Designing Restaurant Paradise With Meyer Davis Studio

The opening of Paraiso Bay’s Beach Club and waterfront restaurant is not quite on the horizon yet, but the collaboration between Michael and Meyer Davis Studio is in full swing.  At their New York-based design firm, Principals and Partners Will Meyer and Gray Davis specialize in residential, hospitality, retail and workplace environments. While still working drawings on paper at this stage, the space and kitchen is laid out with a distinct direction thanks to a solid working relationship.

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Carlos Rosso, President of the Related Group’s condominium development division meets with Michael and Will Meyer of Meyer Davis Studio last month at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink in the Design District.

“I love their work and am super excited about our partnership” Michael explains. “Mostly because they are extremely talented designers but also because they understand restaurants and how they work.  They design with functionality and flow in mind.  One of the most important elements to me is how it all works together as a whole.”

The team has been meeting regularly to review plans in stages and communication is key.

“Michael is great to work with. He’s responded positively to our approach and has been very hands on with kitchen design and functionality.” says Will Meyer.  “We work with celebrity chefs on a regular basis, and it’s always fantastic to work with people who know what they’re doing and are passionate.”

If the two agree on anything, it’s that functionality always comes first, especially in restaurant design. The space needs to flow for guests and employees.  “We really stem our aesthetic choices from functionality,” explains Will.  “These need to function well to also be impressive design decisions. We also always want guests to feel comfortable and for design to be luxurious at the same time. That balance is the key to a great design.”

When starting this project, Michael came in with a clear vision of what he wanted.  The restaurant’s open kitchen and wood grill — something that’s been a centerpiece of private events at the property’s sales center off Biscayne Bay — will be a focal point, as is the importance of bringing the amazing location on the waterfront into the restaurant.

“We’ve conceptualized a space that is seamless in its transition from the outside in,” Will continues. “There will be trees and plantings within the restaurant, as well as a nanowall system on the first and second floor that can be opened to allow the interior to pour outside. We like to keep our interior and exterior materials similar as well, so that the dining overflows outdoors and people feel the same environment throughout the space.”

MG_Paraiso_HH_Final_logoThis restaurant is meant to be a space that residents should feel comfortable making their regular spot.  The Studio thinks a lot about how guests will engage with its projects, from families enjoying a meal out together, to more romantic evenings, and even special events.

Will notes, “Hopefully the restaurant can be an inviting home away from home, while also serving as a destination for those who are not residents.”

Related is currently preparing to launch the final 55-story residential tower within the Paraiso enclave. The GranParaiso Tower by Piero Lissoni will begin sales early May.

“Working with the extraordinary talents of Michael Schwartz and the design stars of Meyer Davis Studio is an unprecedented blend of vision and style,” said Carlos Rosso, President of The Related Group Condominium Division. “Together, we’re creating Paraiso Beach Club to transform the lifestyle on Biscayne Bay.”

He continued, “This is the destination Miami has been waiting for, especially in downtown, where the best dining and culture are taking shape before our eyes. Paraiso’s Beach Club will become the spot for contemporary and relaxed gatherings on the waterfront, for drinks and amazing meals with friends and family. I can already imagine our dock lined with boats and water taxis.”

Come toast the vision for Edgewater, the new neighborhood in our future on Biscayne Bay.  Join Michael for complimentary snacks & drinks inspired by his future Paraiso Beach Club restaurant tonight Wednesday, April 8 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (130 NE 40th Street.) For more information about Paraiso Bayviews  please contact info@paraisobayviews.com.

 

 

 

 

Our New British Anthem | Michael’s Genuine Pub Sets Sail for Southampton

1425922434_AnthemConveyanceInfographicGet ready to be gobsmacked!  Our second Michael’s Genuine® Pub aboard Anthem of the Seas will open later this month, and we can’t wait to call Southampton, UK our first home away from home overseas!  The second in the Quantum Class fleet has made its way from the shipyard in Papenberg, Germany like big sister Quantum,  and our team here at The Genuine Hospitality Group is making final preparations to head abroad to meet her in Bremerhaven.

So, what’s new for number two?  Besides brushing up on our British English, not much, but we did feel it was important to make a few tweaks with a nod to Anthem’s home port.  The menu by and large remains the same in the snacks section.  Crispy pig ears are now called “scratchings,” and we added a great Scotch egg that chef Thomas developed in Grand Cayman, where it can often be found in myriad preparations on the menu (it’s part of the Commonweath, of course!)  Michael also added a section of larger plates including a classic Sunday Roast and grilled salmon with curried lentils.  We didn’t have to look far for amazing charcuterie and cheeses from Great Britain’s best artisanal producers, so they are highlighted in The Pub Board with accompaniments.  On a sweet note, sticky toffee pudding was a must, so it will join peanut butter pie-in-a-jar and panna cotta with mixed berries.  The Pub serves specialty cocktails, American craft beer including Michael’s Genuine® Home Brew, as well as local brews on tap and in the bottle, and a small but focused wine and spirits list. Order one of the Pubʼs three whiskey flights to sample rum from America’s east and west coasts, bourbon from the heartland, and Scotch whiskey, closer to home.  Follow along on the journey through Instagram @royalcaribbean, @mghomebrew and @mgfd_mia.

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Springing Beyond the Buns: a Knaus Berry Farm Weekend at Harry’s Pizzeria

We are celebrating the official first weekend of spring as Knaus Berry Farm showers Harry’s Pizzeria with produce and more! Chef de cuisine Danny Ramirez took his back of house crew on a field trip to one of our favorite places in Homestead on Tuesday to harvest tomatoes, zucchini, scallions, strawberries, and greens to highlight on Harry’s regular menu this weekend.

Danny has been going to KBF since he was about 5 years old, but this was his first look behind the scenes. Danny says, “I never thought I would ever be in their elusive Back of House. I didn’t realize how many acres they have. They grow a lot more than those delicious strawberries. As a chef, being able to expose my guys, young cooks, Chris Cantu and Miller Celestino, to what real, good food is was so rewarding. They got a chance to see what really drives me and all our chefs at TGHG.” They spent a morning harvesting in the fields with Herby. Herby runs the field and Thomas runs operations, Danny explains, “I grew up with KBF strawberries and sticky buns and having a chance to meet their team and see the entire operation was like coming full circle. And as a local guy trying to make and leave a mark on my city this is what it’s all about, foraging these relationships and sustaining them so that my kids and their kids can see and taste South Florida for what it is.”

Visit the restaurant in the Design District from Friday, March 20 through Sunday, March 22 to partake in the fun and welcome a new season in South Florida!  There’s something sticky in the dessert section, too, and we bet you can guess what it is!  A special thanks to head Baker Thomas Blocher for the treats (always!) and the idea.

The Dishes:

KBF Roasted Grape Tomatoes with Stracciatella and KBF mint pesto

KBF Scallion and Zucchini Salad with zucchini blossoms, KBF parsley, botarga and lemon vinaigrette

BLT Pizza with creamed KBF spinach, KBF tomatoes and bacon

KBF Strawberry Soda

Panna Cotta with KBF strawberry compote

We are very excited for these fresh dishes and can’t wait for you to try them, see you this weekend!

 

 

Field Report: A Spring Farm Run in The Redland

On Sundays and Wednesdays at 9:00AM an email is sent out to some of the best chefs and produce junkies in Miami.  I was lucky it was a Wednesday when I found myself poking around the walk-in cooler at Farm to Kitchen HQ.  While owner Chris Padin finished up the morning’s transmission, I became acquainted with the fridge, a snapshot of spring’s arrival in South Florida.  There were passion fruit the size of ostrich eggs, a box of rosy-rooted watermelon radishes and a crate of bright green sapote, the kind of gems that conceal the real treasures just beneath their skins — sweet tart seeds jeweled bright orange, pink and green rings to make even Saturn jealous, and sweet flesh tasting of chocolate custard with the color and texture to match.  Mesmerizing.  Losing the feeling in my fingers was my cue to exit.

Chris had just hit send as he explained, “I update the email blast twice a week. It lists the farms, their products, price and classification. Then, the chefs have about a day to call me with their orders.” I peeked and counted about 10 farms with a long list of veggies, dairy products, greens, herbs and fruits.  Chris and partner Aleli Lauria-Padin operate Farm to Kitchen, and I think they have the best jobs on planet Earth. Picking up the good stuff from all over South Florida and dropping it to some of the best restaurants in Miami.  Currently, Farm to Kitchen works with 12 – 15 farms and supplies about 30 restaurants.  Both numbers are steadily growing branching out from Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink to all the TGHG restaurants including The Cypress Room, Harry’s Pizzeria and Restaurant Michael Schwartz.  The couple is careful to expand at the right pace with the right people, and now includes some familiar names as well as new kids on the block from Eating House, 27 Restaurant and Vagabond, to Proper Sausages and Fooq’s.  But today was about the farms, five farms to be exact: Verde Gardens, Teena’s Pride, Knaus Berry, Corona and Bee Heaven all in Homestead — a world away from our home in the Design District.

On the 40 or so minute ride down, we passed farm after farm, but not the type I was expecting.  Fields of palm trees, hedges, and other ornamentals, all neatly arranged in rows fanned out beside us.  These landscaping nurseries were all cool to look at, but, as Chris was quick to remind me, they all could be growing food instead.  Our first stop was Verde Gardens, a 22-acre farm staffed and operated through the Urban Oasis Project whose goal it is to teach formerly homeless families how to run a farm. Every available patch of green is utilized. Chris and I walked through two of the largest plots, and I listened intently as he rattled off the names of all the greens and herbs. We stopped at some for a closer look. I was stuck on the rainbow chard and its richer than rich reds, yellows and oranges. Chris suggested that we take a look at Verde Gardens’ tropical fruits tucked away behind a barn, and sure enough, my mind was blown. A giant banana flower hung inconspicuously in the sky. It was about the size of a football. I had never seen such a thing! As far as I was concerned, bananas grew on trees and were yellow, sometimes green. But this flower, and flowers like it in various stages of growth, were completely exotic to me. On our way out, I met Chuck, one of the farm managers. Chris and Chuck started talking about orders, the impending close to the season and loquats. I quickly Googled ‘loquats’ – but more on that later…

Next up, Teena’s Pride. One thing I noticed, everything is bigger at Teena’s. The Borek family has been operating this 500-acre farm for many generations. There are tomatoes as far as they eye can see, and then some. Every kind of heritage and heirloom tomato occupy rows at least a mile long. While Chris and I were inspecting some pancake-sized nasturtiums, Chef Niven called. He wanted an update on the tomato ‘situation,’ and Chris filled him in, reporting that “they have lots of greens, and there are a few cases with some great color on ‘em, good variety.” And it was done. Chris ordered 30 cases for Niven to be delivered the next morning. There are tomatoes growing in fields and in greenhouses; there are tomatoes on giant trays with their own irrigation system and growing in cooling houses. These tomatoes could survive the apocalypse. Having all this space allows Teena’s to test out crops. They had a few new heirloom varieties in the grow house, Chris explains, “if they make it in the grow house, and people like the taste, then they get moved to the fields and from there to Niven at the restaurant.”

Unlike the other farms, Knaus Berry Farms was busy entertaining the public – and on a Wednesday morning!  We walked into a market area with signs for milk shakes, strawberries, cinnabuns and veggies. There were loads of people walking up and down the u-pick aisles outside. KBF has strawberries for miles, and, as we were told inside, that wasn’t even half of their crop. This place has a cult following, and I’m the newest recruit. The strawberries sat in perfect rows, peeping out from the white plastic sheeting, there to protect them. They are plump, perfectly ripe and bright red. As Chris and I were leaving, we met by the Bald Baker, Thomas Blocher, who runs the bakery at KBF and supervises the creation of hundreds of trays of cinnabuns every day. He recently started blending his own coffee, deftly called “Bald Baker’s Blend”– which we sampled. It is delicious! Chef de cuisine Danny Ramirez is taking the Harry’s Pizzeria kitchen crew on a field trip to Knaus later this month, so more on them to come.

We had to pick up some sugarcane for our booth at the Sprung! event Harry’s and Michael’s Genuine Home Brew participated in last weekend, so Chris and I rode over to Corona Farms / Martha’s U-Pick. Right off of Krome Avenue is this perfectly self-contained stand offering some of the best Southern Hospitality I’ve seen in South Florida since moving here from Charleston, South Carolina. Within moments of our arrival, Chris handed me a coconut with a straw poking out of it. I look up to see him hacking away at another coconut with a machete. A tiny puppy roams around like he owns the place, and he’s got it made. There are bananas on display and every color pepper you could imagine. This stand had bins of tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, and a variety of lettuces. The whole place is electrified with color. If you look out behind the stand, you can see the farm, completely green and lush with a sugarcane perimeter. Not only was this convenient, but incredibly beautiful.

Bee Haven Farm was like a secret garden. As we wove our way through tropical trees, Chris plucked leaves and greens for me to try. He crumbled up an allspice leaf in his hands and told me to sniff.  The smell was biting! We walked up to a few rows and Chris stopped me from going any further, as he pointed to the sign ‘BEES AT WORK.’ I saw about 10 filing boxes stacked on top of each other. Yup, they were filled with bees. There were also a few loose chickens wandering around, and more in little coops strategically placed around the farm. Permaculture is a theory of farming that makes full use of all the benefits the crops have to offer. Here was permaculture at work: The chickens graze and provide manure, while the bees pollinate and bounce from plant to plant. The farmers rotate the crops, moving certain flowers to attract different bugs and monitor growing rates. Hidden in this hide away oasis, we found pencil mulberries, black tomatoes, tamarind and loquats.

 

Loquats at Bee Haven Farm

Loquats at Bee Haven Farm

Loquats are a fruit native to the East, often called a Chinese plum or Japanese plum. They are high in sugar and acid and are commonly used to make jam. These new crops are always exciting for the farmers and for Chris, as well. He thinks these would be a big hit for the Farm to Kitchen Buying Club. Every Saturday, people like Jackie trek up to 54th Street to the Farm to Kitchen warehouse to pick up their boxes of fruits, veggies and greens. You can sign up at ali@farmtokitchenmiami.com. Each week, FTK compiles small ($35), medium ($45), large ($55) and extra large ($75) boxes of goodies for families to cook with at home. FTK also offers great add-ons, like chicken and duck eggs, raw local goat’s milk, and avocado honey. The FTK Buying Club was created to soothe frustrated chefs. On his deliveries, Chris had encountered so many chefs who got great produce in the restaurants and yet cooked with lesser products at home. So, Chis started delivering personalized boxes of produce to the chefs with their regular deliveries. When Chris and Ali cook at home, they use ingredients from the farms and their garden, so they believed that if better products were available — more families would want to cook with these great ingredients too.  The Farm to Kitchen Buying Club was born. Now, you can see Chris & Ali every Saturday when you pick up your box of goodies and enjoy the freshest, local ingredients Florida has to offer. Thank you Chris & Farm to Kitchen!  For up-to-date information on our go-to food sources for the restaurants visit our Sourcing pages.

Thank you Chris, Ali, Verde Gardens, Teena's Pride, Knaus Berry Farms, Corona Farms and Bee Haven Farms!

Thank you Chris, Ali, Verde Gardens, Teena’s Pride, Knaus Berry Farms, Corona Farms and Bee Haven Farm!

 

Currybest | Buck’s Beer Garden & Bonfire, Take One, in Pictures

Did you know that currywurst isn’t a type of German sausage made with curry, but rather a perfectly grilled brat served with a heaping squeeze of curry ketchup and sprinkle of curry powder?  This was one of my revelations under the full moon last night at Buck’s Beer Garden & Bonfire’s inaugural event, where we played sponge for all things German thanks to guidance from helpful countrymen (that’s you, Frank!)  The right amount of sauce is also when you think it’s too much.  You’ll use every bit of it until the last bite of linked meat in crusty roll is gone.  The story dates back to 1949 Berlin when Herta Heuwer obtained ketchup (or possibly Worcestershire sauce) and curry powder from British soldiers in Germany.  She mixed these ingredients with other spices and poured it over grilled pork sausage and currywurst was born!  Street food in Germany was never the same again!  We can’t wait for our next food history lesson, or pick up game of ping pong on March 19, our second and last event of the month.  You won’t want for sauce, Wynwood brews to your heart’s content, nor ping pong balls! And don’t forget to try the Schwenkbraten, a delicious cut of pork (neck) bathed in paprika-oregano’d onions, served with a side of cabbage. It was a knockout, and cooked to perfection on the Schwenker grill.  Click here for last night in pictures. Prost!