O, Cypress: Slip into Something a Little More Poetic with O, Miami Festival


From time to time we fall deep into rhythm, slip into verse and let feeling lead the way. The bright colors of the nastursium bud, the gaze of a forest creature. the wood fire wafting its sweet perfume from the kitchen. Smooth cypress grooves. The sparkle of crystal over our dining room. The glow of candlelight at the bar. Magic is everywhere.

The allusion here is The Cypress Room, our elegant American dining room three blocks south of Michael’s flagship where poetry first made its stamp in 2011 when Miami poet Campbell McGrath penned an original poem for the main dining room. It remains on the wall to this day.

Some may be inclined to typecast poetry as highbrow, only for the academic elite.  But for the month of April, the fourth annual O, Miami Festival aims to debunk such preconceptions about the written word.  Founder P. Scott Cunningham, director of Wynwood University and a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation grant recipient, seeks to make every Miami-Dade resident encounter a poem during this national poetry month, casting type across the city for public consumption.  P. Scott has also dropped poems from a plane.

In a more intimate approach for O, Miami 2014, we are now proud to embrace poetry where the feeling is most profound, at The Cypress Room. Please enjoy Booklegger founder Nathaniel Sandler’s poetry collection in our restrooms.  He began the Booklegger’s Library two years in June, “All the bookstores were closing and it was a place to get books. Now it’s something bigger. A community thing. I get donations and store everything in the art house. It’s an old fishing warehouse. There are artist studios. I have thousands of donations. But there’s no real point to cataloging it all. I take everything people give me and then sort through it.” Each time they do an event, it’s like a treasure hunt.

Enjoy this selection especially for us and the spirit of our elegant American dining room.  Bring a volume to the bar, like Robert Graves’ POEMS ABOUT LOVE, enjoy Under the Olives, ponder nature and love, and let the world slip away. Enjoy the beauty and please kindly return books before bidding us adieu. Cheers from all of us at The Genuine Hospitality Group and HAPPY FRIDAY!  Share what you learn with others by tagging #restroomreading, @Omiamifestival and @thecypressroom on Instagram.

Sprechen Sie Riesling? Announcing The Riesling Room with James Beard Award-Winning Wine Director Paul Grieco

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Wines of Germany stops in Miami on an east coast Riesling & Co. Road Trip exactly where it belongs at our elegant American dining room in Design District.  Join our favorite Summer of Riesling Overlord Paul Grieco (James Beard Award-winning sommelier/partner at NYC’s Hearth and Terrior) and co-host Stuart Pigott (Riesling expert and author) as they spread their love of German Riesling in one of its most welcoming homes away from home. The Genuine Hospitality Group and wine director Eric Larkee continue their support of this (still?!) misunderstood grape that makes acid hounds rejoice and all of us thirsty for more. After all, it’s always summer in Miami. Get started early. We always do!  Enjoy chef de cuisine Roel Alcudia’s menu and Hedy Goldsmith’s delectable sweet ending below including Welcome Riesling Reception with several Rieslings and passed hors d’oeurves, four courses including dessert all paired with Riesling, and a Bottle of Riesling to go. Mr. Larkee will personally be phoning all guests to help them select the bottle best suited to their taste in sugar to acid ratio — sweet, medium sweet, medium dry, or dry – $150 includes it all.  Click here for tickets, and we look forward to discovering what pairings await!

Wild salmon tartare
Ramp and royal red shrimp arancini
Grilled asparagus with jamonnaise
Valdeon gougeres

Crostini with fava beans, walnuts, ricotta

Chilled pea soup with crab and sorrel

Filet of local fish, quinoa, Tuscan kale, red curry nage

Pheasant on the spit, morels, asparagus, natural jus

Buttermilk semi-freddo
rhubarb gelee, pickled rhubarb, rhubarb consommé
pink peppercorn meringue

[VIDEO] Oyster Shucking 101 with Island Creek’s Chris Sherman

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Ok, pin cushion is not Chris Sherman’s middle name, but when you work in oysters long enough, your palm is bound to double as one.  After years of bouncing from one boat gig to another, this Duxbury native joined Skip Bennett’s farm crew at Island Creek, our oyster supplier via FedEx to Miami since 2011. With a Duxbury style oyster knife as The Ordinary Pizzeria’s take home gift tonight, we thought a few shucking tips would be appropriate. I spoke with Chris yesterday to walk us through how to properly disengage this deliciously slippery bivalve. Butchering is a term often applied in our kitchens, but not when it comes to oysters!

Start with the Best Product
Seems obvious but bears repeating.  When picking an oyster, look for one with a nice round shape and a deep cup. The shell of the oyster tells a tale about how it was raised. Green or brown algae, even a slippery shell, is ok, actually a good sign of where they’re grown – on the bottom in the mud. Barnacles tend to die before the oysters do, so you don’t want to see a bunch of those on the shell – they’ll start to stink.  Turn over the oyster.  You’ll see a solid green patch by the hinge with grey and white striping around the edges. These are the telltale signs of one of our oysters!  They should have a nice weight to them. This means they are chock full of meat with a lot of texture and lots of liquid.  You also want a nice hard shell. If the shell is thin and brittle, the oyster’s going to be weak as well, and prove challenging to shuck.

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The Right Tools
The novice is going to want thick gloves and a dish towel, and of course the right knife. We helped RJ Murphy design the Duxbury knife. The tool you use is important – it’s got a nice beefy handle so you can twerk it and a sharp point is key to get in the oyster really easily, rather than some of the rounded ones you see. They do that for safety but people end up having trouble getting into the hinge even more.

Time to Shuck
Of course a gulf shucks a lot different from an east coast oyster but the process is pretty much the same.  Place the towel on the table and wrap the oyster flat on the surface so just the hinge is sticking out. Put your hand over the oyster so you have a nice leverage on it.  I take my thumb and put it on the blade of the knife. Like choking up on a bat…  This hedges your bets, if you screw up it’s a backstop instead of plunging the whole knife!  Starting from the hinge in the back, you do the “Twist and Wiggle.” Exert some force but not too much. Get the knife about 3/4 inch in and then you twist the knife to pop it open. Break the hinge. Here you need to be careful to sever the abductor muscle attached to both shells. Be careful not to butcher the oyster!  In Europe it’s funny because they actually leave the bottom muscle attached to prove the oyster you’re eating comes from that oyster shell… It happened to me once in France, and the waiter was like “figure it out!”  It used to be commonplace for lower quality oysters to be placed in the fancy Belon shells.  Now I take a 45 degree angle to top shell and scrape it grinding top shell on the edge. Now for the bottom, it’s like peeling a potato, clear the muscle off just scraping it… Don’t try to slice or cut it. You want to keep it whole and intact with its liquor. Enjoy!

Watch guest poppin’ like its hot chef Mike Lata show us how a professional gets ‘er done, with the below tutorial we snagged in the back of Harry’s Pizzeria earlier this morning.  He’s wielding his fancy “Quinton Middleton” style blade.  Taste the results later at The Ordinary Pizzeria, we have a couple of tickets left, but not for long.