By David Minsky
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By Laine Doss
Our server, a tall gentleman with an Eastern European accent, presented a carafe of orange juice and a bottle of house champagne — Marquis de La Tour, a light and fruity sparkling wine that retails for around $10 a bottle. He ensured that we were never short more than two finger-widths of a full glass, so that we could convincingly claim that we just had one mimosa during the entire meal.
"What are you celebrating today?" our server asked. After once again convincing a staff member that we weren't celebrating anything, we mentioned that we might return for Mother's Day. He explained that the Circle books quickly for holidays, so an additional room (the Ponce de Leon Ballroom) is opened to accommodate everyone. Although a holiday brunch buffet is virtually no different from an average Sunday, Mother's Day in the Circle costs a tad more — $115 per person, or $45 for children under 11 ($100/$40 in the ballroom).
A child passed by balancing a plated omelet larger than his head, which signaled that we ought to start round two — breakfast. It's difficult to resist eggs Benedict at a brunch buffet, and the Breakers prepared it the way my taste buds had memorized — a soft poached egg atop a slice of salty ham and crusty English muffin. The Benedict isn't made-to-order and instead rests in a buffet chafer that can typically cause food to dry out. However, a slice into the egg released a river of yolk into the buttery hollandaise sauce that was spiked with lemon. Racing to protect the sauce mixture from commingling with the other meal on my plate — a waffle overflowing with maple syrup — I built a barrier of sausage links. The two dishes lived harmoniously, thanks to spicy pork borders. I cleaned my plate.
And so it went. For more than two hours. Our server poured more champagne. I revealed hopes of exploring the hotel's five oceanfront pools. But he thwarted my plans, gently informing me that "those areas are reserved for hotel guests." Dejected, I looked for my date, who was carefully instructing a chef on how to construct the perfect ice cream sundae at the build-your-own station. Craving the smooth, buttery flavor of Brie, I headed for the cheese and pâté table. My body was slowed by vast consumption, and there was no way I could sample the 30-plus dessert options. Waddling back to my seat, I ignored yearnings to stash handfuls of dainty petit fours in a takeaway container and instead enjoyed a selection of cheeses and the dense and creamy pâté with a salty gelée.
By late afternoon, we had tested our chances at "just taking a peek out back" and indeed found ourselves overlooking the ocean as we sprawled on a poolside chaise lounge with a cushion as thick as a Tempur-Pedic mattress. Breakers employees either didn't notice or generously let us have our day in the sun. "Cheers!" said my date. The crunch of two plastic champagne-filled cups signaled the close of a day. It may have been just an ordinary Sunday, but it was cause enough for celebration.