A Midsummer Night's Foodie Dream

(Guest blog post by Michelle M.)
Chef John Suley, Michelle M. & Chef Jeff McInnis

Contrary to popular belief, the best things do happen after midnight. One of my favorite spots in Miami Beach, Yardbird, recently proved it with their Midnight Chef’s Table Series, offering foodies the opportunity to enjoy an intimate, late-night feast of southern fare, hosted by notable chef Jeff McInnis and a guest chef. I have been a regular at Yardbird ever since I moved to the beach, so when Midtown Chic-a asked me to check it out for her, naturally, my answer was yes!

Not wanting to miss a single minute of the action, I got there early and was delighted to see that the whole place closed for the private occasion. It was hard to believe that we, a small group of foodies, were going to have Yardbird all to ourselves on a Friday night…what a treat! It was even harder to hide our excitement when we saw the menu, the anticipation growing by the minute as we sipped our bourbon cocktails and watched the talented chefs move swiftly around the open kitchen, preparing one dish after another in front of our very eyes.

And finally, Chef McInnis rang the bell, like my mom did many times when I was a kid, calling us to the dinner table to introduce the night’s guest chef, John Suley, who designed a southern inspired menu while adding his modern and creative touch and applying his ever present motto of keeping things simple. Suley is not only the Director of Culinary Operations at Celebrity Cruises, he also happens to be a long-time friend of McInnis, which made the whole experience even more special because, really, is there anything better than sharing great food with great friends?

BBQ Pork Springrolls

 So, what about the food? It all started with the heirloom tomato salad, prepared with fresh vegetables from local farms, combined impeccably with creamy goat cheese, followed by delicious crispy prawns served with warm sweet potato puree, braised collard greens and chorizo garlic pepper sauce. But hands down, my favorite starter was the BBQ pork springrolls paired with another classic with a twist: the chipotle yogurt cole slaw, which had a perfect spicy kick to it. And to top it all off, Chefs Suley and McInnis walked around the table telling us the story behind each dish and of course, the story of how the two friends met, which was very entertaining!

And as we were finishing our starters, the sound of the bell could be heard one more time, as McInnis introduced - in my opinion- the star of the night: Jamaican jerk pork tenderloin with… PIG EARS!!! Yes, you read that right. Pig. Ears. Having seen Anthony "Tony" Bourdain eat these many times on the Travel Channel, I have always been curious to try them myself and a bit scared at the same time, but when Chef Suley mentioned that these are one of his favorites, of course, I went for them… And they were surprisingly delicious, with a very familiar taste, very much like bacon and oh-so-full-of-flavor! And how can I not mention the melt-in-your-mouth "Fried Chicken My Way", with its crispy phyllo layer and maple syrup and ginger sauce?

As I was enjoying all these dishes, I kept asking myself… how am I ever going to have room for dessert? And this is something you don’t want to miss, my friends… Dessert consisted of not one, not two, but three homemade pies, and they were all nothing short of spectacular. And that was not all, there were dessert cocktails and warm butter waffles with Vermont maple syrup topped with… wait for it… bacon ice cream! If you ever come across this dish, just GET IT. The combination of sweet ice cream with bits of candied bacon sounded so wrong but tasted so right. I want to call it another favorite of the night, but how many favorites are you allowed to have when you already have so many?

And the cherry on top is that anyone can enjoy this feast for only $40 per person! I highly recommend it for any Friday night. Yes, the menu and the guest chef change every time, but rest assured, it will be an experience that you will never forget.
Oh, and one last tip? Make sure you wear clothes that stretch, if you know what I mean… You will not want to miss out on anything! It’s a good thing that I live close by because I pretty much had to roll back home at 3am as I walked out the door, but hey, I had a full belly and a big smile on my face… and I cannot wait to do it again!

The Menu

Jamaican jerk tenderloin with pig ears

The group of midnight foodies

Bacon Ice Cream

Homemade pies that they were created by Pastry Chef Josh Gripper of The Dutch!

Special shoutout to Michelle M. for covering this fabulous foodie event for me! I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I did!!


Anonymous said...

Well written! Cannot wait to try it! Thanks Midtown Chic-a and guest blogger!

July 26, 2012 at 10:16 AM
Maria Fernanda Castro said...

Yum! Now I want to go back to Yarbird ever more! This is really cool. It is a real way to connect to all the foodies in the Miami community. Other restaurants should take note of this because us locals love to hear "foodie legends" like this midnight feast!

July 26, 2012 at 5:18 PM
Anonymous said...

Going there on Sunday to celebrate my b-day! Great insight from this article.

August 3, 2012 at 3:41 PM

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