Cigar Industry

2019 Big Smoke Sunday Seminars: Cigar Lovers’ Breakfast

Nov 21, 2019 | By David Clough
2019 Big Smoke Sunday Seminars: Cigar Lovers’ Breakfast
Photos/Jacob Kepler
Chef Nicole Brisson ready to perform a cooking demonstration for the Sunday morning crowd.

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.” 


Picking up a Dewar’s Highball on the way to breakfast, the proper way to start the Sunday of the Big Smoke Las Vegas.
Picking up a Dewar’s Highball on the way to breakfast, the proper way to start the Sunday of the Big Smoke Las Vegas.

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.

Sunday breakfast at Big Smoke 2019
The meal.

“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.

Greg Mottola introducing Chef Nicole at Big Smoke 2019
Chef Nicole Brisson (right) being introduced to the crowd by Cigar Aficionado's Greg Mottola.

“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 next Big Smoke takes place in Hollywood, Florida, April 3-4, 2020, with Big Smoke meets WhiskyFest, an event combining the best of cigars and whisky. 

The Big Smoke Las Vegas returns to the Mirage November 20-22, 2020.

Big Smoke Evenings

2019 Big Smoke Las Vegas Evenings

Saturday Seminars

Top Three Cigars of 2018

Power Tobacco

Investing in Cuban Cigars

Women in Cigars

Fighting the FDA

Lunch with Plasencia Cigars

Sunday Seminars

Cigar Lovers' Breakfast

Roll Your Own Cigar with Ventura Cigars

Tasting Away in Tequilaville

Big Smoke 2019 Oliva Oliva Cigar Co.

More in Cigar Industry

See all
Puro Sabor 2020 Celebrates Nicaraguan Cigar Industry

Puro Sabor 2020 Celebrates Nicaraguan Cigar Industry

Premium cigar lovers from all over the world flew to Nicaragua, the leading producer of handmade …

Jan 27, 2020
Cigar Imports Show Signs of Cooling Down

Cigar Imports Show Signs of Cooling Down

After four years of impressive growth, the U.S. market for premium, handmade cigars is showing signs …

Jan 23, 2020
Kretek International Pulls Out of PCA

Kretek International Pulls Out of PCA

Kretek International Inc., owners of Phillips & King and Ventura Cigar Co., announced today that …

Jan 22, 2020
More Cigar Companies Voice Support for PCA

More Cigar Companies Voice Support for PCA

Since the announcement that four big cigar companies were pulling out of the annual Premium Cigar …

Jan 21, 2020
Major Cigar Companies Pull out of PCA Trade Show

Major Cigar Companies Pull out of PCA Trade Show

Four of the biggest companies in the premium cigar business will not be attending the Premium Cigar …

Jan 10, 2020
Cigar Aficionado Magazine Is Hiring

Cigar Aficionado Magazine Is Hiring

Cigar Aficionado is seeking an assistant editor/assistant web manager with web and magazine …

Jan 9, 2020