Heritage Black Turkeys for Thanksgiving.
Is it sustainable?, you ask, head deep in today’s buzzword feedbag. But what if we can do better than simply maintain? Ron Joyce doesn’t just think we can, he does. His agriculture alphabet begins with regeneration, and it is as preventative as it is progressive. In October, we flew to American swine farm capital North Carolina (second to Iowa) to learn exactly how. What followed was the most unconventional and scientifically surprising farm tour you just couldn’t dream up.
Knowing where our food comes from, although sometimes difficult to experience for better and worse, is essential if we are to do things better. Being informed is absolutely the only way to be, especially in this business where the decisions we make on food sourcing affect what thousands of people a day put in their bodies. To make good on this vision for how Michael does business, visiting suppliers is something we try to do as much as possible. When we get an invitation like Ron’s, to enhance a trip with education, it’s impossible to pass up and something worth sharing with the next generation of cooks. For Chef, that’s son Harry Schwartz. From soil university and rainfall simulation, to population restoration and integration through genetic selection of heritage breeds, Dr. Alan Williams near blew off each of our thinking caps — from rooter to tooter as they say in those parts!
Doing what pigs do.
Me, Brad, Chef and Harry Schwartz.
The Joyce Farms approach is common sense and begins in a place all chefs can relate to. How do we get best flavor from an animal? The answer is simple – natural animal, not bred to be factory farmed on cheap grain and restricted conditions, begets natural flavor and nutritional value. We last spoke with Ron for the blog about his Aberdeen Angus program. Today we share our tour of farmer Adam Grady’s Dark Branch Farm in Kenansville, NC to see it in action. Grady is also raising Joyce’s heritage hog of choice, the Gloucestershire Old Spot. The timing couldn’t have been more opportune — with the area still reeling from Hurricane Florence, the flood recovery process was an object lesson all its own.
Watch and learn here, and look for more menu items to come at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink as the season changes and we continue to evolve our efforts at product sourcing as a growing business.
It all began with a hunt for a frog leg source in 2006 when Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink was a set of plans and dreams. Some 12 years later, fisherman George Figueroa of Trigger Seafood is Michael’s source for everything under the South Florida sun including these Everglades treats, from local spiny lobster to his company’s namesake triggerfish when we’re lucky. Like most long lasting relationships, things grow and evolve. You see each other when you can — sometimes more often than others, but it’s always like yesterday and there’s always an opportunity for a spontaneous adventure. When George happened to be by the office last week to pick up a check, he asked if I wanted to join on the boat Sunday for the 2018 Florida Stone Crab season harvest. Frog gigging? Sure, Michael has donned the headlamp under full moonlight. Wild boar hunting? He and culinary director Bradley Herron joined George on the swamp buggy. But after all this time, it would be our first time pulling traps — and certainly not the last!
Unlike recreational opportunities, our fisherman has a commercially-regulated (for sustainability) license where he may legally harvest both claws — if they are legal in size and the crab continues to feed (as many frisky ones we encountered today without claws were doing in the traps.) The crabs’ natural predators in the bay including triggerfish, dolphin, turtles, and octopus actively prey on both clawed and clawless specimens. The reality is we encountered pilfered and stolen traps all day long, which is bad for everyone, especially the health of our fishery.
Stone Crab season is one of those give-ins. Not taken for granted but to a certain degree expected. Nothing should ever be that way, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to realize it through this past weekend’s experience. George’s office is like that. It appears to be a constant — the crystalline water of Biscayne Bay, the blue sky embracing its National Park, the delicious seafood.
Scratch the shimmer though, and the squalls, the tropical changes, the pirate’s-life-for-me blood coursing thick and hungry in all of us down in these wild parts rise to the surface. That’s the thing about buried treasure. It makes us all go a little crazy. Go rogue in the rush of discovery and payday in glorious sweet meat. But what will you pull up? Has someone gotten there, to your licensed traps, first? The unpredictability of it all runs deep, and that’s the object lesson we took away with our 65-pound claw haul. Protection and regulation can only do so much for our natural resources. It takes a little more work than that. It takes respect, and education even when it’s not always easy on the eyes is a fine place to start.
Thank you @jorge_trigger_seafood for showing us the #stonecrab ropes, sharing insight into the challenges of managing this fishery, and always telling it like it is. Keep it real and come along for the ride with us on the video above. When you enjoy some claws at MGFD or Amara at Paraiso there will be new meaning and respect to contemplate — how they got to the table and in some cases why they’re absent from it.
Make our restaurants & venues your home for the holidays with Michael Schwartz Events.
From customizable catering options for the home or office end-of-year bash, to more festive productions, James Beard Award winning chef Michael Schwartz and our event professionals make it genuinely special every time. Browse our portfolio of options below and contact director Lindsay Guidos at 786.708.6826 to get planning as soon as you’re ready. It’s never too early where the holidays are concerned!
For up to the minute examples of the team’s work in all facets of special events, like last night’s incredible waterfront wedding at Amara at Paraiso, visit the @michaelschwartzevents Instagram.
Never enough reasons to Spritz.
Guest chefs – in this case Marc Vetri – add a little something extra to what we do. Here, Cacio e Pepe pizza.
Pulling out all the special snacks to make getting a meal going (Vetri’s Salsicia calzone from the Mastering Pizza dinner on October 1)
Florence and Schwartz Food truck racin’ together in Miami in 2011.
Even the most typical of dinner services at our restaurants can feel like a party. The energy of the environment and surprises from any number of variables affect a dining experience — something as simple as a new bottle of Riesling on the list or the arrival stone crabs to the raw bar — are what keep us in this business and you coming back for more. When we can collaborate with people inside and outside our organization that make it extra special, that’s cause for extraordinary celebration. Here are three such opportunities! As Michael heads to #NYCWFF this weekend to cook with Dan Kluger, get a jump start on the action coming to a genuine restaurant near you. Tickets are a click away below, until they’re not!
Florence in the genuine house.
MICHAEL’S GENUINE® FOOD & DRINK – South Beach Wine & Food Festival presents Dinner Hosted by Tyler Florence and Michael Schwartz – Thursday, February 21, 7-10PM [TICKETS HERE]
The South Florida favorite known for putting Miami’s fashionable Design District neighborhood on the culinary map lights up with the force behind successful California restaurants Wayfare Tavern, El Paseo and Tyler Florence Rotisserie & Wine. He may be a fan-favorite Food Network personality known for the hit series The Great Food Truck Race and cookbook author but we know Tyler as a Chef first — and one who cooks pretty much the ultimate of everything. We can’t wait to see what this collab produces, an East and West Coast explosion of flavor accompanied by wines from the Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits portfolio.
AMARA AT PARAISO –South Beach Wine & Food Festival presents Dinner Hosted by Greg & Gabrielle Denton and Michael Schwartz -Friday, February 22, 7-10PM [SOLD OUT]
It’s no surprise that South Florida favorite Chef Michael Schwartz’s new Amara at Paraiso in Edgewater is the most buzzed about new waterfront restaurant in town. This James Beard Award-winning chef has created an oasis that embraces the dynamic energy of the Magic City and serves up bold Latin American flavors that pay homage to the city’s diverse culture. He’s joined by the James Beard Award-winning husband and wife chef duo Greg and Gabrielle Denton, the grilling cookbook authors and force behind the much buzzed about Argentinean grill Ox and newly opened Bistro Agnes in Portland, OR. Enjoy this cross-country melding of flavors, accompanied by perfectly paired wines from the Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits portfolio, in the heart of downtown Miami.
GENUINE PIZZA – Pizza-Making Class & Dinner (Aventura Mall) – Thursday, October 25, 7-9PM [TICKETS HERE]
A fun night out with the family is about more than just gathering around the table. Get your hands doughy and eat your pizza too! Everyone’s happy on third Thursdays, when Chef Michael Schwartz’s casual pizza restaurant holds a monthly pizza-making experience to teach you how to shape perfect pies with a meal along the way. Hosted by pizza trainer Blair Anderson at our Aventura Mall location, bring the kids, friends, a date, you name it — we have the fun covered. Make your own pizzas, with toppings just the way you want them with a Pizza Kit to take home to make it easy to practice what you learned in your kitchen. $29 includes 4 Courses, Assorted Snacks — Salads — Make-Your-Own Pizza — Panna Cotta and a take-home pizza making kit with recipe and ingredients. Tax & gratuity not included. Wine, beer, sangria and full beverage menu available for purchase on consumption.
Cruda Bowl with Yellowfin Tuna
Next week there are more bay views to bask in — or breeze by — during the workday, at Miami’s quintessential waterfront restaurant by chef Michael Schwartz. Amara at Paraiso opens for lunch beginning Monday, September 24 with executive chef Michael Paley’s a la carte menu. All new items to enjoy include Starters, Sandwiches (served with choice of crispy chimichurri potatoes or farm greens), Salads & Bowls (to which grilled chicken, grilled fish or shrimp and chorizo can be added), and Entrées. Favorites from dinner make an appearance, like Snacks including craveable Yuca Cheese Puffs, the restaurant’s two varieties of housemade Empanadas — Short Rib, as well as Corn & Leek, Raw Bar mainstays like Ceviche, fresh, locally-caught Tuna Tartare in changing preparations, Chilled Shrimp, and Oysters — and a medley Platter to make it special.
Housemade masa crackers for the Avocado Bowl, a starter with buttermilk curds, fresh herbs, and lime.
Amara’s “Three Course”, a prix fixe lunch option for $28 lets you pass the brighter hours as expeditiously or leisurely as your spectrum desires whether for a smart business lunch or dining to get to the next appointment on time. Begin with choice of Yuca Cheese Puffs, Smoked Fish Dip, or Ceviche, followed by main dish of Grilled Market Fish, Chochoyotes — hearty masa dumplings in broth (vegetarian), or the Concha Especial sandwich, and finish with Dulce Flan or Chocolate Torte.
Click here for the full opening menu.
Work and life hangs so delicately in the balance. Let Amara tip your scales. The new service runs Monday through Saturday from 11:30am-3pm and highlights the bold Latin American flavors, coastal ingredients, and South Florida’s diversity of food culture established at the restaurant’s lively happy hour, dinner and brunch. Miami’s quintessential waterfront restaurant captures the dynamic energy, local ingredients, and natural beauty of Biscayne Bay that defines what living in Miami is all about from environment to cuisine to vibe. Amara at Paraiso is located at 3101 NE 7th Ave, Miami, FL 33137. For reservations call 305.702.5528, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit Open Table (walk-ins welcome). For all hours and menus visit amaraatparaiso.com and follow the restaurant on Instagram and Facebook.