Chef Ravi Kapur Has One Serious Poke Face

Ravi Kapur has strong feelings about poke. As he should.

“In Hawaii it’s kind of… Well, it’s really a treat,” Ravi explains. “It’s not this mass-consumed, everyday thing necessarily, because really poke should be pretty expensive if you’re using high quality fish. For me growing up, it’s a celebratory thing.”

At now 3 year-old Liholiho Yacht Club in San Francisco, this Oahu-born chef not only takes inspiration from his Hawaiian-Chinese-Indian roots, he takes them quite seriously.   Right off the bat this was pretty clear, even as we stole just few minutes in between phone tag on Wednesday.  There’s a sense of responsibility that informs his approach.  I have neither been to Hawaii nor eaten in his restaurant, but I have read Kapur is a chef-owner known for his cool, collected demeanor in the kitchen.  Schwartz had a great meal there. I get the feeling this attitude is an expression of the strength of his intention, to cook with principle and represent his culture correctly and with confidence.

Fresh fish, the best fish. From @liholihoyachtclub’s Instagram.

This means something to Kapur, that he stand for something and that his expression is one true to his identity as a Hawaiian.  We can relate to this — MS also stands for something, and akin to that.  It’s about quality and doing it right, or not at all.  This is in part why I began our conversation with poke. To poke a nerve.  With the relentless stream of DIY, paint-by-numbers, flavor-of-the-moment poke shops UberEatsing on my Miami doorstep, it’s also hard to ignore.

“The most important element for me is that the fish is extremely fresh and you let that flavor shine without covering it up with too many seasonings,” he continues. “The traditional version would not have soy sauce.  It would be Hawaiian salt, and sweet onion, and inamona or ground kukui nut.

From there he explains it can be embellished, which is fine, with a measured hand, as with most things. Seaweed, sure.  Still no seasoning though. You take this highly perishable product and then need to mask it when it’s inferior.  Often, when it’s about preserving meat or fish, something common all over the world to extend a product’s lifespan — typically out of necessity — it can be quite good.  But it’s transformed.  It’s no longer the thing it was.  For true poke, if you are using good quality there’s just no way it even can be mass produced — which is basically the benchmark for what my exposure has been to date, fast casual-style.  It becomes more about what you are putting on it, than what it is.

“I popped in one day to one of these places, because I’m interested in how they operate, how it flows,” Ravi explains.  “I understand the model, how this came to exist, but I’ll never do it because it’s in direct conflict to what I believe poke is.  I can’t wrap my head around culturally appropriating things for profit.  You won’t find sesame oil in traditional poke. I use some, but for me it’s always going to be all about the fish.”

The fish is Ahi traditionally, but now you can find all types, like Striped Marlin and large bill fish. It’s more sustainable too.  Ravi admits he just got back from Maui, and even there, there is a range of quality. Previously frozen… unknown origins at the supermarket. The place he goes to now, Kaohu store, will run you about $17, 18, 19  a pound.

“To me I taste the difference,” he adds.  “And you can see the fish.  It’s undressed.”

I don’t know about you, but I need my own #alohafloorselfie moment.

Ravi won’t know what species will greet him when he walks into Michael’s Genuine® on Thursday February 22, but he knows it will be fresh and that will produce the best first course on the plate whether it’s Cobia, Golden Tile or Little Tuny.  And there’s pork too, another ingredient that connects our food cultures.

“Absolutely. It’s pretty much pork all the time,” Ravi says.  “In the late 1800s, ranching formed a big part of the economy but beef is more expensive.  Pork is for everyone and it can be great and flavorful – it just depends on the pig and who’s raising it.  I’m doing something off the shoulder.  I like roasting those cuts and still having a little bite to it, so you can taste the meat. Some accents, of course, like chili honey rub for a little sweetness and spice.  I don’t think I told anybody, but I’m also bringing something else with me.”

We’re not giving that one away.  You, co-guest chef Derek Damman and hosts Michael and Tim will just have to squirm.  Now isn’t that cause for celebration? And some poke!  Find out for yourself.  For tickets and menu, visit sobefest.org/michaels.

Amara at Paraiso Launches Brunch A La Cart This Sunday

Amara at Paraiso, the latest addition to the genuine family and quintessential Miami waterfront restaurant is ready to up Miami’s brunch game. Known for reinventing our favorite weekend pastime, Michael launches Sunday Brunch on February 11 with an energized new format featuring sweet and savory food carts.  Guests can order as they like and pick and choose from weekly specials tableside as they roam the dining room and terrace throughout the meal.  Located directly on Biscayne Bay in the Paraiso District of East Edgewater, Amara at Paraiso will offer brunch on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., cultivating a distinctly Miami vibe.

“Brunch is my favorite meal of the week and always an opportunity to go for it,” explains Schwartz. “At Amara, we were excited to have some fun with the new format. The flavors are big and the food we are doing plays very well in daytime. The amazing view is the last ingredient for the quintessential brunch experience.”

At the table, guests will be presented with printed a la carte menus from which to order drinks and food, and will then be visited by sweet and savory food carts with more from which to choose. Servers will mark orders from the cart on a card at the table to be tallied with the check at the end of the meal. Sweet items include delicate and decadent Arroz Con Leche ($6) with toasted coconut, macadamia nut, pineapple; Concha ($5) a streusel- topped brioche pastry with Mexican roots served with dulce de leche; Amara dessert favorite Dulce Flan ($10) with dulce de leche and crema; and Guava Toast ($7) Griddled brioche, crème fraiche. Savory carts will carry items like a Tilefish Taco ($5) chayote squash salad, lime, smoked paprika aioli; Grilled Pork Belly Feijoada ($6) braised red beans, egg, crunchy cassava; and Waygu Beef Tartare ($8) quail egg, green papaya, cashew, lime.

The a la carte menu offers Snacks, Raw Bar, Empanadas, Small Plates and Large Plates. Snacks include addictive Crispy Hominy ($7) with verde spice and lime; and Whipped Carrot ($7) with green garbanzo, crème fraiche, and seeded crisp. Small Plates include Overnight Oats ($10) with sweet plantain, apricot, cashew; and Turmeric & Beet- Cured Salmon ($14) crème fraîche, corn flour cracker, hard-boiled egg. Large Plates include the juicy Choripan sandwich off the outdoor wood grill with housemade chorizo farm egg, vinaigrette smoked paprika aioli; a hearty Amara Breakfast ($18) highlighting slow-cooked meaty Domingo Rojo beans, two fried eggs, short rib empanada, chorizo, avocado; Egg White Omelete ($16) with hominy, green garbanzo beans, calabaza squash, queso fresco, fermented chile hot sauce; and Short Rib Tamal ($15) with grilled spicy shrimp, fried egg, pickles, cascabel chile paste.

Brunch drinks from Assistant General Manager Maria Pottage offer a vibrant and refreshing celebration of Amara’s extensive agua fresca and freshly-squeezed juice program that invites the guest to craft their own journey. Bottomless Tropical Sparkling ($30 per person) includes sparkling wine plus the guest’s choice of mixer (guava, strawberry basil, grapefruit, passionfruit, chile-mango). Spiked Fresca (1L bottle equals 4 drinks for $44 or a glass for $12) pairs a choice of spirit with a carafe of Agua Fresca like Hibiscus, Purple Corn (Chicha Morada), Tamarind, and Horchata. In addition to Champagne and Rosé bottle specials, Brunch Cocktails include solid twists on standards like Bloody Mary-a ($12) Hangar One vodka or Milagro Blanco tequila, tomato, cucumber, celery, lemon, aji panca, aji amarillo salt; and the E.L. Michelada ($9) with local blonde ale Wynwood La Rubia, lime, Mexican spices, Amara hot sauce; as well as specialties of the house including Woke Up Like This ($12) St Germain, coconut water, lychee, lemon, bubbles; and Let’s Samba ($13) Yaguara cachaça, passion fruit, lime, demerara, mint, and more.

Brunch will be offered every Sunday starting February 11 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with live music from Grammy- nominated Miami band PALO!. Amara at Paraiso is located at 3101 NE 7th Ave, Miami, FL 33137. $5 valet is available. For reservations visit amaraatparaiso.com, email reservations@amaraatparaiso.com or call 305-702- 5528. Amara is a breathtaking venue for private parties and events; for groups larger than 12 guests email lindsay@michaelschwartzevents.com. More information and menus at amaraatparaiso.com and via @amaraatparaiso on social media.

Three Chefs Walk into a Restaurant to Make Dinner for South Beach Wine & Food Festival

 

Aloha!  Bonjour!  Bienvenidos.  On Thursday, February 22, the tasty punchline is on us!  Hawaiian-born Ravi Kapur of San Francisco’s Liholiho Yacht Club and Derek Dammann of Montreal’s Maison Publique join Michael Schwartz of Miami by way of Philly to cook dinner as part of the annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival.  What brings people together is an interesting thing.  Is it happenstance or intention or a combination of both?  Our South Beach Wine & Food Festival dinner at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink celebrates this idea — what becomes of different flavors, influences and personalities when they come together from across the continent to make a meal and create an experience.  The creativity happens and the fun begins when disparate pieces form the whole you didn’t anticipate. It’s the excitement that happens when something feels so right for the very reasons it shouldn’t.  We are excited our neighborhood bistro can be the glue to bring such incredible talent together for a collaborative dinner. Ravi will bring big, colorful flavors from the west coast and Pacific and Derek, the cozy northern appeal of a polished but casual neighborhood pub.  Michael and executive Chef Tim Piazza will balance it all out.  Enjoy the four course menu below with reception, paired with Champagne Henriot, one of the few remaining family-owned houses with over two hundred years of independence.

Tickets are available for purchase here.  See you at 7PM!

Dinner hosted by Michael Schwartz, Ravi Kapur & Derek Dammann

RECEPTION

Local Poke, Sesame-Tamari, Spicy Mayo, Ginger, Octopus Puff
Ravi Kapur

Baked Oysters, Mushroom & Marmite
Derek Dammann

Crispy Baby Artichoke with Mint Yogurt
Michael Schwartz

Shaved Beef Tongue on Sesame Crostini with Onion, Peppers and Provolone
Michael Schwartz

DINNER

Charred Corn Salad
Cucumber, Pickled Green Tomato, Ricotta Salata, Romesco Sauce, Herbs
Michael Schwartz
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Smoked Mackerel,
Anchovy & Lemon
Derek Dammann

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Chili Honey Roasted Pork,
Chicken Fried Romano Beans, Mustard Seed Jus
Ravi Kapur

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Almond Clementine Cake
Citrus Crémeux Strawberries and Toasted Elder Flower Meringue
Michael Schwartz

All Bundled Up for Super Bowl Weekend Takeout at Genuine Pizza™ & Harry’s Pizzeria®

The Eagle himself at the AFC Championship game with fellow Philly pals chef Marc Vetri and Gary Frohman.

Nothing quite does it like the Super Bowl to bring people together and divide the house!  You know our blood and beards bleed Eagles green here, but we can all get behind a pizza party for the big game.  While Chef flies to Super Bowl LII, we’re going big all weekend long at home offering 10% off all takeout orders at Genuine Pizza and Harry’s Pizzeria to celebrate. Enjoy an added break when you choose from our specially-priced Party Bundles, three tiers of family-size orders that include a selection pizzas, salads and desserts for 10, 15, and 20 people. From Friday, February 2 to Sunday, February 4, click here to place your order for Genuine Pizza or here for Harry’s Pizzeria to get satisfaction all Super Bowl weekend long!  Use code SUPERGENUINE at checkout.

[Recipe] Miami Winter’s Bone: Amara at Paraiso’s Guajillo Chile-Grilled Beef Short Rib with Cabbage Slaw

Grilled Beef Short Rib with shaved cabbage, marcona almonds grilled peppers and sour orange

The heaters have been cued from hibernation.  As we learn the ins and outs of our new home on the bay, Amara at Paraiso, blasting the breezes with a little firepower takes the edge off.  So does opening the terrace doors, feeling the warm current mix with the cool, and digging into something with a little more meat on the bone than usual on a Miami winter evening.

Chef Michael Paley’s Grilled Beef Short Rib is just the thing to bewitch us warm bloods into a cozy state of contentment, brightened with shaved cabbage, fresno pepper, marcona almonds and sour orange. It’s all about balance for this chef, and this restaurant in the approach to every dish. Here, the crisp, citrusy slaw cuts the richness and spiciness of the meat.

Paley, a moment away-ish from expo.

“The tendency is to want to fuss with a steak on the grill,”  says Paley.  “The beauty of bone-in is out of sight out of mind in the oven.  And when it’s finished on the grill after the long cook, it’s actually ok to work it on the grates a little over the high heat so it gets nice and crispy on all sides.”  Paley also notes that while the yield may be less with the bone, it’s a more intact cut, with less people touching it along it way.  Not to mention it’s great looking at the table too.  Now that’s something we can really sink our teeth into!

Grilled Beef Short Rib with shaved cabbage, fresno pepper, marcona almonds and sour orange

Serves 4

4, 4-inch cut bone in beef short ribs 1 cup
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 Tablespoon freshly cracked pepper
1 pint Guajillo Chile Wet Rub (recipe below)
4 cups shaved green cabbage
1 cup thinly shaved Fresno peppers
1 cup roughly chopped Marcona almonds
½ cup picked Italian parsley leaves
¼ cup thinly shaved red onion
¼ cup thinly shaved red radish
¼ cup fresh squeezed sour orange juice
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste
2 each whole sour oranges cut in half

Preheat oven to 300° F.

With a sharp knife, trim the short ribs of any extraneous fat or silverskin. Coat the ribs evenly with the Guajillo rub.  Place the ribs on a roasting rack set on a baking sheet and roast uncovered for 2 hours.  Remove the short ribs from the oven and place in a large earthenware or stainless steel baking dish, meat side up and add ½ an inch of water.  Increase the temperature of the oven to 325° F.  Cover the baking dish with tin foil and roast 2 more hours, until the meat is easily pierced with a paring knife.  Remove from the oven to rest and refrigerate overnight.

To finish the dish, heat a charcoal or wood fired grilled to 375-400° F.  Place the cooled short rib on the grill, turning and rotating often to develop an even char on all sides, about 10 minutes.  Place the halved sour oranges, flesh side down on the grill and cook until charred, about 5 minutes.  Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, toss the cabbage, fresno pepper, almonds, parsley, onion and radish with the sour orange juice and olive oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste.

To plate, trim the hot short ribs off the bone and cut on the bias into 1-inch thick slices.  Arrange the bone on a platter or board, fanning the short rib against it. Spoon the the cabbage salad evenly on either side, and garnish with a grilled sour orange.

Guajillo Chile Wet Rub

This dried red chile commonly found in Mexico has the depth of flavor and heat necessary to penetrate a big cut and can handle, hold up and develop deep, rich flavor in the meat over a long cook time.  It is long and narrow in shape, and very tough in texture. The dried fruits are seeded, soaked, and pulverized to a thin paste, then cooked with salt and several other ingredients to produce a thick, red, flavorful marinade.

Yields 1 pint

1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup Guajillo pepper powder
1 tablespoon toasted coriander, ground
Juice and zest of 4 oranges
1/4 cup smoked paprika
2/3 cup minced garlic

Mix to combine.