Brunch is a recipe for indulgence. First, combine the best of breakfast and lunch to make one super meal out of two. Second, gather family and/or friends for one last hurrah before the work week starts again. And, third, add in a few cocktails to get your Sunday Funday vibes flowing. The newly launched brunch at The Local Craft Food & Drink follows that recipe to a T, serving up one of the best (and booziest) brunches that Miami has to offer.
I was recently able to get a first-hand taste of the new brunch at The Local when Chef Phil Bryant and mixologists David Perez and Will Thompson of The Bridge presented a special preview pairing menu for some local food writers and bloggers. #foodiefriendsreunion
To follow is a look at the crazy, drunk, comforting, and delectable brunch meal that instantly made The Local’s brunch the envy of all other Miami brunches…
First Course: Egg in a Basket, paired with Sangria Blanc
Chef Phil came out of the gates swinging with this dish. It was equally delicious and daunting because if this was only course one of five, what could I expect for the next four courses? Anyway, I quickly faced my fears and dove right into this dish, which combines poached and cured eggs, bacon, crispy ham, and Parmesan, all stuffed in a Sally Lunn bun.
Where the Egg in a Basket started us off hot and heavy, the Bridge’s Sangria Blanc was a great choice to ease us in to the cocktail pairings. Light, fresh, and easy-to-drink, this white sangria combined gin, cynar, lemon, honey, house made autumn bitters, white wine, and tonic.
Second Course: Smoked Chicken & Pimento Cheese Salad, paired with Mexican Swashbuckle
Now this is a true Southern salad. It’s definitely the kind of salad that is not for the faint of heart, it’s most definitely not for anyone trying to lose weight for a New Year’s resolution, and that’s kind of what I loved most about it. This salad of smoked chicken and pimento cheese piled between two fried green tomatoes and topped with pears, candied pecans, and B&B vinaigrette will definitely make you wanna slap your mama.
On the drink side, the Mexican Swashbuckle is a take on the Swashbuckler cocktail. Autumnal, smooth, and sweet, it brings together Don Julio Reposado, homemade spiced pumpkin-apple shrub, and molasses. It kind of tastes like a pumpkin pie and tequila shot had a baby, but in a good way.
Third Course: Blue Crab Tortilla, paired with Day Walker
Be still my heart; this dish brings two of my favorite foods together. As noted multiple times on this blog, I’m a lover of all things Spanish food and especially a good tortilla española. Not as well-known is that I’m originally from Maryland and would proudly choose MD blue crabs over FL stone crabs any day of the week. So, when you join them and top them with smokey tomato, Florida gouda, and a bone marrow hollandaise, all I can say is yasssssssssssss!
The Day Walker cocktail couldn’t have been paired more perfectly. This was perhaps the best and most welcome pairing of the afternoon as the sharp acidity of the Pamplemousse Rosa, Dolin Dry, pineapple juice, and lemon juice cut the richness of the tortilla’s egg, crab, and hollandaise.
Fourth Course: Fried Chicken N’ Pancakes, paired Bloody Mary
Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Well fine, chicken bruncher? Whatever…this dish as a winner regardless. I loved the dollar-size cheddar corn pancakes topped with the super crispy fried chicken thighs, chow chow relish, house hot sauce, and bacon sorghum. If at this point I wasn’t already 94% stuffed, I would have totally been going table to table to grab any leftover scraps.
Paired with the Chicken N’ Pancakes was the brunch favorite and classic Bloody Mary. I have to admit that I’ve never been much a fan of “bloodies,” but if I had to drink one, it would be this one. Thanks to the fresh, house made bloody mix, when mixed with the vodka and finished with the spicy salt rim and beef jerky, this drink almost reminded me of a spiked gazpacho. ¡Olé!
Fifth Course: The Next Morning, paired The Best Part of Waking Up Old Fashioned
You’d never know by the name of this course, but we finally made it to the dessert round. The Next Morning was inspired by Chef Phil’s desire to put his leftover cornbread to good use. He does just that by toasting it and dropping it atop a buttermilk panna cotta along with seasonal fruit and tropical honey. Reminiscent of a greek yogurt breakfast, this was such a nice and subtle ending to the meal. Let’s be honest, those first four courses were pretty damn heavy, so this was a nice lighter-side ending.
And rounding out our dessert was this awesome, long-titled The Best Part of Waking Up Old Fashioned. If you couldn’t read between the lines, this drink infused cold brew coffee with bourbon, Ramazotti, and ginger maple. Similar to the dessert dish, this cocktail was a great ending to the meal – smokey, smooth, and caffeinated.
Mitch’s take: Chef Phil Bryant’s food pairs perfectly with The Bridge’s cocktails, making The Local an instant brunch hotspot where comfort food meets Sunday Funday. Next Sunday, do yourself a favor and #BrunchLikeTheLocal.
Standout dishes: It’s seriously hard to pick only one standout because everything I ate was straight up bonkers. That said, if you look at the courses as pairings, you can’t deny the superiority of Fried Chicken N’ Pancakes and Bloody Mary course. With ties to the tried and true brunch favorites, both the dish and drink infused enough ingenuity, innovation, and creativity to make them stand out above the rest.