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Lazy Springtime Lunch at T. Cook's

We really, really wanted to play hooky.

But even still, with a meeting to get back to, my colleagues and I got a nice middle-of-the-week respite with lunch at T. Cook's at the Royal Palms. We sat on the back patio, where there was a burbling fountain, some shady spots to sit, and geraniums in bloom. It was so pretty it was almost unreal.

All three us us ended up trying the lunch combos, which seem like the best way to approach the rather lengthy menu (or, for me, to slightly alleviate indecisiveness). I had half a reuben (not bad -- liked the spicy sauerkraut) and a cup of silky lobster bisque, topped with lobster-fennel foam.

One of my companions ordered my second choice, a "B.L.T." with braised kurobuta pork, tomatoes, and arugula on ciabatta. Do you think they gave her enough potato chips?

Another friend went with the restaurant's signature Asian pear salad with Maytag blue cheese, candied walnuts, and balsamic vinaigrette, supplemented with grilled chicken. The cheese really made the dish. A side of spicy roasted corn chowder contained chunks of potato and a couple of buttery croutons.

For $14 apiece (plus an extra $6 for my pal's chicken), it wasn't a cheap lunch, but it was definitely an affordable way to experience one of the city's prettiest restaurants.

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