Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest Is Coming May 28th. Buy Tickets Now.

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
2022 Imports Off To Decent Start

2022 Imports Off To Decent Start

The ultra-hot handmade cigar market continues to show signs of growth.

May 2, 2022
New President And Board Members For TAA

New President And Board Members For TAA

The Tobacconists’ Association of America consists of roughly 250 shops in the United States, along …

Apr 19, 2022
The Lineup: What Cigars To Expect at Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest 2022

The Lineup: What Cigars To Expect at Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest 2022

The second-ever Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest—coming to Hollywood, Florida on May 28—is coming up fast, …

Apr 7, 2022
456 Million Handmade Cigars Shipped To U.S. In 2021

456 Million Handmade Cigars Shipped To U.S. In 2021

Shipments were up by 25.3 percent over 2020.

Mar 17, 2022
Cigars International To Open Third Retail Store in Texas

Cigars International To Open Third Retail Store in Texas

The Lone Star State is getting a new, massive Cigars International retail store in San Antonio.

Mar 16, 2022
Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest: A Top-Tier Lineup Of Cigar Stars Are Speaking At The Seminars

Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest: A Top-Tier Lineup Of Cigar Stars Are Speaking At The Seminars

The second-ever Big Smoke meets Whiskey Fest is coming Saturday, May 28, at the Seminole Hard Rock …

Mar 16, 2022
z