A new way to relax

Real food, with a modern, artistic edge

Bird + Cleaver food from the The Greenhouse Dinner. Photography by The Colagrossis

Bird Food by Bird + Cleaver
The success of any dynamic duo depends on the strength of the partnership, the give and take, the shared memories, ideas and future plans. John and Lindsay Cheesebrew, husband and wife, play off each other’s many talents as they navigate and grow their niche of craft catering (did I just make up this term? If yes, I want full credit forevermore). I cringe using the word foodie to describe either of the Cheesebrews because it’s not nearly cool enough a moniker. They are gourmands but not in a stuffy, pretentious way. The Cheesebrews met in culinary school and discovered a shared love for simple food done well, fostered by the traditions of their own grandmothers. The Cheesebrews started a blog five years ago, calling it Bird + Cleaver, a play off John’s pet name for Lindsay (he’s the Cleaver). The blog is wildly popular online, thanks to Lindsay’s stunning photographs and their straightforward recipes, entries from which have been picked up by national outlets. Locally, under the new-ish name Bird Food, they have a fantastic reputation for artistically produced platters of fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and baked goods. They appreciate and promote real food, taking their time to create colorful arrangements of produce, complemented by inventive spreads, savory baked goods and balanced desserts, nothing overly cloying, instead relying on spices, herbs and a bit of salt (my fave) instead of too much saccharine. Lighter fare like salads and soups, smaller portions of main dishes and unique desserts, such as their legendary Honey Pie, give Bird Food its modern edge in the catering industry. They don’t, and simply can’t, say yes to every request because they are small and they like it that way. These two play to their strengths and know when they simply can’t suit a prospective client’s needs. You’ll find Bird & Cleaver’s handiwork in the most chic, au courant spaces, at the coolest events happening in the city because their food is an experience in itself. Check out their website for recipes via their blog, upcoming events as well as limited availability boxed lunches. I’m dreaming of the day when the Cheesebrews open up their own brick and mortar business. www.birdandcleaver.com.
To see more photos by The Colagrossis from the dinner, click here.

Rivers Relaxation
I have a brain that just does not stop churning. That’s not to say it’s doing something of value, in fact it’s quite the opposite. I’m not curing cancer, rather analyzing a recent awkward social interaction, making mental to-do lists and contemplating the latest “Real Housewives” scandal while whipping myself into a frenzy trying too hard to multitask, multitask, multitask throughout each day. I may look calm on the outside, but chances are I’m worried about something and there’s more than likely a giant stress knot in my shoulders. I know this is not unique to me. I know this because most of my friends, just like me, are on a perpetual search for even just a sliver of peace in their day, whatever that may mean to them. In my eternal quest for Zen (and because I crave spa experiences daily), I happily jumped out of my clothes and into an isolation tank at Rivers Relaxation as soon as I knew it existed. It was divine. The one-hour session spent floating in 1,000 gallons of heated water and a half-ton of Epsom salt was relaxing and so much fun. The feeling of being completely weightless was incredible; I felt like I was floating through space. The tank is roomy and well lit, and the lid is on hydraulics so it’s easy to open and close, in case you’re worried about feeling claustrophobic. The knowledgeable staff will guide you through all the particulars before your first float (showering before and after is an absolute must) to ensure you have a great experience. Rivers Relaxation is open 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Sat. and noon-6 p.m. Sun., 1505-B W. Dupont Road, 46825. To learn more: (260) 490-1151 or www.riversrelaxation.com.

Concordia Theological Seminary
As part of the first annual Design Week Fort Wayne, a guided tour was offered of the impressive, Eero Saarinen-designed campus of Concordia Theological Seminary, and I was honored to be included in the group. The campus consists of 25 academic and student life buildings and dormitories all designed by Saarinen and his associates in a Scandinavian village style with incredible details that have been lovingly cared for and protected. The campus stands as an incredible example of Mid-Century Modern style. It’s a real gem, award-winning, in fact, and is available to be appreciated by all, regardless of religious affiliation. I encourage anyone interested in architecture, especially of the MCM variety, to visit Concordia Theological Seminary. Take your camera. Concordia Theological Seminary is located at 6600 N. Clinton St., 46825. For more information, call (260) 452-2100 or visit www.ctsfw.edu.

First appeared in the June 2016 issue of Fort Wayne Magazine.

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