A duck smiles on SoBe

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Vacationers who want to sample Jose Andres' menu, but on a modest scale, can get both the vibe of the hotel and the food at breakfast or lunch until late afternoon.

As in Spain, people in South Beach want to be outdoors. Bar Centro, open on three sides, is SoBe's designated people-watching central. Muscle shirts, high heels, kids, seniors, you'll see it all. And through the scrim "walls," we could see puffy clouds and swaying palm trees.

We had a leisurely Sunday brunch of Patatas Bravas, shoe-string fries doused with a spicy tomato sauce to dip into garlicky aioli and huevos a la Cubana with fried banana and bacon cream. (Bacon cream!) Among other choices were eggs Benedict with jamon serrano, olive oil mini-pancakes, squash blossom and manchego cheese omelets, chicken croquetas, tropical fruits and media noche sliders, mini croissants with roasted pork belly, and serrano ham.

And yes, Pittsburghers, the Duck lives! When our favorite art installation left its moorage at The Point, did it fly south to Florida? Maybe. A large, curvy and smiley-beaked duck lolls at the far end of the hotel pool, sometimes bright and shiny, sometimes decorated in patterned South Beach colors. The duck is the mascot for the SLS Hotel South Beach. You can buy a handsome chrome likeness at the reservation desk. Keep your yellow rubber duckie in the tubbie.

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