One of our favorite weekend indulgences is Sunday Brunch. I love heaping bowls of steel cut oatmeal and pancakes or attempting carbicide with a box of donuts in front of Netflix. If we’re lazy, we have a go-to cafe for fast, tasty breakfast…but for special occasions Sunday Brunch at Cygnus 27 is a real treat. For about $35 a plate you can sip bottomless bellinis or mimosas with small plates and enjoy the omelette or crepe bar and fill more plates with other treats. Sweats aren’t allowed, but elastic waists and clothing that can accommodate food babies are a must. Brunch season begins in September and ends after Mother’s Day. If you live in West Michigan throw on your Sunday best and check it out!
All small plates are included with your meal. I’m tempted to order a few of everything! On Easter, this ham and truffle au gratin potatoes were amazing!
(a) I’ll take four crème brûlée cups, please! (b) The lighting at night is magical! This was my phone background for nearly a year.
Cygnus 27 is on the 27th floor of the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel, and a short walk from my office. When my parents visited recently I had a chance to see the old wing, originally called The Pantlind Hotel.
Since opening in 1913, the hotel has added a new tower and holds 682 rooms. Though it has seen many renovations, the beauty of the Pantlind is well preserved. I love seeing the beautiful chandeliers and Ambassador Ballroom on my way to work!
This past weekend was filled with great eats and awesome music with my best manfriend. Neil and I took an early train Saturday and arrived in time to split mouthwatering Italian pizza and run back to our hotel in the pouring rain – an exhilarating (and hilarious) four blocks that I won’t soon forget.
When I travel I am always anxious to try great local food. I usually return home with my suitcase about as full as it was when I left and my stomach stuffed and satisfied! This trip was no exception, though we did make a great afternoon out of shopping on the Magnificent Mile.
The draw for this trip (above food!) was seeing Justice at Lollapalooza. After Florence and the Machine’s set we crushed to the front of the stage with thousands of strangers for an amazing show I’ve been anticipating for a long time!
We loved our boutique hotel, I’m glad I found one outside of the festival chaos.
(1) A pretty flower he gave me with my donut before our train ride (2) Our first dessert we shared in Chicago
After the rain cleared, the sun peeked between buildings on our way to dinner.
We hid from the sun next to a very tall man!
Monday we noshed on all the pork and turkey we could handle at Purple Pig – it came highly recommended from friends and did not disappoint.
My baby orchid is in full bloom on my desk! For the first time I have the space and adequate daylight in my living room to let things bloom! I’m also really enjoying eating in season, and it just so happens that my favorite produce appears in summer.
The farmers market I love is huge! I try to head over before work as it’s difficult to navigate on Saturdays when families with strollers swarm in by 10a.m. I fill bags with my favorites – tomatoes (that I can eat until my mouth is sore), berries, squash and peaches. Yummmm! With the sweltering heat we’ve had in West Michigan this summer I’ve been reaching for easy meals that let me leave the stove for cooler nights. Besides, I don’t mind an excuse to eat buckets of fruits and cold salads!
(a) My baby basil before it was set outside and chewed on by Japanese beetles! It has since bounced back after some TLC and beetle smashing. (b) Berries for days!
(a) Walking in Grand Haven, the only time I think I’ve been to the beach so far this summer! (b) Anyone who knows me knows how much I love waffles. This is a Belgian waffle from Westsider Cafe, one of our favorite breakfast spots!
Glasses! Mine are props from a photo shoot, his were a gift from me (from J.Crew).
I’m reevaluating my diet to accommodate more veggies, but I’m still skeptical of how vegetarian or vegan options can compare to the hearty dinners and sugary, buttery sweets I’ve always loved. Still, I’m open to trying new things [as long as those things aren't mushrooms or olives]. Last month my good friend Elyse introduced me to Bartertown Diner to try a yummy [meatless] meal.
Bartertown is a new restaurant in town that is worker-run and boasts a delicious, albeit small, changing menu of vegan and vegetarian options that are locally sourced, and in-season:
“Tomatoes don’t grow in West Michigan in January so why does every place have them? We as Chefs want to take back the food and serve it to you the way it was meant to be: fresh and local.”
Their hours aren’t the best, but the prices are right and the staff is really friendly. You can grab one of Roc’s Cupcakes (vegan) for dessert earlier in the day and you’ll understand why they go so fast. My red velvet cupcake was so soft and, honestly, I couldn’t tell it apart from a cupcake made with dairy ingredients. The only real difference was that it was sweet, but not too heavy.
I’ve had the Michigander IV twice – Elyse’s personal favorite. It’s a black bean and cherry burger topped with grilled onions, spaghetti squash, maple-garlic aioli and vegan or dairy cheese. It’s a hefty sandwich, but I didn’t feel gross and lethargic as I do when I indulge in a big, greasy ground beef burger. I’ll definitely be back for more, especially for those addictive cupcakes!
I’ve always made decidedly decent food choices, but a persistent bout with acid reflux and watching food docs (Food, Inc. and Forks Over Knives) inspired a fridge overhaul. Last summer I resolved to welcome more veggies and better food into my kitchen. I won’t say goodbye to the occasional bacon or bloody steak, but after kicking fatty ground beef, (a majority of my) processed foods and other junk foods I feel healthier emotionally and physically.
I’ve also become more comfortable deviating from recipes or making my own as I go along. I never thought I’d be able to imagine the taste of a dish by reading a cookbook without pictures! I no longer feel intimidated to cook. We collaborated on this pasta last weekend. The shrimp was cooked in garlic butter, a mix of veggies sautéed separately, and all mixed together with hot noodles. It was yummy!
Here’s to trying new ingredients and taking more food risks this year.