Sunday, December 20, 2009

Experiment #3 - Chef Jonathan Eismann

You can see some recaps of the latest Cobaya dinner, with Chef Jonathan Eismann in the location of his not-yet-opened new restaurant, Fin, at Mango & Lime and Food For Thought. Let me know if there are others and I'll be glad to link to them. The menu was loosely based on a "Feast of Seven Fishes," all from up and down the eastern seaboard. The full lineup is here:

Sea Scallop Crudo (Maine)
Coriander, Cilantro, Lime, Sicilian Sea Salt

Warm Curried Davenport Oysters (Massachusetts)

Fluke and Squid Tiradito (Long Island)
"Saigon Style," Red Grapefruit, Nuoc Cham

Stone Crab Cake (Florida)
Cantonese Black Bean Vinaigrette, Napa Cabbage Kim Chee

Steamed Clams (Sebastian Inlet, FL)
Rocky Mountain Sake, Greens, Onions, Crushed Tomato

Pan Roasted Snowy Grouper (Miami, FL)
Braised Fennel, Preserved Lemon Risotto

Wild Striped Bass (North Carolina)
Cucumber Salad, Mustard Oil, Soy

Hong Kong Yellowtail (Keys, FL)
Yuzu, Ginger, Red Curry

Pan Roasted North Atlantic Cod (Maine)
Black Pepper Potato, Escabeche

Lime & Apricot Sorbets

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I got 2

Two seats for tomorrow night's (12/17) Cobaya dinner have freed up, and I have already cycled my way through the wait list. If you want them, first response by tweet or email gets them (to email click on "contact the underground" to the right).

Sorry, they're gone.

Monday, December 14, 2009

backwards and forwards

I wrote about the dinner at PH2 during Art Basel weekend with chefs Kurtis Jantz and Chad Galiano over here. It wasn't a Cobaya dinner but several guinea pigs came out, with discounted rates from PH2 for Cobayas.

The upcoming Cobaya dinner on December 17 is on schedule and we have a full house. Thanks to everyone for your interest and apologies to those for whom there weren't enough seats. Working on a "lottery" system for at least some of the seats for the next event so that they're not all gone in two hours like the past couple dinners. If you're signed up for it, you'll be getting some details soon.

Next dinner after this one will likely be mid to late January.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

experiment #3 - update

We have received more responses than we have available seats for our latest little experiment. I will be notifying everyone who I've been able to confirm we have room for, and will be keeping a waitlist in case anyone cancels.

Before serving as a guinea pig, here is a friendly reminder of some information you should know: 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.

The dinner will be BYOB. If you want to bring wine, we'll try to coordinate some appropriate pairings. It's been somewhat haphazard but has ultimately worked out OK for prior events.

Confirmed attendees will receive an e-mail a day or two before the 17th, confirming the location and start time, though we'll probably begin around 7ish.

There is a PayPal link below to pay for CONFIRMED seats, please note that the price ($81/person) is inclusive of tax. Please DO NOT use the link below to pay for a seat unless you have already received a CONFIRMED RSVP. Any seats not picked up by 5pm this Friday, Dec. 4 will be released to the waitlist. Thanks, as always, for your interest.

how many?

Monday, November 30, 2009

underground dinner experiment #3 - 12/17

It's happening again. The next Cobaya dinner will be Thursday, December 17. Chef, theme, location all to be disclosed later (trust me, it'll be good). Price will be $75 + tax. Limited seating, Please email me directly (the link is over on the right side over there, where it says "contact the underground") to request seats (let me know how many). Like last time, once reservations have been confirmed I will be setting up a PayPal link for confirmed RSVPs. Thanks for your interest, looking forward to another great dinner with the guinea pigs.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

PH2 Art/Dining Events - "Black Friday" Tix

Happy Thanksgiving, guinea pigs. Among many other things, here's another to be thankful for:

I've posted earlier on the Art/Dining series of events at PH2 coming up on Art Basel weekend. There are still some tickets remaining for the Friday and Saturday dinners and the Sunday brunch, and the PH2 folks are extending a "Black Friday" discount to Cobaya members: $100 off the dinner tix (for a net price of $100) and $25 off the Sunday brunch (for a net price of $50). For more information and the discounts codes, check this Cobaya Google Group thread.

Edited to add: I just came across this feature in the Miami Herald on Stephen Gamson, the "artist in residence" for the Friday night dinner.

Updated to add: My recap of the "Paradigm Redux" dinner put together Friday night by Chefs Kurtis Jantz and Chad Galiano can be found here at Food For Thought. Their full menu:

Stick Figure Anticuchos
grilled baby octopus, green tabasco, lemon, boscoli olive sauce
Fried chicken liver, aji panca tartar, cajun cancha corn

2 Tails ... Surf n Turf
oxtail meat pie, pepper jelly, green bean-lobster salad, micro-corn cake, jester vinegar and oil

Frod's Shimp Dickles
honey mustard, brussels slaw, cheese-its

45°C tartare, 64°C egg yolk, caper salt, parsley, onion, "whas dis here" sauce

The Golden Egg
oeuf truffle

Pork Belly
inca-pi glaze, whipped spiced banana glaze, cilantro cocoa kettle corn, yogurt spheres, white chocolate powder

delicioso! crisp meringue napoleon, sugar globe, dulce de leche gelato

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

P.I.G. Aftermath


We had a nice turnout of "Very Important Pigs" for an early tasting of the P.I.G. (Pork Is Good) fest by Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog this past Sunday at Harvey's By The Bay, east of Biscayne Boulevard off 64th Street.

There's already a couple good recaps up from Tinkering With Dinner and Jean-Marc (nice headshot of the pig there). I'll be getting mine up soon Mine are now up at Food For Thought. There seemed to be plenty of people taking pictures and notes, so if you've posted something please let me know and I'm happy to link to it.

The full lineup:

Moonshine & Black Cherry Cocktail
Southern Style Char Siu Bao
Pork Belly Cuban Sandwiches
Banh Mi Style Trotter Tacos
Home-made Hot Dogs
Caja China Roasted Pork with Sweet Potato Flan

Thursday, November 19, 2009


A few things of note:

- the "VIP" Passes for P.I.G. [Pork Is Good] pigfest with Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog are sold out. All comers are still welcome after 3pm for a la carte pig and partying at Harvey's By the Bay at 6445 NE 7th Ave. (off 64th Street east of Biscayne Boulevard) this Sunday, November 22.

- Tickets are still available from PH2 for their series of Art/Dining events during Art Basel weekend (click on the link to purchase). There are some interesting insights on the creative process of pairing food to art from one of the chefs here on his blog. The Friday dinner is a good chance to experience one of the "Paradigm" dinners from Chefs Kurtis Jantz and Chad Galiano, while Saturday features Chef Alberto Cabrera, and Chef Jeremiah will be putting on a Sunday brunch. Cobaya members get a $50 discount on all but the Sunday brunch tickets. More information available at the Cobaya message board.

- Hold the date: December 17 for the next Cobaya dinner. More info to follow.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Eat Basel

Our hosts for the last Cobaya dinner, The Factory Interactive, have organized a series of art-meets-food events over Art Basel weekend.

The Thursday event is already fulled booked. Friday night features chefs Kurtis Jantz and Chad Galiano, the chefs responsible for the Paradigm dinners, and the art of Stephen Gamson. Saturday night features chef Alberto Cabrera and artist Alejandro Mendoza. The festivities will finish with a Sunday brunch by chef Jeremiah Bullfrog, who cooked up the most recent Cobaya dinner, with art from Claudio Picasso (I'd swear I've heard both those names before).

For more information on the PH2 Art | Dining series, go to their site. Fellow guinea pigs can take advantage of discounted tickets for the Friday and Saturday (before they sell out!); check the Cobaya group message board for details.

Friday, November 6, 2009

P.I.G. [Pork Is Good] VIP Passes


Want to play some "PIG"? As noted yesterday, PIG - [Pork Is Good], an ode to the porcine by Chef Jeremiah Bullfog, will be happening Sunday November 22 at Harvey's By the Bay (American Legion Hall), 6445 NE 7th Ave. (off 64th Street east of Biscayne Boulevard).

Chef is going to be doing 4-5 "Iron Chef" style pork dishes, plus roasting several whole pigs in a caja china. You can get "VIP" ("Very Important Pig") preview tickets here for $35 which will get early admission at 2pm, a sampling of each of the dishes, plus carvings from the first pig (and then more until it runs out). Then after 3pm, anyone who comes can have what they like, with affordable "a la carte" prices and combo deals for multiple items. As many as want to come are welcome, there will be food until it runs out, good music, and the Harvey's bar will be open.

Buy a "VIP" Pass here:

[edited 11/19/09 to add: sorry, VIP passes are sold out! But you can still come after 3pm and get pig samplings a la carte]

Thursday, November 5, 2009

PIG for the Guinea Pigs


For those who missed the second-night Chef Jeremiah pig-fest, take note: PIG - [Pork Is Good], an ode to the porcine, will be happening Sunday November 22 at Harvey's By the Bay (American Legion Hall), 6445 NE 7th Ave. (off 64th Street east of Biscayne Boulevard). More information to follow, including VIP (Very Important Pig) preview tix.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cobaya Underground Dinner #2, 2.5

Many thanks to Chef Jeremiah and all of his crew, to The Factory Interactive for providing such a great venue, and to all the guinea pigs who came out Saturday and Sunday night for a couple of great dinners.


My comments and thoughts and several pictures are now up on Food For Thought Miami; you can see the complete set of pictures in this flickr set, and Jacob Katel of Miami New Times got some great shots Saturday night that are now up on the Short Order blog. Here's a nice write-up at Mango & Lime of the Sunday night dinner, and another write-up here at Blind Tastes from Blind Mind. Plus this awesome video shot on Saturday night by video artist James Painter Belvin:

For those interested in future dinners, they will be announced here and you can also join the Cobaya - Gourmet Guinea Pigs Google group and you'll get notice by email when new events are announced.

pork belly

The Saturday menu:

Greek Salad
Tomato Water, Compressed Cucumbers, Feta Stuffed Olives, Hendrick's Gin
Local Stone Crabs
Mustard Emulsion, Crab Consommé, Meyer Lemon Oil
An Ode to Autumn:
Pumpkin Burrata Dumpling
Braised Pork Belly, 63c Egg
Halibut Like a Reuben
Rye Streusel, Pastrami Dashi
72 Hour Shorties
Braised Short Ribs, Parsnips, Big Zin Redux
Coffee & Donuts
Krispy Kreme Flan

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Repeat Experiment

An experiment is of very limited value if the results can not be replicated.

On account of the rather vibrant response, we will be conducting a second Cobaya dinner experiment with Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog on Sunday October 25 and can make 12 seats available. I would like to initially open this up to those people who asked to be waitlisted for the 10/24 dinner, and then after 24 hours fill any remaining seats.

Before volunteering as a guinea pig, some information you should know: there is no "menu". Price for this dinner is $75 all inclusive. It is BYOB. 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, or religious restrictions, are salt sensitive, vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, don't like your meat cooked medium rare, or 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.

If you'd like in on the 10/25 dinner, email me at contact the underground and tell me how many seats you would like. If you receive a confirmation that seats are still available, you will then need to pay via the PayPal link given below. DO NOT PAY for seats unless you have received a confirmation. People who asked to be waitlisted for 10/24 will have first priority until midnight Wednesday, when it will be opened up to everyone else (but if you're interested please let me know and on Thursday, any available seats will be filled first come first serve).

Thanks again for your interest.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

the secret is out

UrbanDaddy ran a blurb on our little dinner thang. The response is overwhelming my inbox!

All seats for the 10/24 dinner have been filled, but I will keep track of a waitlist and will let people know, first come first serve, if seats free up. Please, DO NOT click on the PayPal link below unless you have a confirmed RSVP.

For those of you who have asked about future events, they will be announced on this website and also on the Cobaya - Gourmet Guinea Pigs Google group (formerly known as the Miami Chowdown Google group). If you join the group, you will receive emails when new events are announced.

Thanks to all for your interest!

By the way, I know this website/blog is completely goofy looking. I just changed the template, no idea if it's an improvement.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cobaya Dinner #2 - October 24

Wow, that was quick. All but 1 of the 20 seats for the second Cobaya dinner are already taken. It's going to be a fun one, with Chef Jeremiah Bullfrog, personal chef to Rick Ross, in the kitchen. You can learn a little more about him in this New Times interview, but you can possibly get an even better idea of his cooking from his Twitter feed.

Location and exact time will be provided to confirmed RSVPs in advance, but in the meantime, anyone who has a confirmed RSVP should please book their seats using the form below. Once the seats are completely filled, I will be keeping a wait list. Any reservations not booked by midnight this Friday October 9, 2009 will be released to the waitlist.

If you would like to be on the waiting list, please email me at contact the underground and I'll let you know if seats free up. Please only pay through the PayPal form below if you have a confirmed RSVP. Thanks!

How Many?

Monday, October 5, 2009

10/24 - the experiment continues

Attention guinea pigs: the experiment continues. The next Cobaya underground dinner will be Saturday October 24. Attendance is limited to 20. Cost will be $75 all-inclusive. All other deets are on a need to know basis.

If you want in, please RSVP by email: "contact the underground" and let me know for how many people, up to 4 per RSVP. If for some reason that link isn't working, it's miamichowdown [at] gmail [dot] com.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Cobaya Dinner August 4, 2009 from Talula Chef Andrea Curto-Randazzo and Sous Chef Kyle Foster:

Blue Moon Beer Sorbet, Pickled Ginger, Mint Sea Salt
Homestead Lychees, House Smoked Bacon, Toasted Almonds, Root Beer Gastrique
Buttered Popcorn Puree, Raisin-Cocoa Nib Jus
Green Apple, Red Cabbage, House Smoked Tasso, Walnuts, Aged Marisa
Summer Stone Fruit Panzanella, Arugula, "Blackberry Wine," Crispy Shallots
House Made Mostarda, Truffle-Honey
Strawberry, Tarragon, Spiced White Balsamic Syrup

Sunday, August 2, 2009


The August 4 dinner is fully booked (20 guinea pigs!). You may have seen some details already revealed in New Times' Short Order blog. I've been given a preview of the menu and it looks fully awesome - though no actual guinea pig will be served.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

mission statement

The goal here is a very simple one - to get talented chefs to cook great, interesting, creative meals for an audience of adventurous, open-minded diners. That may happen inside a restaurant, it may happen outside of one. It may be a multi-course tasting menu, it may be a family-style whole hog dinner (here's hoping). For those who question the "underground" street cred of this mission, those questions are perfectly legitimate. My answer is, "I don't care." We're not limiting ourselves to meals cooked in abandoned warehouses in secret locations disclosed the day before the dinner; we're also not limiting ourselves to white tablecloths and silverware changed between every course. We're very open-minded that way: all that matters is if the food is good, and we think there's enough similar-minded folks to make that game plan sustainable.

Every invitation comes with a disclaimer: 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.

Monday, July 27, 2009

going underground

Something's happening here today ...

Food For Thought and The Chowfather are working on making an "underground dinner club" thing happen here in Miami. Given that it's Miami, "underground" is not so easy to do (we're at sea level and all), but the idea we were both kicking around was to assemble a group of adventurous diners willing to serve as guinea pigs for local chefs looking to try out something new or different.

A first event is already being planned for August 4, a few spots will still be available. More info to follow soon. If interested, start by joining the Miami Chowdown Google Group and you'll soon find your way.