Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Catch the Morning Star         September, 2014                         

Most boys growing up during the space race took an interest in astronomy. We built models of spaceships and did show and tell projects using styrofoam balls representing the sun, the moon and the planets.  Pluto was a planet then and I swear I did not snicker anytime someone said Uranus. We learned to identify the constellations and the various objects in the night sky. I have seen comets, shooting stars, the Southern Cross, orbiting satellites, eclipses, and, yes, I have seen planets.  I am reminded of all this most mornings when I depart for the office before first light and look up as I open the car door and notice just above the horizon in the east, the Morning Star- Venus.

Being a morning person, I love breakfast. Probably my favorite meal of the day. And so it was on Labor Day morning I once again consulted the heavens for a good place for breakfast. I was in Grand Haven, Michigan on the "west coast" of my newly adopted state. I should not have been surprised when Googling "breakfast in Grand Haven" that the first listed item was The Morning Star Cafe.

The festive purple exterior should have been my first clue that this would be a special breakfast.  The decor is eclectic but nothing at all tacky or distasteful.  The Fiesta-ware place settings and the tiled counter all gave the first hints of the Southwest cuisine that is revealed when the menu is opened. The hostess and servers have the ready smile that is requisite for serving the eye opening first meal of the day. Having grown up eating my mother's famous cinnamon buns Philadelphia style, I am a sucker for a good homemade breakfast roll. So that was of course the easy choice. After perusing the very original menu, I chose the Marbled Corn Bread Scramble · Scrambled eggs with bacon, tomato, avocado and cheddar cheese over homemade blue & yellow swirled corn bread, all topped with sour cream and cracked black pepper. Satisfied with my selection, I started to anticipate a real treat.
Cinnabon eat your heart out!

First up was the Cinnamon Roll, baked in their own kitchen, served warm and topped with sweetened cream cheese icing. Every bite was epic. Since my mother's recipe is more the sticky bun variety, I can honestly say this roll was outstanding- every taste was the right blend of  warm soft roll and sweet gooey delight. As I slowly savored each bite, my mind fast forwarded to the pending arrival of the scramble- anticipation of greatness was rising. 

Cornbread is an art form unto itself. I have an increasing awareness of its import to American cuisine as a perfect compliment to Chili on a cold winter afternoon, or as a companion to good barbecue on a warm summer night. I had, however never heard of, nor seen, blue and gold marbled cornbread let alone enjoyed it in combination with the perfect blend of cheesy eggs, bacon, hashed browns, tomato and avocado- with a side of pico de gallo.  To cut to the chase, my breakfast at the Morning Star was a definite top 5 Breakfast of all time. 

As if to put an exclamation on the meal, as I finished my last bite, a local resident came in and sat down next to me at the counter. He greeted me with a upbeat "Hey, how are you?". "Great," I said, "after that breakfast. It was something special." Without hesitating, he said "That is why I have been a regular for 15 years."  For my friends in the Midwest, if you are thinking about a vacation or long weekend on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan do not pass up the opportunity to have a fantastic breakfast at the Morning Star Cafe. They also  serve lunch. Check out the menu http://morningstarcafe.org/images/MENU_2014_FINAL.pdf

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