Sunday Brunch at the Bristol Lounge? Yes, please.

On Sunday morning, I hopped out of bed at 7:30 AM (a rare occurence for me on a weekend) to get ready for a day in Boston.  The occasion?  Brunch at the Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel.

A few weeks ago, I entered a contest on the Boston Brunchers website to attend a complimentary brunch hosted by the Four Seasons.  To enter, all we had to do was follow the hotel on Twitter (@FSBoston) and leave a comment saying why we thought we should get to go to the event.  Representatives from the hotel picked 7 winners.  I almost fell out of my chair at work when I saw the tweet saying I was one of the lucky 7.

When I arrived at the hotel at 10 AM, the hotel PR rep, Kristan, greeted us with a smile, gave a brief description of what our event entailed and graciously led us to the hotel’s pastry shop.

Once inside, we were given a warm welcome by two of the hotel’s pastry chefs.  We noticed seven stations of parchment paper with a makeshift piping bag on the large counter.  Chef Ashley proceeded to give us a lesson on how to pipe words in chocolate by gently putting pressure on the bag and letting the chocolate flow as it pleased.  I need some practice (check mine out… looks like a 5 year old did it!) but his was incredible.  Some of my fellow brunchers were good at it as well.  Mom, if I just start melting chocolate and using obsene amounts of parchment paper, please do not be alarmed.

From there, Kristan took us down to the Bristol Lounge where a large buffet was set up for brunch.  We sat at a round table, each table setting decorated in our honor.  Then, the head chef of the hotel, Chef Vosika, came to chat with us, giving us fun facts and relaying the importance of brunch to himself personally as well as the hotel.

Time to eat? Yes please.  There were so many options, I had a hard time choosing.  I think I walked around and around at least 10 times with an empty plate debating on what to get.  However, that did not stop me from filling my plate for a first go-around.

When I returned to the table, hot coffee, fresh orange juice and a “Lobster Trap,” the Four Seasons Boston’s rendition of a Bloody Mary sat in front of me.  I dug into my (first) plate of food which included individual huevos rancheros, a cheese blintz, a mini yogurt parfait, oatmeal with berries and poached pears with cranberries and walnuts (by far my favorite item of the whole brunch and the only thing I had a second helping of!)  There was baked french toast (good thing I tried that last, I could’ve eaten an entire batch of it), bocconcini, and cranberry toast with a smear of goat cheese.  I also helped myself to a warm scone with homemade strawberry jam that our pastry chef buddies sent down after we left them. 

I must say, the atmosphere, the food, the generosity and graciousness of the entire staff at the Four Seasons and the Bristol Lounge made me feel right at home.  Although the decor was on the fancy side (hello.. it’s the Four Seasons!), I was completely comfortable and chatted endlessly with my fellow brunchers: Megan, Justin, Kimmy, Jessica, Robin and Athena.  Thank you so much to Renee (we missed you!) and the Four Seasons for hosting us (and giving us a behind-the-scenes tour)!  It truly was an incredible experience and I hope to go back again soon.

Oh – and about those fun facts that Chef Vosika gave to us…  Well, the Four Seasons was giving away a free overnight stay at their Boston location and I was one of the four finalists via Twitter.  No, I didn’t win… but for being one of the finalists, the Four Seasons gave me a complimentary dessert to enjoy in their Bristol Lounge.  Now I have a definite excuse to go back… who wants to come with?  I can’t eat this cake tower, building, Prudential Center-looking skyscraper all by myself!

And I might have taken in a Sox game with my bestie Alyse after brunch.  The beer was cold, the guys in front of us were funny and the Sox won.  Not bad.

Sweet seats

Awww Yeahh

In Memory of my Grandmother Lena Torto

My grandmother, Lena, had a beautiful life.  She married my grandfather at the young age of 16 (he was 18), raised four wonderful childen (3 girls, 1 boy), watched 7 grandchildren grow up (2 boys, 5 girls) and saw 2 great-granddaughters brought into the world.

Christmas 2010

My grandmother was always the foundation of my family.  She cooked, cleaned, raised her kids, took care of my grandfather (who was a bit of a handful in his older years if I recall correctly) and made sure her house was always full of love (and food.)

Grammy & Grampy

As a child, I spent much of my time at my grandparents’ house.  They lived in the second floor apartment of their 2-family building while one of my aunts lived on the first floor.  As an early teenage, I pet-sat my aunt’s 2 fluffy bishons which gave me an excuse to be with grandmother every afternoon.  Grammy always made me dinner on nights before I went to dance and on the off nights, I would stay late and watch TV with her.  No wonder why I love the Food Network, Jeopardy, The Price is Right and Wheel of Fortune so much.

When my grandfather died in 2000, I was 12 years old.  He was my grandmother’s whole life but she pushed on, caring for her family, still being the strongest woman I’ve ever met.

Grampy and Girls 1997

During the summer of 2005, my grandmother had a stroke while asleep in her bed.  The doctors didn’t expect her to make it very long, but she managed to live almost 6 years after the stroke occurred.  She is the most resilient woman I’ve ever met and I hope to be just like her.

I love you Grammy.  I’m sure Grampy is happy to see you after all this time.

We miss you already.

Christmas 2007

OOOOOOklahoma!

 Sorry… every time I talk about Oklahoma, someone sings that song.  Most of the time it’s me.  I can’t help it, it’s catch-y.

Anyway, yes, I spent my Memorial weekend from Friday til Monday in Oklahoma. Why? Because I dance for the National Dance Alliance (
“NDA”, a company based out of Texas) and Oklahoma is where our first camp of the year is… and it’s pretty centrally located anyway.

I love Oklahoma.  Sure, it’s a tad flat and yes, they aren’t experiencing the best weather at the moment (Read: devastating tornadoes) but nonetheless, it’s a very nice state.  If you haven’t been, I recommend checking it out.  Even if it’s just to see the University of Oklahoma at Norman.  If you went to a tiny college like mine, the campus alone will blow your mind.

I spent the weekend seeing some of the most incredible people I’ve ever met.  It is a rare occasion (only once a year) when I see some of the NDA staff because we come from all different states and don’t always get to work together.  But even only seeing them once or twice a year, when we get together for staff meeting, it’s like I saw them yesterday.  We are one big family and it’s one of the reasons why I love my job with them.

So camps for this summer.. so far I have 6 and I want at least 3-4 more.  At least.  As of right now, I will be spending my summer bouncing around Maryland, Kentucky, New York (twice), Wisconsin (never been there before) and Rhode Island throughout July and August and will hopefully find a camp or two towards the end of June. 

Oh – and some unrelated exciting news…

First – my DanceWorks Boston show is this Thursday and Friday!  The culmination of 4 months of very hard work and the curtain goes up tomorrow!  I am so lucky to be apart of DWB, have met some amazing people and get to do what I love.  I haven’t been in a “recital” of sorts since my senior year of high school (no, college nationals doesn’t count) so I’m really looking forward to performing on the BU Dance Theater stage.  (PS – there are still tickets for sale if you want to go but they are selling out fast.)

Second – a few weeks ago, I entered the Boston Bruncher’s June event contest to win a complimentary brunch at the Bristol Lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel in Boston.  I found out yesterday, via Twitter, that I was one of the 6 chosen to attend!  Needless to say, I have never been to the Bristol Lounge or the Four Seasons Boston so I am very much looking forward to this brunch.  It’s next Sunday and I will be sure to borrow a camera from someone to take lots of pictures and bring you a full recap of the yummy food I get to eat.

Finally, my good friend Megan from Cooking Whims got engaged over the weekend to her boyfriend, now fiance, of 6 and 1/2 years!  Congrats MK & Chris!!