Local Legacy | Michael’s Ark Comes Full Circle at Paraiso Bay



Join us Tuesday, January 27 at 6:30 p.m. for Slow Food’s annual Ark of Taste benefit event bringing all of The Genuine Hospitality Group chefs together for the first time!  In its 6th year, this special evening unfolds on the waterfront site of chef Michael Schwartz’s future beach club restaurant at Paraiso Bay to celebrate his local legacy of slow food in South Florida.  At the forefront of a meal from indoor and outdoor food stations is the Ark-nominated Florida stone crab, sourced from George Stone Crab, a local small business, and ingredients from the South Florida harvest including Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Chef de Cuisine Niven Patel’s backyard Rancho Patel and other farms served by Farm to Kitchen, a local produce distributor.  Cocktails by GREY GOOSE Vodka and sustainable wines by Stellar Wines will complement food by Restaurant Michael Schwartz at The Raleigh and Chef de Cuisine Molly BrandtMichael’s Genuine Food & Drink and Chef de Cuisine Niven PatelThe Cypress Room and Chef de Cuisine Roel AlcudiaHarry’s Pizzeria and Chef de Cuisine Daniel Ramirez, and Chef Schwartz with The Genuine Hospitality Group Executive Chef Bradley Herron will offer a taste of food inspired by this future waterfront restaurant and beach club.

We snuck into Rancho Patel on Tuesday when chef Niven was on the line to find a Garden of Eden flourishing. Many of the lettuces and kale are ready for the picking, while the tomatoes are super happy but just in their flowering stage! Among the ingredients that will be ready for the chefs to use are lots of tuscan kale, French carrots, chiogga beets, New Zealand spinach, Patron peppers, Napoli squash, blueberry tomatoes, seasoning peppers, gerkins, Persian cucumbers and lots and lots of greens.  The menu is coming together nicely and subject to change of course, but here is a taste of what we have cooking with these local ingredients grown with love:

Molly’s Passed Hors d’oeurves | Restaurant Michael Schwartz at The Raleigh
STONE CRAB CLAWS green gribiche
NAPOLI SQUASH & FONTINA ARANCINI smoked calabaza jam, duchilly hazelnuts
HOMEMADE GOAT’S MILK RICOTTA CROSTINI with three different toppings

Danny’s Station | Harry’s Pizzeria
ROASTED BEETS AND CARROTS  whipped goat cheese, crispy lentils, cumin vinaigrette

Roel’s Station | The Cypress Room
GRAND STONE CRAB AOILI  local vegetable crudités

Niven’s Station | Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink
SEARED WAHOO  stone crab vinaigrette, calabaza hummus, sorghum, sorrel

Michael’s and Brad’s Station | Paraiso Bay
WOOD GRILLED POULET ROUGE  marinated vegetables
WOOD ROTISSERIE LAMB SHOULDER  hempseed pesto and mustard greens

The meal would not be complete without famed Genuine Pastry Goddess Hedy Goldsmith’s desserts. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with! Tickets are $195 per person, with proceeds benefitting Slow Food Miami’s Edible Garden Program.  Paraiso Bay is located at 600 NE 31 St. Miami, Florida 33137.


That Time When You Imbibed a Negroni…


A classic Negroni sitting pretty at The Cypress Room bar in front of our charming  new lamps Michael picked out. Thank you bartender Christian Carnevale for putting one up for us a tad early. Although, it’s never really too early, is it?

From June 2-8, 2014, Imbibe Magazine and Campari will unite bars around the world to mix their favorite Negroni variations in support of their favorite charities for “Negroni Week.”  TGHG Beverage Director Ryan Goodspeed jumped onboard immediately.  When you order a classic Negroni at The Cypress Room, $1 will be donated to Slow Food Miami.  At Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink, it’s the Berlioni and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation feels the love. Campari brings la dolce vita to the party, sweetening the deal with a $10,000 donation to the charity of the bar that raises the most money.

There’s nothing quite like a classic Negroni.  Three ingredients seamlessly combine to bittersweet perfection — equal parts Campari, Sweet Vermouth and Gin.  According to Liquor.com, the Negroni is also one of the few cocktails with a traceable history that dates back to the early 20th century. Lucca Picchi, head bartender at Caffe Rivoire in Florence, Italy, documents in the book Sulle Tracce del Conte: La Vera Storia del Cocktail Negroni that the drink was created at Bar Casoni in Florence. The story goes that when Count Camillo Negroni ordered an Americano — sweet vermouth, Campari and club soda — he substituted gin for the standard soda. This all went down circa 1920, after the Count returned from a sojourn the American’s Wild West. Our kind of cowboy.  The Berlioni is said to be the creation of Gonçalo De Sousa Monteiro, Berlin bartender and Traveling Mixologist in 2004, making use of Cynar, an Italian bitter liqueur (amaro) made from 13 herbs and plants. Predominant amongst these is the artichoke (Cynara scolymus), from which the drink derives its name. Cynar is dark brown in color, has a bittersweet flavor, and its strength is 33 proof (16.5% ABV). Great to put you in an Italian state of mind alone as an aperitif or mixed in a cocktail.

Help us help our friends.  Mark your calendars and keep tabs on the Negroni Week action on Imbibe’s Instagram and Twitter feeds (@imbibe) and by following the #NegroniWeek hashtag.  Click here for a list of participating establishements.  Cheers to celebrating the do-good life.

From Miami to Grand Cayman, It’s Slow Food Season in Genuineland

The secret to good food is good food as Michael says. So too is the DNA of Slow Food, the international non-profit that began in Italy in 1986 and now calls even the Caribbean home, like we do.  It’s a cause we love to support year round.  Following January’s Ark of Taste event at the Kampong for which The Cypress Room cooked a meal around the Everglades Tomato, we have two more annual fundraiser favorites coming up – Grand Cayman’s  Slow Food Day and the Snail of Approval for the first time at The Raleigh on South Beach.

SFD14Slow Food Day 2014 | Third Annual Celebration of Eating Local in Grand Cayman welcomes James Beard Award-winning chef Andrea Reusing
Saturday, April 12, 10am-12pm (Farmers Market Tasting – Camana Bay Town Centre,) 7pm (Slow Food Dinner – The Crescent at Camana Bay)
We are proud to join Camana Bay, Slow Food South Sound and local farmers and chefs to celebrate Cayman’s home-grown food scene with the 3rd Annual Slow Food Day on Saturday 12 April. Founded and hosted by Michael and the team at our island restaurant, this showcase for local ingredients and the people who bring them to life will start with a community farmers market featuring culinary demonstrations and tastings at Camana Bay. The festivities will continue into the evening with an alfresco Slow Food Dinner featuring a special visiting chef.  After two amazing years with equally amazing guests in Jonathan Waxman (2012) and Hugh Acheson (2013), 2014 is no exception as fellow James Beard Award winner Andrea Reusing joins the restaurants of Camana Bay on the Town’s waterfront Crescent for a family style cookout.  We had a blast with Andrea in 2012 at our Farm-to-Table Brunch at the South Beach Wine & Food Festival where she incorporated product from Teena’s Pride and Wild Ocean Seafood into Black Rice and Cape Canaveral Shellfish Stew with Royal Red Shrimp, Octopus, Dashi and Pea Shoots (there was a Coconut Panna Cotta, Passion Fruit Caramel and Candied Coconut, too!) Suffice to say our tummys have been grumbling for another opportunity to hang out, cook great food and make people happy together.  Boy, did we find it!  Her Slow Food Dinner dish is Callaloo & Coconut-Grilled Snapper with long beans, charred tomato, chiles, basil, and ours will be Roasted Goat & Wood Roasted Pumpkin Salad with long beans, hearts of palm, quinoa, scallion, herbs, parsley vinaigrette courtesy our very own special ops chef Thomas Tennant.  Can’t wait to see what the other restaurants have in store!  For tickets and more information, click here!

Screen shot 2014-04-01 at 4.46.44 PMSlow Food Snail of Approval Tasting Event | The Raleigh Hotel
Friday, April 25, Tasting Party (7-10pm) or VIP Ticket (includes after-party until 12am)
1775 Collins Avenue, South Beach
Slow Food Miami, the local 100% volunteer non-profit dedicated to “planting a fresher future for our children” (who’s not onboard with that?) announces its 3rd annual Snail of Approval Tasting Party! Michael was honored with the Miami convivium’s first Snail in 2010, for his work at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink.  It’s great to see more and more local businesses recognized for their work to support homegrown food. Harry’s Pizzeria was recognized last year, and this year The Cypress Room and Restaurant Michael Schwartz join the ranks.  This evening of good, fair food with Louis Aguirre of WSVN 7’s Deco Drive and Michael as honorary ambassador offers a taste of Miami’s farm-to-table best with bites from this year’s nominees, hand-crafted cocktails courtesy of 2012 Snail of Approval Award Winner GREY GOOSE Vodka, specialty wines provided by Stellar Wines, Michael’s Genuine Home Brew courtesy of Royal Caribbean International and our new Michael’s Genuine Pub, non-alcoholic refreshments from Whole Foods Market – South Beach, and the iconic Miami Beach setting of The Raleigh Hotel’s fabulous poolside venue. Main event tickets ($85) and limited VIP tickets ($165) can be purchased here and proceeds will benefit Slow Food Miami’s Edible Garden Program.

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

Snail Mail: Slow Food Miami’s Snail of Approval Tasting Party & SWANK Table Lunch in Loxahatchee


Pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith serving up goat’s milk yogurt panna cotta with date leather and pickled dried fruit at Best of the Best on Friday night at the Fontainebleau on South Beach.

It was quite the eventful weekend with South Beach Wine & Food Festival making its annual splash drawing talent and visitors from across the globe, but the fun doesn’t stop there.  For us, it’s all about the local events over the next month, celebrating our farmers close to home in the field and on the plate.

You already know about our March pop-up with Bill Telepan (for the kids, baby!) and we’ll have that menu posted here tomorrow, but today is all about sharing some of the other happenings that may have snuck up without you knowing. See you out there!

2013 Snail of Approval EventSlow & Steady Wins the Race: When Michael was awarded Miami’s first Slow Food Snail of Approval in 2010, he was honored to be recognized for stewardship of all things local, but more exciting was the notion that in bringing the brilliant Snail program launched in New York to South Florida we had tipped a domino and set in motion a movement in which more and more awards would go each year to new chefs and restaurants that saw the bright future and value in a fresh, simple and pure approach to food and drink.  Further sustaining the support of slow foods and the farmers that make them possible for years to come was the hope. Fast forward to Friday, March 15 and the wish has been realized. Under the thoughtful watch of convivum leader Renee Frigo Graeff, the era of Snail is alive and well with its second annual Tasting Party honoring 2014 nominees Chef Kris Wessel of Florida Cookery and Chef Matt Hinckley of Boxpark from 7 – 10:00 p.m. at The James Royal Palm Hotel, South Beach.  After the event, the party continues from 9:30 p.m. – 12:00 a.m. hosted by Florida Cookery honoring our white chocolate slow-roasting, 2013 James Beard semifinalist, Hedy Goldsmith. Click here for tickets!

6366_511192392236666_1618190064_nGenuinely Swank: We source their amazing baby veggies and greens for Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink and Harry’s Pizzeria in Miami, as well as 150 Central Park’s farm-to-ship menus aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas (and soon to be its sister ship Allure!) As if it didn’t make it quick enough to your plate already in our restaurants, their freshly-harvested product will hit tables in the field on their turf when Michael joins pastry chef Hedy Goldsmith visit for one of their “Swank Table” luncheons on April 7 from 12 – 4:00 p.m. at Swank Farms Specialty Produce in Loxahatchee. A short hour drive from Miami, this hydro-natural farm is in full production mode right now. Calling on the best of our state’s farmers, ranchers, artisanal producers, micro-brewers, and organic wine makers, we’ll roll out a memorable, multi-course meal with what’s fresh and in season on the menu. Proceeds from ticket sales benefit the James Beard Scholarship Foundation.  Get them now!