The South Beach Wine & Food Festival is in full swing. Celebrating its sweet 16, SOBEWFF will draw an estimated 70,000 attendees plus scores of chefs and celebrities for culinary events spread across Miami Beach and the mainland. With more than 85 events to choose from, guests can enjoy a bacchanalia of innovative treats such as doughnut-wrapped fried chicken and kimchi-garnished burgers.
As Saturday and Sunday roll around, pregame the fest or take a break from the madness with brunch at one of Miami's best restaurants. From Viet-Cajun mashups to a boozy rooftop affair, here are five places to consider for a bite and a few mimosas:
1. Phuc Yea
Escape the craziness of South Beach with a quiet meal in the MiMo District. Specializing in Viet-Cajun cuisine, Phuc (pronounced fook) Yea marries Vietnamese and Cajun flavors popular in Houston and New Orleans, where the cities' large Vietnamese populations melded with traditional Southern and Cajun flavors. Created by co-owners Aniece Meinhold and Cesar Zapata — the duo behind the Federal Food Drink & Provisions and later the Fed — Phuc Yea's brunch is a quiet force to be reckoned with. If you go, make sure to order the "brekky" nachos, a spinoff of traditional breakfast nachos ($10). Sesame rice crackers are smothered in salsa, crème fraîche, bird's-eye chili, cheddar cheese, and a fried egg. Cover yourself with a few napkins beforehand because the plate is messy.
2. The Continental
If you want to stay near the main SOBEWFF action, snag a classic brunch at the Continental. It fuses the feeling of a '60s diner with high-quality, gourmet eats and drinks at a reasonable price. Think traditional eggs, toast, and potatoes alongside edgier and funkier options such as a Cuban omelet and cheesesteak egg rolls. Diners can't go wrong with the restaurant's avocado toast, served on fresh Zak the Baker bread and accompanied by two poached eggs.
3. Pawn Broker
At the top of the Langford Hotel in downtown Miami sits Pawn Broker, a bar and lounge by the Pubbelly Boys. On Sundays, the chic spot gives the city's brunch scene something different: a swank rooftop affair similar to those in New York City. Pawn Broker is located in the financial district, not a popular area to roam by foot in search of a restaurant. Brunching there requires one to be in the know. And those who know order the French toast sticks ($8). Fried to a crisp golden brown, the rectangular strips maintain a warm and pillowy center. They're served with a thick chocolate sauce and a light raspberry marmalade for dipping.
One of Miami's newest and most exciting culinary additions is Olla, a Mexican restaurant by Coyo Taco's Scott Linquist. The eatery swaps tacos for multiregional dishes such as moles and pork belly cochinita. Linquist's concept is cuisine de olla, which means food served in traditional Mexican ceramic jars. So most of the restaurant's brunch dishes are served family-style in ollas. Try the menudo ($12), a spicy stew mixed with pork, tripe, hominy, and red chili and topped with a poached egg.
5. Beaker & Gray
America's favorite meal is revamped into crave-worthy, photogenic bites at Beaker & Gray. Start with something light, such as a plate of omelet dumplings ($13). The pillowy yellow egg spheres are packed with chorizo, cilantro, and rocoto. They're not nearly as dense as a traditional omelet, providing the same flavor without the heaviness. Next, dive into something heartier, such as cheeseburger hash served in a small skillet ($14). Doused in a light ají amarillo sauce, the fried meat is complemented by an egg, bacon bits, and banana pepper slices, adding a spicy kick.
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