Next Week is The Bee’s Knees!

Thirsty Thursday is the Bee’s Knees, so we have an announcement! Next week The Genuine Hospitality Group is joining Caledonia Spirits in their annual Bee’s Knees Week promotion encouraging creative cocktails in support of bee education. Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Amara at Paraiso, and Tigertail + Mary will each feature their own spin on a Bee’s Knees cocktail – traditionally made with gin, lemon, and honey. They will also feature a special dish to be paired with the cocktail, where honey’s the star – of course. Check it out next week only, September 23rd to 29th!  No wonder the expression came to mean “the height of excellence”, popular in the U.S. in the 1920s, along with “the cat’s whiskers”… or meow!

So why now?  Established in 2017, Bee’s Knees Week has collectively donated over $31,000 nationally to non-profit bee and pollinator organizations. The Bee Cause Project is an organization “working to help inspire the next generation of beekeepers and environmental stewards by installing beehives in local schools and organizations.”

You might be saying, what’s all this buzz about bee’s? Why are bees so important? Well, as a big player in pollination, the bee affects the entire balance of our ecosystem. Recently, bee populations have declined rapidly due to threats such as pesticides, mites, and colony collapse disorder. According to Bee Informed, 45.2% of honeybee colonies were lost last year. TGHG is doing our part to help! During Bee’s Knees week, $1 of each cocktail ($12 across all restaurants) benefits The Bee Cause Project. Keep reading to learn more about the special cocktails and dishes buzzing next week, and follow the fun nationwide on social media at #beeskneesweek.

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink

Cocktail: Bee Keeper Barr Hill Gin, saffron-infused honey, lemon (Jorge Hernandez, Head Bartender) 
Dish: Honey Glazed Wings calabrian chili agrodolce (Dillion Wolff, Chef de Cuisine) Also available during Happy Hour!

Amara at Paraiso

Cocktail: Tarragon with the Wind Barr Hill Gin, tarragon, green chile, honey (Billy Yoder, Bar Manager)
Dish: Fried Queso Blanco honey sherry vinaigrette, aleppo pepper, lemon, fresh herbs, watermelon radish (Michael Paley, Executive Chef) 
Also available during Happy Hour!

Tigertail and Mary

 

 




Cocktail: Miss Beehavior  Barr Hill Gin, shiso-honey, lemon (Jonathan Cano and Austin Conway, Head Bartenders)
Dish: Peach + Speck Pizza taleggio, sofrito, hot honey (Stephen Ullrich, Executive Chef)

 

 

A Friday Morning Trip to the Genuine Commissary, in Numbers

It was my first time at the commissary, and I was in for a treat. As I finished my drive and parked my car outside, right “next to the Empanada place”, the sun was beginning to rise. When I walked in I saw a bustling hive of early rising folks. Everyone is working to complete the prep list of the day before Jean brings the van to whisk everything away and deliver it to the restaurants. Billie Eilish plays in the background. Let’s break down my time here into numbers:

10 people working here. Each with their own task for the day. There’s Myrtille Quillien, head pastry chef for Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, Amara at Paraiso and Ella Pop Café. Then Yesenia, her assistant and master donut maker, a dealbreaker for Myrtille when she transitioned in her new promotion from Amara, their former home. CJ is the commissary manager, handles savory production and makes sure all orders are accounted for. Micheline and Nancy work on short rib and pig ears, while Marie is on the fryer for potato chips. Joceline washes dishes, while Stacy and Alex roll out cinnamon rolls and make coconut cake filling. Lastly, Jean loads up the van and makes the rounds dropping off the goodies to each restaurant. Each unique. Each essential to the process working right.

9 things I can see being made when I walk in. Cinnamon rolls, financiers, quiches, coconut cake, mayonnaise, pig ears, short rib, donuts, and potato chips. The days list doesn’t end there though! Many more items are made throughout the day.

8 steps to the coconut cake. 1- Bake the cakes 2-Cut them into sheets for stacking 3- Lay down the first sheet, brush with syrup 4- add frosting to each layer 5- repeat with all of the layers 6- frost the whole cake 7-cover in coconut flakes 8- torch the coconut flakes. This cake is a dessert at Amara and is sometimes featured in Ella’s pastry display.

7 am call time. I am not a morning person, so you can imagine my sentiments. But these are baker’s hours. Myrtille gets here around 5 and is a self-proclaimed early-bird. She went to bed at 8 pm the night before!

6 colors of Fruity Pebbles. Yesenia spent hours at home separating the colors of the cereal in order to make a special rainbow donut. Then, she meticulously places them to create a beautiful and cheery design. Painstakingly perfect, just like the rainbow that appeared in the sky as we left later!

5 people help load the truck around 8. The definition of genuine teamwork! From the meditative state of getting through the morning prep list, the energy shifts into high gear as the morning’s haul is rushed into the van, quickly tallied with any missing items handed off in a flurry as Jean steps on the gas to make his delivery rounds. Phew! Everyone takes a small break before prepping for the next day.

4 trays of eggs in the Combi oven for mayonnaise, dialed in with a recipe that ensures perfect every time with zero breakage! Fun fact: we make our own mayo. Not so we can write “house made” on the menu (we don’t) but because it tastes better, is extremely cost efficient and is easy to make!

3 stops for Jean to make in the van: Michael’s Genuine, Ella Pop Café, and Amara at Paraiso. Everything is delivered fresh daily!

2 perfectly zested lemons by Myrtille. As she was stirring her almond Financier dough and folding in the fragrant flecks, I looked over to see two of the most perfectly zested lemons I’ve ever seen in my life! Myrtille was taught by a woman who spent hours zesting oranges to make orange sugar. All white pith, no sweet peel to be found, nor wasted.  “It’s my special technique!” she exclaimed.

1 cup of French Press coffee. After the Commissary’s espresso machine was taken for to Tigertail + Mary, Myrtille took matters into her own hands and brought her mini French Press when Culinary Director Bradley’s idea of Mr. Coffee didn’t sit well. Good coffee is a must when your alarm goes off at 4:30 in the morning!

In August and September, Spice is Nice with Miami Spice!

Dishes from Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink’s Miami Spice Lunch Menu

The end of July means Miami gears up for the best time of the year to be a restaurant guest – Miami Spice!  This year, from August 1st to September 30th, Chef Michael Schwartz and company serve up four times the fun: Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink, Amara at Paraiso, Tigertail + Mary, and Traymore by Michael Schwartz at the Como Metropolitan Miami Beach, making this the biggest Genuine Spice participation to date!  From ever-changing new menu items, to cocktails and wine, 3-course prix fixe menus will roll out at each restaurant for lunch and dinner, as well as our favorite bonus: supplements from our regular menus offered at special prices exclusively for Spice diners.  Keep reading to learn about some highlights from each menu!

Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink (Miami Design District) and Executive Chef Dillion Wolff kick off lunch with Appetizers like Wild Boar Sugo Toast with whipped ricotta and basil on grilled sourdough bread. Entrées include dishes such as Open Blue Cobia Tacos with avocado crema, cabbage slaw, and crispy hominy on a flour tortilla. Dinner starts with Appetizers like Smoked Fish Dip with housemade pickles and fried saltines, and follows with Entrées such as Grilled Lamb Leg with yogurt marinated tabouleh, herbs, and jus. For both lunch and dinner, complement your meal with our Supplements– dishes from our regular menu such as a Truffle Pizza with porcini fondu, roasted wild mushrooms, fontina, taleggio, and thyme. Finish off with Desserts like a Mango Tarte Tatin with rosemary-honey ice cream. To keep up with menu changes or make a reservation, click here.

Lunch is Monday-Thursday for $23, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Dinner is Monday-Thursday for $39, exclusive of tax and gratuity. 

Smoked Fish Dip

A short drive away, Amara at Paraiso (Downtown Miami/Brickell Area) and Executive Chef Michael Paley maintain the fresh approach to bold Latin American flavors with their Miami Spice menu. For lunch, start with an Appetizer of Rock Shrimp Ceviche with avocado, lime, tajin, and totopos; next, pick from our three Entrées including a Quinoa Salad with sweet plantains, toasted cashews, baby heirloom tomato pork belly, and aji panca crema. Joining us for dinner? Have an Appetizer of Heirloom Bean Spread with sesame, sugar snap peas, and serrano chile corn flour cracker and choose an Entrée of Grilled Local Fish with crispy chimi potatoes, salsa verde, and grilled lemon. For both lunch and dinner, finish your meal with a Chocolate Flan with dulce de leche, cashews, and cocoa nibs. Or, choose our Arroz con Leche with Panela, buñuelo, and mango. To keep up with menu changes or make a reservation, click here.

Lunch is Monday-Friday for $23, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Dinner is Sunday-Thursday for $39, exclusive of tax and gratuity. 

Arroz con Leche

As bohemian neighborhood restaurant Tigertail and Mary (Coconut Grove) celebrates its first Miami Spice, Executive Chef Stephen Ullrich’s menu stays true to the restaurants local and vegetable-focused menu. For lunch, choose an Appetizer of Roasted Okra with crispy leeks and tomatillo and an Entrée such as the Garganelli pasta with broccoli pesto and peperoncino. Dinner starts with Appetizers like the Coddled Egg with lobster and mushrooms. Choose an Entrée such as the Charred Hangar Steak with escarole, crispy shallots, and Calabrian chimichurri. For both lunch and dinner, complement your meal with our Supplements– dishes from our regular menu such as a Steak Tartare with smoked egg aioli, potato chips, and chives, or the fan-favorite Rock Shrimp Pizza with manchego cheese, chorizo, and escarole. Finish off with Desserts like a Chocolate Brownie Bomb with milk chocolate mousse and roasted banana gelato. To keep up with menu changes or make a reservation, click here.

Lunch is Monday-Friday for $23, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Dinner is Sunday-Thursday for $39, exclusive of tax and gratuity.

Last but certainly not least, Traymore by Michael Schwartz at Como Metropolitan Miami Beach (Mid-Beach) has Miami Spice Menus that reflect its Pan-Asian flavors and use of seasonal ingredients. Lunch kicks off with Appetizers including Crispy Duck Wings with a black pepper-soy glaze, carrots, and celery. Choose an Entrée such as the Steamed Main Blue Mussels with coconut, ginger, green sambal, purple basil, and black rice. Come time for dinner, our Appetizers feature dishes such as a Pork Belly Steamed Bun with togarashi aioli, cucumber, and pickled onions and our Entrées include choices like Wok Charred Bavette with chili fried brocolini, black rice, and miso butter. For both lunch and dinner, finish your meal with a Curry Banana Bread with chocolate crumbs, rum sauce, and house-made vanilla ice cream. To keep up with menu changes or make a reservation, click here.

Lunch is Monday-Sunday for $23, exclusive of tax and gratuity. Dinner is Monday-Sunday for $39, exclusive of tax and gratuity. 

For more information about Miami Spice, visit the official page here and be sure to follow our unique hashtag #genuinemiamispice to discover these dishes and more on Instagram! Our menus will change regularly to make sure you can try something new with each visit. We will see you soon!

Eat Venezuelan Arepas on Thursday, June 20 at Amara at Paraiso for #WorldRefugeeDay

A big part of what it means to live in Miami is that home and homeland aren’t one and the same.  We are a city of transplants acutely aware of the power of food culture to create a sense of belonging and serve as a conduit for understanding each other’s differences — a source of hope and connection.  It is in this spirit at Amara at Paraiso where we celebrate the many flavors of Latin America that we enthusiastically join Andrew Zimmern’s Coalition of Culinary Thought Leaders and inaugural World Refugee Day restaurant fundraiser on Thursday, June 20… with Venezuela Arepas!

Andrew visited Amara last summer for an episode of the Zimmern List and enjoyed Chef’s fresh approach to many of the iconic Latin American dishes that have found their way to Miami thanks to refugees and immigrants alike.  As the crisis in Venezuela hits particularly close to home, we felt it was high time to celebrate one of its delicious specialties on the menu.  100% of the proceeds of Amara’s arepa specials on June 20th during lunch AND dinner will go to International Rescue Committee’s efforts to respond to the world’s worst humanitarian crises, helping to restore health, safety, education, economic wellbeing and power to people devastated by conflict and disaster.

Unlike its neighbor Colombia, which incorporates mozzarella-style cheese directly into the masa or white cornmeal-based dough, Venezuela is known for splitting and stuffing its arepas with anything from simple ‘queso de mano’ or cheese of the hand, a fresh creamy-tasting mozzarella-like cheese, to the decadent avocado-chicken mixture called Reina Pepiada.  Chef Paley will offer three varieties each for $10 and available as a sampler for $28 including, Guayanés Cheese with fried plantain and avocado, Grilled Queso Blanco with chorizo, jalapeño and salsa criolla, and Pulled Chicken with grilled scallion and avocado dressing.

Managers Jason and Mirna can’t get enough arepa time!

On World Refugee Day, we will learn the official count of displaced people around the world from the United Nations. Says Andrew, “Sharing food is an incredibly unifying and intimate experience– it brings people together, inspires conversation and celebrates the diversity of all cultures– that makes the spaces we break bread in perfect for drawing attention to issues that often go unacknowledged.  Refugees and immigrants have made the biggest impact on America through food.  This day is about more than one heartbreaking statistic. It’s about the human stories and potential behind those numbers and spotlighting the contributions refugees can make when we embrace and welcome them into our communities.”

For more information visit rescue.org and follow Amara at Paraiso on IG where we will post a video of Chef Paley’s arepa-making adventures later this week!  What’s your favorite arepa filling?

 

Relax, Lunch Is a Breeze with Amara at Paraiso’s $20 2-Course Special

Chop chop!  A new way to relax for lunch begins now — quick and easy with a price that’s so right your shoulders will immediately release tension in concurrence.  Choose an appetizer and entrée in endless satisfying combinations from our $20 2 course prix fixe, and pass the brighter hours as expeditiously or leisurely as you desire.  It’s available when you need it most during the work week, Monday through Friday from 11:30am-3pm.  Here are some of our favorite pairs:

TIRADITO  candy-stripe beet, crispy rice, radishes, honeybell orange, serrano chile cucumber, agua chile + CHORIPAN crispy pork belly, chorizo, fried egg, salsa cruda

YUCCA CHEESE PUFFS parmesan, sea salt + WOOD GRILLED PORK COLLAR cilantro, green tomatillo salsa, toasted pumpkin seed, grilled lime.

SMOKED FISH DIP  vinaigrette, plantain chips + CHORIPAN crispy pork belly, chorizo, fried egg, salsa cruda

Click here for the full menu and here for reservations.