[UPDATE] Seminole Pumpkin for the Ark of Taste

Baby pumpkin, would you mind if I stole your flower? It sure looks delicious!

Update: Great news!  Chef de cuisine Molly Brandt, of 150 Central Park aboard Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, will be joining us as guest chef!  Of her dishes, including Curried Seminole Pumpkin Soup, Lobster, Cilantro Raita, Pappadum, and Tamale of Seminole Pumpkin, Golden Raisins, Cumin Crema, Chipotle, she advises MGFD wine director and sommelier Eric Larkee of the pairing,  “Neither dish is going to be particularly hot even though the spices used imply that. Just a little heat, after all I am from Minnesota!” We can’t wait, Molly!  

We’re about two months out from Slow Food Miami’s annual taste explosion on a single rare ingredient in an effort to save it from extinction called the Ark of Taste Dinner.

Michael, Hedy and our restaurant have had the privilege of executing these dinners for many years now. You may recall the pig-laden, banana-plantain affair that was the 2010 feast of the Hua Moa (successfully boarded to the national Ark in June.)  I guarantee that our guests remember it quite clearly.

The event comes to The Kampong this year on October 27, and tickets are now on sale to the public as of this morning.  As with all Slow Food Miami events, proceeds fund the installation of local school and community gardens.  Fittingly, we’re warming up to Halloween by celebrating a special pumpkin native to Florida.

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Niman Ranch’s 13th Annual Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner

Niman Ranch merguez sausage pizza with harissa, preserved Meyer lemon, kalamata olive, manchego, scallions & mint tops, by sous chef Matt Hinckley. A special treat for staff, maybe coming soon to the menu.

Irene’s feeder bands aside, Chef is heading to Iowa this morning as one of seven chefs invited to put out a course at Saturday night’s Hog Farmer Appreciation Dinner. The event is produced by Niman Ranch to celebrate the family farmers who raise its livestock “traditionally, humanely and sustainably.”

Michael has been using Niman Ranch lamb for as long as he can remember, and this is a great opportunity for him to see the operation and meet the people behind it. It’s also no secret we love having lamb on the menu here at MGFD.  A quick scan of changes over the past month reveal just how much: Niman Ranch Lamb Flatbread with preserved meyer lemon, hummus, harissa, pine nuts, golden raisins, and French feta; Niman Ranch Lamb Meatballs with local heirloom tomato, yogurt, and flat bread; Niman Ranch Lamb Stuffed Eggplant wood roasted and topped with local heirloom tomato, greek yogurt, and pistachios; Penne Bolognese with Niman Ranch Lamb, housemade organic ricotta, and basil; Wood Oven Baked Shepherd’s Pie with Niman Ranch Lamb and potato gratin (has been a Miami Spice course); Niman Ranch Lamb Tartare with harissa, fried capers, and crostini; and of course the mainstay also in Michael’s cookbook, Chargrilled Leg of Lamb with Greek farro salad and salsa verde…  For Slow Food Miami’s October 27 Ark of Taste dinner fashioned around the to-be-inducted Seminole Pumpkin, he’ll prepare a course of spaetzel and braised Niman Ranch lamb shank. At our Grand Cayman outpost, we feature its beef in our burgers and other dishes, like Grilled Niman Ranch beef cheek with Anson Mills polenta, grilled green onions, local radish and roasted corn salad, a recent verbal medium.

We will honor Niman Ranch’s desire to keep this Saturday’s menu a surprise for the farmers, but will say Michael’s dish is going to be crisp, bright, and creamy.  For a taste of what’s in store for the chefs this weekend, here’s a look at the 11th annual gathering and see below for their itinerary.

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Pappy Got Himself Some Punts

Like father, like punt, born from our penchant for wine bottle recycling.

Schwartz law numero uno.  When Michael asks “Did you see these?”… twice… a) he’s pretty excited about whatever these are and b) you probably are going to think they’re pretty cool, too. This phenomenon was demonstrated with his new home kitchen range (and hood,) and now, hand-crafted, recycled vessels suitable for connoisseurs of our ever growing and improving bourbon selection.

Meet our new wine punt glasses, frosty smooth and containing a pedestal on which large cubes of ice may sit and up against which your Pappy Van Winkle 15 year may lap and melt ever so efficiently.  Behold and sip at your leisure a close-to-perfectly chilled and undiluted bourbon.  Ask for a punt on your next visit and take one for a test drive.  Or get some of your own, here.

[UPDATED] #OMG! Neighborhood Food & Film Fun Next Week

UPDATE: Ommmmg. Chef Bradley’s build your own amazing southeast Asian adventure menu for tomorrow night’s event just in… Chargrilled Chicken, Spicy Eggplant Summer Roll, Pork Belly Bahn Mi, plus fix-ins including noodle salad, white rice, butter lettuce, herb mix, bean sprouts, sweet chili sauce, nuoc mam (fish sauce,) crushed peanuts, and sliced cucumber. For dessert, Hedy’s Vietnamese cinnamon coffee bread pudding and goodie bags of candied chili peanuts.

August’s Second Saturday may have came and went, but you have two don’t-miss opportunities to nerd it up with (our) food and (others’) film next week, courtesy our friends and neighbors as follows:

Locust Projects, the Design District’s co-op for emerging artists, celebrates The Borsht Film Festival in @MGFD_MIA‘s private dining room (see brand-spanking-new photos I shot here of “The Gallery” if you haven’t been.) Dinner is served family-style including a selection of MGFD snacks, Pan Roasted “Poulet Rouge” Chicken, Grilled Skirt Steak, Wood Roasted Cauliflower with parsley sauce, Wood Roasted Fingerling Potatoes, Cherry Almond Crostada, and wine service including Sauvignon Blanc, Simonnet-Febvre, St. Bris, Chablis 2010 and Malbec, Trapiche, Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina 2010. Monday, August 22, 6:30 p.m.; $90/person all inclusive. Call 305-573-5550 for reservations.

Like owners Kareem and Vivian say, sometimes things are so fun and feel so right that you just can’t stop doing them. Join us for our third OMG! Dinner & a Movie at Wynwood’s amazing art house theater, O, Cinema.  Come hungry for a southeast Asian feast and see DRESSED, the story of Laotian-American designer Nary Manivong who defied homelessness to reach his ultimate dream, a show of his collection at New York Fashion Week. Visit o-cinema.org for tickets ASAP. They tend to sell out quick! Tuesday, August 23, 7:00 p.m; $38/person for dinner & a movie, $68/person for dinner & a movie + signed copy of MICHAEL’S GENUINE  FOOD.

[UPDATED] Grand Cayman’s Fifth Farm-to-Table Dinner: Genuine BBQ Edition

Miked Up: On a gorgeous island day in June, Emma Gladstone of Switched On Productions readied Chef to shoot a scene for our Genuine Cayman TV pilot.

Update: Photos from the BBQ extravaganza are now up on our Flickr in this set. Enjoy drooling!

In our ongoing effort to showcase local farmers and ingredients, our Grand Cayman restaurant will host its fifth monthly Farm-to-Table event on Saturday, August 27 at 6:00 p.m. Guests attending will get a first look at Genuine Cayman, Michael’s new series in development for Caymanian television exploring the origin of seasonal, local ingredients sourced daily for the restaurant. The Farm-to-Table menu, “Genuine BBQ Edition” by our island chef Thomas Tennant, will include a mouth-watering line up of items like brisket, grilled pork belly, seagrape-smoked pork shoulder, Caybrew can chicken, breadfruit salad, sweet potato salad, wood oven roasted corn and okra, and more. The restaurant’s full a la carte menu will not be available due to the evening’s festivities, but the bar will remain open to walk-in customers with its snack menu available. Continue reading