So Happy Together: Margherita Meets Margarita — and a New Full Bar — at Genuine Pizza Atlanta

You know it’s going to be a good week when Monday means more than one kind of Margy is in the picture.  We are excited to now offer a refreshing line up of cocktails at Genuine Pizza Atlanta!  After the successful introduction of Sangria this summer, it was only a matter of time before the first of our pizzerias got a full bar program going to complement this wine-based favorite.  Michael collaborated with director of pizza operations Paolo Bazzani — bar manager emeritus of Michael’s Genuine Pub on Quantum of the Seas — on a simple yet well rounded list inspired by the drinks section of his forthcoming pizza cookbook.  The result? A down-to-earth selection that checks all your thirsty boxes, each for $12.

BULLETPROOF MANHATTAN

Michael’s original cocktail at MGFD is as satisfying as it gets, with a touch of class.

Four Roses Bourbon known for its balance and quality meets rosemary-cherry syrup and fresh lemon to cut the sweetness and rein it in just enough.

A rosemary sprig to spear cherry jewels makes it special.

WATERMELON SPRITZ

This is a  twist on the classic aperif we like for winding down the evening or perking up a lunch date.

Aperol joins St. Germain elderflower liqueur, juicy watermelon and fizzy prosecco.

Goes by “Cabarete” at Michael’s Genuine® and is a kicked up alternative to our sangria — and just as refreshing!

SPICY RITA

Nothing hits the spot and says festive like a margarita.  Jose Cuervo Silver, grapefruit and muddled jalapeño shaken over ice with a spicy rim that keeps you going back for more.

Especially yummy with a Margherita pie and polenta fries.

Or put a Spicy Pepperoni pizza in check by matching two bold favorites for a taste explosion.

THE DOCTOR

We love a good beer cocktail, especially when gin is involved.

Whether a full on prescription or a direct order, Boodles Gin, apple juice and Dr. Robot sour beer cures all that ales you and then some.

Nice to drink local, and try something new, too.  Enjoy, then chase with a Dr. Robot.

GENUINE MULE

Absolut vodka, lime and ginger beer just tastes better in a fancy copper mug!

Nose to Fruit: New Seasonal Salad, Pizza & Sangria Specials Now Summering at Harry’s Pizzeria® & Genuine Pizza™

We look forward to the smells of summer — the way the air gets thick and sparkly after a tropical sun shower, and sunscreen’s dreamy imprint on our memory banks beached in laughter and salty ocean breezes. This is a season that lets you know it’s here — and in a hurry.

In Florida, our fruit trees are heavy now with mango, lychee and even peaches.  And when it comes to the fragrance of the season, a good peach can’t be beat in its intensity and truth.  Putting nose to fruit is a pro tip you’ll notice chefs doing as second nature, because it’s a pretty great clue to ripeness.

The sniff test on guava at Miami Design District’s market last year.

“We shop for ingredients just like everyone else does, and we do a lot of smelling in the process,” explains chef Bradley Herron.  “Finding a good peach is essential for this salad to work.”

To know what’s inside without breaking the skin, you have to trust nose more than your eyes or even fingers.  If it’s good and ready, you’ll get the same zesty sweetness found in the flesh just by smelling it.

As we roll out summer specials at the pizzerias, the start of the season is always an interesting one as things get going. Early product coming in has been smelling strong so far – a good sign.  Enjoy the Peach & Burrata Salad and Peach & Gorgonzola Pizza with our new Sangria, because lighter alcohol “cocktails” and summer go hand in hand when you want something refreshing and festive with which to cool off!  Refreshing in its simplicity, ours combines your choice of three wines with San Pellegrino’s sparkling blood orange soda.

Brighten up your day and get a jump start on summer time — visit our website for hours, menu and to order online.  For a genuine anthology of peaches, explore this archive on the blog, or a primer on summer fruit and how peaches came to cultivation here in the Sunshine State in a 2014 chat with then Michael’s Genuine chef de cuisine Niven Patel.

The Palms are Alive with the Sound of Sangria

Melon Infusion

Melons infusing for sangria compliments of ella at District Sounds, a fall acoustic series kicking off Thursday in Palm Court. Thanks to Vanessa Nunez, kitchen manager and photographer extraordinaire.

Cropped District SoundsIt’s not Tristan Ferchl’s first corrida.   As one of our shift leaders at ella, our café in the Design District’s Palm Court, Tristan is responsible for running the front of house, but we like to think the highlight of his day is crafting the daily sangria.

“It’s more important that the sangria complements the food we do more than sticks to tradition,” he explains.  “I’m looking for lighter flavors, a canvas for seasonal fruit and something that plays well with our lovely warm Miami weather.  It’s always nicer to dine outside on our patio with an glass of sangria to cool you down.”

Tristan’s experience at Cure, an uptown district bar in New Orleans, served him well.  A focus on classic cocktails meant a shelf of fortified wine to play with.  He’s always conscious of two key principles when building a sangria recipe — proportion of wine and sweetness.  First, he usually begins based off of half a bottle of wine per carafe, with leanings toward white.  “We’re currently using the house Albariño… Something crisp which won’t overpower the fruit.”  He adds it’s also a good base for carbonation, either from Pellegrino or Dry Soda flavors like vanilla or blood orange.  Secondly, and maybe even more importantly, sweetness should be kept to a minimum and come from natural sources, i.e. from the fruit itself, not additive sugar, whenever possible.  When used improperly, simple syrup can mask the palate and easily ruin a meal.

Lua Sangria

With a couple bottles left of Lua Rossa No. 2, Tristan moved it out to make way for No. 3 making a red sangria for a change of pace, with cantaloupe and white grapes. It’s been his favorite yet, breaking the mold but keeping it light and fresh.

On Thursday night from 6-8PM, Miami’s Design District launches a weekly live music series curated by Miami Beach Jazz in Palm Court.  This Thursday IOGO’s Adrian Gonzalez and J.J. Freire perform with sangria on us.  Parking is available at City View & Palm Court Garages on NE 38th St between N Miami Ave & 2nd Ave.  Cheersing and see you there with our cocktail bells on.  Tristan’s got a mix planned of Albariño, melons infused by Casoni liqueur, honey and peppermint, blood orange Dry Soda, fresh-cut oranges and rosemary from our garden.  And join us for Happy Hour, when it’s half price from 5-7PM daily!

Tick Tock: A Day in the Life of ella

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Owner Michael Schwartz and TGHG Wine Director Eric “café manager” Larkee find common ground on sangria thanks to a chef favorite, the quart container.

As you get to know ella, so are we.  In fact, a job for everyone from cashier to owner is to learn what makes her tick.  This exercise will never end and will only get more difficult as time passes.  A good restaurateur knows what works and that he or she will have to look a little harder to see what doesn’t.

In the beginning, it’s as plain as daylight to professionals like Misters Michael Schwartz, Eric Larkee, and Bradley Herron.  Issues leap at them like Stereograms from the page the moment they enter a new restaurant environment.  There are the things that are obvious, maybe even to laypeople. Tables that need to be cleared, pastries that need to be stocked, maybe the garbage can needs emptying.  These are things that make up the daily routine, the rules of the road that make the restaurant function.  Employees are given “sidework” to ensure they happen in a timely manner.  Everyone keeps busy and the place runs smoothly.

ella_Roel & Brad

Roel Alcudia, chef at The Cypress Room, talks back of house shop with Bradley.

Then there are the unknowns — the things that reveal themselves as you go through the motions of operations and herein lies the fun.  How can the café work better and how can its employees work smarter? Sometimes, support staff has a light bulb, management listens and the idea is implemented on the spot.  A suggestion is made to maximize the efficiency of table clearing and free up the food pass so guests and servers can collect their orders without interruption.  Three small potted palms later, and ella has a new bussing station outside, stage left and conveniently waiting in the wings.  Find yourself with leftover croissants, as par orders settle in?  Skip a savory bread pudding special in favor of a tuna salad sandwich on one of the most delicious vessels True Loaf bakery has to offer.  It’s about finding rhythms and knowing when to make a change and test something that could be the next new rhythm.  Yesterday a Larkee breakthrough consisted of strip-tying fish boxes for a safe wine storage rig on the back room’s aerial metro shelving.  That’s a day in the life of a new restaurant.  Here’s what ella’s looked like yesterday:

7:45am —  True Loaf’s delivery of assorted baked goods walks through the back door, including wheat bread rounds, plain and almond croissants, and cookies like oatmeal raisin, phantom, and walnut-chocolate.  Staff arrives to the front door shortly after.

8am — Kitchen manager Vanessa Nunez is at The Cypress Room’s back door picking up ella’s daily order, including Roel’s Everything Bagels.  Meanwhile, setup has begun in preparation for opening back at the café.  The barista station is fired up and pastry displays are made pretty.  “If Chef is around and we have new items and specials to write out, he’ll be the scribe,” Eric explains.  “If he isn’t around, we do our best to impersonate his handwriting!”

9am– Doors open for breakfast.  Panther Coffee Cold Brew is the most popular espresso beverage and people love their fresh-squeezed orange juice. Toasted and served with Beet-Cured Salmon, heirloom tomato, whipped cream cheese, onions and capers, Roel’s everything bagels are the current contender for most popular item sold during the café’s breakfast service from 9-11am, tied with the buttered and extra-virgin olive oil drizzled (triple fat, the Michael Schwartz method!) Avocado Toast on True Loaf wheat.  These two items are also available on the menu throughout the day.  The most popular breakfast-only item is the Breakfast Sandwich with bacon, egg and white cheddar on a toasted Bay’s English muffin.  It’s perfect but only available during the two hour morning window.  Yesterday Bradley sold two at 11:09am, so there are exceptions.

ella_Chicken10:30am: The lunch transition begins.  Sometime between now and 10:50, Roel will hand deliver beautiful rotisserie chickens from The Cypress Room. Brad ordered 12 half chickens for Wednesday.

11am: Lunch begins and people order said chickens. They get a treatment of hemp seed pesto which is super fragrant and delicious.  A tasty, satisfying lunch with a side of bitter greens like frisée and radicchio. Yum yum.  This is a bright time of day for the restaurant, which is bathed in easterly sunshine until about 2pm.

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Ella at the ella pass with Tristan, shift leader.

1pm: The first sangria of the day should be ordered by this time and was thanks to Mademoiselles Fowler and Torres.  Take one for the team, ladies!  The current flavor is lychee-cucumber and the ratios are fool-proof, until Chef’s Sharpie directions smudge off their quart container due to use, which may also signal it’s time for the next flavor.  I hear blood orange Dry Soda will figure somehow into that mix which makes me happy.

1:30-3pm: ella is in the heart of her lunch rush, the busiest period of the day. The sun has begun to recede behind our building, and cooling shadows begin their afternoon march to the east through Palm Court.

Bradley and Eric, a 4:15 break and recap. Something about if we need to order a third cup size.

Bradley and Eric, a 4:15 break for reflection. Something about if we need to order a third cup size.

4pm: The terrace has cooled off quite dramatically and a cool breeze flows through our patio.  Larkee wants to pop open a bottle of rosé.  Conversely, Bradley says going into the Pack Rat at this time — the storage pod in our back lot affectionately referred to as the Rat Pack by the staff — is akin to baking in a sauna warmed by the western sun.  That’s ok because you’ve done your Pack Rat foraging in the morning for this very reason, and it’s time to start getting ready for the next day, communicating with vendors and The Cypress Room to place orders.

The 5pm chill,

The 5pm chill,

6pm:  The team begins winding down, doing pre-closing things like keeping things organized and stocking up for the next day.

7pm: Close for the day and lock-up.

What will today bring to the café?  A blue masa taco delivery from Taquiza, perhaps?  We shall see!