Spring Field Report in Pictures | Little Haiti Community Garden, Teena’s Pride Farm & Bee Heaven Farm

Chef in the heirloom tomato (and squash, celery, beets, carrots, onions, broccoli rabe, salad mix) fields with Teena’s Pride owner/farmer Michael Borek.

Friday was a great day, one of those that begin with a specific goal in mind and end netting so many more valuable takeaways.  In anticipation of Fi’lia’s LA opening, we’re producing a video to capture Genuine Culture as a tool to educate our teams at The Genuine Hospitality Group on who we are, what we do and the reasons why.  Michael and I visited three farms as they began to wrap South Florida’s main growing season to document how we source product, an important component of the genuine way.  While footage of strolls through Homestead tomato field tractor lanes and Little Haiti urban farm footpaths materialized in the lens, ideas were generated between Chef and a handful of our farmers as they discovered new opportunities for collaboration and tasted ingredients in the field.

Curiosity scared the crows.  We also found a small prop airplane in Borek’s new warehouse facility.

Enjoy the day in photos laced with informative captions below as we digest new opportunities through the genuine chef network.  Will Michael Borek identify a great Roma tomato to cultivate at Teena’s Pride for Harry’s Pizzeria®?  What about the Upland cress Little Haiti Community Garden’s Gary Feinberg is growing?  How could it be expressed on the menu at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink?  Margie Pikarsky’s heirloom peppers are beautiful to behold, as Chef recalls the “seasoning pepper” related to the Scotch Bonnet — all the flavor without the punishing heat — from our days in Grand Cayman.  Is she growing something similar, and should we shave it raw on the daily focaccia at Ella?  Let us know what you would like to see in our restaurants!

Throwing Back a Milestone 10 Year Celebration | Classic Dishes Hit MGFD’s Menus Thursday & We All Toast a Longer, Food-Inclusive Genuine Happy Hour Next Week

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A cleaner, mobile-optimized michaelsgenuine.com will greet you on Thursday.

mg_mgfd10-presenter_happy-hoursSince Chef’s flagship, Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink, first opened in Miami’s Design District on March 13, 2007, locals and tourists alike have come to embrace and crave its refreshing combination of laid-back, bistro atmosphere and straightforward food emphasizing fresh, local ingredients. 10 years later, it’s time to celebrate what Michael Schwartz does best.

Enjoy a taste of Genuine’s beginning as we highlight classic dishes from the 2007 opening menu this Thursday, March 9 until anniversary day on Monday, March 13, and for the first time, beginning Tuesday, March 14, the restaurant launches a food-friendly Genuine Happy Hour, doubling its length to three hours on weekdays from 4:30-7:30pm at the Bar and adding 1/2 off oysters and snacks to complement 1/2 off cocktails, wine and beer.  The celebration would not be complete without a Genuine precedent that throws back to what this restaurant is really all about — gathering good company around good vibes and thoughtfully-made food and drink. They just go hand in hand.

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One of Michael’s most requested throwback dishes of all time looking stunning in Chef’s Michael’s Genuine Food cookbook and on your table soon (photo credit Ben Fink Photography.)

For the throwback, look for these dishes that put fresh, simple, pure cuisine on the map at lunch and dinner, including:

Chicken Liver Crostini with caramelized onions
Pulled Pork Sandwich with pickled red onion, creamy cucumbers & parsley sauce
Butter Lettuce with orange, hazelnuts, avocado & shallot-hazelnut vinaigrette
Rock Shrimp & Chorizo Pizza with escarole & toasted garlic
Rigatoni with Short Rib Sugo, homemade ricotta & lemon zest
Chile Chicken Wings with creamy cucumbers
Curried Duck Confit with mashed cauliflower & pear-raisin chutney
Wood Roasted Onion stuffed with ground lamb & apricots
Crispy Beef Cheeks with whipped celeriac, celery salad & chocolate reduction
Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with Anson Mills grits, pickled onions, parsley sauce
Indian Style Braised Lamb Shank with perfumed basmati rice & braised greens

“When you put everything into something and your family and staff depends on you to make it work, it’s an incredible responsibility,” reflects Schwartz. “We have always cooked the food we want to eat and embraced the freedom in that even though it hasn’t been easy. We have so much to be thankful for, especially our guests who have stood by us for so long and believed in our passion for putting better product on the plate. I’ve always said the secret to good food is… good food. And that’s what Genuine is all about.”

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Subject to change. Prices listed are 1/2 off regular menu.

mgfd-new-afternoon-sections_bigIn addition to rolling out the all new Genuine Happy Hour, the restaurant’s afternoon menu will continue to be served from 3-5:30p.m., more robust than ever with two sandwiches, two pizzas and a variety of other vegetable, meat and fish dishes, as well as the full raw bar.

Michael’s Genuine has been the recipient of coveted superlatives over the years, including 10 Best New Restaurants from The New York Times, Best Restaurant and Best Chef Miami New Times, Trip Advisor’s Award of Excellence, Eater’s Top 38 Restaurants in America, Best Burgers in America The Daily Meal, and much more. The early success of the restaurant catapulted Chef Schwartz on the national stage garnering the attention of the James Beard Foundation who in 2010 awarded him Best Chef South. His cookbook, Michael’s Genuine Food: Down-to-Earth Cooking for People who Love to Eat (Clarkson Potter) was released in 2011, a volume meant to be on the kitchen counter not the shelf, full of recipes including his famous addictive snacks, favorite pizzas and colorful salads, and even the restaurant’s signature Whole Roasted Chicken – a love letter to the greatest hits from his menu to bring genuine cooking home.

Guests may reserve a table by calling 305.573.5550 or emailing reservations@michaelsgenuine.com. The classic dishes will be noted on the restaurant’s menus in bold and available a la carte during the throwback celebration from Thursday, March 9 to Monday, March 13. Join the anniversary online by sharing favorite dishes and memories on Instagram and tagging #MGFD10.  @michaelsgenuine will regram selections as part of the ongoing festivities. Michael’s Genuine is open seven days a week, with Lunch Monday through Saturday 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Afternoon Monday through Saturday 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Dinner Monday through Thursday 5:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday & Saturday 5:30 p.m. to midnight, and Sunday 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and Brunch Sunday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Genuine Happy Hour is Monday through Friday, 4:30-7:30 p.m. featuring ½ off oysters, snacks, cocktails, wine and beer at the Bar and Bar Room. Visit the all new michaelsgenuine.com beginning Thursday, March 9 for more information and menus.

Genuine Grams | Share Your Favorite Memories & Dishes with #MGFD10

When we look back over the years, and all the menus, there are some things that just stand out as seminally Genuine.  Opening Michael’s Genuine® Pub in 2014 was a great exercise for us to define it. The rows of grilled chicken wings with creamy cucumbers cueing up with thick cut potato chips and pan fried onion dip during training were a clue.  Those dishes that had stuck with us over the years, they were what we wanted to share with a new audience. Then consider the sourcing, and the spontaneity that makes a kitchen an MGFD kitchen, all the important hands that touch the ingredients every step of the way until they land in yours.  And then there’s Chef.

Waxy and Michael at Harry's in 2012.

Waxy and Michael at the original Harry’s Pizzeria in the Miami Design District for his 2012 pop up.

Michael Schwartz is the consummate chef. He is calm, creative, funny and incredibly perceptive. He totally understands what his customers want to eat, and I imagine he probably really cooks the dishes he wants to eat. His style is eclectic, modern with a look back to wood oven cookery, wood grilling and exciting, rustic flavors. His eponymous Michael’s Genuine is exactly that, an homage to the great lexicon of recipes and culinary ideas that make Michael, well, Michael. 

Jonathan Waxman, James Beard Award-winning chef/owner Barbuto (NYC), Waxman’s (San Francisco), Adelle’s (Nashville), and Jam’s (NYC)

As we approach March 13, we’re asking friends and colleagues of Michael’s to share their feelings about what Genuine means to them, and we’re asking you to do the same by sharing your favorite genuine dishes of all time on Instagram and tagging #MGFD10. We will regram them on @michaelsgenuine. It’s all about sharing the love. As we archive dive here and pull some favorites from our opening menus to share at the restaurant in the coming weeks, do the same on your feed as we will on ours.

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Reminder we will be closed for dinner (open for lunch until 3pm!) at Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink on Thursday, February 23 as we welcome Jonathan and Marc Vetri for a sold out dinner to celebrate 10 Genuine Years with Chef Michael. If you’re not attending this or another South Beach Wine & Food Festival festivity, our restaurants in the hood and outside it will be open including Harry’s Pizzeria (Miami Design District and Coconut Grove), Fi’lia by Michael Schwartz (Brickell), and Cypress Tavern (Miami Design District).  Ella Pop Café (Miami Design District) until 7pm.

#SOBEWFF 10 Years of Genuine Menu & More #MGFD10 Fun to Come

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As we like to say… Menu subject to change :)

#thisismgfd. We began this hashtag in September, welcoming a new chef into the fold to steward Michael’s flagship into its 10th year of genuine hospitality.  Now we begin another as we approach March 13 when the Champagne will be flowing to give thanks for all that came before and forge ahead into a brave new future.  Today, we’re sharing for the first time the menu for our Thursday, February 23 South Beach Wine & Food Festival dinner.  We are so honored to have respected and dear friends chefs Marc Vetri and Jonathan Waxman join Michael to celebrate the meaning of Genuine.  I think it’s safe to say that it’s the genuine culture and community that has made this restaurant what it is, embracing and fostering Michael’s vision to make Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink bigger than itself.  It is this we toast and cherish, the people that make Genuine mean something.  Follow #MGFD10 as it unfolds, because there’s more to come, and click here for tickets before we run out. 

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Michael and Jim at Au Bon Climat, Santa Maria Valley, blending Lua Rossa no. 3 in 2015.

This year we also crafted an online auction package for the festival which we’re pretty excited about (the kind we’d want to buy ourselves, as it should be!)  Gather 4 friends and sidle up to the heirloom tomato wall as Michael and Brad cook for you at the Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink wood oven station. The beating heart and hearth of the MGFD kitchen since we opened in 2007 is your stage for a multi-course meal paired with iconic, library wines significant to Genuine from Michael’s friend and Lua Rossa collaborator Jim Clendenen of Au Bon Climat.  Get your bid in here now, or regret it later!

What’s in the Walk In? Great White Winter Predators.

Golden Tilefish at Trigger Seafood.

Golden Tilefish resting pretty at George Figueroa’s Trigger Seafood.

“Striped bass, trout, and stuff like that. Scallops… That’s the ocean I come from,” Fi’lia chef de cuisine Tim Piazza begins.  “When I was working at (Michael’s) Genuine, I began figuring out what South Florida has to offer as far as local sustainable fish. Golden tilefish is one we really look forward to.”

Coming from New York, Tim had to learn the seasons, the ingredients, all over again, and same goes for the sea as it does for land.  With grouper out until summer, the arrival of swimmers at the top of the food chain is the perfect trigger for the kitchen to revisit fish dishes on the menu.  Changing the set up is always on the table, but so is a switch more subtle yet maybe even more significant. Tim turned up the volume on one of my favorite dishes simply swapping snapper for golden tile.

“You get something a lot cleaner, with a little more firmness and structure to the fish. Which means a higher fat content, so the bite is a little more luxurious,” he explains. “I had to wrap my head around it but it’s just a constant thing and part of the process for our kitchen, menu development. It’s just about getting smarter as a cook down here. You flip the script like 100%.”

Talk to fishmonger George Figueroa of Trigger Seafood, Michael’s good friend and dispatch of what’s running since Genuine’s early days, and he’ll yarn a tail as only his dying breed can, one that makes the fish leap from the plate with context essential to the understanding – and therefore ultimate enjoyment – of the ingredient.

“Right now the season opened on the golden tile and the long liners are out off Florida’s north Atlantic coast, even at Pulley’s Ridge about 140 to 160 miles northwest of Key West in the Gulf,” he explains. “It’s where these guys like to be, deep in the trenches. That’s why they have this angled head, to bury in the sand.”

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#whatsinthewalkin

NOAA’s commercial season began on as appropriate day as any, January 1. Midnight on New Year’s Day the boats George works with went out from Port Canaveral. We received our first delivery last week. Deep sea fisherman like these are the real deal. They’re allowed a 4-5,000 pound haul per boat trip, each lasting about eight, sometimes 10 days. This is serious fishing, with in some cases five miles of hooks gleaning specimens of 20 to even 60 pounds from downwards of 1,000 feet. In keeping with regulation, the boats must be at least 200 miles from nearest land mass. This is a better fishery than close to shore, and where you can find the queens (snapper,) snowy groupers, wreckfish… basically all the stuff that keeps things interesting and cooks on their toes amidst schools of mutton, yellowtail and mangrove snappers. People will be fishing golden tile hook and line for the rest of the year, after the long liners finish their allotment.

Michael’s Genuine® Food & Drink chef de cuisine Saul Ramos will receive 200 pounds this afternoon from Wild Ocean Seafood and, not unlike a whole pig, he’ll work through every inch, using the bones for a fish fume with lemongrass, the cheek on the grill with scallion, ginger and lemon, the fillet into the wood oven or pan seared. The scraps will go into ceviche at the raw bar, and the collar will be served crispy on the outside with fatty flakes of juicy white flesh in the nooks.

“These big fish are more fun. Carrying it, you feel the weight, and from the moment the knife cuts into the flesh,” he says. “One of the things I love about golden tile is that it has a subtle flavor of lobster and crab.  Cooked perfectly, you really get a nice flavor of shellfish.”

Saul explains that when breaking down these big guys, you need to know where to enter and be precise, following the cuts to get the most yield.  He uses three knives — a fillet knife, which is more fragile and has two different blades for a cleaner cut.  Then there’s the chef’s knife to get at the bones. A pairing knife goes around tighter places like the neck.

Chef Saul and Sous Randy showing off their mutton snappers from George a couple days ago.

Sous Randy (left) and Chef Saul (right) showing off their mutton snappers from George a couple days ago. Today we will trade peach for speckled golden.

Because of the challenges of this fishery, especially how long the fish are out of the water compared to shallow dayboat catch, George is careful who he works with despite what would seem to be a task only for the most seasoned, simpatico professionals.

Size and quality are top priority. First, you’ll want to put the fish into a chill brine, which is basically what it sounds like – a slushy mix of salt water and ice which really drops the temperature quick – and then on ice. And you must bring to shore as quickly as possible, not camp out for more yield when it compromises the catch.

“You have to stick to your guns, when some customers want fish that just isn’t available from sources you trust,” he reflects. “That’s how my business started. I can only work on small scale, because you’ll get old fish, and it’s going to hurt. I don’t want to get any bigger. You have to be willing to say it’s not available. Everyone wants the fish, but there’s only so much and we can’t just be like everyone else. When grouper season closed it was like disbelief. It’s like take it off your damn menu already! Take what’s available, the best product. Be flexible.”