Sunday, July 1, 2012

Brunch with Grace

Here's what you do on a hot summer Sunday:

First: Have a small breakfast on your deck.  Yogurt and fresh organic blueberries.  Maybe a pastry from Empire State South, or toast.  Take your iPad out there and blog a bit, or catch up on the news, or maybe call a friend - preferably in a time zone ahead of yours if it's too early.

Second:  Watch CBS Sunday Morning (9-10:30 ET).  Hands down, the most uplifting and just plain interesting news show on TV.  Be prepared to learn something, and don't forget to enjoy the artwork - always a painting or sculpture of the sun.

Third: Sundays in Atlanta mean brunch.  Located in the open air mall, The Forum (off Peachtree Parkway in Gwinnett County), Grace 1720 has a decidedly French Country feel, with stone tile and thick walls.  No reservations required.  Go with friends, or a date, as long as they are looking for a refined experience.  Iced tea with simple syrup, linen napkins, great service.  The brunch/lunch menu includes appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrees.  We shared the baby spinach salad, with golden raisins, and goat cheese, and a light vinaigrette.  The golden raisins were a great touch, and goat cheese crumbles are perfect.  Then we shared the shrimp salad wrap, which was dill shrimp salad wrapped in spinach and a tortilla.  The dill was slightly overdone, but I'd recommend it anyway.  Refreshing on a hot summer day.  I don't know about you, but I have a need to finish meals with coffee, and Grace coffee is fantastic.  Just a simple regular coffee with cream and sugar.  Wonderful closing.

Third:  Have brunch at Grace 1720 at the Forum in Gwinnett County

Fourth:  Shopping at the Forum.  If you're not wiped out from Brunch and need a nap, take in some of the shops in The Forum.  

Fifth: Nap.  That's right!  It's a summer day.  You just brunched.  Now it's time to remind yourself it's Sunday.  Turn up the AC, settle into a cool bed with Pottery Barn sheets and Ralph Lauren down pillows and dream the afternoon away.  

Sixth: Coming out of a two hour nap, Sunday evening looks a lot better.  First, go to a movie.  A really good theater is Midtown Art Cinema on Monroe.  Try to have a drink at the bar at Apres Diem right before the movie.  If you're lucky, they'll be playing Tracy's iPod.  Tracy is one of the servers there.  She selects the coolest music from around the world - an infinitely smooth playlist.  Try a manhattan there, or a Hendrick's gin and tonic with thick slices of peeled cucumber.  

Finally:  As a backdrop for post-movie discussion, go to La Tavola on Virginia Ave, right around the corner from Midtown Art.  Have the spaghetti and meatballs.  It's voted one of the 100 foods you have to have in Atlanta before you die in Creative Loafing, and they're not kidding.  Something lighter?  Try the beef tagliata.  Very thin slices of pepper crusted beef with arugula, shaved parmesan, and drizzled lightly with extra virgin olive oil.  Yum!  Say hi to Alli or Cris a the bar.  Finish up with the special dessert - trust them, whatever it is.  

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