Sud of the Border

by Alona Abbady Martinez

Mother’s Day Brunch at Boulud Sud and Lona

It’s impossible to place a tangible value on all that moms do. They are the ultimate caregiver, therapist, chauffeur, guidance counselor, cheerleader, and shoulder to cry on. It feels we are falling a bit short to dedicate just one day for them, so, make sure it counts—from a beautiful bouquet of flowers (be sure it’s her favorite kind) to a thoughtful gift (an afternoon at the spa is a sure bet). In between, you’ll win big points by taking Mom to a delightful and classy brunch, a memorable way to celebrate her with the whole family. Here are two brunch destinations that will make Mom feel like the rockstar she is every day. 

Boulud Sud

World-renowned chef Daniel Boulud offers refuge from the hustle and bustle of downtown Miami in this serene, Mediterranean-inspired gem. Muted greens, blues, and beige nestled within clean modern lines emulate an elegant yet casual space where spices like sumac, za’atar and paprika dominate. Begin by toasting Mom with a Grapefruit Blossom. This delicate cocktail has gin, elderflower, and fresh grapefruit and is the ideal introduction to brunch. For those craving something with a bit more bite, the Bloody Picante, made with green chile vodka and picante sauce, is a spicy-lover’s delight.

Starters include a refreshing salade tropézienne, featuring frisée, arugula, avocado, and grapefruit as well as an Andalusian gazpacho made with cucumber, watermelon, and croutons. It seems every restaurant has octopus on their menu these days but Boulud Sud’s version, served with arugula, marcona almonds, and orange segments, is exquisite and perfectly prepared. The lamb flatbread (lamb, eggplant, pine nuts, and labneh) is one of the restaurant’s signature dishes not to be missed and the Mediterranean Mezze, which brings spicy Moroccan hummus, falafel, and babaganoush (smoked eggplant dip) is a wonderful starter to share. Main courses are plentiful and equally tempting so be sure you invite the extended family to be able to sample them all! The Moroccan shakshouka, a North African favorite found throughout the Middle East, is made with manouri cheese (a semi-soft, Greek specialty), kale, and poached eggs simmered in a tangy tomato-based sauce. Setas con huevos is inspired by the Iberian peninsula and features roasted mushrooms, tomato confit, croutons, and a poached egg. Orecchiette with lamb ragù is a meat-lover’s dream and pescatarians will adore the slow-baked salmon with gnocchi verde, oyster mushrooms, and za’atar nage, a flavorful seafood stock. If breakfast items are on your radar (and how could they not be?) the ricotta pancakes which are light and fluffy and are served with lemon curd, honey butter, and orange or brioche French toast with chantilly and raspberry marmalade are a must. Of course that doesn’t mean skipping dessert. Chef Boulud’s talent is present all the way to the final bite and the service impeccable from start to finish, which will surely make Mom want to return again and again. 

Lona Cocina
Tequileria

Photograph by Amy Martz

This chic, oceanfront eatery is what dining in South Florida is all about. Helmed by Mexican celebrity chef, Pablos Salas, Lona, which means “canvas” in Spanish, is all about focusing on true authentic cuisine in a modern, approachable way. The restaurant is tucked away in The Westin Fort Lauderdale Beach Resort and has three very distinct vibes, depending on Mom’s mood. Sit in the back for an intimate, quiet feel, along with the opportunity to peruse the numerous high-end tequilas stored in the mesh-gated tequila lockers, where guests are welcome to leave whatever they didn’t finish of the over 150 bottle selection available. (Mezcal lovers will be happy to know there are 100 bottles of mezcals as well). The center of the restaurant has a livelier, louder ambiance (it is, after all, closer to the bar) and the expansive patio overlooking the ocean is the perfect setting for a (weather permitting) spectacular al fresco meal.

Skip the quintessential brunch beverage choices of mimosas and Bloody Marys and treat Mom to Lona’s margarita. It is indisputably one of the best in town. The secret is a splash of mezcal, which blends seamlessly with the agave, lime, and tequila, heightening the experience with an added smoky flavor. The queso fundido and guacamole are ideal to order while settling in. Seafood lovers will want to upgrade to the crab guacamole, a clever and suitable mix.

Make sure Mom is hungry for this brunch—there are plenty of buffet choices, beginning with the Build-Your-Own-Taco station which starts with a selection between chicken carbon and braised short ribs along with toppings like crema fresca, pickled onions, minced cilantro, pico de gallo, salsa verde, salsa ranchera, and habanero sauce. Try out the chipotle slaw and the Mexican rice and charro beans here as well. Don’t stop there, though. There’s a plethora of options, like Chef Salas’ salmon mole, a dish which has garnered Lona its worthy reputation as one of South Florida’s top Mexican eateries and chilaquiles rojos, fried tortilla chips simmered in a smoky red sauce flavored with chile de arbol (pro tip: have the chef at the Live Breakfast station top it with a couple of fried eggs, then add crumbled queso fresco and cilantro). Papas con chorizo (potatoes with traditional Mexican sausage) and ceviche are other popular items, or you can just take Mom straight to the end where there is an abundance of beautiful desserts to choose from. 

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