Feeling Stone Crabby? Pound It Special Beginning Monday at MGFD with 1/2 Off ALL Wine Bottles!

Miami born/raised
captain waterman, union longshoreman and wholesale seafood dealer Jay Burns knows what’s up! Fresh from the traps crab for Chef Michael Schwartz, first!

It’s time to get cracking South Florida! Stonies are back and so is our season opener special at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink.

To celebrate the arrival of one of this season’s most anticipated, delectable and special local ingredients, your first pound of Florida Stone Crabs from Monday, October 21 to Monday, November 4 come with 1/2 price wines bottles! Choose any — ANY — bottle of wine on The Genuine Hospitality Group Head Sommelier Amanda Fraga’s exciting, dynamic and mouth watering list!  All bottles are fair game, available at lunch, afternoon, dinner and brunch, all two weeks long!   From sparkling to creamy, it all pairs as far as we are concerned, with meat hunks of rich unadorned crab… Or, gild that lily with dips of clarified butter or classic mustard sauce with a spray of lemon.

Handsy with the crab at Amara. Enjoy with aji mustard sauce, lemon and lime!

Pop in and join us on a Design District stroll for afternoon menu or happy hour, or book a reservation for lunch dinner or brunch in advance at reservations@michaelsgenuine.com or 305.573.5550. From sparkling to red and all the rosé in between, treat yo’ self to the best of the season haul from our favorite fishermen!

If you’re in the mood for a waterfront view with your claws, or fancy a tropical neighborhood stroll post feast, remember Amara at Paraiso and Tigertail + Mary will be full stocked and ready with large, jumbo and colossal stone crabs for you no matter where you decide to settle in this season. Or better yet, make the genuine rounds!

Curious about what goes down on the water? Watch our video from last year’s first of the season catch with fisherman Jorge Figueroa.

 

 

A Genuine Miami Deli for Delivery… and Pick Up Beginning Friday!

Miami will soon enjoy Michael Schwartz’s freshly-made, chef-engineered deli favorites in more ways!  Schwartz’s Genuine Miami Deli, which began delivering sandwiches, bagels, and appetizing things like pastrami and smoked salmon by the pound last Thursday will add the ability for customers to order online from its website for takeout beginning this Friday.  Simply visit schwartzgenuinedeli.com to build your order without additional delivery fees or wait time.  The deli is open 7 days a week from 10am to 4pm.

Where will Schwartz’s Genuine Miami Deli take you? Share your #MiamiDeliMoment on social media.

“I have a soft spot for this kind of food, growing up with it over Jersey Shore summers and from my time working in New York City. There’s nothing like warm, soft rye bread folded over tender, juicy slices of perfect pastrami to stick with you,” reflects Schwartz. “It’s no surprise we’ve been making bagels and brining and smoking our own pastrami for years at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink so I thought, why stop there? I think we’ve always had a deli we just didn’t package it that way. Now with our commissary kitchen dialed in over these past few years it’s time to turn it out. And don’t forget the pickle!”

The menu is built around Schwartz’s deli favorites and iconic items, beginning with made-to-order “Overstuffed Sandwiches” served on rye with a ½ sour pickle, and appetizing priced by the pound like the deli’s house-made pastrami. Deli meat sandwiches include Hot Pastrami ($16), Fresh Roasted Turkey with lettuce and tomato ($14) and a Pastrami-Turkey combo ($15). The “Make It Special” adds Russian dressing and coleslaw to any of the above for $3 more. Chicken Salad ($14), Egg Salad ($11) and Tuna Salad ($12) are served as sandwiches with lettuce and tomato, or in a 3 scoop mix or match Salad Platter ($16).

Swiss, American or Munster cheese can be added to any of the above for $3. Sandwiches come with condiments including Gulden’s mustard and mayonnaise. Pastrami, turkey, and all salads are available priced by the pound.

Homemade Bagels are baked fresh daily and come in Plain or Everything ($2) or sliced with cream cheese ($3). “The Works” ($17) is a fan favorite featuring your choice of bagel with smoked salmon, cream cheese, tomato, red onion and capers. Pick your desired mix of 13 bagels in the Baker’s Dozen ($21). Smoked Salmon ($45/pound) and cream cheese ($5/pound) makes a party.

Savor a taste memory in perfectly crumbly, creamy and thick homemade Whole 6” NY Style Cheesecake – it serves 6-8 and is available in plain ($42) and Strawberry ($49).

For the full menu and to order online visit schwartzsgenuinedeli.com, @schwartzsgenuinedeli on Instagram or find us through our delivery partners UBEReats, DoorDash and Postmates.  Have a suggestion or feedback on your order? Drop us a quick note at info@schwartzsgenuinedeli.com.

 

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!

Bowled Over By Inspiration? For Chef Bradley Herron, It’s Right Under Your Nose.

Tuna Bowl, constructed.

Ever made a “garbage salad”?  The Genuine Hospitality Group’s Culinary Director Bradley Herron has.  Head scratch?  It’s not what you’re thinking.  Or maybe it is?

Perhaps you’ve had this moment, too, standing in front of a refrigerator looking for something good to eat and the landscape is bleak — a few lonely remains, a couple of scallions here and a half a lemon there, the bundle of parsley looking more like a bushel, and mismatched jars with innards haggard like the end of the DMV line.  It’s the look of resignation.  But this is not what everyone sees in what’s left on shelves or hidden in the pantry. If you’re Brad, you just need a stainless mixing bowl and boom! You are the envy of the office with special requests for lunch.

“Cleaning house.  It’s how we like to do things here over the course of a week, and it’s how the tuna bowl happened.” Brad explains to me on the line at Michael’s Genuine last Friday. “I saw this bag of wild rice sitting around waiting to die and thought about what we could make with it.  It starts with what you have, not always what you can order, and goes from there.  We can supplement with a few special things and make something really delicious. Cooking creatively is usually always about cooking smart.”

Vegetarian’s delight — Grain Bowl with sprouts, calabaza, radish, avocado, sambal

Lunch’s Tuna Bowl, and its Grain Bowl counterpart at dinner, snuck up on the menu over the past couple of weeks and have been a big hit at the office and in the dining room.  On Friday, fresh yellowfin came very finely chopped with seasonings including sambal, an Indonesian chile sauce we love for its intensity of flavor (mostly due to fish sauce).  The bowl is then constructed with a foundation of mixed grains including wild rice, red quinoa and farro onto which sliced cucumbers and radishes, nice looking hydroponic arugula, shaved white onions, bean sprouts and alfalfa, butter lettuce and a hulking half scoop of cubed avocado are packed. A favorite Vietnamese dressing, also fish sauce based, nuoc cham, is drizzled liberally.  Last week, the Tuna Bowl popped on Instagram with tail feathers of green and purple on display in baby fire sorrel.

“Yea, and it’ll have different things next week, too,” Brad continues.  “It’s a different way of looking at the recipe development process — maybe even backwards from the perspective of someone who is used to looking up recipes in a book and shopping for ingredients to conceive a menu.  But it makes for an efficient and creative kitchen, and there’s no reason why cross utilization shouldn’t apply to the home cook looking to eliminate waste and maximize flavor. Lots of cost savings, too.”

Teach a man to load the ingredient wall — left to right — from ripe, to ripening. This process brings back of house and front of house together to make the dining room stand for something (beautiful) and function properly for cooks in need of ingredients as the tickets come in.

What initially piqued my interested in Brad’s bowls was the idea of what makes for a good one. There is a formula, and it’s not how your corner “poke” shop does it DIY, a recipe for over doing it. Simplicity and restraint, sure, but really it’s about one thing — balance. At Michael’s Genuine it produces successful menus from the practicality and practice of cross utilization and is the essential notion all of our Genuine kitchens are built on. This is why the bowl canvas is so apt.  For our cooks, this idea informs the roadmap for every single dish.  It’s about the interplay of texture, color, flavor and temperature to create contrast and, if not thoughtfully considered, is what can make or break even a technically perfect one.

Look for more bowl variations to come, as well as what’s new for Miami Spice beginning August 1, posted daily @michaelsgenuine and where we now have a video of the tuna bowl assembly.

Bowls on fire at MGFD. What combo is up next?

Myrtille’s Morning Baking Routine at Amara at Paraiso — Anything but Routine

Her “long coffee”

It’s 5:40 a.m. on a recent Friday, and I’m blasting up I-95 under a nearly full moon-lit sky thinking I’m late.  Myrtille Quillien runs on baker’s hours, and they began 40 minutes ago in pastry’s corner of the kitchen at Amara at Paraiso.  I arrive relieved to find out I’m just in time.  She’s in the dining room’s coffee station, brewing coffee for the crew arriving later on and making her own morning cup — a long espresso latte with steamed milk filled to the brim of a juice glass. We have a laugh about the Google calendar notification we both received at 4:50.  I had mistakenly set today’s appointment remembering the much earlier wake up call for my visit to the commissary in the fall to make bagels with Pastry Chef MJ Garcia and her team, which at the time included Myrtille.

“We start here at 6,” she smiles. “The morning here is a bit different. It’s the first half hour checking everything.  It’s not like at the commissary where it is a lot to do right when you get in and MJ has organized the day’s prep list to assign everyone tasks. It’s a little quieter, just Yesenia and I for a while.”

A soft light has begun to emerge in the horizon, a thick yellow band bleeding into blue-green.  Although it’s still dark at (the now one hour later) 6:15, for me the sky transfixes at its most dramatic.  It’s that moment on the verge, the sun’s proud entrance imminent yet still tucked so deep into the unknown below.  Mesmerizing, and gone in a hot flash not more than 20 minutes later.  Not quite so subtle after all, all this anticipation, and Myrtille jams a pint container to prop open the “in” swing door, one way only during service.  This isn’t just a trick to ease the flow of traffic that will pass through in waves from both directions as prep ramps up later on.

Pre-dawn here isn’t all about the sunrise, that view so different from any other time of day that few rarely witness.  It is really about the dough — because so is Amara.  There are two types for the restaurant’s empanadas alone, one of the first items to greet guests on the menu. Myrtille’s first helper to arrive is Yesenia, a transplant from ella pop café, and she begins there, scooping heaping stainless steel spoonfuls of glistening starch-white lard from a tub that smells like bacon. Once stretched in a pasta roller, cut into discs and portioned onto wax paper, it will be filled with tender pulled short rib, crimped and then baked to golden brown. The other is fried, puffing to a crispy delicious pocket thanks to the fluffiness of cooked yuca in the mix.

Flatbread dough, flecked with scallion.

The root of the cassava plant synonymous with Cuban cuisine also forms the base of the pâte à choux for the restaurant’s addictive savory snack, cheesy yuca puffs.  The dough is cooked raw over a burner as the rising agent, then mixed with a blend of cheeses before resting, rolled into balls, and frozen before hitting the frier and sprinkled with parmesan at plate up.  Myrtille is starting with the flatbread, a yeast dough that began as the Harry’s Pizzeria recipe and then took shape over the summer as Executive Chef Michael Paley worked through how they wanted it to eat.

“The more you let the yeast dough rest, the more it will develop flavor,” she explains.  “So we let it rest until it rises to the top of the bowl, but maybe a little longer is ok, too.”

Myrtille is from Nantes, a city on the Loire River in Brittany.  Yes, she is French and is all those things you dream a paragon pâtissier to be, but the cliché is not lost on MJ.  This import from the northwest reaches of France had an “interesting” resume which immediately piqued her interest for the commissary gig in the fall. MJ started developing her and showing her the concept of how we approach baking and pastry at TGHG.  When the Amara opportunity came up, it was very easy to explain the new role, and apply the simplicity of technique and beautiful pastries to the new concept.

“It was really nice that she had the French pastry background, which isn’t a typical find here in Miami, ” MJ recalls.  “Myrtille comes from a country where learning the basic skills to properly execute traditional techniques is important.  She’s a natural — it’s ingrained. So she had a lot of experience.  Her vibe and energy also felt so good. I had Brad [Herron] interview her right away. I thought she had potential toward something else.”

Chef Paley explains that Amara’s approach to pastry began with building a great dessert menu that hits all the notes: The flan is the foundation, it was important for us at the outset we have the best flan in Miami. Beyond that, a great chocolate dessert, a great fruit dessert, and well executed ice creams and sorbets. Nothing overly technical, just delicious and simple.

The young family arrived in Miami in 1999, her husband and their first 6-month-old baby, Valentine, it tow.  Myrtille was an art teacher back in France so that’s what she did here until 2004 when she got hooked on pastry in Chef Kris Wessel’s kitchen one summer.  She followed him everywhere until 2010 when the French government suddenly cut the couple’s work visas. Back in France, she pursued a year of formal training in pastry in 2011 to get her diploma and spent time with Pierre Hermé for cake and macarons at Ferandis School in Paris. Her sister owned a small restaurant back home at the time.  Myrtille worked there and knew she wouldn’t find a better job, so when it was about to close, she applied for a Green Card.  It was 2017, they were approved and now with an 18-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son, the family had to make a call.

“Europe is small so you can travel with your car. It is important for kids to see things and to travel, and we’d take one big trip every summer,” she explains. “But we were living in a small town, and we didn’t want them to grow up like that. With my husband and kids we sat down, and we asked ourselves what do we do? Do we stay in France or go back? We said, ok, let’s change.”

Chef Paley getting a look at the pastelitos.

With Chef Paley driving the concept of the menu both savory and sweet, Myrtille’s role requires equal parts artist’s touch and technical skills — someone who can precisely develop ideas into executable desserts and baked goods suitable for production.  The approach is working together and inclusive for a cohesive outcome on the menu, and all the chefs get to be included in the process of developing pastry. Myrtille works smart and tests in small batches as she goes. The new Sunday Brunch is an area she can bring new ideas to the table, since dishes change weekly, like last Sunday’s guava pastelito. She took the paste and thinned it out just a bit on the stove top, adding ginger and lime zest to bring out the guava flavor but not upstage it.

“Myrtille is dedicated, skilled, and up for challenges,” Paley says. “She is always down to figure things out, do the research, and make things as good as they can be.”

Much like its savory companions, Brunch’s sweet cart is the chefs’ chance to be spontaneous and creative. The balance between hyper-traditional items, like the concha — a sweet Mexican-style brioche — or the flan, to more out of the box twists, like kaffir lime churros.  Paley swears by her Arroz con Leche which he says is “out of this world.”   They say at the commissary that Myrtille is made out of rainbows.  I think we now know why.

“She’s special in the sense that her energy is driven by the passion, and what she genuinely likes,” MJ adds.  “She takes pride and loves it — you can see in every movement in her hands, her care and attention. It made everyone around her feed off that energy, and the effect it had on our team was very nice.”

Taste the rainbow for yourself — for dessert and brunch menus, as well as reservations, visit our website.  Many brunch items aren’t shared (or created!) until the weekend, but you may get a preview or glance by following our Instagram @amaraatparaiso.  It’s also where you can tap into Instagram Story highlights of our mornings with Myrtille.