We ♥ Miami Spice

Cha ching. Chef Bradley's insane Georgia Peach Salad with local radish, basil, French feta and almonds is on our Miami Spice menu in Miami.

Another reason to love summer in Miami…  Another reason to eat out, eat well, and not break the bank.  Debt crisis averted or not, we’re ready to roll into August and get down to business with one serious Miami Spice offering!  Er, two actually…  This year our restaurant in Grand Cayman was invited to play, so the more the merrier.  Our Spice menus at both locations will change from time to time, just like our regular menus do, so you’ll always find what’s fresh from our favorite suppliers — local, regional, and otherwise.  Look for line- and spear-caught fish, White Oak Pastures grass-fed beef, rock shrimp, eggplant, heirloom tomatoes, avocado, mango, and more.  We also wanted to show some love to our friends at Slow Food Miami, so you may notice their iconic snail creeping around here and there.  See you later at the Miami Beach Convention Center for the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau kickoff event (details, and our first menus,  here.)


Hedy’s Frozen Delights on Food (ography)

Curried banana bread. *drool* (courtesy Heidi Ladell)

Do not fear, my sweets! Not only do we have behind the scenes photos of the shoot, but last night’s Food (ography) episode showcasing the talents of our executive pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith will re-air July 31 at 11:00 p.m. and 3:00 a.m., and August 14 at 8:00 a.m.  This Cooking Channel show is hosted by funny man Mo Rocca and examines how people and culture are shaped by food. In “Frozen Delights,” which was filmed at MGFD in Miami on March 29, “dessert proves that it’s cool to be a grown-up!” Hedy whipped up a sexy and sophisticated Banana Split with curry bread, caramel sauce, one scoop each of buttered popcorn, chocolate chipotle, and coconut curry ice creams, spicy chocolate-dipped bananas, homemade whipped cream, macadamia brittle, and a cherry on top. Can we say over the top? Yeah bay bay. This is one of several television appearances Hedy has been making these days, including her contributor gig with Unique Sweets (more July air dates here,) as well as an episode of America’s Best Bites shot yesterday at the restaurant featuring Tangerine Creamsicle Pot de Creme and set to air in September.  Congrats Hed! Now… when is this split banana thingy going on the menu, or are you just going to tease the bajesus out of us??  For those of you into self-torture, more insider shots are right this way…

Hello My Name Is… 39th Street Office

Victoria (left) and Ellie (right) in Shakespeare mode.

Sure our restaurants are where the magic happens, but did you know that our back office has some action of its own going down? Above the quaint little courtyard of Always Flowers, 50 Northeast 39th Street houses Michael, our bookkeeping department, Director of Operations Charles Bell (he also has a desk in the Miami restaurant mezzanine,) two boar busts named Carlos and Pedro, and a few other new faces that it’s time to introduce.  Ellie Groden, whom you may know already for her kick butt writing skills and Italian sensibility, joined us a few months ago as Chef’s assistant and is my office mate, and this summer we have welcomed two bright new additions — Victoria Calleja and Junior Navarez.  Again, I have lucked out with smart and responsible interns, thanks to good referrals.  Forager Ali Lauria found Ellie, her longtime family friend. Victoria comes to us on the recommendation of Mark Kuller (Proof and Estadio, D.C.; husband of Whisk Gourmet’s Kristin Connor) and Junior, a peer at Miami Ad School of Renata Herminio, our longtime graphics design intern now studying in Berlin for her ‘Greenhouse’!  (She’s doing great by the way and sent us an email the other week that made us giggle. We’ll post a little story on her adventures in Bratwurst, Currywurst, Shnitzel, Spaetzle, and Strudel abroad here soon…)  Learn a little more about the additions to our growing stable via the questionnaire below:

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[UPDATED] Northern Florida Chanterelles from Jesse O’Reilly

UPDATE:  Just confirmed with that Jesse met Michael at his Apron’s Cooking School class in Tallahassee in April. Gotta love that.

A beautiful thing happened the other day. On Jul 14, 2011, at 6:21 PM, Michael received an email from chef and forager Jesse O’Reilly including pictures of some gorgeous A1 chanterelles, part of an 8 pound batch, and an offer to send us some to try.  Of course like any sane person, let alone a chef, his answer was “YES YES YES!!!!!” And of course they were amazing, and landed on toast with soft scrambled guinea hen eggs from Lake Meadow Naturals, thyme, and shaved piave vecchio. An earthy, meltingly delicious bite.

According to Wikipedia, though records of chanterelles being eaten date back to the 1500s, they first gained widespread recognition as a culinary delicacy with the spreading influence of French cuisine in the 1700s, where they began appearing in palace kitchens. For many years, they remained notable for being served at the tables of nobility. Chanterelles are common in northern parts of Europe and North America, including Mexico, in Asia including the Himalayas, and in Africa including Zambia. They tend to grow in clusters in mossy coniferous forests, but are also often found in mountainous birch forests and among grasses and low-growing herbs. In central Europe, the golden chanterelle is often found in beech forests among similar species and forms. Jesse kindly answered my (immediate!) quest for answers to his relationship with this special mushroom, typically harvested wild in the springtime.  Here is his response below. The next question is… When do we get more?  I think they are 86 in the kitchen right now! Continue reading