Crafted Beyond the Vines

Today we welcome a new contributor to The Genuine Kitchen!  A New York native and graduate of Boston University, Tess Gostfrand joins The Genuine Hospitality Group as Brand Coordinator after sharpening her PR, marketing and social media skills at some of our favorite establishments including Food & Wine Magazine and McCrady’s Restaurant in Charleston, South Carolina… not to mention hostessing among other in-restaurant positions from office management to event production!  Follow Tess on her Instagram @honeyitstmoney and enjoy her work behind the camera on our social media and so much more!

Cheers to Craft!

Cheers from our homies at Team Vinecraft!

The CRAFT: Spirits & Beer tasting event starts today at the Fillmore in Miami Beach. It couples two of our favorite things — drinking and dining – featuring local chefs and over 200 craft producers. In its second year, CRAFT draws industry insiders and top-notch influencers to taste expertly paired beers, spirits and cuisine. The craft beer and spirits movement is in full throttle with more and more people devoting themselves to the trade, developing unique brands that are not only delicious but come with a great story. The Genuine Hospitality Group will partake beginning at noon today, pouring Michael’s Genuine Home Brew for the trade and Saturday for the public with distributor Vinecraft. Beverage Director Ryan Goodspeed also participates in a seminar today on choosing the right distributor, and tomorrow explores Kilchoman Single Malt Scotch Whisky with a variety of Seattle’s Mancino amaros new to Vinecraft’s portfolio, alongside The Cypress Room chef de cuisine Roel Alcudia and tastes of his Spanish Mackerel Escabeche.

“The goal is to connect distributors with new clients and new restaurants,” explains CRAFT Founder Jen Massolo. “This event serves as a platform to educate people on artisan spirits, the passion behind production and attention to quality and uniqueness of the ingredients and flavors.”

Attendees have the opportunity to taste local brews and small batch liquors that they may not typically go for in a restaurant. Meeting a producer can be endearing and enchanting; Jen hopes locals will want to support their new find and in turn, influence buying patterns. Jen has picked up on some unique trends developing in the beverage industry; there is the growing popularity of mezcal, great small batch American whiskys and fortified wines. Cider has made a come back and brewers are testing all kinds of flavors and varieties. Vermouth has appeared on wine lists more and more, and at CRAFT, Jen is featuring vermouths from Spain to California.

Roel's escabeche getting its "dirt nap" yesterday.

Roel’s escabeche getting its “dirt nap” yesterday.

“CRAFT has evolved a lot since 2013, especially the dining component. We’re pairing chefs and local Miami restaurants with particular artisanal producers,” she continues.  “It’s the greatest happy hour in town!”

Tomorrow Roel is paired with Kilchoman Single Malt Scotch Whisky and prepared Spanish Mackerel Escabeche with pickled vegetables, balancing the scotch’s smokiness with the acidity of the fish.

Our Beverage Director, Ryan Goodspeed, is in a unique position at these events and a great barometer for the booze industry. Ryan wears many hats; he in charge of the beverage program for all our restaurants (buying), the brand chief of Home Brew (selling) and he tends bar! For CRAFT Ryan had a unique idea, instead of creating a cocktail with many complex components he would let the Kilchoman shine. Adding just a few drops of different Mancino vermouths to the single malt whisky, keeping the integrity of the ingredients and honoring the producers.

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At Vinecraft’s warehouse yesterday, getting our ducks in a row for Saturday’s tasting.

Vinecraft is a local distributor that carries wine, spirits and as of November, Home Brew. Owner Paul Owens walked us through his giant distribution center yesterday, home to over 1,400 wines, 2oo liquors and for now, only one beer – ours!  Having worked with Paul and his partner Florent Blanchet for years to procure product for MGFD, the mutual respect for quality and craftsmanship made the Home Brew & Vinecraft partnership a no-brainer.  Everyone at Vinecraft came from a restaurant background, and for Paul, service is the differentiating factor of his business.

“There is a lot of great wine, but not a lot of great service,” he reflects.  So he fills the void, providing Miami restaurants and hotels with quality products and quality people. If a couple comes into Michael’s Genuine to taste wines for their reception, and they can’t find anything they like, he is a phone call away and at the restaurant in 10 minutes with more choices for them. This is the guiding light of CRAFT: Spirits & Beer – creating relationships between producers, distributors, restaurants and their guests.

Tickets are still available for the tasting gallery tomorrow evening and can be purchased here – See you there!

Perennial Favorite: Farmer Michael Borek and The Cypress Room Tackle the Raring-to-Go Everglades Tomato

Everglades Tomato_Borek

IT’S A JUNGLE OUT THERE: Everglades tomatoes on the vine at Teena’s Pride, Homestead, FL.

Slow Food Miami’s Ark of Taste Benefit Dinner nominates a new ingredient each year to the organization’s national catalog of over 200 delicious foods in danger of extinction – threatened by industrial standardization, the regulations of large-scale distribution and environmental damage. This year The Cypress Room is representing The Genuine Hospitality Group to celebrate a fruit close to our hearts.  Just when we thought we’d seen every tomato possible, enter one that grows wild in our own backyard — the Everglades tomato — ripe for the picking thanks to the efforts of Teena’s Pride in Homestead to grow them.  The farm raised the seminole pumpkin of 2011’s Ark of Taste dinner.

“Deciding to do the event in January this year was key so we could embrace our main growing season down here, especially since tomatoes are at their peak.” Michael says.  “Tomatoes have always been really important and special to us at the restaurants. As a chef it’s fun to have a new heirloom variety to work with, and I think, like usual, Michael Borek was happy for the challenge of growing something new, as well!” Continue reading

Teas the Season to be Fancy

With the balmy Palm Beach sea breeze, silver candelabras, and our pinkies up, we debuted The Longest Night this weekend at Saturday night’s Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival chef’s after party, The Cypress Room High Tea. Starting tomorrow, our winter tea cocktail will be available at the restaurant.  Beginning with Hendrick’s gin and Gunsmoke green tea, Beverage Director Ryan Goodspeed added the flavors of St. Germain, cardamom, lavender, lemongrass, tarragon, lemon and honey to create the delicate flavor of this drink. Served cold for two in a bone china teapot it is the perfect after dinner cocktail, or before. After all, it is the season to be fancy.

The Cypress Room Tasting Menu Part II: Menu Design with Roel Alcudia


The Cypress Room came together with such a singular vision, that every person, at every point of its inception, has had to live up to it. Chef de Cuisine Roel Alcudia came to us from New York City to stand at the helm of the kitchen. The golden boy of The Genuine Hospitality Group, Roel gets first choice of the ingredients that come in fresh from Homestead, the Atlantic, the Gulf, and wherever else we find the beautiful product that graces The Cypress Room’s a la carte menus.  From there, and not a moment before, the daily Lunch Prix Fixe and nightly Tasting Menu are conceived.

Having been trained by our self-proclaimed Godfather, Roel didn’t have much catching up to do in the Genuine kitchens.  He has a keen eye for freshness, a taste for quality that we love so much. So it’s only natural that when I sat down to ask him about how the Tasting Menu dishes come to be, he had three words to say: I wing it.

Continue reading