Make a Fall Evening in the Miami Design District with Music & Michael’s Genuine®

Compliments to the chef.  And of the Miami Design District!  As we head into a new season here in South Florida, our menu at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink experiences a little more than daily changes.  Chef de Cuisine Tim Piazza is working in everything from Butternut and Delicata squash, to Honeycrisp apples and Brussels Sprouts and building new dishes around them.  With weekly complimentary concerts in Palm Court, now is the time to get a taste of autumn and make a night of it in the neighborhood.

The Miami Design District kicks off its Performance Series Presented by Knight Foundation this Friday, October 13 with Latin Grammy Nominated and Billboard Latin Music Award Winners, Il Volo.  MGFD gets in the spirit with Coco Loco  ($10) coconut water, rum, pineapple, housemade grenadine, lime and Luxardo, served out of its freshly tapped, green coconut.  Just look for the coconut-strewn bar in front of Ella, where you can also find a selection of wine, beer, water and yes, fresh coconut water, too.  See the schedule posted here, and look forward to a new act each week (Fridays, 6PM, Palm Court 140 NE 39th Street), with the Miami Symphony Orchestra back monthly.  Street, Palm Court Garage and Valet Parking available.   Here are how the leaves fall on the menu (new cocktails at the MGFD bar with Beverage Manager Amanda Fraga and desserts by pastry chef MJ Garcia will be covered in separate posts over the next week!):

Braised Rabbit Leg with roasted cipollini onion, bacon, mustard, whole wheat crepe

“The funny thing is, of course, we live in Miami so it still feels like summer outside but we want to feel the change despite that,” says Piazza.  “The goal is to create dishes that are full of all those ingredients and flavors we love this time of year, but that aren’t too rich or heavy handed.  This what we do best in a nutshell — balance.”

In that case, he’s struck it.  Wood Oven Roasted Sweet Potato becomes a salad with the addition of sprouted lentils, pretty tokyo turnips, peppery upland cress, and the nutty acid of tahini sauce.  A dusting of Aleppo chile gives it that zesty pop. We all look forward to apples turning up, and the pick of the grove for the chefs is the Honeycrisp for its perfect harmony of sweet and tart.  Piazza highlights its crunchy texture tossing it shaved with aromatic fennel in Apple & Fennel Salad, red onion, sunflower seeds, radish, quinoa, greens, goat cheese and mustard vinaigrette.  Luscious Skirt Steak hits refresh with celery, almonds, dates, horseradish crema and sherry.  Click here for a reservation or call 305.573.5550.

 

Keeping the Miami Spice Season Real with Subject to Change Menus at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink

At Michael’s Genuine, the city’s annual Miami Spice restaurant promotion is about doing it right, or not doing it at all.  It’s what we’ve come to expect Michael to harp on each summer as it approaches, and we’re glad he does.  The reminder serves a few purposes.  For the kitchen, it’s a call to action for the chefs — they better understand why we participate and have seasoned guide rails to kick off the process in the right way. The opportunity forces the kitchen to work within a formula that encourages critical thinking on everything from cross utilization of product to how to incorporate seasonal ingredients that are available and abundant. The objective is to offer guests a great value, something they want to eat that isn’t just a prix fixe thrown together from what’s on the menu already, and a reason to come back to try something new with weekly changes. Chef de Cuisine Tim Piazza and Pastry Chef MJ Garcia have heard the call loud and clear.

“It’s important we create a well-balanced offering, not phone it in,” Michael explains.  “We look closely at what makes the most sense to execute with the greatest benefit to our guests.  Sometimes having a structure like this can be a great tool for smart creativity.  If we do it right, Spice can be a platform to introduce new dishes to our regular menus.”

MGFD will offer Miami Spice Lunch ($23 – Monday-Thursday) and Dinner ($39 – Sunday through Thursday) including a choice of Appetizer, Entrée and Dessert from August 1 to September 30. In addition to the 3-courses included in Miami Spice, the restaurant will also run a selection of dishes from its regular menu as optional supplements at special prices. The Genuine Hospitality Group Beverage Manager and Sommelier Amanda Fraga will feature a cocktail for $10, with accessible wines highlighted from the wine list for convenience on the back of the Spice menu. Pricing is not inclusive of tax and gratuity, and menus will change regularly throughout the two months to fully embrace the program the genuine way.

Our initial menus are above, but when we go live Tuesday, August 1, they will be available and updated as weekly changes are made at michaelsgenuine.com.

Upping Our Events Game for the Summer Return of OMG! Dinner & a Movie

When the timing is just right, it’s everything. With our catering and private parties business rocking out new and tasty ways to enjoy the best of what our chefs are capable of, we are reengaging with old friends at O Cinema for a summer of food and film brought to you by Michael Schwartz Events!

OMG! DINNER & A MOVIE makes a triumphant return to with a line up of summer screenings, each highlighting one of our favorite cooking stations and menus!  Join us for three special evenings celebrating terrific food and film. As always, you can expect a high quality experience in a relaxed atmosphere- all taking place on-site at O Cinema’s Wynwood theater.  Dinners are all served starting at 6 pm in old school cafeteria trays where you’ll be able to eat in your seats with the films getting underway at 7 pm. Tickets are $55 at the links below include the full experience — a meal of five different menu items served with soda or water and the film.  As always there will be beer or wine available for purchase!

JUNE EDITION – Wed, June 28
THE FILM: I AM THE BLUES
THE MENU: BBQ PIT SMOKER
Tickets

SNACKS
CLASSIC DEVILED EGGS
SMOKED FISH DIP  celery, radish, saltines

SALAD
WATERMELON  shaved red onion, radish, feta, mint, lime

ENTREES
BBQ CHICKEN
SMOKED & PULLED PORK SHOULDER

SIDES
BUTTERMILK BISCUITS
COLESLAW
POTATO SALAD

DESSERT
BANANA CREAM PIE

MOVIE SNACK
BBQ SPICED POPCORN

Take an atmospheric and immersive musical journey through the swamps of the Louisiana Bayou, the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta and the moonshine-soaked barbeques of North Mississippi Hill Country.

A favorite of the film festival circuit and making its Florida Premiere at this special event, I Am The Blues takes audiences into the world of the African American blues legends, many in their 80s, still making music and sharing stories in the Deep South.

From sunny front porches to spirited church halls, the last of the ‘blues devils’ including Bobby Rush, Barbara Lynn, Henry Gray, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, Lazy Lester and Little Freddie King share their songs and a spellbinding oral history. Capturing the distinctive landscapes and romantic spirit of the South with an expert lens, director Daniel Cross follows the Mississippi River past Graceland, past Muscle Shoals, and into the beating heart of the blues.

JULY EDITION – Thurs, July 27
THE FILM: LANDLINE
THE MENU: MOBILE WOOD OVEN
Tickets

SNACKS
POLENTA FRIES  spicy ketchup
MEATBALLS IN SAUCE  piave vecchio

SALAD
ORANGE & RADISH  greens, shaved fennel, green olives, parmigiano

MAINS
WOOD OVEN ROASTED CHICKEN WINGS  agrodolce, rosemary crema
MARGHERITA PIZZA  mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil
MUSHROOM PIZZA  porcini, cremini, fontina, taleggio, thyme
SLOW ROASTED PORK PIZZA  fig, grilled onion, fontina, arugula

DESSERT
CHOCOLATE CHUNK COOKIE

MOVIE SNACK
PARMIGIANO POPCORN

The Manhattan of 1995: a land without cell phones, but abundant in CD listening stations, bar smoke, and family dysfunction. Enter the Jacobs. Eldest daughter Dana’s looming marriage to straight-laced Ben prompts a willful dive into her wild side, while her younger sister, Ali, is still in high school but leads a covert life of sex, drugs, and clubbing. After discovering love letters penned by their father, the sisters try to expose his apparent affair while keeping it from their all-too-composed mother.

Gillian Robespierre’s follow-up to Obvious Child reprises her talent for subversive comedy and explores how family bonds grow sturdier through lying, cheating, and strife. Compelled by the emotional snarl of people’s poor choices, Landline relishes in the dark humor of life’s low points while basking in ’90s nostalgia. A hit at Sundance and starring Jenny Slate, John Turturro, and Edie Falco, Landline is an honest, observant portrait of sibling rivalry stumbling awkwardly toward friendship, and of children realizing that parents are people too, there’s no attempt at concealing the indulgences and insecurities of its characters-all of which make them endearing and human.

AUGUST EDITION – Thurs, Aug 24
THE MENU: LA CAJA CHINA
THE FILM: TBD

SNACKS
WHITE GAZPACHO  smoked almonds
MEDIA NOCHE  ham, pork, swiss, pickles

SALAD
ARUGULA  shaved red onion, radish, french feta, lemon

ENTREE
ROASTED WHOLE PIG  mojo & roasted chiles

SIDES
Black Beans
Saffron Rice
Tostones

DESSERT
TRES LECHES

MOVIE SNACK
CALLE OCHO POPCORN

 

Go Figure (It Out) | In Culinary Assistant Life, Attitude Is Everything

img_3328

Happy Chefs:  Bosslady and her bossman in the Harry’s Design District kitchen, full Beer Slam event mode this past summer.

“I don’t even know where to start,” she begins as we sit in my office on a Monday morning last month.  It’s as fitting a place as any given Ms. Hess’s new role.  Megan has been pretty much everywhere over the past six months since she was promoted to Culinary Assistant, quite a departure from where we last found her on the line at Michael’s Genuine®.  Yet, she’s often still on any given number of lines these days, depending on the day, even the minute, as she can get called from one venue to the next based on what’s going on.  With Megan fresh off Oasis of the Seas and in the corporate office finishing MGFD’s recipe book (“so I don’t get pulled away…”), I thought we could catch up for a hot minute on what chef life is like when you’re a culinary assistant, and what than means exactly.

img_1991“Yeah, so relaunching 150 Central Park… That was my first project,” Megan says of her transition from line cook.  “We actually began in March.  There was a photo shoot for the new dishes, and it was the week of St. Patrick’s Day. Everyone wanted me to go out, and I had to work the next morning at 9!”

Working on the ship menus turned out to be the perfect training for Megan’s new position — not only in learning how to teach people, but giving her a new found sense of independence and responsibility where she’d have to act as ambassador for the company.  In addition to developing and formatting recipes, testing dishes and shooting how to plate them — all done in Miami in advance — she would travel to the three ships to get menus online with Royal Caribbean’s team.  Brand new Harmony of the Seas kicked it all off across the Atlantic.  Snapshots of Megan’s journey overseas to meet the ship for its maiden voyage were an invaluable peek behind the scenes of the launch through fresh eyes.

That attitude tho.

Go Time: Megan holding it down at the Genuine’s Summer Series “OMG! Picnic & a Movie” featuring an Israeli feast off Lynx Grills.

“The first time I went on my own [to the ship] it was exciting, especially because it was first time I had left the U.S.!” she remembers.  “I flew into London, then eventually arrived in Southhampton where the ship was in port. I had no idea where I was going.  I didn’t have cell service or a contact onboard, and I probably looked like a kindergartner lost in high school!  I just went to my cabin first to drop my bags and then to the venue. No one was there, because they were on break, so I just started by tasting some things.  That will tell you a lot.”

She held a meeting to hear from the staff on what was working and what wasn’t, then scheduled a full menu tasting for the second day taking lots of notes along the way and reporting back to the TGHG team through email.  Some corrections and tweaks were made. Nothing was insurmountable, she recalled thinking.

Plating a dish for Michael Schwartz Events alongside Chef.

Plating a dish for Michael Schwartz Events alongside Chef.

“My goal was that when Brad and [Eric] Larkee showed up the day after, that they wouldn’t have to fix anything,” Megan continues.  “I’ve worked closely with Brad for two and a half years now, and I feel like I have a good idea of what he wants, not just from seeing how he works, but also because he tells me.  Also having the experience and time spent in the restaurants — knowing what our standards are — helps a lot.”

Megan identifies three big takeaways that she’s applied to working with the cooks in our kitchens on land: The importance of repetition, showing and doing hands-on rather than telling, and patience. We would add trust — in your support system, but also yourself.  “Problem solving is huge,” she adds.  “Prioritizing. Just getting in there and figuring things out.”

Processed with Snapseed.

Head down, working hard.

Brad also points to an asset you can’t really learn, but that he recognized in Megan from the get-go, essential to all his hires.

“From the very beginning it was about her attitude,” remarks the TGHG executive chef. “Whenever I ask her to do something, the response is ‘no problem’.  She’s on it and gets it done. It’s that can-do attitude that is really the bottom line for everyone right now and why Megan is so valuable.”

Brad also talks about her “universality”.  She has a potent, diverse knowledge base and the versatility that comes with it — Megan can be called upon to jump in anywhere and know what to do — or learn how to, quick.  It could be something planned, like prep for or execution of a Michael Schwartz Events party. Then there are the guaranteed fire drills in this business, like when a cook calls out at Cypress Tavern, Michael’s Genuine or Harry’s Pizzeria® and the restaurants need coverage.  Speaking to his confidence in her adaptability, Brad notes a hypothetical. “If we needed the support there, I could go tell her to go run Harry’s for a week.”

img_1994

Getting sh*t done at MGFD.

When we spoke, Megan’s attention was laser focused on Michael’s Genuine and its recent menu changes.

“I feel like it is a lot crazier than when we relaunched Cypress last year,” she reflected. “There, they handed me the new menu and were like ‘here is what we are doing’.  At Genuine, I’ve been a lot more involved, supporting Brad, but also Saul and the team in the kitchen. It’s been everything from foundational stuff like writing the recipes, figuring out how plates are going to look, portion sizes, and making the recipes solid so that anyone can make them.  A big part of it has been getting people onboard with the changes in training.  Everyone is excited in the back of house to learn the pickups — they are a little more complex and require more skill sets than the previous menu. Time management is key since a lot of the dishes take longer to make. That’s been something fun for me, a lot of new faces in the kitchen and being able to teach them, getting them to understand the way we do things here.”

Supporting at Fi’lia, Megan is experiencing a restaurant opening for the first time and she’ll be the first to admit not quite knowing what she or Brad is getting her into, but from the looks of it the young chef is just adding another arrow into her quiver.

img_1882

Warm Up: Megan’s view last week, working the Fi’lia oven’s first fire.

“It’s very exciting that Tim is there,” she says of Fi’lia Chef de Cuisine Tim Piazza, who was a sous chef at Genuine before transitioning to get Michael’s first Italian restaurant open. “I didn’t work with him a lot, but the time I did spend with him was great.  It’s a different relationship now. I see him as a great mentor.”

For all these changes, Megan happily admits, even reassures herself, that she doesn’t feel corporate. She can still get her hands dirty.

“That’s the thing that still excites me the most.  Jumping on the line and getting to cook.”

On the Edge of #SOBEWFF Play Time | Dinner with Waxy, Schwartzy & Brooksy

FB-image-Edge (1)

South Beach Wine & Food Festival arrives for the 15th time to Miami and its beautiful southern beaches next month, ushering in cooler temps and hot chefs. We’re pretty excited about the dinner Michael is cooking on Friday, February 26 with friends Jonathan Waxman and Aaron Brooks and are here to share the menu with you first!

“”I look forward to playing hooky with Michael,” shares Jonathan, this year’s Festival Tribute Dinner honoree. “Plus late drinks at the Broken Shaker and lunch at Michael’s!”

Host chef Aaron Brooks of the Four Seasons Miami and Edge Steak & Bar (1435 Brickell Avenue, Miami, FL 33132) is just one of those chefs that chefs want to work with.  Talented, clearly.  Maybe more importantly is the peace of mind a host like Aaron brings to the table.  You know he has your back no matter what, drama-free.  Sometimes it’s a kitchen like this that can get you through a long service — or the demands of a marathon food festival weekend — with a smile on your face and a kick in your step.

“Michael has been a great support since I moved to Miami over four years ago,” he shared. “His food reigns true with my philosophy of serving tasty, uncomplicated dishes grounded on traditional technique. The same goes for Jonathan, he is a guy that truly believes in the product and treating it with the ultimate respect, and by doing so gets you the best flavor from what you cook. Basically letting the ingredients speak for themselves. Cooking with these guys is going to be absolutely awesome!’

Join us to enjoy what these three gentlemen do best.  Click here snag the few tickets that are left and then don’t forget to email tickets@sobefest.com to be seated with your party!

Dinner hosted by
Michael Schwartz, Jonathan Waxman and Aaron Brooks

RECEPTION
Whipped Foie Gras Pate, Baguette, Marcona Almonds
and Honey-Soaked Raisins
Fried Oyster, Beef Tartare and Caviar
Grilled Lamb Sausage, Yoghurt, Pickles
Mushroom and Manchego Cheese Croquetas, Lemon Aioli
Aaron Brooks

DINNER

Crisp Pork Belly, Brown Butter Hazelnuts, Carrot Butter
Aaron Brooks
~~
Shrimp & Grits with Gremolata
Jonathan Waxman
~~
Slow Roasted & Grilled Short Rib
Grilled & Marinated Market Vegetables
Parsley & Romesco Sauces
Michael Schwartz
~~
Pavlova, Florida Strawberries, White Chocolate Chantilly,
Rose Water and Pistachio
Aaron Brooks