Michael Mina on Chefs Needing Social Skills, Miami's Strip Steak

Categories: Interview

Photo by Brandon David Demonbreun
Michael Mina: Strip star.
Pretend for a moment you're chef de cuisine at one of Michael Mina's 22 restaurants and want to add something to the menu. You must first face the "Recipe Exchange."

You conceptualize, execute, and sell the dish as a special for three days. Still like it? Good. Next, you upload a picture of it, the recipe (with measurements in grams), and its financial performance to the Mina Group's internal network, which is already abuzz with more than 32,000 recipes and 3,000 videos.

Then Mina, an Egyptian-born chef who built a culinary empire with partner and once-mulleted tennis legend Andre Agassi, sends his endorsement or changes. You have one week to produce an instructional video that the chef or any of his lieutenants can follow. It's then analyzed, scrutinized, tasted, and tinkered with until Mina and his most trusted advisers give it a nod or the ax.

See also: Michael Mina 74: Like You're at the Club, But With Really Fancy Food

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A Hilarious and Depraved Interview With Comedian Ralphie May

Categories: Interview

Photo by Robert Sebree
Ralphie May is a sexy man!
Ralphie May is a funny bastard. He is astute, witty, and debauched. Just the sound of his Southern twang makes audiences smile. This former drug-dealer-turned-gourmet-chef-turned comedian will be in town performing at Magic City Casino Saturday, September 13.

New Times: I consider plumpish people, especially the affluent ones, as sort of food connoisseurs, akin to porn stars being sex experts. Do you consider yourself a foodie?
Ralphie May: Ya, I was a chef before making it in stand-up comedy. I cooked in the Four Seasons in Houston and then NOLA's, Emeril Lagasse's restaurant [in New Orleans]. I made different types of sauces that blew people away and got accredited.

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"Tea Is Hot:" Tracy Stern Talks Iced Tea at Christofle in Bal Harbour

Categories: Interview

Photos by Carina Ost
Iced Tea Temptress.
"Tea is hot! Sorry, I had to," jokes Tracy Stern when asked about the current trend. Thursday, the woman behind Tracy Stern Tea & Co. Iced Teas and author of Tea Party set up shop at Christofle in Bal Harbour for the one-night-only event the Art of Entertaining With Tea. The French store that specializes in fine silver, from flatware to picture frames and other home accessories, is all about the art of the table. Justin Trabert, the national brand ambassador and store manager for Christofle, said he wanted to bring back a time when etiquette was about the host making everyone feel comfortable, not the scary word that intimidates guests.

Stern has the same mission and wants to restore some of the elegance of tea. She even designed her signature caddy tins with an old charm, but without the lock and key, so they are accessible to everyone.

See also: How to Stop Holding Your Utensils Like Weapons: We Talk to an Etiquette Expert

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How Tea Can Change Your Life, According to Master Tsai of Coconut Grove's Zen Village

All photos by Hannah Sentenac
Believe it or not, there's more to tea than Oprah's Starbucks Teavana line. Tea's healing history dates back a whopping 5,000 years, and ancient wisdom suggests its influence can be life-altering.

This potential impact on our modern lives is what Master Tsai, of Coconut Grove's Zen Village, is looking to share with over-stressed, over-burdened Miamians.

The cozy, interfaith community center has a tea room, where Tsai leads tea ceremonies, pours steaming cups of aged blends and schools folks on proper teaware.

See also: Ticety Iced Tea Bar Coming to Coral Gables

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Rolando Aedo Talks Miami Spice: "The More People Celebrating Food in Miami, the Better"

Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau
Rolando Aedo give us the scoop on Spice.
Miami Spice, the two-month promotion that offers value-priced meals at 174 Miami-area restaurants, is in full swing.

Sponsored by the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, the promotion continues throughout August and September and offers diners a three-course lunch for $23 and dinner for $39 at both independent restaurants and upscale dining establishments.

But how do restaurants participate in Spice, and what's the ultimate goal of the program? We spoke with Rolando Aedo, senior vice president of marketing and tourism at the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, for an inside look at Miami Spice.

See also: The Great of Miami Spice 2014, Part Two

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The Inside Track on Wynwood's Concrete Beach Brewery

All photos by Doug Fairall
Head brewer John Carpenter (left) and Alan Newman (right).
Miami's latest about-to-open brewery, Concrete Beach Brewery, is finally closer to opening after some delays. Short Order was invited for a rare behind-the-scenes look at the construction underway in Wynwood, and a chat with president and craft veteran Alan Newman.

We meet under the slim shade outside Panther Coffee in Wynwood, the bustling and cacophonous interior forcing us into the warm summer sunshine. Newman has the air of an artisan, complete with funky circular yellow-rimmed glasses. Over some iced coffee, talk begins to focus on why he's in Miami, and what this brewery operation means for the community at large.

See also: South Florida Brew Bus Delivers South Florida's Craft Beer Craze

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How to Stop Holding Your Utensils Like Weapons: We Talk to an Etiquette Expert

Categories: Interview, Musings

Photo by joeri_van_veen | Flickr CC
Stop treating utensils as weapons.
I never thought that I'd be one to discuss dining etiquette. After all, my first blog was entitled Uncouth Gourmands and my previous utensil usage brag was that I could fish pickles out of the jar with chopsticks.

Although, this past week I have switched from my loud and inefficient way of using a knife and fork -- known as American style -- to the much more elegant and efficient way known as the European/Continental style. I also consulted with Elena Brouwer, CEO (Certifed Etiquette Officer) of the Etiquette Centre in Hollywood to help me as I transition from fork in the right hand to fork in the left.

See also: At AQ in Sunny Isles Beach, Dewey LoSasso Gets Fancy and Fanciful

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Molly Wizenberg on Her New Memoir: "Food Gives Rhythm to Our Lives"

Courtesy of Kyle Johnson
London author and restaurateur Molly Wizenberg.
Molly Wizenberg's food blog Orangette has been called the best food blog by the London Times. Her first memoir, A Homemade Life (2010), chronicled her food memories, dealing with her father's death, and meeting her husband-to-be, Brandon. Delancey (2014) is Wizenberg's second memoir, and it focuses on their decision to open a pizza restaurant in Seattle with recipes thrown into the mix. Short Order sat down with the New York Times bestselling author to discuss the new book, the restaurant, and tear-worthy pasta.

See also: Ruth Reichl Talks New Novel at Books & Books

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Arepada: Pubbelly Pop-Up With La Latina Celebrates Arepas Wednesday

Courtesy Pubbelly
Coming together in the name of arepas.
Ah, an arepa, that glorious golden cornflour puck stuffed with goodness. For one night only, you can get some Jose Mendin in the middle. The Pubbelly chef and partner is staging a pop-up with La Latina late Wednesday night from 9 p.m till 2 a.m. at Pubbelly.

We have already raved about La Latina's vegan plantain and black bean arepa, and don't get us started on the empanadas de pabellón. The Pubbelly boys have already successfully tackled steak, sushi, and most recently French food at their series of restaurants, so arepas are a welcome departure into simple and delicious street food. But don't worry -- these gold disks are getting the Mendin touch.

We asked Mendin some burning questions about this upcoming griddle-hot night and how he plans to pack it with surprising flavors.

See also: PB Steak to Close in Miami Beach; Plans to Move 'Over the Bridge'

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Roy Choi on Chef: "I Only Know How to Approach Things With Honesty"

Categories: Interview

Courtesy Open Road Films
John Leguizamo (left), Jon Favreau, and Roy Choi
Chef Roy Choi is a rare breed. Part food celebrity, part everyman, he's celebrated for churning out seriously good, unpretentious food. We largely have him to thank for bringing food trucks to the masses. His Kogi BBQ trucks specialize in tacos, the most famous of which is filled with Korean barbecue short rib, heightened with salsa roja made from Mexican and Korean chilies, cilantro-onion-lime relish, and chili-soy slaw.

See also: John Favreau Talks Chef and Writing Again After Swingers

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