California Love in a Bottle | Clendenen & Schwartz Host a Lua Rossa 3 Evening at The Cypress Room

Celebrate the arrival of Lua Rossa no. 3 to Miami, the third release of chef Michael Schwartz’s red blend with longtime compadre and winemaker, Jim Clendenen, and their FIRST time hosting a dinner together at one of Michael’s restaurants.  Prepare to be transported to wine country for an explosion of California road trip love on Tuesday, September 22 at 7:00 p.m.

TCR Clendenen Slider border_new date_ CLICK HERETickets are now available HERE for $175 plus tax & gratuity and include:
– Welcome rosé and canapés
– 5-course dinner paired with Santa Barbara’s unexpected varietals, from its most curious producer
– A special bottle to take home from the debut shipment of Lua Rossa no. 3, signed by both Chef and Winemaker
– The company of these fine gentlemen

For someone who named his winery “a well exposed vineyard”, Au Bon Climat’s Jim Clendenen – the man, the myth, the legend himself – is severely underexposed in Miami. While we’ll leave a glimpse of his wild, sandy mane blowing in the heady South Beach breezes to tickle your imagination for now, you don’t have to look far to come across his wines at Michael Schwartz’s restaurants.  The Chef’s love for Jim’s expression of what Santa Barbara does best is no accident.

Wine Director Eric Larkee explains, “Au Bon Climat is a great California wine maker, well known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but what Michael may be drawn to most is the passion for Italian and French old world varietals. You never know what you’re going to get with Jim, yet you always know it will be interesting and good.”

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In a 5-course dinner with wine pairings, we explore the lesser-known varietals that Jim’s coffers have to offer and a first taste of how the next chapter of our California adventures nets out.  This most recent blending trip happened in mid-March, so we are curious, too!

Guests are greeted by passed Clendenen Family 2014 Mondeuse Rosé and assorted passed hors d’oeuvres. The seated plated dinner for 57 will unfold in Cypress’s intimate dining room with 2013 Clendenen Family Gewürztraminer Le Bon Climat, 2012 Clendenen Family Viognier “Second Coming” Le Bon Climat, 2009 Clendenen Family Nebbiolo “Bricco Buon Natale”, Lua Rossa 3, 1995 Caro Lorenzo Aleatico. Everyone leaves with a special bottle of Lua Rossa 3 signed by chef and winemaker.  Let’s try to make that happen again (please!)

Alexander Knox at The Cypress Room.

Alexander Knox at The Cypress Room.

If one were to climb a mountain seeking an oracle of wine knowledge there would be no shock to find Clendenen sitting on the top. Besides already knowing you were coming, he also would hold all the answers, at least his answers to your questions. After college graduation a month in Burgundy and Champagne convinced Clendenen that he would be better at making wine rather than law. In 1978 he started as an assistant winemaker at Zaca Mesa, and in 1982 he branched out on his own starting Au Bon Climat.  While never a favorite of the magazine critcs, Jim’s wines have found appreciation with Chefs and restaurant guests who seek wines to compliment and not overpower their foods. Michael first met Jim almost twenty years ago and have maintained a close and convivial relationship since. Back then Chef had a haircut much closer to Jim’s wild mane. Like a musician with his regular band as well as side projects, Jim has the the Ici/La-Bas and Clendenen Family Vineyards brands under which he also produces.

The Cypress Room is Michael’s elegant American dining room in Miami’s Design District, a nod to the spirit of classic 1920s fine dining in polished food, service and décor. The menu centers around the kitchen’s wood-burning grill and rotisserie, offering elegant American cuisine with French touches using the freshest, highest quality ingredients, hand-picked from America’s best small farmers, foragers, and fishermen. Tasting menus allow chef de cuisine Roel Alcudia to get creative and experiment with some of the restaurant’s best ingredients, while The Beverage Book features classic cocktails and 124 wines that are a bit old school – not just old world, with a story and a place in the wine world history.

The Daily Scramble: Back to School for the ellas

Today the kids are headed back to school!  For the grown up ones like Michael’s eldest daughter Ella, today is the start of a new adventure. COLLEGE.  Freshman year is so exciting.  So much to absorb, new routines to learn, new people to meet.  Daddy Schwartz called upon Dr. Seuss for the words to say goodbye and good luck as his eldest chickie flew the coop for Tulane University this weekend: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

And since you are smart like Ms. Schwartz, you know you can’t start the day, especially the first day back to school, without a good breakfast.  ella has your back thanks to some additions to the breakfast line up that happened over the weekend!  This morning began in hypermode as Miami artist Alejandro Contreras (our friend from Design Miami’s past) put the finishing touches on our new blackboard to complete last night’s vinyl installation. Kitchen manager Vanessa Nunez put out the cafe’s first Daily Scramble, two eggs, today with caramelized onions and herbs, with True Loaf wheat toast.  Alejandro should have an extra kick in his step today, especially after that $350 macchiato (I fixed the decimal point.  Where’s my refund!?)  

AlejandroThose looking for gluten-free options have many things to choose from on the current menu, but we are also pleased to now offer the sandwiches and other dishes with gluten-free bread upon request!  Zak the Baker’s gluten-free chocolate almond cookies also came in to satisfy those sweet teeth out there.  Enjoy getting scrambled, take a seat under the shade in Palm Court and ease into the school year.  Fall’s almost here!  Please find the updated menu at ellapop.me!

Scrappy & Cypressy: Superstar Staff Meals by Tony Galleno

The evidence lay strewn before me.  Bones, picked clean save two plump, flakey morsels of rabbit leg.  Crispy brown bits scattered on the towel-lined hotel pan.  A squeeze bottle, quarter-full of red something-or-other.  A pool of cream, maybe a cabbage stick and radish slice or two left to swim with lonely raisins.  From the looks of the shrapnel, line cook Tony Galleno had done it again, and these shadows of 15 minutes prior were all fair game as I settled in with my laptop at The Cypress Room’s bar.  He had whipped up another simple, lick-your-fingers-scrumptious staff meal, and I, arriving at 4:45, scavenged what I could.  I’m sure it was every bit as delicious as it had been at the moment of service, and I implored to know more.

Tony crabs

Tony doing his clam routine, with scoopers.

Tony was cleaning clams behind the line, so I moseyed up to the pass of the open kitchen to ask a few questions before things got hairy.  After all, this seemed akin to one of those assembly line jobs I’d overheard him say he’d love to have in the land of make believe, like we all dare to dream to pretend having.  But Cypress isn’t a place for brainless activities.  Not even cleaning clams, so nimble Tony multitasked.

“My go-to formula for family meal is simple, quick, and delicious. ” he explained.  “The first step for me is I think of a cuisine.  What do I feel like eating? Then I see what I have to work with, and it comes together pretty easily.  It kind of has to.  It’s all about efficiency.  You can’t spend too much time making it since you are in the middle of prep for service. Chef would not be happy.”

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Explains chef de cuisine Roel Alcudia, “One of the perks of working at a high end restaurant is high end scraps.”   So for last night’s family meal extravaganza, presented on battle-scarred sheet tray, Tony began by soaking the rabbit legs in buttermilk, lemon juice, thyme, Tabasco and black pepper for two hours.  He then dredged them in a mixture of all purpose flour, salt, and paprika.  They were left to sit for 20 minutes, a very important step (“drying them out a little this way makes them fry better”) before frying at 325F for 15 (“maybe 17!”) minutes.  They’re removed from the oil, hit with some finishing salt and drained on paper towels to serve.  The hot sauce is a kicking combination of Sriracha, Tabasco, a little honey to thin it out for perfect dousing, and a touch of red wine vinegar. Any slaw will do. Shredded green cabbage, shaved radish, mayonnaise, plumped raisins and a touch of red wine vinegar.  Build your bowl and come back for seconds.  If there is anything left!

Tony is off today, but we post now in his honor, as the clock strikes 4:36, and we wonder where and what family meal is tonight.

It’s Harry’s Pizzeria On Wheels!

HP Pizza party on wheels

Miami’s favorite casual neighborhood joint, Harry’s Pizzeria®, is hitting road from its headquarters in the Design District as Michael Schwartz readies the opening of our first new location in Coconut Grove!!!  The Genuine Hospitality Group is now proud to offer Harry’s Pizzeria on wheels, bringing the pizza party to you courtesy of TGHG Events with a beautiful, copper-domed mobile wood-burning oven. This latest offering from the company’s growing off-site events and catering outfit makes popping up a Schwartz-approved pizza party virtually anywhere in South Florida a reality.

Director of Special Events Lindsay Guidos explains, “What’s unique about our events capability is that you have the entire Genuine team’s resources at your disposal – our chefs, menus and me to plan everything! From fully-staffed experiences with décor to simply cranking out perfectly-tuned Harry’s pies for a hungry group, enjoy as much James Beard Award-winning food & hospitality as you care to experience.”

TGHG Director of Special Events Lindsay Guidos with Chef, tasting out the goods. All Genuine photo shoots are edible!

TGHG Director of Special Events Lindsay Guidos with Chef, tasting out the goods. All Genuine photo shoots are edible!

Like its on-site private parties, Harry’s Pizzeria’s mobile oven option makes for water cooler-worthy office happy hour gatherings, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and unforgettable kids’ birthday celebrations. Menus are fully customizable from dedicated pizza parties featuring Harry’s favorite pies, to family-style spreads that showcase the restaurant’s favorite snacks, bright and colorful salads, entrée specials, and desserts. Leverage the group’s Genuine coffers to complement the meal with craft beers and new world wines like Chef’s own Lua Rossa red blend, as well as old world standbys from Wine Director Eric Larkee’s lists across all Schwartz restaurants.

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Wish we could park the oven in front of Harry’s every day!

For menus and pricing, including planning parties at any of The Genuine Hospitality Group restaurants, please reach Lindsay at Lindsay@thegenuinehospitalitygroup.com or 203.313.4503. Check out the feed on Instagram at #HPMobileOven and #TGHGevents.

Harry’s Pizza Party | SAMPLE MENU
Served Family-Style

SNACKS
Meatballs in sauce
Focaccia & Homemade Organic Ricotta
SALAD
Escarole lemon, anchovy & bread crumbs
Heirloom Tomato & Mozzarella torn basil, extra virgin olive oil
PIZZA
Margherita mozzarella, tomato sauce & basil
Oyster Mushroom taleggio, roasted poblano peppers, fresh chilies
MGFD Bacon fingerling potatoes, caramelized, cave aged gruyere, arugula
Meatball peppers & onions, escarole, trugole
DESSERT
Panna Cotta
Chocolate Chunk Cookies

The Fruit of Life: Kristina’s Summer Bite of Haitian Mango Culture & Trade

Kristina Francillon took the summer off from her duties in MGFD reservations and with us branding folks at TGHG to work with mango growers and exporters in Haiti during the peak of season.  We thought it would provide a unique perspective on sourcing and agriculture to hear her story!

Happiness. That is what a mango means to a Haitian. March to August is the Francis mango season in Haiti, and adults and children alike look forward to it, eating multiple mangoes a day. My number is two per diem.  A mango could be sliced and daintily eaten with a fork, but to enjoy this tropical fruit in its true sense, you must peel it all, grab it with both hands, and take a bite as its sticky, sweet juice runs down.  Full face in!  In fact, my paternal grandmother (who was quite the lady) used to say, I will not get dirty for just one mango, I need at least two or three. Thus, bathing in your mango, if you will, is the only way to do it.

The Haitian mango does not only impact taste buds, but also the economy. The mango business supports over 50,000 Haitian families, with jobs, from the growers, to the exporters, to the street merchants. Mangoes are life around here. Although there are 140 varieties growing around the country, the francis variety is the most exported. Why is the francis mango so special, in addition to supporting Haiti’s recovering economy? Its flavor. The taste is rich and spicy and this variety has consistent flavor, unlike some others. It is also one of the juiciest mangoes there is. This is why these mangoes are so orgasmic. It drips as you eat it and no one is shamed into licking the nectar as it falls.

I have had the pleasure to intern with F&L, a mango exporting firm in the St Marc area in Haiti, approximately two hours from Port-au-Prince. The firm exports its mangoes to the US and is USDA approved. With a rigid selection process and a diverse and talented team, the company truly impacts the local economy. Mangoes are sourced from both F&L farms, and other local farmers. The fruit is naturally grown and only the highest quality mangoes are exported. They are then treated using a hot water treatment, sorted, packed and shipped in refrigerated containers to the States. The process is thoroughly supervised by a local and a USDA inspector, who are both on site, at all hours of operation. All so that you may enjoy the very best Haiti has to offer.

F&L is an affiliate of Agrotechnique SA, a company dedicated to the agricultural sector in Haiti for over 40 years. The team is local and their desire to help the country is palpable. Haiti does not grow through humanitarian aid, rather it develops through sustainable investment and exportation of local goods. This is what F&L does, and their products, mangoes in particular, are proudly showcased in major US cities like Miami, New York and Boston. Yes, Haiti is often portrayed as a country of despair, but let’s look at Haiti through another lens. Haiti = Good Mangoes.

Let’s discuss my experience. The best part: eating all the mangoes I could ever want, whole or juiced. I have never indulged this much and lost weight. This is a girl’s dream! Thus far, my work involves sales and strategy, where I help the firm improve its processes and increase its clientele. I like to think of it as an internal consultant of sorts. But I am learning so much more from this team, than I believe they are learning from me : from the mango culture, to the exportation business, to the love for Haiti. It is contagious. I have always loved Haiti, having been raised there. But working at a firm with direct impact on growers, families and the economy, has changed my view of the country as well. There is so much to be done here, and the impact of your work will be visible. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to make a difference.

At the Genuine Hospitality Group restaurants, the farm to table approach is vital. And TGHG has taught me the value of careful sourcing and of supporting growers. This is why I value the work of Haitian mango growers, and of firms such as F&L, who create work for these farmers, and distributors, through exportation. I have always loved the Francis mango, but now the fruit means so much more. Mango is now life to me.