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?

 

Once Upon a Cocktail: Throwing Back a Classic Exercise to Suit Both Enthusiast & Curious Barflies

With respect to those that came before, and laid the groundwork for what a House Cocktail is all about and how it comes to be, we present the classics. New to the Michael’s Genuine bar, a devotion to the old standards that never go out of style and always inspire our creative juices.  Beginning today for the immediate future, enjoy our roadmap to explore them with Gabe Urritia of @spiritedmiami and our #mgfdbar team.  You’ll find a portrait shot on-site for Instagram and why you should care according to people and cocktail books we trust in the caption, from origin myths to the specialness that makes them memorable.

The first sip is one familiar in name but an outlier perhaps as a go-to.  Rolls off the tongue smooth but maybe has fallen out of favor.  From now on that changes, at least for me.  I’ve come upon an unlikely new favorite. “Sin azucar” for cafe con leche fix in the morning, but not so after 5pm.  The Sidecar effectively delivers a balanced tangy punch because it’s deeply dusted in sugar.  No longer are rims reserved for salt in my book.  Cheers to that!

Bienvenidos Versailles Cubano Pizza!

It’s a community thing. But who gets the croqueta is each friend for themself!

Are you picking up what we’re putting down?  If it’s a croqueta on your Versailles Cubano Pizza then you have the right idea!  So does Chef Schwartz.

It’s love at first bite as Michael makes Miami’s most iconic sandwich open-faced for a limited time only featuring Versailles house roasted pork and glazed ham, bread and butter pickles, mustard sauce, fontina and gruyère cheeses, and finished with a Versailles croqueta!  From Monday, January 14 until Valentine’s Thursday, February 14, find this pie in the sky collab as a special at all South Florida locations of Harry’s Pizzeria and Genuine Pizza for $16.  It’s the first time this local legend has done a collaborative pizza highlighting one of their specialty menu items, so we are especially honored and excited to have this unique opportunity… and to share it with all of you!

Since 1971 the original Calle Ocho location of Versailles, the world’s most famous Cuban restaurant, has been a cornerstone of the Little Havana neighborhood and a community gathering place for conversation whether over a cafecito or its famous Cuban sandwich, “El Cubano”.   Almost 50 years later, this culinary icon has achieved ubiquitous global recognition as a symbol of Miami’s diverse cultural identity and the unique food traditions that have developed as a result.

Click to watch how it’s made, to the tunes of Palo!

“I’ve been a fan of Versailles since moving to Miami in the early ‘90s and as a chef I have a keen appreciation for the Valls family’s commitment to keeping it simple, doing things right, and bringing the community together,” Michael says. “We love to get creative with topping combinations on our pizzas, and taking this one for a spin is a long time coming! We are so grateful to everyone at Versailles for not only entrusting us with these unique ingredients, but their genuine enthusiasm in having fun with the formula. We think the result tastes pretty great and is something we can all gather around and share – if there’s any left!”

Inspired by this memorable combination hot-pressed inside fluffy, crispy Cuban bread, Chef Schwartz is sourcing the roast pork and glazed ham from the Versailles kitchen to honor the original recipe. With layers of mustard sauce, bread and butter pickles, and the combination of fontina and gruyère cheeses to balance melt and flavor, each pie is also topped with one of its famous, mouthwatering croquetas to break open and enjoy with each slice.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Harry’s Pizzeria and Genuine Pizza on this fun and delicious collaboration,” says Versailles owner Nicole Valls. “Our family is a huge admirer of Chef Schwartz and all he has done for the Miami food scene, and we are excited to have everyone taste this new spin on Miami’s iconic dish.”

Beginning Monday, January 14 through Thursday, February 14, the Versailles Cubano Pizza will be available all day long for $16 during regular business hours for dine in, takeout and delivery at all South Florida locations of the James Beard Award-winner’s casual pizza restaurant, including Miami Design District, Downtown Dadeland, Coconut Grove and Aventura Mall. For the restaurant nearest you visit genuinepizza.com/locations.

With whom would you like to share a Cubano Pizza? Let us know by joining the conversation on social media #genuinecubano and follow along for giveaway news, events and more @chefmschwartz, @harryspizzeria, @genuinepizza and @versaillesmiami.

Culinary Director Brad Herron with Harry’s Pizzeria Design District kitchen manager Homer Perez.  Big thanks to these guys for making test pizzas during a busy lunch service. Getting it done, per usual!

[VIDEO] Field Report: Old Spot, New Tricks at Joyce Farms

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!

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.

Your Monday Motivation — Marc Vetri’s Mastering Pizza Cookbook Dinner Menu!

One week from today, Michael’s Genuine welcomes Chef Marc Vetri for a dinner celebrating the recipes from his just-released Mastering Pizza cookbook — with a side of Porchetta.  Now that’s a capital P!  The menu is set, and we are excited to share it for the first time today.  Click here to join Michael and the team at the OG on October 1 at 7pm for a night in good company enjoying the labor of love that making a cookbook the thoughtful way is. It just tastes better when it’s done right.

Passed
Salsiccia Calzone with fennel sausage, mozzarella, and tomato sauce
Zucchine Pizza with shaved zucchini, stracciatella, and mint
Cacio e Pepe Pizza with pecorino and black pepper
Anchovy Pecorino al Taglio

First
Italian Caesar with escarole, bagna cauda, parmigiana, egg, anchovy
Wood Roasted Calabaza Salad with arugula, pecorino, walnuts fried sage, brown butter vinaigrette

Main
Slow Roasted Porchetta
Wood Roasted Marble Potatoes with fennel and lemon
Wood Roasted Cauliflower with pine nuts and plumped currants

Dessert
Nutella stuffed pizza

Salsiccia Pizza

Mastering Pizza Cookbook Dinner Includes:
Reception with a welcome cocktail and passed bites
Sit down 3 course (including dessert) family style dinner
Free flowing red, white, rose and beer all night long
Signed book
Tax and gratuity
$150 per person

Pizza remains America’s favorite food, but one that many people hesitate to make at home. In Mastering Pizza, the award-winning Philly-based chef tackles the topic with his trademark precision, making perfect pizza available to anyone. The recipes gleaned from years spent researching recipes in Italy and perfecting them in America have a variety of base doughs of different hydration levels, which allow home cooks to achieve the same results with a regular kitchen oven as they would with a professional pizza oven. The book covers popular standards like Margherita and Carbonara while also featuring unexpected toppings such as mussels and truffles and even a dessert pizza made with Nutella. With transporting imagery from Italy and hardworking step-by-step photos to demystify the process, Mastering Pizza will help you make pizza as delicious as you find in Italy.

Marc’s photoshoot living room takeover is reminiscent of Michael’s experience for Genuine Pizza in May. We learned a lot from the process!