Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Brunch at Aventura - Ann Arbor

Ask any American expat what culinary delights they miss most while overseas and they will undoubtedly reply: Brunch. Delicious comfort food, a bit of booze and happy, lingering conversation in a fun atmosphere. Truly? What is not to like? 

I would also add to that list of longing: a touch of culinary adventure. For while the food in France is as truly exceptional as its reputation declares, it can often veer back to the safe side. When I am in the States, I delight in discovering the new and taking my taste-buds for a ride.

And so, one rainy Sunday on my most recent trip back, I suggested to my Mom that we try a relatively recent restaurant in Ann Arbor, Aventura. 

I love to contradict naysayers with proof that, "the Mid-West is not what it used to be" and Aventura's sleek and yet welcoming design fits that particular bill perfectly.

We were given a gracious welcome - ok, it hasn't changed entirely! Folks are still very friendly even in cosmopolitan Ann Arbor.

Rather than slip into mimosa sleepiness, I jazzed things up by selecting a blood orange, gin and Campari cocktail. One glance at the bearded hipster shaking things up behind the bar (does he call himself a "mixologist"? He might.) told me that I would be in good hands and I was right.

As nothing makes me happier than the "small plate" revolution that is currently trending in the States, I was delighted to see that Aventura, which is a tapas restaurant serving modern Spanish cuisine, had also extended the idea to brunch as well. My Mom and I split a coca or flatbread topped with goat cheese, mushrooms and a farm fresh egg plus a shrimp and polenta bowl topped with sauteed spinach. Both were pitch-perfect excellent.

But the truly melodic tones came from a very talented flamenco guitarist who strummed quietly throughout our meal. As I mentioned to him later, in Arles - home of the Gypsy Kings! - we hear quite a lot of such music and yet his finesse was to be admired. It really was the cherry on the cake of a lovely meal and a good thing to as, foolishly, we declined getting the churros with salted caramel and chili chocolate for dessert. I know, what were we thinking? We weren't.

Afterwards, John, Aventura's genuinely charming General Manager, took us on a tour of the private wine cellar...

...past the open kitchen ("Merci, chef!")...

...through another seriously romantic made for snuggling cocktail lounge and out onto the back patio, where dancing happens on Thursdays. I could be up for that.

I had to do a little "research" on their evening menu. How fantastic that the pintxos start at $2! My Sister has already gone with a group of friends and had a fabulous time. At these prices, one can really taste, try new things and share a plenty, which is, of course,  the whole point of tapas! 

I will definitely follow the blinking lights leading me to Aventura on my next visit to Ann Arbor...and since I am taking the plane tomorrow morning...well, that might be sooner than later...


216 East Washington Street
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Tel.: (1) 734-369-3153


  1. My goodness that plate with the flatbread topped with goat cheese, mushrooms and the egg looks AMAZING...

  2. Yep, churros, dancing - anything you missed last time is waiting for you! Hey - let's throw in a wedding! See you soooooooon!!!!!

  3. So you do take the plane tomorrow? Wow! And yummy, I could envy you for those plates! Looks so delicious AND relaxed !

    Have a good trip and a good time!

  4. Yay! I hope you're able to get your brunch fix on your upcoming trip. Have a great visit!

  5. Both brunch dishes look delicious. Wishing you safe and happy travels.

  6. Safe travels and enjoy your stay in the US. And please tell us more about this wonderful place.

  7. Heather ... These moments are memories .. these memories, precious. Music, food, and calming atmosphere will certainly solve the angst of humanity when we all sit at the table together. You captured IT. Mahalo et Merci for sharing.

    Bill Facker

  8. Good food, good music and good friends... what else?
    Happy and safe travels!

  9. ' One glance at the bearded hipster shaking things up behind the bar (does he call himself a "mixologist"? He might.)'

    :) too cute.

    I'm not sure how I feel about 'open kitchens.' I'm thinking I'm not keen on the idea. Brunch, however, I'm with you on that. And who knew the Kings hailed from Arles!?

  10. Bon voyage Heather and bon brunch apetit!
    Delicious and sophisticated with a laid back musical atmosphere to boot...what more could a person ask for!
    How wonderfully lucky to get to experience various parts of this world in this way (I am including myself) even through the more difficult aspects of what that can also represent (uncertainty, being a bit of an outsider, nostalgia for where a person is not) it is nevertheless a very full sort of life.
    My mother often spoke of her childhood years in Ann Arbor as some of the happiest. I have never been, but the people I met from there have given me a feeling of warmth and open mindedness not found everywhere...
    I hope your trip is as lovely as can be!

  11. When do we organize the field trip to Ann Arbor? (*grin*)

    Would you be surprised to know that I have a sudden urge to go whip up some eggs, toast, and home fries?

  12. President Obama to give a major talk Wed. night. Don't think it will be about seat reclining conflicts. But be aware and cool on flights home.

    :-) Joan

  13. So many moves this year; I think I should lend you my name for a while. Have a lovely time.

  14. Aventura looks like has the ambience,excellent food, drinks, clean style and right prices. The shrimp polenta bowl and the flat bread with mushrooms and goat cheese topped with friend egg look so delicious. Almost perfect place to enjoy brunch.
    Small plates or tapas are very popular in restaurants even here in Napa. Mixologist is in vogue. Zuzu in Napa is “Spanish-inspired restaurant and tapas bar”. Aventura has music and more modern look than Zuzu.


Your responses are what makes this blog so special to me. I love hearing from you. Thank you for visiting!

* Comments left on posts two days after publication or more will be published after moderation. So not to worry, they will arrive and again, I appreciate them all so very much...Merci! *

If you prefer, feel free to email me directly at robinsonheather (at) yahoo.com...