Monday, February 23, 2015

Cobaya SOBEWFF with Chefs Andrew Zimmern, Chris Cosentino, Michael Schwartz, Makoto Okuwa and Kaytlin Brakefield

Well, it finally happened: Cobaya goes SoBe. On Friday night, Cobaya teamed up with the South Beach Wine and Food Festival for a dinner – and we couldn't be happier with how it turned out. A big thank you to Lee Schrager and his hard-working team at SoBeWFF, who really pushed to make this happen and do it right; to the Perez Art Museum Miami for letting us use their gorgeous facility for the dinner; to all of the chefs who participated – Chris Cosentino of San Francisco's Cockscomb and Boccalone, local hero Michael Schwartz of Michael's Genuine, Makoto Okuwa of Makoto in Bal Harbour, and Kaytlin Brakefield of Verde at PAMM, all of their crews and the folks from FIU's Chaplin School of Hospitality who helped out, with a special thank you to chef, host, and curator Andrew Zimmern; and as always most of all, to the guinea pigs (some old, many new this time) whose interest and support have enabled us to put on 49 of these events over the past 5+ years.

You can read a recap of the dinner at Food For Thought, see pictures in this SOBEWFF Cobaya Dinner flickr set or Chowfather's instagram feed, plus there's more pictures on the SoBeWFF website. Here's the menu:


Foie Gras Hakata Shime with Shiso Cake, Yamamomo Berry and Kurozu Black Vinegar
Makoto Okuwa

Local Tuna, Green Juice, Puffed Wild Rice, Pickled Kohlrabi
Michael Schwartz

Hamachi Crudo, Tomato, Cucumber, Basil
Kaytlin Brakefield

Carciofi allla Giudia
Andrew Zimmern

Island Creek Oysters and N'duja Mignonette
Chris Cosentino

2014 Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc


Teuchi Shin Soba, Hokkaido Amaebi, Turnip Surinagashi, Fresh Wasabi
Makoto Okuwa
2013 Kim Crawford Small Parcels Pinot Gris

Marinated Baby Beets, Shaved Vegetables, Beet-Ginger Kombucha, Hemp Seed, Sprouts
Michael Schwartz
2014 Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay

Vitello Tonnato-Braised Veal Cheeks and Tuna Tonnato with Parsley, Red Onion and Caper Salad
Kaytlin Brakefield
2013 Kim Crawford Small Parcels Chardonnay

Grilled Abalone with Black Bean Sauce, Crispy Shallots, Charred Scallions and Hot Chile Oil
Andrew Zimmern
2013 Kim Crawford South Island Pinot Noir

Pork Belly and Clams
Chris Cosentino
2012 Kim Crawford Small Parcels Central Otago Pinot Noir


Chocolate Pots de Creme, Coconut Streusel and WHipped Cream
Kaytlin Brakefield

Chocolate Truffle Cookie
Alisa's Painted Bistro

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

experiment #48 - Cobaya Proof with Chefs Justin Flit and Matt DePante

Another experiment successfully concluded – an outstanding dinner with chefs Justin Flit and Matt DePante at their new-ish restaurant in Midtown Miami, Proof Pizza & Pasta. You can see all the pictures in this Cobaya Proof flickr set, and read recaps at Food For Thought and The Chowfather we'll update when recaps are posted. In the meantime, here's the menu from last night:

king crab, heirloom tomatoes, tarragon, pickled red onion

cauliflower, harissa, iberico bellota, roasted pork broth

bucatini, bottarga, lemon breadcrumbs

duck, dried figs, barley, sherry vinegar

beef, salsfiy, herb gremolata

blood orange curd, pistachio, semolina cake

That doesn't include the beef tartare with colatura served on parmesan frico crackers or the clam ceviche they passed around before everyone sat down, or the chocolate sampler (including an excellent macaron ice cream sandwich) they served after, the little take-home goodie bags they gave everyone, or the post-dinner cocktail supplied by the good folks at Afro Head Rum. A big thank you to Justin, Matt and their whole team at Proof, and as always most of all, to the guinea pigs whose interest and support make these events possible.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

"Friends of Cobaya" Alert: SOBEWFF tickets, BBQ Beatz & Brew

A couple items that may be of interest to you guinea pigs:

1.24.15: BBQ. Beatz. & Brew @ gastroPod

Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog is back with the gastroPod 2.0, a kitchen built into a shiny shipping container, and he's throwing a party in Wynwood on Saturday January 24. Whole lamb BBQ, live music, and beer, all for $25. Get tickets at To see pictures from a couple recent gastroPod visits, check out this gastroPod 2.0 flickr set.

2.19.15 SOBEWFF tickets (and discount!)

We announced a couple months ago that we were teaming up with the Food Network and Cooking Channel South Beach Wine and Food Festival to put on a dinner during this year's festival. That event sold out very quickly - but there are still several other dinners that look great and for which spots are still available. Better yet, the folks at SOBEWFF have passed along a nice discount code for Cobaya members to use and get a 25%+ discount. Here are the dinners, all on Thursday, February 19 (scroll down for the discount code):

Best of the Northwest Dinner hosted by Tom Douglas - Tom Douglas is one of the godfathers of Pacific Northwest cuisine. I still have very fond memories of a dinner I had years ago at his Dahlia Lounge in Seattle; since then he's opened more than a dozen restaurants around Seattle. He'll be showing what's special about the region's food - along with wines from Washington State's Ste. Michelle winery - at an intimate dinner at 1826 Restaurant and Lounge on South Beach.

Southern Divinity Dinners hosted by Frank Stitt and Kyle Knall - Frank Stitt is another name you should know, someone who was a couple decades ahead of the curve on the renewed interest in Southern food. He picked up the Beard Foundation "Best Chef in the Southeast" award in 2001 for his work at Highlands Bar and Grill, and ten years later was inducted into its "Who's Who of Food and Beverage." Kyle Knall is another Birmingham native who made his way to NYC, and now runs the kitchen at Maysville after having spent a few years at Gramercy Tavern (Maysville got a very nice New York Times review last year). They'll be cooking a Southern-themed dinner together at - where else? South Beach's Yardbird.

Retro Feast Dinner hosted by Ben Ford, Ashley Christensen and Jonathan Lane - I don't mean to dismiss the other chefs involved - Ben Ford is highly regarded for his cooking at Ford's Filling Station in LA, and Jonathan Lane has been getting raves for his elegantly classical cooking at the Traymore here in Miami - but the name that really jumps out at me here is Ashley Christensen. I've actually tried to figure out reasons to go to Raleigh, NC so I could visit Poole's Diner. Now she'll be coming here instead to cook a dinner with Ford and Lane at Traymore's home base, the Metropolitan by COMO hotel.

If you didn't get into our SOBEWFF Cobaya dinner, one of these dinners would be an awfully good consolation prize; and even if you did get in, it could be the perfect warm-up for the night before.

To get the discounted $185 price (usually $250), use the code "COBAYA15" when you purchase seats through the website ( or by calling the box office at 877-762-3933. A reminder, ALL proceeds from the Festival benefit the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at FIU, so you get to dine for a good cause too!