Happy Easter...

Traditions have always been important to me, especially when it comes to holidays. Christmas witnesses, for example, my annual Cookie Bonanza, my yearly photo op with Lisa in front of the Daley Plaza Christmas tree, and our trek down to White Hall to celebrate with Mom's side of the family at Seton Hall. Easter used to be my day for watching Jesus Christ Superstar, but given that Justin is not particularly fond of Andrew Lloyd Webber's brand of Biblical rock opera, we opted to make Easter brunch at the Chicago Botanic Garden our new Easter custom after trying it for the first time last year.

The unseasonably warm winter and spring we've had so far this year meant that the plants were blooming in force this year, in comparison to the relatively bleak landscape we observed last year. For me, this was actually more of a detriment than a benefit, as it sent my already terrible allergies into a tailspin, and spent the morning sneezing, sniffling, and trying not to rub all the makeup off my eyes. Still, all the blooms made for a much nicer photo of Justin and I in our Easter finery:

I'm sad to report that the food wasn't quite as good as last year. The main dishes were still uniformly tasty, but the selection seemed smaller, and the dessert table was definitely in a sorry state. Where there were several varieties of cheesecake, flourless chocolate cake, carrot cake, cookies, brownies, and a wide array of top-quality candy last year, there were only three different dessert options and the candy seemed to be representative of what might have been on sale at Costco. Considering that the price of brunch had gone up since last year, we were a little disappointed.

Even so, the surroundings were quite spectacular, and we lucked out with incredible weather. It was sunny, and a bit more brisk than it has been lately, but still very pleasant. The jury is still out as to whether we'll be back next year, but I still feel that the Botanic Gardens is probably the best combination of affordability and atmosphere in the area. Even if brunch doesn't fit into your own Easter traditions, I would recommend making a pilgrimage to the Botanic Gardens just to take in the scenery. Just don't forget to load up on allergy medication before you do...

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