Yesterday I woke up, put on my sparkly holiday best and headed to Cafe Fleuri at the Langham Hotel for the annual family holiday brunch. For the past few years my aunt's family has been kind enough to include me in their annual kick off to the season. The first year we all went to the Rockettes and for the past two years we've been toasting at this insanely decadent brunch.
I arrived and two of the ladies were already seated at our table. Soon after our full party arrived and our waiter promptly filled all our glasses with mimosas. Yes, please!
The Cafe Fleuri holiday brunch is a series of buffets. We learned last year that you have to strategically plan your plates and most importantly, you have to pace yourself.
We made a group decision to start with the breakfast offerings. There were beautiful yogurt parfaits served in martini glasses.
Purple hued honey, strawberry and banana smoothie shooters.
A rainbow of fresh fruit. Those berries looked deliciously juicy!
There was an omelette station with options from mushrooms to tomatoes to bacon to lobster.
There were mini Belgian waffles and a bevy of toppings including caramelized bananas, chocolate shavings and blueberry compote.
After circling the two breakfast tables, I decided on three items for my first plate: an omelette with mushrooms, onions and cheddar cheese, a scoop of home fries and a mini Belgian waffle with chocolate shavings and raspberry sauce. Mmmm!
While we were enjoying our breakfast, one of the Cafe's servers came around with a wicker basket and asked if we'd like to sample their house made beignets. Don't mind if we do!
The beignet was light, fluffy and coated in cinnamon sugar.
Round two was lunch appetizers and entrees. This round is the most difficult to make decisions during because the possibilities are endless!
There were meats and cheeses.
Beautifully presented bites like prosciutto wrapped asparagus.
A vertical tomato and mozzarella salad.
A raw bar set up in a boat! Shrimp, lobster claws and oysters.
Sushi and a generous bowl of wasabi for the adventurous.
For the carnivores there is a meat carving station.
The most popular station is always the pasta station. I stood in line for a good fifteen minutes!
There is a kiddie table complete with chicken fingers and mini hot dogs.
My lunch plate consisted of gnocchi with spicy tomato sauce, tomato and mozzarella salad and one spinach puff.
The last and most important course is dessert! When we headed back toward the buffet area, our first stop was the chocolate fountain. For those interested in dunking something beneath the chocolate waterfall, there were marshmallows, fruit and pretzels. Yum!
There were three kinds of cupcakes: chocolate, vanilla and red velvet. Each cupcake was adorned with perfectly swirled frosting and edible embellishments.
One side of the dessert table was covered in mini cakes and pies of every persuasion.
Above those treats was a shelf of puddings, mousses and custards all in tiny glass jars.
By the time we were picking out desserts, I was already full, but - when in Rome! I wound up with a chocolate covered marshmallow, a chocolate Rice Krispie treat and a jar of dark chocolate mousse. This mousse was superb! I had to stop myself from attempting to lick the inside of the jar.
In addition to the incredible spread, the Cafe Fleuri holiday brunch comes complete with Santa (he even has an elf that walks around with him to take the pictures), holiday balloons and my personal favorite, carolers. The carolers wear old fashioned outfits and sing the Christmas standards. We couldn't help but sing along when they set up shop next to our table.
Of all the annual traditions I participate in with family and friends, this is one of my favorites. The Langham Hotel always makes me feel so fancy and grown up. The spread at Cafe Fleuri is fit for a queen and I'm happy to play the part. Their holiday twist on brunch is cheery and delightful. In the interest of full disclosure, this brunch is not cheap. The cost is $70 per person, so certainly consider it a special occasion.
Does your family have a tradition to kick off the holiday season?