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 gastropodmiamitickets.com. 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 (www.sobefest.com) 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!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

cobaya experiment #48 - 1.26.15

Just like that, we're back it: It's time for another experiment. We're on a tight timeline, so please pay attention to the deadlines.

Quick Details:
Date: Monday January 26, 2015
Price: $75 (inclusive of tax and tip)
Start time: 7:00pm

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

You will be advised by Sunday January 18 if your request has been confirmed. You'll then need to book your seats by 5pm on Wednesday January 21, or we may need to release the seats to the waitlist to ensure all spots are filled. Please 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 this page. 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 be an optional pairing, probably in the $25-30 range, which we will finalize when seats go up for purchase; a la carte beverages will also be available for purchase on site and BYOB should be OK too.

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.


experiment #48 - choose # and pairing

Friday, January 9, 2015

experiment #47 - CobaYeo with Chef Patricia Yeo of Khong River House

Another experiment in the books. This one was with Chef Patricia Yeo, who recently took over as executive chef at Khong River House on Miami Beach. Before coming to Miami, Chef Yeo had several restaurants in Boston, and more recently had been working with Chicago's Lettuce Entertain You chain on its Big Bowl brand. Some of you may also remember her from her appearance on Top Chef Masters.You can see all the pictures in this CobaYeo flickr set; stay tuned for recaps.

For our Cobaya dinner, she put together a belly-themed dinner (particularly appropriate for some of us). Here's the full menu, with wine pairings orchestrated by Daniel Toral:

Clam Belly Fritters
Lemon-Caper Aioli
Stein Riesling "Blauscheifer" Torkcen, Mosel, Germany 2012

Toro Tataki
Kalamansi Ponzu

Swordfish Belly Pastrami
Pickled Red Cabbage Slaw
Albert Boxler "Edelzwicker" Reserve Alsace, France 2012

Slow Cooked Lamb Belly
Wilted Watercress Salad

Pork Belly and Kimchi Bi Bim Bap
Evesham Wood Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon 2013

Straight to Your Belly
Banana and Cashew Springrolls
Dark Chocolate Sauce

A big thank you to Chef Yeo, to all the crew at Khong and the 50 Eggs Group who helped put this dinner together, and as always most of all, to the guinea pigs whose interest and support make these kind of events possible.