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It is one of Philly’s steamier weekend mornings; I and my two girlfriends—visiting from Michigan and Ohio—don flow-y summer dresses and strappy sandals and meander through Old City to indulge in a decadent brunch at Talula’s Garden, 210 West Washington Square.

TalulasBrunch_2069Our server Chris greets us and pours coffee as he suggests The Artist, Talula’s specially concocted Bellini of Prosecco, grapefruit, and St. Germain.  We sip the crisp aperitif as a soft breeze whispers through the trees that shade the wood-plank patio.  It might feel contrived to say such words for any other place, but they’re fitting for Talula’s.  Greens and flowers drip down the walls of the atrium, and overhead, silver lanterns swing.  It is an oasis on this hazy day.

“This is lovely,” my friend Kara comments.  “It’s so peaceful and relaxing here.  I forget that I’m in a city.”

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Talula’s brunch menu offers a litany of scrumptious choices.  “Let’s all order different dishes,” I suggest.  “Then we can sample each other’s.”  Under Chris’ careful guidance I order the Warm Sweet Ricotta Crepes with fresh Black Mission figs, house-made ricotta, lemon and tarragon-scented honey, and drizzled saba.  My friend Tammy chooses the Cubano, with roasted pork, fresh greens, and a sunny-side up egg.  After much waffling (it’s brunch; of course the pun is intended!), Kara settles on the Farm Egg Frittata with thyme-roasted new potato, sweet shallots, house-made smoked mozzarella, torn basil, and fresh pesto.  For the three of us to share, she adds a side of buttery biscuits and honey-glazed black pepper bacon.  After all, can it be brunch without bacon?

TalulasBrunch_2084To wake our appetites, Chris brings a bowl of fresh cucumbers and dill, red onion, snap peas, radishes, and pickled peppers.  “This is compliments of our chef,” he smiles as he places the bowl in the middle of the table, sliding aside the neon-green lantern that decorates the garden-scape.  Our Bellinis complement the cool crisp veggies that crunch in our hungry mouths.

It is well past noon when I sink my fork into the flaky layers of my crepes.  I prefer to dine at the latter end of brunch hours, because I can linger over my food without worry that I’m preventing a server from turning a table.  I savor the rich, creamy crepes whose sweetness is cut with just the right amount of lemon.  My girls and I cut morsels for each other and pass the plates.  Though we love every dish, we argue that our choices are the top picks over one another’s.

That is, until Chris convinces us that dessert is a necessary digestif.  “You may think you’re full,” he says, not bothering to hide his grin; “however, the Warm Sweet Little Ricotta Donuts, sugar-dusted and resting in a drizzle of plum marmalade with dots of lemon curd and a dollop of whipped crème fraiche go down happily and easily.”

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Who can deny sweet little donuts that are consumed “happily and easily”?  The three of us can do no more than moan as we sink our teeth into the delectable treats.  The sugar crunches slightly before dissolving on my tongue and the tart plum marmalade and lemon curd melt into the warm pastry enriched with the crème fraiche.

TalulasBrunch_2099It’s possible the group of friends at the next table turn their heads to stare at the three ladies sighing and licking their forks.  It takes much willpower to stop myself from tousling my hair, throwing back my head, and breathing heavily in Meg-Ryan/Sally-Albright-style of the famed Katz’s Deli scene in the classic movie When Harry Met Sally.

Perhaps my brunchgasm prompts that table of strangers to point and say, “I’ll have what she’s having!”

Visit www.talulasgarden.com for hours and menus to plan your own brunchgasm.

Staff Writer:  Jann Simmons Andiamo

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