if you don’t know what that means, there are a ton of books on that) and he also is very committed to his students so spends long hours creating the perfect lessons for them. I run a virtual skincare business so I have meetings, appointments, calls about that after school hours. Throw in paperwork, accounting stuff , book club, spontaneous dinners with friends, winery visits, housework, yard work, visiting children….. life stays hectic even after we became empty nesters and no longer have every night of the week and some weekends sporting events to attend.

Not intentionally, but we have taken to discovering all of the locally owned restaurants in a 30 mile radius. Some owned by strangers, some owned by friends… If you happened to see my Instagram story last night, apparently some owned by some ‘fancy’ people. It’s been fun discovering all of the different venues and menus. Last night Chase Creek Smokehouse https://chasecreeksmokehouse.com/ did not let us down. From the bowl of Louisiana Crab Corn Chowder bowl, not too fishy with a little zip to it, to the Mark’s spaghetti and meatballs, with homemade sauce that was sweet with a zing of heat, to my mac and cheese with brisket on top, creamy and amazing flavor both in the pasta and in the brisket, we enjoyed every bite, and brought home enough for lunch today. This restaurant is in the little village of Chase about 15 miles from our home, a village of about 200 or so. Imagine my surprise when I went out to take a picture of the sign of the restaurant and ended up getting a Bentley in the picture. Now I know a lot of people from that area, I lived and worked in Reed City (the bigger town about 3 miles away) and so today I sent a few texts asking WHOSE CAR IS THAT??? In my ignorance I assumed all Bentley’s were $200,000+ cars but as I did a little research last night, apparently you can grab a used Bentley Continental GT for anywhere from 40K -97K + … so although still impressive, Google says this: Bentley is located in Crewe, England and owned by Volkswagen AG since 1998, Bentley Motors remains the definitive British luxury car company, crafting the world’s most desirable high performance grand tourers. So I imagine, although you could get a lower costing Bentley, where around here would you have it serviced? It sure was a pretty car though, and made me take notice.

As long as were talking about BBQ joints, let me share one with you if you are ever, ever in the Birmingham area. This place rivaled and stood out against any other BBQ place I’ve ever been including Kansas City, Texas, or anywhere else in the south (like those places we pass on highway 331 in Alabama that have that big smoker out back that draws you in like a siren): Saw’s BBQ in Homewood, Alabama is found in a quaint little downtown area, with cute little ice cream or cupcake stores and antique shops and boutiques surrounding it. It’s small, with just a few tables inside, the menu is written on a chalkboard above where you order and your food is served on styrofoam. BUT OH MY is it delicious. Worth the stop, worth the wait and worth taking extra to last a few days. I couldn’t even decide which I like better; the chicken, the pork or the brisket. I recommend getting a combo platter your first time and trying all of the above, and don’t forget the sides: baked beans, green beans, greens (when you’re in the south… eat southern), deviled eggs, mac & cheese, loaded baked potatoes (those are meals actually) or potato salad…. it is all wonderful. Dreamcakes Bakery next door have out of this world cupcakes (and many other cakes as well, but when you’re traveling…) and choose from either Edgewood Creamery, fun little ice cream sop or Big Spoon Creamery, a small batch artisan creamery. Big Spoon is an ice cream lovers dream, feel free to follow them on Instagram! https://www.instagram.com/bigspooncreamery/

Back here in Michigan and right there in Reed City is another wonderful little place for dinner, The Reed City Brewing Company https://reedcitybeer.com/ They are a “family owned microbrewery with great beer, delicious wines and a great food menu”. We have found all this to be true. I tend to like the ‘fruity’ beers they have on tap and Mark leans towards the IPA’s. With daily food specials as well as their menu staples, it’s a great small atmosphere to grab a bite to eat. Although we are usually there to catch up on our week during date night, they also have live music occasionally and I hear it’s very good. I will give you a little piece of advice, if you’re going to their AMAZING brisket, don’t wait too long, they usually sell out!

Stay tuned for more date night reviews!

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