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Showing posts from May, 2013

Tongue & Crux - Chefs Brandon Baltzley, Jamie DeRosa and Jeremiah Bullfrog

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The last time Brandon Baltzley - chef, authorfarmer - came to town, it was a bit like Planes, Trains and Automobiles meets Supermarket Sweep. As Brandon had one travel mishap after another, I was racing through the grocery store filling carts from the shopping list he texted me so that there would be something to cook when he finally arrived for our Cobaya dinner. But as I said then, Brandon seems to thrive amid chaos, and it all turned out just fine.


This more recent Miami journey was not without its adventures, but Brandon got into town - a couple days early, even - and I didn't even have to do any shopping. The purpose of this visit was to collaborate on a brunch with the gastroPod's Jeremiah Bullfrog (which I sadly missed), and a dinner at the recently opened Tongue & Cheek in South Beach with T&C's chef, Jamie DeRosa, and Jeremiah. After several days of exchanging ingredient lists and dish ideas, here is what they came up with:

(You can see all my pictures i…

Turns of Phrase - May 26, 2013

Following up on something I started doing last week - some of my favorite passages from the past week's food writing:
"But some tricks, like the disappearance of a marble up someone's nose, can be more curious than delightful." - Tejal Rao (recently resigned food critic at the Village Voice, following in the wake of Robert Seitsema who was let go last week), on the culinary sleight of hand at Alder.
"Just as you’re pondering how to say “opportunist” in Italian, the food arrives, and it’s great." - Jeff Ruby on Café Spiaggia in Chicago Magazine.
"It isn’t pretty, this murky brown salad. Take a look at those splinters of green papaya, gnarly rings of fried shallots and clots of air-dried beef. It could be a box of matches spilled in dishwater—certainly too homely for the pages of any respectable food magazine. But we’re evolved eaters here in New York City, too sophisticated to deny ugly things their fair shake. Taste it and understand the moral of a tho…

Ten Great Things to Eat in Maui

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While starting to mull over potential destinations for the upcoming summer, it occurred to me that I never really reported back on last summer's trip to Hawaii. Though this was not a trip centered around dining, we do always look to eat well, and it was actually just a bit of a challenge in Hawaii. Not for lack of good food; but as someone who lives in Miami Beach, I know from experience that when you're in an overwhelmingly tourist-driven destination, it can be tough not to eat like a tourist.


Honolulu seems to be the epicenter of interesting dining in the Hawaiian islands - crazily ambitious projects like Vintage Cave, refined tasting menus like Chef Mavro, pop-ups like The Pig and the Lady. That's not a surprise, given that it's the most populated city. But for non-culinary reasons, we elected to skip Oahu entirely in favor of Maui and Big Island.

The good news was that locavorism seems to run strong on all the islands. It ought to: Hawaii has ready access to a fant…

Turns of Phrase

So much food writing is actually dreadfully repetitive. There are only so many ways to describe a cooked piece of meat, only so many synonyms for "delicious" (though there are a potentially infinite variety of ways to describe a terrible dining experience; it's like a variation on the Tolstoy quote: "Great meals are all alike; every lousy meal is lousy in its own way."). Still, often when I read a  good review, there is a sentence, a phrase, a description that resonates; it captures the ear, the mind, the appetite, maybe even all three.

With talented, dedicated, gainfully employed restaurant critics becoming an increasingly scarce commodity (yesterday Robert Sietsema of the Village Voice was "shit-canned," to use his own words; in the past month or so Michael Nagrant of the Chicago Sun Times and Hanna Raskin of Seattle Weekly were let go; locally, Miami New Times let Lee Klein go last year), I'm increasingly grateful for those who still provide a …

Cobaya Macchialina with Chef Michael Pirolo

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Too often, I feel about Italian food the way I feel about handjobs: even when it's done well, it's satisfying but rarely very exciting; and when it's done poorly, I may as well do it myself.

After our Cobaya dinner at Macchialina, perhaps I should reconsider (about Italian food; not handjobs). Macchialina is the fourth restaurant opened by the Pubbelly boys, and to head this one up they poached Chef Michael Pirolo from Scarpetta in the Fontainebleau, where he had been chef de cuisine. Chef Pirolo put together a dinner for us that was hearty and satisfying, but also showed off a real range of flavors and techniques, classical in inspiration but contemporary in style.


(You can see all my pictures in this Cobaya Macchialina flickr set.)

We entered the restaurant to find the long bar counter completely blanketed in the finest meats and cheeses of the land: parmigiano reggiano in rough chunks, waves upon waves of prosciutto, mortadella, salami, and best of all, Macchialina'…

Miami Gets Cruxed - Chef Brandon Baltzley, 5/19/13 & 5/20/13 - UPDATED

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If you're on the Cobaya mailing list, then you may have been at, or heard about, our dinner with chef Brandon Baltzley (former sludge metal drummer and Chicago cooking wunderkind, mastermind of the Crux itinerant pop-up restaurant / culinary collective, author, and soon-to-be chef and farmer at TMIP) back in December. If not, you can read about it here:

"Cobaya Gets Cruxed"

Well, he's coming back in town as part of a "farewell tour" for his Crux series of collaborative dinners before diving full bore into his next project, a farm/restaurant in northern Indiana.

And you've got two different chances to be a part of it this time.

(1) On Sunday May 19, Brandon will be collaborating with Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog for a podBrunch at GAB Studio in Wynwood - 5 courses for $35, running from 12pm-3pm. You can get tickets here.

(2) On Monday May 20, Brandon will be collaborating with Chef Jamie DeRosa for a blow-out dinner at DeRosa's new restaurant, Tongue &…