Luxury is something Brandy has plenty of experience with. She's done everything from captaining a yacht to overseeing a couture textile company to putting her superior palate to use as a caviar taste tester, so she likes to think that she knows luxury when she sees it. "Some people think that simply throwing a bunch of gold leaf on something or dousing food in truffle oil makes for luxury, but that's just silly," she says when asked about the subject, "Luxury is not something one buys. It is a feeling."
It was this point she was attempting to argue with her good friend Mama Bee, who had just introduced a line of "luxury" honeys to her already existing honey empire. "From a branding perspective, saying something is luxurious is a self fulfilling prophecy," Mama Bee countered, "Simply seeing the word evokes the feeling of luxury!" At that very moment, the two happened to be walking along Michigan Ave. and Brandy stopped in her tracks to point towards a restaurant on the second floor above them. "See this here?" she said, "This is the Grand Lux Cafe. Let's put your theory to the test and see if the mere implication of the word 'luxury' will give us a luxurious brunching experience."
Settling into a booth that overlooked the street below, the ladies picked out a few cocktails; the Sparkling Spanish Rose for Brandy and the Strawberry Bellini for Mama Bee. The Bellini was fresh tasting and very sweet due to the addition of Cointreau, which made it perfect for Mama Bee. The Spanish Rose was a little more to Brandy's liking, being a combination of sangria and Prosecco, which made it a little dry, but crisp and very fruity.
They started off the meal properly with a Warm Goat Cheese Salad and some Double Stuffed Potato Spring Rolls. The salad was quite an interesting combination of crunchy greens and diced apples with a peppery and lemony dressing and small warm spheres of bread crumb coated goat cheese, which added a nice pop of richness. "I'm detecting a touch of honey here," Mama Bee said knowingly, "And that little hint of sweetness makes this salad such a unique experience!" The westernized spring rolls were also rather delightful, with a fun mix of textures in the crunchy shell and the smooth mashed potatoes within. The smokiness of the bacon mixed with the melted cheddar cheese and the pungent spring onions made the flavor just as fun as the presentation, "One of my greatest pleasures in life is really well done fusion food," said Brandy, "And this is an example of just how fun mixing up cultures can be!"
Lastly, the ladies ordered the Churro French Toast and a pair of Honey Vanilla Lattes for a make shift dessert. The lattes were surprisingly sweet and lovely, with a smooth coffee flavor that helped to wash away the sleepiness that comes from such a substantial meal. The French toast was a rather extraordinary thing, with a very melty, custard like interior and a crunchy sugar coated exterior that really did remind one of a churro. Due to the fact that the pieces had been positively bathed in cinnamon sugar and then doused in chocolate and caramel, Brandy and Mama Bee concurred that this dish would be much more appropriate as a dessert as opposed to a breakfast dish. "If you ate this whole plate of French toast for breakfast," Mama Bee laughed, "You'd be buzzing on a sugar high for the rest of the day for sure!"
"Well, I don't know about you, but this certainly did feel like a luxurious meal, whether that was due to the name of the restaurant or not!" Mama Bee said once they had wandered back out onto the street. "Comforting? Yes. Delicious? Certainly. But luxurious?" Brandy questioned. "What wasn't to like? Mama Bee questioned her, "The service was beyond friendly, the decor was stunning, and the food was lovely!" "Yes, but the prices were actually quite reasonable," Brandy pointed out, "And to truly evoke a feeling of luxury, one must charge exorbitant prices so that the purchaser really has to question the quality of their experience. That brunch seemed like a steal when put into those terms!" "Perhaps you're right," Mama Bee pondered, "I better raise the prices of my luxury honey then!"
The writers of this blog were invited to dine at the restaurant free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
The Short and Sweet Review
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