Monday, 25 April 2016

Mug of the Month: Peacock Power

A couple of months ago I attended an event at the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel in London. where I enjoyed my morning cuppa out of the most delicately designed peacock mug. The mug in question was part of the St Pancras Chambers Collection and costs £15. 

It really was beautiful.

And there must be a trend for peacocks this season, because if, like me, you think £15 per mug is a little steep, I found a colourful variation in Debenhams this month, for almost half the price, at £8 each.

If you want a touch of elegance with your morning brew, go grab them now while you still can.

Mug of the Month: I’m a firm believer that if you drink a cup of tea out of a beautiful mug it will taste better. Every month I will be featuring a lovely mug which will be perfect for your morning cuppa. Spotted a special mug I should know about? Get in touch: or tweet me @cl_baldwin

Monday, 18 April 2016

Breakfast at Yardbird, Miami Beach

A short walk from the hustle and bustle of Collins Avenue on Miami Beach, where the party goers drive their flashy cars, pretty girls screeching and waving their arms out of the window to a toot of a fellow horn, sits Yardbird, a much more casual affair.

Achingly cool, Yardbird is the type of restaurant where your Bloody Mary is served in a mason jar, along with two sticks of crispy fried bacon - even the bill (sorry cheque) comes in a mason jar.

I feel if Yardbird was set in London, it would instantly be labelled "hipster", I'm not sure if it's the size (Yardbird is much bigger than the tiny pop-up restaurants which litter Old Street in East London), or the softly placed wild flowers and tea-towel placemats adorning the tables, which brings this place right back down to its Southern roots. If you combine wooden floorboards, an iron-top bar with a gigantic wine rack, that's the right amount of cross between sophistication and traditional, if you ask me.


After trying and failing to book a table one Sunday morning in March (apparently the staff don't check their voicemails on a Saturday afternoon), my friend and I managed to find a space between the many Miami brunch revellers and the cocktail paraphernalia at the bar - in fact I felt like I'd committed a cardinal sin asking the bartender for a coffee instead of a mimosa, but she skilfully poured the strong American coffee across the bar, avoiding all iPhones, with a lovely smile on her face, before going back to shaking her colourful liquid concoctions. 

Whitewashing the exposed brickwork also softens the surroundings, while floor to ceiling windows on this corner street building allows the Miami morning light to flood into the room. Around us are people from all walks of life - gaggles of girls gossiping over cocktails, hungover-looking young couples attempting a brunch date, parents with young children sat in leather booths munching on pancakes and a huge family gathering on one table which was stacked with every dish from the menu, with the grandparents tucking into various dishes and happily toasting their younger counterparts over a breakfast cocktail.

I always get overwhelmed choosing breakfast dishes from a new menu. While I want to try something new, or taste something I wouldn't normally choose, I also want to order a classic to see how different venues put their spin on that famous eggs benny - FYI, Yardbird's comes with a biscuit crumble and lardons. 

At least this time I was traveling with a friend who is a first-class foodie and sharer, so we decided to start with the Maple-Glazed Bacon Doughnut ($9). I expected one doughnut we could cut in half to whet our appetite, not a tower of four, shiny with syrup and encrusted with bacon bits. We gleefully tucked in to the miniature skillet and the sweet doughy pillows went down a dream with our American black coffee. I did think they could have been more savoury, I tasted more maple than bacon, but they were still delightful.

While I had my eye on the Chicken, Watermelon and Waffles ($36 and the house speciality), a day of eating like an American the day previously had already broken us, and I felt it would have been a waste. So we opted for two of Mama's Biscuits ($14), one with Virginia ham and cheese, the other with crispy chicken and pepper jelly. Biscuits are such an American breakfast, and in my experience are often dry, but these scones were airy and sweet, topped with smoked ham almost like bacon and the other with some of the best friend chicken I had ever tasted - salty, but not at all greasy. To be honest, for a Southern menu, none of it was greasy or oily and I love how Yardbird has a perfect balance traditional southern diner comfort food with a classy cocktail service

Virginia Ham and cheddar cheese

Crispy fried chicken

Afterwards suitably stuffed, we leaned back on the bar and watched the Mac 'n' Cheese and the '77 Elvis Chocolate Chip Pancakes float by, which was pure torture. We wanted to taste everything, but our British stomachs couldn't handle another morsel and as I write this post, how I wish we had sucked it up and ordered dessert - it was Sunday brunch after all.

1600 Lenox Avenue
Miami Beach, Florida 33139