The South Beach Wine & Food Festival (SOBEWFF) will soon flood South Florida with hundreds of events for five days. But only the weekend will boast the Holy Grail of meals: brunch.
The best part about these events is there are ample seats and tables to sit, rest your feet, and eat a proper meal. Both a hangover cure to soak up all the excess booze from nights prior and an excuse to get the party started early with some day drinking, brunch is a necessary part of the SOBEWFF experience and one of America's favorite pastimes. As Katie Lee, cohost of The Sunday Brunch, puts it: "Brunch is such a social occasion; it's not a meal that you typically would have alone. I like that it gives you a chance to relax with friends and share a meal." The hardest part will be choosing which one to attend or, for the die-hard brunch bunch, how to attempt multiple events.
Williams Family Kitchen Soul Food Brunch, hosted by Pharoah and Pharrell Williams
Singer and producer Pharrell Williams is making brunch a family affair this year by hosting the first Williams Family Kitchen Soul Food Brunch at his Design District restaurant, Swan. His father, chef Pharoah Williams, will dish up his famous Sweet and Spicy Nono Sauce and an over-the-top brunch menu including other family favorites at the Instagram-friendly spot. Sponsors include Belvedere and Moët & Chandon, so you know the bloody marys and mimosas will be topnotch. Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, February 22, at Swan, 90 NE 39th St., Miami. Tickets cost $150 via sobewff.org/swan.
Brunch hosted by Jean-Georges Vongerichten
During what has become one of the most popular brunch events in recent years, the award-winning, globetrotting chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten will host his signature gathering of the weekend at his Miami Beach restaurant, Matador Room. Favorites from Matador Room will be plated alongside fresh, inventive new takes from his concepts around the world. Free-flowing wine and bubbles will complement the lavish multicourse spread. And Vongerichten is always a gracious host, meeting and greeting his guests and working the room with an ear-to-ear smile. Noon to 2 p.m. Saturday, February 22, at Matador Room at the Miami Beach Edition, 2901 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $200 via sobewff.org/matador.
Drag Brunch, presented by Barilla, hosted by Carson Kressley
Part of the Crave Greater Fort Lauderdale Series and presented by My Fort Lauderdale Beach, Drag Brunch is back for its second year. From the team that puts on Pride Fort Lauderdale, this brunch is sure to be a lively one, hosted by none other than author and original Queer Eye cast member Carson Kressley. The TV personality is excited to host the Saturday-afternoon event. "The festival is getting bigger, more inclusive, and more wonderful every year," Kressley says. "We have some amazing drag entertainers, the food will be off the charts, and it wouldn't be drag brunch without some booze. It's about celebrating the festivity of drag. There will be a lot of laughs." The master of ceremonies will be Kitty Meow, who'll bring along drag performers Adora, Kimberly Gomez, Nicole Halliwell, Missy Meyakie LePaige, Sasha Lords, and Erika Norell. Chefs from restaurants throughout South Florida will join the fun. 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, February 23, at W Fort Lauderdale, 401 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $125 via sobewff.org/drag.
Southern Kitchen Brunch, hosted by Trisha Yearwood
Part of the NYT Cooking Series, the annual Southern Kitchen Brunch is one of the festival's signature events. Trisha Yearwood is an Emmy-winning TV personality, Grammy-winning artist, and best-selling cookbook author whose down-to-earth personality and welcoming hospitality are what make her an ideal host. She'll be joined by chefs from across the nation to give brunchgoers a true taste of the South and make sure everyone leaves with a full belly. 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Sunday, February 23, at Loews Miami Beach Hotel, 1601 Collins Ave., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $200 via sobewff.org/southern.
From Harlem to Overtown Brunch, hosted by Marcus Samuelsson and Melba Wilson
This brunch is buzzing with excitement over who will be lucky enough to score tickets for a sneak peek at Red Rooster — Samuelsson's new restaurant in Miami's historic Overtown. The James Beard Award-winning chef is also the honoree at the festival's Tribute Dinner this year, and he's bringing in New York's Melba Wilson to round out an amazing afternoon in the neighborhood. Chow down on plenty of soul food and Southern favorites such as seafood rice and chicken and waffles while washing it down with a refreshing cocktail or two and listening to live music. Noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, February 23, at Red Rooster Overtown, 920 NW Second Ave., Miami. Tickets cost $175 via sobewff.org/harlem.
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Sunday Brunch, hosted by Katie Lee & Geoffrey Zakarian
Also part of the Crave Greater Fort Lauderdale Series, this tasting-style event is an elegant affair at Zakarian's Point Royal at the Diplomat Beach Resort. Katie Lee, Zakarian's TV cohost on The Kitchen, will cohost the event, probably while holding a bloody mary. Asked about her tried-and-true hangover cure, Lee says, "I know a doctor would disagree, but hair of the dog works." The duo will offer an indulgent brunch spread. Says Zakarian, whose brunch libation of choice is champagne: "Our dessert room is just incredible. Also make sure to try the shrimp cocktail, stone crabs, truffled soft-scrambled eggs, berry-stuffed French toast, prime rib, and deviled eggs with caviar, to name a few." Don't miss out on indulging in the ultimate Sunday funday with these two Food Network stars. 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Sunday, February 23, at Point Royal at the Diplomat Beach Resort, 3555 S. Ocean Dr., Hollywood. Tickets cost $165 via sobewff.org/pointroyal.
Brunch hosted by Cedric Vongerichten and Sunny Oh
For those who don't want to miss a minute of sunshine, this rooftop sit-down brunch in South Beach is a real treat. Juvia's executive chef, Sunny Oh, has teamed up with Cedric Vongerichten (son of the legendary Jean-Georges Vongerichten), who recently opened the French-Indonesian restaurant Wayan in New York, for a brunch menu that's changing things up from the usual eggs Benedict. Both toques share an affinity for and expertise in Asian-inspired cuisine, and Vongerichten boasts worldly culinary skills that run in the family. The unique menu will delight discerning foodies while they sip rosé and enjoy Juvia's 360-degree views of Miami Beach and the mainland. Noon to 2 p.m. Sunday, February 23, at Juvia, 1111 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach. Tickets cost $175 via sobewff.org/juvia.