Genuine Grams | Share Your Favorite Memories & Dishes with #MGFD10

When we look back over the years, and all the menus, there are some things that just stand out as seminally Genuine.  Opening Michael’s Genuine® Pub in 2014 was a great exercise for us to define it. The rows of grilled chicken wings with creamy cucumbers cueing up with thick cut potato chips and pan fried onion dip during training were a clue.  Those dishes that had stuck with us over the years, they were what we wanted to share with a new audience. Then consider the sourcing, and the spontaneity that makes a kitchen an MGFD kitchen, all the important hands that touch the ingredients every step of the way until they land in yours.  And then there’s Chef.

Waxy and Michael at Harry's in 2012.

Waxy and Michael at the original Harry’s Pizzeria in the Miami Design District for his 2012 pop up.

Michael Schwartz is the consummate chef. He is calm, creative, funny and incredibly perceptive. He totally understands what his customers want to eat, and I imagine he probably really cooks the dishes he wants to eat. His style is eclectic, modern with a look back to wood oven cookery, wood grilling and exciting, rustic flavors. His eponymous Michael’s Genuine is exactly that, an homage to the great lexicon of recipes and culinary ideas that make Michael, well, Michael. 

Jonathan Waxman, James Beard Award-winning chef/owner Barbuto (NYC), Waxman’s (San Francisco), Adelle’s (Nashville), and Jam’s (NYC)

As we approach March 13, we’re asking friends and colleagues of Michael’s to share their feelings about what Genuine means to them, and we’re asking you to do the same by sharing your favorite genuine dishes of all time on Instagram and tagging #MGFD10. We will regram them on @michaelsgenuine. It’s all about sharing the love. As we archive dive here and pull some favorites from our opening menus to share at the restaurant in the coming weeks, do the same on your feed as we will on ours.

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Reminder we will be closed for dinner (open for lunch until 3pm!) at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink on Thursday, February 23 as we welcome Jonathan and Marc Vetri for a sold out dinner to celebrate 10 Genuine Years with Chef Michael. If you’re not attending this or another South Beach Wine & Food Festival festivity, our restaurants in the hood and outside it will be open including Harry’s Pizzeria (Miami Design District and Coconut Grove), Fi’lia by Michael Schwartz (Brickell), and Cypress Tavern (Miami Design District).  Ella Pop Café (Miami Design District) until 7pm.

Frank Goodness for Meatloaf

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And on every shelf.

“Let’s say you fall in love with a vegetarian,” it begins.  When it comes to Michael Schwartz, a no more fitting recipe introduction could be conceived for a meatloaf book if you ask Frank Bruni.  The request came in something like this, in spring of ’15.

I write with what I hope is a small and not-too-bothersome request and maybe even falls into the realm of fun invitation. I’m wondering if you have a meatloaf recipe of your own… that you’d be willing to add to the book. It could be red meat, poultry, a fish loaf, even a meatLESS loaf. If it’s from you, it’s a triumph.

Thus began the journey of the Kasha Loaf now on pages 167-171, nuzzled between Zucchini and Borlotti, with words of encouragement spun so convincingly success is inevitable, the silver tongue few others than Mr. Bruni can conjure.  And there is so much more prose to charm on these pages thanks to what mutual feelings on the subject inspired with collaborator, friend and New York Times colleague Jennifer Steinhauer.  Their love letter to an iconic dish close to their hearts, A Meatloaf in Every Oven, is now out as of February 7 in hard cover (Grand Central Life & Style/Hachette), a comfortable clutch-able ode to this familiar comfort food with illustrations by Marilyn Pollack Naron that say, “It’s ok, you can do this. It’s going to be fun, and you’ll learn something Mom would want you to know while you’re at it.”  We are salivating to fan the pages like a globe and point.  Enjoy where Michael landed below and snatch your copy ASAP from your neighborhood bookseller.  We called Books & Books in Coral Gables this morning, and they have a couple in stock. Perfect.

Kasha Loaf

Testing in Michael’s home kitchen a couple of years ago, now realized for your own.

Michael Schwartz’s Kasha Loaf with Caramelized Onion Gravy

Serves 8

1 ½ cup kasha (coarse granulation)
4 large eggs
3 cups vegetable stock
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
4 cups minced white onions
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 pound cremini mushrooms, washed, stems removed and pulsed 10x in food processor
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 pound spinach, blanched, cooled, squeezed and finely chopped (you may substitute frozen, well squeezed)
3/4 cup ricotta
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
Caramelized Onion Gravy (recipe below)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit
2. To make the kasha, start by adding the vegetable stock, butter, salt and pepper to a pot and bring it to a boil. As the liquid is heating, lightly beat one of the eggs and add to the kasha in a medium sized bowl, stirring to coat the kernels. In a large skillet over high heat, toast the egg-coated kasha, stirring often for 2-3 minutes. Pour into the boiling stock and reduce flame to low. Stir kasha and cover. Cook for 8 – 10 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the kasha is tender. Let sit for 10 minutes covered, then transfer to a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool.
3. To make the loaf, place a large skillet over medium heat and add the olive oil and butter. When the butter has melted, add the onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a deep golden brown and caramelized, roughly 20 minutes.
4. Add the mushrooms and garlic to the onions and sauté for 5 – 7 minutes, stirring regularly. Add tomato paste, thyme, Worcestershire and soy sauce and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes. Remove from heat. When the mixture has slightly cooled, add to the kasha along with spinach, ricotta and Parmesan. Lightly beat the three remaining eggs and add to the bowl. Mix thoroughly and adjust for seasoning.
5. Turn into a non stick loaf pan and pack down using a spatula and by lightly tapping the pan on the table. Bake for 1 hour, until the loaf is brown on top and the edges start to pull away from the pan. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 10-15 minutes before turning out. Slice and serve with Caramelized Onion Gravy and a bitter greens salad

Caramelized Onion Gravy
makes 3 cups

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
3 cups minced onion
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable stock

1. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the oil and butter.
2. When the butter has melted, add the onion and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are a deep golden brown and caramelized, roughly 20 minutes. Add flour and stir for 1 minute. Add the stock and simmer for 2 – 3 minutes.
3. Purée the mixture and season to taste.

#SOBEWFF 10 Years of Genuine Menu & More #MGFD10 Fun to Come

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As we like to say… Menu subject to change :)

#thisismgfd. We began this hashtag in September, welcoming a new chef into the fold to steward Michael’s flagship into its 10th year of genuine hospitality.  Now we begin another as we approach March 13 when the Champagne will be flowing to give thanks for all that came before and forge ahead into a brave new future.  Today, we’re sharing for the first time the menu for our Thursday, February 23 South Beach Wine & Food Festival dinner.  We are so honored to have respected and dear friends chefs Marc Vetri and Jonathan Waxman join Michael to celebrate the meaning of Genuine.  I think it’s safe to say that it’s the genuine culture and community that has made this restaurant what it is, embracing and fostering Michael’s vision to make Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink bigger than itself.  It is this we toast and cherish, the people that make Genuine mean something.  Follow #MGFD10 as it unfolds, because there’s more to come, and click here for tickets before we run out. 

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Michael and Jim at Au Bon Climat, Santa Maria Valley, blending Lua Rossa no. 3 in 2015.

This year we also crafted an online auction package for the festival which we’re pretty excited about (the kind we’d want to buy ourselves, as it should be!)  Gather 4 friends and sidle up to the heirloom tomato wall as Michael and Brad cook for you at the Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink wood oven station. The beating heart and hearth of the MGFD kitchen since we opened in 2007 is your stage for a multi-course meal paired with iconic, library wines significant to Genuine from Michael’s friend and Lua Rossa collaborator Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat.  Get your bid in here now, or regret it later!

The Peak of Seasoned: Commissary Goals

There’re a lot to be said for writing things down. Releasing your desired reality out into the universe, having them in type — or in my case script — there to remind you.  To look at every so often, sometimes more than others.  And to be astonished one day that it’s time to make new ones because what you’ve set out to accomplish is now, seemingly suddenly, real.  Growth is a thing you commit to and when you do, something magical happens where what was so unknown becomes the most familiar thing in the world.

img_8973We set goals here at The Genuine Hospitality Group.  Our people do and so does our company.  It’s hard to imagine that the idea seemed foreign just a year and a half ago.  Now at the start of the year, it’s not just goals for our business, I set personal ones, too.  Even hashtag them.

“It’s unfolding like an onion,” says Michael.  He’s speaking about our new commissary kitchen, but I know it’s a metaphor for what’s happening now writ large.  What unfurls when something is set into motion.  “So many exciting opportunities will come from this project.”

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Strawberries in the fields at Knaus Berry Farms. We want them all.

We got into the large space a month ago, and executive chef Bradley Herron will tell you we’ve already grown out of it.  It’s not hard to imagine, I found visiting last Wednesday with MJ Garcia who is exploring “the savory side of life”, captaining the project at ground zero.  But for Bradley, our MGFD pastry chef was just the right person for the job.

“Brad stitched me for the part,” MJ explains.  “I’m learning how to administer and organize my time, figuring out how the proteins work, how to utilize the space properly.”

The journey began around summer’s end, and the understanding that there was opportunity to build out Michael Schwartz Events and our catering capability quickly became the realization that we could centralize production for our restaurants, capitalize on product at the peak of season and get as much of it and out of it as possible.  For Brad and Michael this has opened up the potential to rethink how we do things, the possibilities for ingredients and sourcing, the development of people at this facility and at the restaurants that comes with increased efficiency.  Imagine the doors this opens for creativity.

“Michael connected with Margie from Bee Heaven Farm and hashed a plan with the chefs,” MJ explains.  “We bring in whatever she has leftover from the weekend market and in abundance.  We take as much as we can and get to work preserving, dehydrating, processing things fresh, incorporating it into sauces, veal stock.”

After a space was identified and lease signed, Brad along with culinary assistant Megan Hess just started showing MJ the savory ropes. Recipes were dialed in, and once the space was delivered and equipment online thanks to heavy lifting from TGHG VP of Development Patrick Brown, programmed into a combioven which MJ swears could basically take care of her child.

“I put the eggs for the mayo in there, right in the crate. There is no movement, no breakage.  And the time it saves!  Brad built this operation for efficiency. Everything is big enough to climb into.”

Coffee is the first item on the check list in any kitchen Brad and Michael are running.

Good coffee is the first item on the check list in any kitchen Brad and Michael are running.

“You don’t have service so you have time to pay attention to details and make sure product comes out the same way every time,” MJ continues.  “We have a unique opportunity to basically work without the million variables at odds in a busy restaurant. The time pressure now is different. It’s scheduling and planning, forecasting the needs of the restaurants.”

She’ll say she’s slowly taking on more production, that she was terrified the first week getting into the space.  But as an outsider to this process observing it for the first time, the progress they’ve made since the fear of January 2 is nothing short of astounding.  In one month MJ has gone from fish out of water to conservatively comfortable, owning the first (and longest) cooking stages of the prep for proteins and so much more that she’s already hiring more staff to handle it all.

Combimagic: 3 cases of octopus -- a week's worth of octopus in one day that MGFD will then take an wood oven roast or add to its daily pasta set up. We control temperature, humidity and pressure -- basically every element of the cooking process.

Combioven magic, no joke.  This rig has been programmed to cook 3 cases of octopus in one day — that’s a week’s worth for MGFD which it will wood oven roast or add to the daily pasta set up. We can control temperature, humidity and pressure — basically every element of the cooking process.

“When they order I have to be ready,” MJ says of the constant communication with the restaurants as the process synchronizes. “Most of this is lead time stuff so by nature it requires forecasting. 8-10 hours of cooking overnight for most of the proteins like the pork belly, pastrami, short rib, pig ears… The bacon is just rubbed but I’m smoking it here so again, that’s a process that takes time.  I’m still building up a base pantry and learning our pars but then again they’re going to change as we continue to develop new catering offerings.  We are creating a pattern of what we need, don’t need, one thing at a time as I get my feet on the ground and understand the rhythm of things.  We want to train and do things in the right way.”

Brad is guiding MJ through planning based on restaurant sales and previous orders, as well as weekly forecasts of covers.  Then there’s the innovation that happens when the tail can wag the dog, maybe anticipate what the restaurants might not even know they need.  Sometimes she’ll work special projects for Cypress Tavern if Max requests, like duck confit. She’s caramelizing the onions and slicing the chips for MGFD’s dip, cutting and crisping potatoes for fries and cabbage for the pastrami, building ella’s grilled cheese sandwiches for the griddle.  The list goes on and will continue to grow when she takes on something familiar next month — pastry production with assistant Alex Sarria.

“I go every morning to check on the girls,” MJ says. “And then I surprise drop in and taste twice a week with the night crew.”

 

For Michael it’s not just about capitalizing on bumper crops for pricing and quality, it’s about investing in our people.  That’s the thing about goals.  By design they need to be measurable and achievable and to make them so, you time stamp and list who’s on the journey with you.  Because you can’t do it alone, ever.  We like to say we know more what we don’t want than what we do.  And that’s perfectly fine too.   Many thanks to TGHG Managing Partner and Harry’s Holdings CEO Sunil Bhatt for teaching us about goals.  Onward and upward.

Super Sunday Specials | Wing Bowls & Za, Buckets of Beer at Harry’s Pizzeria®

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Let’s get it on, America!  Super Bowl Sunday is February 5, and we’re ready to take comfort in our annual nationwide rallying cry that sets politics aside to celebrate the strength, strategy and camaraderie of sport.  Harry’s Pizzeria has you fed home and away with some specials, because, well, we all could use some right about now.  These hit the spot for parties of four, but who’s counting?

SUPER WING BOWLS & ZA |  Any two pizzas on the regular menu and a bowl of 18 oven roasted agrodolce wings with rosemary crema dipping sauce for $51.  Available for dine in, take out and delivery; find the combo in the “Most Popular” section of Uber EATS.

BUCKETS OF BEER |  Galvanize this. Crack open a selection of five of our favorite cans for $25 for the table, served on ice so they’re nice and cold to go the distance.

Our locations in the Miami Design District (3918 North Miami Ave, Miami, FL 33127) and Coconut Grove (2996 McFarlane Road, Miami, FL 33133) don’t take reservations, but if you’d like to know if either restaurant can accommodate a larger group, reach Lindsay Guidos at Lindsay@michaelschwartzevents.com or 786.708.6826.  Visit harryspizzeria.com for our menus and more.

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