Slow Food Snail of Approval for Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

It must have been the 80 pound Palmetto Creek Farms hog, done in Caja China, with its crispy candy skin and strip after juicy strip of succulent meat…

At Tuesday night’s private dinner to celebrate the induction of the Hua Moa banana-plantain into the Ark of Taste, Slow Food Miami Leader Donna Reno surprised Michael and the MGFD team with the chapter’s first-ever Slow Food Snail of Approval.

Not unlike the Good Housekeeping Seal, it certifies restaurants, bars, food and beverage artisans, and stores and markets as genuine contributors to the quality, authenticity and sustainability Miami’s food supply.  They even call our references to see if we check out, as they should!  It’s a much needed program, especially for interested consumers, to ensure that those establishments taking a big local game back it up in practice.

We are very proud to be the first in South Florida to wear this badge of honor and look forward to welcoming other restaurants into the fold. It’s not easy being green, but that’s kind of the point, right?

View our Flickr set of the prep and meal here, and the menu after the jump.

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Halloween Candy We Sneak When You’re Not Looking

Reese's has a fun interactive tool on its website that let's you customize its print ads to your taste, like we did here.

Even restaurant people are guilty of a charmed fondness for Halloween candy.  But what the heck, it’s only one day a year, right?  Ok, maybe the weeks following, too, for those of us with little trick-or-treaters around…

We also share nostalgia for and strong loyalties to certain childhood treats, especially Hedy’s!

To get in the Sunday spirit, we did a little staff poll of our packaged favorites.

The truth about what’s in our stash comes out, below.

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Growing Together with Little River Market Garden

Under last night’s beautiful full moon, Muriel Olivares was transplanting tomatoes with her head lamp.  It was almost 11:00 p.m. when she got in to write me back.  I had many questions!

I had sent intern Renata Herminio over to Muriel’s new Little River Market Garden yesterday to say hello and snap some photos of what’s growing.  We’re buying whatever we can get our hands on lately, from okra to this weekend’s batch of green peanuts fresh out of the ground.  I myself had been meaning to pay her a visit like our foragers, including sous chef Matt, have been, but hadn’t yet made it over.

Muriel's favorite flower, Jolly Jester. She began working in floral design.

She’s in no way new to organic farming or to South Florida (we first met her working for Margie Pikarsky at Bee Heaven) but for the first time, Muriel is starting out on her own with Litter River Market Garden.  What I find so interesting is that, we are the only restaurant with whom she is working, and for good reason.  Focusing on her CSA program, she doesn’t have enough supply yet for the demand i.e. she doesn’t want to entice a chef and then not be able to sell them anything.  So we are acting as both customer and consultant in a way, helping her understand what restaurants like ours want and how that relationship can be successful.  If that’s not collaboration – or smart business – I don’t know what is!

In addition to being featured in Paula Nino’s story on women farmers in the current issue of Edible South Florida magazine, Muriel will be at this weekend’s Edible Garden Festival at Fairchild Tropical Garden. Here’s why you want to be there to meet her.
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Could It Really Be Cayman Cookout Time Again?

Well… almost! Please see the freshly-pressed news release from the Cayman Islands below.  Tickets are now on-sale.  While I’ll miss grabbing another beer with David Chang, this year’s line-up brings back some of our favorites (cue the affable Mr. and Mrs. Bourdain, Gail Simmons, Jose Andres, and of course host Eric Ripert) and adds new ones (Rachel Allen, Susur Lee, and Charlie Trotter.)  With Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Grand Cayman now fully up and running, it’s going to be better than ever — especially Saturday night’s dinner at the restaurant with Bo Barrett of Chateau Montelena.  Ya think our Eric is excited about that one?!  Let us know if you plan to join, and please relive the above moment of island zen shot from our Ritz-Carlton hotel room balcony last year if you need help sealing the deal.

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