Here’s What’s for Dinner at ella after 2!


Ella_after 2_menu_finalOne week from this Thursday, Michael heads behind the counter for ella after dinner service again.  He just finished the menu, and wine director Mr. Eric Larkee the wines. We definitely aren’t in Hanoi anymore!  There are a few spots left at 9:15 and 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 27.  Click here to snag a ticket before they’re gone!

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Stumbling upon MGFD pastry chef Amy Kalinowski’s first round of hempseed baklava testing!

[VIDEO] [RECIPE] Our Latest Vice: Getting the Late Night Miami Munchies

Miami specializes in shady characters!

Up to no good!

Today VICE “soft opens” its new food channel, yet another indication of pop culture’s obsession with all things culinary, and we are full of giggles.  Fittingly, the debut coincides with the release of another episode of its fun-loving, if not slightly raunchy series “Munchies: Chef’s Night Out.”  The subject? Miami and these three stooges above.  Yes, it’s Michael Schwartz’s turn for a night on the town, and he has chosen a motley crew in Bar Lab’s Elad Zvi (The Broken Shaker) and TGHG’s Eric Larkee (The Genuine Hospitality Group) with some surprising cameos along the way from Tap Tap to The Cypress Room.  Watch how this recipe for innocent disaster unfolds in the episode below, and if you must try this at home, we have the closing meal’s sweet and decadent ending in fisherman George Figueroa’s Spiny Lobster Ceviche below.  Substitute sweet Florida key west shrimp or rock shrimp when not Florida lobster season. Cheers to good friends and good times!

Spiny Lobster Ceviche

Serves 4

2/3 cup fresh lemon juice, more to taste
1/3 cup fresh lime juice, more to taste
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 cup good-quality soy sauce
Pinch of cayenne
1/2 pound spiny lobster meat, removed from tail sliced thin
1 tablespoon of masago
1/4 cup thinly sliced cucumbers
1 teaspoon thinly sliced jalapeños (to taste)

Combine the lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, soy sauce and cayenne in a medium mixing bowl. Toss in lobster meat and make sure it is completely submerged. Let soak for thirty minutes.

Serve the lobster meat over freshly sliced cucumbers, adding jalapeños and masago in top.

[VIDEO] Somm at Sea: International Man of Mystery Eric Larkee


Time lapse.  It’s been known to happen while cruising the great wide open.  Blue for days, as we say.  But today is a port day for Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas in Sint Maarten. The Dutch side of this Caribbean island in the Kingdom of the Netherlands comprises its southern half, with the French Saint Martin to the north.  TGHG Wine Director Eric Larkee is on his second of two tours of duty with Special Ops Chef Thomas Tennant chaperoning fine dining restaurant 150 Central Park through its seasonal menu transition.  The restaurant abroad Oasis of the Seas launched Michael’s new winter menus Shadehouse and Harvest last week. Now it is big sister’s turn. Chef meets the ship next week for a couple of days when Eric is back on dry land.

Not only is he responsible for selecting the Royal [wine] Pairing for the rotating menus and training front of house staff, but lately Eric has voluntarily embraced the role of Brand Stringer to capture the action.  Even invested in a Gorillapod to make it nice.  The menus look great this season, as they should with all our farms here in South Florida at the height of harvest.  The first dish of each menu is a favorite of mine always, primarily due to Eric.  He has a way of handling the pairing to whet the palate and leave you wanting more.  Borek Farms Beets start things off for Harvest, roasted, pureed, pickled, and then shaved, with creamy robiola cheese, pistachio, and citrus.  The brightness and freshness of the star ingredient is balanced by something luxurious and creamy in the cheese and then zapped right back up with the last ingredient, the crisp acidity of a glass of Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs from the North Coast of California.  A whole New World, indeed.  Enjoy Eric’s time lapse below, and we wish him safe travels home. We’ve got plenty of material at home base begging for a sequel!

The Cypress Room Tasting Menu Part II: Menu Design with Roel Alcudia


The Cypress Room came together with such a singular vision, that every person, at every point of its inception, has had to live up to it. Chef de Cuisine Roel Alcudia came to us from New York City to stand at the helm of the kitchen. The golden boy of The Genuine Hospitality Group, Roel gets first choice of the ingredients that come in fresh from Homestead, the Atlantic, the Gulf, and wherever else we find the beautiful product that graces The Cypress Room’s a la carte menus.  From there, and not a moment before, the daily Lunch Prix Fixe and nightly Tasting Menu are conceived.

Having been trained by our self-proclaimed Godfather, Roel didn’t have much catching up to do in the Genuine kitchens.  He has a keen eye for freshness, a taste for quality that we love so much. So it’s only natural that when I sat down to ask him about how the Tasting Menu dishes come to be, he had three words to say: I wing it.

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The Cypress Room Tasting Menu Part I: Pairings with TGHG Wine Director Eric Larkee

photo(5)The Genuine Hospitality Group’s intrepid wine director Eric Larkee’s Uncorked column comes often (but never enough!) to TGK. Here we take the reins to discuss something special and top of mind these days, whether sailing on the high seas with Royal Caribbean or sidling up to white table cloths and fine china at The Cypress Room on the mainland: the Tasting Menu. They come in all shapes and sizes, yes, depending on the city you are in and the chef behind the line, so how does our newest restaurant approach this complex dance between food and beverage, and the people behind them — and in front i.e. the customer? To explore all the angles, I first sat down with Larkee to talk pairings for Part I. Ellie spoke with chef de cuisine Roel Alcudia for Part II, coming tomorrow.

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