Training Days! Ella is Ready to Pop & Here’s the Opening Menu.

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Bagel or Begel, Mr. Schwartz?

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True Loaf pastries greet customers with layers of buttery smiles.

Training is in full-force at our highly anticipated pop-up café, ella, opening in the Design District’s Palm Court hopefully by Thursday.

Here’s a deeper look into the menu and its 3 sections: “until 11am”, “all day”, and “after 11am”. Opening in the morning, ella’s “until 11am” section will consist of more breakfast-ey items that are perfect for people who work in the area picking up a quick bite or hungry shoppers on the go. The 9-grain pancake, a dish originally on the Michael’s Genuine brunch menu, features 9-grains in the batter, adding heartiness to this supple pancake. The breakfast sandwich is a classic take with the simple bacon, egg, and cheese line up on a fluffy english muffin. Last is the power breakfast, and it is just that!  This healthy “picker-upper” combines Greek yogurt with Michael’s balanced, delicious mix of chia jelly, banana, blueberries, granola, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and dried mulberries.

Featured on the “all day” section of the menu are a couple items that are made throughout the day and are some of the most exciting items! A classic avocado toast on True Loaf bread is the perfect bite for any time of the day. Another very special item our homemade everything bagel that comes with beet-cured wild salmon. Chef Roel Alcudia perfected the recipe for these amazing bagels, and is “very excited about them!”

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The everything bagel in all its glory… with everything.

He starts with the usual suspects- yeast, flour, water, salt- and lets the mixture rise (about 20-30 minutes). He then divides them into balls, flattens them, and cuts a hole in the middle, creating the classic bagel shape. After letting them rise again, they go into a boiling pot of water with barley syrup to add flavor and a crust on the outside of the bagel for one minute on each side. They are then given an egg wash, dipped into an everything topping, and baked in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes. The end result is a perfectly chewy and light bagel. They are topped with a beautiful beet-cured salmon, which has a red color given by the beets. The salmon is cured overnight in a beet and gin purée, then rinsed and cured again in herbs. It adds a perfect saltiness to the bagel.

The “after 11am” section features classic lunch items such as a daily soup, a grilled cheese with caramelized onions, and an heirloom tomato salad with feta and pickled onions. There are also a couple more unique items, such as the vegetable tacos that come decked out with black beans, avocado, pickled onion, cilantro, and cotija cheese, all on a tequila blue masa tortilla. Also the rock shrimp summer roll, which is a light and refreshing roll filled with fresh herbs and veggies to create the perfect bite for a hot summer day.

ella3 (1)ella is located in the interior west end of Palm Court at 140 NE 39th Street, unit 136 to be exact. In addition to street parking, the Design District offers valet from $5 located at the entrance to Palm Court on 39th Street in between NE 1st and NE 2nd Ave and the Palm Court Parking Garage is open from 9 am to 9pm Monday-Saturday and 11am – 7pm on Sunday, $3 for the first 4 hours, $6 for 4-6 hours, and $25 for 6+ hours, with the entrance located on NE 38th St. Ascend through the Dome and look for the umbrellas.

The café will serve fresh-squeezed orange juice, Panther Coffee, Art of Tea, bottled cider and beer including Chef’s Michael’s Genuine® Home Brew, and a selection of wines by the glass and bottle including the house Lua Rossa blend. There is indoor counter seating for 8 and seating outdoors for up to 40 with umbrella-shaded tables and potted herbs and succulents. Take a seat and enjoy the day with whatever beverage suits your fancy, and choose from our daily charcuterie and cheese selection from the butcher’s board.

Hours of operation will be Monday to Saturday from 9am – 7pm and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm. ella offers takeout and will accept all major credit cards. For more information, visit ellapop.me or follow the café on Instagram and Twitter @ellapopmiami.  See you there soon!

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[RECIPE] These Grilled Lionfish Tacos are Up to the Blue Ribbon Task

Grilled lionfish tacos

Eat them to beat them: Grilled lionfish tacos shot on site, and devoured shortly after by yours truly outside Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink Grand Cayman.

Our friends at Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch are uniting their Blue Ribbon Task Force chefs including Michael around National Taco Day (October 4) and National Seafood Month (October) to raise awareness for sustainable seafood in the most delicious way possible. We most recently covered this topic hugely important the entire TGHG family on our blog with the release of Paul Greenberg’s most recent book, and now we’re back at it again inspired by my week in Grand Cayman, our home away from home where local fish and supporting the marine ecosystem is always top of mind.  Small changes have big impact especially in such a small slice of the Caribbean environment — and we’re talking positive ones here, like the Department of Environment’s lionfish culling program.  The first juvenile Indo-pacific Red Lionfish was removed from a dive site in Little Cayman in 2008 setting in motion a massive public-private partnership lead by DOE and bringing together local residents, dive industry operators, and people like TGHG Special Ops Chef Thomas Tennant in the unique position to influence change thanks to combining a love of SCUBA and skills in the kitchen.  Eat them to beat them we say!  During his 4 year tenure as our Grand Cayman opening chef, Thomas single handedly removed thousands (I wonder if not tens of thousands) of pounds of lionfish at his own spear, not to mention receiving countless deliveries from licensed divers through our service entrance sometimes on a daily basis.  If that drop in the bucket doesn’t count for something on a larger scale, I don’t know what does.

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Thomas returns to the island to host our fall Farm to Table Dinner on October 11, but we’re not waiting for that, taco day, or seafood month to celebrate this legacy that lives on in its simplest and maybe most delicious form every Monday through Saturday during our Happy Hour in Grand Cayman… Grilled Lionfish Tacos!  The recipe below is pretty awesome thanks to its simplicity. A few flavors combining into one juicy bite. The verdantly flecked herb mayo is especially addictive and you don’t need much.  With so many of Sylvester’s foraged avocados on our food bar wall here to deplete, there should be plenty of these going out at Happy Hour. I know I will make my contribution known! Follow both Genuine Instagrams (@MGFD_MIA and @MGFD_GCM) this week for a bigger taste of what’s new on-island. Today we’ll get the best temperature check of what’s in season when the Farmers Market makes its weekly Wednesday pop in our town center of Camana Bay.  Very excited to poke around the stalls with chef de cuisine Prudent Baselais and enjoy some of the ingredients for lunch!

Grilled Lionfish Tacos

Makes 12 tacos

12, 3-ounce lionfish filets, skin on and pin bones removed (you can substitute with a sustainable species like yellowtail snapper in Miami if you can’t find lionfish)
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon of kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly-cracked black pepper
12 corn tortillas
1 large tomato, diced
1 cup scallions cut on the bias
1 cup picked cilantro leaves
Juice of one lime
¼ cup Herb Mayonnaise (recipe below)
2 ripe avocados, halved and sliced
½ cup shaved radishes
3 limes cut into wedges

Preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal grill until very hot, or put a grill pan over medium-high heat. Drizzle the lionfish filets with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill skin side down for 3 minutes. Leave them alone; the filets will stick to the grill if tried to turn too soon. Once they have developed nice grill marks flip gently with a fish spatula to finish cooking for 1 minute on the other side. Remove from the grill to a platter while you warm the tortillas

Pour 1/2 inch water into the bottom of the steamer, then line the steaming basket with a clean, heavy kitchen towel. Lay the tortillas in the basket. Fold the edges of the towel over the tortillas to cover them, set the lid in place, bring the water to a boil and let boil only for 1 minute, then turn off the fire and let stand, covered, for 15 minutes. If you wish to keep the tortillas hot for up to an hour, slip the steamer into a low oven or reheat the water periodically.

To assemble, toss the tomato, scallion, and cilantro in the lime juice. Spread the herb mayonnaise on the corn tortillas, layering each with a filet, the sliced avocado and salad mix, topping with the shaved radish. Serve with lime wedges.

Herb Mayonnaise

Makes 2 cups

2 cups mayonnaise
¼ cup basil
¼ cup parsley
1 clove garlic
½ teaspoon cracked black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.

Chef Pete’s Tiburon Taco

Saturdays and Sundays start early for Pete Morales, one of our line cooks in Miami who runs a weekend taco stand at the Yellow Green Farmers Market in Hollywood, FL.  You won’t encounter many farmers in the surrounding booths, but last weekend I found Pete and his girlfriend Silvana working hard and churning out some good food and drink, including breakfast and lunch tacos, quesadillas, and ice cold canned and bottled drinks like fruit juices (without corn syrup, a sign proclaims), and ethnic sodas including Jarritos and Mexican Cokes.

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