What inspires you? Is it Family? Faith? Food? Inspiration can be present itself in just about any form and is unique to the individual seeking its stimulation. As I write this post, I’m inspired by the memory of the night I gathered with members of the Atlanta Food Bloggers’ Society at Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining for a menu tasting. Next to my laptop is my cell phone – through it, I’m streaming the Morgan James Pandora station. So let’s add Music. Music and the memory of a lovely evening dining with my blogging pals at Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining are my inspiration in this moment.
Formerly known as Table 1280, the restaurant, located in the heart of Midtown on the Woodruff Arts Center campus, has rebranded and now boasts a fresh, creative approach to its decor and to their chef-driven menu. From the moment I stepped inside Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining I felt relaxed. The space is bright, welcoming and refreshingly casual. So is the staff. They provided us with a “never want for anything” type dining experience without the slightest hint of pretense.
The entry to the restaurant is flanked by attractive wine displays, three of which house wines offered by the bottle. A fourth display houses wine by the bottle AND by the glass. Tip: Should you choose to dine on a Friday night this Summer, you’ll have the opportunity to take advantage of their Half-Priced Bottles deal (…while it lasts). As we gathered, I accepted a glass of Chateau Saint-Pierre Rose, France ’15. I took a chance in trying this as I tend to lean toward white wines. I truly enjoyed it.
In addition to wine, we sampled several cocktails paired with a steady stream of artfully crafted entrees. The menu is internationally inspired because of their clientele but is also southern inspired. For example, the 3 House-Made Dips we shared offer Southern and Mediterranean tastes with a delicious roasted garlic and garbanzo bean Hummus, an Olive Tapenade and a classic Pimento Cheese served with fresh veggies and grilled baguettes.
I took quite a few pictures so you could see how beautiful the drinks and entrees were. You eat with your eyes first right? Now that you can see it, let me tell you what all of this loveliness is. The cocktails we sipped were:
Old Cuban – Bacardi 8 Aged Rum, Sparkling Wine, Lime, Mint, Angostura
El Diablo – Excelia Tequila Blanco, Creme De Cassis, Fresh Lime Juice, Ginger Beer
Sangria – Savida Sangria, Agave Nectar, Fresh Fruit, Basil, Mint
Strawberry Caipirinha – Mae De Oro CachaÇa, Fresh Strawberries, Lime Squeeze
‘High’ Kick Mule – Medley Brothers Bourbon, Cardamaro, Ginger Beer, Fresh Lime
As for the food…
This is a Chopped Spring Salad. Per the menu, it’s constructed of Crisp Romaine, Jumbo Asparagus, Vine Ripe Tomatoes, Pancetta, “Sweet Grass Dairy Farm” Asher Bleu, Avocado, Squash, Chick Peas, Creamy Italian Dressing and Crispy Onions. Per my taste buds, its fresh, yummy good-for-you-ness.
The Maine Lobster Roll – what a wonderful treat this was.
A nice Dinner option was the Farmer’s Vegetable Farro. Inside were Vine-Ripe Tomatoes, Zucchini, Squash, Lady Peas, Shiitake Mushrooms, Yellow Grape Tomatoes, Arugula and Parsley Oil. We also tried some chicken wings that I’ll tease you with a little more in just a moment. The Open-Faced Bruschetta Steak Sandwich was a hit for many. I’m not really into pink but I hear it’s pretty amazing. However, I am totally into Maine Lobster Deviled Eggs with Chives and Citrus Aioli. You really have to try these. Now, about those wings…
These little pieces of culinary genius are Lollipop Smoked Chicken Wings. The menu describes these as “Ashley Farms” Frenched Wings and Maple Bourbon Sauce. I think they’re wonderful. When I first saw them, I thought they looked a bit uncared for. But, after I tasted them, all I could do was pray that they would forgive me for prejudging their royal goodness. These ARE my favorite thing from Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining.
The Melon & Grape Salad was a nice, lighter option. Choices like this make easy work of ordering Lunch or Dinner when you’re trying to do good.
Finally, we have a Jumbo Sea Scallops entree. This one is offered on the Dinner menu and includes Pearl Cous Cous, Sundried Tomatoes, Local Wild Greens, Radicchio, Shiitake Mushrooms, Lady Peas, Cremini Mushrooms and Parsley Oil. I know it sounds like a lot but we actually enjoyed small plates of each featured dish.
The finale was an assortment of Twelve Eighty Desserts including a Rich Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Bean Panna Cotta (shown in a pic way above),
Key Lime Cheesecake and
Banana Pudding Cheese Cake. These are not all available at the same time so you’ll have to check when you arrive to see which sweets are being served.
Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining isn’t positioned on a street curb with flashing neon lights but it is easy to find. Their location is the perfect compliment to one of Atlanta’s leading destinations for the arts. For anyone attending a performance, taking in an art exhibition or simply visiting the Midtown area, a stop at Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining is a stop one should consider including in their itinerary. When you go, order some wings for me please. Thanks!
For more information about Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining visit The Woodruff Arts Center Website.
Disclosure: The meal I happily enjoyed at Twelve Eighty – Inspired Dining was complimentary. I received no monetary compensation for this post. All opinions are based on my own personal experience. You can view my full Disclosure Policy here.