Friday, September 26, 2014

Festival Report: Chicago Turkish Festival

The bounty of festivals in Chicago is one of Brandy's favorite things about summer.  "The music, the food, the culture... It's too bad Chicagoans can't tough it through the winter and throw these things all year long," as Brandy says.  Of course, as she is so well traveled, some of Brandy's favorite festivals in the city are the cultural festivals, which celebrate Chicago's rich and diverse populace.  There's the Bastille Day festivities in July, which bring out the best in French food, Greek Fest, which is not, as it might seem, a collegiate initiation, but a celebration of all things Greek, the Southside Polish Festival, and so many more.

Thanks to her old friend, billionaire Barry Black, Brandy recently learned of a festival she'd not yet attended, the Chicago Turkish Festival, which ran from September 4-6 at the historic Pioneer Court, kicking off with an incredible gala dinner benefiting the Les Turner ALS Foundation.  "A gala dinner?  I better wear my fancy girdle!" Brandy exclaimed when she received the invitation from Barry to attend.

Each year, the festival celebrates a different Turkish city, and this year's featured city was Izmir, the home town of the Chicago Consul General of Turkey, Fatih Yildiz, who Brandy was lucky enough to be able to chat with before the festivities kicked off.  "It's one of the oldest ports in the Mediterranean.  It was a center for many different civilizations, from the Greeks to the Romans and the Turks.  Many Christians go there for a pilgrimage to the Virgin Mary's House, so it is also well known among Catholics," said Mr. Yildiz of his hometown.  Speaking about the history of Turks in Chicago, Mr. Yildiz had this to say: "We are not one of those heritages that goes back many many centuries in this city.  It's been 50 years or so since the first groups of Turks came here, but Chicago is a very special place for us.  Most Turks here are white collar, compared to the West or East coasts of this country, where we have more blue collar.  So it's a very vibrant community.  We have high expectations of life."

Of course, the real thing Brandy was curious about was what a traditional breakfast might look like in Turkey.  "[Turkish breakfasts] aren't very different from what you will see in other parts of the Mediterranean like Lebanon to Israel to Greece, but it is very different from American breakfasts," Mr. Yildiz described, "First and foremost, it's about great ingredients.  Really good tomatoes or cucumber, a wide variety of cheeses, olives and olive oil (again a very Mediterranean thing you can find in a Turkish breakfast).  We never have eggs in a simple scrambled way, but we have very unique ways of preparring them, like sometimes we combine them with certain meats, like sujuk [a Turkish sausage], which is sort of like an Italian sausage, but not as dry and very fresh.  Or sometimes we use pastirma [a spiced and dried beef, not unlike beef jerky] as well, which you can also find in Lebonese cuisine or even Greek.  In that region, sometimes there is a competition [when it comes to food] of who can do it best.  Like we even do baklava too, and we sometimes fill filo dough with spinach and feta cheese [called borek in Turkey and spanakopita in Greece], which you can again see in other parts of the Mediterranean."

This year marked the festival's 12th anniversary and featured a incredibly lively weekend of Turkish food, performances, and pure celebration.  The festival hosted lots of vendors and artisan craft makers, who all showed their wares with pride and panache.  There was beautiful jewelry made from carved metals and polished stones, gorgeous mosaic tiles and cookware, handmade miniature wooden windmills, and wrought iron tables and chairs.  Of course, there were plenty of food stalls for Brandy to gravitate to, like the world famous Kahramanmaras Turkish ice cream, and of course small, dark cups of strong Turkish coffee.  There was even a stall selling Turkish cookbooks  to those wishing to broaden the horizons of their kitchen tables.  

The dinner was a cornucopia of Turkish delights; among Brandy's favorites were the chicken and beef shwarma kebabs, smoked eggplant musaka, tabuli salad with cracked wheat and veggies, cucumber and yogurt spread with fresh pita, couscous, and for dessert some sticky sweet baklava, a honey coated fried dough ball, and a delicious baked rice pudding.  "Turkish food is so colorful!" Brandy said approvingly, while Barry surreptitiously wiped a drop of yogurt sauce from his incredibly expensive tie.  Some of the food had been supplied by local Turkish restaurants like Turquoise Cafe (otherwise known as "The Lost Brunch Review" to Brandy) and Cafe Orchid, while Kavaklidere supplied some nice Turkish wines and Efes served up their signature brew in the beer garden.

The entertainment was the true highlight of the evening, starting off with the Ottoman Empire Marching Band, a traditional drum line used to hype up the Turkish army before they went into battle (fittingly, the band did their march as people began to line up for the dinner buffet).  After that, a host of extremely talented and mesmerizing dancers took the stage, delighting the crowd with not only their traditional and modern folk dances, but also with their extraordinary costumes, all of which glittered with a rainbow of colors under the stage lights.  The crowd favorite was the Whirling Dervish, a single man performing the half dance half meditation practice of the quasi-Islamic Mevlevi Order.  "I could do that," Brandy said, watching the man on stage swirling gracefully.  "Ah, but could you do it without feeling dizzy?  That's the trick," Barry countered.  "I've had a bottle of that Turkish wine already and I don't feel dizzy.  I'm pretty sure I could handle it," Brandy responded. Following the dancers, a stunning fashion show took place, featuring works by students from the Izmir Olgunlasma Fashion Institute, who had designed wedding dresses themed on various ancient goddesses and even one gorgeous piece inspired by the Turkish flag.

Brandy was so impressed with the dynamic and exciting variety of the Chicago Turkish Festival that she vowed to add it to her on going list of must visits for next year.  "And maybe then I can join the Whirling Dervish on stage," she chided Barry, "Or at the very least, I'd like one of those spangly belly dancing costumes!"

The writers of this blog were invited to the gala diner at no cost to facilitate the writing of this post.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Giveaway and 150 Best Breakfast Sandwich Maker Recipes Review!

As much as Brandy enjoys coming up with her own recipes, sometimes she likes to leave things up to the experts.  Maybe this is why when she learned about a brand new cookbook called 150 Best Breakfast Sandwich Maker Recipes she knew she'd have to get her hands on it.  "When I think of breakfast sandwiches, I think of the typical English muffin, ham, egg, and cheese combination, so I'd love to broaden my horizons a bit," as Brandy put it.

The cookbook was inspired by author Jennifer Williams's daughter going off to college.  Wishing to make sure her progeny was getting a good start to every morning away from home (and taking the confining nature of dorm rooms into account), she bought her daughter a breakfast sandwich maker, a wonderful little appliance that can cook ingredients separately in different compartments and then combine them into one piping hot portable meal while taking up very little counter space.  Ms. Williams then began to test all sorts of different recipes, combing familiar and unlikely ingredients to make an endless variety of breakfast goodies, from sweets to savories and everything in between.

Brandy loved the ingenuity of the recipes, which made it easy to start thinking up one's own ideas.  Though a lot of the recipes suffered from what Brandy calls the "Put An Egg On It Syndrome," that is to say adding an egg onto a dish that doesn't necessarily need it as to make it more breakfasty, the accessible nature of the recipes makes them easily customizable to any taste.  Among Brandy favorites were the Bacon Tomato and Swiss Sandwich, the Baby Spinach and Mushroom Omelet, and the Mushroom Quiche on a Turkey Sausage Crust, though the book contained recipes for almost every meal, including dinner entrees, dessert, and even a recipe for ramen burgers.  One perfect combination of sweet and savory that Brandy adored was the Florentine Sandwich and the Marmalade, White Chocolate, and Coconut Sandwich, which we have kindly been allowed to reprint for all of you below!

The writers of this blog were provided with a review copy of the cookbook, as well as the prizes for the giveaway in exchange for an honest review.  

Florentine Sandwich
Courtesy of 150 Best Breakfast Sandwich Maker Recipes by Jennifer Williams 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Preheat breakfast sandwich maker
1 tbsp   plain yogurt                        30 mL
12 tsp Dijon mustard                       2 mL
1           English muffin, split in half       1
14 cup baby spinach leaves             60 mL
            Nonstick cooking spray
1           large egg                                    1
Pinch    salt (optional)                      Pinch
Pinch    freshly ground black pepper (optional)  Pinch          

Spread yogurt and mustard on split side of one English muffin half. Place muffin half, spread side up, in bottom ring of sandwich maker. Top with spinach.
Lower the cooking plate and top ring. Lightly spray the plate with cooking spray, then crack the egg into the ring. Pierce top of egg yolk with a toothpick or plastic fork. Season with salt and pepper (if using). Place the other muffin half, split side down, on top of the egg.
Gently close the cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until egg is cooked to your liking. Rotate cooking plate away from sandwich maker and lift rings. Use a plastic or nylon spatula to remove the sandwich. Serve immediately.

Marmalade, White Chocolate, and Coconut Sandwich
Courtesy of 150 Best Breakfast Sandwich Maker Recipes by Jennifer Williams 2014 © Reprinted with publisher permission.

Preheat breakfast sandwich maker
2 tbsp   orange marmalade              30 mL
1           English muffin, split in half         1
1 tbsp   white chocolate chips          15 mL
2 tbsp   packed shredded coconut    30 mL
            Nonstick cooking spray
1           large egg                                    1

Spread marmalade on split sides of English muffin. Place one muffin half, spread side up, in bottom ring of sandwich maker. Sprinkle with white chocolate chips and coconut.
Lower the cooking plate and top ring. Lightly spray the plate with cooking spray, then crack the egg into the ring. Pierce top of egg yolk with a toothpick or plastic fork. Place the other muffin half, spread side down, on top of the egg.
Gently close the cover and cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until egg is cooked to your liking. Rotate cooking plate away from sandwich maker and lift rings. Use a plastic or nylon spatula to remove the sandwich. Serve immediately.

But as if free recipes weren't enough, Brandy is giving away a copy of 150 Best Breakfast Sandwich Maker Recipes and a Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker to one lucky fan!  This contest will run from September 24th through October 1st.  Please read all the rules below carefully in order to be eligible and the best of luck to you all!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 19, 2014

Fall Dinner Preview at Adamus

The other night while Bunny was off gallivanting with Martha Stewart at Macy's, Brandy was actually just around the corner at the Silversmith Hotel, checking out the brand new fall menu at their signature bar and restaurant, Adamus, along with a group of Chicago Food Bloggers members.  "I am very ready for the flavors of fall," Brandy told the door man who kindly let her into the building, "Pumpkin lattes are fine for some, but I crave it all.  The spices, the fruits, the earthiness... I want it all the moment the weather turns crisp."

Stepping into Adamus, one was greeted by gorgeous marble floors, sparkling lighting fixtures, and a circular centerpiece of a bar that resembled an upside down chandelier.  The color scheme was mainly grays and silvers with pops of green and purple, especially in the more secluded lounge areas, which consisted of large, comfortable looking sofas piled high with throw pillows.  A large banquet style table had been set down the center of the main dining area for the bloggers and it glittered under the dim light.  "Oh my, everything is so chic," Brandy mumbled under her breath, "I should have worn my good hat pins."

A few glasses of wine were poured out and a lovely bread service was brought to the table.  Executive Chef Nelson Erazo came out of the kitchen to introduce himself to the group and tease everyone with what was in store for them, saying that they would be sampling items from the bar menu, the dinner menu, and the dessert menu, also encouraging everyone to browse the craft cocktail menu.  "You don't have to tell me twice!" said Brandy, who immediately ordered up a Blackberry Collins.  She loved the brightness the blackberry brought to the drink, but also appreciated that it wasn't as sweet as she expected it to be.

The first course was the Creekstone Beef Empanadas, served with a horseradish cream and a roasted pepper remoulade.  Brandy thought the empanadas had a perfect amount of crunch without the casing being too thick, while the tender beef filling was very well spiced.

Secondly was a soup and salad course: a White Asparagus Bisque and a Pear and Goat Cheese Salad.  Brandy absolutely adored both dishes from the get go.  The bisque had a light flavor, but a rich creamy texture, and the addition of morel mushrooms and a piece of jumbo lump crab provided it with a beautifully fresh and earthy flavor.  The salad looked surprisingly summery, but one bite brought instant thoughts of multi-colored leaves, warm drinks, and brisk evenings in the pumpkin patch.  The pear had been poached with mulling spices, giving it simultaneously the feeling of a savory chai and a sweet apple tart.  The delicate greens were lightly dressed in a zingy sherry vinaigrette and some crunchy almonds provided a nice bit of texture, though the star of the salad for Brandy was the chevre mousse, an impossibly soft and airy pocket of goodness underneath the greens, which also had the mulling spices whipped into it.  "It's like eating a cloud full of wassail," Brandy sighed, wishing for more of the divine salad before she'd even finished what was in front of her.

Next came a Foraged Mushroom Flatbread, which was topped with more morel mushrooms, truffle cream, wilted spinach, and shaved Parmesan cheese.  The crust was very unique; buttery and crispy, yet thin and not overwhelming, this, for once, was a flat bread in the truest sense of the word.  Though the mushrooms, cheese, and spinach all played their parts well, what Brandy liked most was the aggressive use of garlic.  "There's no such thing as too much garlic," as she put it.

Following that came two main courses, Juniper Pork Tenderloin and Bronzed Walleye Pike.  The fish was melt away tender with bright saffron and citrus broth providing warmth and depth.  The thin slices of fingerling potatoes were also a nice touch, as were the miniature heirloom tomatoes.  The pork was truly masterful in it's moistness, with the pleasantly astringent juniper berries clinging to the outside of each bite.  It was served alongside a perfectly roasted garnet yam as well as an apple flan, which had again been doused with the mulling spices.  The flan was sweet and slightly tart with the mouth feel of a custard mixed with the fluffiest mashed potato one could imagine.  "Truly an brilliant take on a classic flavor profile," said Brandy, the giggling to herself, "Would you listen to me, sounding like one of those fancy television cooking show judges!  Another drink please!"

Brandy was brought the house Manhattan, which with it's smooth smokey taste proved to be a great match for the final course: dessert.  Two stunning dishes were brought to the table; a S'mores Creme Brulee and a Fromage Blanc Pumpkin Cheese Cake.  Chef Erazo admitted that while he wasn't a pastry chef, he was incredibly proud of both of these creations.  "You bloody well should be!" Brandy drooled.  The creme brulee was another bold combination of flavors, matching a smoky, melty chocolate with a thick eggy custard, graham cracker crust, and toasted marshmallow top.  "It's like a campfire in front of a Paris bistro!" Brandy exclaimed, reaching for another helping.  The cheesecake had a very unique base that almost tasted like the lady finger portion of a tiramisu, while the cheese portion was silken, contrasting nicely with the crunchy candied pecans on the top.  The whole thing was finished with a lightly salted caramel sauce, which Brandy debated asking for a jar of to take home.

As Brandy doesn't often get to go out for dinner (her expertise is in brunch, of course), she sometimes feels out of touch with Chicago's more fashionable foodies, but getting the scoop on this amazingly flavorful and well seasoned menu was truly an honor for her.  "After all the warmth and depth of that menu, I'm ready for the fall to arrive fully.  I may just go search the parks for a leaf pile to jump into!  Ok... that might be the Manhattan talking..."

The writers of this blog were invited to dine by the restaurant at no cost in exchange for an honest review.

Adamus on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Postcards from Bunny: Martha Stewart at Macy's

One of the downsides to Bunny's constant traveling is that there isn't always to cook for her and her husband.  "Even if there is a kitchen available, there's not always a lot of access to bowls, pans, and utensils in the middle of a dinosaur dig!" she says of her experiences trying to cook while on location at her husbands' archaeology sites.  Maybe this is why when Brandy informed her that the legendary Martha Stewart was going to be premiering her new cookbook, One Pot: 120+ Easy Meals from your Skillet, Slow Cooker, Stockpot, and More, at Macy's on State Street, Bunny hopped on the first flight back to Chicago in order to attend.

Bunny has always idolized Martha Stewart, as do many crafty hopefuls, entertaining novices, cooking hobbyists, and home decor mavens all over the world for her classic style and easy-to-follow tips.  "There may not be a single person in America who doesn't know who she is, and with good reason!" as Bunny told her neighbor at the demo, "There may be those who pretend to not know her, but those people are only doing so because they want everyone else to believe that the hors d'oeuvres at their last party were their recipes and not hers...Ok, I may have done that once or twice."  

Luckily for Bunny, Macy's ran a promotion in which shoppers who bought $75 worth of Martha Stewart kitchen wares were given a free copy of the cookbook before it's official release (which is on Tuesday, September 23rd), so Bunny spent a good deal of time debating whether she wanted to get one of the beautifully colored enamel Dutch Ovens, the extra deep skillet, the non stick frying pans, or the gorgeous roasting pan.  "I'm leaning towards the Dutch oven, I think.  They may be a tad on the heavy side, but one should never travel without a Dutch Oven.  You never know when they'll come in handy for a spontaneous casserole!" Bunny explained.

As Martha herself entered the demo kitchen, a waft of sauteing bacon accompanied her, as if signaling to the crowd that she was there to take care of them.  She began by whipping up a wonderfully hearty Corn Chowder with Bacon and Shrimp in one of her stock pots.  As she prepared the soup, she told the crowd about some of the different products in her cooking ware line that could be used in conjunction with the book, also letting them know that she was in the process of developing a slow cooker and a pressure cooker to add to the collection.

The second dish was a simple Linguine with Tomato and Basil, where amazingly enough, the veggies were prepared right along side the pasta in one skillet.  "I grow basil in my garden, you know," Martha told the crowd, "I had to get up early this morning because there were two tour groups coming into my garden and I wanted to pick up a little before they got there.  I didn't want them to think I'm a messy gardener!" She also told the crowd how she drank her own mix of green juice every morning (complete with a good chunk of ginger) before working with her trainer and then heading into her test kitchens, where she works with hundreds of professionals to test and re-test recipes for her magazine and various media outlets.  "That's why we always say to follow a recipe precisely the first time you cook something," she said, "We've done all the work for you already, so if you follow it exactly, you can't go wrong."

The last dish was an Arroz con Pollo (or Chicken with Yellow Rice), which she demonstrated in one of the Dutch ovens, garnishing it with some briny green olives.  Bunny's favorite part of the demo was the fact that Martha then actually began to eat the dishes she'd prepared, a thing Bunny nor Brandy has ever witnessed at any cooking demo before!  "I'm always surprised the chefs don't eat their dishes when they're through!" said Bunny, "If I cooked up something that delicious looking, I'd want to dig into it right away!"

Martha then took a few questions from the crowd, giving them advice on apple pie making ("Use several different kinds of apples."), demonstrating how to cut a bunch of cherry tomatoes in half all at once, and letting everyone know that her favorite cocktail is a Polish or Russian Vodka Martini.  After the demo, she graciously stayed to sign cookbooks for the audience, though sadly, Bunny had to run out and catch her flight to meet Benedict at his next dig in Kuala Lumpur.  "The Dutch oven might be too heavy to take as a carry on!"  Bunny fretted, "Maybe I'll pack my clothing into it and tell them it's just an extra heavy duty carrier bag."

The writers of this blog have been compensated by Everywhere Agency for the information contained in this post, but the opinions stated were not influenced.

Friday, September 12, 2014

ZED451 or The Bounty of the Harvest

The Slow and Savory Review

Brandy has survived a lot of things in her life.  At one time in her life, avalanches, earthquakes, train derailments, jumping out of planes, off of buildings, and into canyons were all just a rather mundane part of her day.  But in recent years, she has found herself winding down some and being more content with a good book and a cup of tea as opposed to unexpected adventure.  "I leave the globe trotting to Bunny now," as she says, "She grew up in a convent in Devonshire, so she got a late start in adventuring, but now that she's accompanying Benedict on his archaeology trips, she's getting a good taste of what I already had.  I was born into adventure.  Quite honestly, I was.  My mother went into labor while skiing down the side of a mountain!"

These were the types of stories Brandy was relating to a new friend, one Mr. Bari Bronzo, a muscle bound former personal trainer whom she had met recently at a charity cocktail party.  Mr. Bronzo was just beginning to find an interest in "extreme traveling" and someone had suggested he talk to Brandy about her extraordinary skill in lackadaisically surviving life's little surprises.  "But how do you keep your self prepared for the worst?" Bari asked Brandy.  "Always have a good brunch, of course!" she laughed, "That way you've had a good meal in your stomach that can last through almost anything."  Bari seemed to find this advice amusing, so Brandy challenged him.  "Alright, Mr. Know It All!  You come to brunch with me and I'll show you exactly what I mean!  I have the perfect place in mind too.  ZED451 is infamous for a very indulgent brunch buffet, so if you can make it through that, then you can make it through almost anything!"  "You're on, lady!" Bari responded.

The inside of ZED451 was truly astounding, not just because everything was so polished and pretty, but the actual expanse of the 18,000 space was simply breath taking.  On the ground floor there was a chic lounge with a fire place (fire, Brandy was told, was a major theme for ZED), comfy furniture, and a huge projection wall for showing sports on, as well as a beautiful, intimate wine closet that could easily host a small party of viticulturists for some tastings and sippings while they admired the selection all around them, not to mention toying with the interactive wine glass chandelier.  Upstairs, there was the gorgeous rooftop, complete with it's own bar, which not only gave patrons a stunning view of River North, but also housed a fascinating sky light into the main dining room, which at night would send a warm glow up and out onto the roof.  "Such a pretty spot!" Brandy exclaimed, "I'd be tempted to say that I'd come up here for drinks even in the dead of winter."  "Don't think you'd survive if you came up here during a winter like last year," said Bari, who was admiring some of the foliage.  "I might if  had enough drinks in me," Brandy mumbled.  Also upstairs were several gorgeous event spaces, perfect for small private gatherings, or even full wedding services, complete with ceremony and reception.  Back downstairs was the main dining area, which was already in the full swing of brunch service when Brandy and Bari took their seats.

First, they both started off with a glass of the Ginger Bourbon Lemonade.  The lemonade was actually a staple of the menu at ZED, though the flavors infused into the bourbon differed from season to season.  One sip of this refreshing, zingy concoction and Brandy was in love.  "Goodness knows I'm not a huge fan of summer, but I'll be damned if tasting this liquid sunshine doesn't make me a little sad to see it go," Brandy sighed, and the somewhat stone faced Bari agreed.

For the first portion of their meal, Brandy and Bari were set loose among the Harvest Tables, which consisted of several segmented curved buffets surrounding a huge circular fire pit, each of which was loaded with plates of salads, cheeses, sliced meats, desserts, and a few hot dishes. Brandy's favorites among the salads were the Sauteed Mushrooms, which were nicely rich and earthy, the Kale and Quinoa Salad, which had a nice nuttiness to it, and the Brussel Sprout Caesar, which was crisp and fresh tasting.  Bari loved the charcuterie table, which was beautifully dressed with a multitude of cheeses, sliced meats, pickles, olives, and other accompaniments.  "I could live on this spicy stuff," Bari said, brandishing a roll of meat at Brandy, "Protein is the key to a filling meal, after all."  The hot dishes on the harvest tables were favorites for both Brandy and Bari: the Vanilla Scented Oatmeal was creamy and hearty, the Duck Fat Home Fries were decedent, and the Panatone French Toast was eggy and full of fun textures.

Then the "sides" started arriving at the table.  These consisted of a few hot dishes brought directly from the kitchen.  The Tomato Basil Fritata was herbaceous and fluffy, while the Cinnamon Rolls envied Ann Sather's in both size and flavor (Brandy was so overwhelmed by food that she resorted to digging into the doughy center of her cinnamon roll to enjoy the best part of it's raisiny goodness).  But the true star was the Maple Cajun Bacon,  This, we assure you, was not your average side of bacon; this bacon was thick cut (hand cut, in fact, by the chef every day), coated in a secret Cajun spice blend, then doused in maple syrup, and served to crispy perfection in a cast iron pan.  Brandy and Bari stopped mid conversation as they both put that bacon to their lips and did not speak again until the entire pan was empty.  "That," Brandy breathed at last, "Was the single best piece of bacon I've ever eaten." she said, "It was smokey, meaty, salty, sweet, spicy... everything was just so perfect!"  Bari nodded in agreement.  "I might be ruined on bacon forever after that," he said, starring at the empty pan forlornly.

No with a taste for meat on their lips, Brandy and Bari moved onto the next phase of their brunch by taking two black stones from a small silver plate in the middle of the table and placing them in front of their plates.  This signaled to the multitude of white coated chefs circling the room to begin bringing over the proteins.  Huge chunks of meat of spits were brought to the table and carved before their very eyes: juicy Maple Bourbon Glazed Ham, succulent Buttermilk Herbed Bottom Sirloin, Roasted Turkey breast with Cranberry sauce, and Citrus Dusted Salmon all made their rounds to the table, leaving Brandy and Bari practically gasping for breath between each bite.  Two of the more original offerings were the Chicken and Waffles, a small version of the Southern favorite with a piece of barbecued chicken and a cornmeal waffle, and the Crab Cake Benedict, which made for a lovely little two bite delight.

Lastly, Brandy and Bari pried themselves away from the their seats to indulge in some of the desserts on the harvest tables.  Along with a beautiful spread of fruits and fresh yogurt, some less health options presented themselves.  There was a delightfully fudgy Brownie, a rich and indulgent Strawberry Cheesecake, a surprisingly light Red Velvet Cupcake, and a bright and lovely Lemon Lime Tart.  "I don't think I can take much more of this.  I mean physically," Bari moaned.  "I'm feeling just fine.  In fact, I might ask for some more of that bacon," Brandy said, to which Bari responded, "Ok, maybe I can make room."

ZED451 was most certainly one of the most unique brunch experiences Brandy had ever had, and at a very reasonable price of $34 a person, Brandy was sure she'd be having that brunch again.  The food was all beautifully presented, and the uniqueness of the table side protein service was simply stunning.  "Uh... I don't know if I can make it to the train station!" Bari Bronzo groaned. Brandy, gracefully rising from her seat said simply, "Well you're in luck!  ZED has a complimentary shuttle service that will take you anywhere in the downtown area!"  "Yes please," Bari whispered before falling into a deep slumber at the table.  "I probably should have mentioned to him that the key to surviving a brunch like this is to pace yourself on the bourbon lemonade," said Brandy.

The writers of this blog were invited by the restaurant to dine free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

The Short and Sweet Review

Zed451 on Urbanspoon