Michael’s Genuine® Cleveland Launches Sunday Brunch on Mother’s Day, May 12

We take brunch seriously.  Seriously fun!  It’s hard to imagine that in October we will celebrate 10 years of brunch service at our flagship restaurant in Miami.  Our favorite weekend pastime at Michael’s Genuine launched a year and a half after opening.  Chef took his time figuring it out, but he knew what he didn’t want — Sunday wasn’t going to be a line of glowing red lamps.  After a whirlwind of planning, our busiest service yet shifted into gear on October 25, 2009 and hasn’t let up since.  Now it’s time for Cleveland to join the party, with chef de cuisine Vinnie Cimino in the driver’s seat, and we aren’t wasting any time greasing the wheels.  Expect the unexpected, beginning Mother’s Day Sunday, May 12!  Click the menu below for a preview.

“Brunch is my favorite meal of the week and always an opportunity to go for it, so why not make food to order and bring the buffet to guests at the table,” says Michael. “It’s a marathon service for the kitchen, but we are better for it and can have some fun making a new menu each week.  The challenge keeps things dialed in — thinking of new ways to approach things and to utilize ingredients.  It’s interesting for Cleveland, because we kind of know what we are doing now with this format. We are really excited to share something we have grown to love with Cleveland and see how they respond!”

Beginning this Sunday, 10:30am – 2:30pm, enjoy our weekly Brunch service including savory and sweet small plates, and special Brunch cocktails like our signature Kimchi Bloody Mary with vodka, kimchi and skewered rock shrimp — the best!  For a look back at our OG Brunch, five years in, click here.  To make a reservation, visit our website.

 

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.

Red Rooster Brunch at Cypress Tavern with Chef & New York Times Best Selling Author Marcus Samuelsson

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Sunday Tomato Eggs

Sunday Tomato Eggs (credit Bobby Fisher)

A relaxing Sunday full of soul is coming to Cypress Tavern as Michael welcomes chef Marcus Samuelsson to celebrate the debut of The Red Rooster Cookbook: The Story of Food and Hustle in Harlem with a special brunch!  Join us November 13  from 11-3 pm at our American Grill & Cocktail Bar in the Miami Design District by making a reservation here or calling the restaurant at 305.520.5197.

Conjuring the familiar scenes and smells of Spanish Harlem, to the soulful comfort of Southern food with its layers of flavor and history, chef Max Makowski and the Cypress team will highlight a selection of delicious dishes (and we hope cocktails!) from the New York Times best-selling author’s iconic Harlem restaurant, as featured in the cookbook.  Copies will be available for sale on-site, along with an author eager to sign them!

Neighborhood vibes.

Neighborhood vibes.

The Red Rooster Cookbook is more than a volume of recipes; it’s a celebration of the delicious result of diversity, with music woven throughout and sections prefaced with a playlist by theme (El Barrio, Sunday Jazz, Family Meal…)  Pages that juxtapose historic and contemporary Harlem reveal the essence of Marcus and his approach to cooking: that food and community are one in the same, inseparable and forever bound by tradition and the fabric of people that care for it.   Sharing a moment with his friend and Jazz band leader Nate Lucas (whose Nate Lucas All Stars have a regular gig on Sundays at the Red Rooster), the chef also describes this music’s place in Southern foodways, or the cultural, social and economic intersection shaping food traditions.

Experiencing this music makes me think about the connections between jazz and Southern food. Both travelled north and were transformed. Both come from a deep tradition of what it means to riff on what you think you know. I listen to “Bitches Brew” and think gumbo. It’s a dish that can be a fridge cleaner or can break your piggy bank if you let it. Onions, bell peppers, shrimp, tripe stirred into the patience of a whiskey-colored roux.  Like me, Nate knows what it feels like to play and improvise; to feel scared and arrogant at the same time.

The Breakfast, featuring shiro (an Ethiopian stew made with chickpea flour), candied bacon, grits, and a poached egg with a golden yolk to run into everything.

The Breakfast, featuring shiro (an Ethiopian stew made with chickpea flour), candied bacon, grits, and a poached egg with a golden yolk to run into everything (credit Bobby Fisher)

When he opened Red Rooster on Harlem’s Lenox Avenue, Marcus envisioned so much more than just a restaurant. He wanted to create a gathering place at the heart of his adopted neighborhood, where both the uptown and downtown sets could see and be seen, mingle and meet – and so he did, in a big way. Ever since the 1930s, Harlem has been a magnet for more than a million African Americans, a melting pot for Spanish, African, and Caribbean immigrants, and a mecca for artists. Named after a historic neighborhood speakeasy, the modern Rooster reflects all of that, from the local art showcased on its walls, to the live music blaring from its performance spaces, to the cross-cultural food on its patrons’ plates and the evocative cocktails in their hands.  Sounds like a perfect way to spend a Sunday.  We can’t wait to bring this spirit to life at Cypress Tavern!  Follow along @marcuscooks and #redroostercookbook for the latest!

Easy Like Saturday Morning | An Eggcellent Cypress Tavern Brunch Update

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Great view, clockwise from 11am: Breakfast Sandwich, Short Rib Benedict, Lobster Frittata, and Rio Gold.  All dishes captured beautifully by GM Nicole Kelly.

Crispy, bright-yolked eggs and toasty treats laced with butter.  That’s what brunch is all about, and Cypress Tavern Chef de Cuisine Max Makowski is introducing a new set of dishes to make a proper Weekender of all of us.

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Crépinette.

“At Cypress, it’s about the classics as a point of reference — which for me as a cook is great and also approachable to our guests,” he explains. “From there we re-tool an element or two.  The Short Rib Benedict is a perfect example of this.  Béarnaise with meat.  It just makes sense.”

Wood Grilled Shrimp

Wood Grilled Shrimp.

Max also added Wood Grilled Shrimp with preserved lemon, Calabrian chilies and brown butter.  These are head-on and full of juice.

“For me, you can put that on a table and share it with people; it’s in that spirit,” says Max. “They’re easy to grab and eat.”

In the end brunch is all about the eggs. People are always asking for a Basic Breakfast, which we like too, so Max added two eggs any style, with thick cut bacon and crispy potatoes snowy with pecorino and some Zak the Baker bread marked on the wood grill.  And it doesn’t stop there.

Grilled Hanger Steak

Grilled Hanger Steak

“If I had to pick a way, I’d say poached is most essential for brunch,” Max adds.  “It’s no longer just an egg.  The thinking here is something like the Bucatini Carbonara, which has been on the brunch menu since we opened last year.  Instead of the traditional way, we add a poached egg on top so that the yolk mixes with what’s on the plate. This sauces it at the table, at the hand of the guest.”

Beet Salad

Beet Salad.

The fried egg on the Grilled Hanger Steak acts in much the same way.  The juice from the meat drips into the rösti it sits on — think the ultimate hash brown made with shaved potatoes sizzled in clarified butter until crispy on the outside, creamy on the inside.  This is something a little different, a traditional Swiss preparation that you don’t see all the time.  It all combines with the yolk when the egg is cut.  Like French Onion Soup, this dish tows the lunch end of the brunch line, so those whose alarms aren’t set on Saturday and Sunday aren’t left hanging upon a 1 or 2pm arrival.

All these goodies are live tomorrow, so pull up a chair, tap into a stream of Endless Bloody Marys or Mimosas, and Weekend like a pro!

Ladies First | Cypress Tavern’s Jazz Brunch Debuts Mother’s Day

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Hanger Steak is wood grilled and served with fingerling potato and ramp hash, and topped with a fried egg.

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Marcus Grant on drums leads the trio.

It’s all that Jazz, and then some at Cypress Tavern.  Michael’s American Grill & Cocktail Bar is setting a new standard celebrating Mom with a Mother’s Day Jazz Brunch from 11am-3pm on Sunday, May 8. Live music by the “Mutes & Roots” Jazz Trio will accompany a set menu including 3 courses each, with multiple dishes per course to share.  The restaurant’s a la carte menu will also be available, as well as an optional bottomless Bloody Mary or sparkling cocktail supplement.  Sunday’s festivities kick off a weekly Saturday Jazz Brunch beginning the following weekend, on May 14.  Reservations are always recommended at reservations@cypresstavern.com or 305.520.5197.

The Marcus Grant “Mutes & Roots” Jazz Trio includes Ken Ge (bass), Nick Benitez (trumpet), and leader Marcus Grant (drums), who hails from the University of Miami Frost School of Music.  Sunday’s Mother’s Day menu is subject to change as follows. Celebrate the special ladies in our lives that do it all for their families each and every day of the year, and deserve it all.

First
Lobster Avocado Toast
Citrus-Endive Salad – pistachio, aged goat cheese

Second
Crab Benedict – dill hollandaise
Grilled Hanger Steak – fingerling potato & ramp hash, fried egg
Wild Mushroom Rice Cake – herb aioli, shaved summer truffle, fried egg

Third
Kulfi – confit citrus, pistachio
French toast – fig compote, pistachio, crème fraîche

Executive Chef Michael Schwartz
Chef de Cuisine Max Makowski
$49.00 plus tax and gratuity per person (half price for children under 12)
Endless Bloody Marys or sparkling cocktail – $20 additional