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!
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).
The Michigander IV
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!
As a child the idea of raw meat & fish really turned me off. After living in Rome, I developed a mild addiction to eating entire packages of smoked salmon at a time and devouring prosciutto every which way (on melon, panini…by the handful). Rare ahi tuna & bloody steaks were also a favorite. I figured sushi might be the next step.
I didn’t warm up to the idea of trying for myself until, in the heat of summer, I couldn’t bear the idea of cooking in my kitchen. It was time to take my palate on an adventure (see: cheap date).
The wait wasn’t so bad when we arrived at XO Asian Cuisine in the late afternoon one Tuesday (half off sushi night), but it’s typically packed out the door any later during the warmer months. I was pleasantly surprised by the tuna and avocado roll with cream cheese, and the sweet potato roll made my day. The presentation wasn’t stellar, but I didn’t mind given the unbeatable prices.
Last week, Diana and I went on a roommate date to Marado Sushi, across the street from XO. The line at XO was long, and we heard Marado had some tasty fried sushi. Our service was excellent, and we had complimentary salad (iceberg lettuce, boo) and soup. The Crazy Boy roll was yummy! Mine had salmon, avocado and cream cheese and one roll was plenty. We’ll certainly go back!
My purple sweater loves to go out to eat