Bella Italia! Michael’s New ella after 3 Menu on Thursday 10.8

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Bravissimo!  With two dinner services under their belts at our Design District pop up cafe, Michael Schwartz and wine director Eric Larkee are at it again. Have they learned everything or nothing at all?   On Thursday, October 8 they throw caution to the wind with a new menu, shared here for the first time.  Looks like we will get a taste of La Dolce Vita alla Schwartz!

Click the banner above for tickets. There are a few seats left at new time slots available in the 8PM hour!  Price is $75 plus tax and gratuity for an amuse and 4 courses paired with wines, and the company of a James Beard Award-winning chef as your very own short order cook.  It’s a steal!  Follow #ellaafter on Instagram for a feed of our last two evenings in Palm Court!  See you there two weeks from today.

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5 Courses of Clendenen: The Cypress Room’s Menu for Lua Rossa 3 Release Dinner

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They have arrived! Jim’s wines coursed from left to right.

Michael’s first ever dinner with Jim Clendenen in Miami is two weeks from today on Tuesday, September 22 at 7PM, and The Cypress Room has the honor of hosting it.  The wines have landed, including our first bottles of Lua Rossa 3, and Roel Alcudia’s menu is ready to share as follows [CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS]:

Passed assorted Hors d’oeuvres
Clendenen Family 2014 Mondeuse Rosé

Garam Masala-Cured Fish, coriander emulsion, puffed rice
2013 Clendenen Family Gewürztraminer Au Bon Climat

Slow Baked Fish, herb crust, baby vegetables, shellfish broth, shrimp tortellini
2012 Clendenen Family Viognier “Second Coming” Au Bon Climat 

Duck Breast, leek pudding, foie gras, cranberry gastrique
2009 Clendenen Family Nebbiolo “Bricco Buon Natale”

Braised Beef Cheek, celery root, wild mushroom, black truffles
Lua Rossa 3 Syrah/Cabernet Franc/Merlot/Mondeuse Stanta Maria Valley

Salted Caramel and Chocolate Tart, compressed pears, creme fraiche
1995 Il Podere Dell’Olivos “Sittin’ Pretty” California Aleatico

To get here, Jim dropped some crumbs from his spice rack, through Eric, for Roel.  With the dry Gewürztraminer, he would want something cold and raw, fish perhaps, an aromatic dish perfumed with coriander.  “Like an Indian spices sort of thing,” Jim says.  For the “Second Coming,” a curve ball came through the grapevine.  “He said something like a Rhone-style fish,” Eric explains.  “I’m not sure exactly that means.  When I was in Lyon all I ate was meat, and oysters.”  And of Lua Rossa 3?  “It’s red!” Eric laughs. “For now I’m letting it settle in the bottle.  Why ruin the fun when we’ll all discover it together at the dinner?”

In a 5-courses with wine pairings, we get a first taste of Lua Rossa 3 and enjoy exploring the lesser-known varietals that Jim’s coffers have to offer.

$175 plus tax & gratuity includes:
– welcome rosé and canapés
– 5 course dinner paired with Santa Barbara’s unexpected varietals, from its most curious producer
– a special bottle from the first shipment of Lua Rossa no. 3, signed by both Chef and Winemaker

Cheers you there!  For more images and recollections from our third blending trip, see here.


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!