[UPDATED] Fill ‘Er Up & Feast Tomorrow Night TONIGHT at Harry’s October Pop-Up with Culver City, CA’s Chef Ben Ford

UPDATE: Piglets for Harry’s Pop-Up tonight are rolled up and now rolling on The Cypress Room’s rotisserie (with a little caul fat to seal in all the juice and crisp up the skin, of course!) We still have a few tickets left, available at this link!

Screen shot 2013-09-30 at 10.08.27 AM

Ben and Harry’s sous chef Steven Martin, working out the Ford’s Filling Station Pizzeria menu prep.

Chef Ben Ford has landed safely in MIA and is ready to rock Harry’s Pizzeria tomorrow night for our October Chef Pop-Up!  Yesterday, we whisked by the restaurant to check in with sous chef Steve Martin and have a bite to eat.  It was still brunch time, so the meal consisted of one of the most decadent French toasts I’ve ever had, thanks to our baker Embarek “Ali” Alibey’s filone.  Each delicate thick slice is dressed with egg and cream, then fried up until crispy with golden-fingered edges and smothered with plumped raisins and crème fraîche.  Slice off a corner with your fork, and enjoy the contrast of textures as the creamy inside melts in your mouth. I’d be done for the day, had there not been a Slow Roasted Pork pie and Crespelle around.  Refreshment was in order, in our case beer, so Ben decided on a Michael’s Genuine Home Brew, and I drank like a local with Due South’s Honey Wheat Ale.  Chef had just received the first chapter of his forthcoming cookbook for review and showed me a preview, including an upright device he fabricated himself to roast a hog.  It’s a feast for the eyes and the belly.  He’s working with some of the folks with whom Hugh Acheson created his award-winning A New Turn in the South.  A recipe for a book as beautiful as it will be delicious.

Screen shot 2013-09-30 at 10.32.31 AM

Ben and a Boer kid!

A quick tour around his Instagram confirms Ben is a do-it-yourself kind of chef who thinks big.  In addition to raising his own Berkshires, he enjoys fabricating new cooking devices of all kinds worthy of handling the whole animal.  There’s a big tool shed in the yard that’s exercised often. When I mentioned our favorite Caja China here in Miami, he of course knew what I was talking about and has even devised his own longer version to fit a lamb.  Tomorrow night’s suckling pigs came in this morning and will be roasted whole, porchetta-style for tomorrow night’s third course.  Ben’s getting in today at noon to brine them with Steve, and we are excited to find out how they’ll be cooked.  A feast for the eyes and the palate, that’s for sure.
Click here for tickets to Ford’s Filling Station Pizzeria, and see you at Harry’s tomorrow!

Genuine Grub Worth Crawling for, Bon Appétit-Style

Screen shot 2013-09-25 at 1.23.59 PMLove thy neighbor.  Easy for us to say when three of our restaurants call the Design District home, but even cooler when we genuinely like the others!  Bon Appétit is celebrating a few of them on Saturday afternoon, November 2 and you’re invited.

Bon Appétit’s Grub Crawl is the publication’s on-the-move neighborhood food tour presented by MasterCard®.  After stops in its Priceless® cities including Chicago and New York, Grub Crawl is coming to Los Angeles and Miami with Day and Night events.  We’re participating in the daytime roundabout (in the Design District and a slice of Midtown) with The Cypress Room and Harry’s Pizzeria.  After gathering at sweet-as-can-be Dena Marino’s beautiful homage to the cuisine of northern Italy in MC Kitchen, the Crawl will commence with groups of 40 breaking off to their respective first restaurants and then hitting the rotate button.   A ticket includes four, 40-minute stops at four restaurants. Here’s what we’ve got in store at ours.


The Lua Rossa!

The Genuine Hospitality Group hosts will be executive chef Bradley Herron and wine director Eric Larkee

Welcome/Poured from counter

Margherita mozzarella, tomato sauce & basil
Short Rib cave aged gruyere, caramelized onion, arugula
Pesto homemade ricotta, mozzarella, pecorino, fresh tomato

Snack, Salad & Beer/On tables, served family-style
Meatballs in sauce
Buckets of new Michael’s Genuine Home Brew 12oz bottles
Lua Rossa, our new private label with Au Bon Climat, in the style of Langhe Rosso. Michael’s daughter LuLu did the art on the label and it’s a blend of Barbera, Nebbiolo and Syrah!

The Genuine Hospitality Group hosts will be chef/owner Michael Schwartz and beverage director Ryan Goodspeed


Orange is the new orange : )

Sippy Cup aperol, lemon, simple syrup, soda, hibiscus bitters (aperitif)
Smoked swordfish with eggplant and yogurt purée (HD)

Rotisserie/seated and individually plated
Leg of lamb with ratatouille and merguez with pesto
Paired with red wine

To Finish/seated
Assorted French macarons (on share plates)
Vieux Carré
courvosier vs, benedictine, redemption rye, carpano antica sweet vermouth, peychauds and angostura bitters (barrel aged, served individually in small sipping glasses)

Harry’s Pizzeria, Now Open at 11:30 a.m. for Lunch!

Screen shot 2013-09-23 at 10.35.53 AMOur pizzeria down the Design District block is turning back the clock early this fall, with new opening hours of 11:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday!  More time with Harry’s for lunch, more love to share, like its new salad – a delicious combination of free range chicken, bulgar wheat, greens, dried apricot, red onion, celery, almonds and mosto vinaigrette!  Make a meal of it.  Here’s what else is cooking to enjoy 30 minutes more of each day.

Cheers to Oktoberfest
While we eagerly await the arrival of Michael’s Genuine Home Brew 12 ounce bottles, Harry’s is pumping out the pumpkin brews, all rotating just in time for fall!  Right now UFO Harpoon Pumpkin is up in the bottle, to be followed by Post Road Pumpkin, Southern Tier Pumpking, and if you’re lucky according to manager and beer handler Margot Eisbart — Dogfish Punkin. Due South Honey Wheat is coming on tap soon, too, a close-to-home favorite which we love.  Drink Like a Local!

Sundays are Better at Harry’s
Don’t worry, we got plenty of Lake Meadow Naturals farm eggs to go around, but Harry’s Sunday Brunch features a weekly-changing section of six new dishes from chef de cuisine Manny Sulbaran and sous chef Steven Martin that are anything but inside the pizza box.  Dishes yesterday included Roasted Nectarines with brioche & whipped ricotta, Short Rib Arancini with arrabiata  sauce, soft scrambled egg, and piave, Pesce Fritto Misto with  Michael’s Genuine Home Brew vinegar,  Roasted Vegetable Crespelle with tomato & pesto,  Mushroom and Caramelized Onion Frittata, and Nutella and Cherry panini with coconut.  Best part is, Christine Susu posts pictures on its Instagram at the start of service every Sunday so you never go without a heads up of what’s special!  Breakfast Pizzas change weekly, too, written on the specials chalkboard, for those of us who love a little egg schmear on the pie.  Don’t know who doesn’t!  Bring your friends and family and please join us on Sundays from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.  Also, Sunday is when we celebrate our favorite five customer Instagrams of the week and post them on Harry’s website.  Dig in and snap away!

Poppin’ Like it’s Hot
Harry’s Chef Pop-Up Series is in the homestretch of its second year of monthly family-style dinners. Two more to go in 2013, and finishing strong!  October welcomes visiting guest chef Benjamin Ford! Known not only for his creative techniques, but also for his innate understanding of the ingredients in his dishes, Ben opened Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, California in 2006, serving seasonal food for the people of the community. Designed to be casual, open and familiar, the room is full of artifacts from Chef Ben’s life, his books are on the shelves, and his music plays on the stereo. It’s a soulful space, a place of substance to come and revive the senses and refuel the mind, body and spirit. The “Filling Station” metaphor and slogan “Fuel No Gas” are representative of a place to come to fill up on all the good things in life. Click here for tickets and menu.

Daily Dinner Specials
Harry’s weekly daily dinner specials, served from 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, feature a new protein each weeknight done right.  The chefs have been honing these dishes for a while now, and we have a killer line=up running right now including
Wood Oven Roasted 1/2 Chicken  with salsa verde & fennel slaw
(Monday,) Spezzatino, an Italian  beef  stew served with orzo  salad (Tuesday,)  Slow  Roasted  Leg  of  Lamb  with   mint  pesto,  farro  salad  &  flatbread (a new favorite on Wednesdays,) Wood Oven Roasted Pork Ribs with balsamic BBQ, roasted corn & slaw and Wood Oven Roasted Local Fish with vegetable stew (Friday.) Yum.

The Pizza Sign!
Last but certainly not least, we love Michael’s new sign for Harry’s, fabricated by our sign guy Paul, who also did beautiful work at The Cypress RoomCheck out the video of its installation on Harry’s Instagram.  Now no one traveling down North Miami Avenue will miss a Harry’s opportunity with our shiny new beacon of pizza hope.  Great work Chef!

Healthy Chef, Happy Chef

Everyone knows it’s not easy to eat healthy when traveling.  Mixed up routines, meals out, insufficient options or too many bad ones… It’s hard enough to do so at home.  Add being a chef, and one that travels, and you have a recipe for trouble.  Or an opportunity to take a step in the right direction.

At the Raleigh, that step begins today, where you’ll now find Michael’s Power Breakfast on the hotel’s breakfast menu.  This healthy start for mind and body includes a tasty combination of Greek yogurt, tart cherry-chia jelly, banana, fresh & dried berries, “rawnola”, pumpkin seeds, and raw almonds.  Whether familiar or foreign in composition, this balanced portion of ingredients includes probiotics, protein, antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, zinc & potassium, and essential vitamins that anyone can learn to love for a billion reasons.

“You have to commit to something,” Michael told me yesterday when he shared the plans for the new breakfast item.  “When I decided I was going to get healthier and lose weight, it took a long time. It’s not like two months. That’s bullshit. It was a conscious lifestyle change.  Just watching what I eat wasn’t enough.  Diet and exercise combined is the only way.”

RAL Menu-8.5x14-Final(Breakfast)_Newv3

The hotel serves breakfast from 7:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. daily. Restaurant Michael Schwartz is open for lunch 12 noon – 4:00 p.m. daily, Brunch every Sunday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. and dinner 6:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. Sunday – Thursday, and 6:00 p.m. – 12 midnight Friday – Saturday (Miami Spice menus Monday – Saturday)

Tamara Schwartz not only was a big influence and motivation for Chef, she brought some interesting ingredients to the equation.  Tart cherry juice was something she discovered was good for muscle recovery.

“I’m not usually hungry in the morning so for me breakfast is all about fueling my workout and packing in the nutrition,” she shared.  “I almost always have a smoothie chock full of high nutrient super foods.”

Chef first tried chia seeds bloomed in coconut water but it was more perishable, so the cherry juice worked perfectly.  Now when he’s on the road – or sea – you can usually find him with a calibrated breakfast smoothie in hand.  All the nutrients one needs to start the day off right, with an important dose of familiarity, too.  The Power Breakfast is full of all the right stuff in an approachable package.  His favorite dried fruit is the mulberry.  Delicious, but will it sell?

“Usually people mess up yogurt by putting honey on it or syrupy stuff… All I know is if I was traveling, and I went to a hotel that had something like this on the menu, I’d be so happy,” Michael responded. ” I think there will be a good segment of people who will really appreciate seeing something like this on the menu. It’s just like taking a big vitamin!  The smoothie is intense, it’s got way more things in it. One step at a time [laughs.]”

Like Tamara says, making one small change such as eliminating sugar and getting used to that for a while, then making one more change, and so on, is a great way to begin adopting a healthy lifestyle.  Here is the breakdown, with all the nutritional benefits of each ingredient.  I’m thinking the Power Breakfast just may be the perfect small change to start with.

Michael’s Power Breakfast $17
Greek yogurt, tart cherry-chia jelly, banana, fresh & dried berries, “rawnola”, pumpkin seeds, raw almonds

Greek Yogurt
Great source of probiotics and protein

Tart cherry juice
The ultimate antioxidant. Muscle recovery

Chia Seeds
High in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and antioxidants

High in potassium

Fresh Blueberries
High in antioxidants,
vitamin C, boost brain function and fight urinary tract infections. Also help reduce cancer risk.

Goji Berries
High in vitamin C, iron and vitamin A. Anti-inflammatory.
Highest concentration of protein of any fruit

Super fruit. High in dietary fiber, iron and vitamin C. Good source of Reservatrol which is an antioxidant that promotes heart health.

Golden Berries
From the Andes, excellent source of vitamin A and dietary fiber

Great mix of raw seeds, nuts and fruits. Gluten free and rich in fiber, omega-3’s and antioxidants

Pumpkin seeds
High in zinc & vitamin E which keeps your cardiovascular system healthy.

Raw Almonds
Promotes heart health, high in antioxidants & fiber

Menu Announcement: Ford’s Filling Station Pizzeria & Stagiaire Supper Six

stagiairesupperwithmgfdlogochefpopsharryslogoDouble the pleasure, double the fun. The next editions of our two favorite recurring events in Miami — Harry’s Chef Pop-Up Series and MGFD’s Stagiaire Supper — are around the corner and we have the just-finalized menus to share!  Click the images below to peruse, and follow the ticket links to secure your spot.  Ben and Floyd are bringing their A-games to a genuine restaurant near you, and we can’t wait!Fords Filling Station Pizzeria_9.16v2
Screen shot 2013-08-28 at 12.41.02 PMMIAMI DESIGN DISTRICT Ford’s Filling Station Pizzeria Tuesday, October 1 at 7:00 p.m.
Chef Benjamin Ford is known not only for his creative techniques, but also for his innate understanding of the ingredients in his dishes, which celebrate the cycle of life and freshness of the earth. In 2006, he opened Ford’s Filling Station in Culver City, California, serving seasonal food for the people of the community. Designed to be casual, open and familiar, the room is full of artifacts from Chef Ben’s life, his books are on the shelves, and his music plays on the stereo. It’s a soulful space, a place of substance to come and revive the senses and refuel the mind, body and spirit. The “Filling Station” metaphor and slogan “Fuel No Gas” are representative of a place to come to fill up on all the good things in life. Click here for tickets!Floyd's Stagiaire Supper_Final

Screen shot 2013-09-09 at 1.50.25 PMMIAMI DESIGN DISTRICT Stagiaire Supper Six, Sunday, September 22 at 5:30 p.m. Please join us for a family style meal for 30 guests as they gather in the Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink’s private dining room to enjoy a welcome beverage, hors d’oeuvres, and intimate three course family style meal with wine for $50 from line cook Floyd Jones. After a successful first five suppers, one supersupper, and cooks sent to Greenhouse Tavern (Steve Martin,) SBRAGA (Milton Vega,) Barbuto (Ray Melendi,) Hot & Hot Fish Club (Juan Mayo,) NOMA (Akino West in 2014,) and Blackbird (Gabe Rossi in September,) it is line cook Floyd Jones’s turn! Help us make it possible. Click here for details and tickets. Your contribution will go to send Floyd to stage with April Bloomfield’s team in NYC at The Breslin and Salvation Taco!