Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Best brunch for a special occasion

Posted on Wed, Jan 19, 2005 at 4:00 AM

Sunday brunch at La Coquina has been a tradition for 20 years strong. This grand buffet at the posh restaurant inside the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress absolutely takes my breath away. From the moment you climb down the Vegas-looking stairs and walk through an ornate wrought-iron tunnel to enter a dining area that overlooks an idyllic pond, you know you're in for something special. The food is top-notch – as it should be for $55 per person.

The buffet is set up in a nook of the kitchen usually occupied by a chef's table. All the entrees are chef-inspired creations that beautifully meld breakfast foods with lavish tastes from other meals of the day. We're talking lavender-scented pheasant alongside poached eggs drenched in rich hollandaise. But before you even get to the serving station, feel free to inundate yourself with the grazing items they put out on the tables – three kinds of caviar and nine types of cheese (including Ossau Iraty, a strictly AOC sheep's milk cheese from the French Pyrenees that can't be found anywhere else in town). Unlimited champagne and fresh-squeezed orange juice for Mimosas, as well as a decent espresso, top off this meal in style.

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