Jamaica Observer / “Calories don’t count on Sundays” read the humorous chalkboard sign at the entrance of the Kayter-venued Tooksie and Simo Valentine’s Day Brunch. Championed by caterer Alexa Von Strolley of Tooksie Kay Catering, with the help of Simo Bread and Catering’s Christina Simonitsch, the brunch corralled about 80 guests last Sunday at the Ballater Avenue location.

Mixing the tropical, relaxed vibe of the Caribbean with the arresting interiors typical of a South Beach, Miami outing, Von Strolley kept it light with eclectic furnishings, burlap fabric drapery and pieces reminiscent of a vintage garage.

“Brunch”, the decades-long tradition of the playfully combined “breakfast and lunch” meals, has evolved from a convenient 11:00 am repast to a networking nirvana for those who opt to fully immerse themselves in the Sunday pastime. Growing quickly in popularity, the phenomenon has hit The Rock’s social scene with full force with epicurean artistes choosing to indulge with the same fanfare of their international counterparts. Von Strolley and her capable team of sous-chefs offered bottomless mimosas (because any brunch worth its salt has bottomless booze) at the cocktail station, and four more stations of staples synonymous with Sunday brunch: eggs, grill, burger & waffle, and sweet treats.

Von Strolley noted that the use of live station cooking for home-made waffles and frozen yoghurt was an attempt to show just how fun and easy some of the recipes could be. Already known for their playful and innovative dishes, Von Strolley and Simonitsch pushed the envelope with creations like their Scotch bonnet pipettes, TK’s Everything Butter and Honey Butter and Simo’s pepper sauces.

In keeping with the theme of Valentine’s Day there was, too, sorrel drinks (in no other way than the popular Jamaican way — with plenty rum) but that is where the buck stopped as they wanted an event that took the formality away from Valentine’s Day. Still a celebration of love — couples, families and friends enjoyed the smorgasbord of delicacies; jerk chicken, Ethiopian lamb, octopus, candied bacon, mini eggs Benedict with avo dause and charcoal blinis, and Copperwood-sponsored pulled pork — just to name a few. Von Strolley and Simonitsch could be seen occassionally running from the kitchen to the eatery to entertain the scores of guests who came out in support of them and to sample their latest creations. Kudos to them on a delightful event!

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