Vegas nights are long. After attending a Big Smoke evening filled with cigars, drinks and revelry, many cigar fans hit the casino floor and continue to party late into the night. When the sun comes up, these resilient men and women need to refuel and head to the grand ballroom at the Mirage Hotel and Casino for hearty food, strong coffee and a hair of the dog hangover cure.
The Big Smoke seminar guests were greeted by a line of friendly waitstaff carrying trays of Dewar’s White Label Highballs. Why not? Taking their seats to chat and sip on the cocktail with fellow cigar lovers, the audience turned their gaze to the front of the room to listen to Cigar Aficionado managing editor Gregory Mottola kick off the Sunday morning seminars.
“Breakfast is something that I know a lot of people don't like to mess around with,” Mottola told the crowd. “It's comfort food. You find what you like, and you have the same breakfast every day. Today’s breakfast is dynamic enough to be interesting, but not so far off the rails that it still has all the elements of comfort food.”
Mottola explained that an after-breakfast cigar was waiting for the audience at the next seminar (an Oliva Connecticut Reserve Toro), and turned the room over to Nicole Brisson, executive chef and partner at Locale. Chef Brisson demonstrated from the stage how to cook the morning meal, which included a thick hunk of braised pork belly, a poached farm egg and a side of Brussels sprouts “Bubble and Squeak,” which is a mash of vegetables crisped in a frying pan.
“I thought the ‘Bubble and Squeak’ would be a perfect dish this time of year, because we have Thanksgiving coming up, and all of these ingredients you will have left over in your fridge,” Brisson said. “You typically have mashed potatoes, you might have Brussels sprouts, root vegetables, rutabagas, turnips, and [you can make] something that's called ‘Bubble and Squeak.’”
As Brisson prepared breakfast on stage, Mirage waitstaff dashed across the room, delivering the very same meal to some 550 cigar fans seated across the ballroom.
“You kind of fold all these root vegetables together and they melt into this harmonious flavor and pair really well with eggs,” Brisson explained. “The name ‘Bubble and Squeak’ refers to the sound you're gonna hear when I sauté in the pan. So you hear that crackle, that squeak, that pop; that's the actual caramelization of the potatoes, the rutabagas, the turnips, just kind of coming into their own tastiness.”
Hungry attendees devoured the meal with relish. As they ate and sipped on coffee, Nick Zaglifa from Oliva Cigar Co. took to the stage to thank the audience for coming and say a few short words on the Oliva Connecticut Reserve, an easygoing cigar Oliva felt ideal for an early morning smoke.
“After breakfast we have the Oliva Connecticut Reserve. It’s very mild but the taste is unbelievable,” Zaglifa said.
Satiated with food and drink and excited to light up the first smoke of the morning, cigar fans filed out of the ballroom towards the next Big Smoke seminar, a class on how to roll your own cigar with Ventura Cigar Co.
Save The Date
The Big Smoke Las Vegas returns to the Mirage November 20-22, 2020.