Miami’s Spring Snowfall: Putting the Lime in the Coconut at The Cypress Room

No surprise when I say
That my favoritest day
Is when Hedy says “Hey,
We have new sweets today!”

Now folks… the Coconut dish takes the Cake.
But the Blood Orange Tart is so smart and delicious
And tangy and zippy and almost nutritious
(With thanks to the citrus) that all of my wishes
Are not for a steak, but for Hedy to bake
Up a car-full of treats – all to-go, I would take!

~ M.

Manager Marty McCartt is moved to verse often at The Cypress Room.  And it’s no surprise why, especially where dessert is concerned.

In our small piece of the tropics, a backyard harvest can define a Miamian. At my childhood home, it’s the ginger flowers and Haden mangos that paint memories in shades of fuschia and canary yellow. For Michael, Carrie mangos in the summer and Hua Moa plantains in the winter have cropped up, the sweetest currency among friends and family. Last week Hedy Goldsmith gathered the eight large, ripe coconuts fallen from trees outside the Coral Gables home she has shared with wife Heidi Ladell for 14 years.

“I love coconut anything. As a kid every year for my birthday, I had a coconut cake,” she explains.  “It has a profound effect on me. In Baking Out Loud  I mention that coconut cream pie should be the new birthday cake.”

The Cypress Room’s dessert menu changed yesterday, speaking of Hedy’s deeply rooted love of coconut and to our unique and nuanced seasonal rhythms here in Miami, sometimes only detectable by its native sons and daughters.

TCR_DessertMenu_8-4.5x5.5_Final[1]COCONUT CAKE combines white chocolate crémeaux, pineapple, liquorice and lime ice. This cake is beyond moist, with big, buttery flavors. Coconut oil is used to add flavor and reinforce the tropical note, adding a luxurious je ne c’est qua. The crémeaux isn’t your typical egg | cream | sugar pastry crème.  Instead, it’s a rich whip of fresh white chocolate, crème fraiche, coconut milk and Greek yogurt.  Perhaps my favorite part of the plate is the shaved pineapple that has been macerated in vanilla lemongrass syrup and black pepper, topped with delicate shards of homemade black liquorice that play as a counterpoint to the richness of the dessert. Not an anise bomb, just bringing all the flavors on the plate together. Lime ice brightens from sultry to sunny.

IMG_5657It’s no secret Hedy’s heart beats for citrus, and March in Miami is all about Indian River’s finest. For BLOOD ORANGE TART, she builds a salad of Florida citrus segments including minneola, grapefruit and blood orange and topped with shimmering basil gelee and micro herbs. Set to the side, a champagne vinegar meringue to offer dimension, cutting the sweetness but giving a creamy toasty note to complete the dessert.  You may recall Hedy’s buttery tart dough, with a bit of vinegar for flakiness appearing in the Chess Pie on the restaurant’s opening dessert menu of March 2013.  Its filling is now made with lots of sweet-tart blood orange juice, eggs, sugar, butter and buttermilk.

And, our favorite question has many answers per usual. What to drink?  One of Hedy’s favorites to sip, Montanaro’s Liquore di Camomilla, was part of the line up.  With COCONUT CAKE, its cousin Grappa di Arneis did the trick.  Counterintuitive, perhaps, but the intense, leafy and fruity perfume and delicate, dry flavor of this classic, white Grappa from Piemonte is a match for tropical notes.  For BLOOD ORANGE TART, The Genuine Hospitality Group Wine Director Eric Larkee went straight to the bitter orange liquors, all of them in fact.

“So here are all of our bitter orange liqueurs,” he began.  “We have the Grand Mariner, the Clement Creole Shrubb, the Dry Curaçao, the Mandarin Napoleon and Salerno.”

“That’s blood orange,” Hedy notes. “I’m thinking Campari, but then again I’m always thinking Campari with citrus.”

Chenin Blanc Larkee_dessert“There is part of me that is thinking Salerno and a cube,” Eric continues. “The crust is so buttery and it’s really well balanced. I don’t know why I was scared of the citric acid (laughs.)  What bitters do you have?”

Eric prepares a rocks glass with Dry Curaçao, an ice sphere and Fee Bros. orange bitters.

“I think we may have a winner here.  I think this is lovely,” Hedy says. “Wow, the ice cube really opened it up. Yum. There’s just something about this. The label, the bottle shape, that I just keep getting drawn to.”

“Yes, it’s very Cypress.”

Out of Africa and Into Our Genuine Story

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 2.12.54 PMWhether chef, photographer, writer or painter, what defines our art is the story we tell with it. If you let them, the flavors on the tables at our restaurants will take you to Homestead, the Gulf, Italy or India, while the art on the walls of our Private Dining Room at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, will take you to New York City.

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 6.51.49 PMBeth O’Donnel’s The Highline Series tells of the various shades of crazy that one sees on any given day from the High Line, a public park built on a rail line elevated above Manhattan’s West Side, but that’s only the first page.

Through layers of encaustic wax she writes the rest of the story, finishing it with black paint that gets wiped away, leaving markings of depth and texture that she can carve into. Just as her life is her work, and her work is her art and they all merge, Beth fell in love with the idea of merging photography and paint and encaustic wax to create these storyboards. On the northern wall of the PDR is a piece titled Kibera Kids which takes us from Miami to the High Line and then through a window into the slums of Nairobi where a smile shines back at us.

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 5.51.27 PM

In 1997 Beth traveled to Africa on safari. “I fell in love with it,” she said. She returned in 1998 and then in 1999 she went back again, this time to meet Wangari Maathai, founder of the Green Belt Movement and the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, in order to photograph African women for a book about women making a difference at the grass roots level. Ms. Maathai quickly pointed Beth towards the women still rooted within these African communities. “I was able to get out and go to the University of Kansas and get my degree,” she said, “but there are so many amazing women living there in the slums and they’re the ones that should be getting the attention. They represent the thousands and thousands of women doing that kind of work all over the world.” So she took Beth to them, and that day was when she photographed the faces that brighten Kibera Kids.

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 7.06.15 PM“I spent the night in that slum right there,” Beth said pointing to a photo as I flipped through the finished product, Angels in Africa, “as a journalist or photojournalist you have to experience that. I spent months and months and months in that slum and in Kibera, they are the largest slums in the world.”

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 7.08.38 PMNow Beth sits on the board of the African Rainforest Conservancy and supports the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group – teaching villagers how to restore the forest, how to plant nurseries, what trees to cut , what trees not to cut so as is quoted by one of the amazing women in the book, “there might one day be trees blanketing these mountains as far as the eye can see.” As there once were. As there should be.

photo (65)Today, Beth’s first Chelsea Art District gallery show opens at the Birnam Wood/ Galleries. We’re proud to be showing her work, and we’re proud of the work that she does, which is why when Tamara Schwartz suggested her art go up at our flagship we jumped at the opportunity. Just as our chefs use ingredients to create, it is with passion that each expression of Beth’s art comes to be. “Live your dream, don’t dream your life,” she said. “It’s got to be like that.” It really does.

Announcing Harry’s Chef Pop No. 23: The Ordinary Pizzeria with James Beard Award Winner Mike Lata

MikeLata Headshot.Gately WIlliamsIt’s time for another announcement!  With last week’s three knockout off-festival events in the bag (The Gramercy Room photos coming soon here), we are proud and titillated to announce tickets are now live here for our next chef pop up, Tuesday, April 8… THE ORDINARY PIZZERIA!

After esteemed visiting guests Gabrielle Hamilton, Jonathan Waxman, Marc Vetri, Jonathon Sawyer, Kevin Sbraga, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Paul Grieco, Chris Hastings, Hugh Acheson, Andrew Carmellini, Mindy Segal, Paul Kahan, April Bloomfield, Bill Telepan, Joey Campanaro, Jeff Michaud, Matthew Accarrino, Michael Solomonov, Ben Ford, and John Currence, Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette, and Jenn Louis, Michael is thrilled to welcome James Beard Award-winning chef Mike Lata to take over Harry’s Pizzeria on Tuesday, April 8 at 7:00 PM and we are expecting extraordinary things from The Ordinary Pizzeria.

Trust us, he’s fun. The whole package. Many of us including me have dined at his flagship restaurant FIG in Charleston, SC, which he opened in 2003 with Partner Adam Nemirow.  It was not surprisingly just nominated for a 2014 Beard Award for Outstanding Wine Service.  Michael has cooked with Mike at the Charleston Wine & Food Festival, and we’ve spent some quality time most recently in Palm Beach at its festival this past December.

In December 2012, Lata and Nemirow opened The Ordinary, a classic oyster bar and seafood hall in Charleston’s Upper King district, to much local and national acclaim. The James Beard Foundation has nominated The Ordinary as Best New Restaurant in 2013, and GQ, Esquire and Bon Appétit also named it one of the best restaurants of the year.

A native New Englander, Mike started his culinary career at an early age, working in kitchens in Boston, New Orleans, Atlanta and France before landing in Charleston in 1998. Mike is a hands-on, self-taught chef who continues to delight making the most basic things delicious, creating food that is bright, uncomplicated and understated. His longstanding and outspoken commitment to support local farmers, fishermen and purveyors has cemented his position as a notable champion for Charleston’s flourishing culinary renaissance. Mike is an active member of the Southern Foodways Alliance, co-founder of the Charleston Slow Food convivium, and the Official Charleston Representative for the Charleston Convention & Visitors Bureau.

When he’s not in the kitchen, Mike can be found hitting the links, riding his prized Ducati motorcycles, or enjoying life with his wife, Emilee, and their son, Henry.

[PHOTOS] [VIDEO] A #SOBEWFF Week in Review with No End in Sight

It’s only Friday, the second official day of South Beach Wine & Food Festival, but for we the people of Genuineland it’s day 6 of a whirlwind that began on Sunday at the beach and has progressed in stages of playtime, beach time, farm time and hard work to where we are now.  Sunday’s The Gramercy Room at The Cypress Room will close us out with a curtsey.

It’s why we love this week every year.  The pleasure, the pain and most of all the people.  An exquisite mix at once dangerous and rewarding.  We leave you now with our medicinal elixir in these heady times, some multimedia to soothe the soul and leave that warm fuzzy feeling inside.  While we continue to climb out of the tall weeds at the Schwartzoffice, stay focused on the best feeds in the biz especially this #SOBEWFF weekend @BarbutoNYC, @chefjwaxman@MGFD_MIA, @ellliesara, @ktchntrvwr, @chefswidow, @Chefsawyer, @marcvetri@jennlouis (did someone say Knaus Berry Farms sticky buns?), @chefaz, @onkappysplate@mikesolomonov, @chefmarcmurphy and @thebillyharris.  #intesity.  Just the way we like it.  Tennis, anyone?

Tuesday’s Eating Italy in Miami  at MGFD with Jeff

Wednesday’s Lincoln Pizzeria at Harry’s with Jenn

Hanging with Harris visits The Raleigh to cook Harvey Cedars Fish Stew with Michael (shot August 2103, live today)

Hanging with Harris visits The Cypress Room with Ryan (shot August 2103, live today)

Hanging with Harris visits Harry’s Pizzeria to make laffa with Mike from Zahav, (shot August 2103, live today)

Isn’t She Lovely: A Friday List with Chef Jenn Louis of Portland & South Florida

Whipped parm schmaltz, prosciutto di Parma, smoked olive oil, via Jenn’s Instagram.

When do you need a Jenn Louis around?  There are many fine answers to that question as we’ve come to find out over the past month and this week especially as we’ve counted down the days until Lincoln Pizzeria in reposts on Harry’s Instagram.  Pistachio Salted Rocky Road, Spicy Lacquered Fried Chicken, Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast Roulade…  We are just full of love for this one, and it’s not just the food. “Why? Cuz I can organize stuff? I’m like the effing container store,” she responded. Exactly.

So it was a challenging task to pick only five more reasons but that’s what we’ve done with Jenn’s help for today’s Friday List, a fun loving favorite category here on The Genuine Kitchen since its inception on the home of fun at care of Ms. Ellie Groden.  There will be more where this came from even after next week’s pop-up, when we take our guest on a little giro around Miami proper.  The last time we guided a serious tour was for Ed Levine, and this second generation Miami native probably learned as much about her fair city as he did.  Always fun to be a tourist in your own backyard, especially through eager eyes. So without further adieu, Jenn’s Friday List.

A Friday List | When You Want a Jenn Louis Around

1) You’re navigating Everglades National Park’s 10,000 Islands and the unthinkable happens. Not only do you run out of GORP, but there’s a hole in your canoe and it’s taking on water fast.  A moment later, you spot a gator wake forming in the distance…

2) When you need things organized – I rule at that game

3) When you need a solid 4/4 drum beat

4) When you are looking for a little food porn on Instagram

5) This coming Wednesday at Harry’s Pizzeria

The Not-So-Serious Serious Eating Adventure | Itinerary

9:30 a.m.: Hotel > The Redland
Knaus Berry Farm for U-pick strawberries and infamous cinnamon buns.
Teena’s Pride to see Michael Borek and his beautiful heirloom tomatoes, baby vegetables, sunflower sprouts, corn fields

11:30 a.m.: Coral Gables
Coral Castle, Vizcaya, Venetian Pool, Biltmore Hotel

1:30 p.m. – Little Havana
Grab a cuban sandwich, frita from el mago, or lunch at Versailles, and then El Palacio de los Jugos for the freshest tropical juice.

3 p.m. – Wynwood
Panther Coffee, Wynwood Walls, Wynwood Brewing Company

5 p.m. – Cocktail time / Freshen up
Juvia for sunset or we see where the day takes us?

8 p.m. – Dinner
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink or The Cypress Room (fancy)