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

CALLING ALL FRIENDS & FAMILY — The foundation set aside some tickets at our member rate of $160 each (reg. $210) — the procedure is to call 212-627-2308 to reserve as “friends of chef/CODE WORD FENNEL Mon-Fri, 10a-5p EDT.

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

MGFD Brunch at 5 Years | Homage to Hedy’s Sweets

Five years ago, a typical Sunday morning at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink (“MGFD”) was a time for our chefs to prepare for the evening service and plan for the upcoming week, quietly without distraction. But then October 25, 2009 rolled around and Sundays were never the same again. Today, once 11:00am hits the clock, MGFD is a vibrant and colorful scene of savory and sweet. Tables are adorned with a variety of small plates mingling with cocktails, wines, and beers at once. It is a playful and nostalgic affair, a frenzy of energy and creativity, and Hedy and Michael would not have it any other way.

Hedy explains that when Michael developed Brunch at MGFD, he wanted a different concept, where guests could enjoy a number of different plates, without any set rules. “It is whatever you feel like…”  It was a hit out of the gate, attracting the attention of then New York Times food critic Frank Bruni and has evolved into more than we ever could have imagined — a fun and interactive meal stretching the imagination of both our customers and our team in the restaurant that puts it together each week. We’ll cover the savory side of the menu next, but today we begin in keeping with Hedy’s mantra: “Eat dessert first!”

At the top of the Sweets section appear Hedy’s Childhood Treats. These items are meant to bring back childhood memories and can often be found in Hedy’s cookbook, Baking Out Loud: Fun Desserts with Big Flavors. Items like overstuffed o’s, s’mores and chocolate caramel peanut bars show the playfulness and accessibility of the menu. As much as they attract children, they are meant for big kids, us. Because Hedy’s goal was to bring out the “oohs and aahs” out of us, and boy does she!

The remainder of the menu will leave you equally flabbergasted. The classics such as the pop t’s — which are Hedy’s take on the still relevant as ever original, on-the-go handheld breakfast pie — and the sticky bun, have new flavors weekly. They are in short, a grow-up version of your old time favorites. By grown- up, we mean improved of course. Exponential improvement. Some dishes are too bold to fathom, like the tequila watermelon-popsicle, or the macaron ice cream sandwich, or the peanut butter pie in a jar overflowing with caramel. Literally overflowing. Ugh! Hedy dares to play with both savory and sweet in general, particularly in her sticky buns, such as the bacon, cream cheese and peanut butter sticky bun. It leaves you to lick you fingers shamelessly at the table and turn an average Sunday morning meal, into your most anticipated moment of the week. Seriously. Some guests join us religiously for brunch and Hedy’s sweets are one of the reasons why they are committed to our brunchbell. Yes that’s what we call it!

Why the obsession? Our pastry team bakes with heart. Hedy and her associates change the Sweets menu in its entirety, weekly, with updates reflected on the michaelsgenuine.com website by crack of dawn Sunday. Although some preparation may be made in advance, or mise en place, all sweets are baked on Sunday morning. Hedy shares, “ I like to keep challenging myself, have fun and inspire my team. I don’t take myself too seriously and want to keep it playful”. That passion is evident from the choice of items on the menu, but most importantly the flavors. Hedy values multi dimensional dishes, especially with the desserts. She would hate for a guest to merely have two bites, which is why she plays with savory for balance. In her iconic and ever evolving cookie, junk in-da-trunk ®, for example, Hedy mixes cookie dough with pretzels, potato chips, peanut butter, and candy bars, but tops it with sea salt, “… to give your taste buds a break”, she reveals. This is a sweet marathon, not a race!

Hedy likes to inspire, but is also inspired by her energetic team, including Devin Braddock, who takes great pride in spearheading putting out the #brunchbell under the direction of pastry Sous-Chef, Patty Lopez. Devin also enjoys playing with the line between sweet and savory, such as hot pepper jam, and she loves our brunch’s core idea, nostalgia. Preparation for brunch sweets begins as early as Monday, when the team assembles a rough draft of the menu, which evolves during the week. It is the perfect opportunity for originality to emerge. And as the week develops, each dish “…molds into something more beautiful and more creative”, making brunch equally exciting for Devin and for you. The A team also includes Dallas Wynne, a Harry’s Pizzeria alum.

Brunch at MGFD comes together due to the participation of the entire team. Pastry helps the savory side by making a crumpet batter, while the servers, managers and support staff review the logistics for an effective brunch. It is a tough service to tackle, but quite a fun one. It can also be a friendly competition between sweet and savory, as Sous-Chef, Jason Arroyo, crosses the boundaries with a savory French toast for example; whereas Head Line Cook, Manuel Arredondo, brings out his own creativity to mirror Devin’s bold dishes, with maple bacon pancakes. If you haven’t experienced this underrated game yet, hustle because the bell rings at 11:00am every Sunday, and as of October 12, lasts until 3:00pm.

Announcing Harry’s Chef Pop-Up No. 26 | Mozza Pizzeria with James Beard Award Winner Matt Molina

Like it was yesterday, you remember your first meal at Pizzeria Mozza. Mine was lunch with Chef and Eric as we rounded out a trip west after blending the first Lua Rossa with Jim Clendenden in Santa Barbara (No. 2 is estimated to drop September 4 to Au Bon Climat’s distributor’s warehouse, by the way.)  As you can see from the photos above, it was in a word, perfect. That bone marrow? Done right without a fuss. Squash blossom pizza? It looked up at us from the table – the lightest crust you’ve ever had – but still with purposeful bite, just begging to be devoured.  And if you think there’s no way in hell you are going to be able to fit that budino into your happy belly, you will. And it will be silky, sticky, creamy heaven on a spoon.

We are very pleased and excited to announce that 2014’s last Chef Pop-Up, true to form, brings this slice and spoon of LA heaven to Miami’s Design District for one night only in the form of its James Beard Award Winning executive chef, and maybe if I’m lucky, those amazing placemats.  Best part is, we’ll just be entering our local growing season for the menu.

TICKETS ARE NOW LIVE HERE FOR MOZZA PIZZERIA!

Pizzeria Logo 12-15 Matt_Mozza_2011_6537[2]

After esteemed visiting guests Gabrielle Hamilton, Jonathan Waxman, Marc Vetri, Jonathon Sawyer, Kevin Sbraga, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Paul Grieco, Chris Hastings, Hugh Acheson, Andrew Carmellini, Mindy Segal, Paul Kahan, April Bloomfield, Bill Telepan, Joey Campanaro, Jeff Michaud, Matthew Accarrino, Michael Solomonov, Ben Ford, and John Currence, Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette, Jenn Louis, Mike Lata, Matt McCallister, and Tony Mantuano, Michael is thrilled to welcome Matt Molina to Harry’s for Mozza Pizzeria on Tuesday, November 4 at 7PM!

A graduate of the Los Angeles Culinary Institute, Matt began his career at Campanile in Los Angeles. After 6 years at Campanile under the tutelage of Nancy Silverton, Matt went on to train at Del Posto in New York City in preparation for his role as Executive Chef of Pizzeria Mozza and Osteria Mozza.  As Executive Chef at Pizzeria Mozza & Osteria Mozza , Matt has received three stars by S. Irene Virbila, the Los Angeles Times food critic, for both restaurants.  In 2008, Matt was nominated for “Rising Star Chef” & “Best New Restaurant” in Osteria Mozza by the James Beard Foundation and later went on to receive the accolade for “Best Chef Pacific” in 2012.

You know the drill. Seating is first come, first served for this family-style meal at our casual neighborhood joint.  Making new friends is encouraged and easy when you’ve got a welcome cocktail in hand with hors d’oeuvres, four courses, free-flowing wines by The Genuine Hospitality Group sommelier and wine director Eric Larkee and our tap beers at your disposal. Take home something special Matt co-authored with Nancy Silverton and Carolynn Carreno, too — The Mozza Cookbook: Recipes From Los Angeles’s Favorite Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria (Knopf, 2011). All that and tax and gratuity are included in the ticket price of $150.

LET’S DO THIS TOGETHER, OK?  We can’t wait to have the opportunity for seconds again in LA after.

This Spiaggia Pizzeria Menu Pops at Harry’s Two Weeks from Today!

Spiaggia Pizzeria_Presenter_FINAL_7.7.14It’s that time!  Today we are two weeks out from Spiaggia Pizzeria. We hope you will join us on August 5 at 7PM at Harry’s for the next in our series of fun and delicious family-style dinners with great visiting chefs… If you haven’t already snagged your ticket you may do so at this link! We had a great call with Tony and Erik Freeberg, his chef of Bar Toma who will be accompanying him in Miami, and are thrilled to share Spiaggia’s pop-up menu now with you here!

COCKTAIL
Mantuano and the Band Cork – tequila, grapefruit-infused Aperol, LIllet blanc, prosecco

PASSED
Pizza con Vongole – Clams Casino Pizza
Carne Cruda – raw, diced dry-aged striploin, truffle, celery and Parmigiano-Reggiano
Fegattini – Tuscan chicken liver spread, tamarind marmellata
Cosce di Rana – wood oven roasted frog legs, pomegranate-harissa sauce

FIRST
Treccia – Hand-braided 100% buffalo milk mozzarella, Spiaggia extra virgin olive oil, black pepper
Gamberi in Guazzetto – royal red shrimp, wood-roasted tomato, kale

SECOND
Calamari Ripieno – Seafood sausage and Spanish chorizo-stuffed Squid, spicy tomato, crispy shallot
Gnocchi con Trippa alla Fiorentina – potato gnocchi, Florence-style tripe and pecorino Toscano D.O.P.

THIRD
Faraona al Forno – Guinea Hen, black truffle, crispy potatoes, guinea hen sauce
Zucca con Parmigiano e Balsamico: Calabaza puree, Parmigiano-Reggiano, fried sage leaves, Spiaggia Balsamic Vinegar

DESSERT
Budino di “Vin Santo e Cantucci” – Vin Santo budino, biscotti crumble, salted almonds

menu subject to change

You may remember him from season two of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” but Tony is so much more than a chef who has appeared on the small screen. In 2005, he was recognized as the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Midwest, for one. The chef/partner of Spiaggia (Chicago,) Lorenzo (South Beach,) Bar Toma (Chicago,) Terzo Piano (Art Institute of Chicago,) and Mangia Trattoria (Wisconsin) also has a huge soft spot for a cause that we care about — Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. In fact, Michael and chef Roel of The Cypress Room will fly out to The Windy City one week after Spiaggia Pizzeria to join Tony and pop alumnus Paul Kahan as they host the first Lemon Chicago event. To say Tony’s been busy doesn’t quite capture it. He just opened a contemporary American tavern called River Roast in Chicago’s River North neighborhood this month, and this year marks Spiaggia’s 30th (!!!) anniversary. Amazing!

You know the drill. Seating is first come, first served for this family-style meal at our casual neighborhood joint. Making new friends is encouraged and easy when you’ve got a welcome cocktail in hand with hors d’oeuvres, four courses, free-flowing wines by The Genuine Hospitality Group sommelier and wine director Eric Larkee and our tap beers at your disposal. Take home something special from Tony, too, his SPIAGGIA COOKBOOK! All that and tax and gratuity are included in the ticket price of $150.

Announcing Harry’s Chef Pop-Up No. 25 | Spiaggia Pizzeria with Tony Mantuano

© 2014 Galdones PhotographyLife is a beach when you’re in an Italian state of mind.  Our next pop up hits this message home, as we welcome Chicago back into the Harry’s house in August.  Tickets are now live for Spiaggia Pizzeria with chef Tony Mantuano!

You may remember him from season two of Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters,” but Tony is so much more than a chef who has appeared on the small screen.  In 2005, he was recognized as the James Beard Foundation’s Best Chef Midwest, for one.  The chef/partner of Spiaggia (Chicago,) Lorenzo (South Beach,) Bar Toma (Chicago,) Terzo Piano (Art Institute of Chicago,) and Mangia Trattoria (Wisconsin) also has a huge soft spot for a cause that we care about — Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.  In fact, Michael and Roel will fly out to The Windy City one week after Spiaggia Pizzeria to join Tony and pop alumnus Paul Kahan as they host the first Lemon Chicago event.  To say Tony’s been busy doesn’t quite capture it.  He’s opening a contemporary American tavern called River Roast in Chicago’s River North neighborhood this month, and this year marks Spiaggia’s 30th (!!!) anniversary.  Amazing!

After esteemed visiting guests Gabrielle Hamilton, Jonathan Waxman, Marc Vetri, Jonathon Sawyer, Kevin Sbraga, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo, Paul Grieco, Chris Hastings, Hugh Acheson, Andrew Carmellini, Mindy Segal, Paul Kahan, April Bloomfield, Bill Telepan, Joey Campanaro, Jeff Michaud, Matthew Accarrino, Michael Solomonov, Ben Ford, and John Currence, Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette, Jenn Louis, Mike Lata, and Matt McCallister, Michael is thrilled to welcome Tony to take over Harry’s Pizzeria on Tuesday, August 5 at 7PM!

You know the drill. Seating is first come, first served for this family-style meal at our casual neighborhood joint. Making new friends is encouraged and easy when you’ve got a welcome cocktail in hand with hors d’oeuvres, four courses, free-flowing wines by The Genuine Hospitality Group sommelier and wine director Eric Larkee and our tap beers at your disposal. Take home something special, too. All that and tax and gratuity are included in the ticket price of $150.   We’ll release the menu in a couple of weeks and hope to see you on August 5.  In the meantime, you can get a taste of what’s to come by following @TonyMantuano and @SpiaggiaChicago on Twitter and Instagram.  We are!