If you survived Saturday night's Meatopia or your killer hangover, the Southern Kitchen Brunch this past Sunday was there to cradle and comfort you with soulful food and sweet tunes.
Forget having a New York Times bestselling cookbook, multiple Grammys, and an Emmy for Trisha's Southern Kitchen. Having Garth Brooks for a husband is pretty grand. Trisha Yearwood has it all. She flew in at 5 a.m. yesterday from a show in Detroit to host this brunch that festivalgoers so desperately needed.
It was a welcome respite from the rock 'n' roll, food 'n' drink lifestyle we have lived over the past few days. Some of the nation's best Southern chefs prepared fried chicken, waffles, and grits for the soul.
Trisha Yearwood functioned beautifully on little sleep as she was met by her adoring fans from the food and music worlds.
She also supplied treats from her kitchen, including a breakfast burrito, Hawaiian fruit salad, key lime cheesecake, and crabcakes.
But the dish that pulled on our heartstrings most was the Coca-Cola short ribs with smoked cheddar polenta from Robert Leoci of Leoci's Trattoria in Savannah, Georgia.
When entering the Loews ballroom, we saw Art Smith, who had just successfully presided over 101 Gay Weddings. He was all smiles and loved the line from the New York Times: "A mix of elegance and irreverence." For this brunch, he served the most delicious fried chicken with saw-mill gravy over Bradley's grits.
Another fried-chicken favorite was from Jeff McInnis (formely of Yardbird) and Janine Booth of Root & Bone in New York City. We never saw McInnis, but we did enjoy the fried chicken, tomato, and cheddar waffle with a whiskey syrup.
For a different bird, the duck grillades with Gruyère grits from City Grocery in Oxford, Mississippi, was also decadent.
Elizabeth Karmel, of Carolina Cue To-Go, gave us that famed Carolina barbecue in a whole-hog sandwich with red slaw.
Loews Miami Beach, where the event was held, provided the sweet treats and a killer lobster roll with homemade chips with shaved truffle.
When we were fully stuffed, Lee Schrager got onstage to introduce Trisha Yearwood. He said that because of her media appearances and the tour for her new album, Prizefighter, he had thought there was no way she could return to host. But he was so impressed and grateful that she found a way, even if that meant a redeye flight and that she would leave right after the event.
Yearwood explained that coming to South Beach and hosting this event was hardly a sacrifice. She was gracious and charming and said that because she is a classically trained chef like the other guests, she had to pull out all the stops. So she made us swoon and belted out four songs.
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