The Palms are Alive with the Sound of Sangria

Melon Infusion

Melons infusing for sangria compliments of ella at District Sounds, a fall acoustic series kicking off Thursday in Palm Court. Thanks to Vanessa Nunez, kitchen manager and photographer extraordinaire.

Cropped District SoundsIt’s not Tristan Ferchl’s first corrida.   As one of our shift leaders at ella, our café in the Design District’s Palm Court, Tristan is responsible for running the front of house, but we like to think the highlight of his day is crafting the daily sangria.

“It’s more important that the sangria complements the food we do more than sticks to tradition,” he explains.  “I’m looking for lighter flavors, a canvas for seasonal fruit and something that plays well with our lovely warm Miami weather.  It’s always nicer to dine outside on our patio with an glass of sangria to cool you down.”

Tristan’s experience at Cure, an uptown district bar in New Orleans, served him well.  A focus on classic cocktails meant a shelf of fortified wine to play with.  He’s always conscious of two key principles when building a sangria recipe — proportion of wine and sweetness.  First, he usually begins based off of half a bottle of wine per carafe, with leanings toward white.  “We’re currently using the house Albariño… Something crisp which won’t overpower the fruit.”  He adds it’s also a good base for carbonation, either from Pellegrino or Dry Soda flavors like vanilla or blood orange.  Secondly, and maybe even more importantly, sweetness should be kept to a minimum and come from natural sources, i.e. from the fruit itself, not additive sugar, whenever possible.  When used improperly, simple syrup can mask the palate and easily ruin a meal.

Lua Sangria

With a couple bottles left of Lua Rossa No. 2, Tristan moved it out to make way for No. 3 making a red sangria for a change of pace, with cantaloupe and white grapes. It’s been his favorite yet, breaking the mold but keeping it light and fresh.

On Thursday night from 6-8PM, Miami’s Design District launches a weekly live music series curated by Miami Beach Jazz in Palm Court.  This Thursday IOGO’s Adrian Gonzalez and J.J. Freire perform with sangria on us.  Parking is available at City View & Palm Court Garages on NE 38th St between N Miami Ave & 2nd Ave.  Cheersing and see you there with our cocktail bells on.  Tristan’s got a mix planned of Albariño, melons infused by Casoni liqueur, honey and peppermint, blood orange Dry Soda, fresh-cut oranges and rosemary from our garden.  And join us for Happy Hour, when it’s half price from 5-7PM daily!

The Daily Scramble: Back to School for the ellas

Today the kids are headed back to school!  For the grown up ones like Michael’s eldest daughter Ella, today is the start of a new adventure. COLLEGE.  Freshman year is so exciting.  So much to absorb, new routines to learn, new people to meet.  Daddy Schwartz called upon Dr. Seuss for the words to say goodbye and good luck as his eldest chickie flew the coop for Tulane University this weekend: “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

And since you are smart like Ms. Schwartz, you know you can’t start the day, especially the first day back to school, without a good breakfast.  ella has your back thanks to some additions to the breakfast line up that happened over the weekend!  This morning began in hypermode as Miami artist Alejandro Contreras (our friend from Design Miami’s past) put the finishing touches on our new blackboard to complete last night’s vinyl installation. Kitchen manager Vanessa Nunez put out the cafe’s first Daily Scramble, two eggs, today with caramelized onions and herbs, with True Loaf wheat toast.  Alejandro should have an extra kick in his step today, especially after that $350 macchiato (I fixed the decimal point.  Where’s my refund!?)  

AlejandroThose looking for gluten-free options have many things to choose from on the current menu, but we are also pleased to now offer the sandwiches and other dishes with gluten-free bread upon request!  Zak the Baker’s gluten-free chocolate almond cookies also came in to satisfy those sweet teeth out there.  Enjoy getting scrambled, take a seat under the shade in Palm Court and ease into the school year.  Fall’s almost here!  Please find the updated menu at!