Floating on Air


 by Nick Roumel

There are worse places to take depositions in the late fall, than the beautiful Leelanau peninsula. Four days worth, from Benzonia to Leelanau, to Traverse City in between. For a change of pace, instead of my usual hotel, I decided to try a relatively new lodging option called an “Air B&B” (www.airbnb.com). A couple of friends are avid airbnb-ers, and so I looked into it.
This phenomenon is a grass-roots online community of people who want to “monetize” their extra space (their word, not mine) and offer alternative accommodations throughout the world to travelers. This could be as simple as a guest room in someone’s hosue to a luxorious vacation villa. The website is easy to navigate, and quickly I zeroed in on a place in rural Traverse City. It’s an upper floor apartment, accessible from a separate entrance leading to a massive second-story deck overlooking the woods and lake. There is a living room, full kitchen, and large bedroom. It’s been quiet and peaceful, and after checking me in, I haven’t had contact with the homeowners other than having the snow shoveled or thoughtful touches like a scraper left on my windshield.
Naturally, I immediately inspected the kitchen. Other than a wide array of single-serving coffee packets, there was nary a scrap of food – not even a salt shaker. So for my shopping, I kept it simple. Oatmeal and fruit for breakfast; bagels, cheese, and turkey for my brown bag lunches during the deposition days; and canned soup with crackers for dinner. Evenings were spent preparing for the next day’s deposition and catching up on other work.
I did have one meal out. I crashed a dinner of the Grand Traverse – Antrim – Leelanau counties’ bar association meeting, which coincidentally was about a mile from where I was staying. I was graciously accepted, saw old friends, and made new. I was also served a massive walleye dinner, including two huge fillets. I ate one and took the second back to the airbnb for leftovers.
I learned to make quick and dirty walleye paté and enjoyed that as an appetizer for my dinner the next evening. 
  • 1 leftover walleye fillet
  • plastic cup of tartar sauce
  • cream cheese
Saltine crackers
Blend tartar sauce and cream cheese. Chop walleye and mix with the other ingredients. 
Spread on saltines and enjoy, with a satisfying cup of single serve hotel coffee.
My “airbnb” lifestyle is almost ascetic. The temporary routine is a welcome respite from the all-too-frantic pace of my Ann Arbor life. With enough work - and the welcome companionship of my stuffed monkey - it does not get too lonely, either. 
Nick Roumel is a principal with Nacht, Roumel, Salvatore, Blanchard, and Walker PC, a firm in Ann Arbor specializing in employment and civil right litigation. He also has many years of varied restaurant and catering experience, has taught Greek cooking classes, and writes a food/restaurant column for “Current” magazine in Ann Arbor. He occasionally updates his blog at http://mayitpleasethepalate.blogspot.com/.