A James Beard House (Dinner) Away from Home with Cheese of the Queen

Apropo, @kasekaiserina! Delectable Instagram, reposted from @cheesegrillenyc featuring Tia’s The Art Of The Cheese Plate.

“Michael is a purist. He’s classical at the same time that he is creative,” Mark explains. “It’s the same way I am with my wines.”

Mr. Tobin is certainly passionate about what he does, and we can relate. The approach is old school, non interventionist, like Chef’s.  Instead of tweaking and tweaking, it’s about what you can take away, not add to make food, and in Mark’s case, wine, perfect.

“I have incredible respect for Michael,” he continues. “His authenticity, passion and commitment makes mediocrity completely unacceptable.  He is a freak about detail and executing properly. I’m just thrilled to collaborate with him and the Cheese Queen.”

Indeed New York City-based writer, cook, and cheese specialist Tia Keenan, as her Instagram @kasekaiserina indicates, is rennet royalty and will effectively, indulgently tie this collaborative trifecta together on Friday, June 2, as we kick off Michael’s third dinner at the James Beard House. A Team chef de cuisine Tim Piazza, GM Nicole Kelly, and TGHG executive chef Bradley Herron will preside to support our featured co-hosts, part of our ongoing 10 year celebration of all things MGFD.  We’ll share the menu and link to tickets first here today, and later chat with Tia.  We want to dig into the what really has us revved up: her cheese selection.

Over the years, cheese has played a subtle yet an important role at MGFD, less even about the cheese itself but the way it is featured that crystalizes exactly what Michael’s approach is all about.  Many of you may recall the more deliberate Cheese of the Week (some blogged selections above circa 2011), where one cheese each week was highlighted with one accompaniment. No elaborate cheese plate, organized by firmness, milk, type and aging.  Just a simple presentation on a board, in its element, to let hand-crafted product shine.  It was the only item on the dinner menu encased by a bubble, special and notable in its lack of artifice and celebrated as such. Servers and cooks were able to get to know it, really understand it. And then cheese class would begin all over again the next week.  To start the dinner we are paying tribute to this legacy with Tia owning passed hors d’oeuvres, five beautiful cheeses presented as they’re meant to, almost unadorned except for one accompaniment each and the final ingredient: Mattebella Vineyards Rosé 2016:

Pipe Dreams Farm Dairy Buche Cheese with Beet Tartare
Lazy Lady Farm Sweet Emotions Cheese with Cucumber–Celery Marmalade
Jasper Hill Farm Calderwood Cheese with Carrot Mostarda
Woodcock Farm Humble Pie Cheese with Pickled Asparagus
Boucher Family Farm Green Mountain Blue Cheese with Chocolate–Onion Chutney

We’ll look forward to a peek into the cheesemakers, what drives them and the special stories behind each cheese from Tia.  The menu follows.  See you in NYC on June 2!

FIRST – Market Salad with Anson Mills Farro Verde and Nettle Meadow Farm Sappy Ewe Cheese | Mattebella Vineyards Riesling 2014

SECOND – Grilled Skuna Bay Salmon with Peas, Spring Onions, Crispy Potato, Meyer Lemon, and Crème Fraîche | Mattebella Vineyards Reserve Chardonnay 2013

THIRD – Ricotta Cavatelli with Wild Mushrooms, Taleggio Fondue, and Parmigiano–Reggiano | Mattebella Famiglia Red Wine NV

FOURTH – Slow-Roasted Niman Ranch Beef Short Rib with Roasted Peppers, Marcona Almonds, and Herb Aïoli |Mattebella Vineyards Old World Blend 2013 (Public Debut)

DESSERT – Milk Chocolate Cremoso Cheese with Hazelnut Praline, Toasted Sourdough, Sea Salt, and Olive Oil | Mattebella Vineyards Noble Late Harvest Chardonnay 2013

Spring Field Report in Pictures | Little Haiti Community Garden, Teena’s Pride Farm & Bee Heaven Farm

Chef in the heirloom tomato (and squash, celery, beets, carrots, onions, broccoli rabe, salad mix) fields with Teena’s Pride owner/farmer Michael Borek.

Friday was a great day, one of those that begin with a specific goal in mind and end netting so many more valuable takeaways.  In anticipation of Fi’lia’s LA opening, we’re producing a video to capture Genuine Culture as a tool to educate our teams at The Genuine Hospitality Group on who we are, what we do and the reasons why.  Michael and I visited three farms as they began to wrap South Florida’s main growing season to document how we source product, an important component of the genuine way.  While footage of strolls through Homestead tomato field tractor lanes and Little Haiti urban farm footpaths materialized in the lens, ideas were generated between Chef and a handful of our farmers as they discovered new opportunities for collaboration and tasted ingredients in the field.

Curiosity scared the crows.  We also found a small prop airplane in Borek’s new warehouse facility.

Enjoy the day in photos laced with informative captions below as we digest new opportunities through the genuine chef network.  Will Michael Borek identify a great Roma tomato to cultivate at Teena’s Pride for Harry’s Pizzeria®?  What about the Upland cress Little Haiti Community Garden’s Gary Feinberg is growing?  How could it be expressed on the menu at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink?  Margie Pikarsky’s heirloom peppers are beautiful to behold, as Chef recalls the “seasoning pepper” related to the Scotch Bonnet — all the flavor without the punishing heat — from our days in Grand Cayman.  Is she growing something similar, and should we shave it raw on the daily focaccia at Ella?  Let us know what you would like to see in our restaurants!

Now Scheduling Interviews The Genuine Hospitality Group Job Fair | Spring 2017 Edition

It’s that time again!  We are excited to announce our spring job fair, which will take place this coming Thursday, March 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at our corporate headquarters, 3936 North Miami Avenue on the second floor (above Harry’s Pizzeria in the Miami Design District!)  We are now booking interviews in advance – send your resume to careers@thegenuinehospitalitygroup.com to schedule prior to Thursday.

We are laser focused on growing the company with great people, and regular job fairs are a perfect way for representatives from each restaurant to meet with potential candidates.  It’s all about finding the right fit.

We are looking for dependable, reliable, passionate and professional staff members with great attitudes and personalities to join the team! If you are committed to delivering an exceptional dining experience and enjoy working in a dynamic environment, apply in person with your resume.

The fair will recruit for all front and back of house positions including restaurant manager, bartender, host/hostess, barista, pizza cook, line cook, sous chef, server, and busser. The Genuine Hospitality Group restaurants include Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink (fresh, simple, pure), Cypress Tavern (American Grill & Cocktail Bar), ella (light and airy café), and Harry’s Pizzeria® (neighborhood American pizzeria) which is expanding to Downtown Dadeland (Kendall/Pinecrest) in early summer, in addition to its current two locations (Miami Design District and Coconut Grove).  Join team Michael Schwartz!

First Look at Michael Schwartz’s Park Grove Restaurant, Catered by Michael Schwartz Events

Our first look at the Meyer Davis Studio interiors of Michael’s 2018 restaurant at Related and Terra Group’s Park Grove, and we already feel right at home. Welcome to the ultimate neighborhood restaurant ensconced in a lush front yard park at the corner of Tigertail Avenue and Mary Street in the heart of residential Coconut Grove, Miami.  Brought to life in a garden enclave with indoor and outdoor seating on the grounds of the park, our signature restaurant, like every element on property, draws in the outdoors, reflecting the area’s historical significance and emphasizing the refined Bohemian village lifestyle that informs every aspect of Park Grove.  The rustic dining room features an open-air concept allowing guests a clear view into the kitchen with freshly-made food front and center. This familiar design element is iconic to Michael’s projects and cultivates energy in the dining room, fostering a feeling of warm hospitality and sense of place for residents and visitors alike to feel welcome.

Miami’s original neighborhood of Coconut Grove was founded in 1873 by an eclectic mix of pioneers, artists, intellectuals and adventurers.  Its tropical oasis thrives to this day as Miami’s escape from the stress of city life. Located in the middle of Miami, yet completely separate and quaint, it offers a warm, laid-back atmosphere of charming boutiques, sidewalk cafes and sailboats anchored at the bay. The neighborhood’s distinct bohemian flair allows one to unwind and relax every day of the week and any time of the year, and the restaurant’s location at the corner of Tigertail and Mary Street in the heart of the marina-side village will make it a vibrant addition to Coconut Grove’s dining scene. Daily care and attention to the quality of local sources will be expressed in a menu true to sense of place, the seasons, and proximity to Biscayne Bay, offering breakfast, lunch, dinner, and a take away counter.

Last week, in another property milestone, Park Grove’s development team celebrated the top-off of Two Park Grove and the Club Residences with Will Meyer, co-founder of New York-based Meyer Davis Studio and Chef, who together unveiled the design concept for the development’s restaurant over bites catered by Michael Schwartz Events.  We look forward to following its continued progress!

 

[RECIPE] Have a Ball Today & Make Sure It’s Triple Meat

The Schwartz Meatball. One way, three meats

We can never get too familiar with a meatball, especially on National Meatball Day.  Harry’s Pizzeria® set the Schwartz benchmark; it’s all about the ball, pure and simple, with a pedestal of zesty tomato sauce and just a touch of Parmigiano to finish.  After the perfectly balanced blend of three meats was dialed in over the years, we were ready to up the game when Fi’lia came along.  Not much has changed.  The ball is virtually identical at its core. Michael combines three different types of meat to create a sturdy yet irresistibly tender texture. They’re quickly pan fried to seal in the juices and rendered even more luxurious when brought up in this ridiculously flavorful and punchy tomato sauce.  Fi’lia’s slightly more luxurious take is thanks to the addition of whipped ricotta and decadent garlic bread.  The healthy dollop just adds a special something, melting into the bowl for a creamy softness and pretty color contrast. The crunch from garlic bread ties this magical combination together, the perfect utensil to soak up luscious sauce.

Meatballs with Whipped Ricotta and Garlic Bread

Serves 6

1 pint whole milk
3 eggs
6 slices stale white bread, crust removed
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly cracked pepper
½ cup grated Parmigiano
1 tablespoon minced garlic
¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 pounds ground beef
1/2 pound ground veal
1/2 pounds ground pork
Canola oil for frying
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 cans of high quality crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly cracked black pepper
¼ cup roughly chopped fresh basil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 whole garlic clove, smashed
6, ½-inch thick slices of country-style sourdough
2 cups whole milk ricotta
Fresh basil leaves for garnish

Whisk milk and eggs together in a large bowl. Add the bread, breaking it up in your hands until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add the salt, pepper, cheese, garlic and parsley, and continue to mix thoroughly with your hands until combined. Add the three ground meats and continue to mix using your hands until fully incorporated. Turn out onto a large sheet of plastic wrap, wrap up securely and refrigerate until chilled, at least an hour. Remove from refrigerator and using an ice cream scoop or large tablespoon, portion into balls, gently cupping them in your hands to form uniform spheres and setting in rows on a baking sheet while you work. Place a large cast iron skillet over medium heat with ¼ inch of canola oil. Place the handle side of a wooden spoon in the oil. Once bubbles form around the edges it’s ready. Pan fry the meatballs, working in batches to brown on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove balls as they’re ready with a slotted spoon and set to drain on a paper towel lined plate.

Add the oil to a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium heat, and sweat the onions for 5-7 minutes, cooking until translucent. Add the garlic, tomatoes, salt and pepper and simmer covered for 20 minutes. Add the basil and meatballs, and simmer for 20 more. While the sauce is cooking, preheat oven to 300F.

Add the garlic to the olive oil. Place sourdough slices on a baking sheet, lightly drizzle with the garlic-infused oil and bake for 8 minutes or until crisp but not browned.

Serve meatballs warm from the stove, family-style or plated in individual bowls, layering some sauce as a base and topping with spoonfuls of ricotta, crostini to the side and freshly torn basil.