Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dinner: Wednesday, August 20: Lake Forest Park Towne Centre (Third Place Books)

It may seem odd to find a semi-suburban shopping center in a series of summer nights out at restaurants, but "LFP Mall" is a different sort of center. The physical and atmospheric heart of the place is Third Place Books, one of those delightful bookstores in the Powell's model, selling new and used books on the same shelves. Besides being a classy and fun bookstore, TPB also has taken upon itself to work deliberately to create a true community center - a social space separate from the two common places of home and work, hence the "third place" - to foster creative interaction. (The third place concept was developed by sociologist Ray Oldenburg.)

So, whereas other malls have a food court, here we will find the Third Place Commons, where book clubs, intercambios, and community groups meet, where author readings and jazz performances are staged, and where people can play games, fly the wi-fi, or just hang out. But food there is: Honey Bear Bakery and Toreros Mexican Restaurant (with a beer and wine garden), as well as barbecue, pizza, and noodles. No Panda Express here!

The evening will work on a longer time scale than just dinner. I imagine Otis and I will get there before five, to cruise the bookstore, laptop a little, and get started on dinner, but we'll probably hang around until at least eight or so. Let us know if you want to come for a meal, just dessert or coffee, or even just for the books. If we feel of a mind, we may even get a board game started.

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