Amara at Paraiso is Spectacular on July 4th with a Miami Backyard BBQ & Biscayne Bay Fireworks View

You ain’t seen nothing yet.  Biscayne Bay has unfurled some pretty dramatic sights since Amara at Paraiso opened in January, from dreamy sunsets to electric summer storms.  But a week from this Wednesday, that all floats to the wayside when our quintessential Miami waterfront restaurant gets lit for the first time with unimpeded access to our city’s fireworks displays across the bay… and so much more to celebrate summer’s favorite holiday for food!

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., taking both reservations and walk-ins for indoor and outdoor seating, chef Michael Paley adds a succulent line up of “Backyard BBQ” specials a la carte as a supplement to the also available regular dinner menu. The outdoor bar and grill are fired up for the occasion.  So is sommelier Amanda Fraga, with Veuve Clicquot Brut “Yellow Label” Champagne by the glass for $15.  DJ Savy Fontana joins us later on to set the mood.

Guests can also order La Caja China, a whole pig roasted under the coals served with accompaniments and choice of fire-kissed bread or tortillas, or go for a bold, exotic twist on American classics in a Chorizo Cheeseburger with smoked paprika aioli or Butifarra hot dog with pickled veggie slaw. Grilled Oysters, Grilled Corn, and Watermelon Salad with mint and spiced pepitas, make it a meal.

Crossing of Biscayne Bay featuring all AmericanMaker’s Mark and a fresh Mexican mixer.

Enjoy a commemorative special cocktail in The Crossing of Biscayne Bay for $13, the spark that happens when bourbon meets housemade horchata, a magic agua fresca of rice, sugar and cinnamon, topped with a crispy orange.  Buckets of Cusqueña are available 5 for $20, or $5 a bottle. Whether you join us on the lounge chairs at the beach or cozy up to a booth inside, it’s going to be a festive night!

Amara at Paraiso is located at 3101 NE 7th Ave in the Paraiso District of Miami’s East Edgewater neighborhood. For reservations, please call (305) 702-5528, email reservations@amaraatparaiso.com or visit Open Table here.

Toast Your Holiday Party Genuinely with this Gift from Michael Schwartz Events

Michael Schwartz Events makes holiday parties shine and guests feel special. Let our team host your corporate or annual festive gathering for friends and family at one Chef’s unique restaurant concepts. Or a venue of your choosing, off-site.

CHEERS TO THE SEASON.  BOOK A HOLIDAY PARTY BY OCTOBER 31.  RESERVE ONE HOUR OF OPEN BAR & ENJOY A SECOND HOUR ON US!

Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink
Harry’s Pizzeria®
ella pop café

From easy, crowd-pleasing pizza parties with our mobile oven, to over-the-top unforgettable occasions with bubbles and special sweet treats, email Lindsay@michaelschwartzevents.com or call 786.708.6826 to get a jump on it with menu ideas, decor and a seasoned team to staff it all.  Planning starts now!

Crowd, the Grill | It’s the Fourth of July!

Having people over and cooking for them is one of the joys of any holiday. When it’s all American, like Fourth of July, smoke and fire is a requisite no matter what your rig.  On a recent Sunday, Chef and wife Tamara were at the Lynx grill where the main event wasn’t even the sizzling gorgeous New Yorks.

“It’s no secret we love vegetables in this family,” Chef explains.  “We love meat too, but I think the point is when we light the grill, we do everything on it.”

It is a good point.  Think about all the pluses…  All on the grill, everything it one place. Less running around.  Just stand and tend at your leisure.  Here are some tips from Chef to maximize your time at the grill today and throughout the summer season.

  • Clean your grill and work clean — Please, so it’s not gross.  “You got to love your grill, so it loves you back!”   You don’t want to be stuck cleaning when the food is hot and ready to eat so just make sure to wipe when you are done.  You can clean when you fire up on the next session which entails basic common sense: brush, wipe, scrub and let it burn.  But honestly just do it.  Don’t neglect, or you’ll be sorry!
  • Everything on the grill, please —  It’s not just for meat.  If you’re going to light it, use it. This means the obvious and the less obvious. Grill your vegetables. Check. Cut in even thickness or just cook time them accordingly.  Grill your salad.  A sturdy lettuce like romaine or escarole can be great halved or quartered and given the grill mark treatment.  A little kiss goes a long way, so don’t go too strong or you’ll get more wilt than you want. You can even cut into fresh, crisp raw spears for added texture. Grill your condiments? Try charring leeks, spring onions or scallion to chop into one of our favorite accompaniments to meat and vegetables — salsa verde.  Michael’s base combines parsley, capers, anchovies, garlic, shallot, lemon zest, black pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes and olive oil.

Vidalia onions love the grill thanks to high sugar content (think caramelization!) and thickly-ringed, sturdy structure.

  • Be organized —  One of Chef’s best pieces of advice when his cookbook first came out was reminding readers to read the recipe all the way through before getting started.  Similarly, when getting ready to grill, gather your mise en place.  Set everything out — using a sheet tray or baking sheet is helpful — not as heavy as a cutting board.  Make sure it’s not just food but any equipment you will need.  And bring it all out.  Less running around, more time to chill.
  • Board Sauce is a (beautiful) thing — You already know to let your meat rest.  Once you’ve cut, you have the inevitable runoff.  Vegetarians aside should 1000% chop veggies in it. Don’t waste all that flavor!

 

 

The Peak of Seasoned: Commissary Goals

There’re a lot to be said for writing things down. Releasing your desired reality out into the universe, having them in type — or in my case script — there to remind you.  To look at every so often, sometimes more than others.  And to be astonished one day that it’s time to make new ones because what you’ve set out to accomplish is now, seemingly suddenly, real.  Growth is a thing you commit to and when you do, something magical happens where what was so unknown becomes the most familiar thing in the world.

img_8973We set goals here at The Genuine Hospitality Group.  Our people do and so does our company.  It’s hard to imagine that the idea seemed foreign just a year and a half ago.  Now at the start of the year, it’s not just goals for our business, I set personal ones, too.  Even hashtag them.

“It’s unfolding like an onion,” says Michael.  He’s speaking about our new commissary kitchen, but I know it’s a metaphor for what’s happening now writ large.  What unfurls when something is set into motion.  “So many exciting opportunities will come from this project.”

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Strawberries in the fields at Knaus Berry Farms. We want them all.

We got into the large space a month ago, and executive chef Bradley Herron will tell you we’ve already grown out of it.  It’s not hard to imagine, I found visiting last Wednesday with MJ Garcia who is exploring “the savory side of life”, captaining the project at ground zero.  But for Bradley, our MGFD pastry chef was just the right person for the job.

“Brad stitched me for the part,” MJ explains.  “I’m learning how to administer and organize my time, figuring out how the proteins work, how to utilize the space properly.”

The journey began around summer’s end, and the understanding that there was opportunity to build out Michael Schwartz Events and our catering capability quickly became the realization that we could centralize production for our restaurants, capitalize on product at the peak of season and get as much of it and out of it as possible.  For Brad and Michael this has opened up the potential to rethink how we do things, the possibilities for ingredients and sourcing, the development of people at this facility and at the restaurants that comes with increased efficiency.  Imagine the doors this opens for creativity.

“Michael connected with Margie from Bee Heaven Farm and hashed a plan with the chefs,” MJ explains.  “We bring in whatever she has leftover from the weekend market and in abundance.  We take as much as we can and get to work preserving, dehydrating, processing things fresh, incorporating it into sauces, veal stock.”

After a space was identified and lease signed, Brad along with culinary assistant Megan Hess just started showing MJ the savory ropes. Recipes were dialed in, and once the space was delivered and equipment online thanks to heavy lifting from TGHG VP of Development Patrick Brown, programmed into a combioven which MJ swears could basically take care of her child.

“I put the eggs for the mayo in there, right in the crate. There is no movement, no breakage.  And the time it saves!  Brad built this operation for efficiency. Everything is big enough to climb into.”

Coffee is the first item on the check list in any kitchen Brad and Michael are running.

Good coffee is the first item on the check list in any kitchen Brad and Michael are running.

“You don’t have service so you have time to pay attention to details and make sure product comes out the same way every time,” MJ continues.  “We have a unique opportunity to basically work without the million variables at odds in a busy restaurant. The time pressure now is different. It’s scheduling and planning, forecasting the needs of the restaurants.”

She’ll say she’s slowly taking on more production, that she was terrified the first week getting into the space.  But as an outsider to this process observing it for the first time, the progress they’ve made since the fear of January 2 is nothing short of astounding.  In one month MJ has gone from fish out of water to conservatively comfortable, owning the first (and longest) cooking stages of the prep for proteins and so much more that she’s already hiring more staff to handle it all.

Combimagic: 3 cases of octopus -- a week's worth of octopus in one day that MGFD will then take an wood oven roast or add to its daily pasta set up. We control temperature, humidity and pressure -- basically every element of the cooking process.

Combioven magic, no joke.  This rig has been programmed to cook 3 cases of octopus in one day — that’s a week’s worth for MGFD which it will wood oven roast or add to the daily pasta set up. We can control temperature, humidity and pressure — basically every element of the cooking process.

“When they order I have to be ready,” MJ says of the constant communication with the restaurants as the process synchronizes. “Most of this is lead time stuff so by nature it requires forecasting. 8-10 hours of cooking overnight for most of the proteins like the pork belly, pastrami, short rib, pig ears… The bacon is just rubbed but I’m smoking it here so again, that’s a process that takes time.  I’m still building up a base pantry and learning our pars but then again they’re going to change as we continue to develop new catering offerings.  We are creating a pattern of what we need, don’t need, one thing at a time as I get my feet on the ground and understand the rhythm of things.  We want to train and do things in the right way.”

Brad is guiding MJ through planning based on restaurant sales and previous orders, as well as weekly forecasts of covers.  Then there’s the innovation that happens when the tail can wag the dog, maybe anticipate what the restaurants might not even know they need.  Sometimes she’ll work special projects for Cypress Tavern if Max requests, like duck confit. She’s caramelizing the onions and slicing the chips for MGFD’s dip, cutting and crisping potatoes for fries and cabbage for the pastrami, building ella’s grilled cheese sandwiches for the griddle.  The list goes on and will continue to grow when she takes on something familiar next month — pastry production with assistant Alex Sarria.

“I go every morning to check on the girls,” MJ says. “And then I surprise drop in and taste twice a week with the night crew.”

 

For Michael it’s not just about capitalizing on bumper crops for pricing and quality, it’s about investing in our people.  That’s the thing about goals.  By design they need to be measurable and achievable and to make them so, you time stamp and list who’s on the journey with you.  Because you can’t do it alone, ever.  We like to say we know more what we don’t want than what we do.  And that’s perfectly fine too.   Many thanks to TGHG Managing Partner and Harry’s Holdings CEO Sunil Bhatt for teaching us about goals.  Onward and upward.

Caviar Makes Everything Better, Like New Year’s Eve at Cypress Tavern

ct-nye-champagne-v2

ct-nye-supp-card-2017We may have mentioned this already, but it’s worth repeating.  There’s something about New Year’s Eve that brings out our taste for luxury and Cypress Tavern will play this out as only it can.  Celebrate 2017 (and say bu-bye to 2016!) with a long, luxurious finish in a half bottle per couple of Jeeper Champagne, Grand Assemblage (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier) when you choose the restaurant’s 3-course prix fixe New Year’s Eve menu.  Design your experience by choosing an appetizer, entrée and dessert from our a la carte dinner menu for $89 per person plus tax and gratuity, including the bubbly beginning.  A supplemental menu of a luxury items will enhance the meal.  Choose from among stone crabs, truffles and caviar with the option of full caviar service.  Chef de cuisine Max Makowski’s complete a la carte dinner menu will also be available, including Large Plates for two, with some special dishes added for the evening.  Get your fancy on ASAP.  Book now by emailing reservations@cypresstavern.com or calling 305.520.5197.

Caviar makes everything better.

Caviar makes everything better.