Thursday, October 8, 2015

experiment #56 - Cobaya Seagrape with Chefs Jason Schaan and Tony Velazquez

Another experiment successfully completed! For #56, we paid a visit to Seagrape, Michelle Bernstein's restaurant in the Thompson Miami Beach hotel, where hotel executive sous chef Jason Schaan and restaurant chef de cuisine Tony Velazquez played host to 26 of us guinea pigs. Befitting the Mid-Century Modern style of the restaurant, the dinner they put together was a little modern and a little classical all at once.

You can see all the pictures – in all their varieties of bad lighting situations – in this Cobaya Seagrape flickr set, and we'll update here when recaps are posted. Here's the menu for the evening:


Maine Lobster Toast
salted butter, shaved radish, trout caviar

Masami Wagyu Beef Belly Tartare
chorizo, quail egg, bearnaise sabayon

l'explorateur and shaved lardo

Sparkling Rosé of Gamay, Grandin, Nuit St. Georges


Brussel Sprouts
tonnato, bottarga, rye toast


Pasta "Vongole"
hand-rolled garganelli, venus clams, manila clams, salsify, uni butter

Domaine Lupin Roussette de Savoie, Frangy


Whole Roasted Foie Gras
vadouvan spiced pumpkin jam and house brioche

La Tour "Vielles Vignes" Banyuls, Roussillon


Crispy Potato Wrapped Fluke
burgundy black truffle, artichoke barigoule, calabrian chili roe

Domaine Joseph Voillot Bourgogne Rouge, Volnay


Colorado Lamb Chop
fall legumes, lamb sweetbreads, potato gnocchi, roasted bone jus

August Clape "Vin de Amie," Northern Rhone


Pie and Ice Cream

A big thank you to chefs Schaan and Velazquez, to wine director Zach Gossard for some really outstanding pairings, to GM Jorge Anaya-Lopez for everything he does, to Michelle for giving her guys the freedom and guidance to do this dinner, and as always most of all, to the guinea pigs whose interest and support make these kind of events possible.

Also, a reminder: our pre-pre-sale of tickets to our second dinner with the South Beach Wine and Food Festival coming up in February (featuring Andrew Zimmern of Bizarre Foods, Carlo Mirarchi of Blanca, Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal, and Alex Chang of Miami's Vagabond), is over, but the "official" pre-sale is now on-line at the SOBEWFF website. There are still a limited number of seats available; if you'd like to join us on February 25, 2016, use your MasterCard to purchase seats here.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

experiment #56 - 10.6.15

Dear Guinea Pigs:

Summer vacation is over, and it's time for another experiment!

Quick Details:
Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Price: $103 (inclusive of tax and tip)
Start time: 7:30 pm

We will be doing a drawing for seats from all requests received over the first 48 hours, with additional requests filled, if possible, in the order they're received.

Please send an email using the "contact the underground" link to request seats and let us know how many you're requesting.

You will be advised by Friday September 25 if your request has been confirmed. You'll then need to book your seats by 5pm on Tuesday September 29, or we may need to release the seats to the wait list to ensure all spots are filled. Note the tight schedule: please make your request quickly, and if you get a spot, please book quickly.

We have limited seating available, and while we try to accommodate everyone who is interested, that is usually not possible - most events are filled very quickly. Due to space limitations, we will limit people to 2 spots per request, though if you're interested in more let us know and your request will be added to the waitlist.

When your seat request has been confirmed, please book it using the PayPal link which will be set up on the Cobaya website. Please do not book unless and until you've received a confirmation. When you do receive the confirmation, please book your seats through PayPal promptly. There will be a short window of time to book before seats need to be released back to the waitlist to make sure they're filled.

There will an optional $35 wine pairing, as well as a la carte beverages available on site; BYOB should also be an option.

Confirmed and paid-up attendees will receive an e-mail the day before the event, confirming the location and other details.

A brief, but important, refresher course on the whole Cobaya thing: there is no "menu". There are no choices. You'll be eating what the chef chooses to make for the night. If you have food related allergies, strict dietary requirements, religious restrictions; are salt sensitive, vegetarian, pescatarian, or vegan; don't like your meat cooked medium rare, or are pregnant: this meal is probably not for you. Do not expect white-glove service. Don't ask for your sauce on the side. Just come and enjoy.

Plus some legalese: please note that if you're requesting a spot, you understand that any food or beverages you consume are at your own risk, that you voluntarily assume any and all risks, known and unknown, and voluntarily release the organizers of the event from any claims, including personal injury and wrongful death, resulting in any manner from your participation in this event, whether caused by negligence or otherwise. Hopefully it won't come to that.

Look forward to seeing you there. As always, thank you for your support.

Also, though they are moving fast, we still have some spots left for the Cobaya / South Beach Wine and Food Festival dinner in February. For more information, check here: Cobaya SoBe 2.25.16 - advance tickets available.


experiment #56 - choose # and pairing

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Cobaya SoBe 2016 2.25.16 - advance tickets available!

Dear Guinea Pigs:

We should have news on an upcoming Cobaya dinner very shortly, but we have some more exciting news as well.

You may have already seen that we will be repeating our collaboration with South Beach Wine & Food Festival next year for another Cobaya / SoBe dinner. It's already been posted on the website here: (If you want to see what last year was like, check out this Cobaya SOBEWFF flickr set.)

We've got another great line-up this time: Andrew Zimmern will be coming back, and we'll have Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook from Animal, Son of a Gun and Trois Mec in LA, Carlo Mirarchi from Roberta's and Blanca in NY, and Alex Chang of Miami's Vagabond gets to play host. The dinner will be on Thursday February 25, 2016.

Though tickets do not officially go on sale until next month, we're able to get Cobaya members the chance to book your seats now. Even better: book now and you can get them for $225; when SoBe puts them on sale, they will be priced at $250.

The process is a little different from our usual events. To get in on Cobaya SoBe 2016, you will need to send a ticket form in or call SOBEWFF to book. To get the form or the phone number, please send an email to the usual place (cobayamiami [at] gmail [dot] com). Also different: This event will also be first come first served, with no limits on the number of seats, so move fast.

Please note: You have to return the form no later than October 1, 2015, because tickets will be released to the general public shortly after that date. Our dinner was one of the first SOBEWFF events to sell out last year, in a matter of hours, and we expect spots to go fast.

Hope to see you there!