[VIDEO] A 2016 Holiday Message of Genuine Merriment

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That’s because we hit pause (and PLAY!) to celebrate our people and thank our extended family for joining us in the memory making that was 2016. Enjoy these familiar faces and relish the genuine merriment that virtual yearbook maker Jessica Anderson has prepared for us with steadfast and thoughtful plentitude.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and yummy holiday from all of us at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink, Harry’s Pizzeria®, Cypress Tavern, ella, Michael Schwartz Events and The Genuine Hospitality Group.

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For This Pastry Team, Working Smart Means Cross Training with Donuts

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The 9 a.m. donut handoff! Ella GM Sandra Pepin receives the goodies from MGFD’s pastry chef MJ Garcia.

Every morning Pastry Chef MJ Garcia gets into Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink around 5:45 a.m. and takes survey of her stock.  Then it’s time to cross train.

“If I ran a special that had pastry cream the day before, I’ll use it for a donut at Ella,” she explains.  “The other day we did butterscotch pudding here, so that became the filling for a chocolate glazed there.”

Restaurants like Michael’s flagship with its vast menu and myriad meal periods require a lot of rotation of product. MJ’s cross training routine makes for a fit operation, one with limited waste not at the expense of creativity. It’s a canvas that offers an outlet for new ideas to develop with discipline and structure because they are built on making something special from what’s around. “If you think about it from the culinary side, donuts are like the soup,” she points out.

Since our light and airy café first opened in late spring last year, the “Ella Daily Donut” (#elladailydonut on Instagram) has become a fixture in the display case, coveted for its surprising array of flavors and formats.  It was around the time MJ rejoined The Genuine Hospitality Group after a four year hiatus from Miami in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with husband (and now Cypress Tavern Chef de Cuisine) Max Makowski.  Her first placement was at ella, where she learned a tremendous deal about desserts in a retail environment, not to mention the benefit of direct customer feedback at the counter.

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Rainbow of Flavors: Here, lemon and coconut ensconced on their perch in the morning light.

“I noticed things… saw the pastries and how they were behaving.  Fresh fruit like strawberries will look fantastic in the morning but they wilt and go pale by the evening,” she recalls observing.  “You have to think how many hours a particular donut is going to stand up.  At 7 p.m. closing it has to look as good at as it did at opening. So you have boundaries.”

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Sometimes the donuts would be too big or too little.  MJ made note of all these things at ella, and translated them to improvements on that offering, not to mention best practices for her department at large at Michael’s Genuine.

“You have to keep a lot of factors in mind while you do these seemingly simple things,” she continues. “Yeasted donuts are more irregular in the way the dough behaves and there is more room for error.  It can overproof which creates big air pockets which can explode in the frier!  You also have to be careful not to overwork the dough which will develop gluten and produce a tough, dense result.”

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Lemon Meringue donut in all her oozy glory; the perfect ratio of filling to fried dough dusted in sugar and laden with sticky, caramelized meringue topping.

The preparation of the yeasted dough is a one day process with bulk cold fermentation in large tubs to develop flavor, refrigerating overnight. Then she rolls it out and punches it, and waits an hour before frying. But as important as the foundation may be, the ultimate test is in the merchandising… read: decoration.

“Decoration is everything,” MJ agrees.  “We eat with our eyes, so when building the donut we play with color, texture and form, from punched or filled, to toppings like chocolate crunch balls and Oreo cookie crumbles.  If I made lemon lavender syrup and I have lemon juice, I’ll make a Lemon glaze and add coconut flakes. People love cookies and cream, and chocolate always makes sense on weekends!”

MJ says her team, helmed by pastry assistants Alexandra Sarria (lead) and Chelsea Hillier, “harass the Instagram” for feedback from customers, as well as those who post their own photos of the donuts. This feedback mechanism is invaluable, since they aren’t at the café to interact when people are eating them.

“Cypress sometimes gets leftovers, so my husband will let me know how they are and what his team thinks. It’s hard sometimes, so we take what we can.  Of course there’s the morning crew at Genuine. Those guys are a great source of feedback, especially when you catch them sneaking the scraps!”

Prime Time in Genuineland | Amazon Restaurants Launches Free One-Hour Delivery on Prime Now in Miami

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Today Amazon Restaurants launches free delivery for Prime Now customers in Miami, following rollouts in major food cities across the U.S. this year including Seattle, Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, San Francisco and most recently New York City.   We are always looking for more ways to reach you with the food you know and love, so Michael’s Miami Design District restaurants are onboard for this new service, including Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink, Harry’s Pizzeria® Design District, ella pop café and Cypress Tavern.  Harry’s Pizzeria Coconut Grove should come online for delivery later this summer or early fall.

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Ella is open now, serving its breakfast menu!

Here’s how it works.  You must be a member of Amazon Prime to order, as Prime Now is a benefit of membership.  Anyone can sign up for a free 30-day trial membership at amazon.com/prime.  Restaurant Delivery is offered on the Prime Now app or here on the web version of Amazon Prime Now.  The links above will route you directly to each restaurant’s respective ordering page.  Once an order is placed, the restaurant receives the order on its Kindle device and begins working on it.  Amazon delivery partners deliver the food in one hour or less, and delivery on all orders is free.

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MGFD Bacon, on demand, at Harry’s in the Design District!

Delivery hours of operation and restaurant hours of operation may vary.  Those eligible for ordering will be shown as available once a zip code is entered to browse desired locations.  Those closed during a given day part will appear grayed out.  Michael and our chefs have worked hard to select favorite items from our menus to offer — and ones that make the most sense for delivery.  You’ll find item pricing is the same as appears on restaurant menus.

Contact the restaurant directly for issues related to order substitutions and have your order number ready.  For all other inquires such as refunds, dissatisfactory delivery experiences, please contact Amazon customer service by visiting the Amazon Prime Now Website or App and entering your telephone number for Amazon Customer Service to contact you directly immediately.  We look forward to your feedback so we can make your experience the best it can be!

After Glow: Announcing ella after 3 Thursday, October 8

mgfd_miaIt's. About. To. Go. Down. @chefmschwartz on the roasted and raw turnips with bottarga and white miso #ellaafter #ellaafter2 dinner service #secondpop #soldout begins at 7pm @ellapopmiami. Next dinner is 10/8. Tickets live 9/8 through the link on its profile. #bottarga #turnip #whitemiso @ericlarkee @chefbradleyj 🌟🌟🌟

Michael’s view from the pass of his first course at ella after 2, roasted and raw turnips with bottarga and white miso

On October 8, ella will turn its clocks back a little earlier for Michael’s ella after 3 dinner service to open up new time slots: 6:30, 6:45, 7, 8:30, 8:45, and 9 p.m.  CLICK HERE for tickets to select your seating.  Early bird gets the worm!

Here’s a refresher on the ella after drill: Chef’s new light and airy cafe in the Design District has a second pop. One Thursday a month the café stays open late for a prix fixe dinner cooked and served by chef/owner Michael Schwartz including 4 courses with wine pairings for $75, plus tax and gratuity. The inside is set with communal seating and offers advance tickets in 2-hour time slots beginning at 6:30 p.m.  Menu will be released prior to event and is subject to change. No substitutions. All sales are final. Please be on-time – after 15 minutes seats will be forfeited.

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Please join us when Chef does it again with a new menu.  He’s still thinking… But you already knew that! Thanks for playing and see you soon in Palm Court.  Our latest daytime menu adds Wynwood Brewing’s La Rubia bottles, gluten-free bread, JoJo Tea including single origin, a daily breakfast scramble and (not printed) afternoon TAPAS!  There’s just so much ella to love.

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 ellapop.me!