So Happy Together: Margherita Meets Margarita — and a New Full Bar — at Genuine Pizza Atlanta

You know it’s going to be a good week when Monday means more than one kind of Margy is in the picture.  We are excited to now offer a refreshing line up of cocktails at Genuine Pizza Atlanta!  After the successful introduction of Sangria this summer, it was only a matter of time before the first of our pizzerias got a full bar program going to complement this wine-based favorite.  Michael collaborated with director of pizza operations Paolo Bazzani — bar manager emeritus of Michael’s Genuine Pub on Quantum of the Seas — on a simple yet well rounded list inspired by the drinks section of his forthcoming pizza cookbook.  The result? A down-to-earth selection that checks all your thirsty boxes, each for $12.

BULLETPROOF MANHATTAN

Michael’s original cocktail at MGFD is as satisfying as it gets, with a touch of class.

Four Roses Bourbon known for its balance and quality meets rosemary-cherry syrup and fresh lemon to cut the sweetness and rein it in just enough.

A rosemary sprig to spear cherry jewels makes it special.

WATERMELON SPRITZ

This is a  twist on the classic aperif we like for winding down the evening or perking up a lunch date.

Aperol joins St. Germain elderflower liqueur, juicy watermelon and fizzy prosecco.

Goes by “Cabarete” at Michael’s Genuine® and is a kicked up alternative to our sangria — and just as refreshing!

SPICY RITA

Nothing hits the spot and says festive like a margarita.  Jose Cuervo Silver, grapefruit and muddled jalapeño shaken over ice with a spicy rim that keeps you going back for more.

Especially yummy with a Margherita pie and polenta fries.

Or put a Spicy Pepperoni pizza in check by matching two bold favorites for a taste explosion.

THE DOCTOR

We love a good beer cocktail, especially when gin is involved.

Whether a full on prescription or a direct order, Boodles Gin, apple juice and Dr. Robot sour beer cures all that ales you and then some.

Nice to drink local, and try something new, too.  Enjoy, then chase with a Dr. Robot.

GENUINE MULE

Absolut vodka, lime and ginger beer just tastes better in a fancy copper mug!

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.

Pizza Happy Hour is the Happiest of Hours

Short Rib + Pinot Noir. A happy hour combo to feast on.

Happy Hour just got more cheesy delicious.  Beginning this week, visit Harry’s Pizzeria® and Genuine Pizza™ Monday through Friday from 4-7pm and all pizzas on the menu are $10. Whether for a mid-afternoon pick me up or strong finish to a long work day, there are so many ways to slice the deal from Miami to Atlanta.  All South Florida locations have a specially-priced beverage to match, with $6 wines by the glass and $5 beers.

For menus and locations, visit genuinepizza.com.

 

It Takes Two to Tango the Amara Beverage Book — Part I: Cocktails

“Challenge accepted!” Amanda exclaims, but Maria is up first.

I’ve asked two bright lights in Miami’s beverage industry, Amara at Paraiso Sommelier Amanda Fraga and Assistant Manager Maria Pottage, to join me for happy hour at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink.  The agenda is to better understand Amara’s beverage program and the origins of its pièce de résistance — The Beverage Book. To get there, we’re breaking the ice by choosing each other’s drinks.  Well, I’m actually letting the professionals handle the selections — Amanda on wine and Maria on cocktails, just like their roles at the restaurant — to focus on the interview, note-taking, and, of course, the drinking.  My hunch is this device will reveal as much about their approach to the program at our newest restaurant, as it will about the game they play to balance the leanings of their own palates with consideration for guest preferences.  It’s quite possibly where the skill lies in making a good list a successful one.  It must perform at the bar and in the dining room.

Maria begins with Dead Presidents, which she’s set before me, polished and smooth but pretty boozy — a stirred cocktail with Camus V.S. Congac, Basil Hayden Bourbon, Redemption Rye, Green Chartreuse, and Pink Peppercorn Syrup. “I felt like you would like something with Bourbon.  This cocktail has a lot of depth and at the same time it’s really balanced.  I was also curious about the pink peppercorn.”

Oh the places you’ll go…

For Amanda, it’ll be the Mezcal Paloma, a welcomed palate cleanser after a day tasting over a 100 wines at United Way’s annual Best in Glass competition. “Luckily we had a lunch break!” she jokes.

Maria continues, “It’s early in the afternoon, and I thought Amanda might need it after a day like today. I also love mezcal.  She has been very generous with me, so I wanted to give her something I like. I overlooked the agave habanero at first, but I’m looking forward to trying that.”

T&T, matched with chilled Atlantic shrimp.

For herself, Maria chooses the Jungle Plaza, a cocktail akin to the T&T at Amara which matches Campari with Tequila. “It’s hard to balance Campari with other spirits because it can be pretty forward.  You don’t want it to overpower the other ingredients.  I saw the rum and pineapple juices, which have the backbone to stand up.  It’s a classic combination, and makes me think of the Jungle Bird.  The strawberry-infused Campari interests me — how much can it take in an infusion.”

While a student of Business Management in Peru, Maria had the opportunity to go on a student exchange program at a ski resort in California, and then at the Grand Canyon National Park. She worked at one of the hotels there and when she saw how much fun the F&B staff was having, how were they able to create great experiences for their guests on a day-to-day basis, she wanted in.

Maria in action behind the Amara bar.

“Being from Peru, where food and beverage is an integral part of our culture, the rest was just a natural step,” she explains. “I was instantly hooked and became obsessed with everything food and beverage related.  Books, restaurants, films… but especially about the power of hospitality.”

About a year and a half ago, Maria had just returned from a trip to Tulum and happened to meet Michael Schwartz one night when he was out for drinks at a Peruvian restaurant in Miami where she was then Beverage Director.  Although she had heard of Chef and the Genuine Hospitality Group, she didn’t know Michael personally at the time, nor could recognize him.

Maria game to chat beverage on her day off, just one of the reasons we love her.

“His guests were celebrating a birthday and having what seemed like a good time, and so I sent something to the table,” she continues.  “They asked me what Pisco was so I went and did a little tasting for them and then we exchanged cards. And that’s how we began the dialogue that ultimately brought me to Amara.  When I heard about the project, it felt like all those things that I loved about Tulum, somehow uniting a feeling of being far away but being in the middle of everywhere. Timing wasn’t right then, but we kept in touch.”

The grills, the beach and the water — what it means to be Miami and the experience of Latin American culture — is reflected in Maria’s drinks in a few ways.  It was important to have first and foremost good representation from Latin American spirits, but unique global brands were essential for a serious list with character and balance.  Part of her role is discovering new product and producers, and to ignore the rest of the world would be a disservice to guests and the bar.

“The beverage program is meant to complement Amara at Paraiso’s food,” she says.  “We are inspired by Latin American ingredients, just as we are by artisanal producers of spirits and winemakers. Miami as the epicenter of this tasting melting pot: diverse, exciting, and fun.”

She’ll say it sounds like an easy-out, but her favorite cocktail on the list really depends on her mood.  We say, good answer to a difficult and loathed question.

“It’s hard for me to pick one I like above the rest.  They are all different and each exist for a reason on our menu,” she says. “If I am craving something refreshing and easy to drink I definitely want to start with a Tulum Spritz. For a cocktail with more body but also citrus forward, I love our Nikkei Sours made with pisco and Japanese whisky. And for a drink that can well start or finish a meal, Monkey Business seems to be a perfect fit, with rum, bourbon, and banana liqueur. It’s like asking a mother to pick a favorite child.”

With a book so rich with content, the possibilities for exploration are endless, especially when you consider food pairings.  To me, and I suspect especially to Maria and Amanda, it’s an endless journey with countless destinations and opportunities to learn, traveling to new places through the stories these drinks tell. It’s about tasting with context and knowing where things come from to understand what purpose they serve and why they were chosen.   As we continue to explore them in longer form here on the blog as a series, you can also follow along each week on Amara’s Instagram, where we highlight beverage on Wednesdays (wine) and Thursdays (cocktails, spirits, beer, and agua fresca.) The adventure has only just begun.  Enjoy Part II next week on Wine Wednesday when it’s Amanda’s turn.

Genuine Pizza™ Opens at Aventura Mall on Tuesday, December 5

The first location of Chef’s casual pizza restaurant is opening just in time for Art Basel and the holiday season, ready to feed hungry shoppers of all kinds!  Genuine Pizza (formerly known as Harry’s Pizzeria) is located in the lower level, exterior of Aventura Mall’s newly opened expansion wing.  It’s been a long time coming and so exciting to experience the finishing touches as they unfold on the new restaurant design, as well as training with front and back of house teams.  We are passionate about our favorite food!

The evolved concept’s interior by Miami-based craft and construction firm McKenzie features light woods and simple accents like custom yellow and grey Cuban tile, orange chairs, and the yellow-tiled Marra Forni oven. The environment invites guests to experience the attention to detail first hand, at a pizza bar fronting the open kitchen and a glass-faced active dough room at the entrance where the recipe is mixed, kneaded and proofed daily.

Outdoor seating is flanked by garden planters and fronted by two distinct, dramatic works of art: Aventura Slide Tower – a 93-foot tall sculpture by German artist Carsten Höller that visitors will be able to slide down and Gorillas in the Mist – a whimsical fountain by The Haas Brothers comprised of three large-scale bronze gorillas and four massive bronze trees.

“Honest ingredients, chef-inspired combinations and a thoughtful process is what Genuine Pizza is all about. We are truly passionate about our favorite food,” says Schwartz. “We are so excited to connect with a new community to the north and thrilled to be able to add better pizza and warm genuine hospitality to the offerings in our new home.”

In an effort to always improve upon the quality and consistency of the pizza, Schwartz and The Genuine Hospitality Group executive chef Bradley Herron are working again with Marra Forni’s Rotator Oven. With its rotating deck of pure cut Italian stone, the oven retains and conducts consistent heat to bake pies evenly and quickly. While also serving as an active and beautiful focal point for the main dining room with its canary yellow tiles in the open oven station, the new hearth is calibrated specifically for the chef’s unique dough recipe.

The core menu including Snacks, Salads, Daily Entrées, 11 Quick-Fired Pizzas, the option of gluten-free crust, and Dessert. Genuine Pizza carefully selects the ingredients it uses, like Niman Ranch for all of its meats. For beverages, Genuine Pizza offers creative wine and beer selections, along with great local brands including Panther Coffee and JoJo Tea. A daily pie and soup special keep things unique for each visit. Fans can now give the gift of better pizza with electronic gift cards, available for purchase at genuinepizza.com – choose your denomination and send through email or phone.

Aventura Mall offers complimentary garage parking adjacent to the expansion wing, as well as valet. Seating is 77 inside at tables and banquettes in the main dining room, 20 at the counter and pizza bar, and 28 outside.  Genuine Pizza launches with lunch and dinner Sunday to Thursday 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday and Saturday until 12 a.m. – no reservations necessary. Takeout with online ordering at genuinepizza.com will be available. To reach the restaurant, call (786) 472-9170 or email aventura@genuinepizza.com. Follow the new location and join the conversation @genuinepizza and #genuinepizza on Instagram.  When the restaurant opens on Tuesday, visit genuinepizza.com to access full menus, social media, sign up for e-newsletter for updates on upcoming openings like Atlanta (December) at Phipps Plaza.

The slide to scale all slides, in our front yard!

Genuine Pizza is thoughtfully-made, a place to enjoy a great meal with great people and without pretense. Genuine Pizza is about consideration of every detail of the dining experience, from the careful selection of ingredients, to the choices made in crafting dishes and the space in which you enjoy them. Being “genuine” is about making the experience better, not embellished – making food and crafting an environment that people feel good about and want to return to. The seed of Genuine Pizza is Harry’s Pizzeria®, first opened by Chef Michael Schwartz in 2011 and now with three South Florida locations. With inspiration from his flagship Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink, Harry’s became a fixture of the Miami dining scene and nationally-recognized pizza hotspot, named one of Food & Wine magazine’s 25 Best Pizzerias in the U.S. An evolution of the best of the original, Genuine Pizza celebrates its beloved, flagship menu anchored by 11 hand-formed pizzas featuring a tender, quick-fired crust with integrity, as well as a gluten-free option. At the table, the experience is complete with warm service and a wholesome dishes to make a meal, including snacks, colorful salads, daily specials and dessert. From the sidewalk to the dining room, the restaurant buzzes with friends and family hanging out over craft beer, a creative wine list and great music.

Aventura Mall features a collection of upscale boutiques, including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Tiffany & Co., Fendi, Givenchy, Burberry and more, as well as more than 300 shopper favorites such as Zara, Topshop Topman, Apple, Anthropologie, H&M and Urban Outfitters. Visitors also enjoy nearly a dozen restaurants and a taste of South Florida’s thriving cultural scene with Arts Aventura Mall, featuring contemporary installations by renowned international and local artists. Aventura Mall is open Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., and Sunday, 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Call (305) 935-1110 or visit online at www.aventuramall.com.