Friday, October 30, 2009

The Café Muse

I went there for a grilled cheese sandwich. Yes, a grilled cheese sandwich...and yes, I ate it. Let me tell you why.

A few months before I became a vegan, I saw an episode of the Oprah show in which they selected what they thought were the 10 best sandwiches in the country. Two of the sandwiches were from restaurants in Michigan, Café Muse and Zingerman’s. Café Muse was chosen for its grilled cheese sandwich. Well, loving cheese as much as I do, a trip to Café Muse immediately shot to the top of my summer “list of things to do.” But summer days became weeks, and soon I became a vegan. So the conflict began...

That grilled cheese sandwich was calling my name. I really wanted that sandwich, but cheese was no longer on my list of foods to eat. What to do, what to do… Now, I know vegans would say, “Don’t eat it,” but I’ve been eating grilled cheese sandwiches my entire life and there’s something very comforting about it (I should really re-read the post "Transitioning"). So, after six weeks of eating a fat-free vegan diet, I went in to have my blood work done, and as a treat to myself for being so good (which I was), I got in my car and drove to Royal Oak in search of Café Muse.

Now, I hope I haven’t lost any Michigan readers, because here’s where it gets good. Joy of all joys, the chef at Café Muse cooks vegan too! Along with my sandwich, I ordered a vegan carrot soup that was "happiness" in a bowl and there were other vegan dishes in addition to the rest of the brilliantly prepared food (ahhh… another restaurant to love).

So I returned with one of my beautiful daughters. We sat down and I ordered the veggie burger. It was excellent. I noticed menu items like steel-cut oatmeal with apples, vegan muffins and tofu scramble, and it seems other vegan dishes often make an appearance depending on the whims of the chef. Café Muse is located in downtown Royal Oak, which is a lively, fun community to visit. It’s a small restaurant, lovely inside, and when the weather is good they have outdoor seating. It's a great spot for breakfast or lunch, and soon they will be open at night for go!

Oh yes... that grilled cheese sandwich? It was wonderful, and it certainly deserves the noteworthy acclamations it’s received. And just so you know, it’s made with organic sourdough bread, fresh tomatoes and basil. Then the chef uses cheeses like havarti and fontina, grills it in a European style butter and tops it off with honey… oh my. Believe me, it’s worth the trip, and it’s a great place to go to eat, vegan or otherwise.

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