There are millions of reasons why I love Miami, and Art Basel is right up there at the top. Every year on the first weekend of December I get the perfect Florida getaway: The weather is pristine, there’s so much amazing art to be seen, and all the bars, restaurants, and clubs are taken over by artists. The city that is tons of fun is suddenly infused with tons of culture. And I absolutely inhale it. It’s my favorite weekend of the year.
I’ve gone to Basel three times now, and I’ve never been disappointed. If you don’t know, it’s the largest art show in the country, and galleries from all over the world come to Miami and bring their best pieces to the Convention Center (and to the satellite fairs in Wynwood) to woo the wallets of collectors. For the wannabe collector (one day I’ll be able to afford a piece), it’s the chance to see art that will soon be hanging in someone’s house and might never be seen publicly again. It’s also the best opportunity to see all the newest, craziest, wackiest, off-the-wall creativity that is coming from living artists today. Take a look at some of what we saw …
To fuel up for a full day of art-seeing—or to recover from a night of partying with the talent—there’s only one spot I go to on South Beach for brunch, and that’s News Café. South Beach, as you know, is the place to see and be seen. And in this mecca for people watching, News Café has the best seat in the house.
The majority of the café’s tables are outside, under big umbrellas or trees to shade you from the Florida sun. Everyone faces the breeze coming from the beach and the ocean just across Ocean Drive, and enjoys their coffee and papers while they watch the world (or the bright yellow Lamborghinis) go by. It’s straight up idyllic.
The service is colorful but flawless. Your server, trust me, will be juggling ten tables, seating a line of guests, running food, and pouring coffee, all at the same time and with a Birdcage spring in his step. I’ve never had bad service there. You usually have to wait in line on the sidewalk to snag a table, but the team of servers is quick to shuffle parties and tables and make it happen. Plus, there are so many tables in the courtyard, the turnover is high.
The menu is packed with comfort food, with a spattering of Middle Eastern dishes. Besides that, there are no frills. Oh, and breakfast is served 24/7. It’s not memorable, but it doesn’t need to be. Sitting under the palm trees is memorable enough.
Start with a mimosa or coffee. Just like the newsstand inside the restaurant’s shop, the coffee selection is truly international. Do you want Mexican coffee with Kahlua, Italian with Galliano, French with Brandy, or Jamacain with rum? The list goes on. Next up, you must get one of their fruit plates. Colorful and fresh, it’s exactly what you need for a Miami morning. Plus, the fruit is topped with raisins, which is a nice touch.
I’ve never ventured off the breakfast menu, so I can only speak to those items. For benedicts, you have three options: eggs News (ham and tomato), eggs Florentine (spinach), and eggs smoked salmon. News Café puts its own twist on the benny by putting cream cheese in the sauce, which makes them rich and filling. Of course, the jumbo poached eggs and english muffins helped too. And the egg was poached perfectly, yolk melting into the breakfast potatoes.
The pancakes were good, nothing to write home about. But that’s also the point. The omelets are deliciously satisfying and made to order as you like them. The bagels are fresh, as is the salmon that comes with it. The bacon is perfectly crispy and greasy. Everything is solidly standard. It’s just that touch of South Beach air that makes it perfect. I wouldn’t brunch anywhere else.
The Bitches say: A. The food isn’t fancy and neither is the restaurant. It’s the locale that makes it perfect.
(PS. All photos in this post are by Gwo Yang. See the entire stream here. Thanks, Gwo!)
800 Ocean Drive
Miami Beach, FL 33139