How to House Party Like a Chef (& other occupational hazards we’re totally ok with)

And in the morning, there are eggs.  Not an omelet, limp, spongy corners folded in uniform butter yellow.  No, no.  Tom makes you eggs purgatory, a constellation of color leaping from stained baking dish, bringing the life back in pools of spicy tomato sauce and dunks of crusty, toasted bread.  It’s the perfect hangover breakfast and how to keep the party going when you’re a chef.

Such was the timeline when the Schwartz family opened up their home to chefs visiting for the 15th annual South Beach Wine & Food Festival for a good old fashioned house party Thursday night.  Just a bunch of friends who came to the table to make some delicious food and good vibes.  Here’s what we learned for the next time you entertain at home, taking a page from Michael Schwartz Events (Lindsay killing it again!)


Grillmaster Schwartz, with his Lynx rig.

+  Always be ready for surprises. If you’ve got a menu that takes some time, have something out for guests when they arrive. Lucky for us, our guests came with good surprises, too.  Izzy’s Jamie DeRosa showed up with a bucket of Island Creek Oysters with champagne mignonette, quickly jumping behind Michael’s kitchen island to shuck with chef William Crandall. Classy.

+ Be present.  The best thing about entertaining is being with your guests so do as much prep ahead of time as you can and delegate.  It usually takes a village, and teamwork is key to ensuring everyone has a good time.

+ Create a flow. On Thursday, we had several stations spread out over the footprint of the house, each offering something a little different so that any variations in fire time went unnoticed.  From the Lynx Grill, Harry’s Pizzeria’s agrodolce chicken wings with rosemary crema sizzled and caramelized into the sticky but not too messy finger food every party needs.  El Mago de Las Fritas brought the magic box and cranked out classic burgers and the new kid on the block – “confundida” – one that is confused it’s a Cuban sandwich, topped with the Cuban-style pulled pork, sangria-cured ham, Swiss cheese, dill pickles, papitas, and mustard on a medianoche garlic-buttered bun. Taquiza Miami’s Steve Santana and Washington Charles brought their A game and A team (Saltz!) to serve octopus al pastor and wood grilled hanger steak with chive flowers and radish, both on special pink peppercorn masa tortillas.  Chef Bradley nailed a perfect falafel sandwich with hummus, baba ghanoush, and Israeli salad all stuffed into a warm pita and topped with tahina, pickled red onions and habanero “assburn” hot sauce, if you’re doing it right.

+ Pour fast and smile!  Running out of drinks is no fun for guests or host.  To keep the beverages flowing, simple is usually best.   Eric Larkee decided on a Gin & Tonic bar but rather than corralling a wide range of Gins to represent the range of historical styles, classic producers and cool smaller micro producers (you know he wanted to!), he exercised restraint.  He picked one solid Gin, Plymouth, to headline the party. Thank you Pernod Ricard, for only the best.

+ Just chill.  For the bar, Larkee went with Fever Tree, Q Tonic and Jack Rudy’s tonic syrup (which requires soda water), all with wonderful flavor and great dryness. But the key is serving them chilled.  “Heck, if you can, chill the Gin too,” he adds. “This is a drink that is better the colder it is and when you’re at a party, walking around especially indoors and out, the drink is going to heat up in your hand a little faster than normal. So you can’t really start cold enough.”

+ Keep it fun, not too serious.  Larkee’s finishing touch was the garnish selection, where there’s room to play without getting silly.  To step it up past the slice of lime, he chose a selection to accentuate some of the more subtle fruit and botanic flavors in the Gin. So: lemon, limes, red grapefruit, strawberry, cucumber, pear, rosemary, basil, thyme, mint, cilantro, cinnamon stick, cracked black pepper.

+ Be genuine.  The most important tip of them all.  Do what you know and be who you are. This not only makes for a simpatico crowd, but an executable set up.  Don’t try to do anything out of your comfort zone. There is time for R&D, but this isn’t it!  Give the people what they want.

Huge thank you to Giovanny Gutierrez of Chat Chow TV for helping us document the evening.   Until next year!

[PHOTOS] [VIDEO] A #SOBEWFF Week in Review with No End in Sight

It’s only Friday, the second official day of South Beach Wine & Food Festival, but for we the people of Genuineland it’s day 6 of a whirlwind that began on Sunday at the beach and has progressed in stages of playtime, beach time, farm time and hard work to where we are now.  Sunday’s The Gramercy Room at The Cypress Room will close us out with a curtsey.

It’s why we love this week every year.  The pleasure, the pain and most of all the people.  An exquisite mix at once dangerous and rewarding.  We leave you now with our medicinal elixir in these heady times, some multimedia to soothe the soul and leave that warm fuzzy feeling inside.  While we continue to climb out of the tall weeds at the Schwartzoffice, stay focused on the best feeds in the biz especially this #SOBEWFF weekend @BarbutoNYC, @chefjwaxman@MGFD_MIA, @ellliesara, @ktchntrvwr, @chefswidow, @Chefsawyer, @marcvetri@jennlouis (did someone say Knaus Berry Farms sticky buns?), @chefaz, @onkappysplate@mikesolomonov, @chefmarcmurphy and @thebillyharris.  #intesity.  Just the way we like it.  Tennis, anyone?

Tuesday’s Eating Italy in Miami  at MGFD with Jeff

Wednesday’s Lincoln Pizzeria at Harry’s with Jenn

Hanging with Harris visits The Raleigh to cook Harvey Cedars Fish Stew with Michael (shot August 2103, live today)

Hanging with Harris visits The Cypress Room with Ryan (shot August 2103, live today)

Hanging with Harris visits Harry’s Pizzeria to make laffa with Mike from Zahav, (shot August 2103, live today)

Isn’t She Lovely: A Friday List with Chef Jenn Louis of Portland & South Florida

Whipped parm schmaltz, prosciutto di Parma, smoked olive oil, via Jenn’s Instagram.

When do you need a Jenn Louis around?  There are many fine answers to that question as we’ve come to find out over the past month and this week especially as we’ve counted down the days until Lincoln Pizzeria in reposts on Harry’s Instagram.  Pistachio Salted Rocky Road, Spicy Lacquered Fried Chicken, Bacon Wrapped Turkey Breast Roulade…  We are just full of love for this one, and it’s not just the food. “Why? Cuz I can organize stuff? I’m like the effing container store,” she responded. Exactly.

So it was a challenging task to pick only five more reasons but that’s what we’ve done with Jenn’s help for today’s Friday List, a fun loving favorite category here on The Genuine Kitchen since its inception on the home of fun at care of Ms. Ellie Groden.  There will be more where this came from even after next week’s pop-up, when we take our guest on a little giro around Miami proper.  The last time we guided a serious tour was for Ed Levine, and this second generation Miami native probably learned as much about her fair city as he did.  Always fun to be a tourist in your own backyard, especially through eager eyes. So without further adieu, Jenn’s Friday List.

A Friday List | When You Want a Jenn Louis Around

1) You’re navigating Everglades National Park’s 10,000 Islands and the unthinkable happens. Not only do you run out of GORP, but there’s a hole in your canoe and it’s taking on water fast.  A moment later, you spot a gator wake forming in the distance…

2) When you need things organized – I rule at that game

3) When you need a solid 4/4 drum beat

4) When you are looking for a little food porn on Instagram

5) This coming Wednesday at Harry’s Pizzeria

The Not-So-Serious Serious Eating Adventure | Itinerary

9:30 a.m.: Hotel > The Redland
Knaus Berry Farm for U-pick strawberries and infamous cinnamon buns.
Teena’s Pride to see Michael Borek and his beautiful heirloom tomatoes, baby vegetables, sunflower sprouts, corn fields

11:30 a.m.: Coral Gables
Coral Castle, Vizcaya, Venetian Pool, Biltmore Hotel

1:30 p.m. – Little Havana
Grab a cuban sandwich, frita from el mago, or lunch at Versailles, and then El Palacio de los Jugos for the freshest tropical juice.

3 p.m. – Wynwood
Panther Coffee, Wynwood Walls, Wynwood Brewing Company

5 p.m. – Cocktail time / Freshen up
Juvia for sunset or we see where the day takes us?

8 p.m. – Dinner
Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink or The Cypress Room (fancy)

New Food, New Fun, New Year at Harry’s Pizzeria

Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 10.32.23 AMWe ring in a new year with champagne and fireworks in hopes that this year will bring all that we wished for, but after the bubbles in your head have cleared and the ash has been washed away it’s just another Thursday. Except that it’s 2014 now, and Harry’s Pizzeria has a new Thursday Daily Dinner Special to be hungry for: Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with corn, spring onion and watercress. Screen Shot 2014-01-02 at 10.31.34 AM And while we have yet to see old man winter grace Miami with his presence, we have a full-fledged strawberry season sweetening the air and bringing our new Panna Cotta: Sweet basil with balsamic strawberry mint salad.

We really have so much to be excited about this year, bringing Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette’s TORO & Jenn Louis’s Lincoln to Harry’s for the third season of its Chef Pop-Ups, and a whole new year of Special Snacks, Pizzas and Soups to try! Here is a slide show of a few of last year’s, a visual taste. Bring it on 2014, we can’t wait to eat what you’ve got in store.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.